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Filet-O-Fish Fridays

27 Mar

Well, people, it’s that time of year again. For Catholics it’s the time when you quit drinking soda (or whatever it is that you choose to give up), for those of you who are not, it’s the season where McDonalds offers specials on Filet-O-Fish sandwiches on Fridays. (Hint: it’s Lent) It’s a time for reflection, sacrifice and repentance.

In light of all this reflection, I’ve decided to take a moment to chat about something that I’ve been reflecting upon for quite some time. It’s something that I never really realized I was confused about, but it turns out I was.

Forgive and forget people always say. I say, “what the f*ck?” For so long, I withheld forgiveness because I always figured that it wasn’t true forgiveness unless it was something I was indeed able to forget. How am I supposed to forgive someone who hurt me so deeply that I still feel pain just thinking about it? Am I right?

I don’t want to be that person (we’ve all met at least one) who’s been hurt by someone and their anger and resentment paints every conversation and echoes in their actions. I don’t want to fill up with so much negativity that causes anger to spill out of my pores. I want to live my life with love, compassion and understanding. I want to forgive those who have done me wrong. But I need serious help.

I had an epiphany a few weeks ago. If you’ve read some of my early posts, you may know that there are a few people in my life that I’ve been seriously emotionally wounded by, one of them being myself. For a long time I harbored serious hatred for these individuals. But, while sitting in a class, listening to Father Barry talking about the sacraments and Reconciliation, I realized, I forgive these people. Well, in my head it was more like, “I think I forgive these people.” The reason I said think is because I was still not sure if it could be true forgiveness, since I still don’t think these people are model citizens, nor would I go out of my way to forge a relationship with them. So, I went to confession (by the way, from someone who NEVER agreed with the concept of confession, it turns out that this is frickin’ amazingly helpful and freeing). At the end, I decided to run my ideas about forgiveness past the priest and ask about his thoughts on the matter.

It turns out, forgiveness has nothing to do with forgetting. So just forget about that. (Ha, see what I did there?) His exact words (more or less, anyway) were, “It’s like a tug-of-war game. You feel all these negative emotions and that’s the tugging back and forth. Forgiveness is letting go of the rope”. Instead of continuing with the struggle of anger, you just walk away. Not that you’re forgetting the struggle, but you aren’t spending your life dwelling on it anymore.

As another illustration, during mass, a different priest explained forgiveness like an open wound. Imagine someone emotionally hurting you as causing a cut that breaks the skin. It bleeds. It scabs (forgiveness). You pick the scab (because what else would you do with a scab?). It bleeds some more (remembering the hurt). Each time that scab comes off, that cut gets smaller and smaller. Eventually, all you have is a scar. So yes, someone can cause some serious damage. Yes, thinking and talking about it can open that wound up again. But little by little, it’ll scab over and eventually heal…but you still have that scar as a reminder. Forgiveness is not something that’s done just once. It’s done repeatedly, and as it is done, it becomes easier to continue. Eventually all we have is that little scar that reminds us of what happened, so we can try to protect ourselves from the same thing happening again.

To put it into my own words, forgiveness is about losing the baggage and moving on with your life. Allowing someone’s actions or words to affect your life, how you feel about yourself or even just plain make you angry, is giving them power over your life. Who really deserves that kind of power? You do. God does. But that’s about it.  You want the key to inner peace and total happiness? Take your power back. Forgive those knuckle heads and keep it in the rear-view. Forgiveness is also a gift you give to yourself as well as to the offenders, so give it a shot. You deserve it.

So there you go, three different explanations…hopefully one of them will resonate with you. Let me know what your thoughts are on this topic.

Also, let the record show, I have given up drinking soda (I’m addicted), and eating cereal (I’m also addicted)…and I am doing well.

Three Years Gone

20 Nov

Today is bittersweet for me. It’s the anniversary of my father’s death, which, 3 years later, is still a painful thing to think about. I know I’m not alone in this pain. My little sister and brother share in it just the same. I hope somewhere, some time, they get to read this and understand that I’m thinking of them and love them to pieces. Luckily, I have a very good reason to be very happy as well: my best friend gave birth to her first son, whom I call Bowser, on this same date two years ago. It’s a strange situation for me. I love Bowser, he’s one of the coolest semi-new humans ever. He gives me reason to smile today,but I miss my dad.

It wasn’t until yesterday that I really realized that even though I haven’t  been deliberately dwelling on the approaching anniversary, it still affects me. It’s painful to deal with, even though it’s not in my conscious thoughts. It’s interesting how depression can sneak its way into your life. Little by little, it puts a shadow over your existence. Before you know it, you’re in a hole. Sometimes that hole is so deep that the sky is nearly invisible. I want people to know that they’re not alone with this.

For this reason, I feel it appropriate to re-visit a post from way back. It’s one of my favorite posts because I believe depression is a topic that is easily brushed aside by many because they don’t understand, and obscured by those affected by it. It’s not something that we can recover from unless we face it. So, I’m shining a light on it once more. I hope it helps.

The following is from Tired of trying, sick of crying. I know I’ve been smiling, but inside I’m dying…

Depression isn’t an easy thing to talk about. It lurks in the darkness of our soul, eating away at our hearts, consuming our will to continue searching for happiness. It’s an invisible ailment that many experience, but few understand. For some, it’s a fast and dramatic response to an event such as the death of a loved one, or a major failure of some sort. But many times, depression has no clear cut cause; there’s no singular traumatic event that starts the seamless progression from disappointment to sadness to depression to hopelessness.  Sometimes, the advancement is so slow and subtle; it goes unrecognized by even the person experiencing it. And therein lies the problem. How can you tell someone that something is wrong, when you yourself don’t know or can’t explain what it is? I may be alone in my stubbornness, but I find it difficult to admit to someone, let alone to myself, that there IS something wrong when I don’t even know what IT is. How am I supposed to ask for help, when I don’t even know what I need?

What we need to do is talk. We need to identify and admit the fact that depression is not only a mental problem. It is a condition that reaches far beyond just being sad. It can affect your appearance, drain you of energy, kill your appetite, and kill your social life, among many other things. If we just continue to hide or ignore that depression is a physical condition as much as a mental one, we’ll just continue to sink lower and lower. We also need to stop surrounding ourselves with people that only add to the sickness. We all know drama mongers. They peddle their crazy to anyone and everyone that will listen. I’m here to tell you, when crazy comes knocking, you don’t have to answer the door.

