Progress, Not Perfection

We all aim for perfection.  Some of us take action to reach for that perfection on a daily basis, some of us are paralyzed by the fear of never making it there and let it be our procrastination.  You can’t fail if you don’t try, right?  The only way TO fail is to NOT try.  This is the reality of life and it is incredibly difficult to face some days; but others, I’m seeing that life doesn’t look so gray and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

If you’ve been following my blog you know that I have had many struggles lately both physical and emotional; yet I’m trying to make the most of what’s happening in my life.  Let me be completely transparent with you in case you are just starting to follow me.  I went from being an athlete, competitive fitness, 2 hours a day in the gym to a promotion that took 70 hours a week and non-stop travel leading to chronic pain from my back problems and being totally out of shape physically and mentally.  I have been off work for ten weeks now, working on my body and mind.  Some see the problem and the value in my time off, some don’t get it at all…and that’s ok.  As long as my Doctors agree I need the time to get right, I will take it, I am up for the fight with the insurance company.  About 3 1/2 months ago, my work was out of control, I had multiple deaths in a very short period and my anxiety went off the charts, my pain increased and I started getting migraines which had only ever happened on rare occasion prior.  This is cyclical.  Depression comes from chronic pain which I’ve had for nearly 3 years, and stress increases chronic pain; they feed off of each other.  It’s so hard to get out of the cycle!  My disability consists of chronic pain, nerve damage, migraines, anxiety and now depression.  In spite of things happening, I am beyond hopeful that I will be better than my previous “normal” and better than I have been although still not perfect, I’ll never be perfect!  My goal is to improve day by day, week by week.  Last week is the first week that I have not been scared to leave home, the first week I have not had daily anxiety attacks, I was able to actually be a productive member of society besides a couple of hours of volunteer work!  (Although I love that work.)  I am improving.  I am feeling better!  I say that with caution, because here is my struggle…depression and anxiety is not like having a casted bone.  You don’t just immediately “recover”.  When you break a bone, your doctor reviews and removes the cast when it is strong enough to be walked on again.  My mind and my heart and my emotions…they aren’t ready for the cast to be removed yet.  A “cast” around me is the easiest way I can explain the treatment I am getting.  Do you think this is easy to share?  NO.  It’s not.  It’s actually incredibly embarrassing, humiliating and humbling.  I have been strong my whole life…I have taken care of myself since I was 8 essentially, but truly since I was 17.  I broke.  I was full…too much stuffing of emotions causes an overflow.  My doctor says if I don’t handle this properly and completely – the “next” time this happens, because it WILL happen again, it will be worse and it will be a much more difficult recovery.  I can’t handle more difficult.  I need to recover!  I NEED to feel better!!  I need to BE better.  Can I tell you what a scary experience this has been for someone that has always been accused of being a stone hearted person?   I never let things affect me.  I repeat – I WAS STRONG!!!  I still am strong, I am just a little defeated at the moment.  The great thing is, there is nowhere to go but UP from here.  I just want to be better than yesterday and the day before.  I want to be back to the place where I can help people and not be the one that needs so much help.  But gosh, can I tell you how much I appreciate all of the help that I HAVE received from friends, doctors and my therapists?  I am blessed beyond belief to have the people in my life that I do.  Even my shaky relationship – I am thankful for it.  I have made a lot of mistakes, as has he.  The bottom line is, there is something between us that hasn’t gone away no matter how we try for 5 1/2 years.  Someone recently said that they didn’t see a basis for our relationship.  That person is NOT part of our relationship and has no clue, nobody does but us.  There is a basis whether it works out or not.  That will be up to us and nobody else.

My relationship with this man plays a huge role in my recovery, make no mistake. Being loved and wanted is something beyond just affecting to me.  I have had a fear of abandonment my entire life.  I was given away at birth!  I was a “problem” before day 1.  I was a foster child.  My name was “Cynthia” in the hospital because I had no name until somebody took me home.  My adopted mom rejected me by 8 years old.  I have been rejected and hurt over and over again throughout my childhood, teen and adult life.  Losing love is the most painful thing on earth.  I will not lose this again.  I will fix things and make it right.  I wrote before about regrets…I have many.  Trust me, it’s not ALL  me, but I’ve done a lot lately that I’m not proud of and I am ashamed to admit it, but not too ashamed to own it.  Love is love.  Everybody just wants love, right?  My favorite love…my girl.  Alexandra Renee Hawkins.  The best thing that Keith Hawkins and I ever did in our relationship!!  The love of my daughter is the most pure, real love I’ve ever had in my life.  She is my world and I have not shown her that over the past few years because I didn’t know how.  That is the most important place for me to start with restoration.  I get hurt and I don’t know how to deal with it.  Anger is my defense mechanism, always has been.  I take things out on those closest to me and that is something I learned growing up.  So while I have a wonderful relationship with my biological mother and maternal family NOW, and I believe more in nature vs nurture, (because I am just like my blood that I didn’t know until I was 21!) there is still plenty to be said for nurture…or lack thereof.  No matter how much nature takes over, and so many things are inherent in us, nurture has a tendency to form us – whether  good or bad.  Don’t get me wrong, my life wasn’t all bad.  I have some amazing childhood memories.  But that is because that is what I choose to remember.  With therapy over the past 9 weeks, I have uncovered things I haven’t considered or remembered in many, many years.  This isn’t easy, but it is necessary.

