Sunday, November 22, 2015

just write

Once again, it has been far too long since I last wrote.  I write a lot in my life, but it hasn't been here.  It's been in notes on my phone, on pieces of scratch paper, journals and planners, and even my own hand a time or two. I love it... I do.  But sometimes I think when I write here, there has to be a purpose, a subject, or a theme of some sort to write about.
Life in the last few months has been beautiful, full of adventure; full of family, friends, reflection, celebration and growth.

Since August...
  • we have gone to Disneyland, just Drew and I to attend an annual passholder party
  • we have welcomed Fall like we always do
  • we have gone to Disneyland to watch Roslyn's dreams come true
  • we have celebrated Halloween at least 5 times
  • we have celebrated our Vivi turning 4 years old
  • we have traveled to a dance competition
  • we have cheered Roslyn on as she was invited to join her dance studio's company team

and those are just highlights.  We've loved a lot, we've laughed a lot, and we have learned a lot. The Fall is a special time for me.  A time of reflection, growth, change, and most importantly, GRATITUDE. I spend every November purposefully sharing my gratitudes each day for the month. I have a tendency to do this most days all year long, but I take November to be especially mindful of it and I feel that it is one of the most important things that I do for myself each year.

We are looking forward to spending Thanksgiving together and with my dad. And we are loving all things Christmas and can't wait to see what the most wonderful time of year holds in store for our family. We had a family photo session with Santa today to kick off the season and have a nice picture for our Christmas cards.

Til next time, friends. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

anonymity, online stalking & bullying, authenticity & more

Recently I had my first experience with the joy of internet troll-dom in the form of an anonymous blog commenter. I've been blogging for ten years now off and on and it wasn't until about two weeks ago that I have ever set my blog comments to not allow anonymous comments. It's never been a problem for me. I process carefully what I want to say and how I want to say it. And its worked very well for me and will continue to do so.

It probably comes as little surprise to know that the comments were left on my post where I shared my heart and my story about the ending of a friendship. In the comments left, I was called to task about my statement of wanting to live beautifully and authentically. The person felt that their perusal (which honestly feels a bit eerily more like online stalking) of my Pinterest justified this. And it wasn't even my pins/repins, but my likes, as the ones that were quoted were never in fact things that I had pinned.  And trust me, I feel silly even typing these words, as the thought of being literally spied on online by such silly means is completely ridiculous.

I was questioned as to if the pins (sarcastic and snarky in nature) I'd liked were my idea of living authentically and beautifully.

My answer is two-fold:
AUTHENTIC: not false or copied; genuine; real. 
  1. Yes. Striving for authenticity in my life means that I be genuine and real in how I feel. If I'm angry, I am perfectly allowed to be angry. If I am hurt, I am allowed to be hurt. If I have been in unhealthy situation, I can talk about my experience. I can express how I feel. So without a doubt, allowing myself to feel and express myself honestly is authentic. 
  2. There is a difference between re-pinning something and liking it. One that I feel is silly to have to point out and explain. When I re-pin something, I'm saying that I personally want to share it actively with all of the people who follow me. When I like something, it can be for any one of many reasons... because it made me smile. Because it made me chuckle. Because it's a friends post, etc. I have a sarcastic and snarky sense of humor and sometimes things that others may find objectionable are funny to me. I don't have to apologize for or try to change that in myself.  It is who I authentically am.
Had these comments not been left anonymously with the intent to discredit or hurt me without personal repercussion, I would have posted them and responded to them there. And my one, heartfelt and carefully composed post would have been my only mention at all of the whole thing on my little piece of the web, left to quietly fade off of the first page and generally be forgotten.

I did respond on Pinterest. I pinned (not liked) an e-card that said something along the lines of "Your anonymous comments on my blog really put me in my place" and within minutes there was a new anonymous comment on my blog, snarkily saying something along the line of "but they got my attention *wink*" Yes. Leaving a comment on a blog is what you do when you want the authors attention. To which I responded with a note that I screen capped and pinned.

