“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.”— Carl Jung

If you grew up going to church (or even if not), you know about heaven and hell. One is good and one is bad, seemingly two different places. One paved with streets of gold and flowing rivers, while the other filled with fire and evil. I’m not sure what, if any, of the stories we are told are true. This world we are in seems like a bit of both to me. You can have one person that is walking in the clouds, living the best life and someone right next to them is in the pits of their own hell. People say if you look, you can see God everywhere. What if that isn’t true for everyone? What if heaven and hell exist in the same place?

There was a show called “The Good Place” that was a simulation for people who thought they were in heaven, when they in fact were in hell. It was a test of humanity in sorts. I watched because it starred Kristen Bell and I love her, but it plays into my point of heaven and hell existing in the same place, the same reality, it is just personalized. I know many people that have questioned why this is happening to me or to such a “good” person – I’m guilty of this myself. Maybe the “good” person wasn’t as good as we thought, or maybe someone’s hell is seeing a loved one suffer or in pain or removed from their life. I don’t know, I’m not a scientist or philosopher or even a religious leader, but it makes sense that those two places, Heaven and Hell, can exist in the same place. What better way to “punish” someone than to have them be able to see bliss but not have that same bliss?

Maybe this is me grabbing at straws trying to understand why things happen. Life can be amazing and beautiful, but it can also be dark and dreadful. This is heaven and hell existing in one person in one place, which is a reality for so many people. It is like the scene from the Lion King where Mufasa tells Simba never to go to the shadow lands – his kingdom next to dark, dreadful places where he is not King. I saw a TikTok where this woman was telling about a family discussion about favorite childhood foods. She said her favorite was Tuna Casserole, to which her mother said she hated it. They began to talk about why. For the daughter, tuna casserole was a yummy, warm comfort food from her childhood. For the mother, tuna casserole was a reminder of struggling financially and that being the only dish she could afford at the end of each month. So what was light and happy for the child, was dark and sad for the mother.

I don’t think that life is what you make it, because some people have a better hand to start with than others – blackjack is the perfect example here. I don’t remember where it was from but there is the story of a grandfather talking to his grandson about having two wolves inside of him – one good and one bad. The grandson asks which one wins in the end and grandpa says, ‘Whichever one you feed.’ I don’t agree with his ending point completely, but I do agree that we all have light and dark, good or evil – whatever you choose to call it – inside of us.

Why are you writing about Heaven and Hell, light and darkness, good and evil? Honestly I don’t know. There have been personal trials lately and it has been a dark road. I’m lucky that I am not traveling this road alone, although it can feel that way at times. Mostly because I don’t want to spread my “darkness” to others – not wanting to burden anyone else with my emotions. I think putting down my thoughts in writing, even if they are random is my neutral ground. I write for self healing, but I share in the hopes that it might help others who have similar thoughts, experiences, trials, etc.

We truly do not know what others are dealing with or going through., it could be dark and heavy, or light and amazing. Treat others how you want to be treated and keep moving along. In the end, what if it is all a test? How would you score, where would you rank?

As always – Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.


Can I Ask You a Question?

What do I have to say that others might want to hear? That is the plaguing question I constantly have running through my thoughts. Then I try to remember, that my writing is a creative outlet for me, not for others. I didn’t set out to reach the masses, I just wanted to write about my journey and personal life lessons. If my journey or thoughts help someone else, that is an amazing bonus and truly what I would like to happen. As a high school friend recently told me, “I shared my story and journey in hopes that it would help others.”

I am making this post in part to get your input on posts. You can message or comment if there are topics you would like to see discussed or questions answered…disclaimer this will all (obviously, but iykyk) my personal opinion, unless otherwise stated. SOOOOOO………the floor is open. I am all ears and can’t wait to hear what you have to say. I can assure you that unless I have your permission, you will not be mentioned by name or identifying facts (I was a read ahead and practice the paragraph kid too), so I understand nerves!

If you are writing and want an outlet to have an audience or just a guest post, I am here for it!! Just let me know and we can get to working on it immediately!!

I recently started watching a new series on Netflix. I am not going to mention it just yet because I am still in the middle of the series and to be completely honest, still processing a lot of it. It did make me want to think of creating a series on a topic to post and build from there, although that has absolutely nothing to do with the show at all….ehhh, that is my brain for you.

