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Confessions

night before graduation, senior year, Bella, high school graduation

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

OMG, I’m having all the feels. It’s the night before graduation and suddenly, I’m freaking the fuck out. How did it all go so fast. It feels like just yesterday I was reading that damn book The Night before Kindergarten. Where did the time go?

Am I really supposed to start letting her go? Already? I can’t. No, I won’t. I refuse.

Okay, I will but I don’t want to. I love this kid more than everything else in the world. Like take everything else but let me keep these girls. Oh, shit! Is this grief? Am I bargaining?

Wait. What? Who am I? Where am I? I don’t think I can do this. It hurts too much.

Wait? Is this labor? Am I in fucking labor? I know I can’t stop it. But I want off this runaway train. Okay, just slow down. Tomorrow.is.graduation.

TOMORROW.IS.GRADUATION!!!!!

This is not a fucking drill. My baby is graduating from high school and I.AM.NOT.OKAY! I won’t even pretend to be.

I’m freaking out. It’s like the universe is trying to steal my baby and human traffic her.

NO. Stop. I fucking refuse.

Fuck you, time. You cruel, unrelenting bitch.

Not my baby. Not today, Satan.

Oh God. I have to let her go. I have no choice. She is mine but she is her own. I raised her for this very moment.

Raised her to be strong, fierce, and independent.

I raised her to be confident and believe she can do all the things.

Yes, I raised her for the graduation of life from being my child to her own person.

I raised her to leave me.

Now, I have to let her.

Oh, but I don’t want to.

Yes, I am fully aware that I sound ridiculous and like a petulant child but I give no fucks. I don’t want to let her go. 

It all started with that damn kindergarten.

night before graduation, senior year, Bella, high school graduation

It went too fast.

I wasn’t counting the years because I was fully immersed in the moments.

love letter to my teen daughter, Bella, teen birthday

From the moment you were born, you filled me with so much love that I laughed and I cried simultaneously. I’d never experienced loving anyone as much as I did you in that moment.

Mother, mother's day,Johnsons and johnsons

I’ve spent the last 18-years of my life putting out fires and kissing booboos.

I was swaying and rocking. Meanwhile, holding tiny hands and filling my lap, saying I love you to the moon and back as many times a day as I could. I wanted to make sure it stuck.

Now, it’s the night before graduation and I’m not ready.

night before graduation, senior year, Bella, high school graduation

On other days, I was too exhausted to think and just tried to survive the day.  But I was happy. For 18 years, even when I’ve been sad, exhausted or overwhelmed, my heart has been full because of you and your sister. 

love letter to my teen daughter, Bella, teen birthday

When the world made no sense, you were my why. When life was too hard, you were my reason. You are my hope for the future. Your graduation just puts a fine point on it all.

night before graduation, senior year, Bella, high school graduation

I spent years holding you as you drifted off to sleep to the sound of my voice reading Mrs. McNosh does the Wash over and over again in silly voices. I’ve probably read it a million times, however, I’d read it a million more. I was always happy to do it just to hear your sweet, tiny giggle.

love letter to my teen daughter, Bella, teen birthday

I didn’t see the years for the moments.

night before graduation, senior year, Bella, high school graduation

Years spent driving you to ballet, gymnastics, or cheer but worth it to look in the rearview mirror and see you and your sister smiling. It was worth to see the look on your face when performed or got fitted for your first pointe shoes. It was worth it to see your months of practice pay off when you danced the Nutcracker.

raising girls, to the moon and back, ballet, nutcracker

I sat for hours in pick up lines and bleachers; watching you cheer, watching you sing, watching you play the violin, watching you dance and play soccer.

night before graduation, senior year, Bella, high school graduation

I.was.watching.you.

Always in awe and always with my chest puffed out and my heart overflowing with more love and pride than one body can contain. I wish that you could see you through my eyes.

night before graduation, senior year, Bella, high school graduation

I was watching you become you and I didn’t even know it.

Yes, I cried a lot. I cried and laughed when you were born because I couldn’t believe that I created such a perfect, tiny human.

I’ve cried from exhaustion when you wouldn’t sleep on those first nights home and kept cluster feeding.

I cried from guilt (more times than I can count) the day the doctor pricked your 3-day old foot to draw blood because you were jaundiced. I blamed myself.

I’ve wept so many tears of pride because of you. You are amazing and I am in awe of everything you do. I am obsessed with you and I’m not ashamed to say it.

I can’t wait to see what you do with this big, beautiful life you have ahead of you.

I’ve cried so many tears that you will never know about for so many reasons throughout your life and every single one of those tears was because I love you so damn deeply. Deeper than I knew was even possible.

night before graduation, senior year, Bella, high school graduation

You are the best thing I ever did, watching you grow up has been my biggest privilege and letting you go is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

I know you’re not running away tomorrow.However, I know, technically, nothing will change except that you will walk across the stage in your cap and gown and get your diploma. But, I know.

night before graduation, senior year, Bella, high school graduation

Despite my outward excitement, I know what happens next.

Tomorrow is the milestone that marks the beginning of the end of who you were and the start of who you will become.

I know tomorrow’s graduation marks the next phase of your life.

night before graduation, senior year, Bella, high school graduation

Tomorrow, I will be clapping louder and cheering harder than anyone else for you, just like always. I won’t be able to contain my pride.

