It’s been a little while since I really felt inspired to write. I’ve been going through a really intense internal transformation process. And as many of you may already recognize, all external transformations in our lives have to be preceded by an internal transformation…which brings me to some information I wanted to share.

This morning I saw a post on Facebook that was linked to an article that suggested that sometimes what is presenting as depression is actually the soul being tired (You can check out that post here.) After having experienced that first hand several years ago, I felt compelled to not only share the post on my own own Facebook, but also to offer some information in regards to my own experience with that. I’m at a point in my life where I am unapologetically aligned with my soul. I was never a very spiritual person before. I had a dream dictionary when I was a teenager. I owned a few mood rings in my lifetime. At one point I got very interested in astrology. That was kind of the extent of it. The fact that what I thought was depression could even be soul related never crossed my mind…that is until I was able to reconnect with my soul. And then at that point, it was like a reunion with a long lost friend. Calling it a tired soul really feels minimized. Looking back it was more like an active volcano that was lying dormant for many years.

So here’s a little background…

4 years ago I was really unhappy. I was tired all the time. I felt like I was living in a fog. I had no motivation to do anything. I felt like I was dragging myself around every day and I was literally just doing the bare minimum to take care of my children and get through each day. It was pure Hell on Earth. I remember feeling so weighted down and even simple tasks that I once did effortlessly, required so much effort. There was a multitude of issues I was facing, but the biggest one was the fact that I was in a really toxic relationship. I felt really stuck. We had kids together. I didn’t have any money saved and was living paycheck to paycheck. Every ounce of my independence had been stripped from me during the course of the relationship. I didn’t even know who I was anymore. Which only created a greater sense of shame and discomfort.

We had been evicted from our previous apartment and he insisted that he would do everything in his power to ensure this was a temporary living situation living in this disgusting slum of an apartment. When the one year mark passed living in that hell hole, it started to feel a little more permanent. I just had this moment in my mind where I was just done. Done with living on empty promises and hope. I was working so hard to have an extremely low quality of life. There was just this moment in my mind where I was absolutely certain that I was done with living life under those circumstances. It was like a switch had been flipped. I had checked out of the relationship long before, but I just didn’t know how I was actually going to physically get out. Fear had kept me in the situation for a long time. Eventually my discomfort became greater than my fear…and the fear of staying in that situation became greater than getting out of it. At that point, I planned to leave and I let go of any expectation of a potential outcome because anything seemed better than that whole mess of a life.

My plan was to just stick it out until I got my income tax return, which I would use to secure an apartment. However, in a strange twist of events (thank you universe!) another plan unfolded much faster. My work performance had totally suffered and nobody knew how miserable the situation was at home. I put on such a front to everyone. I worked from home on a computer. I could invent all the happiness I wanted and nobody would know otherwise. It’s amazing this world we have created that revolves around false happiness. All vying for this picture perfect social media life. It’s all smoke and mirrors and living from a place of such inauthenticity totally goes against what our soul desires…truth, integrity, realness! We all appreciate realness and sometimes real is just admitting that things are not as they appear.

Eventually I couldn’t hold it together anymore and my motivation for things that I had once really enjoyed was no longer a thing. I was confronted with being demoted from one of the only things I had left that made me feel like I had any value as a person…my job. The thought of losing that was enough to open the floodgates and force me to be honest about how miserable I really was. I opened up to my bosses and finally just let the truth be known. They were kind enough to offer financial assistance that would allow me to obtain an apartment much faster. So in hindsight, I recognize that at times when it can feel like everything is falling apart, it might just be falling together to take us in a new direction.

So for everyone who keeps asking me, what did you DO? There were 5 very crucial steps to get the ball rolling.

  1. Admitting unhappiness to self.
  2. Identifying the cause of the unhappiness.
  3. Making a firm decision to change.
  4. Letting go of any attachment to a final outcome.
  5. Allow for things to unfold naturally and do not resist.

