Be Nice To Your Back Fat

In the fall of 2019 I was writing daily for grad school and doing my first ever morning pages as well as the book The Artist Way. In The Artist Way, in Chapter 9, the assignment is to reread your morning pages and see if you notice any topics and/or themes that stand out. What first jumped out to me the most was how I was repeating positive mantras, naming healthy actions, self affirmations and a theme of always ending in hope. I found it interesting to read in my writing where I dip in and out of emotions like sadness, anger and serious issues about life or my past, but how there’s was a constant underlying upswing in the same pages that would pivot always to thoughts of kindness, grace, self-care, joy and happiness.

I recall writing about a funny morning the month before and laugh out loud just now. It was early morning before work and I was just about to get in the shower. When just as I opened the shower door I caught a glimpse of my naked back side in the mirror. There’s a few rolls I noticed that you don’t see fully clothed without large vanity mirrors around. You know the rolls, the ones that creep out from below your bra? I like to refer to that lovingly as my back fat.

I paused to stare and began to talk to my back fat. Telling it that it was ok, and we’ll work a little harder on the eating this week. We’ll work more at the gym and we are gonna lose the weight, and we will help those little rolls back there get better. At that moment when my son knocked on the bathroom door, and I jumped being frightened for a moment. He asked, “Who are you talking too?” I replied, just as a matter of factly “I was talking to my back fat.” He laughed and said he was up and getting ready for school.

What I realized is that it’s really important to be kind to yourself. Controlling the negative self talk. Being kind to others of course too, but it must begin with yourself. To positively face the day in the body you have today. Be proud of yourself, be confident in yourself and stand up for the human you see in the mirror. Really speak lovingly to who you are and how you walk, talk, laugh, look, and embrace your body. It’s not easy, but if you begin with small winks, speaking kindly to that reflection every day in the mirror it will begin to sink in.

Yes, being kind to yourself takes work but you are worthy of your own kindness. It will help you learning how to stand up for yourself and speak up for yourself. This is a scary thought for a life long people pleaser, but it is also a necessary growth in order to practice mindful self care. I understand because I used to feel that speaking up, or speaking my mind, making points, standing behind them, was a form of arguing. However through grad school research I’m realizing it is not actually arguing. It’s telling your truth, sharing your feelings, and saying what you need.

The word argument itself is scary to me, but Natalia Ilyin explains in Writing for the Design Mind, “It’s not the kind of argument that means yelling at people or belittling them. The word “argument” comes from the Latin word arguer, “make clear or prove” and you’re making clear and proving your ideas when you write.” (Ilyin, 60) This is how I feel actually when I talk professionally about my design comps to a client. It’s how I feel when I explain at the Rotary Club what my design firm does for small businesses and the importance of a well designed brand. Yet, I’m unsure how do I make clear and prove my own ideas? My own self respect. Well you begin by learning to write about it. Just as I’m doing here. I began with The Artist Way and Writing for the Design Mind in grad school how to make my points clear, it’s something I’m still working hard on and learning to get more comfortable with one word at a time.

When you grow up on a strictly ruled family farm the word argument is something that was not allowed. Thinking of my childhood experience with the word argument drums up fears, makes me want to call my therapist, and go back and tell my 8 year old self that everything is ok. The Artist Way encourages this in writing exercises to tell your inner child that you are safe, loved, and nothing bad is going to happen to you. I tell myself that “You are going to be better than ok. Stay kind, funny, and creative. You will become a successful graphic designer, who struggles to write essays when you’re forty in grad school.”

An argument sets forth a rationale with the intent to persuade-and all writers seek to persuade.

Natalia Ilyin, Writing for the Design Mind

Writing For The Design Mind goes on to say, “An argument sets forth a rationale with the intent to persuade–and all writers seek to persuade.” Now this, as I read it, doesn’t seem scary at all. I love to persuade people into design ideas, and creative business strategy for their business. The power of persuasion is a gift that can be used for good or evil, I realize. I’ve professionally spent my days, as a designer, working on making our clients believe in the power of design. Also persuading them to believe in me, and trust me. Trust my creative ideas, and to trust my design team. That we will successfully identify the problem, design and execute a plan. The argument I’m trying to make day in day out in my career is to clearly prove that you can count on me.