But I’ll also probably be laughing and crying at the same time, just like I did the moment they laid you on my chest at 4:51 P.M. on the day that you were born.  The day I became a mom.

Don’t mind me, I’m just loving you harder as I begin to let you go. I’ll be missing you before you ever leave because…

I.KNOW.WHAT.COMES.NEXT.

It will be hard for me. It’ll probably be excruciating. You know that letting go is not my forte.

But you also know that I am so fucking proud of you. So proud of who you have always been. Proud of who you are today, who you will be tomorrow, and who you are becoming. I always will be.

Even though this is the time when I have to let you go a little, I will always be right here where you left me. I’ll always be your mom, your biggest fan and your best friend.

Love you to the moon and back, forever and ever.

Congratulations, baby girl. You’re altogether more amazing than I could’ve ever imagined. Certainly, cooler than I ever was. You’ve got this and I’ve got you.

night before graduation, senior year, Bella, high school graduation

Congratulations, Izabella and all of the class of 2023.

Hugs to all the class of 2023 mamas. I know it fucking hurts especially, since we raised them for this moment. You did great mamas. We’ve got this.

Now, where’s my box of Kleenex and waterproof mascara?

How are you surviving the night before graduation?

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letting go, breaking free in 2023

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Letting go and breaking free sounds like I’m jail breaking from my life but that’s not it at all. It’s more like I’ve made the conscious decision to give myself permission to live my authentic truth, regardless of anyone else’s thoughts, expectations or opinions. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been one to place my value in other people’s hands but I’m human and, on some level, like everyone else, I want to be celebrated for being me. Thus far, my only measure of me has been the world around me. That stops now.

Now, the only measure of me is me and the only person whose opinion counts on how I’m showing up for me is me. It’s finally clicked that caring what other people, more precisely strangers, think of me is absolutely ridiculous almost to the point of insanity. Aside from the Big Guy and my girls, I obviously want to be a good role model for them. But mostly, I just want to be seen…really seen and that starts by me showing up for me; listening to my own wants and needs. For the first time in a really long time (or maybe ever) treating myself with the unconditional love, respect, patience, forgiveness and tenderness that I give to the people I love.

This year, I’m not doing resolutions. I’m changing perspective and taking accountability. No more waiting for the universe to show up. It’s been there all along. I just wanted to be rescued. It’s time to save myself.  I’ve decided that this is the year that I am letting go.

Honestly, I’m kind of being forced to let go on one level. Bella is graduating from high school and time is running out. While there is no expiration date on motherhood, it is always evolving and tomorrow will never be the same as today. Bella may not be going to magically disappear at the stroke of midnight on her 18th birthday but things are slightly and increasingly changing every single day. It is amazing to watch the baby they laid on my chest all those years ago, the one who made me mad with love (I laughed and cried simultaneously the moment I met her), grow into one of my favorite human beings and I’m not just saying that with mom goggles. She is truly a good human being. Sure, she can be a little difficult and she’s not for everyone but who is? Her heart is so big and devoted that those lucky enough to be loved by her will be blessed with complete and unconditional adoration. She’s fiercely loyal and kind to those she cares about. Letting go is not going to be easy for me, even now, in my self-proclaimed state of free-range mom of teen girls. My inner helicopter mom still sees their toddlers within and it’s making this round of evolution hit even harder.

When I say that “I’m letting go” I’m referring to every area of my life. I’m not giving up, that’s a foreign concept to me. I’m breaking free of my own self-inflicted shackles of expectation built upon a foundation of societal norms and parental inflicted trauma. I’m done trying to hold onto people and things that not only don’t serve me but actively waste my time and energy. I’m finally ready to be responsible for my own choices; consequences and all.  I’m ready to begin living for me because I am enough to live for. I am complete. I always have been, even though sometimes I felt unwhole and broken.

Things like envy, worry and hatred I’m trading them in for pushing myself harder to chase those dreams, actively working towards health and happiness goals and forgiveness of others and myself. I’m no longer going to let other people’s actions ruin my day. I’m choosing happiness and I’m holding on with both hands.

I’m letting go of other people’s expectations of who I’m supposed to be. I’m not saying I’m going to bulldoze my way through life without considering other people’s feelings but I’m going to give myself the same permission I give everyone else in the world to live my truth and let others live theirs. I don’t judge others but I am highly critical of myself. I live in a constant state of suffering from imposter syndrome. I’ve always been a perfectionist; maybe it’s the bipolar or maybe it’s the ADHD or maybe it’s my secondary toxic trait right after my unrelenting optimism? I don’t know and I don’t even care. It is what it is. It’s me and it doesn’t work anymore. It isn’t healthy. No one is perfect and things don’t always work out. Nothing is perfect and I’m no exception so I need to forgive myself for my imperfections and be more grateful for the people, things and talents that I do have.

I’m letting go of holding on to one sided friendships of all kinds. It’s tiring and exhausting to try to read other people’s minds. People always seem to appreciate my acts of kindness and are surprised by my thoughtfulness but, surprisingly, seldom ever think to reciprocate or initiate. It’s a whole lot of taking.

