Life change

True Colors— my epiphany moment

I had an epiphany moment in this morning thanks to an amazing mentor I crossed paths with in the last few days. I have posted a lot about needing to love yourself and I try my hardest to follow my own advice but let’s face it…

We are our own worst critics.

I have been failing myself at walking the walk. Not only that–I just fail myself daily. And on top of that, there are people out there that I know, love me… that fail me also. I am trying to learn that it’s not only me failing myself.

This post is more of a self reflection post more than anything and is probably my hardest to write… so if you aren’t here to relate or share in these experiences with me please stop reading now.

I have people I go to and share my joy with that laugh at me instead of relish in my excitement. I have people I go to who put me down constantly and belittle me in moments of frustration. I have people I go to when I need to vent and instead of being a listening ear and providing insight, they turn my issues around and make it about them and how “there are always people worse off” or “I’ve been there, you don’t have it that bad…”. These people I go to are all people I love dearly.

Now if you know me, you know I come off as this super confident, happy go lucky, funny, pretty girl, who seems to have her life together. The thing is… while I know how to be that girl. I am not that girl.

I struggle with so many things. I struggle with being happy and staying that way. And nine times out of ten it’s me beating myself up because as soon as I find myself happy about something I immediately think of reasons that turn it into sadness or anger. Or when I find confidence in something, it’s immediately knocked off my shoulders by the voices in my head and there I am again sulking… probably over nothing.

I ran into many people this week who came up to me and said things like “you are someone to miss when you’re not around“, and “who could forget you?!“, and “I would recognize you in a room full of people, your presence radiates confidence“, and “you always know how to make the uniform look good“, along with so many other nice things… and you know what?

I did not believe a single one of them.

…and if I did it was only for a split second and I was back to thinking, “I’m sure I was only missed until I was replaced“, and “you’d be surprised how forgotten I feel“, and “that confidence is a facade, it’s how I mask being nervous” and “but have you seen how that person makes the uniform look?!“.

I do not know how to turn it off. So for those of you still reading and calling bullshit, this is why I told you to stop reading earlier.

Until I was able to talk to someone I look up to and we were able to talk about work, life, where we are at in our lives, “why’s” and “why not’s”, career path choices.

People like this are people I need more of. Then I reflected back and thought of the people I go to when I share my personal achievements and aside from my husband, most of these people are ones who hardly know me and I looked back at my messages and texts and I have found that they are the people I go to most when I want to share things because they seem to be the ones I don’t get judgment, humiliation, or belittlement from. I can always expect a “that’s awesome!“, or “good for you!!“, give me a reality check, or will always talk me back into doing something I’m already talking myself out of “do what makes you happy” they say…

The people I go to the most are people who hardly know me.

…they make me feel more like me. And maybe I’m wrong, they probably know me more than some of the closest people in my life because they let me truly be myself. And these people I almost never see, if at all.

I was watching Trolls with my youngest this morning and the scene where Princess Poppy–the ultimate optimist– has been defeated and Branch–the ultimate pessimist– who was someone she hardly knew anything about before their adventure to see the Bergens, sees her defeat and starts singing “True Colors” to her and brings her back to being herself. I started crying uncontrollably, immediately.

This is what has basically happened to me.

Be kind to people. Everyone. From every walk of life. Their battles may not be obvious. Just be kind, they may be like me.

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Damaged goods- I miss the Me that only knew the good

Do you remember what you were like before you were ever damaged? Before life hit us with bricks named reality?

I miss the me that came before reality. When I actually believed that I am enough. I am not just damaged goods.

There are days I long for my youth. My innocence. When all I knew was that I was taken care of and I didn’t have any cares of what else this world had to offer except that I was going to be a singer and make lots of money! And be super rich!

I was going to grow up, get married, have kids, get rich and take care of everyone I love.

…Until I wasn’t. And am still not.

I miss the me before my first love heartbreak. That loved the guy I tried to love and love again, just to be hurt, hurt again, and then ultimately broken. When I knew how to fully trust a person without insinuating allegations over minuscule things. Who, despite all the crappy relationships I fell into, still trusted someone enough to marry them and start a family, that ultimately led to more trust issues and belittlement– and ended.

I miss the me who didn’t worry about what to wear or how much I should or shouldn’t weigh. When black and white striped shorts totally went well with a pink and purple polka dotted shirt and kids wouldn’t make fun of me for it. When I didn’t compare my own unique beauty to those around me– and then feel less beautiful because of it.