Depression never affected me as a child or teen. So you can imagine my surprise and serious denial when it hit me in adulthood. Come to find out, I have a predisposition to suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts/tendencies. My mother attempted to end her life as a teenager. My cousin committed suicide when I was in high school. My paternal grandmother committed suicide when my father was a teenager. I have done some research and have found that my Austrian/German decent makes me more likely to make an attempt on my life. For some reason, people from these countries have a high rate of suicide and depression. It’d be easy to look at the statistics and family history and use it as an excuse. I could put the blame on genetics. Who in the world would argue with science and facts?

The problem with accepting that you have a predilection, especially a biological one, for something, is that we often use that as an excuse for giving into it. We let go of our power to the thought that we are destined to be this or suffer from that. Instead of telling ourselves, “yes, I am more susceptible to (insert condition here), but I have the power to avoid it”, we tell ourselves “I am more susceptible to (insert condition here); I don’t have any control in it”. We give the blame away to our genetics (or whatever variable) and in doing so, we give away our power to make real and positive changes in our lives. It’s this negative thinking that perpetuates depression, not our genes. If you think you’re worthless, then guess what? Perception is reality. The amazing thing is that you have the ability to change your perception, and in turn, change reality.

Here comes story time. I’ve talked a little about my father’s death; I think I’ve even mentioned the death of my grandma. But, to illustrate my point a little better, I’m going to tell you the whole story…the big points, anyway….

I met my ex a week before I turned 19. We were married two and a half years later. Even though I was young, I gave it everything I had, and then a little more. But getting little in return, I started to give up. I’d been unhappy for a very long time, and I was tired of being used, tired of being lied to, and tired of waiting. I blamed my husband for the way I felt. I resented him for everything I gave up to support his goals and dreams. I felt worthless because nothing I did for him was ever enough for him to value me as I once thought I’d deserved. Despite the way I felt about the way my marriage was going, we decided at one point that we were going to try to start a family. Wanting to be sure I was healthy enough for a pregnancy, I consulted my doctors. My rheumatologist cautioned me against it, saying that even if the inflammation in my feet from my rheumatoid arthritis was under control (at this point, it was not); I would almost certainly spend at least my third trimester on bed rest. I was 25 years old, and my doctor was telling me I shouldn’t try to have kids? I’m 25 years old; I should be able to get knocked up without the “ok” from a doctor…right?

Already unhappy with where my life was at the time, I received a phone call that would put me over the edge. I left for work one morning, and on the drive, I got a phone call from my supervisor’s boss telling me I was to report to him before I began my shift. My heart sank. I knew this was bad news, I thought I’d be fired, though I had no idea for what. I stood at his desk and he informed me I was being put on administrative leave and ordered me to surrender my badge. On my drive home that morning, my thoughts raced. I had decided that when I arrived home, I was going to take every pill in my bottle of Vicodin, and anything else I had. I got home, went upstairs, grabbed the bottle and popped the first pill in my mouth. I tried to swallow it. I couldn’t. No matter how hard I tried, it just wouldn’t go down. This was the beginning of what my ex and most everyone else would see as my decline. The truth is, all those little things with my marriage, the lies, the resentment, my health…that was the real beginning, but it was invisible. It wasn’t even until about a year or two before this incident that I had even noticed it myself.

The sad part about that first pill is that not being able to swallow it had very little, if anything, to do with how I valued my life. I never thought, “I can’t do this because I have so much to live for, so many things I still want to do.” As I tried to swallow that pill, I thought about my parents, the tears, them thinking that they failed at something because they weren’t able to save me. I thought about my nieces. I thought about being thought of as too weak to handle what God was dishing out to me. I even thought about my poor pup. I didn’t want to hurt the people I loved. I told my ex what had happened, and asked him to take all my medications and hide them from me. I called my doctor and got an appointment with a shrink who referred me to a program that literally saved my life.

Because of my suicidal thoughts and my attempt, though failed, my only choices were being committed to a mental facility or the Intensive Outpatient Program, or IOP. I chose IOP. Though I am not and never have been an advocate for “group therapy”, I have to say, it worked. After two weeks of talking about the things I’ve been through, how I feel, listening to others, discovering that although the causes of what brought us all to that room were very different, we were all feeling very similarly. I learned that I am not something that is broken and needs fixing. I learned some very important coping skills and started to re-learn simple truths about myself that would ultimately hold the pieces of my heart together when I thought it would fall apart.

The next couple months brought my grand mother’s decline. She was constantly in and out of the hospital. My family, especially my aunt, who was my grandma’s primary caretaker, struggled with the burden of dealing with the impending loss and the day to day wear that caring for stricken loved ones brings about. Finally, we had a family meeting with the doctors who informed us of our choices. My aunt was not ready to let go. She wanted to believe that her mother wanted to keep fighting. Eventually, we all agreed that she should be put on home hospice care.

The night my grandma died, I went out with my cousins. I got drunker than I’d ever been, at that point. I fell apart. I’d never cried harder or for such a long time. Her funeral was the most beautiful service I’d ever been to. (I’ve been to quite a few) She was buried next to my grandpa, who’d passed away a few years earlier. At the graveside service, someone had booked a mariachi band to play songs that my grandpa used to sing to his wife. It was amazing.

The next day, my phone rang. It was my dad, and he was telling me that he has cancer. Stage 4 cancer to boot. For those who aren’t familiar with cancer, stage 4 means that the cancer is very advanced and has metastasized to other organ(s). In the subsequent months, I flew back and forth from my home in southern California to northern Washington, when my father lived. In the midst of this, I was ultimately fired from my job. Meanwhile, I helped re-model the house, I cooked, I cleaned, I took my father to many of his appointments. He had a prognosis of 2 years. The cancer took him in 3 months.

Two weeks before he died, I decided to make a book for my dad. I wanted to have him write down stories about himself, about growing up, about life. I had so many questions to ask him. I worked hard on that book, trying to make it perfect. Unfortunately, by the time I was done with it, he was no longer speaking, and barely moving. I ended up with a very beautiful, but very empty book.

If you’ve noticed anything in my posts, you’ve probably noticed my propensity to relating my life to music. Today is no different. As it turns out, there is a line from a Social Distortion song that is cold hard fact. Mike Ness sings, “Reach for the sky ’cause tomorrow may never come” (By the way, that song is called Reach for the Sky.) I decided that this empty book was not going to be the story of my life.  Losing my father so quickly prompted me (after a great deal of wallowing in grief and self-pity) to evaluate my life and the way I was living it.