Look, I know that no relationship is 50/50. It’s ever changing to meet the needs of the relationship but when it becomes me always giving and others always taking, that’s a red flag for me. I’m choosing to refuse to ignore it going forward. I’m not saying I’m going to cut you out of my life but if I’m doing all the heavy lifting, you’re going to notice that I’m going to start taking it easy and investing my time and love elsewhere into the places and people that acknowledge my efforts.

I’ve decided that I’m getting too old to relentlessly keep trying to make anyone like me and life’s too short anyways. Either we like each other or we don’t. Either we’re friends are we aren’t. I’m resolving to not take it too personally and I’m choosing to let that go. I’m not too narcissistic to realize that I’m not for everyone and that’s ok. Just be straight with me. Have enough respect for me to either be in or be out but don’t string me along in business or friendships. I promise I won’t fall apart if you tell me that you’re just not that into me, just be civil about it. After all, I am human.

I’m letting go of worrying about and overthinking every, single thing in my life. It is exhausting and changes nothing. Instead, I’m prioritizing and spending my time wisely where it matters most to me.

I’m letting go of chasing the perfect body and the perfect weight. There is no such thing. Instead, I’m looking for that healthy high. I have goals and they have nothing to do with the size of my ass or the pertness of my breasts. Like I said, my most important thing to keep in mind is that my girls are always watching so why would I ever put them on the crazy train of body dysmorphia and eating disorders? I’ve been there and I’m still battling this relationship with my body. But no more. Namaste body. I love you. I want to protect you and I want to worship this body and treat it with respect and love. This begins with letting go of what the world says that’s supposed to look like.

I’m releasing myself from feeling guilty for not having the same body I had when I was 25. I’m not feeling bad about myself or punishing my body for not being the same size or shape as the mom next to me and I’m definitely not comparing my seasoned body to a teenage super models. I’m not giving up but I’m giving myself over to new possibilities and reframing my own perspective and embracing realistic expectations. The goal is a healthy body not a skinny one.

My new outlook is going to be one fueled by gratitude for the things I have not envy for the things I don’t, appreciation for who I am today instead of anticipation of the person I want to become and a verve to live each day like it is the only day with less procrastination and less disappointment. Most of all, I’m going forward with an abundance of love for the world around me for what it actually is rather than withholding praise for special occasions. Going forward, I’m letting go of putting conditions on when I start to live to my fullest no more “if this than that” or “when I get here, I’ll do that”. I’m letting go of the fear of success, disappointment in others reactions to my actions and the shackles of the pursuit of perfection and I’m actively going to live every moment present without hesitation or overthinking. I’m letting go of the things I can’t change and embracing the things I can. It starts by believing I’m enough, right now.

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Stephen "tWitch" Boss, Suicide an insider's guide, depression

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

My feeds are full of the news of the sudden death by suicide of Stephen “tWitch” Boss. Everyone is shocked that he’s dead. It’s a travesty. Simultaneously, the world is knocked off its axis by the idea that a seemingly happy man/father/husband/celebrity who appeared to be living his “best life” with everything to look forward to, in fact, committed suicide.

Stephen "tWitch" Boss, Suicide an insider's guide, depression

But, I’m not shocked that anyone commits suicide anymore. Life is hard. Many of us contemplate it, some of us go as far as to meticulously plan it, still others attempt and too many succeed. As someone with Bipolar 1 disorder, I’ve become intimately aware of the statistics that 20-60% of all people diagnosed with bipolar will attempt suicide at least once in their life and 4-19% will succeed.

Depression does not discriminate. It gives no fucks about what you or anyone else thinks your life should feel like. Mental illness doesn’t care how wealthy you are or how charismatic you are. It strikes and it’s a cruel, clingy and unjust bitch. Once she has her greedy hold on you, she doesn’t want to let go. Wave after wave of sadness, grief and melancholy battering every inch or your heart, soul and body. It’s no wonder we start to drown in the seas of sadness. Survival is not guaranteed. Only by the grace of the universe, holding on for literal “dear life” determination and the support system to keep fighting through immeasurable pain, self-doubt, loathing and loneliness until the storm passes do we get to see another day.

Stephen "tWitch" Boss, Suicide an insider's guide, depression

To the outside world, Boss seemed like a man who had everything; a beautiful wife and 3 lovely children, a loving marriage and a career that was glowing up in all the best ways. He looked his happiest when he was with his family. He literally seemed to radiate from within. However, the truth is that we have no idea what was really going on in his heart and his head. He was beloved on the internet for his big personality, devotion to his family and all the good he brought to the online world. He was someone we needed; he was light. But even the most optimistic person has worries and weight. Most importantly, who did he see in the mirror? How did he feel in his own skin? Who was the real him to tWitch? The public is left bewildered and maybe even a little scared because if “it” could happen to him, it can happen to anyone, right? I feel this deeply because I’ve been on the precipice of eternal darkness before and it’s a terrifying and out-of-control place to be.

In my weakest moments as an adolescent, I spend many hours lying awake in the night, quietly full of despair silently sobbing into a pillow because I felt trapped in an inescapable hell, completely and utterly alone. Part of me wanted to disappear and another part of me wanted to be noticed and saved but that other part wanted to cease to exist and quietly float off into the ether. I wanted the peace that could only be found alone in the silence and darkness. These were my constant, ever-pervading thoughts throughout my early teens my early 20s.