I've also since removed all my liked pins as I will not have a simple click of a heart be held against me and as a tool to perpetuate drama, abuse, harassment and hurt. I will no longer allow myself to be bullied or harassed by this situation and anyone in it or who has placed themselves within it, in person or online. The madness has got to stop... and this is only the latest in several months of different bullying and harassing tactics done by grown adults within this situation. No more.

It's an odd thing to know that a person, maybe more than one person, is watching your online activity to this degree. Trying to decode, and apply everything said to themselves or the other person in the failed relationship. BUT, it's an invasion of privacy and honestly it's creepy. And as of tonight's posting of this blog, I have received emails that I had requested a Facebook password reset, which I did not request, most likely meaning that the person or persons doing this are trying to gain access to login in to my Facebook account. It's stalking and ultimately, it's a weapon of control, harassment and bullying. And trying to break into my accounts is probably not legal. Especially considering the fact that the person or persons doing this are doing it for the person that in this whole scenario, pulled the online plug on me first by blocking me on facebook and severing the tool that we used for communication the most.

I understand the curiosity of it all when a relationship ends. Are they saying things about you? Are they better without you? Are they worse? I have no mistaken assumption of privacy online. It doesn't exist. I just hope that adults would make better and healthier choices. Trust me, I fight the urge everyday to check up on things and answer those questions. But I don't. Because it is toxic and unhealthy behavior. And I don't surround myself with people who will do it for me and report back either. Because my tribe consists of those who won't participate the drama, the pain and the disfunction of it all. A friend is not someone who goes looking for bad news to deliver to your door.

I will say this... 
I don't think my former friend is the one who is doing this.
I hope and pray that I am right. Because when I agreed that the friendship had run it's course and said that I was done trying as well, I wished her well and I meant it. I still mean it. 

I am still healing my hurt, I still have anger at what was done to me and the grief of a loss of a friend and a promise of forever. Authenticity and beauty in life is not always sunshine and roses and only nice things... often times it is raw anger, ugly cries to no one and snarky thoughts that we go through to get to the other side of pain. 

Authenticity and beauty in life is not stalking, harassing or bullying anyone intentionally. Ever.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

when you call my daughter fat...

We live in a day and age where we are told on a second by second basis how we should look, what and who we should compare ourselves to, and we inevitably fail to live up to those standards and expectations. We are told that our value as people, especially women, is based upon numbers that tell us that we pass as acceptable, healthy, beautiful, and worthy of love and acceptance.

Well, FUCK that to hell.
Today, when I picked Roslyn up from school, her head was hanging a little low and she walked to my car slightly hunched over, a concerned look across her face. I asked her what was wrong and she told me. A boy at school today had called her fat. I asked her if she thought maybe he was talking to someone else and no, he looked at her in the eye as she was walking by and told her that she was fat. 

And a seed of insecurity was planted in that moment. 

Because when you call my daughter fat...
You tell her that she is less than. 
You tell her that she is unworthy. 
You tell her that she is not beautiful, or healthy.
You tell her that she should not be happy. 
You tell her that the worst thing that someone can be, is fat. 
You make her not want to dance because she has to wear a leotard that day. 
You make her not care about her dreams, and instead care about you. 
You also tell her a lie. 

And you tell her who you are, someone who is bearing an ugliness inside of them.

I am fat. My whole life I have struggled with hating myself. I still struggle with that hate on a constant basis. Apologizing for who I am, the space I take and for those who may have  to even look at me. There are still days where I don't want to leave my house because of how I have been made to feel about how I look. I've canceled or failed to make plans because of how I look. 

I remember the playground and the taunts that came with being overweight... the cries of "Miss Piggy" to the oh so clever "You're fat!". By the time I was 12 I was in a constant cycle of starving myself to making myself throw up anything that I would eat and taking caffeine pills to combat the fatigue I felt from the pure nightmare-ish hell I was enduring as a child.

When I was pregnant with Roslyn and found out that she was a girl, one of the first thoughts I had was a prayer that she didn't genetically take after my side of the family, but Drew's when it came to her weight. When I should have been dreaming of all things pink and mama-daughter moments, I was praying that she didn't get my legs. Because I didn't want her to spend her whole life hating who she was and what she looked like. I wanted more for her than what I dealt with growing up.

