Archive for the ‘encouragement’ Category

For any of you who know me, you know I will be fifty in March.  So you may think I am talking about the menopausal change often referred to as ‘the change’.  You would be wrong.  That particular change is the least of my concerns right now.

My stomach and back problems started a decade or two ago.  I have had four endoscopies in my life, trying to find the problem.  I have also had x-rays, MRIs, CT scans, ultrasounds, bloodwork and been poked and prodded for years. I have changed diets like one would change socks, trying to identify the foods that hurt me.  The only thing I knew for sure was that stress made it much worse.  I spent years in therapy, trying to figure out why I generally chose stressful situations in my life, be it stressful relationships or stressful employment or stressful hobbies.  Always gravitating toward the stress.  I am finally on the right road to move away from most of the stresses that are presented to me.  Some are inevitable, and I am doing my best to learn how to control my reactions.  From what I understand, controlling myself is more than half the battle.

Before proper therapy, where I agreed to become a case study for the state, it had gotten so bad, that I attempted suicide to make the mental stress and stomach pain stop.  It was at that point that the state took an interest in me and gave me the help I had so desperately needed.  It helped a lot but not enough.  Wellness seems to be filling in the mental cracks for me and I am grateful.  I will never be perfect and always have the right reactions.  I wish I could do that.  It would fix a lot of the issues I have, when it comes to stress.

This year I had had enough and asked my primary doctor to send me to an allergist so I could find out what foods I am actually allergic to.  I would find out that I am only mildly gluten and lactose intolerant.  I asked why do tomatoes, oranges, lemons etc make it so I can’t breathe?  They didn’t know.  So I asked if it was all in my head.  They said no, that the symptoms are real.  They can see it upon examination.  My throat was swollen on the inside.  So they did an environmental panel on my back.  The doc said, oh there’s the problem.  You are allergic to the world.  We started allergy shots.  A shot in each arm three times a week for six months.  But I was still having trouble swallowing (it was like I would forget how to swallow and choke on food or water), I would wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air, my back still hurt, my stomach still hurt and I had the worst of coughs.  My weight was continuing to rise, as well.  My allergist diagnosed me with asthma and put me on three different inhalers, two of which are daily.  It helped some, but not enough.  He then put me on prescription nexium ($450 a month, thank God we have insurance so I only pay $10).  I even tried prednisone!  Nothing fixed me.  After 6 months he decided to send me to a GI.  They did a colonoscopy and endoscopy and that’s when things began to change.  The GI gave me meds for stomach pain and nausea.  They help so much.

All of that being said, I was told that losing weight would help with my diagnosis of scoliosis and back pain.  It would also help with acid reflux.  But I could never get the weight down due to the stress.  Or rather, due to my REACTIONS to stress.  I am still working on that.  It is so difficult to change reactions when it is what you have done your whole life.  But I am determined to overcome my own road blocks.

The last year ended in all kinds of diagnosis.  Asthma, scoliosis, hiatal hernia, diverticulitis, benign adrenal adenoma, spot on my lung from inflammation due to a persistent cough, removal of polyps from my colon, removal of a hyperplastic polyp from my stomach and finally Barrett’s oesophagus.  That last one is having the biggest impact.  That one means precancerous.  Riding the line.  Get it under control or cancer is on its way.

I have eliminated all the things that help it progress like, coffee, alcohol, acidic fruits and veggies, meat and dairy.  I am down 8 pounds since the diagnosis on December 21st, 2018.

So this year is the year of ‘the change’ for me.  It is the year that change my lifestyle.  I will stick to this new way of… eating to live and not living to eat.  It’s a matter of keeping cancer at bay.  The weight loss goes right along with that.  Lower weight means less pressure on my insides causing more acid reflux.  This is the year of continued reactionary growth.  It is even more important that I get a grip on my reactions, no matter how stressful the situation.  If it’s too much to handle I need to leave the situation.  If it is people refusing to respect the severity of the situation and continue to overstep my healthy boundaries, I need to remove them from my life.

Thankfully for me, the majority of the people in my life are a loving, positive presence.  They are tremendously appreciated.  The others either need to be seen in small doses or removed altogether.  I would say that it is on them, but really it’s all my decision.  It’s my responsibility to control my reactions, as well as decide who is and isn’t in my life.

I am taking control of me.  I will always get back up when I get knocked down.  And I will welcome the help of those who love me.  I am blessed with the best support system anyone could ask for.