But if you were to ask 99%of the people who knew me then, they would describe me with words like “nice,” “sweet”, “smart”, and “FUN” (yep, bipolar mania, professional and consummate compartmentalizer skills), and “funny”. I laugh a lot and I like to make others laugh even when inside, I’m falling apart. I’m one of those people who always holds it together; the deeper the pain, the quieter I get about it, and the less I scream and yell about it. I retreat into myself. I hide in plain sight.  If you know, you certainly know what I’m talking about. Feeling sad sometimes feels shameful because where the hell do I get off feeling sorry for myself when so many others have it so much worse? That’s what I told myself.

In high school, I was the smart, quiet “girl next door”, the “most likely to succeed” type. I got up, went to school, did my best, and got through my days pretending to be happy and good-natured; friend to everyone. I was the type that teachers and other people’s parents loved. But my thoughts were dark. I was sad, scared, anxious and angry. No one knew what was going on at home. I never told them. I was ashamed. At home, I was the victim of physical and emotional abuse from an alcoholic father. Every moment, of every day was erratic and school was my solace. From 8-3 pm every day, I was safe. I was normal.

By the time I got to college, I had become comfortable with pretending. I was on my own for the first time in my life, I was away from my boyfriend and friends, everything was new and overwhelming. I felt out of control. In the beginning, I was scared and felt swallowed up whole by the experience but then I just let go or rather I broke under all the weight of bending. Let me explain, I pretended to be care-free. I pretended to be cool with a lot of things I wasn’t. I pretended that being completely alone in a new place, wasn’t scaring me to death. I pretended that waking up with a guy (I thought was a “friend”) on top of me, slithering off like a thief in the night while I slept…never happened. I pretended that I was tougher than I was. I pretended to be happy. I pretended to be the life of the party. None of that was true. It was quite the opposite.

What the world saw was not me. It was some version of me. She was the only reason I survived. She was the fake it until you make it Debi. Or maybe I was the push it til you break it Debi. Around this time, my eating disorders kicked into high gear. At one point it was so bad that I was consuming roughly 200-300 calories a day while purging (without the binging) sometimes up to as many as 10 times in any given 24-hour period. I felt trapped inside my own body and mind. Never free to be the real me. No. I couldn’t handle that rejection.

In those days, I survived on 3-5 hours of sleep a night, worked full-time, went to school full-time 1.5 hours away from where I lived and had to drive back and forth every day and still maintained a boyfriend and robust social life. I lived like a frat boy, drinking into the early hours of the morning, satiating my id and sleeping on the sofa at my best guy friend’s house. Pretending to be okay. No one met the real me then.

There was a Debi for school, one for work, another for the boyfriend, one who pretended to fearlessly sleep on the sofa of a house full of guys, and even one more Debi for nightlife. I felt like a little girl playing dress-up. I was not ready for any of this. The time I was the most myself was in the 3 hours I was in the car alone, blaring Alanis Morrisette and Mazzy Star, singing at the top of my lungs. No one knew me. I was a lot of people for a lot of people but I was almost never “me”.

I was tortured but when I was doing what I needed to do, when I was chin-upping it I could avoid reality and the reality was that I wanted to die. Living was too painful. Breathing was a chore. Slipping on and off personalities like comfortable coats was exhausting.

It felt like everyone wanted a piece of me but only the palatable pieces. No one wanted or cared enough to move past the “me” that they needed to really see the “Me” that I actually was. This explains how the body dysmorphia got so bad. My therapist once told me that my perception of myself is so skewed that I can never trust my own eyes to know what I really look like. So, the cost of the chameleon life I led, straddling reality and pretending to be everything to everyone is that I no longer get to see the real me. I’m gone, vanished from my own sight.

As you may surmise from the previous paragraphs, I was chronically and acutely depressed with suicidal ideation and I had a plan. I even had the opportunity and motive. My point is that to the outside world and even to those closest to me, I seemed okay. Some people even called me the life of the party. I was good at hiding the darkness. I was great at pretending to be happy and go lucky when inside I was breaking. I compartmentalized my life in such a definitive way that I built a fortress around my innermost me that cut myself off from everyone and everything I loved. I lost my joy. Even when I was smiling, I was probably actively planning how, when, and where I was going to give myself over to that eternal quiet darkness that I was longing for. I was done but I couldn’t share that part of me with anyone. I didn’t want them to console or stop me. At the time, I felt like there was no way out and I was destined to a fate of pretending to be alternate versions of myself to be loved by others. The burden was too heavy but I wore it like a dress with pockets and no one seemed to notice the gravity of it all.

In the end, we see what we want to see. We choose to believe that some people have it better than others. It’s the lie we tell ourselves to help us make it through the days. To be fair, we only see what people allow us to see of themselves and they only see what we give them access to of ourselves. In a world built on flawless filters where people are so busy that they seldom look up from their screens to see a sunset, how can any of us be expected to check in on our friends who seem to be okay? Or worse the ones who seem to be good? And that, my friends, is the problem.

