38

I have been thinking about my 38th birthday for the past 5 years. Ever since I lost my sister the day after my 32nd birthday. Here I am, on the cusp of my 37th birthday and it becomes more and more ingrained in my mind.

I have been thinking about my 38th birthday for the past 5 years. Ever since I lost my sister the day after my 32nd birthday. Here I am, on the cusp of my 37th birthday and it becomes more and more ingrained in my mind.

My sisters last year of life was her 37th year, pretty much. Her last birthday was on August 20th 2014, when she turned 38 and she passed away October 1st 2014. She didn’t even get 2 months of 38. My birthday is September 30th.

So hear I am, about to start my 37th year, the year that was her last. So, I look at my life and my mind goes to that place, the inevitable place of, “And if this was my last year, would I be satisfied with my life?”

That was one thing about my sister Mercy. She lived the fuck out of her life, because she NEVER took for granted the time she was here. She wasn’t supposed to make it past a few months old, so she lived accordingly. But the question I have for myself is…am I living accordingly?

I was born relatively healthy, especially in comparison to her.  But I have always waged a deep internal battle of dissatisfaction with who I am. That, however, is not to say that I haven’t worked on this actively and consciously.  I’ve been trying to turn this self-esteem boat around since I was 25.

My 25th year was one of my hardest, until I hit 2014 that is…but at 25 my world was flipped and I had to make a very hard choice. The choice was that being alone was better then being with someone that was destroying me. To love myself, more then the person I thought I loved. It seems really easy now, but I remember how devastating it felt at the time. But literally, walking away from that mess was the BEST decision I have made in my life. It was the first time I was my own hero, or in the words of Pretty Woman, I rescued myself.

And since then it has been a slow and steady learning and reckoning. I have learned SO MUCH about myself and my life. But to be honest, I was still never 100% happy with myself, I was still traversing rocky territory…and then I lost my mom and sister.

It threw me and it threw me hard. I didn’t revert to any of my past mistakes but I had a whole new mess to contend with and reconcile. I have walked slowly through it watching it go from unbearable to just heartbreaking to lonely. I wasn’t in a great place before I lost them, now I feel like I’m in another not so great place with even more baggage.

But what about the work? The learning and the self introspection? I can’t discount it, I know so much now about loss and pain but on the flip side I know the value of celebrating the fact that you get to live another day. Do I always remember that? No, I’m still imperfect, flawed and very human. You don’t walk away triumphant from loss one magical day, you walk away and realize you have to learn how to traverse LOTS of new, scary terrain.

When I first lost them I thought I’d reach a moment of clarity. I’d wake up one day and it would all make sense. It doesn’t work like that. The gaps in my heart will never fill, the pain I feel when I see their pictures will never go away. And I will never stop wishing that I could just talk to them one more time.

But that takes me back to 37. To this upcoming year of life I am about to live. Though I have done the studying and have been seeking knowledge and endless guidance. I must admit, there is something I haven’t been doing much of.  The work. The hard labor it would take to really begin to confront my own terrible, harsh, self opinion.

The work looks like me being disciplined with myself about eating better or going to the gym. It looks like me playing my guitar and taking voice lessons again. It looks like me doing a lot of things I currently don’t do. I have a lot of reasons and excuses why i don’t do these things. Some days life just feels to hard or draining or sad to do anything more then sit and spend another evening on my phone.

But, the question is do I want to turn 28 next year and feel exactly as I do now? Exactly as I have felt for many, many years. Maybe before I was thinner or had less bills but I have never been fully happy or accepting of who I am as a person. I love so many other people in my life unconditionally, but I cannot offer myself this same kindness. I don’t do things that make my heart happy often enough. I’m not doing the work. I even know what the goals are now, but I am still not pursuing them.

This is my New Years Eve, this is actually way more important to me then Jan 1st ever could be. Did my sister squander 37? No, my sisters crazy ass up and moved to West Virginia at 37 because that’s what my sister did! She did whatever her heart called her to do no matter how ‘effing crazy all of us thought she was. That is how she LIVED her life. She L-I-V-E-D it.  

