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Being Vulnerable

Being vulnerable by definition means you are capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt. This hurt can come in forms of physical or emotional pain. This hurt can come from strangers, people you know, and people you love. This hurt can destroy your spirit or break your body. This hurt can prevent you from taking chances and missing out on greatness.

What the definition fails to mention that being vulnerable can bring you  great things, amazing people, love, peace, and happiness. Being vulnerable means speaking your truth, because your truth is the authentic you. Being vulnerable means opening up your spirit to happiness, but being able to be at peace if that happiness doesn’t happen. Being vulnerable means opening your heart to others, so that you can learn from them. Being vulnerable means being brave enough to go after what you want, even knowing that you will not always get the outcome you want. Being vulnerable means standing up for what you believe, even if it means people turn their back on you. Being vulnerable means sharing your story, so that you can heal. Being vulnerable means being scared, but doing it anyway.

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This week alone, has challenged me a few times to be vulnerable. I have been challenged to be vulnerable about sharing my story with others, but more important with my daughter. I have been challenged to be vulnerable by saying that I can no longer be friends with you if you choose to defend hatred. I have been challenged to be vulnerable by sharing my feelings with somebody who I believe was put on my path for reason & that I could learn more from, knowing that I could be rejected. Each of these times made me shake a little. Each of these times took a pep talk from my inner warrior. Each of these times made me grow a little. Each of these times made feel more confident. Each of these times made me more true to myself.

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I was vulnerable this week. I was brave this week. I grew this week by being true to myself.  That does not mean that with each instance of being vulnerable that the outcome was always positive. That does not mean that with each instance that there weren’t consequences. That does not mean that with each instance there wasn’t a little sadness and disappointment. It does mean that I was true to myself. It does mean that I spoke what was in my heart. It does mean that I tried. It does mean that I was vulnerable and that was a huge step forward on my journey. I am willing to continue to be vulnerable because I know that that is the part of the path to joy, empathy, belonging, courage, growth, authenticity, love from others, but most important of all, love of myself.

 

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Go out today and be vulnerable.

Darkness

Depression, anxiety, suicide, psychiatrist, counseling, hospitalization, cutting, and medications have been words spoken often when talking about my daughter over the last few years. Guilt, fear, frustration, despair, anger, and helplessness are emotions that have flowed through me over the last few years. Two people occupying the same space and trying to find a way out.

Darkness falls with a phone call from local police telling me they were with my daughter and that she had attempted suicide. In that instance, those emotions flooded into me and took hold for dear life. In that instance, those words became common words to be spoken. In that instance, the path I thought I was on crumbled beneath my feet.

Darkness takes hold and the light is hard to see. As I watched my daughter struggle to even get out of bed and move through her day, I was thrown back to the time in my life when I was the same.  As I watched my daughter struggle to not cut herself, I was thrown back to those dark nights as a teen when I cut to relieve the emotional pain. As I watched my daughter struggle to push back the thoughts of suicide, I was thrown back to the time when I gave into thoughts and tried to take my own life. As I watched my daughter struggle with dealing with the medications, I was thrown back to the times when I wished I had something to help me. As I watched my daughter struggle to reenter her life, I was thrown back to days when I felt nobody wanted me around so I made sure to push them away.

In the darkness, a mother fears for her child. In the darkness, a mother feels guilt and blames herself. In the darkness, a mother feels angry when people question how she is taking care of her child. In the darkness, a mother feels frustration when a father tells the child that she isn’t depressed or anxious. In the darkness, a mother feels despair because she doesn’t know what to do to make her child better. In the darkness, a mother feels anger for the whole damn situation.

A light begins to shine and the mother pulls herself free from the darkness inch by inch. A light begins to shine brighter and the daughter begins to follow. A light gets brighter with each and every day as the mother sees her daughter trying to return to her life. A light flickers at times when the daughter takes two steps backwards. A light keeps pulling the mother forward because she knows that she can best help her child if she in the light. The mother is now fully in the light, but the daughter is still mostly in the darkness.

A mother takes a step back and separates her struggle with depression from her child’s struggle. A mother takes a step back and realizes our paths are more different than similar. A mother takes a step back and decides that her daughter is going to have to find the will to fight back against her own demons. A mother takes a step back and understands that this is not her battle, but her daughters. A mother takes a step back and embraces her own awakening because she knows that this her way to win the final battle with her own demons. A mother takes a step back and puts her faith in the universe that it will help her daughter find her way.