We live in a world where we don’t have the time or bandwidth to care about others the way that we’d like to believe we do.  We’re a society saturated in our own woes and even when we want to, it can seem futile. But we put on our brave and happy faces and we soldier on until we can no longer endure.

I don’t know what happened Monday to trigger and escalate the situation for Boss. I don’t know what his “no longer can endure” breaking point but I know the pain it feels to be there in the thick of it. I know the sorrow and thick melancholy that makes it hard to breathe and even harder to live. My heart goes out to Boss and his family. It breaks my heart to think of how alone and desperate he must have felt in those final moments when no longer existing seemed the only option.

Stephen "tWitch" Boss, Suicide an insider's guide, depression

People always want to know how and why someone could do such a thing, especially when they seem to have it all. The thing is “having it all” is worthless when you feel completely alone and unworthy of your blessings; when you hurt so much that you can’t even find joy in the things that used to make you profoundly happy; you can’t function normally under the heaviness of the sadness. You begin to doubt the point of your existence and wonder if removing yourself might actually be better for your family and friends.  I’ve been there and now; my daughter is there. Sometimes, I think I survived just for this moment. I’ve been on both sides of the darkness as someone’s child and now, as the parent of someone mired in the darkness and it’s worse than you can imagine.

If you or someone you know is feeling alone in the darkness, having suicidal ideation and/or making a plan, reach out for help. You are not alone. There are so many of us who have survived. There is no switch to turn or pill to take to be all better. It’s painful to survive BUT it’s worth it. Take it day by day, hour by hour or even minute by minute. The pain seems unbearable and the crisis unsurmountable when you look at the big picture, so look for the tiny moments to get you through to the next.

If you’re in the United States, you can call the suicide and crisis lifeline at 988, available in Spanish and English language, 24 hours a day. Someone is always there to listen. You are worth saving. You matter.

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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Tonight, I’m sitting here with a lot of feelings swirling around in my heart and a lot of thoughts and unanswered questions in my head. At the top of that list is how to help your child survive depression and anxiety. There’s been a lot of big things happening around here. Yesterday, we celebrated Bella’s Junior day at school. How can my first baby be a senior and be leaving for college soon? Sunday will be the 10th anniversary of the loss of our third baby and it’s tinging every day this week with sadness.

Today was the day that I’d been dreading my entire life even before I had my children. The one thing I hoped would never happen, the thing that has filled me with guilt and sadness since even before thinking of becoming a mom.

Today, my daughter verbalized what most adults cannot… she told me that she no longer feels any joy in her life.

I was diagnosed Bipolar 1 when I was in my 20s and back then, I was very regularly manic. That’s how my bipolar presents mostly, I fly so high that I can’t come down so I fly erratically until the extreme irritability and anger kick in. Then, I become unbearable. So, I was relieved when I got my diagnosis because it meant I was bent not broken and that felt kind of like a miracle to me. It felt as good as being cured. But the one thing that scared me the most was the possibility of passing it along to my children. I’d rather live my life dealing with the harsh reality of highs and lows than ever let my children feel one moment of unrest but we don’t always get what we want.

Because of my own experience with mental illness, I am an advocate for my children’s mental health. I’ve raised them knowing that everyone could benefit from therapy and that there is no shame in having a mental illness diagnosis. It just is what it is and all we can do is get a good psychiatrist, a compassionate psychologist and work the plan and take our meds. We have to do the work and it is some of the hardest work you’ll ever do but it’s the only way to get through it.

Today, my worst fear was realized when I heard my child, whom I love more than my own life, say that she could feel no joy and thought maybe she needed more help than I alone could give. On one hand, I was so proud of her for advocating for herself and for being so self-aware at such a young age but on the other hand, I was absolutely terrified. How can this be happening?

I’ve done everything I could think of proactively because of living with and learning about my own mental illness. My girls have been in therapy for the past 2 years. I keep a close eye on their mental health and well-being, we talk about everything openly and I look for the signs because I know how torturous it is to go through it alone. But there are some things you can’t stop from happening. You can only be there to help them find their way and mental illness one of those things that you can’t stop from happening. No matter who you are, how much money you have, where you live or who you think you are, mental illness does not discriminate. The difference in the outcome is whether you get the help you need or not.

In my 20’s, I was very manic almost exclusively but when I was my daughters’ ages (really from about 14-18 years old) I was highly suicidal. But it wasn’t just ideation, I had a plan. I had backup plans to my plan. It was so painful to live that I often felt the only way to stop the pain was to disappear into the abyss. I wanted to die more than I wanted anything else. Honestly, I used to pray for the strength to do it but there was one thing that stopped me, my mom. I just couldn’t get past what it would do to her and the thought of me being the cause of her feeling like she wanted to disappear into the abyss was the very thing that prompted me to keep fighting. I never told a soul and the fact that my daughter discussed her mental health with me, I feel, is evolved beyond what I was at her age.

I knew that if I killed myself, I would essentially be killing my own mother and I could never do that to her so I kept living. One day at a time, some days, one minute at a time and on others, one second at a time. Living during that time felt cruel and unusual but it was my only option. I think that’s where my unbreakable (or as my daughters call it unbearable) optimism comes from. I had to find a way to keep going through the darkest time of my life, alone.