The fact is that it’s easy to give up. It’s easy to put the blame for our disappointments and misery on everything and everyone around us. What’s not easy is taking a look in the mirror and realize that we are the only thing standing between us and bliss. It’s not easy taking responsibility for our unhappiness and depression. The way I felt about my life and my marriage was no one’s fault but my own. As soon as I took ownership of that fact, I got my power back.  I decided that I can’t wait for happiness. It’s not just going to walk up to me one day on the street. I have to actively seek it. My book will not be blank, it’s going to be filled with all the awesome things I am going to do, all the adventures I’m going to take on. I’ve been doing all the things that made me who I am. I’ve been doing all the things that make me happy, all the way down to my shoes.

I also began to understand that everything, and I mean everything, happens for a reason. If I had not been married to my ex, I would not have come to understand how little I actually loved myself. If I had not ended up with rheumatoid arthritis, I probably would have ended up with children with a man that I did not love, a man who didn’t truly love me. My suicide attempt led to me getting the help I really needed. If I hadn’t gone though the Intensive Outpatient Program, I wouldn’t have learned the tools that would later keep me from spinning out of control with the subsequent tragedies of losing my grandmother and my father. If I hadn’t been put on administrative leave, I would not have been able to spend so much time with my father before he passed away. If my father hadn’t been taken so swiftly, I probably would not have had the courage to finally take my life into my own hands. I would have continued being miserable, and blaming my ex for it. Like I said, perception is reality. My reality is a happy one, because I perceive it to be.

While I’m happier than I’ve been in a very long time, I still continue to struggle with depression. I’m not going to lie. There are days that I feel just like vanilla ice cream: white, plain, nothing special. But then, I Googled vanilla, and I learned that vanilla is actually one of the most complex flavors on the planet (another scientific fact). So, while I may just be feeling like vanilla, I am actually quite special. This gives me hope that though I’ve been battered by storms, I’m not quite destroyed. Little by little, I begin to strengthen and bloom again.

Happeh Happeh Happeh (Issue No. 3)

11 Sep

As a continuation of my little research project into happiness and fulfillment, here are the things I’ve identified that need improvement:

Things I’d like to improve:

  1. Relationships (love/family/friends)
  2. Energy level
  3. Finances
  4. Personal Satisfaction

The game plan: How do I plan to make these things better? I’m glad you asked.

Relationships

  • Communication: I won’t wait for or depend on others to initiate interaction.
  • Remember birthdays: I am really terrible about this, and I feel really bad about it. At the beginning of each month I am going to buy.make cards for everyone close to me with a birthday that month and send them out immediately. Goodbye procrastination!
  • Call, skype, write or email more often.
  • Be honest: if there are people in my life that just drag me down or do not contribute something positive to my life, I will not continue to waste my energy on them.
  • Forgiveness: If someone has done something that hurt me, real or perceived, I will let it go. It isn’t healthy or productive to hold onto grudges.
  • Connect: I want to find my long lost sister that I’ve never met. I want to rebuild my relationship with my little brother and sister and strengthen my ties to my big brother and sister. We are such a complicated family, with many obstacles, but with all the things I’ve listed above, I’m optimistic that it can be done.

Communication specific to my love relationship:

  • I will give him a break. He’s trying really hard.
  • I won’t say “I’m fine” if I’m in fact not. If I don’t want to talk about it, that’s what I’ll say.
  • I will let go of the past. It’s over. I need to either get over it and move on, or not get over it and end the relationship…if it’s that serious.

Energy level

  • Improve sleep: Because of my health, there are some things that affect my sleep that are beyond my control. Here are some of the things I can control:
    • Embrace the darkness: It’s amazing how just a small bit of light can disturb sleep. I’m putting up black out curtains and getting rid of any glowing lights from chargers and other gadgets.
    • Be active during the day: Duh.
    • Eat dinner at a reasonable time: 9 o’clock does not fit this criteria. Let’s shoot for 7-7:30 ish.
    • Read more, TV less. This isn’t really that big of an issue because we traded cable TV for a gym membership, but we can still do a little better. TV is not conducive to sleep, as a matter of fact, it’s usually to blame for nights I stay up late. (Like Monday night football that starts at 9:15. LOL)
    • Journal/Blog/Sketch: I need to get all of those thoughts and great ideas out of my head so my mind can rest.
  • Meditation: I’m a skeptic when it comes to “new age” type ideas. However, I gave this an honest shot for a while and was amazed at how well it worked to quiet my mind and relieve stress and anxiety. If for no other reason, I’m doing it to shut my brain up. I’ve got thoughts a mile a minute and they never stop, not even when I’m not paying attention to what I’m thinking about. I am shooting for 30 minutes a day, at minimum Monday through Friday.
  • Exercise: This is probably key to fixing many of my personal issues, so don’t be surprised to see this one a few times.
  • Eat better: Obviously.
    • Limit eating out. I will be cutting out places like Mc Donalds completely. It makes me sick to my stomach anyway.
    • Cook dinner at home, from scratch as much as possible.
    • Bring lunch to work whenever possible.
    • Make/eat more vegetables.
    • Make more fruit smoothies.
  • Clear out the clutter: Unworn clothing, unused miscellany and trinkets…I’ll be getting rid of them or finding a way to properly store it so it’s not lingering all over the house.
    • Be honest: Am I really going to use this?
    • Sentimental items are okay to keep as long as it’s properly displayed or stored.
  • Finish projects: All those nagging loose ends hanging around drain my energy and actually keeps me from getting to work on them. It’s a vicious cycle. I plan on keeping a list of current and future projects to be able to visualize what I have on my plate, so to speak.

Finances: Money, or more specifically lack of, is a monumental source of stress and general unhappiness. The issue isn’t strictly a matter of not making enough money to make ends meet, it’s a combination of that and not spending as wisely as we should. Getting a grip on income and expenditures would relieve a lot of this stress.

  • Make a budget: List all expenditures and income.
    • Take cash out at the bank for all small expenditures like gas, etc.
    • Set up bills to be paid through the bank’s bill pay to ensure they’re paid on time.
  • Stick to the budget: Use only the cash allowed for any miscellaneous spending.

Personal Satisfaction: There are a lot of things that I can do or change to increase my self-esteem or make me feel better about who I am or how I’m living my life. I’ve made a good start, making forward progress with this over the last couple years. However, I’m a long way off from where I’d like to be. Some of these items overlap or repeat, but that’s because they’re important.