I am honored and thrilled that you are reading my post(s) – first time or returning – truly. I hope you will be on the lookout for upcoming posts!

Remember to always practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.

You do NOT have to fight for your right to PARTY!

I tend to get overwhelmed when planning an event, especially a party. Luckily for me (and you!), I have a friend that has pretty much mastered planning AMAZING parties and events. She has so graciously agreed to be my FIRST guest post!

This woman is nothing short of amazing. She is extremely talented, and has quickly become one of my favorite humans – despite us not having met in person (yet!). Take some time to read her tips and tricks to make sure your next party is one where you party like a rock-star! Thank you again, Elayne!

Event Elevation is Not Just for Brands by: R.E. Santiago

Social media changed and continues to impact what people care about. It creates a shiny veneer for everyone’s high points but it has also brought something heavily into focus, at least from my point of view.

If you’re as old as I am, you’ve seen the Super Sweet 16’s from the peak of MTV’s reality TV era. So trying to curate a special memory to mark your kids birthday really isn’t anything new. But with the ability to see what everyone is doing and experiencing all the time, it’s added another facet to events that I personally appreciate.

As experiential marketing made its way through brand activations and directly to our handheld screens, hosts and hostesses everywhere began to take notice of how to better elevate their own social events. So, if you’re looking for ideas, here’s how to curate a party that lasts in the mind of your guests.

I’ve, in the past month, been called a “theater adult” which… rude, but fair. It’s my inherent compulsion to “commit to the bit” that clocked me so accurately as such but, if you want to be the hostess with the mostest, you should too! To properly curate your event, go beyond thematic stationery and consider how you can incorporate your theme in every facet of your event which includes:
    1.    Invitation – this is a no-brainer but, if you’re feeling extra consider how you can play with the wording to further that theme.
    2.    Signage/Food Stations – this can include anything from tent-cards to custom water bottle and can labels. I’ve customized candy wrappers before and, the best part is that you can either DIY or use a resource like Etsy to find something on brand for your event.
    3.    Wardrobe – whether its coordinated shirts or a full on costume, this is a silly little way to hype yourself and others up for the festivities.

With kids parties, it can be hard to blend a crowd who don’t organically know one another. But you can come up with some activities that promote socializing while also curate spaces for those that prefer to just vibe at their own space.
    1.    Ice Breaker – This will look different for different crowds. As everyone staggers in at different times, my family typically starts kids parties with a craft of some kind depending on the age group. It tempers some of their chaotic energy by forcing them to focus while also creating a memento to keep.
    2.    Atmosphere – Curate a playlist. If you’re really creative, this too can be on theme but, at the very least, just make sure the music played is appropriate for your guests. Music helps to fill the silence while things are still ramping up and help to maintain ambiance when you’re in the swing of things. Use it wisely.
    3.    Games and/or Entertainment – Even if money is tight, creativity is usually abundant. How can you create a game or activity that ties in your theme? You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here, tried and true kids games can be slightly altered to still be on theme. Take, for example, a super hero party. Create a scavenger hunt with thematic clues that turn your guest into their favorite comic book hero who needs to find and rescue a civilian. You don’t necessarily need to spend extra money here but if you have the budget, you can incorporate other elements like a moon bounce as a tool for hero training or a piñata as the villain you need to defeat and suddenly the imagination of your guests does the work for you. Even pin the tail on the donkey can evolve into handcuff the villain. Other entertainment to consider: face painters, caricature artists, glitter tattoo artists, balloon sculptors, costumed characters, performers.
    4.    Photo Booth – That probably sounds more fancy than it needs to but, ultimately, pictures of your party will end up somewhere. So plan that aesthetic ahead of time. Create your own backdrop (layered foil curtains are inexpensive and fun) or other small photo spaces with themed knickknacks that will naturally draw your guests in. A photo backdrop is obvious but a dessert table or a curated charcuterie board or grazing table is another attention grabber. Here, committing to the bit pays off as you can have bright, colorful beverages in clear pitchers that match your theme and, thus, add to your overall aesthetic.

Above, we discussed two activities that create something to be enjoyed post-party: the craft and any photos from the photo booth. Most kids parties go a step further with a goodie or swag bag which can be themed with its presentation and/or its contents. Curate thoughtfully and remember that you can always explore a DIY route to elevate generic candy labels.