My point is that life is a struggle for all of us in its own way. Sometimes life is so hard and scary that it’s almost impossible to see clear of the darkness. But I promise that eventually, the darkness lifts and becomes bearable. Learn to read between the lines and hear what your teenagers are feeling, beyond what they are saying. It’s not easy being a teenager in today’s digital world. There is so much pressure to be perfect in a world where everything is filtered and curated.

At the end of the day, all I want is for my girls to be happy. I want them to feel loved and filled with hope and a sense of purpose. I want them to know that everything is possible and no dream is too big. But mostly, I want them to feel real, genuine joy and I will do whatever it takes to make sure that I safely get them to a place where they can and they do. It’s been one of the hardest weeks of my life but I am grateful that she felt comfortable enough to talk to me because it terrifies to think about the alternative.

Have you ever been faced with the fact that your child may have a mental health issue and need help beyond what you can offer as a mom? What did you do? How did you get through it and comfort your child in a meaningful way without trivializing or catastrophizing their situation? How did you learn to listen beyond their words?  

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New year resolution to manifest your best life

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

Good morning and happy new year. Sounds kind of insincere to wish anyone a “happy” anything in the midst of yet another pandemic surge. Thank you Omicron. But I do sincerely wish each and every one of you a magical year filled with happiness; no matter what that may look like. That’s why this year, I’m forgoing the lofty idealistic and mostly unrealistic resolutions of the past in favor of realistic new year resolutions to help you manifest your best life in 2022.

The past 2 years have been hard, like astronomically hard, beyond anything any of us could ever have anticipated at the beginning of this pandemic. Yet here we all are. Certainly worse for the wear; a little humbled, sad and stronger. Yes, we’re surviving. You are stronger because (knock on wood) it hasn’t killed you yet…if you’re reading this. (Sorry about that, my sense of humor has gone a little dark in the past 2 years.)

Anyways, I’m not a self-help guru or someone who’s got all her shit together. I’m struggling but I did have a moment of clarity a few days ago and I came out the other end certain that our life journey is all about the tiny steps (no matter or how hard or easy it is to get to our desired destination in life). You don’t have to run, jump or leap. You just have to step in the direction you want to go. The most important thing is to know where you want to go.

So stop, right now. Stop thinking of where the world has told you that you should want to go or what you should want to be or have or do and ask yourself, “where do I want to go, be, have and do? What makes me happy? Who is worth my time, effort and love?” Then, prioritize.

Here comes the hard part, the people, places, things that don’t make you happy…let them go. I know it’s hard. It can feel almost impossible but hanging on to those things is dead weight around your neck and it’s slowly killing you. Don’t give more weight to people and things that don’t even consider you. Let that shit go.

Stop being so hard on yourself. Give yourself the same grace, love and patience that you afford everyone you love. Be diligent, attentive and proud of yourself. Do your best and be the best version of yourself. That’s it! You don’t owe anyone anything but yourself. You owe yourself happiness, love, laughter, contentment and peace (in whatever form that may be).

Here are my Realistic New Year Resolutions to Help Manifest Your Best Life in 2022

1. Prioritize yourself

For me, I naturally assume the martyr position because I’m a mom. Always putting myself last and everyone else’s needs above mine. They didn’t ask for it. It’s just what I’ve always done. It’s what my mom did. But that doesn’t serve me or my family well. It’s leaving me feeling like a failure as a human because while I’m excelling as a mom, I feel like I’ve lost me in the process. It makes me angry and unfulfilled and, quite frankly, unhappy and a little bitter and that spills over into everything else and taints the joy, bringing down the energy. This year, my family is going to always be the most important thing to me but now, I am going to be as important to myself as I am to them.

2. Move your body for 20 minutes a day

Y’all remember that I was diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol a few months before the pandemic hit? Well, I was and it scared the f*ck out of me. I started watching what I was eating, portion controlling and working out. I was overwhelmed. It was a lot. But in 6 months, I had lost 60 pounds and all my numbers were normal. The pandemic hit and between stress and not going anywhere, I gained 25 pounds back and slowly over the past 2 years my numbers have crept back up. They are still normal but if I don’t take control now, for how long will they stay healthy? I don’t want to find out so, I’m committing to myself to get my heart rate up 20 minutes a day to stay healthy. No lofty weight loss goals or black and white/ this or that/ never or always lines drawn in the sand. Just some prioritization and lots of grace and love for myself.

3. Eat whatever you want in moderation

Do NOT cut yourself off from the simple joys. I mean, come on, saying you’re never going to eat sugar or carbs again might sound like the answer to your problem of gaining weight but it’s not sustainable. It’s unrealistic. Worse still, it makes food unenjoyable. Honestly, when you live your life with drastic restrictions, are you living a life at all? You’re getting by. Food is not the enemy but it also doesn’t heal your traumas. Eat whatever you want in moderation while being cognizant of your own health, portion control and reality. If you’re drinking alcohol, drink water. If you’re eating garbage, drink water and move your body. The key is balance. But don’t starve yourself or fanatically restrict every calorie that goes into your body, that’s an actual eating disorder. Take it from me, I know.

