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Long story short…Life abruptly changed direction

“In the end, we’ll all become stories.” – Margaret Atwood

Welcome to my journey. A journey filled with lost love, lost hope, life changes, single parenting, healing, finding hope in emptiness, searching to fill a void, regaining my footing from stumbling, dealing with depression and just plain old trying to discover the new me.

This road has been a very dark valley with glimpses of the light at the peaks of the mountain that remind me my story isn’t over just yet. These writings are raw, and straight from my own journal. I do not claim to be an elaborate, professional writer. Matter of fact, I am probably getting it all wrong and you know it what…It’s Okay! This is a step into my life, a stranger to you, but a way of me speaking life into existence and praying my words might just heal another lost soul. I am you, you are me. Take moment, sit next to me, lets talk.

This Is How This Is Going To Go…

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You are going to hurt like hell

So one day you can fully embrace happiness.

You are going to lose it all – friends, love, material things, everything

So whats meant to be, has room to attach to a welcoming soul.

You are going to cry, cry like you have never cried before, so hard you can’t breathe

So when that smile comes, it lights up every room you walk in.

You are going to sit alone, in your emotions, in your mess for a very long time

So in time, you finally realize what self love is really all about.

You are going to be brought to your knees, then to rock bottom

So one day when you are at the top, you’ll extend grace to others.

You are going to make some terrible decisions, decisions that make you appear crazy to some

So one day you will never place yourself in situations where you feel out of control.

You are going to feel unloved, unwanted and unworthy

So one day you will stop freely handing out every ounce of your being to just anyone.

You are going to experience all of this to its fullest extent and you are going to want to give up

So that one day you will look back and see just how strong you truly are.

So this is how it’s going to go. Welcome it, feel it and then release it. It is all very heavy and no longer yours to carry. After all, your strongest people were once found face down on their bathroom floor in a puddle of tears gripping onto life by a thread. This is your time to fail and then rise again. Strength and success comes to those that choose to put in the work. Now go work your ass off, your best life awaits you…..

Single Handedly…Single

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Be yourself there is no one better

Today was my first Valentines day alone in about 20 years. I never really got into Valentines Day, my view was send me flowers any other day of the year when I know I have really crossed your mind. It’s a money making holiday and nothing more. It’s a time when social media is flooded with pictures of flowers, gifts and food. It’s pretty fake I must add.

Today I have noticed several post of couples acting like everything is together and posting their pretty flower pictures and their I love you’s. All falling into the trap of conforming to what society is herding you into. In the meantime, I have several I can point out who one or the other is being unfaithful, and yes I have facts to back that up, yet they made their post to seem like they just fell in love this morning. Makes me want to roll my eyes back in my head. Sorry, but I really want to call your ass out, but I won’t. You will self destruct before long. Just another realization of why you never believe or compare yourself to any other person on that screen your looking at.

This Valentines I chose to sit with myself. Sit with my emotions of missing a certain man. I chose to let the emotions come, feel them and then release them back. I chose today to love on and show kindness to anyone that crossed my path today. Why? because for a one reason. There has been a time I have been told I am no longer loved, no longer worthy, no longer wanted and I wanted to remind the ones that may be in that same position that now is the time to find self love and self care. Never to place your whole being into someone that doesn’t match your effort.

So today I sat in my mess of emotions. I welcomed them and I felt them. I passed the man I was missing on the road today. It got me….right in the gut. How coincidence was that? Haven’t spoken to him or seen him weeks and here we are on a country road passing each other. That was just divine intervention…..but not the intervention where he comes and chases down the girl and tells her he misses her so much. That never happens to me, I have always been the chaser. It was the type of intervention that reminded me that I am okay. That what I thought I couldn’t survive, I have survived and grown. Thankfully now, because I have learned how to be alone and sit and work through any emotions, I was able to come home excuse myself to feel that sadness, acknowledge it and then move on with my evening.

I’ll leave you with one piece of advice. Hold dearly onto your worth, your identity, your confidence. The second you place it in someone else’s hands because you’re trying so hard to show them how much you love and care for them is the second you just sold yourself to them. It’s the hardest thing to get back after heartbreak. Find yourself, love yourself, respect yourself. Sit with me lets talk…..