I miss the me before I had kids. Not in the sense that I have lost myself, more so in the sense that I worry so much more--about bad people, bullies, rapists, murderers, other drivers on the road and what other people are capable of doing to them if I even take my eyes off of them for one second. I worry about myself and beating myself up about more than my looks, but now about my parenting skills (or lack thereof). Am I doing this right? Are my kids happy? Should I do this or that? Can they see that I have no idea what I’m really doing and that I’m just winging it, most days, just to get through the day? Or that I am nowhere near as neat and organized as my mother was? And probably never will be.

I miss not having to worry about the bad in this world.

Because although I didn’t get it right the first time, I have found a love that mirrors mine. Who–even though, I have trust issues, anxiety and many insecurities–still loves me for me. Someone who would move mountains and help me carry my baggage and burdens. I have someone who sees the good in me and knows that I am enough.

…Even though lately all I see is bad.

I miss the me that only knew the good.

The good in this world.

The good in other people.

The good in me.

Life change

Making lemonade: A recipe for life. 4 steps on how to take the NEXT step!

I’m making lemonade.

Because you know why? My good friend Life has thrown some lemons my way… aaand I’m feeling cliché, so there’s that.

No. This isn’t an actual lemonade recipe. Rather a recipe for how to find the good in the bad.

I know I’m not the only one out there who feels this way. Some unexpected hurdles have been placed in my way but since I decided on making lemonade versus throwing them back at Life and asking for chocolate instead, I will be making the best of it. Here goes. Hope this helps someone.

Planning what to do next

Hurdles are inserted in life as a means to make your path from point A to point B a little more difficult. When you approach one, immediately your brain processes how to get past it. There are a few options: over, under, or around. And there isn’t a right or wrong way. Just get past the darn thing and move along! This part was easy for me. I already had all these ideas “made up” in my head that only other people do and I’ll never get to but really wanted to! So you know what?

I’m doing it. With help, that is!

Whatever it is you think you cant do. I assure you, you can. Which leads me to this…

Find what motivates you

Whether it’s a person or people, a movie, a quote! For me, it’s the means to still be able to provide for my family in a way that I am happy about doing. My husband has assured me I can do this with obvious adjustments in our spending habits.

I also picked up the book “Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis. I’ve heard amazing things about it. The tag line flat out says

Stop believing the lies about who you are so you can become who you were meant to be

It’s like it was written just for me!

Be realistic!

I know I basically just said shoot for the stars…

but I didn’t say you’ll land on the moon. Not right away at least. (And if you do! Good for you! But if you’re like me– I have terrible aim, and my depth perception is whack so I’ll probably shoot for the stars, and maybe clip a cloud and then come back down from my high and try again soon.)

In fact, there will be all these things in your head about how awesome your ideas are and how exciting this new adventure will be! And they are! But don’t think you’ll: become a millionaire overnight, go viral in a day, have everyone you love support you. You’ll probably lose money figuring out what works best, or you may not be targeting the right audience to go viral, and then you’ll have people who you swear will support your ideas and then come to find out… they don’t.

“Failing” is okay

Just make sure you keep “failing” until you make it! I know for me personally there will be a lot of trial and error but that is something I am expecting so that I am not surprised when it happens. You may not fail! (lucky!) but just in case you do… it’s totally normal. I fail at many normal everyday things all the time. I’m formally accepting it as a personality trait at this point. *wink*

So look, I’m no professional. But I get it. I understand that there are things you want to do that you think you can’t. It won’t always be easy. Just take the leap! Give a shot. Because you’ll never know if the what if’s will ever be the I can’s.

The hurdles will always be there. Get over, under, or around them. You’re a grown ass woman/man, you can do what you want!

Please note: There is a possibility that this recipe may turn out sour for some people. Even for me. You can always leave it as it is, dump it and start over, dump it and go back to life without lemonade, or add sugar! Whatever you do. Be happy with yourself.

Life change

I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way

My brain is like a train that is never on track. Like the person who works the railroad switch to engage the track to veer one way instead of the other decided to skip work and steer me in the wrong direction– everyday.

Like there’s a fork in the track (think of a real fork–a realistic one, one with 4 or 5 prongs–not like a fork in a road) and each car of the train decides to split apart and take its own path, yet the caboose remains at the fork unsure of which car to follow. All that, equals my brain.