I heard a talk today discussing how many tools we have to fight off things like depression and how to keep going, but not one way to go on truly “living”.  And, when it hurts so much you can’t breathe, that’s how you know you’re alive.  I hurt, with every breath.  I have pain from nearly every person I have ever loved because most of them left me, in one way or another.  But this isn’t the kind of life I want.  I want a life where I can take long, deep breaths and enjoy them.  I want to inhale, exhale.  I want to enjoy our beautiful mountain air, I want to live a life of happiness, peace and freedom; and I will achieve it!

I’ve learned that post traumatic stress is increased by not talking about it.  40 years ago, the trauma started and I have pushed it down, or “stuffed it” for all of these years.  What I have is just like PTSD.  It’s crazy to think of that, but it is!  You consider that in war survivors, accident victims, and trauma victims.  Most don’t know that I am a severe trauma survivor.  For 12 years at home I was abused.  Physically, mentally and sexually.  I survived trauma.  As my doctor said last week, the brain can only handle so much “stuffing” before you overflow.  I overflowed months ago and tried to keep going.  A series of events caused me to break.  I am not broken beyond repair…I’m just wearing an emotional cast for a while.  I pray to God that life continues to progress and I continue to recover.  I also pray that I will be able to take the time to become strong before being forced back into something I can’t handle.  When you get the cast off, there’s usually a walking boot for a while.  My emotional bone is broken, I pray that it improves daily, but I never expect that I’ll be perfect.  There was only one perfect person.

I am beyond grateful for this outlet.  I, as always, hope that my story brings hope and peace to somebody out there reading.  I know it is an amazing outlet for me and I plan to start VLOGs soon!  I am learning to not have so much pride…pride keeps us from getting where we need to be too many times.  I am ready.  I want to be better than I was yesterday, I want to be better than I was today.  And mark my words, I will be.

If you haven’t read my previous posts, please, please…start at the beginning and learn what I am about.  I love helping other people.  I am a giver, I love loving on people.  I love buying presents for those I love; I love making people I love feel good.  This gets me through my days and brings me much, much happiness.  I am ready to have the happiness reciprocated and feel some of the love I give.  I see light at the end of this long ass tunnel!!  I am not giving up on love, life or happiness and I pray to God you don’t either!

How Do Patterns Affect Your Life?

Each time I begin a new blog page, I look for a quote or saying to open with and be the guide of my topic.  Today, I knew what I wanted to write about, patterns – breaking old patterns, creating new habits, learning a new healthy way; because this is something that is mandatory for me right now!  So my quote today, is “Old ways won’t open new doors.”  How fitting is that?  I guarantee this doesn’t only apply to me.  Every single one of us can relate to this in SOME way, no matter how story book your life may be.  Have you ever lost those 5 lbs by eating a box of cookies and sitting on the couch?  Have you ever finished a work project by calling in sick or not showing up?  Did you get out of an unhealthy relationship (of any type) by allowing continuous disrespect?  Have you changed your life by continuing the same old unhealthy habits?   No.

This week I had doctor visits for my disability which I am required to do by the insurance company and frankly, I NEED.  My family doctor oversees my case and care.  I have seen him for 23 years, that’s over half of my life.  He has known me my entire adult life and has been my only doctor since moving to Denver in 1993; suffice it to say, he knows me.  He knows my history, he knows my habits.  He’s not a therapist, but in my 20 minutes with him I get as much input and advice as I do from my hour long therapy visits, also required by insurance, but again, much needed.  I am not ashamed to say that I need therapy.  I have lived quite a life.  Most people have no idea the details of my entire life!  Even the girls I grew up with through middle/high school years don’t truly know the extent of what went on in my house, even though they were right outside my door.  They have no idea what I went through at home during those years, or the years before.  These are just things that you don’t share.  I was already “the freak” because of my family!  I do know that many of them were not allowed at my house because my family was known as “that family”, the weird ones.  It was unfit, not safe, etc.  This was hurtful…and I was honestly clueless.  I had no idea that we were so different.  I was a kid; a clueless teenager and I just wanted to be part of the crowd (which I was) and be “normal” which I tried, but I wasn’t.  I believed it was me.  I thought my friends’ parents didn’t like me.  It wasn’t me…it was my family.  The problem was, I was part of the family and we were one.  There was no differentiation between me and the family.  This enhanced some very unhealthy patterns for me that I had already began to develop years before.