Forgiveness….

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Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd- Rumi

Forgiveness, a hard truth, a painful acceptance, but oh so necessary. What actually is forgiveness? Is it receiving an apology and choosing to forgive the person. Most of the time, NO! It typically comes in the form of being done wrong, receiving no apology, but forgiving anyways for your own growth. It’s taking the higher road. Forgiving and moving on.

I don’t view forgiveness as praying about it, accepting it, giving it and being done with it. I think forgiveness is a daily work in progress. I fully believe you can choose to forgive for that final let go, but have to work at it daily to walk in forgiveness. No matter what’s tossed at you, you still choose to walk upright and in forgiveness. It’s hard to do, especially if there was never an I am sorry in the situation.

Life will hit you daily and takes you back to that victim role. You’ve been handed a deck of cards that you never asked for, but it’s time to play the hell out of them. You’ll probably be continually hurt by the person you choose to forgive, you forever remember the past, but it’s at that time your forgiveness has to be bigger then any pain you feel. You see walking in forgiveness actually has nothing to do with the other persons actions and everything to do with yourself. It’s part of the stepping stones to healing and moving on. It will suck most days. You’ll want to feel like you need to explain yourself in most circumstances. You’re just that type of person that doesn’t like to walk away from people like you’ve given up. At this time you have to realize you’re not giving up on them, but choosing to release whats been done and choosing your self now.

Forgiveness is so hard. I know I fight to choose it daily. I want to go down swinging and explaining everything I did to fight so hard, but there’s always an ending point. There’s always a point where you have to choose the higher road, leave them be and forgive them from your heart.

It’s hard, but it’s freedom. Sit with me, lets talk……

Perfect Discipline, Extreme Courage and Exceeding Strength

Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt– SUN TZU

Two years ago, I was at the in the middle of my very long drawn out grueling divorce. I was handed a book from someone. The book The Art of War. I looked a little dumbfounded. What does this have to do with me right now? I am not headed to war, or was I? Read it, it’s time to fight is what he spoke to me as he handed me the book. I flipped through the book and thought what the hell this was written in 500 BC I can’t even understand what’s being said. Not, until I sat down and fully put my mind to the military tactics being laid out.

I spent many hours in attorney offices and court rooms. I just wanted it to stop, but now the man I was once married to was now my enemy. I wanted to scream out my part and explain every part of unfairness for something I did not cause. My attorney, who more then once had me in tears in his office, coached me over and over about losing my cool. Losing my cool? It’s what I do best when I feel like I need to be heard and to defend myself. If you don’t control yourself you will lose everything we are fighting for and losing control is exactly what they want you to do, he said to me.

So now a fighter had to fight another way. I had to learn to fight in silence. Make moves in silence. I turned to my book. It taught me so much about how to catch my enemy off guard. It taught me to the the Gray Rock Method. Although on the stand and being questioned, or facing my ex when he wanted to trigger me would make my whole insides burn like I was on fire, you couldn’t change my reaction or my facial expression. I finally set my boundaries of how things were going to go. My attorney was right all along, He did the dirty work and I focused on myself and to be the silent the dagger I needed to be to protect myself, my sanity and my children.

We fast forward 2 years later. The book that was handed to me was now from the same hands that wants to destroy my mental state. I let my guard down. I fell for the man. A man that was so mysterious I yearned to know him more. Everything I learned, I set to the side. I gave whatever I even had left inside me to make this work for over 2 crazy years. Literally gave everything I knew to understand him. It’s 2.5 years later, am I left wondering what the hell I have even been doing for this long. It’s not fulfilling to me. We broke up months ago and yet I play the same stupid games. I let his words destroy me. I have found that same fearful girl I once knew. The one that doesn’t sleep, that lets anxiety of the situation take complete rule over my days. That little girl you’ll find trying to fix something that isn’t fixable. The one you’ll find curled up in a fetal position on her floor praying for the pain to end. It’s nothing, but a vicious cycle and I keep playing the game. My mental state of mind kept me playing in the wound.