  • Figure out what my business is, and start it. Whether it’s on Etsy or even working with someone that sells on consignment, this needs to happen. I need to define what my business will encompass, build a plan, buy supplies, start production and get my stuff out in the world. Oh, and I need business cards because everyone knows you’re not legit business person without a business card.
  • Get right with my spiritual life. I’m Catholic and always have been. I’ve fallen off the wagon like most people do from time to time, not because I don’t believe anymore, but I lose sight of my priorities. Sitting in mass, my heart feels full and find myself at times stifling back tears of joy. I can’t help feeling that this is where I’m meant to be.  I would like to start a family in the fairly near future, and I want my children to grow up with faith and the knowledge of God’s love and how we are not just arbitrary beings with no purpose. I want to pass along the faith that my mother passed on to me, because it is a beautiful thing. I’ve begun confirmation classes to kick off my journey to re-acquaintance with the Good Lord.
  • Finish projects: A repeater. All those quasi-finished project lying around make it hard to view myself as a success. Small victories will help with this for sure.
  • Get back to school ASAP. Seriously. Even if it’s just a random class here or there.
  • Get into shape! I need exercise like a pizza needs cheese. My clothes don’t fit as well as they should and I just get depressed when I look in the mirror. I’m not too far off, but enough that I’ve disappointed myself.
  • Finish organizing my music on iTunes. Sounds stupid I know, but I’m so OCD that having duplicate songs and mislabeled music is really irritating.

I Didn’t Even Have to Use My AK. I’d Have To Say It Was A Good Day…

19 Sep

I’ve been blessed with many many good days since I took a hiatus from this lovely blog. I’d like to say I’m sorry for neglecting you all, but honestly, I’m not. I’ve had some seriously good times this spring and summer, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Don’t believe that kind of fun is possible? Well, here are my last 5 1/2 months in photos, you can judge for yourself…

I finally got my new tattoo done. I designed this while my dad was going through chemo. 5 1/2 hours of work, and it’s not quite finished.

Had a delicious breakfast date….with the most delicious banana french toast, EVER.

Seriously, if you’re ever in San Diego you need to have this french toast at Perry’s Cafe. Trust me.

Dinner date that ended at my absolute favorite place for dessert….Extraordinary Desserts in Little Italy  (San Diego). You have to try this place too if you’re ever in town.

Road tripped up to the Bay Area with my besties to see my little brother play LaCrosse in the Sonoma State Shootout. The Seattle Starz took the championship, and my brother even won his All Star game! He is an amazing person. I can’t say enough how proud I am of him. Can’t believe he’s only 14!

Since we were in the area…we swung by and saw the old Golden Gate for a bit.

It was pretty chilly out there by the Frisco Bay. Definitely should have brought sweatpants.

And since we were already that far north of home, we figured we’d spend a couple of days in Yosemite National Park. But not before passing by the windmill farms and taking a tour of the Jelly Belly factory.

Did you know that the blueberry Jelly Belly flavor was invented for President Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in 1981? True story.

Once we got to Yosemite, we did some hikin’ n swimmin’.  This place is seriously gorgeous. I wish this was what people thought of when they think of my beautiful state of California.


Takin’ a dip in the river was exactly what we needed after all that hiking. It was so relaxing and peaceful.

I flew out to Salt Lake City to meet up with my best friends. We really squeezed a lot of livin’ into that week and a half!

Rock climbing.

Dirtbiking.

Visited the Hogle Zoo. I’d never seen a Bald Eagle so close before, so beautiful.

Visited Cabela’s for the very first time. This place is so frickin’ cool if you love outdoorsy stuff, which I do. Guns, fishin’, campin, hikin, climbin’…it’s all here!!!

Visited Temple Square in Downtown Salt Lake. I’m not Mormon, but I think anyone can appreciate the beauty of this architecture.

We also did a little self tour of the state of Utah’s capital building.

Ta-dah!

I spent some time at the beach, skimmin’…trying to anyway.

Okay, I went to the beach a couple of times…

What can I say, I’m a California girl.

Even my pup likes the beach.

A lot.

Me and my friends spent a little time in Old Town San Diego to have the best Mexican breakfast around at Coyote Cantina (Chilaquiles with fresh handmade flour tortillas) aaaand did a little goofing around….

We are silly gooses.

I finally saw the Hoover Dam for the first time. What a sight! This new bridge they’ve built is impressive…and the heat out there was oppressive.

I moved out of my apartment….and after pitching a fit, I got my whole deposit back. Thank you.

Watched my Padres play his Astros at Petco Park.

Padres won. 🙂

I went to Big Bear and learned how to ski with my big sister and my little Chickin Nuggit. (That’s my niece’s nick name)

Took a day trip to Tijuana, Mexico with my mommy.

Couple of strawberry sodas, couple of beers…

And one of my all time favorite meals ever. Birria de Chivo. Basically a slow cooked dish made with goat. It sounds gross, and doesn’t look much more appetizing, but let me tell you, eating it makes my heart smile…especially with homemade corn tortillas and quesadillas.

Oh, and then there’s the paletas (Mexican popsicles)…those made our mouths smile too.

Speaking of hearts smiling, I got to see my other best friend tie the knot. It was a beautiful ceremony. I think this was the first time I actually cried at a wedding. I’m so happy for them both.

This is me and the newlyweds.

And me n my buddy Nick-o-Lah.

We celebrated my mommy’s birthday.

And I made some fabulous cupcakes for the occasion.

Thanks to my mommy, we got tickets to see Dwight Yoakam. We got a little crowd to do the electric slide with us when he played Faster than You. We had an amazing time!

Visited the San Diego Wild Animal Park…or I guess they’re calling it the Safari Park now. Either way, I’ve never seen such awesome views of lions, ever. We even got to see a cheetah do the 100 yard dash up close.

I finally got some really old film developed. This one was from Halloween a couple of years ago. Incidentally, I was a little concerned about developing this roll because I don’t remember a good chunk of that night…

Oh yeah…we moved to Texas.

I’ll probably write a little more about this particular event a bit later. For now, let’s just say it’s humid.

One thing I don’t have pictures of is my 10 year high school reunion. We made it back to California for that a week and a half ago, and it went much better than I was expecting. So that was good. Again, more on this later.