Big or small, no member of my family ever does an event on their own. Involve your support network in the process so you can enjoy the day as well. Sometimes, that means involving them in the planning process to really flesh out ideas while other times, it’s nice to have people on hand for set up or to help different parts of the event to run smoothly. Either way, even the hostess with the mostest needs help. Plus, you can’t dress as the cast of your kids favorite show by yourself.

Now that you are equipped with these tips and tricks, plan that party! Life is too short not to enjoy it! As always – Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.

“All it takes is a beautiful fake smile to hide an injured soul and they will never notice how broken you really are.” — Robin Williams

The pain in your chest – You can’t decide if it is a vice grip being turned tighter by each ticking second or an elephant sitting on your sternum. All you know is that it is hard to breathe. The bigger the breath you try to take, the harder it is to push this invisible weight away. Clutching your sides, bending over and screaming. So loud are your screams, you go to cover your own ears, only to remember you’re standing silently in a room full of people. How can you feel so alone and be surrounded by others?

Some days it seems like you are in a bubble, able to see the world passing by, but not able to participate fully. One part of you is dark and sad – unsure as to why, when to the “world” you seem to have it all together. One part of you is questioning why you are feeling this way when so many others have it “worse” than you. Another part secretly craves to have others there for you, almost like being back on the playground and not wanting to be picked last for the teams in recess, but all the while still isolating yourself. You suffer in silence as to not be a burden to those around you. You take care of your loved ones and give to others, but what is left for you?

The seemingly insignificant suddenly becomes Mount Everest, and only continues to grow until you can’t see the light anymore. The bubble you were in turns into a long, dark tunnel surrounding you. You want to scream for something, for someone, anything but your voice is silenced. Silenced by fears brought on from past experiences and trauma, not to mention society. Who would understand anyway? Why would anyone else care when they have their own lives to live and issues to handle? Does everyone feel this way? How do you find the light when it is gone?

I am YOU. Is it you too? I am this way for many reasons – mental health issues (anxiety, panic attacks, and sometimes depression), the product of my raising (most everyone bottled up their emotions), trying to keep others happy, and pretending everything is ok. I was a total Disney kid, so I am placing some blame there too. (Slightly a joke, but if you know you know. Haha!). I’ve been working on myself and trying to make sure I don’t get into the dark tunnel again. It is not easy and is a constant battle, but for me I want to keep fighting. I want to keep fighting not just for myself but for YOU. I am in no way an expert, but do have some things that have helped me over the years:

  • Can you CONTROL the situation? I try to focus on things I can control, everything else is going to find a way to work out or not. You can control how you react, not the actions of others.
  • Find an outlet. Walking, yoga, meditation, writing, painting, etc. Find something that is just for YOU. Make time for it, but do not put too much pressure on yourself about your outlet.
  • Realize you are NOT alone. There are so many others that have similar issues, and it is ok to not be ok. Give yourself some grace. Take time to feel what you feel and then come up with a plan to improve the situation.
  • Talk to someone. A professional is always an option, but if you are not ready for that just yet, talk to someone you trust. You need a judgement free zone.
  • Decide when you are talking to someone if you want solutions (their help/opinions) or just to vent. This will go a long way in you being able to open up more freely.
  • Seek professional help. When I finally talked to my doctor a few years back, she let me know that I did not have to “white knuckle” through life and situations. Also, if you have a family history of mental illness you are more likely to have issues as well. So it is OK to seek help and even take medicine if needed. I do and am so thankful as it helps – it does not take it all away, but gives me a better ground to start on.

Mental health is a topic that is still a bit taboo to discuss. This needs to change. I share my story in hopes that others will see it and know they are not alone. That sometimes even the ones you think have their shit together are falling apart too. I usually end my posts with “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” I’m going to end today with – don’t be so quick to judge others, you truly do not know what they are dealing with; life can be hard and it does not cost anything to be kind. If you can’t be kind, keep your comments to yourself and move along.

Thank you for allowing me to share a small part of my journey.

I Do and I Don’t

It’s wedding season. If you are in the middle or soon to be planning a wedding, here is my unsolicited advice for your special day. Some of this advice I actually followed and others were learned along the way. Just remember at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is you are marrying the one you love.

First – set your budget. This is important because things add up quickly! Do not forget to include stamps if you will be mailing out invitations. If you are going to pay for anything, make sure it is listed as a budget item.

