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Confessions

Disney, Credit Repair, financial security, financial freedom, quinceanera, My why, why I am working to reverse my diabetes, family, Signs of diabetes, diabetes, diabetes symptoms, type 2 diabetes, how to reverse diabetes

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Look at me. I probably look just like a lot of you. Most days, I look a little tired, wearing yoga pants, an oversized sweatshirt and a messy bun and some days, I look cute. But, there are subtle differences, ones you can’t see, bubbling right beneath the surface like well-placed Botox. Lately, I’ve been feeling a sort of way; like I’m walking a tightrope of mental health. Any wrong move could send me toppling and it’s exhausting. I feel like my bipolar diagnosis has been standing at the back of the room hanging out and suddenly, the pandemic has got behind that diagnosis and begin to nudge me uncomfortably forward. This might not make sense to you, if you’re not a person with mental illness but if you are, you know exactly what this feeling is. This is my diary of a manic mom.

My diagnosis of Bipolar 1 came the year after I got married, from the unlikeliest of places, my gynecologist. I know, her specialty is cervixes and uteruses not mood disorders with a side of mania but lucky me, I met a gynecologist who also happened to be the mom of a daughter with bipolar. This is where my journey from broken to bent began. Let me tell you, it is a relief when you realize there is a diagnosis and you are not in fact broken.

The diagnosis was terrifying at first. I had no idea what that meant, which made it even scarier considering everything I’d ever heard about the illness up until that point was limited misinformation and worst case scenarios. The consensus from my doctors is that I started having episodes in my teens and by college, they were at their peak. I can only speak to my particular flavor of mental illness but for me, it waxed and waned between full mania and extreme irritability. My “low” is the extreme irritability that comes from not being able to slow down. It’s like racing towards a brick wall going 125 miles an hour. I see the wall. I know it might kill me. I want to slow down but my mind keeps pushing the gas pedal. It is so bad that I get on my own nerves. That is a new level of irritability.

When I’m in a manic episode, I lose my ability to think rationally. I become reckless in all the ways you can imagine. I also feel invincible mentally, physically and spiritually. I’m naturally an optimist but when manic, its beyond reason and consequences were never considered. I am also inspired because all boundaries are null and void.

https://youtu.be/vcCBacPWLrc

My diagnosis was not easy on the Big Guy, myself or the marriage. It took a lot of therapy, medications, research and willingness to embrace my disorder. I had to put everything into accepting my diagnosis, otherwise, I could not have learned to live with it. My husband also had to learn about and come to terms with my diagnosis. From that point on, he became my accountability partner, meaning we’ve discussed it and he knows the difference between my normal moods and reactions and when I’m becoming episodic. I need him to tell me if he recognizes the train going off the tracks, in case I’m not aware.

My experience with a mental health diagnosis has made me a mental health advocate. I had to learn about bipolar disorder. I believe every single person could use some therapy, especially during this pandemic, children and adults alike. My family knows this and we’ve all been in therapy at one point or another. I don’t believe in needlessly suffering when help is available.

I don’t have episodes like I used to. In fact, since the onset and diagnosis, I can only think of two other occasions when I’ve experienced a full manic episode. However, thanks to self-awareness, education and all the work I’ve done over the years to understand my illness, I’ve been able to find my way through them without losing total control.

With the pandemic and some of the situations that has brought with it (quarantining, best friend is a doctor who keeps me abreast of all the latest CoVid news, virtual learning, masks, an election, going back to school, deaths in the family, constantly worrying about the people I love and never being able to hug them), I have felt anxious. I’ve been able to deal with the anxiety. I’m aware it is happening but I push it to the side and move on. However, that constant state of anxiety has triggered what I’ve felt like was a manic episode.

What did it feel like? It felt like running in high heels across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope. Other times, it feels like I’m stuck on a roller coaster perpetually going up, violently coming down and going right back up again. When this happens, all I can do is try to process my feelings while separating the noise and chaos from what must be done. Sometimes that means shutting completely down and being still until the attack of everything of the world is hurling at me can pass. I need to make things digestible or I will be swallowed whole. The most important thing is knowing myself and being aware of the symptoms that accompany my illness. You can also read this blog post if you’re curious on what superfood powder blends I take to help my mental health.

Giving myself over to those old reckless and self-satisfying behaviors is no longer an option for me. I’m a mom. Not only do I need to be mentally healthy for myself, I need to be healthy enough to take care of and love my family. Being mentally healthy is for my family. Knowing how to recognize, treat and work through my illness is the only way that can happen. There is no room for ignoring and denying in mental health because in the end it can mean the difference between life and death. Also, our children are always watching. I want them to know that there is no stigma to being mentally ill, seeing a therapist, taking medications or whatever needs to be done. The important thing is that we can embrace our disorder and love ourselves. 

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if not now then when, new year's goals, New Year’s Resolutions to Change Your Life for the better

I’m not doing outrageous New Year’s resolutions this year. I’m making totally realistic resolutions in response to the pandemic. I am learning from my past mistakes, older and wiser and all that shit, and I am sneaking in on this year. I am slowly, tiptoeing in on this bitch. I am creeping. I’m afraid to spook 2021 and have it run away on me. I’m all about the easy New Year’s Resolutions to Change Your Life for the better this year while being realistic.

I cannot afford another 2020. In fact, like everyone else, I need a 2020 do-over. Where can I get my refund? I want to see the manager. I’m sick of waiting for things to get better. Time to work through my very legitimate but crippling fear that has had me frozen in place over the last year and safely, from a distance, keep pursuing happiness. If not now, then when?

I tried to be optimistic. I did appreciate the time to think and reflect alone with my family. In the early months, I even tried to see the whole coronavirus lockdown situation as a blessing. The past 11 months have been trying, exhilarating and growth inspiring. I have an entirely new outlook on life but I am exhausted, I’m afraid and I’m losing my patience. I’ve been anxious, depressed and manic. I have run the gamut of emotions and I’ve never wanted to get off a ride as badly as I want to escape the nightmare that 2020 has been.

My 2021 Mantra: If not now, then when?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m thankful that I’ve survived thus far but not unscathed. I’ve lost people. In fact, I’ve become accustomed to the news. It’s not become a matter of fact yet but unfortunately, I am no longer shocked. I’ve seen the worst of people. I’ve seen selfishness and anger but I’ve also seen the best of people; self-sacrifice and kindness. But I want it to be over. I feel like I’ve been serving a prison sentence and I didn’t do anything wrong other than having the misfortune of being diabetic.

This year’s “resolutions” aren’t about dreaming or wishing, it’s about doing. It’s about small tweaks and putting in the work. It’s also about self-awareness and perspective. I want to put in the effort and work towards goals. I want to manifest the life I want by keeping faith and determination in the process and myself. Resolutions don’t have to be grand gestures they can be small goals that you can cross off a list and gain a sense of fulfillment and happiness. Lists give me direction and crossing stuff off of lists give me a true sense of joy and bonus, it’s easy to do.

if not now then when, new year's goals, New Year’s Resolutions to Change Your Life for the better, Silver and golden colorful Christmas glitters on turquoise background. Flat lay style. Holiday classic concept.