Ultimately, the power of persuasion can even work on your own subconscious. It hears those inner thoughts you’re saying to yourself in that steamy bathroom mirror. Try focusing on being kind to yourself first. If you do, you will learn how to speak up for yourself and your values. It will even begin to spill into your work. You’ll have fun, grow more confident with clients while you’re working so hard as a designer. So start small, just as I did persuading my back fat, and talk kindly to yourself every day.

I quit

I quit.

To the girl a year ago that said “I quit.” You decided to give up, just for a day. Then not drinking, little by little, became the 🌈 rainbow in your clouds. You didn’t really know why at first but you knew you must. You knew in your gut this was more than indigestion burning inside. You knew you must stop the cycles and old patterns. Now, 365 day 1’s later your many ‘why I quit’s’ magically appeared… I quit for my anxiety. My obesity. My broken heart. My grief. My stabbing chest pains. Shingles. Arthritis. My God. My boys. My own self.

To the girl a year ago you kept your head above water as it ebbed and flowed. Sometimes feeling like drowning and sometimes like a drought. You kept going. You changed. You can always change. You get to make the choice. You get to quit abusing alcohol for any reason you need. I quit to write. I quit to stop the never ending acid reflux, bad sleep, and headaches too. I quit to stop the self loathing, guilt, shame cycle. I stopped, I paused, I rested, I surrendered, I gave myself permission. I quit to leave the the heavy behind. I quit because I was tired. I quit because I’d tried every single thing else to “fix” things. I quit because it was one of the few things I could control in this crazy amazing beautiful world.

To the girl a year ago I finally listened to your plea. I didn’t wait to hit someone else’s definition of “rock bottom.” I didn’t wait for a catastrophe to blow up. I quit because I am enough, this is a choice, not an amount. I am enough just as I am. I learned that this life is full of worth, and so am I. This life is full of great abundance, goodness and if you can you MUST do the work to heal, help, and care for your own self, day by day, bit by bit. Put the oxygen mask on yourself first. If you can’t breathe you’re not able to help others to do so.

To the girl a year ago I thought about not posting, or leaving a caption that was ‘short and sweet’ because it feels impossible to put into words 1 year sober, and it also feels impossible that I’m here today. Even though it’s been a long year (one hell of one for us all!) it feels like only a short moment now thinking back to my Day 1.

To the girl today… When I think about why I’m here, and how I feel I think of the words I just read in The Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” The answer for me is to just try. Try to be there. Fully and presently in this amazing life. We’re all trying the best way we know how. After trying alcohol, antidepressants, disordered eating and toxic positivity (just to name a few things 😅), a year ago I had to try to be hangover, brain fog, and panic attack free. I wanted to try this new way to not ignore my needs, fears, truths and wish to escape from it all. To try to find a new way to protect my energy in this performance we call life. To no longer numb through the fleeting moments of beauty and grace in the world and in me. It’s one short and sweet lucky life I’m so grateful to try to live soberly.

A red bird’s thesis

Thesis defense day. This day is here, and now, it’s the present. Not some past moment I’ll begin to speak of tomorrow telling friends and hopefully students some day “When I presented my thesis…” – no longer the common past talk I’m familiar with always saying “For your thesis you should…” Both of those moments are not here. Here is my thesis – a living breathing feeling of feelings, emotional heart beats in my chest, dada, dada, dada. Ebb and flowing energy. It’s an empowered moment, a fun, joyful celebration of life – really my life. My heart, truth, and instantly authentic journey and life and share.

This unlocking, unbinding, to rebinding, opening, open heart, trust, in self. Here this authoritative role, ownership, claiming of words, truth tellin’ is big, it’s huge, is here. Here.