Depression, anxiety, suicide, psychiatrist, counseling, hospitalization, cutting, and medications are just words that are part of my daughters path in this life, but they will not define her life. Guilt, fear, frustration, despair, anger, and helplessness are emotions that have flowed through me in the darkness, but did nothing to heal either the mother or the daughter.  Two people occupying the same space, one has found her way out and is fully in the light, while the other holds on tight to her mother’s hand still trying to break free. Two people bonded by love of a mother and daughter, bonded by fighting our demons, but one has broken free and is waiting to embrace the other when she finally breaks free of the darkness and then they will slam the door and throw away the key together.

Am I ready?

Am I ready? The answer is yes to most questions. I am ready to let go of the past.  I am ready to let my truth out and be the me I have been hiding. I am ready to share my story. I am ready to do the work needed to slay my demons once and for all. I am ready to follow my warrior spirit. I am ready to put me first.  But am ready to let my wall down and love again? That is what I just can’t answer. One moment I can say yes I am, but in the next breath I think oh hell no.

Is it loneliness? Sometimes in those moments when I say yes, I wonder is it because I am lonely. The answer is no, I am not lonely. I have some amazing tribes of women who lift me up and give me adult time to laugh with, discuss issues with, and vent to when needed. I have three kids who I have full time and who I have pretty much raised on my own, so I’m not missing that aspect of my life. I am doing things for myself that make me feel strong and confident. I have jobs that I am passionate about that surround me with amazing people. I really like where I am in life right now and I am trusting my warrior spirit on this journey.  I know I will have some hard days as things within me shift as I confront and repair parts of me that where controlled by the demons for years. I know I can handle those days alone, because only I know can speak their truth and take the power away from them. So I don’t even think lonely is the word that correctly identifies what I am feeling when I say yes.

Is it fear? This is probably the a big part of the truth behind my no. I have been hurt deeply by men who said they loved me. I have been left alone by a man who said he loved me, to deal with the worst years of my life, as I worried that my daughter would attempt suicide again and this time succeed. I have been verbally and emotionally abused by a man who said he loved me, because he wanted to control me. I have been made to feel like I was mistake, because alcohol allowed his demons to speak. I did not deserve any of that, but I now know this is what I attracted, because I did not believe I was worthy.  I ignored the red flags that my warrior spirit was waving, throwing in my face, raising on the highest poles all because at that point the demons were in control. Well, those damn demons are no longer in control and those red flags, that I put in the ground,  are firmly in place on a path leading to my heart.

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Is is self preservation? I am sure that is also a big part of my no. I have built a wall around my heart in order to protect it over the years. I have built that wall to protect my warrior spirit from harm. I have built that wall for some many reasons and over such a long period of time that I have even forgot where all the bricks came from. Lately I have been tearing down that wall brick by brick. What I notice though is those bricks that were put in place that say love on them are the hardest to remove. Am I purposelessly leaving those bricks in place because it might be safer? That is very possible, but I know that they to have to come down. Will I be able to do it all on my own? I don’t think so. I think it will take a little help to pull them free from the wall. I have made them loose because I am learning to love myself first, but even warriors need some help to win the battle.

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I still believe in love. I still believe in those magical moments that are shared between two souls who are meant to be together. I still believe that my soul mate is out there and has been waiting for me to let my warrior goddess take the lead to find him. I still believe in the power of touch between lovers that says so much more than words. I still believe in moments of passion that take your breath away. I still believe in true partnerships that allow your spirits to soar. I still believe in love and this is why in some moments I say yes.

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Am I ready? Yes, I am ready. I am ready for a partner were we both feel safe to share our dreams and then pushes each other to go after them. I am ready for a partner that believes that we have a responsibility to take care of others by being examples of love and fighting against the hate. I am ready for a partner in life to travel with and explore this amazing world. I am ready a partner that will be a lover who sets my soul and body on fire even after years. I am ready for a partner who will hug me tight, kiss me softly, run their fingers through my hair, and tell me on those days that are not so easy, that I can do anything I set my mind to because I am a warrior. I am ready for a partner that when I stumble and fall, will lift me up and set me back on my feet when I can keep going and carry me the rest of the way when my legs are tired from kicking ass. I am ready for a partner that will accept my scars, just as I will accept his, because they are a road map of our lives and how we made it to each other. I am ready for a partner that I can laugh with, cry with, and be me with, without having to hide any part of ourselves. I am ready if that person comes into my life, but I will not be searching for him. I am ready for whenever the universe decides the time is right.