Okay 2019, let’s do this.  Self control, healthy reactions, gratitude, forgiveness and love.  This is the year of ‘the change’.

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Nothing’s always perfect,

Nothing’s always right,

But know that I am in this,

For us, I’ll always fight.

 

When the words just won’t form,

And frustration takes its toll,

When I see you struggle,

Patience is my goal.

 

That doesn’t always happen,

I don’t always do right.

Just know that I am in this,

For us, I’ll always fight.

 

On days that one is battling

The demons they cannot hide,

The other finds the strength,

To fight them by their side.

 

When the storms roll in,

And the waves attack our boat,

We have to work together,

So we can stay afloat.

 

The waters begin to calm

And the sun begins to shine.

Peace always returns

Every single time.

 

Nothing’s always perfect,

Nothing’s always right,

We know that we are in this.

For us, we’ll always fight.

 

 

 

I want to start this post by saying, you may or may not agree with me.  Either way is fine.  What I write is simply my opinion.  And as life alters and my path changes, oftentimes my opinions change, as well.  But for today, THIS is my opinion on this subject.

Many times in my life I have been afraid.  Afraid of being alone, afraid of being attacked in a parking lot at night, afraid of being homeless, afraid of starving, afraid of saying something stupid, afraid of public speaking, afraid to drive, afraid of passing out in public due to a panic attack, afraid of the dark, afraid of failing in any endeavor, afraid I wasn’t smart enough to write a novel, afraid I wasn’t smart enough to learn how to do a new job.

Every one of those fears pushed me in the right direction.  Every one of those fears created strengths.  I overcame every one of those fears.

The thing is, I had to choose to overcome them.  I didn’t choose to overcome them immediately.  They all took time.  Time to embrace the fear, let out the tears, and find my footing.  Fear will lead you in the right direction if you let it.

Think about all the things you have overcome in your life.  Think about all the things you wanted to do but you were afraid to do…but you did them anyway.  That first day of school, first day of work, first dance, first kiss, first I love you, first joke you told in front of people, first time at bat, first time on a ski slope, first book you wrote, first picture you painted or drew, and the first time you actually showed your talents to another person.  You were afraid, but you did it anyway and found out, it wasn’t so bad.  Or maybe it was even fun!  Or maybe you found out you didn’t really care for it.  Either way, you did it.  You overcame your fears and allowed yourself to experience something new.

Fear isn’t always a bad thing.  It CAN be a bad thing.  But most of the time, I believe you can use it to your advantage.  You can turn that fear into a strength.  Learn to control your fears, don’t let them control you.

Thank you for reading.  X

I have always loved my birthday.  I don’t have any family members that share my special day.  It just meant so much to me that people were excited about the day I entered this world.

But now it is a very different reason.  You see, on December 22nd, 2015, I attempted suicide by swallowing a bunch of pills.  The police came and took me to a psych ward for observation.  After spending a bit of time there, I sought help with a therapist.  And now I no longer have those dark thoughts.  I have hopeful thoughts.  Positive thoughts.  And I am eternally grateful that I failed to end my life when I tried.  Grateful that I am here. Grateful for every single birthday I am blessed with, purely because I love being alive.

It’s why I take pictures of everything that I find fascinating or funny or beautiful and share them on social media.  I want to share my appreciation for life with the world.  I love listening to the train as it passes by in the night.  I love beautiful cloudy days and gorgeous sunny ones.  I love the smell of the rain and the sound it makes outside the window or on my umbrella.  I love the feel of the warm rain on my skin.  I love witty people that laugh at their own jokes even harder than the rest of us.  I love to hear people laugh.  I love the sound of dozens of voices talking when I enter a crowded place, especially places where there are family functions going on.  I love hugs.  I love kindness.  I love the roar of the ocean waves meeting the rocks and sand.  I love sunsets and sunrises. I love that first sip of coffee with my favorite creamer, in the morning.  I love the comfort of my bed at the end of a long day.  I love to dance to music, in the kitchen, when preparing food or doing dishes.  I love the hum of the fan when I fall asleep in the dark.  I love my fuzzy Star Wars pajama pants and oversized Harley Davidson sweatshirt.  I love going barefoot.  I love having hope that things will turn out okay.  I love having faith that God is in control.  I love when I see his signs so clearly leaving no room for doubt.  I love peace.  I love solitude.  I love going to the movies and out for dinner.  I love doing things on my own, feeling independent.  I also love having help from people who never make me feel indebted to them.  I love helping others.  I love doing speaking engagements.  I love impacting others lives in a positive way.  I love the castle ruins in Ireland, the sunsets at Santa Monica beach, the history in Delaware, the skies over Texas and all the people I have been blessed to meet in-between. And I love writing.  Telling the stories I watch in my mind as movies.  I love sharing those stories with others.  The love of my family and friends.  The ones who have been here for me in the darkest of times.  I love cuddles from my little dog.  And more than anything, I love my children.  To realize all the years of their hugs, hearing their laughter, being there for them through tears…that were almost gone. It makes me love life all the more.