Some of you may be wondering…could it be that easy? And the answer is YES it can be that easy. The mind is a funny thing. It can really work against us until we learn how to make it work for us. So I hope that you can find this information helpful. Hopefully some of it will resonate for some of you who may be going through a difficult time. We all deserve to live a fantastic, happy life. Most of the time, the only thing getting in the way of that is ourself … which can be really hard to admit. The more truth we are willing to own, the easier it becomes to reclaim our soul <3

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Mother’s Day is this weekend. Last night at 9 pm I was startled to hear a little knock on the door. I reluctantly turned the handle to discover my 2 youngest children at the door beaming with excitement. They spend the weekends with their father, who happens to be a full blown Narcissist. Each of my girls gripped the handle of a coffee mug that contained a flowering cactus in one hand and a chocolate bar in the other. My initial thought was, “Oh God…not more coffee mugs!” As a self-proclaimed Rae Dunn addict, my coffee cup collection runneth over. I have a mug for every occasion, every mood, and everything in between. The looks on my girls’ angelic little faces however, prevented me from discouraging their gifts in any way. These little sweethearts are 5 and 7 years old. If anyone were to ask them what their mom loves, I’d be willing to bet they would immediately and proudly tell them how much I love coffee mugs and chocolate. And they would be absolutely right. It would be devastating to discourage their thoughtfulness. I thanked them for the gifts and they were overjoyed with my reaction. On a side note, I have to reluctantly acknowledge how grateful I am for my shitty, narcissistic ex for putting down his sword and being the bigger person this Mother’s Day.

My little girls’ father and I do not get along. Co-parenting has been a challenge to say the least. Finding the right formula for a parenting schedule that allows the children to thrive has been an uphill battle for sure. Until recently, I had a LOT of resentment towards him and the abuse I withstood throughout our relationship. It’s taken years for me to recover from the deep trauma that was inflicted during the course of our 6 years together. A lot of the healing has been the direct result of understanding why I would be attracted to such a hurtful, destructive person. When I was told he was a Narcissist by our marriage and family therapist, I had never even heard that term before. The concept was completely foreign to me (or so I thought.) Yesterday, I had a groundbreaking epiphany. I finally realized what had made me so susceptible to the abuse. I was raised by a Narcissistic Mother. I had unknowingly been conditioned by mental and emotional abuse my entire life. A people pleaser to the core, I was taught that love was conditional. My childhood was not void of love, however, the love was very conditional. I was raised by damaged people, who were raised by damaged people. They taught me what they had learned: Do what you are told and be loved. Defy it, and love would be withheld. Doing good equated to being good and doing something perceived as wrong equated to being bad. In order to avoid being and feeling bad, I strived to be as perfect in my parents eyes as I could be (which is a whole other blog post in itself!)

In learning to love myself unconditionally, I have had to be forgiving of my mistakes. I have had to embrace the things I love about myself and stop condemning myself for things I dislike about myself. In order to be whole, we all need to recognize that we are human and mistakes are inevitable. Many valuable life lessons are learned through mistakes. Mistakes are not failures. Mistakes are an opportunity for growth. We only fail if we give up trying and stop growing. I’ve also learned that practicing unconditional love towards others is what will break the cycle. We have to be the example for our children. This includes loving people when we don’t feel like they deserve it. Love is not a reward and withholding love is not a punishment. REAL love is truly unconditional. This does not mean that we agree with someone’s behavior nor does it mean that we have to be tolerant of it. It just means we understand love in all it’s simplicity and depth.

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So with all that being said, as someone who is trying to break the cycle of dysfunctional parenting, I encourage all of you to evaluate your own relationships and reflect on the perception of love that you are instilling in your children. On this Mother’s Day, I encourage all of you that share a child or children with someone who has hurt you or wronged you in some way, be mindful of how important it is for your children to see a display of unconditional love towards their mother. Don’t fall into that trap of modeling conditional love to your children. Buy the gift, make the card…it doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Recognize that the gift is not for the other parent, it’s for your child. It’s for their understanding of what true, unconditional love is.

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Gonna channel my inner Carrie Bradshaw for this one. My life certainly is not even remotely as glamorous as Sex and The City and let’s be real… Sex and The Suburbs doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. I’m 37 years old and the perpetually single girl. Actually I’ve been the perpetually single mom most of my adult life. Maybe that makes me a little bit of a Miranda as well (with a few shades of Samantha in between!) I’ve got 3 kids spanning nearly two decades of my life (see I told you I was little Samantha!) and I just can’t seem to get it right. I’ve been engaged a few times but can never seem to make it down the aisle to the finish line. I’m really good however at making it to the “I’m Finished” line.