After you have the budget talk, sit with your partner and decide the top 3 things that are important to you both. Spend the majority of your budget there. For our wedding it was Food (me), drinks (him) and music (both). This helped us be able to have the band we wanted, and provide yummy food and drinks to our guests. Normally I would have included photographer, but I was extremely lucky to have an amazing friend that doubles as a Photographer! Not only did she take amazing pictures, but she was there the whole day for me too!

Before planning anything, remember this is about YOU, YOUR PARTNER and YOUR LOVE! There are no set rules that you must follow. Make this day about the two of you. Have it be a reflection of you both and something to enjoy. So if you want it and it is in budget, DO IT! This is not a pass to be a bossy bride, but a reminder that you can make this as unique as you like. Think outside the box. Our rehearsal dinner was at Top Golf. We had a lot of out of town guests and wanted to do something fun. Food was Mexican, buffet style. We offered guests drink tickets and any additional drinks, they purchased. We had a few golf bays and the guests could play and mingle. It was a fun way for our family and friends to interact and not be as awkward as a formal setting might be.

Have an excellent planner/director by your side. This will be one of the areas you look back on and are so thankful for the splurge. They have more experience (duh) at weddings and can provide not only information and suggestions (all of my vendors were from her suggestions), but can be the calm you need for the big day! Let’s face it, at least one thing is going to go wrong that day, your planner/director will be the POC. They will answer the questions and provide guidance throughout the day. You will only be worried with something if it is a major change or issue. Do this for yourself, it will help allow you to enjoy the moment and not stress as much! I honestly would not have made it through the day without mine. Thanks again K!

Create the Pinterest Board. Add any pictures and ideas you like. I was only able to find one bouquet I loved and it was the inspo for all other flowers. So pin the dang pictures – even the extravagant ones – you never know what you might use. This board can also help your vendors see what you do or even do not like.

For getting ready: Surround yourself with your support team. You most likely won’t need them, but if you do they will be there. Getting ready time does not have to be limited to just the bridal party, especially if you have a smaller wedding. Let your closest be there with you too! Make sure to have snacks around and graze as you get ready. Good options/ideas: Chicken nugget tray, crackers, grapes, bananas, and drinks. Avoid anything that will stain your teeth or clothes.

Registry: Pick just a few stores to create a registry. This is your time to ask for anything you might want and it be guilt free!! Make sure to have a wide price range, but do not exclude the higher priced items. Often times couples will go in with other couples to get the higher end items. I would highly suggest putting practical items on your registry as well: sheets, towels, cookware, silverware. A new trend is also adding a honeymoon or experience registry — this will allow family and friends to help contribute to your honeymoon or experiences you want to do. I loved this idea from a friend. We gifted them an excursion (partly) and they were able to enjoy an outing after the wedding!

Area where I saved? Centerpieces….Nobody remembers the centerpieces, so do not let that be a stressful point. Think about the last wedding you attended, I am almost positive you do not remember the table decor. I don’t even know what the decor was at my wedding. I let the florist decide based on my likes and dislikes. It looked beautiful and I had zero stress about any of it.

Don’t waste money on the fancy shoes…Yes, I am talking to YOU and myself! This was a hard lesson learned. I ended up with 3 pairs of shoes and wore the cute flats…they were also best for the pictures. Again, nobody will remember the shoes, but it isn’t about that. Do not make yourself uncomfortable, buy the cute flats for detail pics! This will save you money and save your feet so that you can enjoy the day and not be in pain! I wish I had gone with a pair of converse and had the monogrammed honestly.

Venues: If you are trying to save a little, look at off days for your wedding. If you choose a Friday or Sunday (basically any day other than Saturday), the venue could have a discounted rate. Check to see if the venue has any restrictions that might make you shy away from booking. There are a LOT of hidden fees and ways to save, especially on reception sites. If your venue is not close to town, you might also want to consider transportation options for your guests – especially if alcohol will be served.

Pictures: I touched on photography earlier. For me this was very important. But what the heck do you do with all of them after? Create a book, like Shutterfly or one of the other sites. I have a book and gifted one to each mother as well. The year you get married – everyone gets pictures for Christmas, just do it because it will be the one and only time that is acceptable. After that, pick a few of your favorites to print and have around the house.