I am here.  I am alive.  I have learned to love myself.  I have purpose.  And I am loved.

This is why my birthday is so very important to me.  Yes, every day is important to me, but I wasn’t born every day.  I was born March 15th.  That is my day to celebrate me and the life I have been blessed with.

Thank you for reading.  X

“Appreciate someone else’s beauty without questioning your own.”  That is a variation of a meme I recently read.  It spoke volumes to me.  I really struggle with this one.  There have been times in my life that I have sadly invited people in who would tell me the most awful things about myself.  In turn, I actually started to listen to them after years of hearing the negative.  I would hear them call me beautiful, until they were angry about something…anything really.  Then I would hear them call me the most horrific of names.I think the one that stuck the most, the one I am still working to overcome, was old fatass. I allowed that one to do some serious damage.

I have learned that it is important to be secure in yourself.  You have to be so secure in yourself that words like that don’t settle in your mind and shake your self perception. That is so much easier said than done.  The first step is to remove negative, hurtful people from you inner circle.  Surround yourself with people who see your beauty.  People that mirror the love and kindness that you so generously share.  The second step for me was therapy. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is working wonders for me.  It teaches me to stop and think, the second I hear those awful words ringing in my ears.  I replace them with the loving things I have heard others tell me.  Then I replace even that with loving words I tell myself.  That right there is what matters more than anything.  The loving words I tell myself.  I make a list of the things I like about myself.  I remember that the things I do not like about myself are either changeable or they are things about me that make me unique. Unique is often ridiculed.  It shouldn’t be.  Unique is what keeps this world from being mundane.  Unique is what adds character.  Think about it.  When you walk into someone’s home and see a standard, cookie cutter room.  You generally think, what a lovely home. But when you walk in and there are pieces of furniture you have never seen before, or artwork that is new to you, it is an instant conversation piece.  That is because it is unique. We need to learn to embrace our unique qualities.  Stay away from those who ridicule those precious parts of us.  Those people, most likely, do not like the unique parts of themselves and are projecting that self loathing onto you.  Pray for them, send them positive vibes, but keep them at a distance.  That kind of negativity can wear you down, get into your mind and poison you, as well.  The things we surround ourselves with are the things we become.

It’s like a person who is drowning.  It takes a life guard, equipped with a life preserver to save them.  If someone who isn’t a professional swimmer attempts to save them, the person going under will pull them down, too.  They won’t mean to, but in their panic for survival, they will cause you to go down with them.  It is much like that in life.  It takes a professional to help a hurting person get better.  And only that hurting person can decide if they want that help.  Sticking around and trying to guide them to help, will only make them angry and get you hurt.  Pray for them, send them positive vibes, but keep them at a distance.

Now that I have explained how best to feed your self love, and what to avoid, let’s go back to the original thought here.  Learning to appreciate someone else’s beauty without questioning your own.  I have been doing better about that.  I used to cringe every time I saw someone young and thin.  I wanted to cower in a corner to hide my old fatass.  I didn’t want them to see me.  I was afraid they were internally criticizing me and laughing at me. Perhaps even judging me.  I am getting better.  Now when I see them, my first thought is, her skin is so young and smooth.  She is beautiful.  I just admire those people as works of art.  I do not go into an art gallery and see a beautiful painting and get angry because I cannot paint that well.  I do not listen to singers that give me goosebumps and feel angry because I cannot carry a tune in a bucket.  I look at the painting or hear the song and I feel something special.  I am filled with appreciation for what I am experiencing.  I am seeing people in that same light now.  I hear a voice that is sultry and sexy and just love listening to it.  I see eyes that look like crystal blue pools and I just love looking at them.  I see youth and watch the how carefree they are and I am glad they are getting to experience that time in their lives, because it changes as the responsibilities begin.

