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.

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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.

ENCOURAGEMENT

I Have it All Figured Out

Mama, by A Bridges

So I finally figured life out.

Well, I figured out a small part of life, and that feels pretty good to me and pretty bad at the same time. It goes something like this:

If people weren’t so dishonest, I wouldn’t be so confused.

It seems ridiculous to say it out loud, but go ahead and do it anyway.

Now, let me explain.

We will even set aside my day job for this.

Let’s just concentrate on my real life as a person who’s trying to be a mom, wife, grandmother, entrepreneur, writer, artist, home repair person, interior designer, builder, jewelry maker, plumber, electrician, housekeeper, cheerleader, motivational speaker, babysitter, dog-owner, and ministry leader.

Well, I realize that the last probably should have been first….

But look. All of those things require bouts with a computer!

Literally ALL of them.

Can you imagine how many user names and passwords that entails? I’m sure you can, because surely you wear a few different hats in your own hectic life.

Why do I have to remember so many things?

  • Because people are dishonest.
  • They will rob you blind.
  • They will sneak in to steal, kill, and destroy–where have I read that before?

Ohhhh…..that book that I don’t read enough because I’m just too busy doing all of that other stuff!


http://Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Okay, maybe not ALL people, but enough that you have to have multiple passwords and multiple user names with uppercase and lowercase letters and special characters (but only certain ones and you have to figure that out as you go along) and numbers, and they have to be this long but not that long, and I swear that by the time I finally figure most of them out, my stupid password is something I would NEVER say out loud! I try not to curse.

When I slow down long enough to wish, I think back to a simpler time, when I would stand with my Mama in the kitchen and she would stop what she was doing and just hug me for a really, really, long time.

There has been nothing in my life that has ever or could ever replace those moments for me!

The absolute purity of a mother’s love for her daughter, and the reciprocated love of a daughter for her mother!

In this age of cell phones and computers and user names and passwords and tinnitus and constant pressure and noise, that kind of beautiful moment seems somehow lost.

But it doesn’t have to be.

My Mama is literally 12 feet away from me, lying on my couch, probably wondering if I’m ever going to bed tonight.

When I started writing this, I thought I was talking about how complicated life has gotten, and what dishonest people have taken from me and caused me to have to do.

Now that I’ve gotten to the end, I realize all of that has given me a great appreciation for a few minutes of nothing but me and Mama and the best hugs ever.

In those days, I didn’t have to be anything but her little girl.

I guess to her, I still don’t.

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

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

If you would like to pop over to Medium and view how cool this post looks there, here’s a friend link!

photo of computer screen
BUSINESS OWNER, ENCOURAGEMENT

FRUSTRATION

When every move you make seems to lead to complete and utter aggravating frustration…and you quit drinking two years ago.

I could pull my hair out in–you guessed it–frustration! I’m not a high-tech person. I’m also not a low-tech person, which makes me fall somewhere between decent and horrible with building a web-site. Well, maybe slightly better than that.

Anyway, I have been working on one page of this website for what seems like a hundred years. I’m about to lose my mind (up in here). I mean, it’s beautiful. The front page, although not quite finished, is just lovely. It has most of the information that I want on there and only a little that I don’t want. When I’m on the admin side of things, I feel really close to success!

I’ve even learned about SEO and what it takes to get your pages on Google for the most attention-getting. This includes downloading plug-ins and affiliate programs (by the way, there will be an affiliate link or two in this post that I could possibly make money from). Oh, and I’ve got a Facebook Messenger pop-up that actually annoys the devil out of me and needs to be moved to a different page and linked to MoodyOops.

photo of computer screen
Photo of failed webpage

Clearly , at least in my own mind, I’m doing pretty good with this website building. Of course, I don’t have any of my gazillion products uploaded yet, but no one completely has their crap together. AND, if you need further proof that I’m one of the many who does not, let me get back to the front page of this thing and start the hair-pulling. After I got all that wonderful work done, checked and double checked it a hundred times, was completely satisfied with how the text and the photo worked together, and got my message across, I click on “view page,” and…there are literally zero images. Not even one. Where did they go?

The answer to that is I don’t know the answer to that. I look back at the admin side of things. The photo is there. View the page. No photo. Admin side, photo. View page, no photo. FRUSTRATION!

I’m sure that there is a perfectly reasonable solution and equally sure that I’m not going to find it tonight. I did look on Amazon and found some incredible resources, for myself, and in case anybody runs into this same problem! It’s super rewarding to have a website that will pay you with passive income, which is the goal I’m aiming for. If you’re like me, circumstances are going to cause you to have to do a great deal of the work yourself, at least right at first.

This is what I found on Amazon:

You can click right on that link and go straight to the book. It’s eligible for Prime, which is cool. I hate paying shipping on anything.

I found another book too. You know all of these are good! I bought a Social Media Marketing for Dummies book a couple of months ago that I’m finding a lot of valuable information in. It’s true that some people think that reading is obsolete and would rather just use the web for everything, but the reason that I like to buy books is because you always have a reference to go back to. If you forget, there’s no question of where you got your information! Anyway, here’s that link:

I know that I should have done more reading and research before I jumped into the deep water. It’s not enough to be able to write, paint, and do creative things. Well, it would be enough if I had someone else to create this webpage for me. Sadly, I do not. The cool thing is, all of this frustration is a great learning experience! As soon as I get this one done, the BossNonny website is waiting for me to get started on it. With my books and my experience, I ought to be able to knock it out of the park.

Then maybe I can teach y’all all the tricks I learned along the way.