Don’t let your wedding be a source of stress. Remember why you are doing it in the first place. Elopement is always an option too – then just come back and have a big reception party! Whatever you decide, it is for you and your partner. If you remember that, you can’t go wrong!

Share your tips for those heading to chapel!!

One of a Kind

On display, like a piece of borrowed and precious art. The line of those who have come to see this one of a kind, seems never ending. Many are in disbelief, some are in shock, most are crying. Each one knows, though do not want to admit, this is the last time any will see this work in person. From now on they can only recount memories, look at old pictures, and tell stories over and over again.

She walks around speaking to those that came, a smile on her face, but sadness in her eyes. In a state that is somewhere between reality and imaginary, not wanting, not able to believe that she too is left with memories for the rest of her days. Sleep is fleeting, and when it comes is restless; filled with dreams and nightmares. Not knowing if she should cry or scream, she sits, smiling as others walk by, in silence….her memories on a repeating loop.

Overcome with an onslaught of emotions, a young lady falls to the ground. She is surrounded by ones she loves, but it is not enough at that moment. She is only a teenager, old enough to understand but still young enough to not be able to grasp the situation fully. She takes her turn in the line and doesn’t understand.

You might still be confused as to what piece of art could cause this type of reaction, or you might have figured it out by now….the one of a kind is a person – a son, a father, husband, friend. A life gone far too soon. A husband, no longer there for silly fights and lazy day cuddles. A dad, not there to answer questions. A brother not there to laugh about crazy family. A friend, not there to catch the game. Old or young, the one thing we know for certain is that we will all pass away, we just do not have our expiration dates.

Death is a hard topic, almost taboo it seems. It leaves no one alone or untouched, yet it is not a dinner table discussion. Why? Yes, it is hard. Yes, it is final. But it is one thing that happens to every single living being. Death is what triggered my anxiety. I was too young to understand why, and didn’t feel comfortable discussing it either. We also do not talk about those that have died near enough in my opinion. It is ok to tell a story and cry or laugh, but tell the story. Share the love you had and keep the memories alive.

Those that are left after a death, have to try and process as best as possible. Grief is not linear, it is a journey. A journey that begins when you hear the news of the passing and ends upon your own expiration. I don’t think you ever truly get over a death, you just learn with each passing day how to live life in a new way, without that person. It is not easy, and some days are harder than others. Don’t compare your grief to others, some hide it well, others are more open with it. I don’t like to say life sucks, but it sure can be one heck of an asshole at times.

Remember life is short, no matter how long it lasts. Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.

“Don’t Trust Your Soul to No Backwoods, Southern Lawyer” – Reba

Most everyone by now has at least heard the name Murdaugh. If you have not, do a little search and be prepared for the True Crime/Crazy rabbit hole that you are about to enter. This is a good place to start: https://www.nytimes.com/article/murdaugh-murders-alex-paul.html. I am certainly not about to try and give any thoughts on this case, because I do not have enough information, all I know is that the entire situation – while entertaining – is a massive tragedy. So many lives were lost, and many more impacted by selfish actions from those that did not have consequences for bad actions.

“Did she just call this murder case entertaining?” Yes, yes I did. Over the years the popularity and dramatization of real life traumas has increased and even has it’s own genre now, True Crime. I think “True Crime” has exploded because for the majority of people doing something that lands on national news or a podcast, is so foreign we just want to know how and why. I wonder if the obsession my generation has with these cases stems from Nancy Drew novels, or my favorite – Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? I admit I was obsessed with moving up the detective ranks, I mean being called “Gum Shoe” was terrible.

The first case I remember with major exposure was the OJ Simpson trial. My amazing teacher let us listen to the trial verdict on the radio (yes, I know this ages me). There are still interviews, documentaries and shows that discuss this tragic case today. I doubt the truth of either case, Simpson or Murdaugh, will ever be known and provided to us. Which not knowing, perpetuates the obsession. I did watch the newest Murdaugh installment created by Netflix, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much they discussed the victims. Oftentimes the exposure is about the villain(s) and not the victim(s). We tend to remember the names of the people that committed these crazy crimes and forget those that were harmed. I also think the obsession continues because if it is on TV or podcast, we are able to remove ourselves. While we know the events took place and are true, there is enough of a distance that it can seem to be and/or register as fiction. Allowing the majority of us to continue watching and listening to these shocking and dark events.