4. Chase what makes you happy

This can be different for every single person on the earth. For one it might be traveling the world or becoming a doctor, for others, it might be earning a lot of money and living a lavish life and for some, it might mean creating something beautiful or just living peacefully. Guess what? None of them is wrong. Each of them is right. Happiness is derived from many different things in many different ways. Don’t be afraid to chase your happiness because even if you don’t make it to where you want to go on the first try, you’ll be closer and definitely happier and more fulfilled knowing that you went for it. For me, that means creating content that resonates with others and living my life on my own terms. Starting today, I want to post at least 5 days a week. You are my accountability buddy. Don’t let society tell you what to wear, how to look, who to love, what’s cool and what’s not. Do what makes you happy! Periodt. No one else lives in your body, your mind or your soul. Only you can choose your happiness and that starts by stopping taking other people’s opinions into consideration when deciding what makes your heart happy and full.

5. Travel

Wander the world. A change of scenery is good for your soul. Honestly, whether you are going to a cabin in the woods, hiking in the mountains, laying on a beach, or exploring a metropolis traveling is a way to reboot and gives you just enough distance and distraction to forget your worries for a little while and give you a fresh heart and eyes to tackle your woes when you return. My parents taught me from a very young age that travel is an experience that opens your mind and your heart. It makes you more tolerant, understanding and kind. There is no better gift you can give yourself.  So travel everywhere you can any chance you get. It doesn’t matter if it’s 30 minutes from home or a 24-hour flight; walk where you’ve never walked before and try things you’ve never tried before. You won’t believe how your perspective of humans and the world, in general, will change.

6. Be the you that you want to be

This one can be hard because not all of us have taken the time in our lives to even ask ourselves what we want, who we want to be or what that looks like. Many of us have been swept up in our lives; it almost feels as if it happened to us and in some cases, as circumstances were, it did. But it’s never too late to change until you’re dead. Every single day is a new beginning. Every. Single. Day.  So decide who the you is that YOU want to be and be that. Make a list. For example, I want to be a more attentive wife (pandemic has made me in survival mode but I want more. I want slow dancing in the kitchen, hand-holding on walks and snuggles on the couch) I want to be a strong role model for my girls and I also want to be their best friend, I want to evolve my career to the next level (so I’m working my tail off to complete this Masters in Digital Marketing), I want to actively choose the life I live and I want joy and satisfaction to be the guiding factor.

7. Don’t let other people’s actions steal your joy

Only positive vibes this year. It’s an inside joke in my family that I am eternally optimistic. I’ve always been this way. If I weren’t, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be here…or anywhere. I think I just had a hard childhood (like so many of us #generationaltrauma) and I know that worry is a useless emotion and negativity absolutely brings the energy down. If you don’t believe you can, you absolutely won’t so I’m living that MexiCAN (Not MexiCANT) life. All this to say, trust and believe in yourself. You are the master of your own destiny. The only way other people can steal your joy is if you allow them to. Do NOT let those people have that power.

8. Sleep

It sounds super basic. I know. But sleep is the cure-all to life (well, that and water). Sleep is something that has always been a challenge for me (manic bipolar who is clinically diagnosed insomniac) add in some ADHD, perfectionist tendencies and then hit me over the head with the pandemic anxiety. Yes, sleep is absolutely elusive for a lot of adults, especially parents. I am not alone in this but it is a basic need to stay healthy and happy. So do what you need to do to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep. Stop laughing. It is possible. Try relaxing at night, dim the lights, get cozy and turn off the screens. Meditate. Take a warm bath. Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine before bed and rethink those sugar snacks before bed. Get your exercise done earlier in the day so you can benefit from the endorphins without that energy surge at bedtime. Last but not least, make a small to-do list every day in the morning and cross those 5 things off as the day goes and at bedtime, throw it in the garbage. The list could be as simple as drink coffee, pick up kids from school, return books to library, go for a walk and drink water. Then, give yourself permission to rest and forget the rest until tomorrow. Do this every day until it becomes a habit.

9. Drink water

This is so simple and basic that it sounds almost ridiculous to put it on a list but it is very important. Drink your water. Water really is life. It’s great for your skin, your health and your mind. Set a goal to drink at least 64 ounces of water every single day. Staying hydrated can contribute to a general sense of well-being.

10. Get dressed everyday

I get it, it sounds like common sense but let me tell you, as a stay at home mom during a pandemic, I’ve spent a lot of the last two years wearing loungewear, whether that be fuzzy skims, tie-dyed lounge sets, LuLulemons/joggers and sweatshirts or just changing from my night jammies to my day jammies. I have not been dressing in all the cute clothes that I’ve bought to satisfy my pandemic anxiety shopping. Last week, I went to my in-laws for Christmas and I put on a cute sweater dress with knee-high boots and put makeup on and did my hair. It was a game-changer. I felt cute and sexy and human. Never underestimate the power of dressing for yourself and feeling beautiful in your own skin. It absolutely changed my entire outlook on life and my self-confidence.

11. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

You can’t do everything or be everything to everyone. It’s ok to be vulnerable and fragile, let other’s help. Don’t put off medical, mental or spiritual needs. Needing help is not a shortcoming, it is part of being human. We all need help at some time to survive life. No one is an island. If what you’re doing isn’t working don’t be afraid to pivot or change directions entirely.

