HUMOR, MOTIVATIONAL

My Fat Game is Real and Some Butts Are Hail Damaged

How I balance my weight loss with Girl Scout cookies

old doctor scale to weigh, check weight gain, fat
Photo by Ronit Shaked on Unsplash

At the doctor’s office today, I was congratulated for a three-and-a-half-pound weight loss.
Apparently, two pounds were fat, one pound was water weight. Naturally, when I got back home, I ate an entire box of Girl Scout cookies.

Life’s all about balance

I blame the Girl Scouts for my failure to maintain victory over my jiggly butt. Whoever oversees their marketing department is amazing! Cute kids holding boxes of the best cookies in the universe are impossible to resist.

Of course, I bought them from a co-worker, but that’s neither here nor there. Same cookies.

I’ve had an “on again, off again” relationship with fat all my life, or at least since I hit puberty.

At my age, it’s even harder to maintain the “off again” side of that romance.

And hail damage.

Speaking of butts, a man told me recently that women my age suffer from “hail damage” more often than not on their backsides. I find myself trying to look in the mirror to see how bad the storm was, and if I should be declared totaled or not. Maybe there’s compensation.

I used to be consumed with the fat game, and the more I thought about losing weight, the fatter I got.

It’s hard not to eat when all you can think about is being deprived of food.

Some people get bent out of shape when you call an unhealthily overweight person “fat,” but since I’m referring to myself, there’s no cause for offense. I know who I am and who I’ve been, and none of it was determined by my body size.

For the sake of vanity, I will go ahead and say I’m not fat now. I would like to lose a few pounds, but it’s not vital to my self-esteem. Sadly, it has been before, and for some people it still is. Both women and men tend to confuse body size with self-worth. They hate themselves because of their weight. I’ve been that person.

Social stigma, fat jokes, and well-meaning comments from others can also lead to feelings of helplessness and self-hate. The inside of a person is not determined by what you see on the outside, but it’s an easy mistake to make.

We all have things about us that aren’t perfect, whether we admit it or not. Maybe it’s hail damage, or maybe one foot is longer than the other. Maybe your mouth is a little too wide or your nose too long.

Maybe the gravity that comes with age is taking its toll and you aren’t being as graceful about it as you’d like to be.

I know there are things about me that I consider less than ideal. Maybe I don’t have the hail-damage (and maybe I do, I’m not telling), but I’m pretty sure my boobs used to be at least a little bit higher up than they are now.

A few other body parts aren’t doing their jobs like they should either. Things pop and crack like bubble wrap.

It’s possible I enjoy a little too much ice cream and the occasional entire box of Girl Scout cookies (at least once a year).

But what would life be if you couldn’t indulge every now and then?

Tomorrow, I’ll get back on the low carb lifestyle, and I’ll keep working out so I can try to develop a Jennifer Lopez butt and lift my decades old boobs.

Maybe next time I have a reason to go back to the doctor, she’ll tell me I lost a few more pounds so I can balance my life with a few more cookies.

Check this out if you’ve ever struggled with a food addiction or just like to eat a little too much.

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You can find information about women and body image here.

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ENCOURAGEMENT, MOTIVATIONAL

Finding Things to Write About When You’re Stuck and Learning to Love Yourself While You Do It

Photo by Forest Simon on Unsplash

The pressure is on. I know you can feel it! It’s hard to keep up with the demand for information when the competition to snag readers is so hot and heavy. This kind of stress can take the wind out of your sails and leave you struggling for words.

Another thing slowing you down is the apparent success of others. Some established writers make it seems so easy! It’s no stretch to imagine them sitting at a keyboard with a glass of wine or a latte, furiously typing and smiling with satisfaction as they hit “publish” over and over to the tune of cash register dings and applause.

But that’s not you. Not if you’re anything like me.

Maybe it’s because you know you’re different. The things that are inside you and the experiences you’ve had aren’t really like anybody else’s. Guess what? Good.

It doesn’t matter how many podcasts you listen to, books you read, articles you research, or influencers you follow.

No one can teach you how to be you.

And that’s good news, right? You’re free to do your own thing. The world is saturated with people who are all trying to be just alike. Stand out the way YOU were intended to stand out. You were created to be an individual with your own thoughts, ideas, creativities, and gifts. When you get stuck, you need to tap into that.

You can find plenty to write about when you stop looking.

Here are a few things that I know will help when you run out of things to write about—or think you have. Some are no-brainers and some are a little less conventional.

  • Put your phone down! I can’t stress this enough, and I know it’s unthinkable. Most of us forget that our phones are not actual body parts. It is possible to put a phone down and walk away from it.

Phones are addictive, and like any addiction, we feel kind of lost without them. Once the shock wears off, you’ll notice things like traffic passing, birds singing, the smell of food cooking (or raw sewage, depending on where you happen to be). Your senses will come alive again when your attention is not directed at the little box in your hand. You may even have some thoughts spring to mind immediately that are worthy of pen and paper!

  • Stop doing research. This falls in line with putting your phone down, but not exclusively. I’m saying take a break from studying what others have discovered for a while and start discovering things for yourself. Close your laptop.

Take a break from the podcasts, the furious article scrolling, the video watching, and the advice taking. Stop the habitual learning. You’ve soaked up enough to quit for awhile. 

  • Get outside. Once you close your laptop, what else are you going to do? Go breathe some fresh air! Take a walk. Clear your mind. Play frisbee, golf, or football. Walk your dog. All kinds of activities have been waiting for you to join life again. So go LIVE!

“Live all you can; it’s a mistake not to. It doesn’t so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have had your life. If you haven’t had that what have you had?. . . What one loses one loses; make no mistake about that. . . The right time is any time that one is still so lucky to have. . . .Live!”     Henry James (1903, The Ambassadors)

  • Go fishing. Speaking of outside, this is one of the most calming and restful things I know to do. When you’re waiting on the fish to take your bait, your thoughts can freely flow. It’s such a peaceful way to spend a few hours of thought, and you might even bring home some supper if you’re lucky!
Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan on Unsplash
  • Play with the kids in your life. Don’t be creepy. If you don’t have kids in your life, don’t go find some to play with. Get a puppy or something. But if you do have kids or grandkids, playing with them can release the kid in you. Even if you don’t think of one thing to write about, that’s time well spent.

Plus, you  can revisit your own childhood by telling the kids stories. This is a great way to entertain the kiddos and come up with great new material.

  • Talk to your Mama. Mothers usually have loads of wisdom to share. It doesn’t have to be your Mama though. Plenty of older people, men and women have stories to tell from days gone by. I love listening to people talk about the way things used to be. It gives me all kinds of new perspectives about life when I look at it from someone else’s viewpoint.
  • Speaking of the past, check out an antique store or flea market. Touch things. Pick them up! Think about who they might’ve belonged to, and what their story may’ve been. Imagine what your life would’ve been like if you’d have been them.
  • Relax at the water. A lake, pond, stream, or ocean will work. Sitting by water is very calming in most cases and can inspire the best creative thoughts.