One thing I have learned is that any one person is truly capable of anything…..good or bad. If you watch a Dateline, almost always people are described as “lighting up any room” or “everyone loved her/him” and even “too kind for this world.” I am waiting for the one person to say, “Yeah, she was nice, but would also punch you in the face.” I mean we all have our bad days right? Joking aside, I think it is time for all of us to admit it is a bit morbid for so many of us to have this strange obsession with True Crime, no matter how entertaining it can be!

There are countless movies/podcasts/documentaries that focus on and expose all types of cases in various stages. Drop your favorites in the comments so we can all check them out as well!

Just a little funny, as a child I called my dad a backwoods, Southern lawyer because of this song, haha! Luckily he was NOT what Reba was singing about, although I’m sure there are a few out there, somewhere……

“How can I help you to say goodbye?”

There are few things in life that I can say for certain will happen – hunger, sleep and death. It could never rain again or the sun might not shine, happiness is not guaranteed and life can deal some shit hands sometimes. I hate knowing that in a short amount of time, because honestly even forever wouldn’t be long enough, that I am going to have to find a way to say goodbye again….

This time my goodbye is for George. If you don’t know George, you truly are missing out a little bit. George loves unabashedly, enjoys all the foods, and has perfected the cuddle and snuggles. I could go on and on about how wonderful George is, or how unfair it is that something out of our control is going to make us have to say goodbye so soon. Why are goodbyes so hard??

In 1993, Patty Loveless released the song, “How Can I Help You Say Goodbye.” It is a progression of a young girl moving away from her best friend, that young girl growing up and going through a separation from her partner, and then the death of her mother. In all these times her mother asks how can she help? The truth is nothing truly helps for a goodbye – whether it be from death, or separation or some other change. One line says “it’s ok to hurt and it’s ok to cry,” and it is ok to not be ok.

It will take some time for me to be ok, but one thing I know is that I will eventually be ok. I’ve had some big goodbyes in my lifetime and I’ve managed to get through them all. Knowing, even more so because it is extremely evident, that the remaining time with George is so finite, it has changed my view on life. Life is too short to be miserable, not just one or two bad days, but consistently not happy, NOT OK! There are a lot of options for help to get things better. Do not be afraid to make a change because of the unknown, live like George. Remember to reward yourself for even the small victories, remember to take time to “stop and smell the roses” along the journey, and above all practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.

I know this was a little off course from my previous posts, but honestly 2022 was a year full of gut punches. I’m working on my outlook for 2023 and hope to come out with a few less bumps and bruises. This means being more honest with myself when things are just plain crappy and when things are great. Acknowledging both is one change in my mental health journey and it’s helping me so far….I’m still learning to let go of things that are not in my control and rolling with the punches a little easier. I’m blessed to have a great support system, but that doesn’t mean I utilize them. I’m a silent sufferer you see, and don’t want to “be a burden.” I’m learning and trying to be better about that as well.

So if you are one of the “waiting for a sign” type….HERE YOU GO! Make the change, take the class, binge watch a silly show over the weekend, go out, stay in, just try to make yourself happy in a healthy way! It truly is just one step at a time.

“Feeling my way through the darkness, guided by a beating heart”

It has been a while since I sat down to write anything. There are reasons and excuses, but it is time to get back to it. I’ll start this post by saying that 2022 was not the best year, by far. For many reasons, which I won’t be writing about just yet, it was one of the hardest I’ve gone through in all my years.

I was on TikTok and watched an interview with this man and he was talking about his depression and anxiety, and how he always felt like he was a filler chapter or side character in everyone else’s story. He was discussing this and was asked, what about your story? Why are you focused on where you stand in others’ stories, and be the main character of your own? Well damn dude, thanks for holding a mirror up and making me step back to refocus. Because of this, I’ve started to evaluate the relationships in my life and adjust accordingly.

I love the saying people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I’m bad at giving the same amount of energy to each relationship and that isn’t sustainable, doing this will empty your cup and with an empty cup….you have nothing left to give. Growing up my grandfather would tell me, you have to take care of yourself first, and then help others. I asked him why once, because that isn’t what is usually taught. His reply? Because if you take care of everyone else first, eventually you won’t be able to take care of you or them. He knew this from experience, and again, his reply made me step back and refocus.