Easy New Year’s Resolutions to Change Your Life for the Better = Goals

  • Get back to a 2019 state of mind. That’s all I want. I want normal back.

  • Work out 5 days a week. Solution: Start small. 15 minutes of movement.

  • Keep A1C in the normal range. Solution: Portion control, stay within my daily carb amounts and exercise.

  • Keep my triglycerides in check. Solution: Pay attention to labels and saturated fat intake.

  • Weight to go back to pre-Covid/ pre-stress eating days.  Solution: Move more and stress less. Grab for healthier options versus all the carbs.

  • Safe travel with my family.  Solution: WAIT!

  • Hug my parents freely without fear I’ll kill them or the need to quarantine for weeks beforehand. Solution: Wait, quarantine and wear my mask.

  • I want to see my brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews. Solution: Zoom or Facetime. For in-person, drive-by, driveway visits at a social distance outside for the time being. Better to see them safely than not at all.

  • Barbecues and get-togethers without restrictions; ugly sweater parties and costume parties, where we can all laugh and be near one another without suspicion of what every other person in the room was doing or who they were in contact with before being in my breathing space. Solution: Vaccine and herd immunity.WAIT.

  • Attend crowded concerts under the stars with dancing and singing at the top of our lungs. Solution: Until the vaccine is widely available, stream a live concert on a big screen in your yard.

  • Eat at a restaurant. Solution: Some restaurants are offering personal outdoor igloos. Alfresco is the best option right now.

  • Show a sign of peace to the people in the pew next to me at mass. Solution: Peace fingers to friends and family from the appropriate socially safe distance if you don’t have an underlying condition and can attend in-person services, otherwise, stream your services.

  • Sing out loud without fear of spreading a virus or getting punched in the head by someone who is equally afraid of being infected. Solution: For now, do it in your own house or in your own yard.

  • Long, lazy days at crowded beaches and hot summer nights walking the city. Solution: Wait! Empty beaches and masked up walks are fine for now.

  • Work out with my friends. Solution: Challenge each other through apps or outdoor walks in masks.

  • Visit my best friend. Solution: Put on the masks, don’t hug and meet outdoors. For best results, quarantine ahead of time. My best friend is an ER doctor so we really can’t meet right now. We both agree it’s too dangerous.

  • Travel to new and foreign places on an airplane. Solution: I am grounded because it’s not worth the risk with my underlying condition. Other options for local travel are to drive in your own car.

  • Christmas shopping in person and New Year’s eve cheek kisses with strangers. Solution: WAIT!

  • Sit in the stands with thousands of others at football games, Baseball, Soccer and Hockey matches. Solution: Stream it. Sitting in a crowded venue for entertainment right now is risky. If you’re into the thrill of sports betting, you can bet online now on dadu online.

  • Attend Broadway shows. Solution: Broadway direct for the time being.

  • I want my girls to go to school and hang with their friends, chat with boys and eat lunch in the cafeteria like normal teenagers. Solution: Virtual is the only way to go right now for my girls but I am encouraging them to interact more so they feel less isolated.

  • I want birthday parties and weddings and baby showers. Solution: WAIT!

  • I want girls’ nights. Solution: Zoom cocktails for now.

Like my mom has always taught me, where there is a will there is way. Maybe the way is a little different but I’d rather learn new ways than to just feel like I’m always missing out. I don’t really want much just a return to normal. These are small goals that I can actively work towards and be happy. These past few months have taught me that I am resilient and strong but I’m also exhausted and I need people. I miss you all.

What are your Easy New Year’s Resolutions to Change Your Life for the Better?

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Mother's Day

I wasn’t sure what to expect this year for Mother’s Day. Normally, my only wish is peace, a clean house and not be needed. I appreciate a good day off of mom duty. I know it sounds selfish when so many moms just want to celebrate with their children or their moms but really all I want is a quiet house with no one asking anything of me. I want 24 hours of no responsibilities and no one depending on me for anything. I want to just be me. Somehow this Mother’s Day was more special than any other.

Normally, what I’ve wanted is exactly what the Big Guy has given me. It’s a Queen for the day situation. Well, to be honest, with the Big Guy, he always treats me like a queen just this queen has to do dishes and break up bickering matches between teenagers and fold laundry. Being a queen is not all it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes, I just want to drive somewhere with my favorite music blaring singing at the top of my lungs or eat what I want to eat or watch a rated R movie or binge a foreign film series without judgment. I hate the feeling of expectation. You know when the world gives you some side-eye as it wonders pretty damn aloud, why you aren’t doing something else…something they deem productive? No, just me?

READ ALSO: A Mother’s Day I’ll Never Forget

I grew up in a house where weekends were not for sleeping in; they were for waking up even earlier to get more done. And you never had the luxury of being bored because my father would find some household chore for you to do. Everything was never always done and there was plenty to go around. And so, now, I find I almost impossible to relax if anyone else is around. If you are anyone who could possibly expect anything from me…you can rest assured that I cannot relax.

But this year, Mother’s Day fell on quarantine, so did the anniversary of my miscarriage which I observe every year as my national day of grief (this year I had an audience because everyone was underfoot), as did my husband’s birthday, our 21st wedding anniversary is this weekend and my daughter’s 13th birthday. This shelter in place is really jacking up life as we know it. My expectations for Mother’s Day were pretty low.

I didn’t expect gifts because who can go shopping. I didn’t expect fancy brunches at a restaurant or visits from my mom or my sisters. All I wanted was my day off but how? We’re all in this quarantine together so I couldn’t really expect alone time. All I really wanted was no bickering between the kids, no housework for me and not to have to worry about dinner. Done, done and done. But something was different, aside from the world being in a coronavirus tizzy… my girls did something different.

READ ALSO: Sick, Fat and Nearly Dead on Mother’s Day

I don’t know if it’s the fact that we’ve all been quarantined for over 2 months or the fact that they are getting older or maybe they just were trying to make me happy with their thoughtfulness but they surprised me. Both girls posted sweet messages on Instagram with pictures of us from when they were little. It wasn’t about the picture on social media it was the fact that they said how much they loved and appreciated me, with specifics, online, in front of everyone. They’re teens.

Not to be that person but my 15-year-old called me, “Diosa,” which means goddess. Fuck a queen, my girl thinks I’m a goddess and she called me her best friend. Then, she thanked me for making her the “bad bitch” she is. Now, I don’t like women being called bitches but when my teen thinks of herself as a “bad bitch” I call that a mom win.