I am here, and breathing deeply, listening to my playlist which hums my story, more words. A view of my own choosing. And the anxiety perks it’s gentle head up like the red bird that I just saw as I took Emma to potty. It’s soft, gentle, but boldly there, sort of darting around, hopping and poking its head amongst the blades of fresh new spring grass.

My thoughts of my anxiety red bird help calm me. Just as if I were to try to catch, control the red bird, hold her tight, I couldn’t. I couldn’t calm her fast beating heart. I couldn’t settle her. So I just observe her. I let her be whatever she wants to be. She looks at me, and hops a little closer, as if to see me. I feel her say hello. Hi friend, we are here together, just being ourselves, and feeling the warm sun and the cool grass all at the same time.

We both are together in this clear moment, and we are both in the open freedom of the air. We are breathing in the same air and co-existing, cohabitating, yet completely different. Neither of us need to change – she thinks you in your black turtleneck and me in my feathers. We can be here together, and calm and steady, and warm and wet all at once. Breath in we are here. We made it to this mindful moment. Celebrate with breath. A smile as she flies away.

Feel the joy, feel the goodness with the worry, the fear is felt but the steady waters roll right up against it and we are here, we are one swaying vessel of magic, inside. Both steady and sweaty. Both are welcome, now and always.

You are here, you made it to the moment and feel your toes on the ground. It’s been a long time and time is what brought you here and will bring you away again, freely, hopefully, and joyously.

Your compass is set, the story is told, and more living needs to happen beyond here to tell more and understand maybe even less, but we will trust the next questions that sway into the tides when you are 40 years from now in your cottage on the coast, dreaming of today. Put the pen down and hold space for you and your red bird. xo.

Girls trip but don’t fall

I sit on my couch waiting for my children to come home from school. I just returned from my first girls trip sober. The idea of traveling home and feeling completely rested just hit me as I sit down my bags and breath. It’s hard to comprehend.

No headache, no heartburn, no swollen ankles and aching eyeballs, and raging anxiety? I think as I do a pulse check. No stress at all. This is incredibly uncomfortably comfortable to sit in. 

My first friends’ sleepovers in 6th grade, I drank. From every teenage family trip my dad ordered me, I drank. Sneaking off Spring Breaks, I drank. I’ve not ever been on a trip, business or pleasure, that didn’t revolve around this habit in my life. Until today. That’s 41 years of booking the Drinks and Drama 7-night Sleepover Special vacation planner package.

I place my hand on my chest. I breathe. Realizing this truth. I don’t seem to know what to do with myself next. I usually returned home hurting and hazy. Dragging my aching bones to the bed. That girl I’m holding today.

Processing these feelings as I sit here in the calm, the quiet, hearing my own clear headed breaths. Feeling the rest in my heartbeat and the steady core. I have actually accomplished this? It happened when I wasn’t even looking. A vacation that actually nourished me. This feels so odd but self loving.

I wonder, is this how every one else feels after a trip with old friends? Thinking of all the hard rides home, the sad potholes, and pain packed up like the old dirty overstuffed luggage. Instead I relaxed beach side reading, napping and writing. I meditated and gave myself facials while watching old movies.

While sipping seltzers and hot tea, we laughed until we cried. Peeing our pants about silly stories we should have never lived through, and heart aches that we did. The experiences we never processed as young women we now look at with gentle care. My truth in recovery was met with such support and judgement free.

I am unpacking this moment. Putting away clean clothes, clean shoes, and smell the fresh, not sweat and soured life. No mystery stains and cuts to heal. No guilt, no shame, no lies to tell. No sand to shake and wipe away. There’s no surprises, no fog, no overdrawn bank account. No I’m sorry’s to say, no blaming hangovers on others, while I pretended I behaved. My mind is in a new space and fresh with new feelings. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt this way before. I took a girls trip and didn’t fall.