That game stops now. Our last worthless conversation comes to an end now. He’s now placed in the same category of those that mess with my mind. He took everything he saw me go through in my divorce and he has used it perfectly against me. Intentionally or unintentionally I will no longer allow it. I’m reaching in his back pocket and stealing back my worth. No one will take this hard work I’ve done to heal and use it against me.

Boundaries, a word for the hurting I can not stress enough. I speak from experience. It’s taking back your life, your control. I’ve sat in many hours of therapy over the last 3 years being taught boundaries. I grasped it once when I went through my divorce then let my guard down wanting to be saved by a man I fell in love with. I failed at it once again, but that’s okay. I am a firm believer everything happens for a reason. Maybe I needed to experience it once again to fully take back hold over my own life. To never let it happen again. Pain and hurt build internal strength for something down the road you’ll need to be prepared for. Without sitting and rotting in the valleys, you’ll never be fully prepared for life down the road. You’ll forever be vulnerable, you’ll forever allow your self worth to be placed in others hands and in the end you’ll lose yourself totally.

Never let the enemy move you. Show them no expression. You stand firm. Will you collapse behind the scenes? Probably so, you’re experiencing and processing hurt. When your boundaries are set, your line of defense is solid, your moves have been silent- then like a thief in the night you fall like a thunderbolt, rock the ground, break glass ceilings, so you’re foundation is never taken from you again.

Dear Single Mom…excuse me…Dear Warrior….

Some days she has no idea how she’ll do it, but every single day she gets it done.

4:30 am the alarm rings. Take a deep breath in and a deep breath out. Your insides are screaming NO! You’re not quite sure you actually even fell asleep. Your day is beginning whether you like it or not. You do your count down 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 BAM your feet hit the floor. They hit so hard, you wake up hell and let them know its time to battle.

You bathe and armor up, already fighting the mind running of every list you need to complete today. Your heart races, you start to panic, but you just keep pushing. You stare in the mirror where once a happy woman stood, now its a worn out, broken down, wearing stress on your shoulders and tears in your eyes woman. A woman who looks like she’s aged 10 years. You cover yourself in whatever you can in your make up bag to make yourself look presentable. As you dress, you pick clothing in an order that you think hides everything you are feeling inside.

Exhaustion is all you feel at this point and there’s still a whole day ahead of you.

You wake up kids and everyone is already fighting you. You’re using whatever strength you have in that moment to pull up pants, put on socks, make beds, brush hair, brush teeth, start laundry, make breakfast, take care of dog.

The house is quiet and dark, but is being filled with your constant name yelling to either get up or go eat. You run around the kitchen while you smell the one thing that might just put a smile on your face…your coffee. It sits there to get cold because there’s too much to do. You dump it in a mug, so you can take with you in the car and hope maybe for a minute you can enjoy a second of that pleasure.

You start the military voice of shoes, coats and get in the car all while you are still straightening up, grabbing the kids school stuff, your work stuff and you’ve already broke a sweat. You jump in the car, look at the clock and know how this next 30 minutes will look like. It will look like a crazy woman running in on two wheels trying to drop off kids at school, fight traffic and make it to work on time.

You pull in work, its in these few moments you are either giving yourself a pep talk or you’re wiping your tears and not really wanting to face the day. They say I have depression, shouldn’t that excuse me to lay in my bed all day instead? That heart is still racing. It hasn’t truly stopped since you laid down last night at some point. You flip the visor mirror down, you wipe away your disgust, your heaviness. You take one last deep breath and you open the door.

You start your day with a wall in front of you. Your laughter fills the room. That smile and laugh you have become accustomed to hiding anything going on inside you. You work your ass off. You don’t stop. You go from one client to the next and push through it all. Why? Because they are truly helping you more then they know. Their accomplishments in their workout reminds you that you are exactly where you need to be. They are part of my healing. Their accomplishments send vibes down your spin. You know you got this. You were mean’t for this.