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Yes, I am ready to love and be loved again.

A Mother’s Choices

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Growing up I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I wanted a houseful of kids, at least four I always said. I wanted my kids to grow up with their two parents living in the same house. I wanted my kids to never feel the pain of divorce. I wanted my kids to grow up happy.  I wanted to be able to take them on amazing trips. I wanted so much for my kids, and it did not turn out the way I dreamed about as a kid.

I am a single mom. I have not been able to provide them the life I dreamed about, but I have provided them with the best life that I can. Even when I thought I was always doing the best for them it has not always been easy. I have second guessed myself many times about choices that were made that have also altered their lives.

I made a choice to end my marriage, because it was destroying me. My divorce was ugly.  My kids paid the price. They had to watch their mother struggle to keep herself together. They had to wait by my door many times as I locked myself in my room so they wouldn’t have to see me break down and cry in fetal position. They were often witness to my anger when I would snap at them because I was so overwhelmed and just couldn’t deal with the even minor things. I had to watch my kids struggle with their emotions during this same time period. I had to watch my kids have tantrums that lasted for what felt like hours as we went into a visitation weekend and came out of one. I had to push my child down into a car seat and buckle her in as she cried for me to take her home. These days were terrible and hard and I felt that I had failed them in every way.

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I made the choice to move with my kids back to home to Michigan. To the place where my soul always felt more at peace the minute we crossed the border. This was another huge change for three young kids. We moved back to be closer to family. We moved back to where I felt safe. We moved back to where I always wanted to return. My kids had a happier mom in many ways, but still saw me struggle. My kids stopped having so many tantrums and seemed calmer. My kids loved being near family. My kids seemed happy again.

I made a choice to move in with a man that I thought would be the one to live out my dreams with and help me raise my kids in a loving home. My kids watched instead as I began to lose myself again. My kids watched instead as I struggled to make things work and make him happy. My kids watched me shut myself down when the drinking brought out the demon. My kids once again paid the price.  Then I made the choice to leave him because I was done trying to prove I was worthy.

I made a choice to do better by my kids, by working on me and putting me first now. My kids have seen me leave a person because I said I deserved better. My kids have seen me ask for help from those that love us. My kids have seen me start taking care of me through exercise, through treating myself to things that make me feel good, through spending time with my tribes, and through speaking my truth. My kids are good kids and they know they are loved by me. My kids know I would do anything for them, but that I also need to take care of me in order to be happy. My kids know that I can be tough on them, but it’s because I only want them to fly. My kids will begin to start making their own choices soon and I will be there to catch them if they need me to and kick them in the ass when they need that too.

I have made a choice to stop beating myself up about the choices I have made for our lives. I do the best I can. I am working to give them a good life. I am a good mom. I am a great mom. I am super mom.

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Power of Words

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How many words a day do you speak? How many words a day do you hear? How many words a day do you read? How many words a day do you write? Words are so powerful in any format. They can build you up. They can tear you down. They can make you laugh. They can make you cry. They can give you hope. They can make you fearful. They are love. They are hate. They are our most powerful weapon for hurting and healing.

words 3When I was young I used the written words of so many authors to escape my life, to go to a place where I did not have to think about anything but falling in love with the characters. The power of written words gave me a reprieve from the pain that I was in, when I didn’t have my own words to explain to my family or later my friends what I was feeling. Now I read words of inspiration to help me on my path of healing and to help me focus on being true to myself. Although, I still love a good book that can make me fall in love with the characters.  When I was young I often used written words  to try and communicate with my mom about the depth of my pain, but even those words often fell short of being the whole truth of the storm brewing inside of me. Today I am using the power of the written word to help me on my journey via this blog. It is allowing me to put into words those things that have been trapped inside and share my truth with people who are strangers, people who are new to my life, people have only known parts of me, people who have known me for most of my life, and people who are family. I am no longer afraid and with the help of my inner warrior I am put my truth into writing for all to see. I am putting my truth on record to heal myself and maybe, just maybe, give hope to others. I am putting my truth in writing because my words deserve to be heard.