Don’t read this as me being a fatalist and thinking my life won’t extend past 38. Though, it is not my choice when I leave this earth, I fully know that. But I just feel this is my personal call to action. This is my brain saying, “You have done so much already but now it’s time to take it all the way”.

I wanted to write this as a private journal entry to myself at first. Why? Because I feel like I have said I wanted to change so many times, and I never have. So if you don’t call your shot…no one can see you fail. But I’m calling my shot right now. This is going to be so hard, I know it is and that’s why I have been avoiding it.

But I’m not going to squander 37 or 38 or however long I am given. I’m tired of it. I want to push to be the person I truly feel I am on the inside and the person I was meant to be. I’m not even 100% sure who that is, but I know I sure as hell won’t find out unless I actually do the work.

I feel like I am dragging myself through life right now. Life is living me. And though many amazing things that have happened to me, I still feel like I’m not enough. This comes out in a lot of ways. My appearance, my actions and even more importantly my non-actions. All the things I don’t do because I fear judgement or failure.

I vow to change, and I promise you 37 will look and feel unlike any other year that came before it.

I will not break…I will not…

Do you just continuously do things that are bad for you? Make the decisions that put you facing the opposite direction of where you want to go? I totally do and it’s becoming more and more apparently to me.

I went through my February life coaching with Rachel Hollis and then revisited my January coaching again. I had listened to the coaching session live in January but had done so while I was working. I even took notes! But when it came to February was I was too busy to even listen so I had to go through the session over the weekend. I realized how much more impactful it was to actually just sit there and be a student vs trying to do 2 things at once. So, I re-listened my January course.

It was like I had never even listened to January! The way everything absorbed and hit me. I’m so glad I spent the two hours this weekend really focusing in on what Rach was trying to teach. But, it also made me realize that since January I had basically made NO movement toward my goal.

The first goal I’d like to work on is getting healthy and fit. I feel like it would be a gateway and a confidence booster for all my other goals. But in my Start Today journal this has been, “The first goal I’m going to accomplish..” since October. And I can sheepishly admit that I have made ZERO freakin’ progress towards this goal. Actually things have gotten worse because my gym membership expired in Feb..so now I don’t even have a gym to not go to!

This kind of ties in with February’s lesson and my biggest takeaway from that was that people don’t accomplish their goals because IT’S HARD. We all KNOW what to do we all know where to find the info/what the steps are to take but we don’t do it! This is SO true for me. Self-discipline is something I am apparently NOT good at. Another huge takeaway for me was anything good that has ever happened to you has probably been through your own effort (one way or another).

What made me write this? Well I decided to simply keep track of my calories today. And I realized that snacking is REALLY not helping any of my efforts. It has made me conscious of how many calories those delicious smores girl scout cookie sitting about a foot and a half away from me actually are. AND YET I am sitting here dying to snack on more.

This is not about cookies and calories though, this is about me constantly letting myself off the hook to the commitments I make to myself. (Rachel also touches upon that in “Girl Wash Your Face”.) But this is exactly why I have not made any movement towards my goal since October and before. And I don’t just do this with food I also do this with finances and even some relationships. “Let it slide…I’ll do it next time…next month…next year…” Next, next, next until 2020 rolls around and I still have the same goals. I’m paying for this coaching but I need to take action and use it.

If I tell myself I’m only going to have two cookies I need to just have those two cookies. I could have saved one and ate it later..but I didn’t. It’s about keeping promises to myself and to yourself. But obviously I have not figured out a magical way to do that at the moment. Hence my struggle.. Though I must admit, writing this out and putting it in my own face has squashed my craving quite a bit.

I think everyone has an area in their life where they KNOW they should be doing differently and they don’t do it. Because it’s just so easy to say, “I’ll do it next time…” I don’t think self-punishment or negative self talk is the answer to this either. How do you deal with this? What have you done to navigate around your weak points? I should have set myself up to win last Friday and not bought the cookies in the first place. But I can’t go back in time…so I can only do better in the future. So that is what I’m really, really, no REALLY, going to try and do.

Maybe I need to improve on keeping promises to myself more than even fitness and health?? Maybe that should be my first goal.

“Start Today” journal update and Life Coaching!

