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Chicago, Facebook Live, Throat Punch Thursday,Brittany Herring, Hate Crime, Donald Trump

Throat Punch Thursday,guns, sandy hook, valeria levitin

There is so much going on this week. I was not going to post a Throat Punch this week because I wanted some levity and none of us need to feel more down. So, if you don’t want to read about what is about to make my head explode, by all means, please don’t continue on today. I have to write it out because keeping it in is triggering me so I will start with my litany of stupidity int he world now.

First, there is a woman who has written a blog post, which I will most certainly not link to because I refuse to drive traffic to her conspiracy theories, and she is convinced that there is a government conspiracy because the media has not cross examined the only survivors of Sandy Hook. You know the two children and the nurse who hid in the closet for 4 hours who saw unthinkable things and have been traumatized by these events? Maybe the media is being human because if they tried to be any other way, the general public would lynch them. Did you know that there are people who actually exist and believe that the Aurora shootings and the Sandy Hook shootings are nothing more than government orchestrated murders done to further a gun control agenda? Wait. Stop. Re-read that. These are the same people who are stock piling guns and ammunition. They really exist and they are dangerous. I thought conspiracy theorists only existed in the movies with Mel Gibson and in the minds of acute schizophrenics but no, they are alive and well. These are the same people who think that the Holocaust, the walk on the moon, the Kennedy assassination and the death of Elvis, Tupac and 9/11 are all hoaxes orchestrated by the government. I am appalled and shocked and I am afraid.

Valeria Levitin, world's thinnest woman, anorexia

Second, there is a woman in Monaco, Valeria Levitin, who weighs only 56 pounds. She is quite literally a walking skeleton. She is fighting for her life. She is losing. But in a world obsessed with being thin, she is getting fan mail. Do people not realize that idolizing her and cheering her to continue on and share her method of destruction makes them as culpable as cheering “jump” to a person on a ledge. My God, what is wrong with people?

Third, people who are saying that the culprit is not that Adam Lanza was armed but that he was mentally ill. I take a personal offense to these comments. I have a diagnosis. A whole shitload of the world is diagnosed with a mental illness. That does not make us all murderers and we are all more than the sum total of our diagnosis. Adam Lanza was a murdering asshole who had access to guns because there are too many fucking guns in the world. Unless you are a cop or  in the military you don’t need a handgun and if you are hunting, you need a shotgun. If you are none of these, you don’t need a gun. Stop hiding behind your right to bear arms argument. You know what kills people? GUNS in the hands of over zealous, power hungry, vigilantes who think it’s their right to kill in the name of whatever they feel is a threat.

Fourth, People who want to give teachers guns. Teachers are not cops. Teachers go to university to learn to teach our children; to be caregivers. They are people that our children should feel secure to go to not afraid to approach. Believe it or not, guns make some children uncomfortable. That should be their focus. They should not be badged and expected to shoot to kill. That is not their job.If we need security, we need it at the door. We need armed security not teachers carrying guns into the classroom. That is asking for accidental shootings. I’m not afraid of guns, as one reader accused me. I grew up in a house with a gun but I don’t believe in them in households. They have their place and anywhere that a child can get access to and accidentally kill themselves or someone else is not that place.

These are my Throat Punches for this week. Please stop doing stupid shit people of the world. Can’t we all just get along. Pray for the Sandy Hook Elementary victims. Respect the families and survivors, they need love and understanding not conspiracy theories and cross examinations. Love people for who they are on the inside not for superficial first impressions. Show compassion for the mentally ill. They are afflicted and need help, not stigma and judgement. Turn your guns in and keep them out of the hands of bad people who will misuse them. Love your children. Hug them tight and know that your life is blessed because they are in your arms and not in a grave. Tell your child’s teacher thank you for keeping your child safe when they are in their care. Give thanks for your blessings, for they are many. Happy holidays. I truly wish you all love, happiness and safety.

If you want to do something, commit a random act of kindness or #26acts of kindness to honor the victims of Sandy Hook elementary.