As far back as I can remember, I have always tried to please people.  I have always tried to make people like me, I have cared what people thought.  We should care what people think, but not to the extent that I have.  For years, I based my entire worth on what others think of me.  That is SO WRONG!!!  I know this comes from my abandonment issues, but it’s something we are exploring in therapy.  Inside, I know who I am.  I am a very beautiful, caring, capable and smart person.  When I say beautiful, I mean inside – outward appearance does not matter.  I know what my heart is.  I know how much I love people and how much I want and enjoy others feeling good.  The problem with this, is that I have often altered my behavior to create these good feelings for people and not taken myself and my own feelings into consideration.  Today, one of my doctors asked me how I am filling my days while I am off work.  I explained what I’ve been doing – volunteering, collecting donations for shelters, attending fundraisers, networking events; doing whatever I can to stay busy with positive actions and make a difference.  My doc says while that is awesome and productive, it’s not for ME.  He asked what I do for ME.  It turns out that I do not really do much of anything for myself.  It also turns out that I don’t know what I really enjoy doing for myself because I always do what others want to do.  So this begs the following questions…what DO I like to do?  What do I enjoy?  What do I want to do?  Good questions, right??  I wonder if we all know what that is.  I can’t be the only one that doesn’t take time for themselves and feels this way!

Recognizing the patterns that have put you in the position you are in is so incredibly important.  You cannot make the change if you don’t identify the problem.  This is not an easy task!  I talked early on about this very thing and having this conversation with my trainer, and creating a bucket list.  I have yet to start this bucket list yet I’ve been unable to answer this question of “What do you enjoy doing?” not once, but twice in less than two months!  That’s crazy.  I love to make others happy.  I love to do for other people.  It’s time for me to do for me, and my daughter.  I do a lot for her already, but I can definitely tell you that she has suffered over the past few years and paid the price for my own lack of fulfillment.  Doing for her makes me happy too.  I love her more than any other person on this earth.  BUT, still, this HAS to be about me right now.  No matter how selfish it may feel, if I don’t fill myself back up and start feeling worthy again, I won’t have it for anyone else.  Let that sink in you guys, FILL YOURSELF UP.  It’s not selfish!!  It’s mandatory!!  You can’t genuinely help anyone else if you aren’t 100%!  Nobody will value you if you don’t value yourself.

My challenge to you – I want to see your bucket lists!  Or at least a few things that you enjoy doing, for YOU.  Not like me, something you’ve done for others that makes you feel good, but truly things you do for YOU!  Here are a few things that I enjoy that I vow to do for myself over the next two weeks:

  • Workout – hard!  Time to find my motivation again
  • Yoga, empowering events
  • Crafting, sewing, making holiday items (I don’t want to hate the holidays this year!)
  • Travel, I want to take a trip for myself (besides our family trip)
  • Drive to the mountains and just enjoy the view
  • Spa day – work on myself!

I would love to see your comments, this is hard for me!  Ideas of things I like to do elude me at the time…your ideas may inspire me, remind me of things I forgot about!  And I would love to hear what you will commit to in the next two weeks.  Let’s do this together!!  I know if you are reading my blog, you must have some interest in the work I am doing on myself and also want to do some on yourself.  So join me, share with me!  I will be writing about each of these things as they come along over the next couple of weeks.  First thing on my list, tomorrow I am attending a yoga event at Red Rocks with an emphasis on empowering women – one of my very favorite things to do!!  Major work on myself!  Monday, my sewing machine goes to the shop for a tune up!  From there I continue…

I am changing my patterns, one way or another.  Things don’t happen on their own, you have to make them to happen.  Take a long hard look at your history; determine what has made you who and how you are, if you can, and take hold of your opportunities; move on them.  Nobody will care about you the way you want them to, except you.  This may sound rough or cold, but I choose to make a difference.  I’m tired of being disappointed.  I choose to break the pattern and “fix” my life for the second half.  I want to let go of the history and create a real future.  Who I love can participate or move on.  Period.  I choose ME.

Failure Is NOT An Option

It doesn’t matter how many times you fail, you’re not a failure. It doesn’t matter how many times you almost get it right because you always have another chance to learn from it and try again.  No one is going to remember or care about your failures, and neither should you.  People are remembered for greatness and I believe that I am absolutely destined for greatness!!  I have no clue the number of failures I have had…nor do I have any desire to know!  It’s useless.  Failure is an opportunity to do better.  To that end, some days I think I should be a life expert by now!  Ha!