My youngest, who I’m pretty sure hates me on most days because fucking hormones and she is my teen wonder twin, told me not only that she loves me so much but more importantly she said that I’m always there for her and never give up on her which I don’t ever but I wasn’t sure she realized that until that moment. The fact that she does lets me know that I’m on the right track. God knows we moms spend so much time trying to figure out what’s going on in our kids’ heads. It was so nice for them to tell me.

READ ALSO: The Best Mother’s Day Gift Ever

Not going to lie, I’ve done a lot of shit in my life. I’ve accomplished a lot. I’m well-educated, well-traveled, I’m cultured and I believe that I can do anything that I set my mind to and still these two girls are and always will be my legacy, my greatest achievement. My goal is to raise good human beings and that’s a lifetime position. It’s hard work; it takes up all of my time, my energy, my heart and my soul but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Their words, those notes, unprompted and unsolicited expressions of love, meant more to me than any gift ever could.

I don’t know what you did for Mother’s Day or how your family celebrated you but I hope they made you feel like a Diosa, a goddess, and I hope you know how much they love and appreciate you. You’re a bad bitch and I see you. So when you’re tired, exhausted from no sleep, dealing with tantrums or bickering teens, sick children and it feels like nothing in the world is going right…you’re homeschooling and you’re never off duty, just remember inside the crazy storm of motherhood, there is a calmness. Motherhood is misery peppered with profound moments of bliss. I know I’m a day late because I was trying to just be yesterday but Happy Mother’s Day to each and every one of you. May the odds be ever in your favor.

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How Coronavirus is a blessing in disguise

I’ve been having a large range of emotions the past few weeks, day 31 of social distancing for us. I feel, for lack of a better word, triggered emotionally and that’s saying a lot for someone who is susceptible to bouts of mania. My mental health has to be at the front of my mind, even now when I can think of nothing else but my physical health and well-being and the health of everyone around me, everyone I love…everyone I know; my friends, my family, coworkers, the children I spent my days teaching and nurturing even the strangers I surround myself every single day all around the world. Maybe coronavirus is a blessing in disguise for all of us?

READ MORE: What every mom should know about Coronavirus

It’s everywhere; on the news, in my feeds, in texts from friends and conversations with loved ones. I can’t turn it off. I try. I zone out. I try to keep my mind occupied. I try to stay positive. We are resilient and there are bright spots amid this gloom of coronavirus. I fill my days with other things while trying to stay sane while living in place. I feel like I am metaphorically treading water to avoid drowning in my own thoughts. On some days, I feel like if I stop for one moment I could completely lose my grip on reality, I’ve felt this way since about day 11 (the day we officially are ordered to stay home) I can barely remember what day it is.

Through my fear, I can’t help feeling like Coronavirus is a Blessing in Disguise for All of Us

I’ve tried to see the positive. We’re alive. We’re safe. We’re at home together. But then I take a deep breath and realize that nothing is normal, I’m a prisoner in a beautiful cage and my fellow prisoners are delusional. I have to hold it together, I’m not afforded the luxury of being able to lose my shit because if I do, the entire house of cards will come tumbling down. This is my circus, these are my monkeys and the fucking world is on fire. Deep breaths, Debi. We can do this.

READ ALSO: Doctor on Front Line of Coronavirus Gave Up her Kids to Save You

There is no positive about the coronavirus except for the fact that it’s making us all slow down. Sure, it may be from school closures and crippling anxiety but we’re getting a forced reset and perspectives are changing. I mean who gives a fuck whether or not the Bernie Bros are going to have an all-out war with the MAGA hat wearers when the entire world has been set on fire? Not me.

The only thing that matters to me right now in this moment, life in the time of Corona (virus), is how we survive with our families intact. Everything else is bullshit.  Everything else is literally unimportant. So, let’s let it all fall away. Forget about fancy meals and perfect houses. Let’s practice patience and grace. Let’s embrace gratitude and think of the bigger picture.

How Coronavirus is a blessing in disguiseThis is temporary and as horrible as the coronavirus pandemic may feel, this is a gift; a blessing.

In the end, I think we will be kinder, more compassionate and better human beings. When I talk to my friends now, we really listen. We check in on one another; really check in and care. We have become a nation of lifelines for one another. We are more in tune with our bodies and our minds. We are moving more. We are re-prioritizing every single thing and the unimportant things are falling to the wayside while the most important things are coming clearer into focus because the noise of the world is fading.

READ ALSO: Interview with an ER doctor on the front lines fo Coronavirus

Strangers smile and say hi. My daughters have moved through their bickering phase and into a comfortable place of thankfulness for one another. They not only love one another, they show it and no longer take one another for granted. My husband who has always been my best friend has become my hero. He is my rock and when I start to go off the rails and buckle under the fear and pressure, he is there to grab my hand and tell me that it will be alright and I hope I’m doing the same for him. Together we’ll get through it.

I long for the faces of my parents and my brothers and sisters. I remember that they always have been there for me but the promise of tomorrow is not a certainty. I have hope that in time we will all be together again, for now, we check in on one another in the only ways we can. 6 feet apart drive-bys to say hello to my friends and family have become the highlights of my day.

I’m thankful for my job that allows me to work from home. I’m thankful for my husband’s job that understands even though he is essential, his family is immunocompromised and makes allowances for that. I’m so thankful for bosses who understand the mental strain that living through a pandemic puts on even the strongest person. I’m grateful for the grace and patience that we are all showing one another.

How can it be that even in such a horrible situation, Coronavirus is a Blessing in Disguise?

It’s all a matter of perspective. Staying home was not anything I ever imagined would be forced upon us as a nation. I’m an extrovert and while I’ve longed for moments of peace and quiet, I never wished for forced removal from society. I’m scared. I know too much; we all do. All we can do is to do our part, be safe, stay home and support the heroes who save us all; the healthcare workers who sacrifice so much to take care of us and our loved ones, the grocers and restaurant workers who make sure we are fed, the delivery people, the police, EMTs, firefighters and other civil service workers who risk everything to keep us safe.

Remember this is temporary, even though it feels like forever when you’re living through it. Feel what you need to feel okay with the circumstances. There are no rules right now. Just survival. Let go of expectations and if you need to cry or be mad or just not care, just do that. All of your feels are valid. There are no wrong ways. But please give yourself and those around you grace and patience. None of us have ever been through this before.

READ ALSO: The Importance of Friendship

In the end, I think we’ll all be better people from this. We are having greatness thrust upon us. This is the time to rise to the occasion. Be kinder, be better, think of others and remember to breathe and laugh. Drop off snacks at your neighbor’s doorsteps. Have a pizza delivered to your brother’s family for lunch. Order groceries for your elderly parents and have them delivered. Tip your delivery people.

Share your time, your experience and your abundance. Give of yourself but give to yourself to. Stay safe. Be well and I can’t wait to celebrate with all of you when this is over. For now, celebrate your health, your life and the kindness and efforts of those around you. We’re all struggling. You are not alone.