A few days ago I learned from Rachel’s instagram that she was going to start a Life Coaching program. It is not one-on-one. She made it clear in her video that she literally has no time to do that, and even if she did I know darn well I couldn’t afford it!

It’s been roughly a month and a half since I began using my “Start Today” journal. I can easily say it’s been an overall positive experience! At first trying to remember which 10 goals I had chosen was tough. But a month and a half later I finally have them totally memorized.

In itself remembering what the 10 goals are is a big deal, think about it! My own brain couldn’t easily recall the top 10 things I wanted to do in life. Each one of these items is super important to me, but I had never put them in front of my face enough to actually remember them. They’d come in and out of my consciousness like flashes, here and there I’d think, “Wouldn’t that be awesome if…” but that was it, after it’d be forgotten. Not anymore!

Listing 5 things I am grateful for is also really wonderful. It becomes challenging when you are pissed off or in a bad mood. I sit their brooding over whatever upset me and then I force my brain to think positively. But after I finish I tend to be every slightly less grumpy.

I do have to admit one thing though, I haven’t been perfect about doing it every single day. There are some days when I have missed it either when I was sick, I kept putting it off and forgot…or I was just in a terrible mood and was laying in bed lamenting. I always start back up though. Why? Because Rachel teaches that imperfection is ok! What matters most is that you RESTART. Don’t let go of it just cause you messed up once. This is what I always have to remind myself, because I am a perfectionist. I hope I don’t miss another day from this point forward, but if I do, I know I can start again.

Life Coaching with Rachel Hollis

A few days ago I learned from Rachel’s instagram that she was going to start a Life Coaching program. It is not one-on-one. She made it clear in her video that she literally has no time to do that, and even if she did I know darn well I couldn’t afford it!

Even still I was thinking, “Oh god, it’s going to be like $100 a month or something”. Because if you follow this space, like I do, you know that these teachers charge A LOT for their info. Courses can easily be in the hundreds or thousands of dollars. So I braced myself and looked at the price. The personal life coaching, which is basically 2 hours a month, is $39 bucks.

That felt do-able. That felt like a realistic thing. I pay $9.99 for Apple Music and $14.95 for Audible every month. How about paying monthly for something that might actually help me move the needle forward in my life?! So what, that works out to $20 an hour? To get guidance from someone I feel really resonates with me? That feels like a bargain.  I pay more an hour to the person that does my hair.

So I bit the bullet, I signed up. Still skeptical mind you…still wondering if this money could be better spent. I have to say, yesterdays session felt COMPLETELY worth every cent. Rachel is just so genuine and raw and imperfect. I freakin’ love imperfection because I struggle with perfection so much. I love anyone who goes out into the world and says, “I’m doing this, I don’t know exactly what I’m doing..but I’m doing it anyway!”

I’m not going to break down what we learned or what our homework was. I’m going to wait until next month and let you know how/if what I learned helped me, what I implemented and what I possibly didn’t get rolling on. To be continued…

2019 is already a better year

No, I’m not being overly optimistic, even though it is January 1st. This is already a fact, because I went through so much tumultuous terrain in 2018 that I have laid the groundwork for a much smoother 2019.

No, I’m not being overly optimistic, even though it is January 1st. This is already a fact, because I went through so much tumultuous terrain in 2018 that I have laid the groundwork for a much smoother 2019.

In 2018 I moved away from home for the first time in my life. I’ve mentioned before my issues with change but this had a lot of emotional aspects attached to it. Both in why I moved out and where I moved into. To rehash it all would be moot, but I’ll just say things did not feel “settled” until the very end of 2018. I’m starting this year very much “settled in” and comfortable with most of my living situation. Also, my relationship with my dad has improved drastically from last year at this time. There are still a few question marks lingering in the air, but won’t there always be? I flipped my life UPSIDE down when I moved and it took me a LONG time to stand back up again.

The fact that I pretty much won’t have to deal with any of the same problems that made 2018 so difficult already puts a put of plus signs on 2019. I wanted to create and start things, like this blog or instagram but I was always so emotionally distracted by other crap. It’s HARD to be creative when you don’t feel good about things, or when you’re in a bad place mentally. I fully understand that creativity is an antidote to those things..but I just couldn’t bridge that gap often enough to make it a true remedy for my sadness/worries.