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I’ve certainly had my fair share of failed relationships over the years. I just spent the last 5 minutes wracking my brain as to which one of Carrie’s failed relationships could be likened to my most recent fiasco. It suddenly dawned on me that he wasn’t one of Carrie’s lovers. He was one of Samantha’s. He was a Richard… he was a cheater. And it totally caught me by surprise. It caught everyone by surprise actually considering we just got engaged a few months ago. I think it may have even caught him by surprise. It was really dumb. I never did anything to deserve that. Not that anyone deserves to be cheated on, but I had been an exceptionally good girlfriend throughout the entire relationship. But I think the biggest surprise of all came to him when I opted out of the relationship immediately. I told him to pack his stuff and get out with a whole bunch of colorful expletives added in for emphasis.

It would have been easy to stay. Our life could have gone on uninterrupted. He was completely embedded in my life and the lives of my 3 daughters. I frequently relied on him for childcare at night. I still can’t even figure out how he had the time to invest in an affair quite honestly! I guess that’s just a testament as to how easy it is to hide an entire relationship from someone you live with. Anyhow, the thought of trying to work things out was not an option for me. I carefully and thoughtfully played it out in my head to the end. I just knew that while I could probably move forward past the infidelity with him in something that resembles a life, I would never get over it. The trust had been broken. Nothing would ever be the same for me. And if I couldn’t be the same, then I also knew it wouldn’t be the same for him. That’s not the type of person or girlfriend I would want to be in a relationship. I imagined what it would be like to live in a constant state of doubt and anxiety. Always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Everything would be questioned forever.

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I have had to work so hard to become the woman I am. I’d been leveled to the ground in a previous relationship in every way you could possibly imagine. I spent the last year of that relationship rebuilding myself financially just so I could leave. That’s a special kind of Hell right there. Having to live with someone you hate with every ounce of your being is a true test of strength. That’s basically relationship purgatory. It was a LONG year to say the least.

Once I left I spent the next year rebuilding my self esteem since I was basically an empty shell of a human being. A mombie if you will. I had spent so much time just taking care of my kids’ basic needs even though I was completely depressed and totally isolated. I also had to rebuild every.single.relationship. with friends and family. You would be amazed at what happens when your friends and family think your spouse is a giant piece of human garbage. I’m not saying I disagree with the popular opinion, I’m just saying…friends? What friends? Family is a little different…but not much. Not to mention bringing sexy back after having gained 40 lbs from eating my feelings for 2 years. So trust me, I wasn’t gonna take that girl, or woman I should say, even remotely for granted. She’s a badass and she’s amazing. And I know without a doubt, she deserves someone equally as amazing.

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2 days after the breakup with my “Richard” or perhaps a more fitting name would be “Dick”, I reconnected with an old flame. He was basically my Jack Berger…except he didn’t even bother to leave me a post it note when he left. He just ghosted me out of nowhere in the middle of what was still the best relationship I’ve ever had. He was sweet, funny, sarcastic, witty, super sexy and also, SUPER DAMAGED. It was soul shattering when he abandoned me. It had been 12 years since I had seen or talked to him. And as it turns out, everything I had assumed about why he ghosted me over a decade ago, was completely WRONG. The reasoning was simple…. he fell too hard, too fast and he got scared, so he ran away. As someone who just LOVES to be right, being wrong has never felt so good. I had really made peace with the end of the relationship though many years ago. When I found out he had moved on with someone else, I simply thought that I loved him so much that I just wanted him to be happy…even if it wasn’t with me. And I truly meant that as terribly cliche as it sounds. It was a revelation to learn that everything I felt during our relationship was in fact mutual. And I couldn’t have heard that at a better time in my life than after this last breakup.