There are so many different arenas in which we can mess up or fail – it’s darn near impossible not to fail somewhere in your life.  If you’re not failing, I want to know who you are!!  Just kidding – in all seriousness, if you’re not failing in some areas of your life, you’re in a rut.  Guaranteed!  I know because that’s me and where I have been!  We should be out living life, failing daily.  You know why?  Because that means you’re out of your comfort zone trying new things; and when we try new things, we usually suck at them!  Things take practice to learn.  Practice makes perfect.  Don’t quit doing something just because you aren’t immediately good at it.  There are those people that are just “a natural” at everything.  They can play all kinds of sports, run fast, don’t have to study hard and have that winning personality.  Most of us aren’t that lucky – and you know what?   Most of those “naturals” aren’t that lucky either.  They try harder than others do!

In my health and nutrition business, and all of the trainings and conferences I have attended, the most important thing I have learned is that the only way to fail, is to NOT try.  This is the most simple, but profound statement I have heard in some time.  How true is this?!  How many times have you said “no” to something because you were afraid you’d look stupid and be embarrassed?  What’s the worst thing that is going to happen?  You might look silly; you might give people a good laugh.  BUT, you might have fun!  You will likely learn something and guess what – your “first time” is over.  NEXT time you do it, you’ll know what to expect, you’ll do a little better and maybe laugh at yourself next time around!  You continue to grow with each experience, and before you know it, you’re a pro and helping somebody else with their first time!  THAT is what it’s all about!

Failure is not an option for me because if I fail, I know how many people will not be blessed by the many things that I have to offer.  I have talents, I have heart and I have skills.  Most of all, I have desire; I have desire to share my experiences, my health, my hurt and my love with the world.  That’s what this blog is all about – sharing!  I know that there are people on their knees begging God for answers every single minute of every single day.  The answers they seek may be financial, they may be emotional, they may be physical.  Everybody won’t relate to me by any means, but I know I can relate to somebody on each of these levels.  That’s why I write.  That’s why I tell my story of pain, hurt, depression and anxiety.  I know that online I am going to reach people that I may not otherwise ever even cross paths with.  The internet and social media are amazing tools that we should all be using for our betterment.

When I first started to blog, (all of 10 posts ago) I had all of the negative self talk we normally go through when we try something new.  What if nobody reads it?  What if people think I’m crazy?  What if nobody relates?  Guess what – they were all false things I was telling myself!   I am writing this for two reasons, to help me and to help you.  If you’re reading this, then I hope it helps you in some way.  For me, it feels good to just put the words out there.  I know that I have answers for people.  I know that I have answers for myself.  Even a coach needs a coach!  I read motivational books, self help books, books to teach me how to be a better leader and a better person!  I go, I DO things that are going to teach me to appreciate what I have, I give my time to those that need help.  I have found some amazing ways to help my myself, and others, and many of these things are things I am doing for the very first time.  It’s scary!  It’s not always easy, but it’s necessary.  If we aren’t growing all the time, we are stagnant.  If we become stagnant, we are obviously no longer trying new things which means we aren’t failing which means we aren’t trying new things!!  Do you see how this all ties together?  It’s so important to put your self out there and just feel and experience things.  I’m telling you, you cannot fail unless you don’t try.

WOW!!  Can I just tell you how fired up that just got me while typing??  I wish I were doing a video of this one instead of just a blog post!  I let myself be stagnant for so long, crushed by corporate America standards and stressed out beyond belief that it just killed me inside.  This is how I am digging myself out.  Nobody is going to do it for me, I have to do it for myself.  And I tell you again, failure is not an option for me!  This is a battle within myself that I will win, and I will be better off when I do.  I will never allow myself to be in this position again.  I’m not out of the woods yet, but I know the clearing is up ahead of me somewhere.  I will never be so stuck that I can’t see an opportunity in front of my face.  Success is the only option for me, and it should be for you too!  Goodnight!

Happiness…What Makes It?

“Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.”  -Steve Maraboll.