Who cares about pony tails

Recently the topic of support came up. When you support so many, who supports you? Well, I have to say that question hit me hard while in mid yawn and stretch this morning. I was still rubbing the sleepy’s out of my eyes as I got up to go to the gym. It landed on me like a slow thick thump on the chest and slid down into my gut in a way that didn’t feel so good as I brushed my teeth.

I’m not one for self pity, self loathing, nor do I ever want to appear needy. I also don’t know if those are even the right words to say as I write? I avoid being high maintenance at all costs. I do not have any desire to draw attention to myself in any way, so this is already making me red and splotchy as the cursor blinks.

Typically I can throw the ol’ noggin back in a great laugh and rattle off something witty back, but I’m finding it tough to answer. Supports me? As I reread a friend’s text reply back from our day’s events the question asked is “Who supports you?” This is something I’ve never been asked, and I’ve been asked a lot of things. I consider myself a bit on the up and up, ready to be asked anything, and have a comeback faster than a hot knife cuts butter. Yet, this morning I don’t know how to respond.

It made me stop.

It made me hold my breath. 

Oh shit, um who does take care of me? I began to think, while brushing my teeth, well the obvious political answer is my husband of course. I immediately heard Mr. Subconscious pipe up from the back of my mind’s classroom. Like the annoying charming troublemaker with a cute smirk saying, “Nope, that ain’t true.” As he smacked his bubble gum, resting his foot on the next desk over and winked. What is this, a bad 80s movie? I, as the questioned teacher and authority on me says, “Um yes,” convincingly, “He takes off the trash, sometimes twice a day, and grills, oh and grocery shops, and loads and UNLOADS mind you, the dishwasher.” Clearly stating the facts and evidence as proof of cared-forness. “Thank you.”

Quickly now, think of others. What about the people I pay? They count surely? Of course they do! I pay 9 kiddos that help me help clients every day. One of them, Art, even brings my kids to go food. Oh, and I pay a scrappy and strong 5x divorced cleaning lady who helps take care of the house. I’ve always thought secretly she would be the one to call if I had a dead body to hide. She counts on the hash marks for support!

Ahh, my children. Yes. I do pay them too, but they always gladly bring me more coffee, more water, and in a past life more wine. They also cuddle up to me when they find me lying horizontal to clear my head. Oh, and they always ask me if I want some of their popcorn when they are making themselves some. 

Ahh, Emma! Emma takes great care of me. She is the most comforting French Bulldog on earth. Talk about sweet and she needs me. Yes, I paid for her, but I feel she counts. With every belly rub there’s major care in there and licks of support.

Oh, ok got it! Here’s one… you! I say you, Natalia, with every response to every random e-send, and Yoon Soo, Ziddi, oh and Mary! All of the VCFA kiddos take care of me. Doesn’t matter that I pay for tuition at all. That check has cashed and every one is still a support link away.

Janet! My therapist? I really like her though. She cares, she supports me, but I pay her too. As well as the sobriety groups. Crap I pay for one of them $9 a month. Hmph. 

Okay, I got it. I have a few women friends that know my journey. Katy has even read some of my grad school packets. Britany the client, now friend, and neighbor Kristi. There’s a few others in the outer rings, Rachel, Starr, and that one girl at the gym. Oh I recently told my high school best friends I was sober. After some pretty great jokes and bad memory recalls of “Remember when you puked all over Brad’s deck and backyard? We thought you were dead when we checked your pulse. Oh, and passed out in the doorway of the hotel room in Chicago and we left you there all night and sat pizza on you in case you woke up? We have pictures of that. Oh, yeah Beta Club convention, wow you were slammed!” Um, I was 16. Wow. Ending in “I didn’t realize you couldn’t control it, or it was a problem for you. You always seemed so happy.” Haven’t heard back from them since then.

Okay, class, back to order. Back to today’s topic, who supports me? Show of hands please! Who takes care of me? There’s a long uncomfortable pause. I mean long. I hear the dog sigh, the wind blow outside, and my own throat struggling to swallow. Is that a lump swelling up? Hell, I’ve got to get to the gym.