The ocean is a little different than other bodies of water in the attitude it creates in you. Its ferocity and strength are a fantastic source of powerful feelings which can lead to profound words and maximum impact. At least that’s how it works for me. I’ve fought many battles with God, pushing back against the waves of His mighty ocean, always coming to acceptance at the end.

  • Visit the Grand Canyon. I know, that’s kind of out of left field, but that’s where I always played.

The Canyon is like the ocean. You can stand and stare in awe at its vastness all day long. My eyes feel completely full, as if there’s no more they can possible see! And in moments like those, you can think. You can really THINK!

A place so enormous, so much bigger than you, sets you free to just be yourself. It’s the acceptance that you’re not the whole of existence. You’re a part of a magnificent creation. Isn’t it amazing how God chose you to be exactly who you are? 

Each part of you including the parts you don’t appreciate, the parts that don’t work well, the parts that get stuck when you’re trying to write, and all the parts you find less than perfect were created by God just for you. Every part of you is beautiful, just like the ocean and the Grand Canyon, because you’re part of an amazing and intention design. Learn to live in that space.

  • Stop seeking validation. Look at yourself today and know that you’re exactly who you were created to be. You can always improve your writing. That’s not what I’m saying. I mean you don’t need applause from everyone else to be doing what you’re meant to be doing. If writing brings you joy, keep writing. Find your own style—your own voice. Don’t try to be like everyone else. You’re not supposed to be someone else. Your dreams were given to you for a reason. No one else needs to understand them or believe in them. That’s not what it takes for them to come true.

Believe in your dreams, and believe in yourself.

You may find some of these ideas odd but inspiring. All it takes is a reset sometimes. Try these ideas or try something else to unplug from the stress of trying to write when the words aren’t coming.

One more thing, and it’s not as fun as the rest of this. Sometimes to find things to write about, you need to revisit your sorrow. I don’t even know if that’s the correct order of things, so it didn’t make my list. Grief is the well from which most of my words are drawn.

Hard things happen in this world and we all go through them. Other people need to know they aren’t alone. Tell your story. Tell it like it really is, not the way you wish it was. Dump all the hard words out on the table. It’s healing for you and may save a life. You never know.

Someone’s words once saved mine.

grief, MOTIVATIONAL, RECOVERY

Live Your Life or Plan Your Death

About depression and a pet cricket named Elvis

Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash

When I was a kid, I had a pet cricket named Elvis.

Mama said you can’t really have a cricket for a pet. The truth is, I never saw him once, but Elvis sang to me every night, so I reckon he decided to keep me instead of the other way around.

On a normal summer, a cricket chirping in your bedroom would be downright annoying and might even make you want to jump off a bridge if you couldn’t figure out where he was, so you could step on his head. I’m sorry to say I’ve stomped on quite a few crickets in my life, plus a whole lot of other bugs I won’t name here, for fear of offending some bug-loving, revenge-taking, article-reading slight acquaintance of mine.

I tend to hang with a different kind of crowd, but I know you need to watch what you say and do sometimes.

The deep end is a whole lot closer for some people than it is for others, if you know what I mean.

The summer Elvis sang to me was a different kind of summer than most. Mama’d run that old ceiling fan, swearing the whole time that she hated it. It was how we kept cool though. Never bothered me. I liked the noise of it.

When the fan was on, the curtains in my room would billow inward and create a little tent on my bed. I liked to sit in it, and it was from there that I ran a library for the neighborhood kids. I had plenty of books, and I figured it might do some of them at least a little bit of good if they’d read one or two of them. It sure couldn’t do them any harm.

If I didn’t have my little library, I doubt I’d have talked to another kid all summer long. I rarely stepped out of my room.

Most of my waking moments were consumed with writing poems about killing myself and trying to build a new nose out of orthodontic wax. I hated my nose.

I was never sure where the jokes started, but they started in my own family.  My nose got made fun of a lot. Mama said I had “Daddy’s nose,” and the boys would all snicker because I guess Daddy’s nose was supposed to be obnoxiously big or something. It looked like a regular nose to me, but I fell in with the jokes because I knew I was supposed to. I compared my nose to one of my brother’s and we always argued about whose was the biggest.

It’s all I could see when I looked in the mirror.

A nose without a face, just sort of floating there. The one time I experimented with acid, I looked in the mirror and my green bulbous nose was pulsating and growing. I never touched the stuff again.

My nose isn’t the reason I was preoccupied with planning my own death though. I’m not sure why I was sad. I just was. I think I was born that way. It’s taken me a lifetime and unimaginable grief to find joy. Nothing in this world makes any sense. I don’t expect it’s supposed to.

After Samuel died, I was caught up in fantasies about dying again.

Samuel was my baby boy. He died when an intrauterine blood transfusion failed due to doctor error. The grief was unbearable. I stopped writing poetry after that. Occasionally, one comes to me, but not often. Some spaces can’t be filled with words.

I remember sitting on the tractor with Johnny while he baled hay and wondering what it would be like to fall under its wheels. Other times I’d be driving down the road and press the accelerator hard, ready to ram the car into something, but then I’d ease off and live instead.

Later, after I found Mikey dead, there didn’t seem to be a reason to stay on this earth. I was just done. He was only 16 years old. A mother should never have to bury her baby. Mikey made three for me. It was too much grief for my heart to process.

For months, hiding in a coat pocket in my closet was a bottle of pills, ready for me to take myself out of this world.

Mama knew the state of mind I was in, so she went tearing through my house, emptying bottles. She didn’t realize she got rid of my depression medicine. She never found the ones in the closet.

My other kids made it impossible for me to leave, but I carried those pills around with me for a long time before I got enough courage to pour them out.

When I finally got around to cutting myself, I don’t think I had intentions to die.

I think I just needed to hurt myself. I needed to be punished for not being perfect, for failing, for everything. It’s a twisted way of thinking, but everything I was doing at the time was a direct attack against my own life. Too much drink and too many bad choices led to a meltdown.

Recovery for me started on my knees.

I have a lot of things I wish I could say to the young girl back in that room letting Elvis sing to her–things about her nose and how precious life is. I’d tell her to enjoy every single moment and to dance and sing every day like it’s her last one on earth.

You never know when death will come around.

But I know she’s figured it all out for herself. I also know she’s alive and well, and finally made her way out of the darkness.

I don’t know exactly when it was that I started planning my life instead of my death. My nose is the same as it’s always been—just a nose, not too bad. It’s certainly not noteworthy.  I’m proud I have Daddy’s nose, but I hardly ever notice it. If a cricket were to come sing to me in my bedroom now, I’d smile as I remembered my little friend, Elvis, from days gone by. For a minute, I’m sure I’d enjoy the song. Then I’d search him out and stomp his little head, because you can’t really have a cricket for a pet.