I never know if someone is a reason or season until after that relationship has run it’s course. While grateful for the lessons and that person, it is still hard when they are no longer a part of your life. I had this exact conversation with my 16 year old niece recently. It made me think back on my life and those that were in previous chapters…..some good and some bad. We blame so much of losing touch on life and being busy, which isn’t a lie but more so an excuse (for the majority). I’m guilty too, so don’t think I’m sitting in my glass house throwing rocks. It makes us feel a little better about not talking to or seeing our friends/family.

While I think we all want to feel important to others, we can’t drop focus that we are the main character of our own lives! We are the one constant, and need to be better for ourselves. We need to remember to treat others with kindness certainly, but we do not have to put everyone and/or everything else before ourselves! For me, this means putting things on paper…well blog. It is time for me to get down some of the thoughts and feelings happening, to help process. To help me be able to focus on the important things and not let my anxiety overwhelm me.

Life can be cruel. It can literally feel like you’re crawling through the darkness just trying to find a little bit of light. Sometimes the light is your heartbeat and it has to be your guide. Keep going, even if it is crawling or sitting still, as that might be what you need anyway. To be still….

“I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100%…….”

Now that you have Lizzo’s hit song, Truth Hurts, playing in your head, you are welcome. Lizzo, if you do not know (SHAME), is a performing artist – singer, song writer, rapper and flutist! Besides her musical talents, this woman is a freaking rock star, seriously and no pun intended. Amazon Prime just released a reality show focused on Lizzo and her “Big Grrrls.” These are her dancers, and let me just tell you those girls can MOVE. I watched every episode and loved it. The message behind what Lizzo is trying to do and share with her fame is inspiring.

No, this is not a review of the show or Lizzo’s music or even the dancers. This is to share how Lizzo is not only breaking glass ceilings, but she is speaking her truth and empowering others to do the same. The show focuses on women from all over and from different backgrounds as they audition for the chance to be on stage and dancing with Lizzo as she performs. Each episode is a different challenge for the dancers, but also designed to help improve their skills, mental health and self love. You get to see these women become confident with not only their bodies, but with who they are as individuals!

Lizzo is spreading SELF LOVE! The world needs more love, but if we are honest — we all need to love ourselves just a bit more as well. WE need to embrace our differences and uniqueness! That is the exact message that Ms. Melissa Viviane Jefferson (Lizzo) spreads. If you look at her social media pages she is comfortable in her own skin and shows it and helps others see what they offer the world as well. She doesn’t hide her hard days or that sometimes the rude and nasty comments people will make do get to her, but she keeps persisting. She not only speaks, but shows that it does not matter what critics will say about you. You can follow your dreams, you can be you, take up the space you deserve. Do not shrink or fade into the background because someone thinks you are not good enough, or pretty enough, or whatever is the negativity they are throwing your way. At times during the show my heart ached for the dancers as they described being told they were too this or too that or not even given a chance based on their size, color and even gender. Then to see them become confident because Lizzo said, F THAT, YOU CAN DANCE. YOU ARE A DANCER.

I’m not sure that as a society we have reached the point where we fully understand the impact that words have on individuals. I also am not sure when we all stopped following the rule “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Words of Affirmation is one of the 5 Love Languages described by Gary Chapman in his book, “The 5 love Languages.” WORDS of affirmation is one of the main ways that a lot of people receive love and feel loved. Words hurt and stay with people a lot longer than most of us care to admit. So why do so many people use their words to tear down others instead of lifting them up? Or if not to lift another up, just keep your mouth shut. It is not hard, nor is it too complex. On the counter side, we have to be willing to call out others when they say something that is hurtful or out of line, even as a “joke.” Not all jokes are funny and not all jokes should be shared, so stop it as it is heard.

I hope to use Lizzo as my inspiration as I continue on my own journey of growth and self love. It doesn’t hurt that most of her songs are hella fun to jam to as well. Go ahead and listen to a few of her songs to get some good vibes and put your positivity out into the world! YOU are ENOUGH! YOU are SPECIAL!

So to Lizzo, THANK YOU! Thank you for being you, and for showing the BIG GRRRLLS and EVERYONE that we are worthy! That we all have something special to offer the world and do not let anyone rain on your own parade!

PS – yes, I know Lizzo is not going to see some small town girl’s blog, but she deserves a thank you regardless!



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