How are you holding up during this pandemic? Hoping you and your family are staying healthy and being safe. I know this pandemic is horrible and hurting a lot of people but theoretically, do you feel like the coronavirus could be a blessing in disguise?

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we learn kindness, be kind, live with gratitude, give forgiveness, forgive, kindness

Ever had someone cut you off on the road or honk at you and it really irritated you? Ever find yourself cursing someone out and flipping them off in the car because they did something stupid? Maybe you’ve let someone else’s loud, obnoxious opinion make you feel less than and make you angry. I mean, seriously, who among us hasn’t? I’m not saying you have to be the bigger person but we never know what someone else is going through. But we can choose to live with gratitude and forgiveness and we can learn kindness.

The thing is you end up upset and they don’t give a shit. Honestly, they have no idea and no concern about how their actions affected you. You have just given someone who probably doesn’t matter in the least in your life, power over your happiness. Now, if you saw your friend do the same exact thing, you would stop them and talk them out of it but it’s not so easy when we’re caught up in the moment ourselves. Be gentle and kind to yourself. It’s hard to step back and just take it in before reacting.

Stop, breathe, forgive and be kind

I’m not judging. I’ve gotten angry, been judgemental and reacted poorly and/or aggressively many times throughout my life. In fact, I’m kind of notorious for it in my family and I’m a little embarrassed by my quick temper. I’ve always had this sense of justice that demands that I let people know that they’ve wronged me. Maybe it’s naiveté or maybe I just have to have the last word, I’m not sure anymore but, with age comes wisdom (or so I’d like to think) and my perspective has altered since having kids and again, more recently, once I started to forgive myself. It is now infinitely easier to forgive others.

READ ALSO: You’ve got to Do Right Woman

For years, I have been giving people’s bad behavior the benefit of the doubt. I gave birth and then suddenly, I shifted from “must chase this person who cut me off and almost killed me” to “maybe they have diarrhea”, “Maybe they’re on their way to the hospital”, “maybe they’re late for their wedding.” You can call it making excuses for people, and maybe I am, but I feel like it’s looking for the good in people. I don’t want to believe that all people are jerks. I think, mostly, people are good. Well, except for the racists, misogynists, bigots and homophobes, they need God. But other than that, I think most people want to make good choices.

You can choose to live with gratitude and kindness

You guys, my readers, my followers, my friends, you have made me a better person. Many times you have soothed my hurting heart, shared in my celebrations, loved my children, encouraged and supported our family on our journey from the beginning. You’ve been with me every step of the way on my health journey, my pregnancy loss and all the ups and downs that life has thrown my way over the past decade. I see you. I appreciate you and you’ve renewed my faith in humankind. You’ve opened my eyes and shown me alternate perspectives. You’ve given me hope when I thought there was none. Thank you. And yesterday, you held me in your optimism one more time.

READ ALSO: How I Reversed My Type 2 Diabetes

Yesterday, many of you commented on a post that I had on social media about how I’ve worked really hard to reverse a terrifying diagnosis. I didn’t share it to brag. I shared it to let others know that there is hope. There is a way and if I can do it, so can you. I was proud of the work and the results. You did not fail to once again lift me up. I felt it. The support and encouragement were humbling but you wrapped me in it like a warm, cozy blanket and lifted my heart to a place of impenetrable gratitude. That’s a beautiful place to be in the world.

After a walk where I nearly wept at the beauty all around me (I told you it was a day of gratitude), I could feel life’s blessings falling all around me. I literally walked counting blessings and praying for everyone I know. I like to pray using people’s names. I want blessings for everyone. Anyways, after my walk and a day of exhaling after months of holding my breath, I drove to pick Bella up from school for a doctor’s appointment. A typical day in the neighborhood over here.

Consideration and respect is a small kindness that we can all offer

I was in a great mood. I had a hilarious texting mishap with my sister-in-law and we were both laughing. I was whole body laughing. Serotonin was everywhere. It was glorious. There I was in the pick-up line at school, singing my heart out to The Spirit of Christmas by Ray Charles (you know from that scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation where Clark Griswold is sitting up in the attic watching old home videos? Yep, gets me in the feels every damn time) when suddenly but what at my door did appear? A very angry woman.

READ ALSO: Permission to be Ourselves

A mom behind me in the pick-up line had, literally, jumped out of her car, ran up to my window and proceeded to beat on my car window while I was lowering it to see what she wanted. She looked so angry. I met her irrationality with calm. She was yelling and her hands were flying around (I’m not talking shit, I am a proud Mexican hand talker), she was clearly angry but I couldn’t understand what I did to warrant such a reaction.

As she screamed at me that I needed to move because I was “holding up the entire pick-up line” (clearly she doesn’t understand how the front of the pick-up line works. We were all waiting), she screamed, “Do you understand that you are holding up the line?” Then I was completely confused because in pick-up line (especially at the beginning when school is letting out) everyone is holding up the line at one point or another. I could see that whatever was really bothering her clearly went way beyond me and where I was parked. So, I calmly (completely out of character for me) said, “I’m also waiting to pick up my daughter who has a doctor’s appointment now. She’s coming out in a few seconds.”

Choosing kindness is not always easy

She continued to scream that I was blocking her and I began to worry that maybe she had a bleeding body in the back of her SUV that needed to get to the ER. She was so urgent. Her arms were flailing and her face was red and I saw that this woman needed the win of me moving more than I needed to rationalize any of this or win the argument. I quietly and calmly let her finish her say and I said, “OK, I’ll move.” She responded with annoyance. I think she wanted me to be as upset as her but I just wasn’t. I wouldn’t allow myself to be. Then I chuckled because another text from my sister-in-law popped up and I thought this poor woman’s head was going to explode. I wished her a blessed day. I meant it.

READ ALSO: Do you suffer from “other shoe” syndrome?

No joke, I prayed for her. I hope her day got better. I don’t know what was going on in her life yesterday but it must have been massive. It must have felt overwhelming and for that I’m sorry for her. I wish I could make it all better.

I moved my car. I ended up at the front of the line. Everybody saw what had just transpired, no one gave me any issues for pulling right up to the front door as my daughter walked out. Bella got in the car, I gave her a smile and a kiss hello and we went on our way to the doctor. Meanwhile, that same very angry woman was still waiting for her daughter, behind someone else. I didn’t see anything on the news about her yanking anyone from their car and beating them, so I’m assuming everything turned out ok.

We don’t always know what others are going through

I’m telling you this not to make fun of this woman or to marginalize her suffering, whatever it may be, but to remind you to not give others space in your heart, mind and soul. Like most people these days, I have a lot on my plate and I simply don’t have that much space to give. In fact, I’m trying to do a deep purge of my life to eliminate negative things and people who are taking up too much space already. I’m all for saving space in my life for loved ones but life’s too short to let strangers or even toxic friends and family take up valuable space in my heart with negativity and hurt.