Day ends and its time to start your second shift- home, kids, dinner, clean up, homework, baths, laundry, vacuum, mop, bedtimes. Somewhere in the madness you grab a few bites of cold food. You’re dying to just sit down, but your list keeps you going. Kids are bathing, you steal a minute to wash your face, stare at that woman again in the mirror. That one you don’t know anymore. You sink to the bathroom floor in tears. I can’t do this anymore, you tell yourself. It’s that moment you want to just curl up in a ball and wish it all away. For a few minutes you are battling the voices in your head that tell you You’re not good enough.

Chatter begins to sound closer, so you hurry and dry your tears. You jump up quickly to make it look like you were in there busy doing something. You know your children read your pain. They see your swollen eyes, your short temper, your tears when you turn away. They hear your exhaustion in every demand. They’ve even heard you crying out to God in the night, all while you thought they were safe in their bed asleep. You only pray they know they are so loved despite how you are feeling. That they grow up and know She tried, she never gave up.

The clock ticks. Night is winding down. You tuck each child away in their beds. We say our prayers and in your mind you say an extra prayer for yourself. We hope in that moment of stillness with them that they know mommy is still here, still tender, still so in love with them. You walk back down the stairs and each step is in hardness. Each step reflects every failure, fear, pain you felt that day. You hope your smile overcame that and hid the secrets. You silently say another prayer for God to give you the strength of one more day.

Clock still ticking. Your work is still not complete. Your body aches, your mind races. It’s a cross between running a marathon and being hit by a truck. You know if you stop everything falls apart, so you push yourself a little longer. You post notes on the counter, you make list in your phone and it all still never seems to lessen. It doesn’t matter though, you have 3 innocent hearts counting on you. You are their safety, their protector, their provider and you will do everything you can to never stop pushing the limits as a person, as a mom.

You collapse in your bed and you reflect. You are now your biggest critic. You fill like you failed your job, your life and your children, but in children’s eyes they were fed, dressed, provided a comfortable home and most of all loved. They don’t see your downfalls. They see only their mom. Their warrior who never gave up.

Dear Single Mom, you are doing a good job. You are loved. You are worthy. You are a warrior!

Say a prayer, He hears you. It’s heavy put it down. You’re carrying more then they expect. Close your eyes……There’s just a way that morning carries hope. Sit beside me, lets talk……

Stick and Stones….

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” Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” – Rumi

Words, they can heal or they can kill. They can cut like a knife and once said can forever be etched into the heart of anyone. It’s the ones forever embedded in our souls that replay in our heads for years to come.

I have this terrible downfall. A side of me that I constantly have to stay on top of or in a split second I can vomit out words that I know will slice deep. I developed it in the last couple years and I hate every second of every word spoken. I believe it’s a defense mechanism I have developed against people close to me. A protective mode I go into, so that I can be heard through my hurt.

My trust issues are as real as they come. I view everyone that gets to receive my love as someone that will sometime down the road abandon me. I can pretty much pin point why I feel that way, but to explain it only allows me to use it as an excuse and it deserves no recognition other then it’s my own fault if it comes out. I can take a lot, but as soon it builds and builds my theory of Oh yeah, you hurt me and now I am about to make you feel the same hurt comes pouring out of me. It’s ugly. It gets me no where other then just feeling more hurt because now I am hurting for the person I just let loose on.

We have complete control over our reactions to people, but as soon as you lose the control you’ve just given the power to the problem. I am learning through experience that not everything deserves a reaction from me no matter what I am feeling. I often say Silence is Golden and there couldn’t be any truer statement. It’s hard to do, but necessary in many circumstances.

I can say this with complete confidence that condemnation from a person towards you is only a reflection of what is going on internally in them. How can I say that? Well, because when I have spewed hateful things I know for a fact it reveals what I am feeling inside. What if instead we showed kindness in times we would rather rip out our hearts and place in the hands of the person who broke it? What if we stopped ourselves in our tracks and asked What can I do for you to change this between us instead of You did this, You caused this, You hurt me, you…you…you? We need to sometimes just close our mouths, open our ears and listen. That person may already be hurting just as bad as you in that moment and does not know how to express it to you.

Love on someone today!

Normal? What is that?

“Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly”

– Morticia Addams

I’M NORMAL, YOU’RE NOT NORMAL! Ever heard those words spew out someone’s mouth right in the middle of an argument or your breakdown? Those words that stop you dead in your tracts. In that moment you do not know if you want to run out the door or punch the person in the face.

It’s a moment, once the anger rages over your broken soul you think to yourself, maybe I’m not normal. But what actually is normal? According to the dictionary it’s conforming to a standard; usual, typical or expected. In that context then, if this is a heated conversation and I am breaking down then wouldn’t that be a usual, typical or expected response?

Maybe their normal is calm and collect, but obviously something said to me took me to another level. Maybe you’re the one not normal because in this moment you are obviously using words to trigger a response, so maybe messing with someone’s head is the part that’s not normal, yet this person is allowing you to be made out to be the crazy one.

Today, in therapy I brought up a scenario that recently happened to me and not to get into detail this scenario spiraled way out of control over something petty. It was one of those moments looking back you say to yourself, ” I should have just kept my mouth shut!” I am huge preacher on silence is golden, but my response to this persons actions was to be nice and thank them, but also at the same time continue to stand up for myself and say thanks, but no thanks for your gesture. And then all hell broke loose. Then I had to go into protective mode and big *BLEEP* to get the conversation to end.

It’s so exhausting being made to appear crazy, by the person causing it all. The therapists response was that of which, well what’s normal anyways. What truly is normal? My normal isn’t going to look like your normal and your normal isn’t going to look mine. I refuse to conform to someone else’s “normal” to make everything seem okay. I did this for years and now I am the one in therapy, suffering from aliments of someone else’s wrong doings, writing my life away in journals, being brought to my knees by people that have no clue nor care and feeling like I am losing myself in the process when it’s not necessary.

Makes you want to rip into a person, but we all know where that leads and I am no longer going there. I am punching up, not down to other peoples level. Maybe I am the chaos of the fly to the spider’s normal, but that’s okay because it’s transforming me into the person I was placed on earth to be. It just took 40 years to figure this out. Walk through hell like you own it. Sit with me, lets talk….

Latch the $&%@! Door!

As a child, I can remember being at my grandmother’s house. My dad’s mom. She was one tough cookie. She wasn’t your normal grandmother. You didn’t cuddle with her. You didn’t touch her stuff. You were loved, but it would never be shown or expressed. She lived in a home up by the Lake Erie. We all gathered there at different times of the year. Tons of grandchildren and it would make her a nervous wreck. We would run in and out of her house and we constantly heard her yelling “Shut the Door” or “Latch that DAMN door!”. She was so obsessed with her front screen door not being shut properly. After a long life of 93 years and it was time to have people get up at her funeral and speak of memories and the first thing said was ” Latch that damn door”. We all laughed and cried at that same time because in that moment we knew that memory so well. It was her way of what we learned as grandchildren was her love expression, as weird as it seems. It’s something that only a handful of us truly understand.

As a new year approaches, everyone begins their new years resolutions. Whether it’s to lose weight, workout more, live healthier, stop smoking, become more financially responsible, the list can be endless and we hear it out of the mouths of many. I’ve never been one to ever put in my mind any new years resolution. I applaud the ones that do it and stick to it, but as someone in the fitness world daily I see it as failure.

My line of work booms during this time, but we can typically mark the ones that will be done a month or two into it. Sorry, but its just the truth. When you are a personal trainer you are also a behavioral coach. In the fitness world there are 5 stages to behavioral signs, Pre-contemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action and Maintenance. Pre-contemplation people we will probably never see, but mentally they know they need to change. Contemplation people we will typically get to see for a meeting and we hope our words continue to push them towards finally starting a new life. Preparation people typically are your people already in the gym some, but need guidance on what to do. They have high expectations goals. If we get the opportunity, we love to educate them on placing a big goal, but setting and attacking smaller goals to reach the bigger goal. Our Action people have maintained changed lifestyle behavior for at least 6 months and we are there for barriers and plateaus to get them over humps. Our maintenance people, we’ve probably have had our hands on for a months. We have broke the barrier of health and wellness being something they dread, but they are still an everyday work in progress to keep them going. Sometimes at this point, these are the ones that step away from us as trainers and do well on their own. They have been trained on everything from nutrition to form and we let them out to fly hoping the will and determination has been instilled in them from the inside out to do this on their own.