Maybe it just wasn’t my season to create, it was my time to deal with other things in my life. Never feel bad if you don’t have the emotional clarity or strength to create. Because I surely couldn’t bring myself to do it often enough.

I didn’t wait until January 1st to start working on 2019. I actually started around October of 2018. I didn’t exactly successfully participate in Rachel Hollis’ “Last 90 days” challenge BUT I did start actively working and thinking about my goals. I knew I wanted to get healthy in 2019 so I asked for a Nutri-bullet, things like that. But writing my goals has really been great. Reminding myself EVERY SINGLE DAY what I really want to accomplish in life is SO helpful. I’m so glad I didn’t wait until Jan 1st to start. Not that there is anything wrong with that, that’s my usual M.O. too. But I just feel more solid in my direction this Jan 1st then I have in others.

I’m going to really work hard on my self confidence this year. Harder then I’ve ever worked before. I’m going to work on building relationships outside of my current ones (i.e. get more FRIENDS). Like I am just so TIRED of feeling bad about myself or deficient in some way. Like I am truly SICK of it! I’ve never felt that way before.

I always said, “I want to feel better about myself/more confident” but I just kept hoping it would magically come to me. Or that by completing certain goals or by getting X or Y it would happen. Nope. And late last year I figured it out, I really just need to change my perception. I need to remove, destroy and rebuild the entire way I ingest the world and I need to just be MYSELF in it. With no care on how I will be viewed or what others will think. I need to stand in the truth that is myself and just know that that IS enough. So that is my journey and ultimate goal for 2019 and beyond.

The first goal I write in my Start Today journal every single day is “I am unapologetically confident”. And beyond any other goal that is my biggest. Because I know that is the KEY to all my other goals. Every. Single. One. It beings with the self.

“Happiness is an inside job” – ??

I really want to share my journey with people. Because I know it’s not going to be easy and I think that is so important to say. People make it LOOK so easy. Then you feel like shit because you feel like you  SHOULD be ____ (happy/confident/etc) and you AREN’T…therefore, “something is wrong with me”. That is where my mind tends to go anyway. 

I miss journaling. I miss having a record of the things I’ve done. I miss posting the fun stuff too. I just miss writing. I remember with my ancient blog someone called me materialistic because I used to love fashion and shopping. I have always been afraid of that. Granted the world is TOTALLY different now and everyone on the internet could be called “materialistic” at this point. So even in starting this blog, I was always fearful of being seen as shallow or materialistic. 

You know what, I’m not. No matter what I post and anyone that REALLY knows me. Not some rando internet person knows that fact. As you can see like 15 years later and that statement still angers me. (lol) Because it’s just so far from the truth. So I want to share more of the light stuff in my life too.

Instagram, facebook a blog..it’s all curated. Just remember that as you browse the internet. I will never write about certain subjects here…because I don’t want to. But it should be obvious after skimming a few posts that my life can be beautiful and sad and everything else. I just hope you remember that, for EVERY person you scroll by. Stop comparing your life to others, I’m going to work on stopping too…ok?

I just have so much HOPE in my heart for this year. I really do. And that is NOT the case normally. Normally I  stand teetering on the edge of the year praying it won’t be terrible. Ever since 2014, I have been afraid of life…I’ve been afraid of the “unknown” disaster waiting to knock me down. But going on my 5th year of having lost my sister and mom I’m finally starting to have some faith that things don’t always have to take a turn for the terrible. Even if they do, I know I have people that love me to hold me back up. I know that somehow I will come out the other end of it. 

One thing I will say about 2018, with all it’s uncertainty…Adam was my rock. At the beginning of last year I was SO afraid of what moving in would do to our relationship. I was so afraid it was going to kick up the dust and show all these hidden fault lines. But it was nothing like that. 

Our relationship only got 100x better and stronger. And for that I am so grateful. I am so glad I was completely wrong and every fear I had about us was unfounded. 2018 allowed me to see just how amazing he was and how beautiful what we have is. 

So yeah, 2019, lets do this!