If you’re a first time reader, welcome and thank you for being here to share in my story.  I want to preface this post, as I always do – this is NOT a sob story and this is NOT me crying about an awful life or looking for sympathy.  I have an amazing life and I have so much to be thankful for!  I thank God every single day for how blessed I am.  God is my savior, my lifeline and the one who keeps me above water.  That being said, there is a hole in my heart that needs to be filled.  This blog is therapeutic for me and I hope that it shows people that it’s ok to be vulnerable.  Telling my story shows that there is more behind a smile; and what you see on the outside is not always what’s going on inside.  Behind my smile, I am ashamed to say, is depression and anxiety which has recently taken over my life.  I have not wanted to officially share this diagnosis with anybody, until now.  I feel like it’s finally time.  I have nothing to be ashamed of, but really something to be proud of.  I am a fighter and I don’t give up.  Never have, never will.  I have had an incredible amount of loss lately and I am dealing with it the best I know how.  We can’t really know what is right or wrong when trying to handle these things, but just trust in God and pray you’re hearing the right voice!  God has been nudging me to just come out with it and I haven’t been brave enough to do it.  I find that when you follow the nudge, something amazing can happen, so here we go!

I’ve shared in earlier blogs a little bit about my history, where I come from and that my heart has been broken over and over throughout my life and this time I don’t know how to fix it. We all go through heartache, but my story is a little different right now.  This is more than just a little loss.  I have lost 5 people in 4 months (2 family, 3 friends) and the relationship I thought I would be in for the rest of my life.  The man that became my best friend through some unusual circumstances and who I now consider the love of my life.  Gone.  All while working an incredibly stressful job, going through a buy-out  (merger), not being sure from day to day what I would walk into at work or if I would be laid off at any time.  That’s a lot to handle for anyone, even experienced stress handler like me!  I have always been the person that just handled things that came my way and went on.  I’ve been strong, sometimes called cold because I was so strong it appeared as though I didn’t care.  The truth is, if I slowed down long enough to feel, I would hurt too badly and I never allowed that.  I didn’t necessarily “deal” with any of it, I just accepted it and moved on.  Now, I am having a very hard time dealing with the things that I should have been dealing with my entire life.  I think most of us have the best of intentions, and I believe that we make the best of the hand we are dealt.  Lately, I find this to be only partially true; and we have the ability to alter our path.  We have a choice to be happy or not be happy and this comes out in the decisions we make.  I wish I had known this earlier in life and understood the opportunities that truly laid before me!  I wish I had believed in myself enough to know just how strong and capable I was, and still AM!  I have spent so much of my life trying to make others happy that I never stopped to realize how unhappy I was.  As a young girl, my happiness wasn’t on anyone’s priority list, so I guess it never really made it high on my list either.  Until now!

How do you define happiness?  I’ll bet each of us has a different definition. My definition of happy is living a life of abundance, giving back to those in need, donating my time where it is needed most and sharing that with my best friend and partner in life.  Are you happy?  Is there a hole there that you try to fill?  I’ve spent a lot of time going over these thoughts lately.  The amount of loss lately is too much and because I lost that best friend that should have been there with me to comfort me through the losses, the changes, etc. I haven’t had great capacity to do it on my own.  My happiness, unfortunately just as when I was younger, wasn’t on his priority list either.  Yet I was more apt to endure that than to change it.  I didn’t want to lose him and what we had, even though to a lot of people it wasn’t ideal.  It took me 40 years to find what I thought I wanted in a man and the last 5 years have not been easy, but I didn’t want to let go.  As a young girl, we have our “ideal” man…what he will look like, what he will act like, what kind of a father and man he will be.  This man met all of that and then some.  Tall, dark and handsome, a great father, more passion than I’ve ever experienced.  He allowed me take down a lot of walls, I trusted him.  I’ve never been much of a girly girl, but somehow he made me one.  I’m different than I used to be.  He made me feel more beautiful and special than anyone else ever has, but ultimately I wasn’t his priority.  Period.  I tried to make him happy with acts of kindness, taking care packages when he was sick, buying him gifts, buying his children gifts, asking about the family…nothing worked.  He didn’t recognize it for what it was, he felt I was trying to control him when all I really wanted was to be a part of his life.  We all know that our perception is our reality.  So that was his reality and I cannot change what he felt.  I’ll never feel love like that again, he was IT for me and beyond all the recent loss, that one has nearly broken me.

This is just another example of the pattern that I followed of trying to get somebody who said they loved me to show me they loved me.  I have been chasing love my entire life.  The only person that loves me unconditionally on this earth is my daughter.  My beautiful, smart mouth brat – Lexie.  Haha, all joking aside, I have watched her heart break at what I am going through and I have not always been the kindest to her when she is trying to help me.  For that I have regrets.  I have allowed people and feelings get in between us and yet she loves me the way I have always wanted to be loved.  It makes me feel good, yet guilty at the same time because I don’t feel like the last few years have been ideal for her.  I’ve put her through a lot while I dealt with my own issues.  I am so thankful and grateful for her.  SHE gives me purpose, love and caring.  I love her with all of my heart and I could never make it without her.  Whether she knows it or not, she is my best friend and the one I count on in this world.