One truth of my life is that my soul has been scarred by spoken words from people that said they loved me. My soul has been torn to pieces each and every time I was told I was unworthy, I was ugly, I was fat, I was crazy, I was a bad mom, I was a failure, and more. I let their spoken words become my truth. I let their spoken words keep me from loving myself. I let their spoken words deprive me of happiness. I let their spoken words control my thoughts about who I am. I let their spoken words keep my warrior spirit locked up in her cage behind the wall I built. I let their spoken words kill my spirit for years. Yes, using the word let is purposeful, because during all those years I let their words define me by making the choice to stay where I was and take it until I could take it no more. I let it happen for far to long and for different reasons. I let it happen until I made the choice to finally put an end to the scarring. I let it happen until I made the choice to walk away in order to protect myself. I let it happen until I made the choice to learn the lesson they taught me. I let it happen until I made the choice that their words could no longer control my spirit. I have learned from each of these times and they are not lesson I would wish on anybody, but they were lessons I needed. I have learned how to forgive somebody because I was able to recognize that the pain they feel in their own soul is manifested in the cruel words. That their souls were not ready for the immense love that is in my soul. That their souls need repair too and that until they do the work themselves they will always be at war inside of themselves. My soul is able to forgive them and in that act of forgiveness my scars fade away to almost nothing and my warrior spirit shines brighter. The scars will never completely fade because they are part of my story and will be a reminder to myself that I have endured enough scars from words and that from this point forward I only deserve words that will feed the fire in my soul.

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I know I have hurt others with my words in the past and if I could go back and take them back I would. The only thing I can do is say I am sorry that I allowed my pain to cause you pain. I can ask for forgiveness for the wrongs I committed. I take full responsibility and hope they know that those words were spoken from a place of pain that I had not confronted and that it was unfair of me to use words to damage. So if you are somebody that knows me and I have hurt you with me words I want you to know that I am truly sorry and I ask for your forgiveness. Then from this point forward try my best to only use my words to build others up and help them reach their own truths.

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Now I am trying to surround myself with words that feed that fire, whether I say them to myself, they come from the people around me, or I read them. I look for words around me that inspire me. I look for words that help me along my path to living my truth freely and completely.  I wear bracelets that use words to remind me that I am resilient and that I am protected. If I do find myself reacting to something that does not feed my fire (because it is going to happen), I start repeating my mantra to feed my fire. I use words to heal myself and remind myself that: I am worthy. I am enough. I am beautiful. I am strong. I am loved. I am a warrior and I will not be held back any longer.

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Once you find the words to shape your reality,  you will truly learn to fly!

Just Say It

Just say it. Three simple words that truly scare the hell out of me more often than I care to admit. Three words that even what I have to say is a good thing can be hard for me to transfer from what I have in my head to out of my mouth. Why is this such a hard thing for me to do? Is it because to many times I was attacked for what I had to say? Is it because people that said they loved me used words to damage my soul? Is it because my words, even those of love, were often thrown back in my face with a sneer? Is it because I was told my opinion didn’t matter? Is it because on to many occasions when I asked for help or said what I needed to feel safe and loved, I was turned away? Is it fear of my feelings being rejected or mocked? I am sure it is a combination of all those reason and more that keeps me silent, even when the words are screaming inside my head to be spoken. I know how much words can hurt. I also know that words can heal. say 5

 

So today I choose to be brave and say things that are long overdue to be said, even if I know that people intended to hear them may never hear them. I know that it will be freeing for my spirit to say the words. I know that it will help me heal. I know that it will take the power those words once had over me and rip it to pieces. I know that I am only worthy from this point forward of only hearing words that lift me up and push me forward towards my true self.

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To the men who claimed you loved me, but used words to try and destroy me, I say to you that I no longer hear your words. I no longer give value to your words, because I know your own soul is in pain. I no longer dwell on your cruel words, because they are not worth my time. I no longer think about the words you used, but instead choose to focus on the good parts of you that I think even you forget to honor. I no longer believe your words of hate, because I know I am worthy, I am enough, I am beautiful, and I am strong. I say instead to you that I send you love and hope that one day you are able to heal those parts of you that are in so much pain that you feel the need to hurt others to satisfy the demons hunger.

To the people who have judged me based on what they only saw from the outside or from what they heard, I say to you that I forgive you for judging me when you did not my truth. To the ones who mock my choices, I say to you that your skepticism is based on your experiences and I respect that, but you are not the one walking my path so please give me the same respect. To the ones who turned your back on me with silence, sometimes when I needed you most, I say thank you for forcing me to build my strength by realizing that I am capable of overcoming whatever life has thrown at me.