I am angry. 
I am angry that that boy lives in a world where he has learned that the quickest and surest way to hurt a girl is to tell her that she is fat. 
I am angry that she believes him and spent 15 minutes crying in my arms, not wanting to go to dance and wanting to quit all together rather than wear a leotard today.  
I am angry that she thinks she needs to lose weight at 10 fucking years old. 
I am angry that with two words that boy planted an insecurity and self loathing in her that can be next to impossible to remove.

I've spent ten years as her mother teaching her how to be a good person.  To be kind, to be caring, to be respectful, to be helpful, to be courageous and to be loving. Teaching her that body shaming of any kind is unacceptable. Teaching her and telling her repeatedly that she is a strong, amazing, healthy, wonderful, smart, talented and loving girl... a good daughter, friend and person- and with two words, a boy can dim her light and make her believe that what I've told her she is is not true.

We have to STOP this nonsense and shaming. 

We have to stop tearing each other down and focus on building each other up. Tell someone that they're beautiful, that you love their shirt or their hair or their shoes, tell them that you admire their intelligence or their humor or their talent. Say ten positive things out loud for every one negative thought you have. Because just as you have the power to ruin a day, you also have the power with your words to make a day.

Please... our daughters lives and happiness depends on it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


I woke up today with more notifications on my phone than I can ever remember. So many people taking time out of their precious and busy lives to wish me a happy day. To make me feel loved and important. To make me feel celebrated.
And I feel so incredibly celebrated and loved. Much more than I deserve. I am beyond grateful and beyond blessed because of each and every one of you and the gift that you bring to my life.
34... I'm ready for you, I am grateful for you and I won't take you for granted.
Thank you all again... I am humbly blessed and full of gratitude.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Things I Don't Recommend...

Getting pneumonia has to be on top of the list.

I have to say that having pneumonia is no joke. There had been times before that I thought I'd had it, but I never did. It was always some sort of upper respiratory infection/bronchitis thing. 

A week ago last night, I woke Drew up and told him I thought I should go to the ER. I'm glad I did because it turned out I had a pretty major case of pneumonia and a nasty case of strep throat. I was admitted and stayed through Saturday afternoon. 
I'd say I'm about 70-80% better now... I've been on antibiotics since the ER and will be through Tuesday, as well as a bunch of other meds to help. My lungs hurt. I'm tired of coughing. I'm tired of breathing not coming easily 100% of the time. But everyday is slowly getting better than the day before. Thank you so much to my family and friends for the love, help, offers of help and words of love and the beautiful flowers. I am reminded again of how truly blessed I am. ❤️

Thursday, July 23, 2015

First Day

It's only July, but already we have had the first of two first days back to school for the year.

This last Monday, Roslyn started a new adventure, at a new and wonderful school. We'd been on the waiting list, and we found out last Friday that she was in! So we commenced the first day of school outfit planning, checked off the supplies on the supply list, and waited for the next exciting day. 

She loves it so far. It's a new environment, new method of learning, and new schedule. And luckily, it is also the reunion of some great friends. As a family, we're looking forward to our part of this community family of school. 

It's going to be an amazing year! :)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

I'll be 34 soon

Last year, I celebrated turning 33 at a long table, surrounded by friends who I love like family. Watching the man I love play music with our friends who have become our family. It was magical night, surrounded in love and light and celebration of how grateful I was to get to spend another year in this beautiful earth. 

My life wasn't perfect, it was imperfectly beautiful. And while there was and will always be an ache in my heart for those who can't join my table on this earth any longer, it was still beautiful, and those like my mother, are in my heart and my soul, the very fabric of who I am for as long I walk this earth. 

Last year I had a person at that table, a person I called my person; my best friend, my soul mate, my other half, my friend. This year, that person won't be at my table. And while I prefer to not speak in absolutes about most things, it is very hard for me to believe that they will ever join me at my table again in heart or in body.  

1 year, 12 months, 365 days, 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes. 

A lot happens in a year. Incredibly confusing misunderstandings, harboring hurt and confusion that can turn into exhaustion and even anger, accusations and faking it hoping you'll make it, and finally betrayal and silence when you need your person the most. 

