Moments of Awe During Strange Days

It has been a long while since I last posted. I feel the need to say thank you.

Thank you to the women and men that Marched yesterday, Saturday, January 21st, 2017 was a historic day. As I went to bed last night, I had a moment of awareness and awe. I said to my husband as I realized, “The things happening this week are the things that will be in history books someday. Real history is being made. The new president, the march, all of it.” I have seen the posts on Facebook that state, “This is not a moment. This is a movement.”

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Photo by Leticia Garcia
It really is, and like that, I went from being depressed about the ongoings of American politics and the state of our country to faith in the power of unity and the things we can teach our children. It was the incredible turnout of the marches across our nation, and the world and the overwhelming support of others that were unable to make the Women’s Marches of 2017.

I have also seen a few posts from women stating they don’t support the Women’s March. Disheartening yes, but also a minority. However, rather than trying to make them understand the importance of the historic events that have occurred over the past few days remember that we are in support of something bigger. We stand up for them, even when they don’t want to stand with us. I understand if you want to go against the grain, or feel that fighting for rights is playing the victim. That is your stance, and you can feel that way. I will still stand up in support for you. I will do this because the movement is about more than what I saw in the Facebook post. Whether a woman wants to stay at home, and cook, clean, take care of her children and husband that is what we stand up for. We stand up for the woman that chooses to work to provide for her family that way. The woman who chooses not to have children, the woman that chooses to spend her life traveling, that chooses to work for others, I could go on. We stand stronger when we support them, rather than trying to tear them down. We stand up for our children, our daughters, and sons. To teach our sons how to respect all people, and stand up alongside women, and that feminism does not mean they are less of a man, and we hope that someday our society and judicial system will also understand this. That sometimes, it is not just boys being boys. That the discriminatory and vulgar words you use, or when you harm others physically, emotionally, and sexually there should be consequences. That what a female chooses to wear or drink will never make rape acceptable, no matter where the rapist goes to school, or how high his grades are. We stand to teach our children that it is okay for a man to marry a man, and a woman to marry a woman because love is love. We stand to keep the rights that our strong female predecessors and allies fought for. We stand to show our children that no matter what race, religion, gender, we all deserve equal rights. Over the past year, many statements have been made, and people’s actions brought to light over national media. This is what created this movement. This is what prompted record-breaking numbers at the Women’s Marches. It was a major shift in people recognizing misogyny, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, the inability for some to separate church and politics (and human rights), rape culture, and the reality of seeing these things in our lives. Whether personally affected or not, we see them and we all know someone that is.

Many believe feminism is about women becoming superior and it skews the perception of the cause. I have to imagine it started by someone feeling threatened by strong females. Girls should not run the world, and neither should men. We should run the world, as people, as equals. Feminism is about seeking equality. Equality for all women and men. So when I support the Women’s March and this movement, I am in support of equal rights for all men and women.

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If it matters to you, why not?