I mention these 5 stages because they aren’t just applied to the fitness world. They can be applied to anything in our lives we are are trying to change. Its our behavioral nature. As for my stance on new years resolutions, I do not fault anyone that decides on a certain day to start a new journey. However, this year I’m personally choosing to do this differently. Yes, there are goals I need to set and reach. I have fallen short myself this year in many aspects, but starting 2020 I am starting things different. I am focusing on the endings instead of what I need to begin. Ultimately, if you look at any new beginning its because of an ending.

2019 I’m shutting doors, or as my grandma used to reiterate to make sure they are properly shut, ” Latch that damn door!” Its everything that’s kept you rooted where you don’t belong that’s stopping you from keeping the doors to close. It’s holding you back from your purpose. Every door that was being shut by God, that you kept opening or tried to get back in. Every ounce of your being to focus on whats behind that door instead of whats waiting in front of you. Those situations behind those doors that you gave every ounce of your energy to prop open. The ones that slammed shut and you were determined to make sure you kept re-opening it and checking every stone to make sure they were over turned, looked underneath, picked up and held for protection, dusted off, gave one more glance.

So here’s to endings, endings of anything and everything that’s been holding you back from your purpose. Goodbye unhealthy living, goodbye job that doesn’t make you feel fulfilled, goodbye old love that’s stole your peace, goodbye unhappy life that made you not want to wake up to everyday, goodbye bad habits that destroy your livelihood. What ever your goodbye is; close the door on it. Endings serve no purpose, but to push you forward and no longer backwards. Place your memory of 2019 in its final chapter and label it The End. Today you begin a new year, a new decade and a new story to write. A story of gratitude. A story of praise. A story of new opportunities. A story of big, huge beautiful doors that await your foot steps to walk through.

“While you were busy fighting the storm, God was busy preparing the hearts of everyone that are about to be renewed by your words through Him. Your name has been spoken in rooms, your feet have not entered yet….walk through those doors.”

Sit with me, lets talk…..

The thing you are afraid to write, write that….

Everyday we walk around, ready for anything that life might throw at us. We wake up everyday still in our mess and we gracefully place on our mask. You know the mask, the one that hides the depression, the unworthiness, it hides the ugly crap morning you just had trying to get the kids to school, it covers the puffy eyes from the tears that poured down your face while sitting in the car trying to collect yourself before you head into work.

These masks are amazing. They bring out laughter, smiles, hugs and energy all while deep inside we are drowning. It allows us to hide every ugly secret of depression and anxiety, so we do not have to explain it to anyone.

My depression scares me. My anxiety scares me. I am scared that at any point will be the day I open my eyes and I just won’t want to get out of bed. It causes me to go through periods of times when I want to hide, under my covers, call my kids father and turn in my mom card, quit work, give up and quit life. It scares me to think there could easily be a day that it completely takes over and I will have no control.

The anxiety that cripples me. When it hits, it brings a wave a fear as if this might be the end, I may very well being dying right now. The waking from a dead sleep and gasping for air. The feeling of a 1000 lbs on your chest telling you this may be a heart attack after all. Its scary that I am at a point so far gone that my grounding techniques no longer work. The breathing in through the nose and exhaling slowly does nothing but allow me to hear and feel my heart pounding so hard. The listing of 10 things I like or remember as a child overtaken by racing thoughts. The touching, smelling, changing your environment means nothing to me when the nausea is all I can think about.

I’ve collapsed from the overwhelming feelings of a panic attack. I’ve paced my house for hours at a time. I have had to pull over just to get myself under control. I ridden in ambulances because I thought I was having a heart attack. I have been on my hands and knees throwing up uncontrollably. I’ve gone days with out sleep or food. I’ve laid face down on my bedroom floor because it was the only comfort I could find. I’ve done some really crazy things just to try to make it all stop. And despite each low and each high, I was alive another day. Until one day, one day was the day. That one day finally came and the mask came off. A day I wish was never part of my story. Sit with me, lets talk….