READ ALSO: How Grinch almost stole Mommy

All this to say, especially as a reminder this holiday season, we cannot choose how people behave and we do not know the circumstance in which others are existing (life can be hard for so many reasons) but we can control how we move through the world and how we react to other people’s actions. Be kind to everyone. It’s free and requires minimum effort. A random smile or a kind gesture can go a long way to quell someone having a bad day but also, it’s not your responsibility to worry about the entire world. Be patient and tolerant but be mindful and forgiving of others and yourself. If none of that works, walk away. You’ve done your best.

Most importantly, be joyful and grateful in all that you do and your heart will be full and your load will be lighter.

Thank you for reminding me of the power of people with your interactions and remember, you never know what someone else is going through. It could be the worst day of their life. So next time someone flips you off, cuts you off or mumbles something mean under their breath, just smile and move along because you can’t change their bad behavior (you have no control, you are not the boss of them) but maybe your kindness can knock them off guard just enough to snap them out of whatever is worrying, scaring or angering them. Go forward and be blessed.

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Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will, envy, pushing past fear, being your best self

On the wall in my office, these words, “Doubt Kills More Dreams than Failure Ever Will,” are posted as a reminder. A reminder to not compare myself to others but to work my tail off to be my best self. I want to do better and be better as a human being; as a wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter and writer. First thing’s first, stay in my own lane and don’t even look to the other lanes.

Let’s talk about envy and competition. I hate both because it involves comparing myself against others which is unfair because we’re not the same. Competition takes life and turns it into an unending race rather than the journey that it’s meant to be. It’s exhausting and seldom enjoyable. It’s not the road I want to take.

READ ALSO: A Life that’s Good

How can we enjoy life when we’re constantly measuring ourselves against someone else. How can we compare our worst day to their best and ever feel like we’ve succeeded? How can we even have authentic relationships if comparison enters the picture? My whole life I’ve been pushing comparison to others to the side and trying to ignore it but still, it remains like a soft whisper reminding me of ways that I’m falling short.

I’ll be 1000% honest with you, I struggle with not using others as a measuring stick of my own success. It’s hard because I’m always striving for perfection and that doesn’t even exist so not only am I running this constant race but the finish line keeps moving. Did I mention that I hate running?

Envy steals rational thought

I have the privilege of surrounding myself with hardworking, overachievers and I’m so happy and proud of them. Their hard work is paying off. But sometimes, I find myself asking, “Why not me?” I know it’s petty and childish but it’s not something I deliberately do. I’m genuinely happy for their success and at the same time disappointed in myself. There I go comparing myself to them.

I don’t think any of this is luck. They are not lucky. In fact, if we’re being really honest with ourselves, we know why “other people” are living their best lives and seemingly always succeeding. They are tirelessly working to achieve their goals, they are pushing past the fears to make their dreams a reality and they are sacrificing. There is no such thing as luck, it’s hard work.

Maybe I’m succeeding by someone else’s standards but by my own, I’m treading water. I take full responsibility for this situation. I’m dead afraid of failure. I want to succeed but sometimes I’m so afraid of being exposed as an imposter that it’s easier to hide behind the status quo. I’m a control freak so when I fail the onus is directly on me.

READ ALSO: Words Matter

I try to do everything myself. I have issues trusting others to complete tasks and I always find it easier in the short run to only depend on myself and that’s also a part of why I can’t achieve what I want to. No woman is an island. We all have different strengths. We need each other to succeed. I need to let go. I’m working on that. I’m trying to ask for help when I need it without worrying that I’ll be outed as an imposter.

When I find myself envying my friends, my brain says don’t compare yourself to others but something small inside me feels less than for a moment. I feel like I’ve failed myself. Worse, I feel like I’m not good enough because if I were I’d be the one getting chosen. Then, rational thought kicks in and I remember to stay in my lane. It’s a process.

Success is relative. If I were basing my success on my relationship with my girls and the Big Guy, I’m winning. If I’m basing it on my Instagram, I’m failing. If I’m basing it on my opportunities, it depends on the day of the week.

READ ALSO: Other Shoe Syndrome

For now, I’m trying to follow my own advice and remember that I’m not you and you’re not me. Our definition of success is probably different, as are our priorities. I’m trying to learn to measure myself only against who I was yesterday compared to who I want to be tomorrow. I want to be the best me that I can be and I really am happy for you, even if for 1 split second I wonder why not me.

Do you ever struggle with feeling like an imposter? Do you ever experience envy? Do you ever find yourself asking, “Why not me?” You are not alone, we all have those moments. We’re only human. They key is not to dwell there. Don’t live there. You are better than that and so am I.

How do you move past your envy and remind yourself that doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will?

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new year, new perspective, gratitude, rejoice, positivity, happiness

It’s January 2, 2019 and I am finally physically (and mentally) released from restrictions. New Year + New Perspective + gratitude = Happiness! This is what I’m living by these days. My word of year for 2019 is positivity and I want it sprinkled all over my world like confetti.

My priorities are myself, my family, good friends, my health and pursuing my passion in a way that allows me to stay open to all opportunities. I want to be the best me there is. I want to grow deeper in my faith and stiller in my soul. If you’re ready to invest into making changes and personal improvements to your life with the help of life coaching, visit www.hellomanpreet.com for free consultation.

“I refuse to waste another new year with an old mind. I will rejoice.”

This is my mantra. This year, as the end of 2018 approached, I wasn’t disgusted by 2018. I wasn’t waiting for 2019 to start anew. I had a peaceful feeling wash over me sometime between the time I had my hysterectomy and Christmas where I just started feeling better, more positive. I think I finally hit my rock bottom and just let it all go.

READ ALSO: Resolving to Incite a Revolution

It was weird because I’ve been feeling pretty negative since I broke my leg in 2015. If were being completely honest, I haven’t felt myself since my miscarriage in 2012. I’ve been surviving, making it just in time to put out each next fire. Trying to fake it until I make it but I never really felt like I was going to be myself again. I just kept thinking of that old adage that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I took comfort that someday, I would be stronger.

But after what seemed like forever of feeling like I was hidden from the sunshine under my own personal cloud of despair, suddenly, I felt elated. I felt hopeful in the realest way that I have in years. I felt positive. Positive that my situation was not unsurmountable. That through determination and purposeful intentions, I.Can.Do.Anything. More importantly, I could be fully happy without remorse, pain or guilt.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t sitting around giving up. I kept fighting to come back to myself from all the things that were holding me back and pulling me down. I never gave up on myself because I’ve hit rock bottom before and I know that you can come back to a world of beauty and blessing and I know that my life is full of blessings; the Big Guy, my girls, my parents, my siblings, my friends, my health, my career and my opportunities. Things may not be where I want them to be but they could be much worse.