They’re annoying and might make you want to jump off a bridge or something, and I’ve got a life to live.

ENCOURAGEMENT, MOTIVATIONAL

How to Stop Feeling Mediocre When Nothing You Try Seems to be Working

A conversation about feeling like crap and what to do about it.

Photo by Siavash Ghanbari on Unsplash

Feeling like crap can come on suddenly and leave just as suddenly, or it can be a nagging feeling that hangs around for years on end, reminding you that you’re just not living up to your own expectations. Believing you’re destined for a life of mediocrity and all the negativity that comes with it is a hell of a way to live. My recommendation is: don’t do it.

Of course, just saying, “Don’t feel like crap,” is not the way to keep you from feeling like crap. If you’re like me, you’ve had a lot of big dreams in your life, and there aren’t too many of them you’ve ever seen come true. Maybe the reason they don’t come true is your fault and maybe not. Life has a funny way of kicking us around and knocking us as far away from our goals as it’s possible to get. Contrary to what you’re probably thinking though, that’s not always a bad thing.

First let’s explore some reasons your dreams might not have come true in the first place.

One of the things I tend to do is change my mind (and my dreams) A LOT! I start off in one direction but don’t get too far before I veer off the path to head somewhere else.

It’s hard to reach your destination if the finish line keeps moving. Changing your mind often indicates that you don’t really know what it is that you want.

Not knowing what you want means that you can’t aim at anything. Without a clear direction in mind, we tend to just wander aimlessly, hoping that one of our random dreams will become reality and not knowing if we really want it to or not. That’s no way to live.

That’s not the only way to miss the boat.

Another way we mess our dreams up is to aim at things that aren’t meant for us. If you decide you want to be a famous singer, but you can’t carry a tune in a bucket, it’s not going to work out very well. The goals we set in life need to be within our reach and fall in line with the gifts and talents that are unique to us.

Sometimes hardships and tragedies prevent us from reaching the goals we set in life. When that happens, it can seem like your life has no purpose or that you aren’t ever going to become what you thought you were meant to be. Believe me, I know what that feels like. I’ve had many setbacks for reasons like this. Life can be a real struggle sometimes and can leave you drowning in a sea of mediocrity.

Don’t let mediocrity overwhelm you to the point where you feel like it’s choking you out. I’m going to give you a few tools to get you out of that deep hole, but first I want to tell you why reaching the goals you set for yourself isn’t always a bad thing.

It’s the journey.

Photo by John Baker on Unsplash

What I’ve found on my trek through life is that it isn’t the result that’s most important, but everything you experience on the way to it. There’s so much beauty in the journey. I think about all I would’ve missed if everything would’ve gone right from day one, and I can’t help but realize how blessed I am that my life has been completely jacked up.

Having a jacked-up life doesn’t seem like a good thing if you take it out of context.

It doesn’t hurt to look at things from a different angle.

An old daily devotional called “Streams in the Desert” by Mrs. Chas E Cowman, makes the point (January 8 devotion) that the possibility exists that there wouldn’t be any appreciation of the sunshine if there was never any rain.

So much clarity can be found in the sunshine and rain analogy.

Ask yourself these questions:

Would I appreciate the good things in my life if I didn’t have hardships?

Would I be able to experience joy if I couldn’t experience pain?

I don’t know all the answers, but my suspicion is that we could never appreciate our successes if we didn’t know what it was like to fail.

We do fail, though, and failing (or failing to achieve) can leave us feeling “less than” or mediocre. It feels like the whole world knows something we don’t and like we just don’t measure up. I’ve been there. I know how it feels, and I’ve thought of a few ways to get back on track.

Here are some things you can do to get out of the pits of mediocrity and back on the pathway to success!

  1. Get your priorities straight. Reevaluate where you’re headed. Make sure it’s where you want to go. It’s easy to get drawn into doing things because other people are doing them or because a particular lifestyle looks attractive but be sure what you choose matches both your values and your gifts and abilities. Choose to put your energy into things meant for you, not someone else.
  2. Take stock. Look back at what you’ve accomplished. Not reaching a certain goal doesn’t mean you haven’t done something wonderful and worthy. Did you raise a family? That’s worth more than any other goal you could ever possible achieve! Have you kept the same job for over 10 years? That’s one heck of an accomplishment! Do you paint, build, volunteer, grow food, lead, clean, or serve well? All these things, plus tons of others, are amazing accomplishments and keep our world turning.
  3. Step away for a while. Everybody needs to take a break. Maybe if you step back a bit you will have a new perspective when you go at it again!
  4. Set achievable goals. It’s possible that the reason you’re stuck is because you’re aiming too high! If your goal is a little closer to you,  more likely you are more likely to achieve it. You can set another goal once you meet the first one.
  5. Never quit trying. Don’t give up no matter what. You’re not a quitter. No matter how discouraged you get, don’t settle for less of a life than you deserve. You don’t want to get to the end of it and wish you’d have tried one more time!
  6. Believe in your dream. You might be the only one who can see the possibilities. You know what? That’s okay. That’s why it’s YOUR dream! It was given to YOU to accomplish, and you’re really the only one who has to believe in it. You’ve got this!
  7. Acknowledge your mountain. Recognize the fact that you’ve got things to get over, through, and around. Ignoring the mountain doesn’t mean it’s not there. Tackle the hardest thing first so you have it out of the way. Then you can move on to everything else.
  8. Ask for help. You don’t have to do everything by yourself. We aren’t meant to trudge through this world on our own. Other people may know things that you don’t know. Go ahead and find out. Ask for advice. Ask for prayer. Ask for help.
  9. Pray and seek Spiritual guidance. This should come first, before any other step you take. Getting in touch with God is a whole lot more important than getting in touch with yourself. He has all the answers anyway, and let’s be for real. Nothing you’ve ever done without Him has worked anyway.
  10. Rest. Don’t get so caught up in the pursuit of success that you forget to rest daily. Exhaustion will take over and you’ll never make it if you do.
  11. Go do something fun! All work and no play is boring. You can’t be mediocre playing paintball or wrestling with the kids.
  12. Pivot. Change directions if you need to. I don’t mean be wishy-washy. I mean when you decide that you’re headed the wrong way, don’t waste your time by continuing to go the same way. Find you a new way to go and take off.
  13. Don’t compare yourself to others. This is the most limiting thing you can do. You don’t have to be as good as they are. You can be a whole lot better!
  14. Be different. If you do things like everyone else does, you’ll never get the results intended for you. Do things like YOU do them. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. You are good enough. If the rest of the world doesn’t see how cool you are, it’s their loss.
  15. Go back to square one. Sometimes retracing your steps can let you know where you got off track and where you can get back on.
  16. Check out how other people make it. Successful people all have strategies in place, and most of them don’t mind sharing them with you. Just don’t get trapped in a pattern of information overload and continuously soak in knowledge just to never do anything with it. Act on the wisdom they share. Don’t do it to be like them, just benefit from their superior knowledge.
  17. Change your attitude. Is negativity what’s keeping you down? Switch your attitude for one of gratitude and watch your world turn around!!
  18. Get up earlier. It’s been said that successful people start their days much earlier than those who aren’t successful. It matters how much you want something.
  19. On that note, decide if you really do want it or not. After all you’ve learned, you may just need to redefine success. It’s very possible you’ve already achieved it in your life. Look at what’s most important to you and what position that thing (or person) holds in your life.
  20. Believe you can. You can do anything you set your mind to do. No matter how many times you’ve tried and failed before, don’t quit. You can still make it! You don’t know how close to success you are—it might be just around the corner. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will believe in you either!