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I apologize for  yesterday. It was just one of those days, where everything ganged up and the whole hair spot was just too much for my fragile psyche. At that point , I think a pimple may have sent me over the edge. I also want to thank all of you for your support and love. You Ladies..and gentlemen are by far some of the awesomest people I know. And I know you are all just dying to know what is going on with my hair situation, so here goes.
Obviously, after last nights whimpering episode, I woke up this morning and decided to put as much effort into taking care of myself as I do my girls. I got on the phone with that same ” I’m a Mommy and my kid is sick you better fit them in’ attitude and my doctor (she is also AWESOME) fit me in..immediately. After a morning filled with hypochondriac what ifs, I was finally bound for a professionals opinion. I just knew it was going to be something awful..ring worm of the head, permanent hair loss, a fatal case of undiagnosed lupus. Oh yeah, my brain went there! I was a hot mess. I felt my eyes stinging and felt as if it had to be some thing awful..beyond just my vanity at a bald spot.  Though let’s be real..that’s pretty big. It’s not like a sixth toe or something, I can’t keep a bald spot on my part line hidden.
I head in, my doctor knows my husband is out of town and I am stressed, and that I am wound a little too tight these days. She handles me with kid gloves, and I do love her for that. So, she does the basics: temperature..normal, blood pressure…slightly elevated (not surprised after all I was about to stroke out from bracing myself to get the official fatal diagnosis!), balding, scaly spot in my head..check. She decided that it didn’t look fungal….I’m thinking “THANK GOD FOR THAT!”Ewww! Uh oh. That is immediately followed by, “Oh shit! It really might be permanent baldness or LUPUS!!” She informs me, “I’m going to have to scrape some cells to check under the scope”. “Ok, let’s get this done so I can deal with it and fix it!” (I have no time for this..really, I don’t!) So, she scrapes the frigging balding spot, “This may hurt a little”. Me  (in my head conversation) “Really, is it really going to hurt? You are scraping my damn skin off my head. I’m pretty sure that is not helping the aesthetics of that spot at all!” She scrapes, I wince, I bleed a little, and she leaves the room.
All the while, my girl are in the room coloring (I told you I am alone with my girls..there’s no family in town). Bella draws a picture of the doctor and shows me while the doctor was out of the room. Me: “Aww, that’s cute but she needs some hair.” Bella: “Oh yeah, I forgot!” Gabi,”Yeah Bella, she no bald like Mommy!” Oh, I can always count on my girls to  make me laugh in a crisis.
Doctor returns; diagnosis….Seborrheic dermatitis. Know what that means? Cradle cap! According to Mayo Clinic, Seborrheic dermatitis appears to run in families. Stress (yes!), fatigue (OH YEAH!), weather extremes (heat wave), oily skin (yes), infrequent shampoos or skin cleaning (I clean everyday but hey, you can’t win the entire cause lottery), use of lotions that contain alcohol (I wonder if my cheap wine that I’ve been drinking counts?), skin disorders (such as acne), or obesity (just one more reason to lose some weight!!!!) may increase the risk. Good news, not fatal. Treatment include some baby shampoo and some topical medicine to clear up the skin irritation. Therapeutic hair transplant with the use of hair transplant treatment technology is also an option for the hair to grow back. Thank God! The funniest part, the whole time I was there my doctor kept saying (as she is running her fingers through my hair looking for other spots), “You sure do have a lot of hair!”  I told you I had a lions mane..with one spot of mange. Thanks for holding my hand through my mini Mommy breakdown! But, barring any unfortunate turn (damn hypochondria)..I’ back to my same old snarky self; giving you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but..the truth!

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patient portal, cancer, misdiagnosed, tech glitch

Does your doctor use a patient portal? Sounds great, right? I’m tech savvy. I hate waiting for people to “get back to me”. I am all about the technological advancements and if I can get my results instantly online, why wait? Right?

Well, up until last week, I would have whole-heartedly agreed with you. I am impatient. I don’t like waiting on results. It stresses me the eff out. Like seriously, sends my blood pressure up and occupies my every waking moment. I fixate. The unknown scares the hell out of me.

The known, I can do something about. I can formulate a plan, make a checklist, do what I’m supposed to do to check things off the checklist and unlock the next level. That is how I work. You give me a challenge; I find the solution. I don’t like unfinished things. I need to see, pursue and conquer. It’s how I’m wired.

READ ALSO: That One Time I thought I was Having A Heart Attack

It’s been a busy month, with lots of surprises and not all surprises that I wanted. Last Monday, my world came crashing down around my feet. I got that news the good old fashioned way, face-to-face. Thank God because I needed to see my doctor’s face when she reassured me “everything was reversible.” Whew. Terrifying but fixable.