I'm no angel. I am an oxymoron of a person. I am sensitive with sometimes sharp edges. I'm shy and quiet, except for when I'm all in your face and geeking about something I like liking. I joke to cover my pain and hurt and fears. I often joke that P!NK is the only woman who ever wrote song lyrics as a woman that I can identify with ("leave me alone, I'm lonely" comes to mind:-P). And my almost animalistic hatred of talking on the phone borders on neurosis. This is just a short list of some of my special qualities that just make me, me. 

And it had been building up. That weird, almost palpable feeling in the air between us... Mutual friends would ask me about it. And I tried to play it off, brushing those growing and nagging feelings down a little further (what was I thinking?! I should know better by now!) with the busy lives spiel... Inside betraying my heart a little more each time I made believe that there was nothing wrong. And I sent the big "Let's just be better I can't lose any one else!" messages bound and determined to make it so. And it worked for about a day. 

Then all those feelings would again ride the issues elevator to the surface and I would be there, with all those feelings and a promise to just be over it. It's enough to make one crazy! And I know it wasn't just me who had to be going crazy over the whole scenario either! It had become a completely toxic cycle to all who were at all close to it. 

I can't speak for anyone else. I only know my heart. And my heart was hurt. My person hadn't been being my person, I felt like she was constantly jumping to the worst conclusions about me, I felt like she only reached out when she needed something from me, I felt like she had gone behind my back on a business endeavor she knew I wanted to do, she had checked out on me, and it all culminated for me when she wasn't there for me at truly scary and dark time in my life; with the death of my aunt, the hospitalization of my brother with blood clots in his lungs and my fathers stroke and subsequent hospitalization. It was such a dark time. I barely remember even having time to go to the bathroom let alone who I was making sure I kept in great contact with. But with the exception of the last thing, that trigger spark, everything was small... but problems are kind of like ants. You discount them and ignore them until suddenly your house is living on their hill. Made by 100s of small ants. Just like problems.  They build, they combine their powers and they grow. 

The one thing I did know though, was that I had had this feeling and this experience with her before. Years before. One day it just seemed she changed. I could feel it on a molecular level almost, and while the self proclamations of self care and changing for good were made... All I knew was that it didn't feel good or right and that I was being purposefully pushed away. Detatched from. Attacked. Hurt. And cruelly and coldly so. Back then, the only logical reason I could come up with was that it had to do with her plans of moving back here being canceled to stay in another state. This time? I can only assume it being because they were in talks, and eventual planning to move back to that very same state from this one. 

I have never moved further than across the the same town I was born, raised and have lived my whole life in. I can not begin to understand the mental or emotional process that is. 

But I know I would hope that I would trust my people enough to continue to allow myself to love them and them to love me, no matter how near or far. 

Had *any* of this been done in kinder and more open way, I would have cried and hugged her like I never wanted to let go, but I also would have immediately jumped into house daydreaming mode with her, future visits mode, and the planning of the most epic of good bye celebrations. I would have mourned my loss of what life was and embraced what life would soon be. And I would have been happy for her and her family. All I ever wanted for her was her best life possible and that didn't seem to be working out here. And their other state seemed to offer more, everything's bigger there, after all- right? Not to mention family and friends. And her best life was always more important to me than her proximity. I've always understood. Even though it hurt. I always will ultimately understand it. 

Especially because ultimately, it was *I* who made the statements in response to the Facebook messenger ultimatum of conversation or the almighty Facebook block (which I'd been blocked before I'd even read it none the less)
"I don't want to fight." 
"I don't want to work on this anymore."
"I can't do it. It's not healthy for me."
Basically, you're right. Let's not be friends.
No semicolon. Just a period.

Friendship in this day and age, especially in my generation, is an odd paradigm of long held etiquette beliefs of old and the new easy access to on/off switches of power in the very relationships that are supposed to weave together the fabric of our lives. I used to believe the block feature meant empowerment. I prided myself on it. I think I am one who taught her how to do it in some ways. But it's not. It's weak. It's running from your problems without facing them. If you can't do it in real life, chances are very, very good that it shouldn't be done online, either. I don't use it anymore. Using it strips me of my power and my own strength and maturity in my real, daily, personal relationships.  