Show the world and show yourself you have what it takes to swim right out of mediocrity into the life you’ve always dreamed of having!

When you’ve done everything on this list, start back at the top and do them again if you need to. Repeat as often as needed. This is how to stop feeling mediocre in a jacked-up life where nothing seems to be working. If you keep trying hard enough, you’ll wake up one day and be so far past your goal that you’ll have to walk backwards to get to it!

ENCOURAGEMENT, MOTIVATIONAL

Reasons for Writing

Even though I’m not getting paid

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

I was about seven years old when I started writing. Poems were floating around in my head, and one day I realized that I could put them on paper.

For a long time, all I wrote was poetry and song lyrics. I have storage boxes level full of work I’ve done since I was a kid.

It was an emotional outlet. A way of purging when I needed relief and I needed more relief than most.

Kids who have great childhoods can still be depressed.

Believe me, I know it makes no sense.

Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič – @specialdaddy on Unsplash

It must’ve been a chemical thing or a wiring problem in my brain. It may’ve even been God’s way of preparing me for what my life would become. Whatever the reason, my writing became a way to pour out my pain.   

In high school, I used writing to impress other kids. Apparently, it never occurred to me to write for the school newspaper or be on the yearbook staff. Nope, I just did homework for other kids. Their grades improved, and they loved me. It was a win for us all!

College was a little different. I published a few of my poems in books printed by the school. Some were published under a pseudo because I found them too personal. I’ve changed quite a bit since then. All my business is out there now.

Tragedy stole my heart for poetry. The old dream of one day publishing my own book of poems is likely gone forever.  

After some encouragement, I started blogging. It didn’t take me long to realize this kind of writing is what I was born to do.  

Maybe it was the ministry of recovery that I was helping to lead. Maybe it was just time. Suddenly, I couldn’t think of anything but getting my words out of my head again!

Building a website is tough if you’re a newbie.

At first, my blog was mostly about things relating to business, but one day I made an abrupt pivot.

Photo by Alex Grodkiewicz on Unsplash

Pivoting is sometimes your saving grace.

It’s perfectly okay to change direction when you’re headed the wrong way.

My pivot involved writing about a subject close to my heart, social anxiety. That opened the door to a whole new world of writing for me.

I finally had something of substance to say, so I said it. I haven’t shut up since.

My writing tends to lean toward the recovery niche.

I write about grief, anxiety, depression, addiction, and other things that we need to recover from. I write from my own experiences and tell stories that are true. I pull the words from my heart. I say things that matter to me and hope they matter to other people.

Of course, I can’t help but notice that other people write to make money. I think that’d be a great idea if it would work for me. I have a couple of problems to overcome if I’m going to accomplish that:

  • The idea of profiting off my writing steals my inspiration.
  • No one seems to want to pay me.
  • I have no idea what to do to make money writing.
  • I don’t know how to get exposure or be taken seriously as a writer.

I’ve read several writers who are super good at making money off their words. I’ve benefited significantly from their knowledge!

One of the main takeaways is that you can’t expect to jump in and start making money immediately.

I’m cool with that. In fact, you could say I’ve already aced it! I’ve been writing all my life and haven’t made any money YET!

I learned you can’t hope to write about writing, or be an authority on it, if you’ve only been writing on this platform for a short time.

As I mentioned, I’ve been writing my entire life. I’m not trying to pretend I’m the best in the universe or even the country—maybe not even in my small town!

I do believe I have something to offer. After all, I did a lot of kids’ homework in high school, and they got good grades (that’s a joke, by the way)! But I do concede the point. I can’t write about getting paid for writing because I have no clue.

Tons of articles say the only way to get people to read your work is if you’re clearly solving a problem for them.

That makes sense to me. I thought about all the articles I intentionally read and what made me click on them rather than another.

I can only write with any authority about what I know.

I’m not in the business of trying to fix other people. I’m over here, tapping away at this keyboard because I’m writing about my own life.

But do I think that I can help other people with my words? Yes. Yes, I do!

It’s not my goal in life to FIX broken people, but if I can offer comfort or something relatable and it helps them through a difficult season, I want to do that!

Some of my life experiences have really sucked (no sense in sugarcoating it). I write about them to purge myself emotionally, as a written record, and because maybe someone else is walking through the same darkness. If I can throw a little light their way, why wouldn’t I want to do that?

My words are only words.

This isn’t therapy. I can’t heal anyone. However, I believe words do have POWER and can reach parts of you that would otherwise remain untouched.

Maybe I won’t ever make any significant money with my writing. Sure, I’d love to do that! I know it’s possible, but it’s more important to me that my words are read by someone who needs to read them.

I believe that God gives us good gifts so that we will use them for others.

So as long as I’m able, whether I ever make money or not—I WILL WRITE.

BUSINESS OWNER, ENCOURAGEMENT, ENTRE SUCCESS, MOTIVATIONAL, RECOVERY

6 USEFUL THINGS YOU CAN LEARN FROM ROAD CONSTRUCTION

Photo by Pop & Zebra on Unsplash
Photo by Pop & Zebra on Unsplash

Stress.

We’ve all been there. You think you’re getting somewhere in your life and you might even be early getting there for a change. You’re travelling along at the perfect speed, listening to your favorite song blast through the speakers, just starting to feel like things are going to finally go your way. Then BOOM! Road Construction.

How aggravating.

Aggravations like road construction can derail a perfectly good mood on a perfectly good day if you let them. Instead of turning 12 shades of red and feeling your blood pressure stand your hair on end, let’s try to find the positive in the situation.

Here are some useful things you can learn from being caught in road construction.

1. The road you are on could be better.

Sure, you’re not the one doing the repair. That’s not your job. But it’s someone’s job, and they’re doing it! It’s an awesome time to just be grateful that someone is tending to the dangers that are seen and unseen. Your way will often be less than perfect. This may be the time to slow down and be cautious while someone else sorts out the problems.