IMG_3792.jpgLast night, while getting ready for bed Brian and I had a conversation. It was pretty deep. We talked about his day and some clarity he has received. Part of the conversation was talking about what we do, by profession, whether happy or not isn’t the point of what I wanted to write about though. I came to the realization during this conversation that I never really knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I remember saying to my friends that I wanted to be a lawyer. It was different and sounded fancy, while all my friends wanted to be teachers and doctors, I stuck with lawyer. The funny thing is, that isn’t me at all. I just didn’t know, or I had too many ideas or options. I don’t really remember which or why, but it really doesn’t matter. Once in high school, I decided I wanted to be a writer. I didn’t know what I wanted to write, but I had started a blog and wrote. When I applied to the one school I wanted to attend, majoring in English and was not accepted, I gave up. I quit writing for the most part. I changed directions and decided to nail school, quickly realized that wasn’t for me, and left that. I got into graphic design and photography and moved to Boston for school. I liked it all, and I love creating but it didn’t work, and I was young…and pregnant, and I moved back to my hometown and decided on community college. I majored in photography there and after being told over and over I wouldn’t be able to manage a creative career with a child I quit that. Looking back, I wish I didn’t listen. If I knew then, what I know now, ha! Regardless, I kept searching, and I found human services, it fit. I loved helping people, I wanted to make a difference and that is when I decided I wanted to be a counselor. I had planned on working in juvenile corrections, but when I landed an internship  in a school for children with developmental delays I felt I found my calling. I loved it. I loved the kids, and the therapies, and I really loved seeing growth in the students. I was making an impact, I was helping people’s lives. It was an amazing feeling. I moved on from my internship into a home based position with children birth to 3 years with Autism. It was so much fun working with these little ones, and I almost felt that their learning happened even more quickly than the older kids. Again, I moved on and started working for a school district where the days were more consistent and my schedule easier to manage. I worked in the schools for nearly a decade while completing a degree in Psychology and Education. At the end of my time with the schools I had found Chloe + Isabel and started doing that as a part time gig to have some fun and make a little extra money, I promoted and quit my job in the school, more reasons that just that but I won’t go into those details. I promoted again, and had felt great but still always felt like something was missing. I decided to take another big turn and go back to school for Esthetics. This was something I had wanted to do since I had been in nail school more than 15 years prior and with my current position I was able to make it happen. It wasn’t easy, but I finished, I got licensed (wooohooooo!) and am now working on a few projects (stay tuned!) with that while still keeping up with my Chloe + Isabel team business and One Stylish Mama Boutique.

I still don’t know where I will end up, or if I am still searching. I don’t know. I am content right now with work, but I still know I need something else, whether it is a hobby or learning something new…Brian, I promise this time it won’t be something as big as Esthetics school, or another undergrad, or a grad program right now. I am thinking about maybe just learning a skill. I have come to the conclusion that I am a learner. I am constantly craving new skills, and the ability to create things. Whether I am creating something tangible, or if I am just helping create good feelings and vibes either in others or myself. I have a desire and thirst to learn and create.

You are never too old for another dream and to make your dreams a reality you need to make them goals. Keep dreaming, keep goal setting. Life is short and what I have learned in this journey is that what other say shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your dreams. You should go for it, because if it matters to you, why not?

How I saved myrself from lazy

As of late, I had noticed I was going off schedule, and routine….like, a lot. It wasn’t good. My kids were on summer vacation, and I guess I got in that mentality too. Things were sometimes too crazy at home to focus on the things I wanted to focus on, so instead I started doing the facebook scroll. How I saved myself from lazy

You all know what I mean by the facebook scroll. It is the meaningless scrolling and refreshing of facebook, with hopes that something relevant, funny, or inspiring will catch your attention. Then you read it, maybe you share it, and then you go back to scrolling.

I had it bad this summer. So here is what I did a few weeks ago to get myself out of that and back on track to productivity!

First, I made a schedule. Typically I put everything in my calendar, down to cooking dinner, doing laundry, school drop off and pick up. It wasn’t working anymore. I think maybe my anxiety had gotten the best of my early in the summer as well because I just didn’t do much of anything on my calendar, especially when it came to laundry (and believe me, I am paying for it now with mountains of towels and other things down cellar). I opened up a blank document, and started writing my tasks down there. I started prioritizing again. What needed to be done, what could wait but needed to be done, what did I want to do but wasn’t entirely necessary.

Then, I created a table. This table was Monday through Friday, and I put the tasks in order of priority. I leave it open on my desktop. When I get off task, I take a look at that table and get back on track.

Part of this make shift schedule/to do list is writing more content for the blog.

The document isn’t something I plan on using forever, but just to get back into my routine, now that school has started back for the kids and I picked up a part time job working the front desk at my friends salon, I know that it is going to be much easier to adhere to productivity. My calendar will then again be filled with my daily tasks, and when my reminder pops up, I won’t ignore it anymore.

Have you ever heard anyone say, “Busy people are the most productive?” I don’t want to be busy in the sense of being overwhelmed but I like knowing that I have places to go and things to do. This summer, with my daughter breaking her arm and canceling vacation, and many of the summer plans we had, it was easy to slip into lazy. Lazy doesn’t feel good. It feels like uselessness. It sends you, or at least it sends me into a panic then a depression. Being busy helps me remember my purpose. It helps me remember my confidence. I am finding my why again, and with it I am feeling better.