I wish I could “Jack Berger” and I both rode off into the sunset separately and lived these beautifully fulfilling wonderful lives. Sadly, that was not the case. We have both suffered tremendously separately. The circumstances were very different, however many of the lessons have been the same. We have both struggled and fought to recover and rebuild. I was very fortunate that my life was not heavily affected when my recent relationship ended. “Richard aka Dick” had moved into my apartment. I had created a pretty stable life and home prior to us dating, so he was able to walk away as easily as he was able to walk in without having a significant negative impact. I’m thankful we didn’t move forward in buying a house and getting married like we had planned when I found out he was a big lying cheater. That’s the thing about divine timing (as mentioned in my previous post here)…it may not always be convenient, but it’s always completely perfect.

In case you may be wondering ” Berger” is actually still in the middle of rebuilding himself and his life after also suffering a pretty traumatic breakup. It’s really bittersweet. I don’t think we could have reconnected at a better or worse time in our lives. We are both on our own paths to self love. I’m actually a little further ahead than he is. And by a little further ahead I mean a lot. Like a REAL LOT. A shit ton actually. I’ve come to realize that it really is impossible to TRULY love someone else if we don’t truly love ourselves first. The two actually correspond in my experience. We can only love someone else as much as we love ourselves. It may closely resemble true love, but it’s going to be more of a conditioned idea of what love is versus the ultimate, true unconditional love we all deeply desire. The conditioning will be based on the love blueprint that was instilled in us by our parents and life events. Sounds heavy right? Well it can be if you grew up in an even remotely dysfunctional home. Let’s face it. Most of us were not raised by fully functioning, emotionally attuned and mentally balanced parents. So basically it’s a nice way of saying that we are all effed up on some level. Recognizing and undoing the effed upness (I just made that up, can you tell?) is part of what the journey to self love is. It’s not all of it, but it’s a big part of it.

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So today was kind of a big day for me. I got hit really hard right in the heart chakra. I came to this realization that we put so much pressure on ourselves to establish relationships with other people, especially romantic ones. We’re all running around trying to fine “THE ONE.” We often overlook the importance of establishing a healthy, happy relationship with ourselves first. So right now that’s what I’m doing…unapologetically living my best life for nobody but me. I’ve spent my whole life focusing on everyone else, trying to make everyone else happy (which is impossible by the way!) Now is my time. I spent years watching Sex and the City and taking pointers from Carrie Bradshaw. Now I’m starting to think Carrie Bradshaw could take a few pointers from me.

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resurrection [rez-uhrek-shuh n]

noun

  • the act of rising from the dead.
  • ( initial capital letter ) the rising of Christ after His death and burial.
  • ( initial capital letter ) the rising of the dead on Judgment Day.
  • the state of those risen from the dead.
  • a rising again, as from decay, disuse, etc.; revival.
  • Christian Science . a rising above mortality through the understanding of spiritual life as demonstrated by Jesus Christ.
Credit: Dictionary.com

 

Divine timing is anything but convenient. It’s roughly 5 am on Easter Sunday and I’ve been gently guided to write this post. By gently guided I mean the same way I gently guide my 7 year old daughter to find her shoes when we are running ten minutes late for school and despite repeated reminders to put them near the door to find them easily when needed, she has no idea where she took them off less than 24 hours prior in a 3 bedroom apartment. It generally starts off as a simple directive that becomes increasingly loud and frantic with each passing minute. I tried to quiet my mind and go back to sleep but I quickly realized that wasn’t going to be an option. It wasn’t going to be an option despite the fact that I went to bed less than 4 hours earlier and I have to be up and at ’em by 8 am for work. Not just any work I might add, overseeing a busy Easter Brunch shift at a long established, busy Italian restaurant.  While other moms are snapping pictures of their adorable little humans in their Easter Sunday Best today carrying baskets of colorful plastic eggs and biting the ears off their giant chocolate bunnies, I have the privilege of managing miserable men and women who aren’t living up to their full potential and apologizing to our guests for mistakes I didn’t make… all day long. It’s gonna be awesome. But like I said, divine timing is anything but convenient. 