2. Speaking of slowing down, maybe you’re just in too big of a hurry!

Road construction forces us to come to a screeching halt and take stock of our surroundings, whether we want to or not. This is a good time to ask some very important questions. Are you prepared to go forward? Are you recognizing and heeding all the warning signs? It seems elementary, but the red flags are there for a reason—danger. Stop. Check yourself. Only move forward when it’s safe to do so!

Photo by Liam Macleod on Unsplash

3. You need a REALITY CHECK.

Distraction causes us to miss a lot of opportunities. If you aren’t paying attention to the flag man, you could miss your turn to move forward and inadvertently force everyone behind you to wait until the people moving past you in the opposite direction have all gone by. This could cause anger and negativity among the ones closest to you. Pay ATTENTION! Keep your eyes focused on moving forward when it is your turn to do so.

4. You may have forgotten to do the GROUNDWORK.

Have you ever noticed all the steps it takes to build a road? From just the part we can see, you have to level the ground, fill in the holes, put in drains and ditches, lay gravel and asphalt, spread it all out, get it smooth, test it, paint stripes, and I don’t even know what else! All of this hugely matters as you travel your road. What if you forget a step? You may have to tear the road up back to that point and try again. Whether you are laying the groundwork or someone else has done it for you, make sure that your foundation is SOLID! One pothole can take you out of the journey if you hit it wrong.

5. You may not have noticed the BEAUTY along the way!

Sometimes as we speed towards success, we forget to notice the lovely things—like the pretty yellow flowers that grow by the roadside, the bird that pecks the ground on the shoulder of the road, the tree limbs that are gently swaying with the breeze, or even a turtle as he laboriously makes his trek across the pavement. As we are forced to slow down or stop, it’s an opportune moment to take delight in the things that we didn’t even notice before.

Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash

6. You may need to go a DIFFERENT DIRECTION.

We’ve all been in a long line of cars waiting for the flagman when there’s that ONE GUY (or gal) right in the middle who breaks out of line, turns around, and goes back the way he came! For those of us waiting, “Yay!” We are ecstatic because we can finally move forward a few feet, and hey, any progress is progress! But let’s talk about the guy who turned around.

*He may know an easier way to get where he’s going, without the hassle of the road construction. For him, that’s a lesson learned with a small bit of aggravation! Even if the other way is a little longer, he (or she) has counted the cost and decided that it’s worth it!

*She realized she didn’t need to go where she was going after all! She could probably do more with what she had if she headed in a completely different direction with it! That moment (or agonizing few minutes) waiting in the road construction afforded her an opportunity to look at where she was headed and make a decision. If you find yourself stuck somewhere, maybe you need to PIVOT!

Ask yourself: “Do I really want to go where I’m headed?” and if so, “Is there an easier way to get there?” There’s no shame in your game if you change your mind. Take the time you didn’t mean to have as an opportunity to think about your choices!

These are the 6 things that I learned while I was stuck in ROAD CONSTRUCTION. What have you learned from being stuck on the road you were travelling? Remember, no matter what you might have heard, finishing well is not the only important thing. The trip itself is what makes life worth living.

Don’t miss the beauty along the way.

KISSES Y’ALL

MOTIVATIONAL, RECOVERY

Still Your Baby

Girl crying
No Matter What, She’s Still Your Baby

There was no way that I could miss that something was really wrong with this girl. She was upset, not thinking straight, unable to make a decision. It was time for her to answer basic questions about her life, and she was having problems. That’s when she called you.

I heard your voice on the other end of the phone. I don’t know why she put you on speaker, but I think it’s because she was afraid to go through the moment alone. A child should never be afraid to call his or her Mama. There’s something wrong with a world where that is a reality, no matter what the cause of it.

Addiction Causes Heartache in Families

I don’t have any idea what she has and is still putting you through. I’m pretty sure that’s what you would say to me if given the chance. And of course, you are right. There’s no doubt about it—I don’t know. But here’s what I do know for sure: She’s still your baby.

I couldn’t keep my eyes off her hand as she pressed the buttons on her phone. She was trembling, visibly shaken at the very idea that she would have to ask her own mother for a small favor. She didn’t want money, or a ride, or even a place to stay for her and her children. She wasn’t trying to use you.

The reason she was calling was to ask your permission. Not because she had to! No one would have known the difference but her. She just wanted to write down your address. She wanted to be able to call it her home.

What Does it Take to Answer the Call?

Before she hit the last button, she said, “If she doesn’t answer, I understand,” and “If she says no, that’s okay.”

I saw her eyes fill with hope when you did answer. Then I saw that hope die when you wouldn’t even give her time to ask the question. “Teresa,” you said. Actually, you didn’t call her Teresa, you called her by her real name, but I won’t use it here for her protection. “Teresa, I don’t have time to talk to you. I have to get in the bathtub.”

You had to take a bath. And because your bath was more important than your baby, I watched your grownup baby’s heart break right in front of me. As the light went out of her eyes, I felt the tears forming in mine. I had to swallow the pain with her. I felt the hurt in my own heart.

The very thought of being rejected by the one person who should always stand beside you no matter what was enough to bring me to tears. I can’t even imagine how shattered her heart must have been.

It Doesn’t Matter if Addiction is a Disease or a Choice. Our Children Are Dying.

Even as you turned her away, she kissed her children and told them that it would be all right. But I know that it won’t be—because she’s lost, and addicted, but she’s still your baby.

Everything leading up to this point is none of my business. I know it isn’t, but I got a little of the story anyway. She’s acting “crazy” and is being sent for a psychiatric evaluation.

Her friend says that drugs are how she copes with life—that life is what’s wrong with her. From Teresa I found out that it’s more than life. It’s also death.

I may not be able to understand how a person’s life can lead them to this point, but death? Now THAT I can wrap my mind around. When I found my son dead, I went crazy too.

I reached for any and everything that would take my mind off the reality that my child was gone. I could make a list of the things I tried if I thought it would do any good. I have a feeling you don’t want to hear any of that. Your mind is closed.

Maybe you haven’t suffered a devastating loss. I’m afraid that you are about to. I need you to wake up and prepare for battle, if you even care. Because she’s dying, and no matter what, she’s still your baby.

Overdose, Suicide, Disease, Isolation–Things an Addict Might Experience

I don’t even know if you can reach her now. I saw her mentally close the curtains. She’s in a different place than we are, inside, looking out. She slammed the door shut on her feelings.

She will refuse to trust anything or anyone. Since her own Mama won’t give her the time of day when she is clearly desperate, she feels worthless. In self-defense she has separated herself from the rest of the world. She’s in there by herself now—but she’s still your baby.

According to everything I’ve read (including an article at this site: https://www.centeronaddiction.org/prevention/addiction-women) women get addicted faster than men and suffer more health consequences because of addiction. I think it’s safe to say that no one benefits from addiction.

I also know that people who become addicted to methamphetamines have about a one percent chance of getting off the drug and regaining their lives.