I considered leaving the rest of this page blank – or to be continued. I guess I’ll keep writing, but I don’t know. As far back as I can remember I’m not sure who took care of me. I’m now looking at my reflection at my ponytail. Covid has my hair longer than it’s ever been as an adult. My pony is all ragged and tangled, thrown up in a rush by hand with fresh bedhead fly aways.

Others’ hair at the gym looks sleek, smooth, controlled. How do you even make a ponytail? I’m 41 and don’t know. Did I have one as a child? My two older sisters were usually in an angry teased cloud of Aquanet, and I was in the way in the tiny bathroom with only 2 vanity spots. I have no memories of my mother brushing or fixing my hair. Rather, taking me to my Aunt’s beauty parlor telling them to “Just chop it all off.” Mom didn’t have time to fool with it, she said often. “After all she’s too much of a TomBoy to care.” She was tired all the time I knew so why bother with a stupid ponytail. Dad wished I was a boy anyways he always said, “Let’s chop it off Aunt Marsha!” I smiled.

My grandma certainly was my keeper, carer, and supporter of me. I was often dropped off in a rush. Mom quickly running in pushing me from behind to tell grandma a quick hello. Then rushing back out to the station wagon so she and dad could get to the party. They were already late and stressed. Does grandma count a support from 30 years ago?

Many men, and maybe a crazy self proclaimed best friend woman or two have tried to care for me, but I didn’t want them to. They seemed a bit aggressive and needed more from me than I could give. I don’t think I need support anyway – I never have needed caring for, we had to get to work, to get to bed, to get up, to get to work each day. Caring was all I did do all day, so deeply it hurt sometimes. Even my restless vivid dreams were full of care as a child. Do you ever remember dreaming that you had to stay awake to take care of everyone, so you made yourself stay awake in your sleep. It’s exhausting. Whew I had some nightmares growing up.

Ahh crap, it’s hitting me. Do I need support? Who does support me? I mean I do. I am caring for myself. It’s me. I’m supporting me in ways I never ever have before in my life. I’m allowed to pick me right? Does that count? Who cares about ponytails anyway.

Pandemic Prep List

My 89 year old grandma on Thursday, after turning off the news and turning on 80s Classic Country music, opens her iPad to look on Facebook. She shows me a video of a little girl laughing, while she is telling me everyone is overreacting and everything is going to be ok. Then goes back to scrolling on social media, smiling and tapping her foot to Kenny Rogers.

Betty Smith has lived through quarantines, she said. When she was little, as she helped me from her walker put up a few groceries I’d brought her, she told me a story of a little boy in her school house growing up that had “gotten a meningitis.” She said no one had medicine back then. No hospitals or labs. It was not even a thing. “So honey, today, we are all gonna be fine.” 

I was delivering groceries to her because my mother is out of town, and my Aunt Brenda who lives next door, her full time helper, is in the hospital recovering from back surgery. One of my sisters is a school teacher and having to juggle her 4th & 5th grade classroom meltdowns over the virus panics. The other sister has lung and immune system issues and has been ordered to stay home. We are a close family and knowing I’m the one in charge means the aging of us all is beginning to really show. All of this has led me to be nominated for checking on grandma and thank goodness I did.

I called her just to see how she was as I pulled into the garage of my home. The news buzzing on the XM radio, and the car dashboard news screen in all caps says COVID-19. Pop up alerts on my smartphone’s many apps, and a few pulses from my watch all had me a bit nervous about what was to come of all of us in the next few days, weeks, and months. What about my town, my state, my world. As I talked with grandma, asking how she was doing, I quickly realized she was just fine mainly because she kept saying “Babe, I’m doing just fine. I don’t need a thing”

I began to grill her more asking about all the things I knew she liked, “But do you need coffee? Do you need pimento cheese? Chicken salad? Oh, and what about any medicines?” she kept saying no, nope I’m fine, no I’m good. I began to relax and put down the garage door. Then Grandma added, “I’ve got plenty of coffee and creamer to last me til Monday when David Earl takes me to town and Walmarks.” With her comment, and the new sudden fears pushed out by the medias at my fingertips about the talks of the Coronavirus spreading, and hoarders taking all the world’s toilet paper, along with the biggest threat for the elderly – this sent me zooming right back out of the garage to the grocery. I decided I was going to grab her a few things and head to her house about 20 minutes away the next town over.