I have been thinking about all the “problems” in my life and placing a lot of blame (on myself and others), trying to figure out what to do, how to help myself feel better and be happy.  I think this is my million dollar question – what is it going to take to make me happy again?  Since I am currently on disability from work, I have been filling my days helping people, donating time to charities and spending time with amazing people that have hearts I admire and learn from.  That is amazing and I am so fulfilled while I am there, and even for a while after I am riding high!  But ultimately, there is still a hole and something is wrong.  My heart has been broken by so many people throughout my life and recently it has been compounded and so many old wounds have surfaced, I have had a very hard time even putting the thoughts into words to create my blog posts.  Things from the past have surfaced that have created even more emotional issues for me.  Some days the pain is overwhelming and some days I don’t want to get out of bed.  Physically I am feeling quite a bit better, although the nerve pain I deal with has been directly correlated with the anxiety and stress.  On high anxiety days, I am more likely to hurt worse. The migraines have become unbearable.  I get shots all over my head every 3 weeks to keep them at bay.  People don’t understand the truth behind anxiety and/or depression and when you have them together with physical pain, some days it’s easier to stay in bed even though that’s the worst thing for you.  If you read this and you are also struggling with these types of problems, I implore you to get out there, surround yourself with people that lift you up.  You know the saying – ‘fake it til you make it’?  Well, it’s right!  People reading my blog had no idea that I am struggling with these problems.  I will find a way to beat this, I will conquer it.  I will get my happiness back and it will be on my own terms, not somebody else’s.  I was told that I am not the same person and they were right…and I miss the old me.  I need the old me to return!  THAT is what is going to make me happy.  I want to be the happy go lucky woman that went with the flow and had fun – whatever we were doing!  Structure is important, don’t get me wrong, but there is nothing wrong with flying by the seat of your pants and having fun once in a while!

One thing I can assure you, my happiness will not be defined by anybody but me.  I have lost my way a bit right now, I have temporarily lost my ability to be the usual problem solver, a fixer and an unconditional lover.  There are so many factors that play into my situation currently.  None of us will ever be without problems in our lives.  It’s how we choose to react to them that will lead us.  I will be placing these issues on the chopping block one at a time and giving them over to God.  It’s easier said than done, but I know whole heartedly that when I need help and guidance, I know where to turn.  My good friend reminded me the other day, God’s got my back.  I know he does.  This is not an easy fight that I am fighting right now but it is one that I will win – that I can assure you!!

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more…and remember, happiness is an inside job!!

Make a Difference with Your Story

If you are reading my blog for the very first time, WELCOME and thank you for being here!  Please follow me by entering your email address and you’ll be notified of my future posts!  You may be wondering what I am all about and what I may have to offer.  Why should you read what I have to say and follow me?  Through this blog, I share stories and lessons of my life.  Happiness, sadness, struggles, and pain.  Yet I show you that happiness and success and new life can be achieved.  It’s not easy to be vulnerable and put our most heart felt feelings out there.  I do it with the hope that it will encourage somebody else to keep going.  Life can be very hard and the feelings can get you down, but you don’t have to let it beat you!!  You can win this thing we call life!  Never be ashamed of your story, it can save somebody else…with that, I share a little more with you tonight.

The past couple of years I have had a lot of health issues and major back problems, nerve issues and chronic pain.  If you’ve ever experienced chronic pain, it can be crippling.  Beyond the pain, it can also be incredibly depressing.  It is life changing, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  I have been on disability from work since mid-August after rejecting my Dr.’s recommendations for months and working anyway, because that’s what I do.  I work.  I have always been dedicated to my job and the most loyal employee around.  But in light of growing anxiety with my job completely changing, going through a buy out/merger and not knowing what would change day to day, my nerve pain worsened and we couldn’t figure out why.  I finally took my doctor’s recommendation and am now taking some time off.  The theory is lessening stress will lessen the nerve pain.  It does seem to be making a difference!  Yay!  Unfortunately, this adds an additional stress because even though I pay in taxes for this exact kind of thing, they sure don’t like to pay when it is needed!  So I am currently going through the appeals process to try and get paid.  Just what I need…more stress.  But that is the least of my worries right now honestly, my health and peace of mind are what is really important.

You can probably deduce that recent months have been incredibly difficult for me.  Five weeks ago I started therapy to deal with the grief of deaths, I have lost 5 people in the past 4 months.  I also lost a relationship that has been a huge part of my life for the past 5 1/2 years.  The relationship has been off and on and never healthy, this is a hard, hard loss and I have never felt like this.  Frankly, the past few months, I have felt completely lost and I have not had the ability to reason properly.  I have had a lifetime of losses and being with a therapist I have really connected with, I learned that there are actually some much more deep seeded pains that I have ignored most of my life because I have always just been that “strong woman”.   Multiple deaths, the end to a long term relationship and worrying about losing my job = STRESS.. ANXIETY.. DEPRESSION.