There is no time to regret growing older

Honestly there are times I have forgotten my age. I am just about to be 33 and I have to ask my husband how old I am. Funny but as I have gotten older, it has been less exciting to age, and get older. I reminisce on pictures of my husband, and friends, and I in our younger days and think how much better or thinner I looked. Realizing now tGrowing Olderhat living like that is a terrible thing to do. Being upset about growing older is something I feel like I have taken advantage of. It is unfair of me to feel that way, when so are denied the opportunity of growing older.

I have an old friend who passed too soon. At 33 years old, he left our world Friday evening. I hadn’t spoken with him in a few years. It hit me hard. Why hadn’t I reached out, why did we lose touch. He was someone that knew his time here was meant to be short. He knew that for some reason. Even when we were teenagers, he always said he would die young. Knowing or not, it doesn’t seem fair to leave this life so soon. Another passing that hit me in the last few weeks was of a coworkers 2 month old son that passed of SIDS while she was out of town on a trip she earned. The tragedy of losing a child, and being across the country is something I cannot even imagine. My heart ached for her.

Things were put in perspective this weekend when I found out about my friend and that sweet baby.

This is what I have decided:

My problems are insignificant.

I will stop focusing on them.

I will not complain about getting older.
Instead, I will embrace it. I will be grateful for it.

I will do what makes me happy

I will enjoy the life I am given.

I will focus on the things I have.

I will be grateful for them.

I will love. I will smile. I will laugh.

I challenge you to do the same.

xo

When Life Hands You Lemons…

When life hands you lemonsWe can’t stay focused all of the time. Especially when it seems like a million things coming at you all at once. Or maybe it is just your “lady-time” and it is causing you to be hyperemotional, and overreactive, because all of a sudden the slightest thing feels like it is causing you to spiral out of control.

That was me today. I will admit, I haven’t been posting much, and I have been in a funk – and part of that may totally be due to my hormonal imbalance causing all sort’s of things to feel out of control, but today really made me look at it and stop to change my behavior and reactions.

When life hands you lemons, you can do plenty of things, you can cry about it, and throw them at your spouse when he tells you to stop crying ( I wouldn’t really do that…), or the obvious make lemonade, use it in your water to detox, make a beautiful centerpiece….I am sure I could go on Pinterest and find a million other things to do with lemons, but I won’t list them here. Regardless of the solution you think of to get rid of your lemons, I believe you can always learn something from it.

Sometimes it isn’t always clear at first. You have to calm down and dig sometimes. Self-reflection isn’t always easy, but we have to do it sometimes. I am not going to go into detail about the things I have done, or the way I have acted the last few weeks. I am only going to blame a tiny bit of it on my physical issues. I will take the blame when it is warranted and I have not been the best person, that I can be lately. I know that I have been tired, and short fused, and some outside influences have caused me to allow my alignment, and my attitude to come out of alignment. Sometimes the person you least expect to help you put it in perspective does. Today that is what happened. The person I am always trying to help stay positive and gain some alignment, helped me with the exact words I would have said to her. For that I am grateful.

And for me that is where it always starts. Being grateful for what you have. I calmed down. I am seeing things better. I am in a better mood. I am not as anxious. I worked on a solution and I know everything will be okay again.

Why I have 99 Options but Failure Isn’t One

11708_1631084977107940_8884482501900775583_nCue the beat to the Jay-Z song…

But in all seriousness, why I have a world of options, and I won’t allow failure to be one of them. In my eyes, failure does not equal mistakes, or learning. Failure to me is giving up, quitting, completely throwing in the towel because something didn’t go as planned.