I needed new perspective to overcome the situation. Mentally, I knew that none of these situations were unsurmountable but spiritually, I felt deflated and weak. I knew that I needed to see things from another side to appreciate what I have. But how do you get a new perspective from the bottom of the same hole that you’ve been living in for the past 6 years. The hole that you’ve desperately been trying to pull yourself out of, so much so that your arms are too weak to any longer pull you up but you aren’t ready to give up? That is the question. I didn’t have an answer and then my salvation came from an unexpected place, as it always has for me.

In came in the form of a letter, from my priest reminding me that I needed to attend mass more regularly. It came in the form of a gynecologist who kept her sense of humor when I was desperate for answers. It came in the form of my parents showing up to take care of me when I had my surgery. It came in the form of a friend online who checks on me weekly to make sure that I’m ok and another who sent my family food when I was unable to cook. It came in the form of a husband who never complained when he had to pick up all the slack and always put my health above his sheer exhaustion.

READ ALSO: Best Tech to Help you Get Healthy in the New Year

It came in the form of my daughters making me laugh and talking to me about everything happening in their lives. It came in random hugs, kisses and smiles. It came from a friend online who inspired me with her beginning and her results. It came in the form of a mother-in-law who let me know she always had my back. It came in the form of our dog who sat by my side the whole time I recovered. It came in the form of fresh air and twinkling lights. It came in the form of late night talks with my sister in law, the smiles of my nieces and nephews and my family dancing in the kitchen for no reason at all. It came in the form of more love being bestowed upon me than I thought I deserved.

It came in the form of one editor telling me how important my words were and another giving me a job when I needed it most. It came in the form of a tattoo that helped me process my grief; to let go of the sadness and replace it with peace. It came in the form of driving the entire break to see family and finally on th last day of 2018, driving a couple hours to meet with a couple of my closest friends and talking…letting it all out. These small things, hundreds of what may seem like inconsequential things, filled my soul, gave me a life buoy when I was drowning and gave me the new perspective I needed to push through the misery and into the light.

I’m a work in progress. This is just the beginning. Or maybe it’s the middle because when I think of it, this shift in perspective started when I got my memorial tattoo in November 2017. I’m not sure what the future holds for me, this may all be some foray back into mania, though I hope not. For now, I am being purposeful with my intentions. I am choosing my path instead of running down the dark alley of someone else’s expectations.

Last month, I wrote a list of things that I want to accomplish personally and professionally this year. I’m working on putting my intentions and goals out into the universe, I’m taking action and I’m willfully remaining positive. I’m staying open to all opportunities and saying yes. I’m turning my struggles into fuel that feeds my soul. I am a survivor.

READ ALSO: Firework

Today, I was finally released from physical restrictions and I feel like I can breathe again. I’m moving. I am prioritizing myself. I am not allowing myself to be distracted by things that don’t better me. I am leaving behind people who are toxic to my soul and embracing those who empower and inspire me. Today, I start my journey to becoming more healthy, self aware and not letting fear stand in the way of my dreams.

I’ve been listening to this song “Rejoice” for inspiration and reflective introspection. Maybe it will inspire you to follow your bliss too because we are good enough. We deserve all the blessings and we can make all of our dreams come true.

What inspires you? Are you embracing  New Year + New Perspective + Gratitude + Positivity = Happiness ? If so how?

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Ever wonder how to catch a ghost in a photo? I know some people do. People want proof of the supernatural. I’ve seen some really cool ones of shadowy figures,  legless confederate soldiers floating in a field and orbs but never anything like the one I caught in my photo of my toddler.

It seems like everyone these days have been touched by the supernatural. We live in a world where people enjoy having the piss scared out of them but ghost stories have never much scared me. Zombies are laughable, Vampires are a sexy fetish and werewolves are just big hairy dogs with bad attitudes.

Ghosts are snapshots of the past caught in a loop. Someone dies so suddenly that they don’t realize it and they get stuck but I don’t bother them and they don’t care about me. I know some people would quickly consult some psychics about what to do if they believe there’s a supernatural presence in their homes.

It’s the same way I think about aliens; maybe they’re out there but I don’t care. I’m not afraid. Life’s too short. I have real living breathing people problems to fixate on like Trump or crazed mass shooters. Who has time to look for ghosts?

I myself am a longtime lover of the horror genre. I watched my first horror movie in the theater when I was 7-years-old. My aunt and Uncle took my 5-year-old brother and I to see it with them. It was a baby swap. They swapped their newborn for the two of us. From then on, I got all my horror books and movies from my 16-year-old aunt. I loved it.

Not only did I watch the Exorcist when I was a kid, I even read the book. I devoured Stephen King. I watched every horror movie I could. They didn’t scare me so much as they intrigued me, with the exception of the Exorcist.

I’m Catholic, I was raised to believe in that shit so that one still scares me. The rest of it, it thrills me but no fear here. Hell, I may have even wished and tried to have telekinesis as a child, like Carrie. I’d totally endure pig blood prom to be able to move shit with my mind. But normally, I don’t believe in what’s not real. However, I may have been made into a believer at my last house.

Now, let me preface this by saying that our house was a new build. I’m leery about old houses because…hello, someone has definitely died in almost every old house. It’s inevitable. But this was a new build. Apparently, I clearly forgot about the Poltergeist loophole. Obviously, having children left me vulnerable and not on my haunted game.

When we lived in that house, the girls were really small. We bought the house when Bella was 5 months old; Gabi was born while we lived there. We live there until Bella was 6.

From the time we moved in, we had lights flicker and our ceiling fan light would come on by itself in the middle of the night. In our previous house (also a new build) stereos and lights would come on in the middle of the night too. The Big Guy always rational would make it all make sense to my superstitious mind.

I was exhausted from babies and the Big Guy would tell me that it was just probably some neighbor who had the same remote and it flipped our lights on. It never dawned on me to question why the hell the neighbor was waking up at 3 a.m. flipping on all the damn lights. I’d snuggle back into my co-sleeping baby and forget about it.

When the girls were about 2 and 4-years-old, the Big Guy had to go live in another state to work so that left me alone with the girls. No coincidence, this is also when I started my blog.

I’d stay up late at night writing and I’d always turn to the hallway where our bedrooms were because I kept catching glimpses of a little girl standing in the hall. I thought it was my girls. And every time, I would walk to the hallway and then enter the bedrooms and my girls were sleeping. They were never in the hallway. NEVER.

I remember having 2 am writing sessions where all the hair would stand up on my neck and I’d get the chills. I just assumed that my body was boycotting my insomniac self. You know how that happens sometimes. Your body gives you a big F you because it needs sleep.