It took some real convincing over the phone to make her understand I was coming no matter what with supplies. I had to talk her into telling me a few things she might need regardless of her thoughts of having plenty. I asked her to think beyond Monday, and think beyond when mom gets home from her trip. I assured her, “I got this grandma, just give me your list.” Pulling into my parking spot, getting out my notes app ready to type fast she was quiet. After hesitating, and even a little stutter and pause she said, “Well I guess…” and began thinking…

  1. One roll of paper towels.
  2. A small can of decaf coffee, the green one.
  3. A large thing of my favorite creamer.

We all know how much she loves that french vanilla creamer, she mentions it all the time. No need for specifics in a time of crisis such as this, I think to myself smiling. Then there was silence again. “Is that it? That’s all she needed?” I thought to myself. So, after my own extra prodding, naming items like toilet paper, zip lock bags, and any freezer items, asking her to really think two weeks out from now, if the world really shuts completely down. “What do you need if you couldn’t get to Walmarks for two weeks?” She paused, and said, “Well… get me another thing of creamer, go on and get a tub of vanilla ice cream, and red grapes. If not too much money.” Satisfied, I repeat back to her as I walk into the grocery:

  1. A roll of paper towels.
  2. Can of decaf coffee, green one.
  3. 2 large things favorite creamer.
  4. A tub of vanilla ice cream.
  5. Red grapes.

She says “Yes, if not too much money. Green grapes are cheaper but I just don’t like those as much.” I added, “Me neither!” Hanging up the phone and pushing my cart, headed around the aisles of the store, among the other shoppers, there was a strange quietness – minus the Bon Jovi playing over the loudspeakers. We all seem to be in a silent panic, walking swiftly, like we were each keeping a big secret. Everyone is trying to not make eye contact as we each hurriedly grab supplies and pretend not to notice the bare shelves.

Grandma’s preparedness list looks so simple. I too likely should have chosen the decaf for my heightened sense of emotions. The pandemic has us all a bit freaked out yes, and for sure I should have gotten myself some ice cream too. As I push out the cart to my car glancing down on the items, I’m just now understanding that my grandma, living alone, elderly, on a fixed income, goes once a week to the grocery. She buys only what she needs. She likely did this her whole life, and living in a rural lower income farming community did this as a wife and mother too every week. As I’m remembering a few trips with her as a child.

Grandma cannot drive herself anymore, and in the chance of not being able to get to the store for 2 weeks, her list was so simple. In my first ever pandemic, trying to help her, and expecting to bring her a truck load of things when she finally understood my own call of urgency, all she needed were just 2 more things to my thoughts of more than 20 more wasted items. With her classic country music playing, iPad scrolling baby videos, and voice of reason it was exactly what I needed for my own list.

I can’t shake my thoughts as I drive back home from grandma’s house. If it’s the end of the world, and everything closes, and we can never get the supplies we need, her list grew only to vanilla ice cream and red grapes… if not too much money. I’m not sure where the world is headed with the virus, but to be honest I wasn’t sure where the world was headed a month ago without it as well. So whatever your preparedness list looks like today, I would certainly think about adding that ice cream.

A good rain

I sit at my office desk this morning. A desk that I own, of the business that I built, in a building with my name on the deed. The glow of the computer screen is casting a soft white light onto my notebook as I open it. I pick up my pen ready to scribble across the page. It’s an overcast, rainy, drizzle of a day.

I tap the spacebar and my study playlist begins. I’m listening to Suite Bergamasque: Clair de Lune, and the sound of spraying water hissing, as the world’s commuters are zooming by through puddles just outside. The dog snores and readjusts her curl as the heat kicks on. The coffee is piping hot off the rim of my cup. It’s morning pages time.