Last but not least….I’ve done some work for the next Makin’ It Monday. Here’s a sneak peak!!

I’ve been taking life one day at a time, trying my best to take advantage of every opportunity sent my way. I have to say, I’m fortunate for my friends, without them, most of these trips may not have been possible. I am also fortunate to have a hunger for adventure. Sure there are every day responsibilities to tend to. The bills need to be paid, the housework and laundry needs to be done, the pup must be fed, sure. But why did I spend so much time waiting around for the right time to take trips and little adventures? Why could I not see that tomorrow isn’t a better day to put a smile on my face? The answer is: I didn’t make it a priority. I wished for happiness and adventure and spontaneity, but did nothing about it…like it was just going to fall into my lap. Silly goose. If you want something, get after it! You get one life, that’s it. There’s no do-overs or rewind buttons. If you’re unhappy, then change something because you are the only thing standing between the life you live, and the life you want to live.

I didn’t write this post to brag about all the cool stuff that I got to do this past spring and summer. I’m writing this post to inspire you. There is a little bit of extraordinary in our every day lives, it’s a matter of how you look at it. I am writing this post to point out to you, my wonderful readers that a lot of living can be done without being a millionaire. Sure, it requires a bit more creativity and imagination…maybe even a bit of compromising. But it can be done. So stop sitting at home, blaming the fact that there’s too much laundry to do, or the dishes are dirty or the baby needs a bath to be able to go have a picnic or something. Just start living. It’s as simple as that.

PS If you’re the kind of person that can only be pleased with a first class flight to Paris and staying in a ritzy hotel, this post isn’t going to help you, sorry, Charlie.

Happy Birthday, W_lt_r…

18 Sep

You might be curious as to why I didn’t completely spell the name in the title of this post. Walter is my father. He was in the Navy for 20 years and when he’d write me a letter, he always signed it W_lt_r (Daddy). He left letters out because I wasn’t allowed to call him Walter, only Daddy. It was one of his little ways of being funny, I suppose. It always made me smile.

Today is my Daddy’s birthday. According to his initial prognosis, he should still be alive for me to make him German chocolate cupcakes.

Unfortunately, he’s not. Instead, I’m sitting in bed 1,500 miles away from home and his grave, thinking about how much I miss him. I’m thinking about how wonderful the last birthday we spent together was. I’m thinking about how badly I wish that I could have that day back.

Many days have passed since that last birthday. I’ve grown and learned a lot about life, and I’ve struggled with the sadness and depression that comes with loss and change. I’ve been striving every day to live my life in a way that would make him proud. Unfortunately, the way I celebrated his birthday last year would not have met that particular goal. I was by myself at a bar, falling to pieces. It’d been a long, long time since I had felt that alone.

I didn’t make him any cupcakes this year. I didn’t visit his grave to leave him a card and Fosters tall boy. I am home, away from home, but I don’t feel so alone. There won’t be any drinking tonight. Though there have been some tears and probably more to come, I am not falling apart today. I am grateful for that. I am thankful to have someone here who loves me, and does his best to  hold me together. Maybe it’s a gift from my Dad? A way to ease the moving on? I don’t know, but thank you either way.

Here’s to you Daddy. I hope you’re smiling down from Heaven on all the good changes I’ve made in my life. I miss you every day.

P.S. Tell Uncle Peter I say hi.

Daddy’s last birthday – 56 years old

So Fresh and So Fresh and So Clean Clean….(ain’t nobody as dope as me)

4 Apr

I know it’s Wednesday and you all must be wondering where this week’s Wreck is. Well, I’m interrupting my previously scheduled Wreck in celebration of a very special occasion.

It happens to be Lent. It is the commemoration of the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting in the desert, being tempted by Satan. For us, it is the season of sacrifice, charity, fasting, atonement and forgiveness. Lent gives us a fresh start, spiritually, and is the foundation for positive growth. “Cleaning” and “de-cluttering” the soul and spirit is not always easy. It can be painful, confronting your past transgressions and mistakes. Airing out those skeletons can come with consequences. There are times that even with forgiveness, relationships cannot be saved once the truth is brought to light. I think this is one of the hardest parts of the season. I also know, however, that without this season of atonement and forgiveness, we cannot grow and become the happy people that we are meant to be.

I’ve thought for a long time that life has a funny way of placing things, situations or people in your path at the exact moment you need them. Whether it’s an opportunity to exercise your ability to forgive, or to love, or maybe it’s an opportunity to understand what it really means to have faith and perseverance–it’s a message meant to help you grow. The reason I mention this is because I’ve just been reading a manuscript for a book called Through the Eyes of Another by Karen Noe. I will be posting a review for the book in the coming weeks, but for now, the premise of the book is to receive your “Life Review” before making your transition from this world to the next  (or whatever you believe lies after life) by writing letters. Though the topic might seem strange and arbitrary, it turned out to be a very inspiring book. It encourages the reader to write letters to various family and  loved ones, telling them why and how much you care about them, and acknowledge the things that you are sorry about, ways you’ve hurt them or caused pain. The next part is apologizing for the things that you’ve done. The purpose of these letters, more than anything are meant for emotional and spiritual healing. In my opinion, I can’t think of anything better that could have been put in my path to bring my attention to the fact that, while I have not had soda like I promised on Ash Wednesday, I have kind of neglected the whole contrition and atonement part of Lent.

Deep down, we all know deep down that these letters do need to be written or these conversations need to be had. We don’t reach out to those we love and those who love us to tell them how much they mean to us. We don’t tell people enough that we are blessed to have them in our lives. We don’t see clearly how our actions have caused hurt or pain in other lives. We certainly don’t always apologize for causing that hurt. God has given us this season as an opportunity to become better people, to be a little more like his Son. It’s not about Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday,  Easter Sunday, hardboiled eggs or even delicious ham. It’s about His only Son sacrificing his own purely innocent life for us sinners to have life eternal. All that’s requested of us is to live our lives with love, humility, honesty. He doesn’t even care that we all commit sins daily. Contrition and repentance is the key. Doesn’t sound like such a hard thing to do. Right?

Tomorrow isn’t going to be a better day to let those people in your life know that you love them. Next week could very well be too late to make amends with that friend you’ve neglected. Today is the day. Make it one that your Father can be proud of.

 

You gotta let me know…should I stay or should I go?

1 Mar

Today I want to talk about love and relationships. Most of us have been there, right? Well, I recently read the February issue of Psychology Today, and wouldn’t you know it, the cover article is about love. The title of the article is Are You with the Right Mate? by Rebecca Webber.