Then there was the time my brothers and the Big Guy were in our media room in the basement late one-night playing video games. When it came time to shut it all down and all the lights were off, all 3 of them saw a red light moving around the room. There was no source. They checked. Again, the Big Guy reasoned it away. My little brother would never spend the night at my house after that.

When Gabs was old enough to stand, we’d catch her in her room sometimes standing in her crib jibber jabbing to the corner. Looking directly up into the corner like someone was there. It creeped me out, a lot but nothing really had happened. Maybe I was just being my usual superstitious Latina self. So, I crossed myself and pretended it wasn’t happening and it was all in my mind.

I’d bring it up to the Big Guy but every single time, his rational engineering mind would say it wasn’t so. In retrospect, I think he was just trying to stop me from becoming all out, balls to the wall drama queen hysterical.

Then after about a year of this happening, one day Gabs comes running into the living room and tells me, “Mommy, Bella just told me…..” and I looked at her and said, “Gabs, Bella’s not here. Remember, Bella is at Kindergarten?”

She looked at me dead serious and said, “No, mommy. I was just playing with her in my room.”

There.was.no.one.in.the.room. I don’t know who the hell she was playing with, but it wasn’t my 5-year-old who was not in the building.

That one freaked me out. Still, nothing tangible. Maybe a toddler with an overactive imagination. That’s good, right?

My husband was still living out of state 5-6 days a week. I was still alone. I had two little girls. I didn’t have time to be ghostbusting or looking for shit that wasn’t there. Plus, I believe that ghosts are snapshots. I’m not scared of some poor sucker that died so suddenly that they don’t realize that they’re gone and they can’t move on. I feel sorry for them. They don’t bother me. I don’t bother me. In case you were wondering about my policy on such things.

However, Exorcist scared the shit out of me. I still haven’t been able to watch The Conjuring again since the first time, when I couldn’t sleep for 2 weeks.

Then, one day my sweet toddler who was between 2-3 years old walked up to me while I was sitting in my kitchen chair. She was tiny, so I shot the photo at a down angle. No one else was in the room with us (that we could see).

When I saw the photo, a photo that she has still not seen and probably never will, I literally almost passed out. I legit freaked out like nothing before. My first instinct was that OMG, my husband was in an accident and died or something and this was his spirit…on a loop.

I frantically called my husband, in another state, but no answer which only intensified my belief that something terrible had happened to him. 5 hours later when I finally reached him ( he had been in meetings all day) I sent him the picture, to which he replied, “Gabs looks adorable!”

To which I responded, “Look next to her at.the.disembodied.head!!!!!!!”

Luckily, he was on his way home. I didn’t know what to do. You know that instinct you have set the house on fire and burn it down when you find a monster spider? Well, times that times a million and that’s how I felt. I felt invaded and vulnerable and scared. Was it trying to make contact? Had it already made contact with my baby? Was that who she was talking to?

And then, I learned to live with it. Many people have asked me why didn’t you leave the house. My answer is this, because I couldn’t. My husband lived in a tiny apartment in Iowa at a contracted job. The kids had school and commitments. I had commitments. We had friends and a life. I couldn’t let it all be toppled by a head that photobombed my baby. Right?

It was always in the back of my head. I got used to knowing that something that I couldn’t see but could feel was there. All those “probably nothing” moments became something but I had to choose to not live my life afraid. I had to put my money where my mouth was and not be afraid of ghosts.

I still don’t know who or what was in my house. I never tried to make contact. I’ve watched enough horror movies in my life to know better than to open a gateway of communication. It never bothered us, other than lights coming on and photobombing us this once.

I also stopped watching all of those paranormal investigation shows because, honestly, activity seemed to pick up around Halloween when we’d watch those shows. Maybe it was a coincidence but the first time the radio came on by itself blaring at 3 a.m., it was Halloween night.

We lived there for 2 more years, just me, the girls and our ghost. Yep, I was scared. Nope, I didn’t sleep but we survived. And hell yeah, capturing a ghost in a picture is a lot scarier and a lot less cool than one might think, especially when it is in your own house.

What would you have done if you snapped that photo in your house? Have you ever had a similar situation? What did you do? Please don’t share your opinion that spirits can attach to people, I’m trying to ignore the sound of someone walking around upstairs. I choose to believe it’s my old house settling.

 

P.S. If you know my Gabs, never speak of this photo to her. She doesn’t know it exists and it would probably freak her out.

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grief,loss, parenting, miscarriage

Five years ago this morning, I broke the news of my miscarriage to you in a blog post, as I was undergoing my D & E. It was the only way that I could process any of it. It was the only way that I could carry on and your support meant everything to me but every day since, I’ve had to live alone with that loss like we all do. Try to make sense of something so senseless.

Recently, I did something that surprised even me. I shouldn’t have looked. Until, I saw it, in person, in the flesh, it wasn’t “real”. It was just this terrible thing that happened to me five years ago. It was the bill I paid for what is referred to by the medical billing department as a “missed abortion”. It was a child I will never hold. It is the faint whisper of sadness that lingers forever and leaves me melancholy just around the edges. It wasn’t real in the way that you could see it with your own eyes.

But I’ve seen it now and I can’t unsee it.

Last month, we took the girls to Chicago for Spring break. It’s my hometown and the girls have been many times but they’ve never done the touristy things so we took them to some museums and the zoo. It was a fantastic trip.

Then, I saw something that I’ve seen before but with fresh eyes and a heart that’s survived a miscarriage.

As we entered the exhibit, one I’d seen before, I suddenly felt anxious. Like I needed to know. I was borderline obsessive and I couldn’t control myself. No one noticed what I was doing but I think the Big Guy caught a glimpse of the desperation in my eyes as I walked up to the dial upon entering the Your Beginning exhibit and turned it to the first trimester; I wanted to pinpoint specifically the 4th day of the 11th week. What could he do?

grief, loss, anniversary, parenting, miscarriage

 

The exhibit was different than before. It was completely in black, darkness was everywhere and only the fetuses were lit up as if my very soul had put this exhibit together. It is somber. I tried not to do it. You’re not supposed to do it. You’re supposed to carry on. Push it down and pretend it never happened. You’re supposed to move on. Go on living as if your entire life is not tinged by the hole in your heart. 

I didn’t want to make a spectacle with my mom, my sister, my daughters and my husband there. I didn’t want to go down that rabbit hole of grief facing anger and sadness head on but I had to know, so I turned the dial.

Such a little thing and to anyone who didn’t know or even just wasn’t paying attention, this was naturally inquisitive behavior. Only I never twisted the dial to progress to the second trimester. Instead, I left it frozen in time, suspended in disbelief, as is my daily existence since that day 5 years ago.

I try not to overthink it or linger too long in my loss. The emotional time bombs are less and less frequent but I remember every single day. I have two children but I am the mother of three but most people don’t know that.

It’s not like I wear a t-shirt that says so. It’s not like I’m marked in any way but on the inside, I am scarred. I don’t howl like an injured animal as I did on that day or fall apart anymore; so silently I continue on, remembering but not making too big of a deal about it.