A month ago I could tell you that never in my wildest dreams could I have ever imagined myself sitting here spewing my take on this particular subject…let alone the irony of doing it today of all days. It’s Easter Sunday and if you know a thing or two about Jesus, you know that today is the day that Jesus rose from the dead. I’ve never been very religious. My background is kind of a mishmosh of religious experience. I was baptized in the Catholic church as a baby in an effort to “shut up my father’s family”, according to my mother. My parents then raised my sister and I in a Baptist church. We had a steady stream of Christian upbringing until I was about 10 years old. Other obligations started to to take precedence and we eventually just stopped going altogether. 

I had a second wave of religion in my late twenties in the form of a relationship with a bible thumping narcissist. You can only imagine how much fun that was for me! Manipulation gets taken to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL when backed by religion beliefs and proverbial bullshit. If I wasn’t already questioning my own beliefs in God before I met him, that relationship really helped turn me off almost completely. Needless to say, I may be a lot of things, but religious is not one of them. I was never concrete in my belief in the GOD that I was taught to believe. I did however always believe in a higher power. I’ve never been in any sort of recovery program (unless you count my recent spiritual awakening as being a recovery program from life itself LOL!)  This broad terminology “higher power” just tends to be the most fitting description for my belief set. Most of my beliefs are more spatial in nature than religious. They always have been. The concepts are vague in how I would outwardly describe them and deep in how I feel about them. These beliefs bring ALL the feels. 

So what exactly does my inner voice have to say about resurrection you may be wondering? I don’t really know…but I guess we are all about to find out! For the last month and a half I’ve been allowing this inner voice to guide my life. The best I can describe it is that I have two voices in my head. They’ve always been there for as long as I can remember. The familiar one I had gotten to know quite well. It was the voice of my ego. We’d been in a long term relationship for most of my life. It was pretty serious. The other voice… my inner voice… my true self. She’s a lot different. I never really got to know her as well as I did my ego until recently. She used to be louder when I was a kid but over time and through life experience, she got a lot quieter. Sometimes she was barely audible. I had to learn to recognize her voice again and allow her speak up and be heard. It wasn’t easy at first but with practice I started to be able to tell the difference pretty easily. 

I recently flicked my pesky little ego in the forehead and basically told it to shut up. For good. This is a powerful and highly effective move by the way that I learned from my mother when I was a kid. She used it to keep my sister and I in check when we were being really annoying. On a side note, she used it A LOT because let’s face it…children can be REALLY annoying! As a mom of 3, a former child myself, and a human being who works with the public…I think I’m fully qualified to make this statement. Also, spanking your kids in public (and even private these days) is totally frowned upon by society and local child protective services. Bottom line is, the forehead flick works. So the next time you hear that relentless little voice in your head telling you that you can’t or you shouldn’t do something that on a deeper level you feel compelled to do or say to benefit your life in a positive way… just imagine giving that little sucker a forehead flick. You will be pleasantly surprised at the results.

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So you may be wondering what happens when I allow my inner voice to guide the ship. I don’t wanna brag…but the results have been ahhh-mazing. I’ve never been happier. And for the record…being happy doesn’t mean being happy for every second of every day. That’s just completely unrealistic. Life happens. Life happens all day, everyday. There are a lot of things that are beyond our control… but there really is a lot of truth and wisdom in the Serenity Prayer. I know you all know the serenity prayer (and in case you live under a rock or need a little refresher, I’ve included an image of it to the right.) It know it sounds so cliche, but it’s so true. The other thing to keep in mind is that other totally cliche little piece of wisdom, “Happiness is a journey, not a destination.”  It takes hard work. It takes practice. It takes a lot of reflection and it takes brutal honesty. It also takes time. It’s not going to be easy by any means, but it will be totally worth it. 

So what does all this have to do with resurrection? The short answer? EVERYTHING. I’ve come to realize during this spiritual awakening that it was designed to bring me back to life. Not the life I had created around the beliefs of my ego, but the life I was born to live. I thought I was living before. Let me paint you a little picture of what I thought living was. On New Year’s Day of this past year I got engaged to someone who I thought was everything I needed in a life partner. We were together for over a year. The relationship was relatively effortless. He was embedded in every aspect of my life and my children’s lives. We moved from one logical stage to the next. Dating, moving in together, engaged… planning a wedding (well quite honestly, he was planning the wedding. I felt uninspired by the idea of marriage. I thought I was missing the “bride gene” but maybe I was just missing the feelings that one should have when considering a marriage.) Ultimately we were planning our life together. The universe however had other plans. 