It didn't have to be like it turned out.

Either way, my table would be less a body in a seat this year, but my life would not be less a person who I considered my person.

But I know this year when I look around me, I will still be surrounded by people, my people, that I love and hold dear. People who make my life so imperfectly beautiful that it takes my breath away. Doing everything I can to be living my life beautifully, truthfully, authentically and with every intention of love, positivity and peace.

Monday, July 6, 2015

17 years

So 17 years ago today, I walked into a music store. 

I walked into the rest of my life. 
Something about him left me breathless, left me wanting to be his friend, talk to him, be around him more. I could have only hoped for the next 17 years to be full of his friendship, our talks, our adventures, our love. We've built a life together full of beauty, joy, laughter and adventure.

Love you like crazy, Drew. I've been lucky enough to know and be with you for half of my life. Looking forward to the rest. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Last Day of School

Today was Vivi's last day of her first year of school.  
Vivi enjoying a yummy last day of school cupcake today.
They had an amazingly fun day of learning, dancing, bubble, playing and celebrating their big school year. Vivi had the biggest smile on her face when I picked her up from school, and I could tell that she wasn't sure she want to go home... she didn't want the day, the school year, to be over just yet.

Vivi walking up to her first day of school,
November 2014.

She started in November, 2014 after she turned three and aged out of Arizona Early Intervention for her physical therapy for her gross motor skills delay (you can read a little bit about our story with AZ Early Intervention and Vivi's physical therapy here).

This last year of school has literally been LIFE CHANGING for Vivi and in turn, our family, in every way.  I can't even begin to comprehend trying to express just how grateful I am for her school, her teachers and therapists and everything that they have done for her.

We went into the school year so scared.  Would she adapt? Would she even be willing to work with and get to know new people in her life? Would she like it? Would she make friends? Would she get stronger? The answer to everyone of those concerns was YES.  Yes, she would adapt so quickly and easily that it shocked us. She grew to love her teachers and therapists and work so hard to make them happy and proud. She loved it. She made so many great little friends. And yes, she grew so much faster and stronger, confident in her capabilities and so proud of herself.  Since she was on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule, she soon figured out that some days she wasn't going to school and she would get sad and upset exclaiming "Ahhhh!  I WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL MAMA!"  It was the things like that, that let me know we made the right choice in sending her off to preschool at the young age of three, when my mama heart simply didn't want to give her up for those hours during the week.  My baby. But she thrived and calmed every single one of my nerves and worries.

The last day of school is always bitter sweet for me. I'll miss this year... but I also can't wait for the next year for her.  She will have the same teacher, and will be going Monday through Thursday, and then have dance class on Friday, so she will be happy and busy and learning and growing.  They say it takes a village to raise a child, and this year, our village grew stronger and full of amazing and inspiring educators and therapists with a goal of helping Vivi grow.  
 And she has. More than I could have ever dreamed possible.

Monday, May 18, 2015

DIY Record Photo Holders

I'm always looking for new ways to use old things and one of my favorite things to use for projects are old records.  There are so many in thrift stores that are waiting for a home, but are not in good enough condition to play, or desired by customers.  One day it just came to me... I could use them to make photo holders for our house, perfect for us, a family that consists of a musician, music lovers and performers!

To Make Your DIY Record Photo Holders:
To get started, decide where you will be displaying your record photo holders and how many you need/want to fill the space.  For my space, I decided that 6 records would be perfect, three rows of two records across. Then gather your supplies.

You will need:
1) Records- I found mine at the Goodwill.  When picking mine out I looked for two things, that they were in unplayable condition so that using them for this project would put them to good use, and that they had album art that I liked and may want to use for future projects.