People judge me daily, and guess what?  That’s ok.  Those people have not walked in my shoes, those people have no clue what is on the inside of me, what I’ve overcome and where I am at now.  They are seeing only the struggle, and the sadness that has been in my heart and showing through my eyes for months.  My friends watch me suffer silently knowing that I am doing everything in my power to change my circumstances.  I am not wallowing in self pity any more and that is the point of this post!!  You are allowed time to grieve, and that time frame is different for everybody.  There is no instruction booklet for grief  or anxiety.  There are, however, tons of resources that I have found useful.

The first lesson, be patient with yourself.  Nobody can tell you when you should feel better.  As long as you want to get better, you will.  Choose to stand up for yourself, make the change and take it one day at a time.  I get very overwhelmed when I think about the big picture, but I can handle day by day!  I made the mistake of going MIA from my normal routine, missing out on many events with my friends which only magnified the problem. The more I isolated myself, the more depressed I got. Trust your friends, take solace in time with them.  They care about you and that is irreplaceable.  I am not only getting myself back out there, I am donating a lot of my time to helping others.  I have met some amazing people and have really been feeling quite a sense of purpose in my life that I haven’t felt in a very long time!  I have actively and consciously been seeking out people and activities that will help me feel better.  I have accepted the things I cannot change and I have been working to change the things I have control of.

Don’t wallow in self pity.  (It’s soooo easy to do!!)  Don’t get stuck in the anger you feel; the helplessness.  It will eat you alive, it’s been eating me alive for months and especially the past few weeks.  That is the most helpless feeling in the world when you cannot control your own thoughts.  This goes back to being patient with yourself, but don’t stay there!!  It’s easy to be mad, upset or even to have no clue what exactly it is that you’re really feeling, just knowing that it sucks!  That’s ok!  Just don’t stay there.  Find the value in your experience.  Make it into something positive even though you may feel like there is absolutely nothing positive to come from it.  You have to search for it, FIND IT!!!  I am finding value in all of the turmoil in my life lately that will change me forever.  I am appreciating things I have taken for granted or completely overlooked.  I have bonded with old friends, I have created new friends and I have found where I can add value to others lives and make a difference which makes me feel great about myself instead of the self-loathing I have done most of my life.  Give back.  I can’t speak to that enough.  Donating your time, feeding the homeless, collecting clothing for shelters – none of this takes anything more than your heart and time.  You should live every day like it’s your last and you must nurture the relationships that you have.  Appreciate every day that the Lord gives you!  Make something positive out of whatever situation you’ve been going through.  I am so thankful for my followers and more importantly my amazing friends, my support system and my sweet daughter Lexie that has had to put up with my ups and downs.

The bottom line, the point of talking to you tonight is to help me, and to help you.  I want you to know that it’s ok to grieve over rough times, I have done a lot of it lately.  It’s ok to cry, to be angry and feel lost.  The most important lesson I have learned is that there is something positive to come out of everything.  Find it.  Don’t let yourself stay stuck.  I have been stuck for a long time and I have a long ways to go, a lot of exploring of my entire life to learn why I handle things the way I do and why I continue the same patterns.  So my journey is just starting but I am really exciting to be taking these steps to change my life for the better, for the rest of my life!  As always, I hope this is helpful for you and I hope you will sign up to follow me and read and share my posts with anyone that you feel could relate.  Goodnight.


Know Your Power

“Never underestimate the power of making someone feel special.”

As a blue personality type, and being a “fixer”, this is second nature to me.  I enjoy making people I care for feel special.  Whether in a relationship, friendship or just an acquaintance.  I have always had a knack for giving the right gift or saying the right words or being there for someone at the right time.  This is something that has always made me feel good; I enjoy doing for others.  How do you get that way?  Are you born with your personality?  Is it genetic, or learned, or a little of both?  I have thought about this a lot lately and my conclusion is we are all born with certain tendencies, but behaviors are learned and change throughout your life.  Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse!  But the real conclusion I’ve drawn is that we treat people the way we want them to treat us, often to our disappointment.  We cannot influence others behaviors with our own, no matter how much we want it.

I have been forced to take a hard look at many things in my life lately that I really didn’t want to look closely at.  (Hiding from reality seems to be human nature.)  One of those things is how I treat people and why I treat them the way I do.  Some actions I am really proud of and some, I am sad to say, I am not.