I don’t know where Teresa’s addiction started. I never laid eyes on her until today. I do know that her husband died recently. Maybe she already had a problem—maybe not.

I know that she was recently released from a psychiatric hospital where she spent three weeks. Apparently, they couldn’t straighten out the mess in her head. I don’t think you can unravel grief and addiction in three weeks.

It’s possible that she started using drugs as a coping mechanism to get through the grief. Like I said earlier—a person will do just about anything to keep from looking loss in the face.  I’m sure that you have all the answers to these questions. After all, she was born and is still your baby.

She Used to Be Your Baby….

I know I keep reminding you of the fact that Teresa is your baby. It’s funny—when other people’s children are drug addicts, it’s easy to say that they are lost causes. I’ve gone as far as to call them “methheads,” or “zombies.”

Assuming she’s on meth, you may not have much of a chance of helping her anyway. It would be really tough for her to crawl out of this hole. She sure can’t do it on her own!

Hey, you remember when she was little, and you dressed her up in all those cute clothes and put her in bows that were as big as her head? You got her ears pierced way too young and carried her around with you everywhere you went. You called her a princess and bought her stupid stuff just because she asked you for it.

The dollar store cart would be level full of crap you knew was going to be broke by the next day, but you didn’t care because your baby wanted it, and what your baby wanted, she was going to get.

And she could do no wrong! Or if she did, you just overlooked it, or laughed at it because she was so darned cute. You clapped for her first step and you praised her when you taught her how to ride a bike.

You cried when the bus rode away with her on her first day of kindergarten, and you verbally whipped more than one teacher who gave her less than the grade you thought she earned. You would have fallen in front of a train for her then! So, what changed?

Isn’t she still your baby?

Is Love Conditional?

When you told Teresa that you would love her forever, did you forget to say, “Unless you become addicted to something, then you’re not my baby anymore.” Did you really mean it when you said, “Baby girl, your Mama will always have your back,” and “I will always be here for you.”

All of Teresa’s life, I bet you have told her that you would stand by her, no matter what. I don’t have proof of that, but I’m thinking that it’s a reasonable assumption, judging by the look on her face when she got the nerve to call you.

She wore that hopeful expression that was an expectation that Mama would live up to her word. But you didn’t, did you? You fell flat on your face, and right in front of the person you need to be standing up for the most.

Does addiction change who your daughter is in your eyes? Does she suddenly belong to someone else? What if cancer were the demon she was battling? Would you turn your back on your baby then?

Would you say, “I’m tired of you calling me every time you need something!”? If our kids can’t call us when they need something, why are we their parents?

Isn’t that what parents do?

Aren’t we supposed to answer the call, and do all we can for our babies? No matter how old they are, or how addicted they are, if we give birth to them—they are still our babies.

A Mama Ought Not Have to Bury Her Baby

What if it’s not too late? It might be. I don’t know. I sure saw that light die in her eyes. What I do know is that if Teresa was my child, I’d be fighting like hell for her life.

I’d turn over Heaven and earth for the answers. I’d go down into the pits of hell and wrestle her away from the devil if I had to.

I’m hoping for both of your sakes that you wake up to the reality of what that moment in time may have cost you and fight with everything you’ve got to right that wrong before it’s too late. The next call you get might not be from your baby. It might be about her.

And it’s true. I don’t know what you’ve gone through. I don’t know what it has cost you. Teresa is an addict. But you can’t just let her go. You can’t just let her die. She’s still your baby.

ENCOURAGEMENT, MOTIVATIONAL, RECOVERY

Don’t Give Up On Yourself

Quitting On Monday

I think that the easiest day to lose hope is Monday. When the week starts, it should be full of great possibilities, but the reality is that Monday is the day the cold hard truth usually slaps us in the face. It’s the day we are forced to stop pretending that everything is great. We often need to go back to work and leave our dreams behind again. It gets hard.

It isn’t just work though. The whole world will come against you sooner or later. Maybe it will set up a pattern all your life. Things and people that you count on will be snatched away from you. Just when you feel the most secure, something will happen that will set your world on tilt.

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

Quitting On Tuesday

Maybe it’s Tuesday that makes you want to quit on yourself the most. The struggle to get through Monday has taken its toll, and you just don’t have anything left. Hard things happen, and you don’t feel like you are equipped to deal with them anymore, if you ever were.

At first, when the hard things happen, you may want to give up on God. It’s easy to throw the blame on the Almighty. He is ultimately in charge. But, when you think about it, you realize that God hasn’t failed you in any way. You may begin to ask yourself if you have failed God.

Being Angry With God

It’s hard to always stay positive in a negative world.  I get that. I really do. I’ve had my share (and more) of tragic circumstances. I have not handled much of it very well. I did not turn to God in my pain and loss like I should have. I turned away and blamed Him instead. At least I did for a while.

It was when I was the angriest at Him that I realized that I still believed in Him. Of course, believing isn’t enough. I also had to get to a place where I remembered that He was good and that He loved me. I had to realize that He still had a plan for my life, even though my own plans had crashed and burned. Coming to that point was the hardest after I buried my 16-year-old son. This kind of loss makes you question all that you have ever believed.

Perfectly Imperfect

During my trek through the chaos and confusion of the worst of my grief, I learned to see the world in a different way. What was ordinary to me before became extreme. Casual beauty became exquisite when I realized how temporary it all is. I learned to focus on the smiles of my children and to take in every breath that they breathe. I learned that the imperfections that I once saw as flaws are what makes something beautiful and unique. The world irrevocably changed for me, but it wasn’t all good.

What Our Children Face

I looked at our world and what we have made of it. Sin and ugliness have run rampant through our societies. The children that we bring into the world are forced to grow up in fear of what tomorrow will bring. If they are living unaware of the potential danger of the future, then they are ill-equipped to face it. On the other hand, to tell them what it may be like is a betrayal of their innocence. How do we know what to do? How do we tell them that the walls protecting them are made of glass?

The problems we face seem to be insurmountable at times. Human trafficking, the threat of war, and the divisiveness of our country due to political affiliation, religion, race, and economics to name a few. We get mixed messages from the media and don’t fully understand what the truth is and how to teach it to our children. Like my Mama always said, “Babies don’t come with blueprints stamped on their butts.” Do we protect them with the truth, or protect them from the truth? I don’t know.

Who Failed Who?

All I know is that God didn’t fail us. That leaves the obvious answer. If He didn’t fail us…. We failed Him. With that realization, hopelessness can start to creep up on you.

Depression. Anxiety. Feelings of worthlessness and fear. The idea that you can never get it right because you never have before. The overwhelming sensation that you are about to drown in your sorrow, anger, and helplessness.

I’ve been there more than once. If you have ever felt like that, you aren’t alone. Don’t give up on yourself.