2) Crop-a-dile, or drill/hole punch of some kind- being a paper crafter, I used the crop-a-dile which is an amazing hole punching and eyelet setting tool that I use in my scrapbooking.  It can punch through almost anything with ease and is well worth the money to invest in if you are the DIY type! You can purchase one here:
We R Memory Keepers Crop-A-Dile Eyelet and Snap Punch, Blue Handle

3) Clips- I used the X-acto Bulldog Clips #4 that I got in a box of twelve from amazon:
X-ACTO Bulldog Clips #4, Box of 12 Clips (2004)

4) Craft/Office Supply metal brads- another item that I have in my papercrafting stash. Pick brads that go with your clips, mine are silver so I picked silver brads.

5) Photos- I printed photos at home using my printer in a 5"x5" size.  I chose photos that were related to music and performing.  These photos can easily be changed whenever you like since they simply clip in the clips.

To Assemble Your Photo Holders:

1) Punch a hole in your album.  I used my crop-a-dile to punch a small hole about an inch and a half from the edge.

2) Take your clip and place it over he hole that you punched, adding the brad to it, going through the hole and overlapping the clip to anchor it to the record.

3) Flatten the back of the brad tightly and securely.  You can add a piece of tape to the back of the brad to keep in steady and in place. I used command strips to hang my record photo holders on the wall, so I placed the command strips directly on top of the backs of the brads to steady them.

4) Place your photos into the bulldog clips, making sure they are centered and placed how you would like them.

5) Using command strips, hang your new photo holders on the wall.  I love the hip, retro look that they have, and I especially LOVE that they are so representative of our family, who we are, our likes and passion in life.
All in all, this project cost me less than $20.00 and took me less than 30 minutes to complete. It was great for a budget money and time wise which is a win-win in my busy world!

Have you repurposed old records in any crafty ways? Share a link with me in the comments, I would love to see!

Friday, May 15, 2015

10 Things I've Given Up to be Happy

For me, each Fall has always been the start of my personal new year.  I resonate strongly with the fall, the transformation that the earth goes through in preparation for the new beginnings.  The time to shed the parts of us that are no longer healthy or useful or full of life.  The parts we shed are beautifully shed as we retreat to hibernate and begin growing anew.  

This last fall was no different.  In looking back upon it now, winter and much of Spring behind me, I can see how everything was beginning to be shed so that I could become new.  Of course, I oftentimes fought this change and shedding and growth; it's a natural response to want to keep things the same. It's familiar, and even if things aren't working; familiarity is comfortable.  Little did I know how uncomfortable I would have to get to get where I am now. Happier and healthier.  And that came with giving up a lot.  Things that I when I look at right now, are wonderful things to shed and should be shed joyously, but when you're in the midst of it all, may seem impossible some days.

10 Things I've Given Up to be Happy

1. Complaining: We all do it.  It is so often easier in life to point out what is not going right in life, rather than to focus on what is going right or what we can do to change and better our lives.  I used to have a friend who constantly complained.  You asked how they were, and what you heard back was the list of every hard or difficult thing that was going on in their lives.  They would post about their woes on social media often. It was exhausting. Not because their woes were exhausting and I had to hear about them, but because I noticed that even when good things happened, it was never the focus, the things still left to be fixed were. It was also exhausting because as  their friend, all I wanted to do was help and I worried constantly about them, trying to find ways, do things, try new ideas to help them.  And no matter how much I gave of my time, my money, or my ideas, nothing was ever better, and ideas were never even tried.  The constant complaining had become a trap, so much a part of their identity that even when offered insight, something always held them back from improving because the role of the struggle was who they were.  And it is scary and hard to change who you are.  The other exhausting part of this friendship was the fact that I noticed that after a period of time around them, I began to complain more and be grateful less.  I would notice everything wrong and not look for the things that were right and that is not fundamentally who I am at all.

So I started to take the advice of a photo I saw once, and go 24 full hours without complaining even once... and I loved my days of no complaining a thousand times more than I did my days full of complaining, negativity, and pessimism.

I began to realize that for me, complaining ='s ungratefulness. And I think grateful is one of the most, if not *the* most, important things to be.

2. Having to always be right: I'll be honest, this one can be hard for me.  I was raised to be strong and sure in my thoughts and my actions.  When I am not careful, and this goes unchecked, I can have a tendency to believe that I am right, at least most of the time.  But this does no good for my life and happiness or those around me.  There is a great freedom in allowing yourself to be wrong, or at least not right about someone or something else's life.