I will end this piece with something that I experienced at work recently.  It reaffirmed that we need to appreciate the beauty in others, not question our own.  A young woman, early twenties was in my line, her toddler in the seat of the shopping cart.  The woman was beautiful.  Her brown hair in a short pixie cut, big brown eyes and she was thin.  I wondered what her secret was to staying thin after having a child.  Maybe she works out, I thought.  I couldn’t take my eyes off her.  She was captivating.  But she was also nervous. She dropped her purse, then a few of the items she was putting on the belt.  She kept apologizing for everything she did.  She apologized to the lady behind her for taking so long.  She apologized to me as she dropped her money again, handing it to me.  I gently asked her if she was okay.  She stopped and looked me in the eyes and said, “No.  I have to have an emergency hysterectomy and I am scared.”  I said, “It will be okay.  I had one at twenty-five.”  Then her eyes filled with tears and she said, “And I just found out I have cancer.  That’s why they need to do the hysterectomy.”  She turned and kissed her toddler on the head, tears streaming down her face.  I told her I was so sorry and that I would be praying for her.  She thanked me and left with her items and her child.  My heart hurt so badly for her.  I realized how ridiculous it was for me to wonder how she looked the way she did.  I should have done nothing more than appreciate her beauty.  I will remember that from now on.  It doesn’t matter how a person has the qualities we admire.  All that matters is that we admire them without questioning them or our own.

So that is what I am going to do from now on.  Learn to appreciate someone else’s beauty, without questioning my own.

Thank you for reading.  X

 

Oh, where to begin.  Starting over is never easy.  The last time I started over it was exciting.  I had a plan.  Well, sort of had a plan.  More like, I had a man.  I have always had a man there to take care of me in some way.  I lived on my own when I was a teenager.  I moved in with my best friend three weeks after graduating high school.  She and I had been besties for 6 years.  It was exciting and new, but within a year I had struck out on my own.  I lived in a small condo that was on the border of foreclosure.  I rented from a nice man and his wife for a year.  I didn’t make much money and nearly starved to death.  My average weight is 125.  I met a nice man at work.  He was 15 years my senior.  My weight was down to 104 pounds.  He fed me and I married him.  I knew from the start that we married for the wrong reasons.  I moved into his home, when to his church, learned to like many of the things that he liked.  I conformed to his way of life.  By the end of the relationship I found myself going from being a sheltered housewife to a bounty hunter, then a makeup artist at a department store.  Two children and nearly twenty years later we divorced.  I ended up in another long term relationship.  I moved from Texas to Delaware to be with him.  I ended up on welfare until the state offered me a career opportunity.  I did the schooling and became a Certified Nurses Assistant.  I worked in home health and took care of mostly elderly patients.  Many of them over 90.  After a few years they would pass on and I would be devastated.  I stayed in that relationship for 5 years.  He was a quadriplegic.  That was why I chose to become a CNA.  I conformed to his way of life.  It ended and I wanted to move to Maine.  My dream was to live in a little house by a lighthouse and write.  Maybe work as a barmaid.  But my kids were grown and renting a house in Texas.  My daughter and her husband, my son and his then fiance’ (now wife). They had an extra bedroom and asked me to live with them while I got on my feet.  So I did.  Maine could wait for a while.  I missed my kids.  It was the most amazing year, living with the four of them.  I got to know my son in law and daughter in law.  I love them.  In fact, she is one of my closest friends now. We talk about everything.   Within a month of moving in with them and anxious to heal and figure out who I was and what I wanted, I fell right into my next relationship.  I wasn’t ready for a relationship but I didn’t know that at the time.

We would do the long distance thing for a year and then I moved to California to be with him.  I moved into his apartment, learned the ropes of travel, learned the art of public speaking.  I conformed to his way of life.  Are you seeing a pattern here?  This relationship ended, too.  I am still broken over this one.  I am still in love with him and he is still in love with me, but we both know we did the right thing.  Personal reasons that I will not go into.

So here I am.  But this time, my mind is different.  I was in cognitive behavior therapy for the last year.  The state of California offered to help me after my suicide attempt.  They offered me free therapy if I was willing to become a case study.  I agreed.  It made a huge difference in me.  I am starting the workbook over.  The last time I worked through it, I did it all from the perspective of one trying to save a relationship.  Now I am doing it from the correct perspective.  I am doing it so I can heal.  So I can be stronger, more in touch with that little voice that tells me when something is wrong.  I can look back on my life and see that in almost every heartbreaking or devastating situation I found myself in, I heard that little voice first.  I would argue with it and try to reason away my concerns.  I don’t do that anymore.  I listen now.  I seek out that little voice now through prayer.  This is not a get out of jail free card for the ones who have chosen to hurt me.  It is simply me taking responsibility for my own poor decisions.