April 16 (one minute to April 17)edit:

I located the problem with the photos. The Pinterest hover button will not work with one of my plugins. Since it’s my most important plugin, I can’t remove it. So I had to change the image settings in the plugin.

If you deal with WordPress, you probably already know all about this known issue. If you don’t, you probably don’t know what I’m talking about. But, if you hover in the middle, and need to know more, feel free to ask me questions! I will identify the plugin and the steps I took to correct the problem.

Whew! Frustration over for a while.

ENCOURAGEMENT, RECOVERY

The Coat I Used To Wear

My Experience With Social Anxiety Disorder

Person wearing a coat holding a leaf in front of his or her face.
Social Anxiety Disorder is bigger than the accusations people throw at you.

I forgot about the coat I used to wear. I was brushing my teeth one morning when the memories came rushing back. I was in eighth grade, and it was too hot for a coat.

I wore it anyway, because I needed protection.

I felt awkward inside, embarrassed, like at any minute people (specifically, my friends) would find out something about me and start laughing. Like the fact that my breasts were under-developed, or maybe my clothes weren’t keeping up with the latest trends.

That awkwardness is the same reason I took my hair down out of the beautiful bun my Mama spent an hour creating for me one morning, and why I didn’t give out the class presents she and I both stayed up late at night to work on. I always felt like my contributions were somehow not “enough,” and someone might point that out.

I wanted to hide so no one could see my flaws.

Somehow I must have gotten it into my head that I needed to be perfect. I wanted to be like everyone else, or at least not stand out as something other than what they were! I was smart, and kids made fun of me for it. I heard things like “teacher’s pet” and other descriptive names that didn’t sound the way I saw myself.

Kids will be kids.

I wasn’t bullied, at least I don’t remember it that way. These kids were my friends. But it was hard for me to put my feelings into sentences. I didn’t know how to blend into the crowd, and I was afraid to just be myself.

My homemade dresses were a half-inch longer than the other girls’ dresses, and I thought that mattered. I believed my hair made me look too different to be accepted. There wasn’t much about me that I was comfortable with, and THAT was the real problem. I didn’t want to be noticed–to be set apart for any reason.

So I wore the coat.

Photo by Esther Driehaus on Unsplash

I also knew that I was getting to “that age.” I was actually LATE getting to it. Other girls would ask me all the time, “Did you start yet?” and I hadn’t, but knew I would soon, and what if there was blood on me and someone saw it?

Protection. But I forgot.

So when Mikey wore his leather jacket in the summer, it never crossed my mind. I didn’t remember the girl who was so awkward–so socially impaired and afraid that I needed something to cover me so I’d feel better.

I was the one person who should’ve understood, and I didn’t. He wore it everywhere, and it was hot, and it made me angry. He didn’t just wear a coat though. He wore a knit cap too.

He needed protection even more than I did.

I passed down generations of fear to my child, just like it was passed to me. I could have stopped the cycle, but I didn’t recognize the patterns. The reality was right there in front of me, and I missed it. I failed him. Now that leather jacket hangs in the closet as a reminder of the protection that I didn’t give. He doesn’t need it anymore, but I always will.

Social Anxiety is a very real and crippling thing.

It can cause you to make choices that you ordinarily wouldn’t. The toughest person in the world might be too afraid to go into a grocery store and talk to a cashier for fear of embarrassing himself. That is a classic, identifiable symptom of the disorder.

I didn’t know. I finally did some research when I started to notice patterns in my life and in my family of things we were failing to do that most people took for granted. Some of us have pretty much beat it. Many others never will.

Shame and Withdrawal

I forgot about the coat, but I never forgot that I didn’t take my ACT test for college because I was afraid that I wouldn’t know where to sharpen my pencils. There’s a lot of shame that goes along with the crippling fear.

People who don’t understand (which is most of the general population including people inflicted with the social anxiety themselves) hurl judgment at you, like, “Why doesn’t the boy get a job like everybody else?” and other perfectly reasonable questions that don’t have reasonable answers from someone who couldn’t even ask where to sharpen her pencils.

The Catalyst for Change

I don’t have the solution, but I know this is a real thing. I’ve watched many members of my family struggle with it through the years. The turning point for me was knowing I didn’t take that test, and I had to lie to Mama for the first time in my life. I couldn’t find a way to just skirt the truth.

I looked at what my future would be like if I kept denying myself opportunities because I was afraid. I decided I was more afraid to get to the end of my life having not done all the things than to go ahead and try.

Photo by Andrew Kondrakov on Unsplash

I can’t say that the anxiety doesn’t still win a battle or two, but I know it will never win the war. I don’t consider this courage–just the other side of fear. They call it “doing it scared.” To me it’s like closing your eyes and backing up. Whatever happens, happens.

I can’t go back and change anything–not my past as a child nor my past with my child. I can only go forward and try to do better. I know that I will be watching more closely to see if someone is needing protection. Hopefully I will be able to share my story with them and maybe give them some hope that it doesn’t always have to be this way.

As for my son, I take comfort in the fact that he lived his life on his own terms, even though he was afraid. He was a writer (something else I passed down), and I found an accurate description of his struggle in one of his notebooks.

First, a whole page of the words “I’m sorry….I’m sorry…I’m sorry…”, as if apologizing for all the ways he thought he didn’t measure up. Then he wrote the best description of himself that anyone ever could. Whether the world finds it appropriate or not, in the end, we put it on his headstone.

“I’m not sorry, I’m Mikey.”

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