12. Live everyday like it’s a special ocassion

You do not need to live like you’re dying but, for the love of God, live and love like every day you are alive is a special occasion. Celebrate you. Eat the macarons. Wear that little black dress from Nordstrom. Take the trip to Paris. Tell the people your heart is crushing on that you love them, that they are special and you are glad they are a part of your life. Stop saving shit for someday when today is yesterday’s someday.

These are my realistic new year resolutions to help you manifest your best life in 2022 and every year after that. Choose your own happiness. Choose your own adventure. We only have one life and the time on earth is not that long, so do what you want. Choose you.

In the end, the goal should be to live your life in such a way that even if you die at 99-years-old (like my abuelito and Betty White did) it’s still too soon.

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What happened to those people, marriage in distress

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

This morning, I sent the Big Guy a somewhat racy meme of a pumpkin who looked like she got shot in the eye in one of those sexy accidents that, to be honest, we haven’t had a lot of lately. His response was, instructing me to go look at a photo of us in a shadow box from when we first met and asking, “What happened to those two people ?”

I did as he instructed and a few things happened,

  1. I realized that, damn, we have gained a lot of weight in the past 24 years together.
  2. OH MY DAMN, we’ve been together 24 years. That’s half our lives. In fact, we’ve been together more of his life than we’ve been apart.
  3. Wow. He thinks about these things too? I thought it was just me fixating and overthinking by myself.
  4. Too many things like this pandemic, kids, dog, work, school, bills and responsibilities have made us lose sight of what we wanted from the start, to be together with one another; to be one another’s priority.

I think we’ve both been so tired and worn out from getting through day-to-day life that we haven’t had the energy left to dedicate the time to growing closer.  It’s like we were and still are each other’s best friends, partner but we don’t get to enjoy one another as we used to and I think that is both of our faults. We’ve just been trying to put out the daily fires and that doesn’t leave much time for intimacy, relaxation or talking for just the sake of talking. Now, everything has a purpose, a finish line other than just enjoyment and it’s taking a toll.

What happened to those people, marriage in distress

The pandemic has put us all on edge. All of us have experienced anxiety and panic over the course of this pandemic. The girls are always home; first, they were virtual and now, they are often quarantined from exposure or actually sick with some kind of cold, virus or flu after living their life in masks for the past 19 months and suddenly being thrust into a world without masks or social distancing. I’m back in grad school which is stressful for a 40-something mom who hasn’t been in grad school in 16 years. The Big Guy toils away, in person, at work; braving the coronavirus, since about month 3 of the pandemic, so our bills could be paid and everything all of us do has been under duress. That makes laughing and lighthearted play, as a family and even more so as a couple, nearly impossible. Who can relax when people are literally getting sick and dying all around you?

We don’t look or feel like we did in 1997. What happened to those two people? I hardly ever get ready anymore. I’m usually at home in joggers, a sweatshirt and a top knot. No make-up. No products anywhere to be found. I just shower and moisturize. Hair cuts and color, manicures and pedicures are all luxuries that I can’t afford to do during a pandemic. He only goes to work so he’s not dressing for me either. I used to be the girl who took two hours every day to get ready; full hair and make-up. Exercising used to be a priority. Going out used to be fun. But now, all of those things feel like just one more thing to do on an already infinite to-do list. I’m tired and so is he. Tired of all the things we have to do.

What happened to those two people?

His question this morning made me realize that I want to find my way back to those two people who we unknowingly abandoned along the way. I know people change and relationships evolve but this is not what we both expected our marriage to be. We could just keep moving on this same path, at the same rate on this journey together and die of boredom and old age sometime in the future or we can put in the work to reclaim our passion for one another and ask the hard questions, change what needs to change and be bold. It will be scary as fuck because, 24 years is a long time, but doing nothing and expecting change is ridiculous. We want more together.

It’s going to have to start with talking to each other and discussing what we want, need, like and dislike in our relationship. We know that we love each other but we need to remember what we like about one another. What was it about us that made us inseparable from about day 4 of knowing one another? What was it that made us fall in love and believe we had found our soul mate within that first month? What magic was it that made him ask me to marry him and me say yes after just 4 months? I know that’s rare but it’s what happened. And no matter what we’re going through, even when he’s on my nerves ( or I’m on his), even when we don’t particularly like one another, we always love each other and he’s always my person. I hope I’m still his.

What happened to those people, marriage in distress

We’ve been so busy talking about the craziness of each day that we’ve forgotten to ask about each other’s hopes and dreams for a long time. Those things are important. A marriage can’t survive on autopilot. Yes, comfortable silences are nice and being able to be next to one another and know what the other one is thinking and feeling without saying a word, happy to just be, is wonderful but it’s not enough. We have to be willing to get uncomfortable to unlock that next level of intimacy. Because even though he is my best friend, my ride or die, we both deserve more than just someone to do stuff with. We need someone to look forward to doing things with fueled by a passion for one another and the life we are building together.

We’ve become complacent and comfortable and in doing so, maybe a little annoyed with one another, even though we’ve never said it out loud. We need a marriage reboot. I don’t want a sequel. He is it for me. So, we’re going on a quest to find those people in the shadow box. Has your marriage ever felt like it has become predictable? What did you do, as a couple, to jumpstart your marriage?

What happened to those two people?

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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.

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.

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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