I’m used to things not going perfectly but when I was told that my health was failing, well, it shook me to my very core. Like reevaluate your entire life, wade through the murky facts that you could die and then pull yourself up by your bootstraps and fix it. I won’t lie, the first three days of last week after getting the news, were hard for me.

There were meds and a complete lifestyle change. My life felt in upheaval; complete chaos and it left me depressed. I’ve not done depressed many times in my life. Honestly, I’m mostly manic but when life throws you these kinds of curveballs it’s too much and all you can do is feel your feelings, accept your new reality, grieve and move on. That’s what I’ve been doing.

READ ALSO: When Cancer’s on the Table

The thing is it scared me straight. Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise but last Monday, my life was shattered into 1 million pieces and I had to look mortality straight in the face. My mind said, “Not today Satan…not today.” But after all was said and done, I changed because I had to. To live, I have to suck it all up and move forward on a new path. Eat right. Portion control. Exercise. Make better choices. Take meds. Repeat. This is my new reality.

It’s not easy but it’s the way it has to be. So, I wallowed in self-pity and carb withdrawal headaches for most of last week. But, this past Monday, when I went to the doctor she told me that I lost 9 lbs., my blood pressure is in the normal range and my sugar levels have come down considerably…almost to normal from 200. All great news. My doctor is very proud of me and I’m pretty proud of myself too. We all know my relationship with food has never been right.

However, TUESDAY was another story. I am still adjusting to meds and feeling a little weird. There have been daily calls into the doctor’s office. I’m sure the nurses have my picture on a bulletin board and I am labeled “frequent caller or send directly to voicemail.” On Monday, my doctor gently urged me to sign up for the new patient portal. Which I’ve always belonged to because of the aforementioned control freak who doesn’t like to wait for people to call her back with results.

READ ALSO: How a Simple Doctor’s Visit Might Save My Life

Monday night, I completed the registration for the new patient portal and logged in at bedtime. As I was reading through my chart and diagnoses, I saw one that I didn’t recognize. Sure I had a lot on my mind when she was telling me I had diabetes and high blood pressure but I heard everything…or did I?

Because right there in my patient portal was a diagnosis for what, when googled, was bone marrow cancer!!! Yes, you read that right. My chart said I have bone marrow cancer but either I went temporarily deaf or my doctor forgot to tell me. Everyone was sleeping. I was hyperventilating. I.Have.Bone.Marrow. Cancer. It kept repeating on a loop in my brain.

I made myself go to sleep. There was nothing else I could do but….think. I woke up at 2 a.m. and I emailed my doctor through the patient portal. I asked her, “Do I have cancer? You told me everything I had was reversible.” Then my mind ran through all of the scenarios and for a brief few minutes, I thought to myself….I can reverse high blood pressure and diabetes but bone marrow cancer? It’s too much. I’m broken.

READ ALSO: When Mental Health is Marginalized

But then, I  thought to myself, “ Wait an effing minute. You can’t just give up YOU.HAVE.THE BIG GUY AND THE GIRLS TO THINK ABOUT. Immediately, I rationalized with myself that if I had bone marrow cancer, I’d have to find a way to beat that too. I heard my mom’s voice, “Where there’s a will, there is always a way.” I finally fell back to sleep.

Of course, I had to drive for a field trip for the 8th-grade graduation mass at the Cathedral. I guess there’s no better place to be than mass praying while you’re having the worst morning of your life, take 2 in as many weeks.

I asked the Big Guy, my husband not God, “She’d have told me if I had cancer, right? She’d have to, right?” He assured she would have but his face looked like he wasn’t sure. This poor guy. My warranty has run out and I’m falling apart just 20 years into this marriage thing.

READ ALSO: How Scrambled Eggs made my Marriage Sexy

I didn’t want to freak out the girls so I didn’t say anything. I just went on like normal while I was casually freaking out on the inside. I couldn’t take it anymore and while I was waiting for a carload of 8th graders to get in my car, I called the doctor’s office over and over until I got a human being.

Finally, my nurse answered the phone. I told her what I saw and asked, “She’d have told me if I had bone marrow cancer, right? She’d have to, right? That would be unethical to send me on my way without making a plan and starting treatment. For the love of God, I WANT TO LIVE. HELP ME!!”

My nurse said, “Debi let me check your file and yes, she would most definitely have said something to you if you had cancer.” I was frantic. The kids were walking towards the car but I couldn’t end this call until I knew one way or the other.