Do I want to work full time? Do I want to be a stay at home mom? Do I like this job? Should I go back to serving? Work from home? Should I change my outfit for the 100th time? Hair up or down? It’s cold at work, jeans and a tank top or shorts and a hoodie? Am I raising my kids right? Or should I follow the books more? This never changes in my head. All I know is that there are two things I’m certain of:

  1. Once I make up my mind, it’s made up. (It’s the process of making it up part that gets me)
  2. I want to see more of my kids.
  • That’s it. My husband always refers to that scene in The Notebook where they’re arguing and he’s asking her what she wants and she argues back that it’s not that simple. Yeah, I’m Allie. In all things.
  • I get along pretty well with everyone in my life and generally with the people I surround myself with. The only person I can’t seem to agree with anything on is myself.

    I need to learn how to just do something if I want to do it. Yeah, I mean weigh out the pros and cons first, and make sure the cons don’t outweigh the pros and not vice versa. But not if the cons are mainly people who don’t support me, or people who tell me not to do something because it’s an unrealistic idea. Those people can go you-know-what themselves. And I need to remember to not be one of those people, myself.

    I need to do something that I want for a change. Not what I think other people will applaud me for doing, because I know for a fact that there are more people who wish you well to your face but are sticking around for “support” just to see if you fail.

    I wish so badly that people weren’t so ugly towards other people. It’s really not that hard to be kind.

    But there I go… being a hypocrite (again) because my biggest enemies are the voices in my head telling me that my dreams are unrealistic, even though I know how hard I would push myself if I would just follow-through with them. This is my last step.

    I am slowly breaking down that wall. I’m climbing up the shattered pieces that have come down and I’m using them as stepping stones to make my way up and over it.

    This brick represents all the “You-can’t-do-it’s“. Step.

    This brick represents the “Its-not-possibles“. Step again.

    This brick represents all the doubts in my mind that I couldn’t or shouldn’t ask for help. Another step.

    This brick represents the false idea that no one will support me. And another step.

    On that last brick of false ideas I stand and look over the wall. I can see the horizon of possibilities that looks back at me. And just like that horizon– they’re endless.

    I’m so close to being over the wall. So I look up at the brick that I know will fall, if only I can just shake the nerves, block out the voices, and pray to God for the courage.

    Just one more brick. Just one more step. Just one more “You can do it.”

    And I’m there.

    Mom's Corner

    One Size does NOT fit ALL

    If you have kids, you know what I’m talking about. Mom Bods.

    I need to find humor in it some days to make myself feel comfortable in it. Here’s a quick true story.

    ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° °
    A Day at the Pool

    Me showing off my stretchmark-clad body: “Lets get in the water.”
    Friend who feels overweight: “No.”
    Me: “Why not?”
    Friend: “I feel like a hippo”
    Me: “Well I look like a Zebra. Let’s just go to the watering hole together!”

    And we laughed about it, and still didn’t go in the water for another half hour. The end.
    ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° °

    So lets get down to what makes a mom-bod.

    The stretch marks (in places you never knew you could get them!), the loose skin (mine will probably only go away with a tummy tuck- that I’ll pay for when I win the lottery), the cellulite, the arm flab, the all around weight gain, the transformation of your hoo-hah for the next few weeks post-partum, the c-section scars, the boobs (or lack-thereof). Unless you’re one of those freaks of nature, whose bodies just bounce right back to being normal without a trace of a baby being in there- in which case I’m going to say is not normal. (I have quite a few of these friends. I wish I could hate them).

    I mean, my body shrank back down to size, but my stretch marks got stretch marks!  My calves got stretch marks. And boooooyyyy did my thighs get stretch marks. My oldest did some work on this mom bod.

    Orrrrrr… maybe it was all the midnight Whoppers, and early morning root beers on the way to work. Or the fact that I took “eating for two” and ran with it! Either way!

    It took me a long time to embrace the changes to my body. Even with working out and managing to get visible abs, the loose skin was still a problem. I lubed up my belly my whole pregnancy to try and prevent stretch marks, but didn’t know my thighs were my problem! After I had her, I swore off shorts for the rest of my life because of how purple they were. Yeah. That lasted all of 2 seconds since the house I lived in had no A/C. I tried to find creams to fade them faster, hoping they’d disappear. That didn’t work for me either. And these boobs? They were great when breastfeeding (aside from the pain of clogged ducts and the struggle for supply), but when I gave up on it… they gave up on me.