A Life of Abundance

Jesus said in John 10:10 that He came so that we would have abundant life. An abundant life is a life full of meaning and joy. That is the kind of life that God intends for you to have. He didn’t say that you can only have this kind of life if you deserve it and never do anything wrong. He didn’t say that you’ve got to operate in a realm above the human realm to create and achieve this life for yourself. He simply said that He came so that you could have it.  

Your abundance is found in God through Jesus Christ. No matter what the world throws at you. No matter what Monday brings. It doesn’t even matter if you need to leave your own dreams behind. Whatever heartbreak you have faced has not changed the truth. Grief and loss can’t take away what Jesus came to give you. Your abundant life is in Him. Not in yourself! Not in your circumstances. Not in your loved ones, your dreams, your hopes. Abundant life is also not lost in the outcome of a failed plan or dream. What an eye-opening thing to finally learn!

The Freedom to Keep Trying

This doesn’t mean that you should quit trying to achieve anything on your own. It means just the opposite! Now you are free to pursue your hopes and dreams without the fear of failure because your worthiness and your abundance was never meant to be found in any of your personal accomplishments anyway. You are free to love with all your heart because death can’t steal your hope! You can dance in the rain because no storm can wash away the sacrifice already made for you.

Your Focus

Take your focus off yourself. That’s not what your life is supposed to be about. All you could ever hope to be can be found in your relationship with God. Yes, I said it. It’s not about you. You may be dangerously close to quitting on yourself. Don’t do that. The problem is relational. Pursue a relationship with God if you want to add meaning to your life.

 Matthew 6:33 says to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” If our focus is on Him, where it should be, and off ourselves, our lives will be full, and everything will fall into place just the way it’s supposed to. If our focus is on ourselves, we will always experience chaos and a feeling of off-centeredness because we were created for Him and by Him, and not to be self-serving.

The Truth

I believe that this is the truth that we should teach our children. If we want to equip them to be warriors in whatever battle comes their way, we must first introduce them to the source of their hope and life. We need to teach them as we learn ourselves that our identity should be first understood as a “child of God.” Whatever is next is not only secondary, but it’s also temporary.

Here’s what I believe to be the truth: the things you do for yourself on this earth are going to die with you anyway. The only things that you leave behind are what you do for other people.

The Prize

Knowing that my abundance is in Him is just the catalyst that I need to keep going, to keep plugging away and staying in the race even when it feels like I’m defeated. I can never be defeated if I’m running the right race—the one for His kingdom and in His design. It’s easy to fall back into the temptation of seeking to define my worth by earthly standards and how I feel, but the actual cold reality is none of that matters. The only thing that matters is that I keep my eyes on the prize.

This is the link to this post on Medium.

ENCOURAGEMENT, MOTIVATIONAL, RECOVERY

I Want to Bury My Head In Cookie Dough

Not a Roll of Cookie Dough, but One of Those Tubs.

Photo by Pam Menegakis on Unsplash


Or Eat Five Gallons of Chocolate Ice Cream with a Package of Oreos–No, Girl Scout Cookies! I want Thin Mints, and I want them fresh out of the freezer!

Are you wondering why I want a tub of cookie dough, or something else sinfully sweet? In case you are, I will tell you. Because I’m stressed out. When I’m stressed out, all I can think about is taking something sweet and bad for me and shoveling it in my face.

Food is where I go for comfort.

It sure hasn’t failed me yet! Well, it hasn’t failed me in the moment, when the cookie dough is in my mouth and my endorphins are through the roof. I only reach failure status when I step on the scale a month later and I’ve gained 20 lbs. Or I would reach failure status then, if I ever really got on the scale. See, if you don’t acknowledge it’s happening, it’s not happening. Right?

I’ve lived most of my life in just that way. The struggle to maintain a weight that made me feel comfortable with my own body has been life-altering and mind-consuming. I’m a good weight now—just ask any specialist. My BMI is perfect I’m told. “You are a great weight right now. You can continue to lose if you want to tweak it, but that’s just for you.” I thought it was all just for me.

It’s not my body that’s the problem. I don’t know if you know this or not, but it rarely is. It’s the mind that has all the issues. Every single morsel I put in my mouth comes packed with a load of guilt. I’ve written about this before in another blog, https://moodyoops.com/how-you-see-yourself-determines-who-you-are/, and you may want to check that out! It’s a big deal to me.

Think about it like this. If you were an alcoholic, and you quit drinking, you would feel better. You would find other ways to gain comfort and peace—perhaps you would learn to pray more, read, fish, exercise, or do something creative. You would never have to pick up the bottle again if you chose not to, and that’s fantastic! Your addiction may be slightly easier to understand and control when you realize that you can actually live your entire life without one sip of alcohol.

But What If You Are a Food Addict?

You are addicted to food but you stop eating in unhealthy ways, you start exercising, and you start taking better care of your body. That’s a great victory! There’s only three problems that I can think of that might hang you up on a consistent basis: breakfast, dinner, and supper.

Yep, that’s right. You can’t go on for the rest of your life without eating! So even though you’ve beat the unhealthy patterns, it’s harder to let go of the guilt that you have always associated with eating. It comes unbidden the second you start chewing and increases with each bite. By the time you are finished with your meal, you are filled with remorse!

With guilt comes the desire to cover that guilt, and what’s the first reaction your mind has to that desire? It wants to go back to that old comfort that it’s so used to, and put it on again. Guilt is crying, “Cover me,” and food is answering, “I will!”

It Becomes a Pattern.

It happens over and over. Once or twice at the ice cream trough and you’re okay, a week’s worth and it starts to show. It’s a vicious cycle of doubt, guilt, and confusion that runs through your mind like a hamster on a wheel. The more you obsess over what you eat, the more you want to eat it. The more you try to avoid something, the more drawn you are to that very thing!

Ice Cream Neon Sign
Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash

Are There Any Answers?

So what are some of the things you can do to break the unhealthy cycle of food guilt? Hmmm….I go through times off and on where I think I get this right. Of course, they don’t last as long as they should, but I am going to keep going back there until “off and on” becomes a tendency, and a tendency eventually becomes a habit, and a habit finally becomes a way of life that’s not even considered thought-worthy anymore.

  • I never tell myself that I can’t have something. Why? Because if I tell myself “no,” I think about that food all day long every day and eat everything in sight until I finally break down and just go get what I’m obsessing over! If I want it, I eat it.

  • However, one thing that I will do is tell myself that I can have it “tomorrow.” Sometimes when tomorrow rolls around I don’t even want that whole roll of cookie dough (or tub). Sometimes I do. Either way, I give myself permission to have it. Maybe not the whole thing, but some of it for sure!

  • I try to take responsibility for my own diet. I don’t mean diet as in “I’m on a diet,” I mean diet as in “the food choices that I make for myself.” No matter what plan someone else is on and thinks is better, no matter what they have had success in, no matter what food they put before me, and no matter what anything else you can think of—since I am ultimately responsible, I make it my ultimate responsibility to choose what goes into my mouth and what does not.