Simple request:  “I want to feel special!”  A few weeks ago I said this to someone who had no idea what I was getting at.  This seems like it should be obvious, right?  Well it’s not obvious to everyone and in fact I believe there are some people who may have never heard this concept!!  In all seriousness, we are ultimately in control of our own feelings and we choose the way we react to situations in our lives.  We cannot control how others treat us, and we cannot expect them to treat us the at way we want to be treated.  But, we can absolutely control how we react to their treatment.  This is something I have not excelled at.  It, in fact, has been very hard for me to accept the treatment that I have received because it was much like my upbringing…too little, too late.  Harsh.  Inconsiderate.  Like it or lump it.  I can assure you I never liked it, but I learned to deal with it.

As a young girl, I learned the hard way that I was in charge of my own life, my own happiness, my own care  and my protection.  Sure, most of the time I had a roof over my head (not always) but if I wanted something, I had better work for the money to get it.  I spent the majority of my high school years working and doing whatever I could to stay away from home.  I spent very little time there and often lived with my oldest brother due to instability and fighting in my home.  I didn’t feel safe in my own home and I wasn’t protected or cared for.  I can recall turning to friends parents when I was sick or hurting because I had no care at home.  One particular mom used to take me in, give me ibuprofen and a hot bath and rub my back until I went to sleep when I was sick.  Something my own mother should have done, but never, once did.  I will forever be grateful for the kindness other people showed me, even though I was looked down on because of my family’s situation.  Even through the humiliation, I felt more love than I did at home.

As always, I don’t say these things to start a pity party – this was my reality.  This is something that shaped me into the strong woman that I became.  I left home 2 days after graduating.  May 16, 1989.  I may have only moved 4 miles from home, but I was gone.  I was on my own and I was happy and felt safe for the first time in my life.  I turned 18 that summer and a year later at 19, I moved to Colorado because I couldn’t get far enough from that small town that was smothering me.  I worked, I went to college, I paid my bills, I took care of myself.  I was extremely resourceful.  I learned things by 19 that most don’t learn until they’re 30.  On the up side, I learned independence; on the down side I learned I could only count on ME.  I was the only one looking out for me and honestly, it’s been a very lonely life because I rarely let anyone in.  Truly “in”.

In hindsight, as tough as I act, I wish I would have had someone to take care of me, nurture me and protect me the way I have done for my daughter.  She is my everything.  We butt heads like sisters and sometimes people just shake their heads at our relationship, but she knows that I am in her corner and would die protecting her.  Nobody will ever hurt her without going through me.  I never had that.  Today, at 45, I long for that.  I am tired and the little girl inside wants somebody to take care of her and love her unconditionally.  I thought I found it, but I was mistaken.  I am right back to feeling like a little girl and hiding out with anxiety and panic and scared to go outside because I am at risk of being hurt.  I don’t trust, I don’t believe, and I don’t allow myself to love or be loved in the unconditional way I want and deserve.

What I have learned about this, is that I am the only one that has the power to change all of this!  I am learning to love myself, unconditionally, which I have never done.  I have always been the first one to see every flaw that I have.  I am very critical of myself and I haven’t given myself credit for half of what I deserve.  With the life I was exposed to, it’s a damn miracle I am even half way normal!  (Although normal is relative…)  I am learning to appreciate myself, my abilities and everything that I have to offer.  I practice daily telling myself that I am a chosen child of God, I am loved, I am special and I am perfectly imperfect.  And so are you!  Don’t judge yourself, don’t judge others; that is God’s job.  We can only love ourselves and one another and praise him for what he has given us.  This is not an easy thing, I know.  It literally takes daily practice.  But if you’re like me and have been in the habit of self-loathing – this is a practice you need to be doing daily.  Pray every morning.  Pray throughout the day, pray every moment you struggle.  Thank God for every breath and thank God for every thought, whether it is negative or positive.  It’s not easy to thank the Lord for a negative thought we are having, but I can assure you that it will quickly change your way of feeling and thinking.  Ask God to take your burdens, to change the thoughts in your head and show you the beauty in things around you.  Ask him for forgiveness in your heart for those that have hurt you, take the anger and bring you peace.  It is sometimes hard to hear Him beyond the clutter and madness in our own brains, but if you can take a moment and find the calm in the storm of your mind, it will help you and eventually, we will find the love, peace and forgiveness that we seek.

Again, I remind you…only we have that power, along with God of course, to change our mindset and our thoughts.  When you find a way to change these habits, you’ll find that everything around you begins to fall into place.  The people that you attract will change, the business you seek will flourish and the love you desire will appear.  Your heart will be content, even if not from a significant other, but just yourself and God.  So remember the quote we started with – “Never underestimate the power of making someone feel special.”  Start with YOU.  Make yourself feel special, love yourself and know the power that you hold within your heart!