When I let go of this, I felt truly unburdened.  I was simply human again, and allowed to make mistakes!  As a result, a lot of beautiful, magical things have come from those mistakes!

3. Fighting: There used to be a part of me that really and truly valued fighting. I was under the mistaken belief that in order to value, show your love and dedication to, and to believe in something that you *had* to fight for it. It was almost a guilty pleasure. Conflict meant that something was true and valuable and in turn, somehow meant I was valuable to someone or something. Fighting with loved ones, your friends... It meant that *I* was worth fighting for. And fighting meant I had something worth fighting for, right? I mean, it had to!

BUT. It doesn't. Sometimes, fights are a symptom of something that is broken, no longer productive or healthy to your life. You can glue a broken cup together again, sure. But there is no guarantee that it will be able to effectively hold liquid again... Despite the strongest glue, some damage is simply not meant to be fixed. You have to sweep up the mess the best you can, say goodbye to what it once was and let it go. 

I do my best not to fight anymore. I am not my best version of myself when I am fighting and I want to strive constantly to be only my best self. Because at the end of the day, I know now that there are very few things worth fighting for. 

4. Always saying yes: This is a big one. I always say yes. I am often the person people ask for things again and again. Because until recently, I have always said yes. Yes to the point where I was decreasing my own value and self worth as a person and turning into simply whatever services, favors or deeds I could do for others. 

This came to a head for me when I realized how many people in my life were only there for my "Yes"s when I noticed how quickly they changed in their treatment of me when I had to and started saying "No." Whether they realized it or not, their friendship had become conditional and used to me always being there with a "Yes". With a "No" the relationships became strained, inconsistent and disappointing. That sucked, but being pushed to the point of neglecting my families and my own needs to the point of panic attacks and tears sucked worse. My family and I deserve better. 

"No." Is a complete sentence. 
And in order to say yes to one thing, you have to say no many others. The yes had better be worth it!

5. Explaining myself: After a recent relapse with this one, I am now more resolute than ever before to truly give up the idea that I have always explain myself.  Because if I have learned one thing most recently, it is this:

Many people don't listen to hear what you have to say, they listen to respond. 

It all too often falls on deaf ears. If I'm being brutally honest, the ones who are demanding an explanation, are often not worth the time and effort it will take to explain yourself, your thoughts, your feeling and your heart to.  I've learned that if upon hearing that they've have hurt someone, their first response is to get defensive and deflect responsibility rather than apologize and try to see your perspective, then it is the time to stop the dialog. Stop explaining yourself and simply walk away.  Because when it comes to having to explain yourself, your friends shouldn't need it and those who aren't really your friends won't believe it. It's as simple as that.

6. Blame: To any one reading this... I want you to know that it's okay to STOP BLAMING YOURSELF for everything.  When some one treats you poorly, it's not automatically your fault.  But I also want you to know, that it's most likely not solely the fault of everyone and everything around you either.  We have to quit being so quick to resort to blame in our lives.

There seems to be two types of people when it comes to blame.  The ones who are quick to blame themselves for everything that goes wrong, and the ones who blame every single thing that goes wrong on anyone and everyone else.  Either one is problematic.

If you blame yourself for everything, all you do is create a prison for yourself of negativity, shame and despair.  Nothing can go right if you already feel that everything that you have ever done, are doing, or will do is wrong.  Sometimes shitty things happen and it's not your fault.  Maybe it's no ones fault.  It happened and what we need to do is dig in, problem solve and try again!

If you look at your life as the victim of your circumstances and that everyone else around you is to blame for your life, you also create a prison.  This prison is built of bitterness, self-pity, victim mentality and despair.  If you insist that you are a powerless victim, you will continue to be one.  Whenever possible, stop letting your life be the result of other actions or inactions. You have the power to take charge in your life and say that you refuse to accept or assign blame to anyone or anything.