I admit, I am scared.  I haven’t been ‘on my own’ since I was nineteen years old.  And really, this is the first time I have been 100% single since I was a teen.  Not someone hurting over a recently ended relationship and falling into new one immediately.  I am not open to being taken advantage of due to my vulnerability.  I am vulnerable, my emotions are raw, my mind still goes in and out of feeling independent to feeling like a scared little mouse in a the middle of a herd of elephants and looking for a safe place.  Then I remember, I have one of the strongest support systems one could ask for.  I have a hundred arms ready to give me a much needed hug.  I am at a place in my life that I have never experienced before.  And I am eternally grateful for the friendships that have stayed intact since my last break up.  He introduced me to a world of people that welcome the hurting, the lonely and the scared.  They not only welcome you, but once they take you in, they never let you go.  I have blessings that have remained from all the difficult situations that I have somehow put myself in.  Something good has always come from any of the bad in my life.  And I am so very grateful.

So here I am.  I have gone from a life of luxury and travel to one of very low pay, lots of hard work cashiering and time to focus on me and heal.  I paid all my bills this month and had money for food.  My son and his wife have taken me in until I can get on my feet.  I wake up to people who love me and encourage me every single day.  I get hugs and I love you’s.  I have a place to work, with people I consider friends.  I feel loved every where I go. I have an online community who supports me.  And most of all, I have me.  I am learning to love me and believe in me.  I am taking it one day at a time.  Some days I fail, some days I cry and some days I smile.  And other days, like today, I do it all.

Thank you for taking the time to read.  I love you all.  x

Hello everyone.  My blog is a bit late this week, as I have been preoccupied with my new love interest and with writing my novel.

So first things first.  This has been a whirlwind of a week and I have been so happy sleep has eluded me.  I lay there in my bed and my mind spins around recalling the scenes I have written, people I have spoken with and the words my love shared with me.  My heart is just so full right now.  Friends, family and love.  What more do you need?  Well, food…and I keep forgetting to eat.  But I still love all of this.

I start my new job at Dollar Tree on Wednesday, that will pay my bills until my book is out.  I was approached by a fellow author, asking if he could possibly use one of my pictures for the cover of his book.  He may use it and he may not, but either way it was an honor that he even considered me.  I also found out this week that I have an editor.  Another fellow author and dear friend arranged that for me.  Facebook has been such a wonderful blessing.  The fantastic people I have met there have truly enriched my life and continue to do so.  I only hope I can return that for them somehow.

I went to a birthday party for my son in laws aunt and had a fabulous time there.  Good people, good food and white wine.  I am an introvert and at one point I wondered off onto the back porch and visited with people.  I even pulled a chair up and sat among them…not off to the side somewhere.  My daughter went looking for me and she came out and found me.  She said, “Well, look at you.  Socializing.  I’m so proud of you!”  lol  Then later I was sitting on the couch and the sweetest girl in the world sat on my lap and kissed me.  That’s what happens when you go to a party and drink too much.  I will post a pic.  😉

Then before we left, my son in law’s grandmother (a feisty fiery woman that I just adore) says to me, “I know a book you should write.  You should write a mystery called ‘where the hell did my right breast go?'”  Then she lifted up her shirt and showed me her mastectomy scar.  That woman is one proud survivor!  Gotta admire that!  Anyway, it was a wonderful visit like something out of a movie.  Wood floors, country music, dancing, smoking, drinking, laughing, hugging, eating and just all around a loving wonderful bunch.

And lastly, last night was crazy.  I moved away from a place where violence abounded.  gunshots, fires and stabbings in the apartment complex.  It never seemed too bad though.  I was used to it I suppose.  But now I live in another state in a nice neighborhood.  So there should not be such things.  Well, there was a whole group of teens screaming and such in the middle of the night, so we went to the window to see what was happening.  My son in law went out there to ask and I’ll be damned if a gun didn’t go off.  sigh  This stuff just follows me around.  It’s crazy.  So I will do my best to stay out of your neighborhood.  Because I’m nice that way, of course my current neighbors may argue that.

Well, that seems enough excitement for one week.  Now wish me luck on finishing the book, starting the new job and sleep.  And wish my new love luck…he’s gonna have his hands full with me.

Thank you for reading and have a great week. x

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