Well, are you?

Being a fairly young person, and divorced, I found this article particularly interesting. In the article, Webber states that, “Our marriages are not always a source of satisfaction. Sometimes they bring pain and sorrow. That’s necessary for growth.” Now, for anyone that has been married or even in a committed/long-term relationship, the first part of that statement is old news. The interesting idea is the last part: pain and sorrow is necessary for growth.

We all experience pain and sorrow, however, we all experience it differently and we all deal with it differently. Some people ignore it, some people withdraw from the world, some folks get pissed off and lash out, and others grieve and move on. One could assume that the ways that we confront (or don’t) adversity would account for the success (or failure) of not just marriages, but relationships in general. Based on this, one could also assume that if we focus on improving the way we meet challenges, we will in turn improve our relations with others.

While it is true that there sometimes people who just flat-out do not belong together, how many marriages and friendships are thrown away just because one or both people gave up, blew up or was just indifferent? I, for one, can vouch for how sad it is to lose a friend or significant other because one or both of us just couldn’t get our acts together. It’s a shame when we get so caught up with petty differences that a good friendship goes sour.

Let’s not let that happen. Let’s nurture and fight for those relationships that are worthy of treasuring. Opposite that, let’s finally sever those relationships that are incompatible and detract from your contentment. Take a look at those you surround yourself with. Do they contribute happiness, joy and abundance to your life?  Take a look at yourself, do you offer happiness, joy and abundance to those you call friends? If you answered no to either of those questions, you might want to consider why. Is this relationship worth fighting for? If it is, fight. If it’s not, then maybe it’s time to say adios, amigo. It might not be an easy thing to do, but in the long run, it could save both parties a lot of heartache  and energy.

It’s not often easy to be honest with those around you about your needs and wants. It’s certainly not easy to tell someone you care about, but just can’t seem to keep things together with, that you feel you would be better off just moving on. You’ll soon see what a blessing it is to be free from the burden of tending to the needs of others before your own. Someone once told me, that if I don’t take care of myself, no one else will. That, my friends, is what they call a true story.

On the other hand, once you’ve identified relationships that need work, but are worthy of the effort, you can get started growing that relationship into something truly beautiful.

If you would like to read the full article, and I suggest that you do, you can read it here http://psychologytoday.com. while this post has just a little bit to do with the actual article, it did serve as a jumping point. Webber did a really excellent job examining the complexities of marriage and the idea of finding the right mate. Her ideas are certainly helpful for those who have been, are or thinking about getting married. Marriage isn’t always peaches and cream, but if you throw in the towel, you could be missing out on something really amazing.

Tired of trying, sick of crying. I know I’ve been smiling, but inside I’m dying…

1 Feb

Sound familiar? If it does, we need to talk. Get ready because this is gonna be a doozy of a personal post. (a reeeeeeally long one.)

Depression isn’t an easy thing to talk about. It lurks in the darkness of our soul, eating away at our hearts, consuming our will to continue searching for happiness. It’s an invisible ailment that many experience, but few understand. For some, it’s a fast and dramatic response to an event such as the death of a loved one, or a major failure of some sort. But many times, depression has no clear cut cause; there’s no singular traumatic event that starts the seamless progression from disappointment to sadness to depression to hopelessness.  Sometimes, the advancement is so slow and subtle; it goes unrecognized by even the person experiencing it. And therein lies the problem. How can you tell someone that something is wrong, when you yourself don’t know or can’t explain what it is? I may be alone in my stubbornness, but I find it difficult to admit to someone, let alone to myself, that there IS something wrong when I don’t even know what IT is. How am I supposed to ask for help, when I don’t even know what I need?

What we need to do is talk. We need to identify and admit the fact that depression is not only a mental problem. It is a condition that reaches far beyond just being sad. It can affect your appearance, drain you of energy, kill your appetite, and kill your social life, among many other things. If we just continue to hide or ignore that depression is a physical condition as much as a mental one, we’ll just continue to sink lower and lower. We also need to stop surrounding ourselves with people that only add to the sickness. We all know drama mongers. They peddle their crazy to anyone and everyone that will listen. I’m here to tell you, when crazy comes knocking, you don’t have to answer the door.

Depression never affected me as a child or teen. So you can imagine my surprise and serious denial when it hit me in adulthood. Come to find out, I have a predisposition to suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts/tendencies. My mother attempted to end her life as a teenager. My cousin committed suicide when I was in high school. My paternal grandmother committed suicide when my father was a teenager. I have done some research and have found that my Austrian/German decent makes me more likely to make an attempt on my life. For some reason, people from these countries have a high rate of suicide and depression. It’d be easy to look at the statistics and family history and use it as an excuse. I could put the blame on genetics. Who in the world would argue with science and facts?

The problem with accepting that you have a predilection, especially a biological one, for something, is that we often use that as an excuse for giving into it. We let go of our power to the thought that we are destined to be this or suffer from that. Instead of telling ourselves, “yes, I am more susceptible to (insert condition here), but I have the power to avoid it”, we tell ourselves “I am more susceptible to (insert condition here); I don’t have any control in it”. We give the blame away to our genetics (or whatever variable) and in doing so, we give away our power to make real and positive changes in our lives. It’s this negative thinking that perpetuates depression, not our genes. If you think you’re worthless, then guess what? Perception is reality. The amazing thing is that you have the ability to change your perception, and in turn, change reality.

Here comes story time. I’ve talked a little about my father’s death; I think I’ve even mentioned the death of my grandma. But, to illustrate my point a little better, I’m going to tell you the whole story…the big points, anyway….

I met my ex a week before I turned 19. We were married two and a half years later. Even though I was young, I gave it everything I had, and then a little more. But getting little in return, I started to give up. I’d been unhappy for a very long time, and I was tired of being used, tired of being lied to, and tired of waiting. I blamed my husband for the way I felt. I resented him for everything I gave up to support his goals and dreams. I felt worthless because nothing I did for him was ever enough for him to value me as I once thought I’d deserved. Despite the way I felt about the way my marriage was going, we decided at one point that we were going to try to start a family. Wanting to be sure I was healthy enough for a pregnancy, I consulted my doctors. My rheumatologist cautioned me against it, saying that even if the inflammation in my feet from my rheumatoid arthritis was under control (at this point, it was not); I would almost certainly spend at least my third trimester on bed rest. I was 25 years old, and my doctor was telling me I shouldn’t try to have kids? I’m 25 years old; I should be able to get knocked up without the “ok” from a doctor…right?