READ ALSO: When Your Period Attacks

“Debi there is nothing in your chart or the notes about you having cancer of the bone marrow or otherwise. I am so sorry that you were so scared. If there was something wrong, she would have told you and it would definitely be in the chart. It gave me a random diagnosis before too. It just inserts weird stuff sometimes.” And with that, I had a mini psychotic breakdown because for 12 hours I had bone marrow cancer. I don’t find the patient portal’s behavior to be acceptable.

I’ve never prayed so hard or sung so loud in mass before. Talk about a grateful life. Every day is a gift. Every minute and moment sent on this earth is precious. That was my week. It’s been a crazy one. I’ll tell you one thing, I may never look at that patient portal for as long as I live because it almost killed me.

 

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Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Funny story, a few weeks ago, I started getting dizzy while driving. Scared the sh*t out of me…Okay, not so funny. Anyways, went to the doctor and surprise (no surprise I’ve battled eustachian ear issues my entire life) and I had not only an acute sinus infection (no surprise there either…chronic sinusitis is my life) but also had an inordinate amount of fluid in my ears (Duh, I could feel it sloshing around in there teetering between itching and hurting for almost 2 months…again nothing new). But the getting dizzy while driving my kids, was new and I did not like it. Is this perimenopause, menopause, cancer, dementia or low blood sugar?

Needless to say, that sparked a series of way overdue anxiety attacks.  I mean come on, I’ve kept my shit together pretty well these past couple of pandemic years but some things got to give. If we’re being really honest, and if you know me you know that I am, my first thought at the dizziness which I’ve never experienced in this way (in waves) was a brain tumor ( long story short, I’m chronically afraid that God is going to use my big brain and big boobs against me and in the end they will take me out #pandemictriggeredhypochondriac). My doctor assured me, “Nope, Debi your heart, lungs and everything else is fine but your ears are a mess.”

So I went on a high dose of antibiotics with a side of Diflucan (because what would an ear infection be without a side of a yeast infection to add insult to injury? I mean if you don’t get an itchy vagina to go along with your sinus pressure and vertigo, did it even happen?) and something for the anxiety that the dizziness triggered (what if I blackout while driving my kids and we all die?) but since I have high blood pressure (controlled but still diagnosed) that’s all I got…not a damn thing to dry up all that fluid stuck in my head.

Disclosure: Some of the products mentioned in this post were sent to me for review purposes. All opinions and gynecological misadventures are all my own.

Fast forward to the week I was finishing up my antibiotics and I woke up in the middle of the night, not once, not twice but three times soaked from my shoulders up in the middle of a full-on panic attack. Sorry to say, I’ve battled my fair share of demons in my life ( #fullymanicteensandtwenties) and I am not about that in my head life. It’s a dark and scary place and I’d prefer not to live there for very long. So, I did what any sane person would do, I called my doctor and my gynecologist because eureka…this bitch is almost 50 and maybe it’s time to admit reproductive defeat. Maybe I’m (gulp) perimenopausal or even menopausal. I mean, it could happen.

Ever since I had my hysterectomy in 2018 and have been living that 1 ovary life, I’m basically waiting to become reproductively challenged. I know this. Every day of estrogen is a gift. Shit, my baby sister went through menopause a few months after having her baby a couple of years ago and didn’t even know it ( God really said…you are done) so, me, being 5 years older, it’s just a matter of time.

Let me share some knowledge with you, I’ve always been an alpha ( if you know you know) if you got anywhere in my orbit, I would pull you onto my cycle ( ask my sisters and my daughters). I knew exactly when I ovulated ( day 14) and menstruated ( day 28), I could literally feel it. I haven’t had a period in almost 4 years because I don’t have a uterus but every month, I still get PMS and every other month, I can feel my ovulation. I know when my girls get their periods because I get their bloating and munchies.

However, my husband did good choosing in that crucial left ovary, right ovary moment ( it was decided after I was under because someone forgot to ask me before) because this girl, she’s a boss. She will not go quietly into that good reproductive night. Girlfriend is keeping us in the game but alas, those hot flash/cold sweats and anxiety, what else could it be. It must be the reproductive grim reaper coming for me.