7. Toxic relationships: There is a quote I read at least year ago and it has stuck with me ever since.
"Not all toxic people are cruel and uncaring. Some of them love us dearly. Many of them have good intentions. Most are toxic to our being simply because their needs and way of existing in the world force us to compromise ourselves and our happiness. They aren't inherently bad people, but they aren't the right people for us. And as hard as it is, we have to let them go. Life is hard enough without being around people who bring you down, and as much as you care, you can't destroy yourself for the sake of someone else. You have to make your wellbeing a priority. Whether that means breaking up with someone you care about, loving a family member from a distance, letting go of a friend, or removing yourself from a situation that feels painful- you have every right to leave and create a safer place for yourself." ~Daniell Koepke
I had to do this.  Months in the making, and last month I just had to do it.  I had to stop, turn around, and walk away.  As I expected, it was not reacted to in the same way and I dealt with a fair share of anger and accusations, and even a bit of bullying and harassment.  I tried to explain myself, but as I said before, it didn't get me far, and it just confirmed for me that the direction I needed to walk was away, so I did.  And it is okay.  I'm okay.  Everyone is the right one for someone. And everyone is the wrong one for someone else.  And sometimes, someone is both for the same person. All we can do is honor the good and let go when it no longer is good or healthy for BOTH people.

8. Excuses: When I made the decision to live as blame free of a life as possible, it also meant that I had to give up the habit of making and giving excuses for things.  An excuse is a defense or a justification that we use to seek the lessening of blame.  If I am free from blame, blaming myself or others for my life and what happens to me, then I am also free from excuses.

I am also not responding to, or even listening to, if I can help it, excuses from others.  I am not going to take what I am making effort to not dish out.  If I hurt you, I will tell you I am sorry. I won't try to tell you why me hurting you was justified or kind of okay.  I'm just sorry. And if I tell you that you hurt me, all I want is an apology if you are truthfully sorry.  I don't want to hear why I shouldn't be hurt or what I did wrong to somehow cause my "punishment" of you hurting me. No more excuses. Just honesty and accountability.

9. Control: Somethings are just simply out of my control. I can't control it. It's not my job.  And there is absolutely NOTHING predictable about "control" anyways.  You can do everything in a situation that should add up to result #1, and still you end up with result #27.  And you can do nothing in a situation and end up with the best result ever.  All we have at best is a semblance of control in so many areas of our lives.  We will make ourselves sick with worry, stress, and anxiety if we try to micromanage and control everything. It's okay to let some things go. It's okay to trust others to do it their way and it'll be okay.

10. Grudges, dwelling and revenge: This one. Oh man, this one can be hard!  When we're hurt, it's so easy to hold on to bitterness, resentment, anger and more. And I have been a long time member of the misery company and I have dwelled on my hurts in long, drawn out and oftentimes unhealthy ways.

I realized that I was finally changing and growing up when recently faced with something that would have damn near killed me in the past and I felt okay.  I felt peaceful and I felt content in my choice to walk away. I let some pressure and actions from the other side of the experience step me backwards a bit into the explanation and fighting trap of negativity, but I stopped it and stepped away quicker than I ever have before in my life and for that, I am proud of myself.

I'm not mad anymore. I'm not hurt anymore.  I'm not sad anymore. And I am also not dwelling in a grudge of bitterness this time.  I honor what was had with a smile on my face and smile at the course of life I am on now, with who I am on this course with.  I'm okay.  I'm free.

Obviously, I am no where near perfect.

I have days where I want to complain, and blame and make excuses.  I am human.  I am flawed. I am imperfect.  But I am trying.  Every single day I try to be better than I was yesterday.

If our level of happiness filled a jar, my jar is bigger and fuller than it was a month ago, three months ago, six months ago, or a year ago. And I am so grateful for that happiness. The healing, the growing, the letting go and the moving forward have made my life so much better, more fulfilling and positive.  I am a happy person. I've learned, I've lost, I've grown, I've loved and I continue to do so.  I share this today to not pretend that I am some special lifestyle, blogging, happiness guru... but rather to share what's worked for me and to hopefully effect a positive change for even one person.  I am just one person on a journey for their best life, grateful for those who have shared their journey with me and hoping to share my own.