Believe me, I have failed many times. I quit too many things through the years. I quit because it didn’t go how I thought it would, or I thought it was too hard, or maybe I just wasn’t interested. I suppose if you really aren’t interested or really no longer desire the outcome, it isn’t technically quitting. Though, I have to imagine you desired that outcome at one time, so why did you start in the first place? My friend, and life coaching guru, Cheri, recently posted this article about why you should never have a Plan B. She pretty much came to this conclusion that having a plan B, means you may not believe in your plan A, or it may cause you to have conflicting focus between A and B. Now you see why I said guru…mind blown. Never would have looked at it like that. Although, I am not so much of a Plan B’er – I usually pick a plan and focus until I get there, then need to make a new plan for where to go next.

Now that I have some Plan A’s in my life, here is why I will not fail and why you should believe in yourself to not allow failure to be your option.

  • I deserve it. You do too. Whatever it is, it is something you want and desire. Why shouldn’t you allow yourself success or happiness? Exactly.

That is it, I know you were probably expecting a lot more. If there is something you want, an end goal, and you are thinking about quitting. Think about why? Do you not believe in yourself enough to believe you can get there? If it is something you want, you will find a way to get there. There is no reason to  quit. If you get there, and you realize it isn’t what you thought it was, you have the ability to say you completed it, got to your goal, and now are ready to make a new one. Not that you got half way, gave up, and chose something else that was easier instead. It isn’t always easy. Would you get as much satisfaction if it was easy? Probably not. I don’t want to achieve something that everyone can have easily. I want to achieve something that I wanted, that I thought of, that I worked for, and that I harnessed and focused my energy to get. I want that satisfaction. The options I talk about in my title aren’t picking other plans. That is all about different paths to the same end goal. Maybe you hit a road block, and it doesn’t happen as quickly as you had hoped – that is okay but eventually if you want it, you will go back to it. Right? You may need to take the winding path on the left instead of the straight path on the right, and that is okay.

I believe in following dreams, I believe in getting there in traditional and untraditional ways, but I no longer believe in failure.

The Unexpected Kindness of Others

 I have been quiet the past week because I was traveling. I had been pulled in every direction and was feeling a little overwhelmed so I needed a break when I returned home. I just laid low, and got my life and business back in order, and here I am.

I had an experience while leaving the city on Sunday. It was totally unexpected but it did something to me that I needed.

I spend a week with some wonderful women, some of whom are veterans in the position I am in. I started to wonder if I am doing things right, I also have been in a personal lull in terms of my feelings. Not really sure what was up, just in a funk, it happens, right?

Anyway, back to my trip. On my last morning, I was packed, had breakfast, and called an Uber to bring me to Penn Station. The driver, just like most was nice enough. Grabbed my bags and put them in the trunk, and as we started driving we had some small talk. Just if I had a good time while in NYC, and why I was here, we talked about this past winter’s major snowfall, etc.

At one point, he stopped and says to me, “You are the happiest person I have ever met, what is your secret?”

Surprised, I thanked him and laughed again. I explained to him that I think of things every morning when I wake up that I am grateful for, that I have a job that I love doing, and a company that treats me well.

He responded to these answers with a laugh, saying there has to be something else, because I sound like I am a self help book, and that I am not the lucky one to be working for a great company but they are lucky to have me.

Sometimes, I think we go through life judging others with an adverse perception. This man, this Uber driver, I believe was put there by no coincidence. He gave me the boost that I needed. The feelings I have been having, and the rut I was in suddenly disappeared. I started to remember why, and how I got here in the first place and I remembered it was my work, my dedication, and my talent. I didn’t get here by mistake, I worked hard for it, and I proved myself worthy. This driver was an earth angel. He came at a time I needed it more than ever. He came at a time I had been asking for a sign to know I was on the right path. I made sure to thank him for the ride, and let him know that it was a pleasure, and he responded the same.

His kindness did more for me than he will ever know.

As I got arrived home, I repeated this story to my husband with tears in my eyes. I wasn’t sad about it, but elated because I remembered to believe in myself because of this interaction.

I have replayed the conversation over again in my head since I left. I hope that others can relate to this and remember why they took their path, and that they are worthy. I hope that others can see the signs that are presented to them when they ask for them. Keep your eyes open, because you never know how it will present itself, but I do know one thing – there is never a coincidence for these things.

Be grateful, be perceptive, and ask & it will be given.