  • Even when a health professional pushes an app at me and says, “You need to count calories if you are going to lose weight,” and I know that I lost 65 lbs and didn’t count the first calorie, I’m going to politely say, “That’s not how I do it,” and move on with life. It’s my life, my health, and my body. I’m responsible for its upkeep. I know what’s good for me and what isn’t. Counting calories will have me (a) starving, and (b) obsessing. I’m saying NO! to both of those ideas and I’m just going to keep on doing what I’m doing for the rest of my life. Thank you very much.

  • I try to notice how I feel after I eat something. If it makes me feel good physically, I’m good with it. If it makes me nauseated, headachy, sluggish, or any other negative physical outcome, I will probably not want to have that food again real soon.

  • Since I deal with food guilt, I don’t let my emotions dictate to me what I will and won’t eat. At least, I don’t when I’m working on it.

  • I also try to notice the taste the food leaves in my mouth. I know that sounds crazy! But to tell you the truth, that chocolate frozen pie that was so dang good when I ate it left a really bad taste in my mouth! I really didn’t like it as much as I thought I did. I was just so used to liking it that I thought I still did. So the next time I want to take a bite of it, I will remember the taste it left in my mouth. Maybe I will still take a bite of it, and maybe I won’t. It has gone both ways.

  • I don’t always eat every meal, or I just eat during a certain number of hours in the day. They call this intermittent fasting. I probably don’t do this the textbook way or for the textbook reason. What it does for me though, is relieve some of the guilt of overeating because if I’m skipping a meal now and then, I’m not overeating! It’s a pretty simple way to trick your mind into believing the truth.

Now I’m not offering up any of my methods as advice, because I’m not an expert or a health professional of any kind. I’m just saying what works for me. There are studies that say that you can’t skip meals because it lowers your metabolism. What I have learned is that when you get over a certain age, the rules all change. If I hadn’t skipped some meals, I wouldn’t have lost a pound! You have to do what is right for you and your health though. It’s always good to check with a doctor or other health professional before starting any kind of health and wellness program!

I don’t know if anyone can relate to my food struggles, but this is what was on my mind tonight. We all have different areas that we battle every day—this just happens to be one of mine. Feel free to leave a comment if you have been there, and you can also share my blog to your choice of social media if you think it might resonate with others. You can follow the blog and sign up with your email so that you will get a notice every time I post something new!

Here’s a link to this post on Medium!

ENCOURAGEMENT, MOTIVATIONAL

How Do You Show Up?

Let’s talk about how you show up in life, in social media, and in the mirror when you’re alone.

fragmented mannequin heads symbolic of identity confusion
Photography/Art by abridges

Do you see a success, or do you show up as a failure?

Are you living a big life or a small one?

Do you see yourself living up to your potential, or are you buying into the lies you tell yourself?

We all believe the lies sometimes. We even repeat them when we are faced with a challenge, or asked to leave our comfort zone. Our own voice tells us that we aren’t good enough, strong enough, talented enough, or smart enough!

Where do we get the information that we tell ourselves every day?

I heard from a troubled friend the other day. He struggles like we all do, but sometimes his struggles get the best of him. There are no easy answers for him and everyone else who suffers through the heartbreak of loneliness and depression.

My friend (we’ll call him “Joe”) said that he often stays in his house with the curtains drawn. His solution was to avoid facing the world and dealing with possible rejection. I wasn’t sure what to say.

What I did say and what I wanted to say battled within me for a few minutes. My first reaction was to tell him, “Snap out of it!” That would have been the wrong response of course, but it makes me angry.

Joe shouldn’t be trapped inside his house when there is a whole life out there waiting for him. The other reason that it makes me angry is because I can relate. Of course I can. Don’t I go through the same struggle every day?

I can’t count the times that I didn’t show up like I needed to because I was sad or afraid.

The curtains may not have been drawn on my house, but they were drawn on my heart. Either way, it didn’t matter. The outcome was the same. I missed opportunities and chances that I will never have again.

I gave up moments that could’ve been my time to shine, laugh, or even fall flat on my face. But they were MY moments, and I missed them because I didn’t show up.

Have you always had the heart, or the guts, to show up?

This world is full of advice on who and how you should be! There’s always a scenario for how you should present yourself to be acceptable to society. Plenty of books have been written.

Psychologists, preachers, politicians, and social media influencers are telling us every day who we should be. They’re paid the big bucks to tell us how we should think and feel.

We have countless opportunities to see perfect photos of these very people living “perfect” lives. Even their “real” and “no makeup” photos are carefully orchestrated to be presented in the best possible light.

Sure, they’ll show you their flaws–but only after they put them through a few filters. They call this being “real,” and we buy into that lie and find ourselves still not good enough. We still can’t meet the standard.

How hard is it to be authentic in a world that pushes and pulls at you all the time?

There are so many mixed messages on who you should be. The information that we’re fed daily keeps us completely left of center. It shifts our focus from who God made us to be to an ideal of unattainable perfection.

This ideal is impossible to meet in business as well. There are voices from every direction, all with the only pathway to the top. One says “Niche down,” and another, “It’s death to the creative to go small with a niche.

Confusing messages permeate social media (for $47 a month if you’re lucky and catch it before it goes up)! “Focus on your story, that’s what people want to hear.” When you give that your best shot, the narrative changes.

Then it’s, “Take the spotlight off yourself and put it on others!” One foot forward, two steps back, and it’s easy to retreat to a dark room with the curtains drawn!

At the end of the day, your life, your relationships, and your business ALL belong to YOU!

I don’t know how you can possibly fail if you show up as yourself in any situation.

That’s who God made you to be. So be that! Be you and be good at it.

You are uniquely gifted and talented to stand out from the crowd or to blend into it as you! No one else can ever be you. God chose you for the part for a particular reason.

What you have to give to the world is YOURSELF! Show up as you and be proud of who YOU are! Open the curtains and be amazed to be you and happy to be alive!

I know a little three year old girl who dresses herself. Cori rarely matches her clothes. When and if she does, it’s an accident, but she doesn’t care!

Sometimes she wears a princess dress that’s two sizes too big with furry boots of a completely different color. It never bothers her if her hair isn’t combed. She doesn’t mind if there’s chocolate on her face. It’s okay if she wears combat boots with a dress.

Whether Cori’s attitude or her outfit is acceptable to society makes no difference to her! She’s happy just the way she is and happy to be herself. Cori isn’t old enough for the world to have taken that away from her. I pray that it never does.

Little girl in a princess dress, furry boots, and a burger king bag.
photo by abridges

To recognize that you have value simply because you are “you” is a wonderful gift from God.

To have the childlike simplicity to understand that it doesn’t matter what the rest of the world thinks is priceless! What really matters when you show up is that you show up. When you do, make sure the curtains are not drawn on your heart.

Kisses Y’all!

Allison

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