Pregnancy loss is so common that some people believe it’s almost normal. I could never subscribe to that way of thinking because for me it was profound. For me, losing my pregnancy changed me forever. But still, after a while, it feels like it happened to someone else and you learn to live with it. It feels like a wound that’s healed and the scar has faded and you hide it beneath your clothes so no one has to look at it or think about it or feel sorry for you ever again.

grief, loss, parenting, miscarriage, anniversary

But you want to feel it. The pain makes it real. It reminds you that it happened. The pain is the only thing that proves your baby was here at all. So, I looked and now, I can never forget.

The scarred wound of my miscarriage has been ripped wide open.

On the morning of my D & E, I frantically demanded that they perform another ultrasound. In complete desperation, I refused surgery without one more ultrasound. I was desperate for rescue. I needed this to all be a mistake. I needed my baby to be alive.

But when they did the ultrasound, there in black and white, the perfect baby with absolutely no heartbeat. He looked like he was sleeping. Like a little astronaut exploring the space of my uterus and that was the last thing I saw before my heart shattered into a million tiny pieces. I broke, just before they wheeled me into the operating room and I’ve detached myself as much as I can since.

My heart still aches but it’s in survival mode. But on that day in April at the Museum of Science and Industry, I purposefully opened my wound. The pain makes me feel closer to my baby. I walked into the exhibit and I slowly made my way to the 11 wks. Fetus. Yes, the exhibit has fetuses from conception until 40 weeks in formaldehyde. Then, I saw it, the closest thing to my reality; 11-weks and 4 days and 11-weeks and 6-days.

grief, loss, parenting, miscarriage, anniversary

I felt the wind get knocked out of me as it has been almost every time I think of what will never be. My eyes began to go blurry and the room began to spin. It was hard to breathe. There it was; bigger than I’d thought; a fully formed person; with 10- fingers and 10-toes and ears and a tiny little mouth and eyes. It wasn’t a “pregnancy” that I lost, it was a person.

grief, loss, parenting, miscarriage, anniversary

 

I wanted to run away and howl, like I did in my car on that day 5 years ago. But I was frozen and trying to digest the truth. I couldn’t speak. I only lingered. Truthfully, part of me never wanted to leave because it was like seeing my baby for the first time. I know it wasn’t my baby but it was what my baby would have looked like could I have seen him; touched him; held him in my arms.

My miscarriage robbed me of all of that.

No one said a word. I was like thin glass in an earthquake and it was taking everything inside me to not collapse and sob like a baby on the floor. My legs were shaky. I could feel myself getting wobbly. It hurt reopening that wound but it was something I needed to do. In some small way, it gave me closure just knowing/seeing what was. It made him real and less than a memory cloaked in sadness and emptiness.

On this day, I forgive myself and give myself over to the grief. I get no birthdays to celebrate with my third baby but I will never forget he existed, if only briefly. Every year on the 1st of May, for the rest of my life, I will be alone with my grief and allow myself to remember the worst day of my life because it’s the only tangible memory I have of my third child.

Today, I am frail and vulnerable and my heart is heavy because my arms are empty and my house is filled with the laughter of one less than it is supposed to be and I can never forget any of that.

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fat, weight loss, change, women's health, on being fat, obesity

Being fat is not what I wanted to be. Admitting that I am fat is even harder. I hate saying those words. For me, it’s admitting defeat. As if somehow writing it down and posting it makes it real.

I have eyes. I can plainly see that I’m overweight. I have been for years and all the pulling and tugging at my clothes will not change that. Most days I feel like I’m wearing a suit of shame like my weight is some sort of punishment.

Being fat is hard.

It’s even harder being out of shape. I’ve decided to start working out again. These days working on my abs feels like working out while being 9-months pregnant because I am so out of shape and my stomach is so massive. When I sit down, my stomach literally touches my lap. It disgusts me. When did this happen?

I wish I were one of those women who didn’t care what size her clothes were, what her body looked like in clothes or what people thought of her looks. It’s weird because while I couldn’t care less what people think of my opinions or beliefs or me as a person, I have always been consumed by what people might think of what I look like, more specifically my body. Believe me, I’ve tried to change my way of thinking but still, I feel like being fat is my biggest and most embarrassing failure in life.

I’ve been binge watching TLC shows about being overweight; My 600 lb. life and My Big Fat Fabulous Life. I find myself baffled that people have let themselves get that overweight. Then afraid it could happen to me. Unfortunately, I cannot relate to finding fabulousness in being overweight at all but I am glad others can love their bodies at all sizes.

I used to restrict calories and work out to the extreme. I used to be good at it; too good at it. I was masterful at the art of willpower and self-control, where eating was concerned. The rest of the world could be spinning out of control but I held tight the reins on my food intake. My entire world could be off the hook but my stomach was always tight. When people told me that I looked “sick”, it made me happy because I felt like I was doing something right.

Food is an addiction, worse than any other because while if you are an alcoholic or a drug addict you can choose not to partake. You can quit drugs and you can quit alcohol. It’s f*cking hard but you can do it. You can’t quit food. Well, you can, but you will die. I know, I’ve tried and was pretty successful and unfortunately, being too thin because you are obsessed with your weight and food intake is just as terrible as being too fat because you are eating too much. Being too skinny is just as unhealthy as being too fat. I know because I’ve been both.

My food issues started around the time I turned 7, at least that’s when the photos show that I gained weight. I wasn’t overweight at all but I wasn’t rail thin anymore. I’d love to be able to tell you what triggered it but I can’t because, honestly, I can’t remember most of what happened the years of my life between the summer I turned 7 and sophomore year in high school. It’s all a blur. I just remember wanting to fade into the background.

My dad was an abusive alcoholic who was always angry and my mom shut down to survive. I felt abandoned and the only attention I got was unwanted so I wanted to be invisible and somewhere along the way, I did that because everyone knows the quickest way to not be seen is to become overweight so I hid there, unnoticed. People stare at beautiful things but no one wants to make eye contact with the ugly of the world.

Being fat was my way to disappear.

fat, weight loss, change, women's health, being fat, obesity

I’m realizing that somewhere in that haze is the answer to the question of why I have always battled my own self-image and why I have such a problem accepting the skin I live in. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been at war with my body, my health. Always beating it into submission or ignoring it all together. When I write it down, it looks like a metaphor for my childhood. Maybe that’s the entire issue.

But how do I stop? How do I learn to love my body, myself, unconditionally when I never felt that as a child? It always felt conditional. I feel like by having my own daughters and loving them so fiercely and unconditionally, I’m slowly learning that everyone deserves that kind of love and acceptance…even me.

Even if you haven’t experienced being fat, how do you learn to love something that you’ve spent your entire life wishing you could change?

02172015

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