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While the relationship made sense for all practical, financial and on some level emotional reasons, looking back I can tell you that those are TERRIBLE reasons to be in a relationship. It was safe. Or so I thought. I had no idea a little over a month after the proposal my life was going to unravel. I didn’t even realize how much of my life was hinging on this relationship. One fateful Facebook message was all it took to pull the string of the metaphorical sweater and life as I knew it started to unravel. Everything felt like it was falling apart overnight. And it was. I was being stripped down to soul level. I just didn’t know it at the time. Ever since that initial cataclysmic event, I’ve been purging everything in my life that was and is not serving me in a way that allows me to live my best life and ultimately fulfill my purpose. The dust still hasn’t completely settled, but it seems like it’s finally starting to level off. I could be wrong so don’t quote me on that. I don’t know how I’m supposed to know when I’m fully stripped down but I’m guessing when I get there, I will just know. Who knows what will happen from one minute to the next. For now I am learning to live in the moment. In the Now.  I feel like a brand new person. I’ve come to realize that this spiritual journey is an ongoing resurrection of self. The old me is dead. Her memory lives on inside me, but I honestly don’t even miss her. Not even a little bit. She wasn’t living her life to the fullest. She was full of shame and regret for all the mistakes she had made. She was full of fear for what the future might hold for her. Afraid to truly be herself. Life was always a struggle. I’m just not that girl anymore. I’m awake, I’m alive and I couldn’t be happier about that. 

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Welcome to my first official blog post! This is a very exciting time for me and I am very grateful for you to be here! I was sitting here wondering what my first post would be about. I said a little prayer for some guidance and BOOM! Ask and you shall receive, right? So I was on Facebook and I came face to face with these beautiful and incredibly powerful images created by HMP Couture Imagery. They are absolutely stunning. They are intense yet still delicate… angelic and still full of strength! The photos were created by Alabama based photographer, Heather Mitchell. She has captured something truly special.

It’s obvious the photos speak for themselves. The duality is perfection. For those of you that don’t know me, I have 3 daughters. As the chief of my estrogen infused tribe of littles, I am utterly delighted! I’m ecstatic that these images were created, and more importantly I’m overjoyed to see that they are being noticed! If you take a little trip on over to the official HMP Couture Imagery Facebook Page, you will see that not only have these photos gone viral, but people are absolutely LOVING them. It’s amazing how sometimes we don’t always know what we are looking for until it finds us and it hits us in our core. I look at these photos and my inner child is SCREAMING! She’s exclaiming, YASSS!!!! FINALLY! Where have these photos been all my life?” 

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It’s amazing (and completely depressing) how society has put females in this box of expectation and limitation for centuries. Women have been breaking through the glass ceiling time and again, yet we haven’t totally shed these ideas of what it is to be female. The underlying message is clear that girls and women can be whatever they want to be. Who says we have to choose? Why can’t we be a princess and a warrior? The beauty and the beast? The lamb and the lion. So often we hear about the importance of balance, yet it doesn’t always seem to be applied to every aspect of our lives, including the guidelines we create for our children and ourselves to live by.

It’s very disheartening to realize that we are programmed from the time we are young to have these pre-existing ideas of what we are supposed to be. When I was a little girl I actually had a plaque that hung on my wall with the rhyme of what little girls are made of. We are expected to be Sugar and Spice, and all things nice. And quite honestly, I never really gave it much thought until now. I think I actually hung that plaque on my daughters’ wall at one point. Awareness is half the battle. Now is certainly as good a time as any to really start realizing what we are unintentionally programming our children’s minds with. As a parent, I’m sure the last thing we want to do is be limiting our children in reaching their full potential in any aspect of their lives. I’m truly grateful for Heather Mitchell’s vision and look forward to her future artistic contributions to the world. She has a really wonderful and unique way of opening our eyes to the injustice that is being inflicted on our most miraculous resource for the future…our children.

To view all the photos in this collection please visit the HMP Couture Gallery on Facebook page Here. All photo credits go to HMP Photography. For contact information please visit her website Here.

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