Already unhappy with where my life was at the time, I received a phone call that would put me over the edge. I left for work one morning, and on the drive, I got a phone call from my supervisor’s boss telling me I was to report to him before I began my shift. My heart sank. I knew this was bad news, I thought I’d be fired, though I had no idea for what. I stood at his desk and he informed me I was being put on administrative leave and ordered me to surrender my badge. On my drive home that morning, my thoughts raced. I had decided that when I arrived home, I was going to take every pill in my bottle of Vicodin, and anything else I had. I got home, went upstairs, grabbed the bottle and popped the first pill in my mouth. I tried to swallow it. I couldn’t. No matter how hard I tried, it just wouldn’t go down. This was the beginning of what my ex and most everyone else would see as my decline. The truth is, all those little things with my marriage, the lies, the resentment, my health…that was the real beginning, but it was invisible. It wasn’t even until about a year or two before this incident that I had even noticed it myself.

The sad part about that first pill is that not being able to swallow it had very little, if anything, to do with how I valued my life. I never thought, “I can’t do this because I have so much to live for, so many things I still want to do.” As I tried to swallow that pill, I thought about my parents, the tears, them thinking that they failed at something because they weren’t able to save me. I thought about my nieces. I thought about being thought of as too weak to handle what God was dishing out to me. I even thought about my poor pup. I didn’t want to hurt the people I loved. I told my ex what had happened, and asked him to take all my medications and hide them from me. I called my doctor and got an appointment with a shrink who referred me to a program that literally saved my life.

Because of my suicidal thoughts and my attempt, though failed, my only choices were being committed to a mental facility or the Intensive Outpatient Program, or IOP. I chose IOP. Though I am not and never have been an advocate for “group therapy”, I have to say, it worked. After two weeks of talking about the things I’ve been through, how I feel, listening to others, discovering that although the causes of what brought us all to that room were very different, we were all feeling very similarly. I learned that I am not something that is broken and needs fixing. I learned some very important coping skills and started to re-learn simple truths about myself that would ultimately hold the pieces of my heart together when I thought it would fall apart.

The next couple months brought my grand mother’s decline. She was constantly in and out of the hospital. My family, especially my aunt, who was my grandma’s primary caretaker, struggled with the burden of dealing with the impending loss and the day to day wear that caring for stricken loved ones brings about. Finally, we had a family meeting with the doctors who informed us of our choices. My aunt was not ready to let go. She wanted to believe that her mother wanted to keep fighting. Eventually, we all agreed that she should be put on home hospice care.

The night my grandma died, I went out with my cousins. I got drunker than I’d ever been, at that point. I fell apart. I’d never cried harder or for such a long time. Her funeral was the most beautiful service I’d ever been to. (I’ve been to quite a few) She was buried next to my grandpa, who’d passed away a few years earlier. At the graveside service, someone had booked a mariachi band to play songs that my grandpa used to sing to his wife. It was amazing.

The next day, my phone rang. It was my dad, and he was telling me that he has cancer. Stage 4 cancer to boot. For those who aren’t familiar with cancer, stage 4 means that the cancer is very advanced and has metastasized to other organ(s). In the subsequent months, I flew back and forth from my home in southern California to northern Washington, when my father lived. In the midst of this, I was ultimately fired from my job. Meanwhile, I helped re-model the house, I cooked, I cleaned, I took my father to many of his appointments. He had a prognosis of 2 years. The cancer took him in 3 months.

Two weeks before he died, I decided to make a book for my dad. I wanted to have him write down stories about himself, about growing up, about life. I had so many questions to ask him. I worked hard on that book, trying to make it perfect. Unfortunately, by the time I was done with it, he was no longer speaking, and barely moving. I ended up with a very beautiful, but very empty book.

If you’ve noticed anything in my posts, you’ve probably noticed my propensity to relating my life to music. Today is no different. As it turns out, there is a line from a Social Distortion song that is cold hard fact. Mike Ness sings, “Reach for the sky ’cause tomorrow may never come” (By the way, that song is called Reach for the Sky.) I decided that this empty book was not going to be the story of my life.  Losing my father so quickly prompted me (after a great deal of wallowing in grief and self-pity) to evaluate my life and the way I was living it.

The fact is that it’s easy to give up. It’s easy to put the blame for our disappointments and misery on everything and everyone around us. What’s not easy is taking a look in the mirror and realize that we are the only thing standing between us and bliss. It’s not easy taking responsibility for our unhappiness and depression. The way I felt about my life and my marriage was no one’s fault but my own. As soon as I took ownership of that fact, I got my power back.  I decided that I can’t wait for happiness. It’s not just going to walk up to me one day on the street. I have to actively seek it. My book will not be blank, it’s going to be filled with all the awesome things I am going to do, all the adventures I’m going to take on. I’ve been doing all the things that made me who I am. I’ve been doing all the things that make me happy, all the way down to my shoes.

I also began to understand that everything, and I mean everything, happens for a reason. If I had not been married to my ex, I would not have come to understand how little I actually loved myself. If I had not ended up with rheumatoid arthritis, I probably would have ended up with children with a man that I did not love, a man who didn’t truly love me. My suicide attempt led to me getting the help I really needed. If I hadn’t gone though the Intensive Outpatient Program, I wouldn’t have learned the tools that would later keep me from spinning out of control with the subsequent tragedies of losing my grandmother and my father. If I hadn’t been put on administrative leave, I would not have been able to spend so much time with my father before he passed away. If my father hadn’t been taken so swiftly, I probably would not have had the courage to finally take my life into my own hands. I would have continued being miserable, and blaming my ex for it. Like I said, perception is reality. My reality is a happy one, because I perceive it to be.

While I’m happier than I’ve been in a very long time, I still continue to struggle with depression. I’m not going to lie. There are days that I feel just like vanilla ice cream: white, plain, nothing special. But then, I Googled vanilla, and I learned that vanilla is actually one of the most complex flavors on the planet (another scientific fact). So, while I may just be feeling like vanilla, I am actually quite special. This gives me hope that though I’ve been battered by storms, I’m not quite destroyed. Little by little, I begin to strengthen and bloom again.

 

 

No, soup does not come from a can…

11 Jan

Soup comes from the kitchen. But apparently not yours.