From this point forward I am going to try and be brave and share what I am feeling with those around me on my journey. I will surround myself with people that lift me up and I will tell them thank you for lifting me up when I needed support. I will surround myself with people that show me love in their actions and with their words and I will tell them I love you too. I will surround myself with people who help me grow and I will tell them how much their presence has helped me on my journey. I will surround myself with people who like me are on a journey that includes a belief in living a more positive life, and if they are have a bad day I will tell them why they are worthy of so much more and to keep fighting. I will be brave and I will share my words of love and encouragement with those around me.

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I know that my biggest challenge for me to just say it will happen when I decided to open myself up to a relationship again. I know that for me this will be a very fearful experience to open up my heart and to speak from that place that I have built a wall around. I know that I will be scared that my words will be thrown back at me or rejected. I know that I will be worried that what I am saying will not be understood because I just can’t put into words what my heart is feeling.  I know that I will have to work past the fear. I know that I will have to trust that the other person. I know that I know that I will have to speak up or I take the chance of missing out. The difference this time is I know my warrior spirit is stronger than ever before. I know that I am listening to my her and she is leading me to a much better place. To a place where my fear is replaced by belief that I am worthy of love. A belief that I am beautiful. A belief that I am strong. I belief that I am beautiful. A belief that I deserve a love that will set the world afire when we are together.  A belief that when I speak from the hear that I will be heard. I will be able to just say it.

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Beauty

What does beauty look like? Who determines what makes somebody beautiful? Why do we put so much value in certain physical attributes when we describe people as beautiful? What does that do to those of us who don’t fit those standards?

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Today I had a moment at the gym when I found myself comparing the way I looked to the other woman who was a round ahead of me. She was society would most likely describe as attractive or beautiful. She was tall, very thin, toned, and could go through each station without ever taking a break. I started comparing the way she looked to how I looked and the fact that I needed to take short breaks. This beating myself up lasted for probably five minutes, before my warrior inside me started telling to me to knock it off. That I have come so far and overcome so much and that I am there for me. For the rest of the round each time I punched or kicked the bag I repeated my mantra. I am beautiful. I am strong. I am worthy. I am enough. I am loved.  However, this idea of beauty stuck with me for the rest of the day and therefore required that I write in order to process and move forward.

When I got home I immediately went and took a good hard look at my whole self in the mirror. I realized that for years I hid behind my body and used it as a way to keep people away. As I began my journey back to self I knew that I had to love my body again, and I started that by making it stronger and healthier. I knew I had to exercise to change the outside, but also to fight back against the fibromyalgia. It is now a part of my everyday routine and makes me feel good physically and emotionally. I know that I may never be a size 2(or even a 6), but my body is changing and becoming more toned and fit. I have learned to love the curves of my body and each day am more confident in the way I dress to emphasize these beautiful parts of me. I have learned to love the features of me that reflect where I came from and who I take after in my family. My body is far from perfect, but it is gotten me this far, given me three beautiful children, and still has so many adventures to take in this life.

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What I realized as I stood there looking in the mirror though was that I am so much more than what you see on the outside. That what truly makes me beautiful is things you cannot see with your eyes. Things that to often our society looks down on as weakness or as something separate from beauty. My true beauty lies within me and for most of my life I have kept it hidden behind the wall to protect, especially when there was an outside force trying their hardest to destroy that beautiful part of me. The warrior within protected this part of me from the inner demons and those that fed the demons. Now with each passing day, and with each opening up of my true self more and more of this beautiful part of me is being released. You see what most people don’t realize about me is that my soul is full of so much love, passion, hope, and giving. That all I really want in life is to help others reach their highest potential, to use my passions to spread good, to give others hope when they feel lost, to love and to be loved. My soul is learning to shine through everything else and that is what I want people to see when they look at me.

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Beauty, at least outer beauty, is a construct of our society that for many is impossible to achieve. The sad part is that even if some can reach those goals, they will never truly feel beautiful because they will always compare themselves to another. I know that I still have some work to do in this area myself, but truthfully with each day I learn to love all of me more than the day before. I know that my outer shell is not for many people, but I know that it will be for somebody. I am not meant to conform to meet somebody else’s needs, but to love myself. My body is beautiful, because it is healthy and strong. I know that my soul is beautiful and that it is meant to be shared fully with people in different ways. I have to be kind to myself and remind myself when those times come up that I want to compare myself to those that are not me. I need to yell at the top of my lungs (okay, really yell it inside my head) that, I AM BEAUTIFUL!! beauty 6