I am reflecting on the map dot where my feet touch, the longitude and latitude of my life. My career has been insanely fun. Yes, some days more of the insane side surfaces than the fun, but the fun side is time spent helping so many folks communicate better. I help them communicate better their sellings, their tellings, and their deals of the day. I don’t know if the job I do is never ending or if it’s beginning, but there is a change and a new something brewing. I can feel it swirling around me like the wind is whistling and gusting outside.

I used to dread the rain, fear a storm, run and hide, and wait for it to be over. Over so I could go back to the calm things, the same routine things, but today the energy feels different. Like a good rain is here to wash away yesterday’s grime. It even is soothing me, and calming me. It’s putting me at ease instead of into a panic. Maybe it’s the rain, or maybe it’s the Wolfgang piping from my playlist now, but it’s good, so very good.

Waking up early, exercising, fasting, coffee, and pausing to write is a treat, a treasure, and reward for surviving another day. Just thinking back to the to do’s and tasks, and looking ahead to the tomorrows – we have this simple moment right now to pause, appreciate and be mindful of where we are. In this moment I think back on how I got here, why am I here, and even glance just a bit further up the road to where my next “here” is going to be? It’s ok if we don’t know these answers, we do know we can just enjoy this moment and the clean wash of a good rain. I think of Rainer Maria Rilke words and how they comfort me, “I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them.” 

Why focus on the good rain? Because anxiety can quickly rush back in. When running behind, anxiety builds. Feeling rushed, full of a week of dreaded meetings, lunch appointments, and so many people messaging in all the ways trying to connect, they need help, need attention, it mentally drains me. It seems to get to a point when you feel you might drown as you add up all the things, on top of being off schedule. Then, the small drops feel heavier. Feel them? The dog is sick, one child has detention, and one has no gym shorts. Upset young adults make upset mom adults too.

So, right now I’m trying to recenter myself. I’m being mindful, and intentional. Yes, I’m 37 minutes behind my schedule, as I glance at the clock, but think of what’s been accomplished today. 5AM gym (check), kids fed a healthy breakfast (check), the teenager fearfully drove us to school in the rain (check), the criminal reported to morning detention (check), I remembered my arthritis meds (check), I showered AND washed my hair, and pooped! (check, check, check!) It’s always so very nice when that task is over and flushed away before employees show up! The dog can be taken to the vet after lunch, the coach is not going to fail us for lack of gym shorts, and more have been ordered from Amazon to be here tomorrow. Royal blue shorts surely will get us into college?

I am slowly coming down from the demons that are trying to talk me into biting my nails, grabbing ChickFilA, or running away. We are going to make it through this day I assure you. Stay with me! It’s only 8:07am! Keep writing. Ding, buzz, the lunch meeting just canceled, see we feel better already. The coach understands not all people can fit into mediums. The detention hour has been served and the sun is beginning to shine on to my page. The coffee is strong and so are you.

Taking the deep breaths, we start the playlist again, we sip, write and calmly take a moment. Fire up the diffuser next, wild orange energy oil is pumping up into the air, it was my friend and business partner Shea’s favorite. The meds for the aching knees are helping, I tell myself as they burn. We’ll write out our whole week of appointments in our planner next so no surprises take us down in battle. Don’t you feel better already?

You know there’s always going to be something, someone, some event that will throw you for a loop, but remind yourself and really believe that it’s only temporary. It’s not permanent. It’s going to pass. You are going to get recentered, anchored, and back to steady. It may not be easy each time or as quick as you’d like, but I’ve learned to surrender to the feeling and the build up of the stress. I don’t fight it anymore, I don’t ignore it, or avoid it. I don’t try to stuff it down into a box. I just let it in, look it in the face, and even welcome it into the day. The realization and acknowledgment of it isn’t as scary as you think. Take it in, and make a plan, piece by piece, of how you will take back your mind’s control. You can work your way right back into listening to the good rain. xo