I once brought left over Chicken Tortilla Soup to work for lunch. A co-worker asked what brand it was. I laughed at their response to me saying it was homemade. “What do you mean? Doesn’t soup come from a can??”  What do you think I mean? I made it at home. Duh.

Considering how food-obsessed this country has become, it’s amazing to see how many people actually do not cook. With all the magazines, newspapers and blogs nowadays that write articles dedicated to the review of food, you would think that we lived in a country where basic culinary skills were a necessity in every household and something taught to our children much like brushing teeth before bed. Apparently that’s not the case. Until recently, I had no idea that so many people don’t cook for themselves. I also had no idea how many young adults had no idea how to wash their own laundry until I went to college and lived in the dorms…but I digress.

Since we all must be the change we wish to see in the world, I’ve decided that the Itssunnyinmysoul household will entertain more. I will have friends and family over for a home cooked meal as much as possible. We will sit at the dinner table (that’s how it got its name after all, isn’t it?). We will turn off the television and enjoy each other’s company without the sound of the Kardashians cackling and fighting or the news telling us the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Together, we will bring back the tradition of family dinners, and not just for special occasions.

The end game? We will all share our culinary experiences and recipes. We will raise our children (for me, possible future children) how to chiffonade basil or how to french their own fries. We will spread our tradition to others so that they too can be more self-reliant and understand how much better a meal tastes when it’s not from a can, styrofoam container or cardboard box, zoned out and sitting in front of the tube.

God is great, beer is good…People are crazy.

10 Jan

I’d like to begin by thanking Mr. Billy Currington for writing a little ditty called People are Crazy.

Why? I’m so happy that you asked. First of all, the fact is that God is great. He has created so many beautiful things for us to enjoy. The next fact is that Beer is good. It is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Third, and most pertinent for me today (since it’s not beer-thirty…yet) is, PEOPLE ARE CRAZY. So I am thanking Mr. Currington for writing a song that holds so much truth.

We are all a bit crazy. Some of us are the fun, “woo-whoo” let’s go streaking though the quad kind of crazy. These people like to have a good time, start a little trouble maybe, but they don’t hurt anyone…not maliciously anyway. Others are the kind of crazy that just breed hate and discontent. They are miserable people, and you know what momma says about misery: it loves company. My goal is to identify and figure out what to do with those hateful people who continue to sap my energy, steal time and stress me out. Luckily, I’ve got half the equation taken care of. I’ve definitely identified who these people are in my life. I just wish I knew I knew the best way to get rid of them.

I’d like to spend a little time describing these people I’ve identified. Odds are, many of you have similar people in your lives. Maybe you know who I’m talking about (figuratively speaking, in your own lives, of course.), but just haven’t thought about ways to rid your life of the stress and drama they bring. Maybe, it never occurred to you before reading this that these little monsters existed in your life. Regardless, if we identify these people and work towards separating ourselves from their drama and the stress they create, we are that much closer to taking control of our own happiness and mental health.

The first person, (we’ll call this one, Mind Ninja) can turn any situation around to make himself the victim. It doesn’t matter what he’s done, when you tangle with Mind Ninja, you will walk away from the situation with the blame, and you won’t even know what hit you. In the past, I’ve reflected on this on and found myself wishing I had that same ability to weasel my way out of things. But I’ve been thinking about it more and I’ve changed my mind. I could not live happily, knowing that I am a manipulative liar that takes no responsibility for hurting others. Sure, it’d save me from some hot water from time to time, but I’m no stranger to a butt-chewing. I’d take one if it means that someone else isn’t held responsible for something I’ve done. I’m a caring and kind person, capable of remorse and using those two words: I’m sorry. I also don’t mind correcting my mistakes. Being willfully responsible for someone else’s emotional pain is not something I’m equipped to do.

I believe in my heart, from my experiences, in Karma. I know that we all get exactly what we deserve, whether good or bad. I’m no one to think that I have the right or responsibility to punish those who choose to be “bad people”. As a matter of fact, it’s been my experience that when those who do wrong finally do get their “just deserts”, it’s often far worse than anything I could have possibly done. Don’t misunderstand this, if someone attacks me or my loved ones I’m not going to just stand by and take it. You’d better believe that I will unleash a furious anger of which you have never had the misfortune to experience. however, I’m not going to go out of my way to say or do something spiteful to someone just because they said or did something that hurt me. They are the ones that are going to have to live with their words and actions in the long run. You, on the other hand, you can move on knowing the truth about the kind of person you are.

The next crazy in my life, we’ll call her Me Me Me, is something truly special. This little peach likes to make every situation about her. It doesn’t matter what is going on, in her mind, it’s happening to her. A perpetual victim of the world, she directs anger towards anything or anyone that might detract from her “lime light”. I cannot begin to describe how profoundly I’ve been hurt by this particular person’s selfishness. I could go on and on for years describing how my family and I have suffered at the hands of Me Me Me. A sane person would have told her to shove it over a decade ago.

I’m in a quandary, because unfortunately, Me Me Me is also the evil dragon that sits outside of the tower where my little brother and sister live. She is the gatekeeper to all I have left of my father, aside from letters, photos and memories, of course. They are so young and far away, I can’t be a positive influence and make my presence known as much as I would like. However, I’ve continued, as my father’s last request of me, to keep the peace and do all I can to take care of Me Me Me (presumably so she has support while caring for my siblings.). But now that he’s gone, she is doing everything possible to cut me out of their lives. I’ve cried, and screamed and prayed. I don’t know how to handle this situation. I don’t know how to honor my father’s request, stay in my siblings’ lives and not let this woman stress me out.

For a long time, I’ve relied on one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite author’s to help me move on when I feel hurt by someone’s actions:

We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.          ~Paulo Coehlo

It was a reminder that we all have our own issues to deal with on a daily basis. No one but God could possibly see all of it. So I go back to this idea when I feel like someone isn’t treating me the way I would like or need to be treated. Right now, this quote isn’t doing it for me. It’s not making me feel better. There is no excuse for the way these people behave.

Now that I’ve said that, there is also no excuse for allowing anybody to make me feel unhappy. The moment I’ve allowed someone to make me unhappy, I’ve given my power away. But today, the power is mine. I will not let these people affect my life anymore.

My new quote to live by, also from the same author as the last quote:

I can choose to be either a victim of the world, or an adventurer in search of treasure. It’s all a matter of how I choose to view my life.            ~Paulo Coehlo