    So I gave up, too. I mean.. I still wear bikinis, not to flaunt my stretch marks, but because I still feel beautiful. I just know that no matter what look like, mom-bod or not, that there are so many other people out there who just don’t give a crap about my body. Even girls with “perfect” bodies, hate something about the way they look. I know the way I beat myself up about my looks and my body, almost every single other woman out there is doing the same, too.

    I may complain about this or that or mentally pray that my husband still thinks the same of me, but we met when my oldest was two. So you can imagine the horror I felt at the thought of being intimate for the first time. We’ve been together 5 and a half years, and I still hide my body from him. I know, if he didn’t care then, that he doesn’t care now, and that I shouldn’t either.

    I wouldn’t trade my mom-bod for my pre-pregnancy bods because I have learned to love my appearance more than I had before (and I thought I was hot sh*t, before). I mean so in a more humble way. I respect my body and the capabilities it has to f30707931_1913901138642271_4298308806326091776_norm life within it. If I had my pre-pregnancy bod, I would not have my two beautiful children.

    My version of what I expect my body to look like differs from what you expect your body to look like. All mom-bods are accepted forms of beautiful. We just have to learn to love our new bodies in a different light- and that may take a while. That is okay!

    “One Size” does not fit all, when it comes to our bodies.

    cheers!
    ashley

    P.S.- I still love all my freak of nature friends, even if you don’t have to deal with most of these issues.

    #coffeemom

    Mom's Corner

    “I’m [not] a bad mom.”

    Is this something you think to yourself? I do. Daily.

    I’m a bad mom.

    Today I gave my toddler snacks for breakfast until it was time for breakfast, but luckily for me she was still hungry. Today, I let my oldest have some of my coffee. Last week I yelled at my oldest for forgetting her chores for the umpteenth time.

    I’m a bad mom.

    Many mornings I just want to lay in bed until the last possible second and then I rush my oldest off to the school bus. “Hurry, the bus is coming”. “Hurry and eat your food, you only have [xxxx amount of] minutes”.

    I’m a bad mom.

    A few days ago I wouldn’t let my toddler play with the floor vent she picked up from its hole in the ground. Then proceeded to drop an f bomb within sounds’ reach of her innocent ears, as she slammed it on my toes in her fit of rage. [Not at her, just at the fact that it hurt like a mother].

    I’m a bad mom.

    Some nights when I’m exhausted from working 12 days in a row, when it comes to bedtime stories and back scratches, I skip pages, and fib about how long five minutes is. Then lay my youngest down half an hour early so I can save a little bit of what’s left of my sanity, hoping she puts herself to sleep sooner rather than later.

    I’m a bad mom.

    Because sometimes Nickelodeon is my babysitter… what makes me even worse is that sometime’s it Spongebob & Patrick.  

    But the thing is… if I were really a bad mom– I wouldn’t care. I wouldn’t feel an overwhelming sense of guilt for making my kids sad for telling them “No”. And neither would you.

    I’ve come to the point where I’ve realized, frozen chicken nuggets, french fries, cereal, or cheese slices for dinner aren’t going to kill my kids. That turning on the TV to keep them preoccupied so I can get things done around the house (or even just so I can sit by myself for even just a few minutes), won’t brainwash them for the rest of their lives. That disciplining them when necessary isn’t going to traumatize them, but mold them into [hopefully] respectful teenagers/adults one day. Even if that means I feel guilty or get too hard on myself for it because their momentary heartbreak, really breaks mine more.

    I feel like I can always do better or I should have done this or that. So I asked my oldest the other day, after getting frustrated for asking her to take her things down to her room for the millionth time (that I ended up doing because she “forgot”), “Are you happy?” She said “Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?”. The guilt that was weighing on my shoulders lifted from hearing that simple answer. I need to learn to let go of the guilt, not hold onto it and move on. My kids are happy, they are fed, they are well taken care of, and most of all they are loved.

    I need to stop telling myself I’m a bad mom. So do you.

    I’m not a bad mom. I am a good mom. I can always better myself, but I’m not a bad mom. Neither are you.

     

    cheers to us and this whole parenting thing!