I made an appointment with my gynecologist and left it to God. I resigned myself to the fact that I’m at the very least perimenopausal if not menopausal and it was time to get myself some estrogen, progesterone, supplement, patch or black cohosh (only not black cohosh because it would surely make this bipolar 1 manic woman full-on manic.periodt. and nobody wants that.)

Yesterday, I went to see Nina ( that’s my gynecologist, we’re on a first-name basis because we’ve been together over a decade and been through cancer scares, a miscarriage, a D& E, another surprise in office ( no anesthesia) D&C when she removed multiple cups of blood from my uterus after my fibroids literally tried to kill me and ultimately a hysterectomy and, I thought to myself, now….the death of my femininity aka the pause. But after an offer of Paxil ( no thank you…manic people shouldn’t take anti-depressants if they can avoid it) then estrogen, we resigned ourselves to the fact that our perimenopause or menopause journey together had begun but first, let’s make sure ( because I need proof for everything…how can I fix it if I don’t know what’s broken?) and we did a blood draw to get my hormone levels.

Guess what? Congratulations, I’m not perimenopausal or menopausal or any other pausal. I’m 100% normal hormone levels. To say I was surprised is an understatement. To say I was relieved is more like it because even though I know I am knocking on reproductive invisibility’s door, I’m not ready. Not really. The same way I wasn’t ready for my first period, my last period or any of my pregnancies because even though you read all about it and plan for it, you can never be ready but it still happens.

I feel like maybe this is the universe’s way of giving me a 5-minute warning, Debi, get your health in order because soon, it won’t be a false alarm and you need to be prepared so drink your milk, workout, eat more healthily, get that weight in check, moisturize, drink your water, play soduku and, for the love of all that is holy, make peace with your anxiety because one day those hot flashes and triggered panic attacks are going to be triggered by hormones (just like your migraines and hypomania used to be). I’ve never been so excited to just be “normal” whatever that means.

Here’s a list of some of the things I’ve been doing to prioritize me.

I’ve recently tried some new Reset 360 products to help increase my protein and reduce my carbohydrate intake. I’m a diabetic but I think it’s a pretty good idea for everyone to keep an eye on what’s going in their body.

Plant-based cookies

The Decadent Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie is a soft-baked plant protein cookie that tastes delicious and delivers healthy plant protein.

Bite fuel Power Bites

Double the chocolate, double the gains! These little guys are packed with so much chocolate that if you leave them in your milk, you will have chocolate milk after 5 minutes. They are soft, chewy, and really pack a chocolatey punch and each bag contains 18 gm of protein,

Super greens dietary drink

They’re called Super Greens because they are mega packed with superfoods like wheatgrass, spirulina, kale, spinach, plus 6 more! It makes getting the right amount of veggies easy. With Super Greens you can make healthy eating easy without struggling to eat pounds of vegetables each day.

All-in-one-chocolate shake

A plant-based protein shake that may help support overall health, ideal weight, & digestive strength. Creamy, delicious flavor that blends smoothly, and provides exceptional nutrition.

Superpower bars

Protein-packed, dark chocolate goodness with only 2 grams of sugar- sounds like a dream come true. With all organic ingredients and 10 grams of plant protein, this bar is the perfect anytime snack. 6g of dietary fiber in every bar keeps you satisfied for hours without weighing you down. keep these bars nearby during break times for a pick me up when there’s no time for a full meal.

I’ve also been cutting out animal byproducts as much as possible. I am not currently a full-time vegetarian but I do prefer vegetarian meals over meat options and it’s better for my health to choose leaner and cleaner foods. I love to bake so I’ve been swapping out regular flour, dairy

Organic Cacao Powder

LESS FAT and FEWER CALORIES: Chocolate is a staple in most households, but it can make people feel guilty because it is often associated with candy and sugary treats. Our Organic Cacao Powder provides you with a more nutritious alternative to regular chocolate. Our chocolate has the same great flavor as ordinary cocoa with the added benefits of organic cacao and less guilt.

Oatsome milk

NON-DAIRY MILK: Oatsome delivers a mild, creamy flavor—without dairy, nuts, added sugar, or any artificial ingredients. Now you can enjoy milk without discomfort from lactose or other components.

Coconut Palm Sugar

REFINED SUGAR ALTERNATIVE: Organic Coconut Sugar makes an excellent 1 to 1 ratio (spoon-for-spoon) replacement to refined white sugar. That means it’s easy to switch out white sugar or artificial sweeteners for BetterBody Foods Organic Coconut Sugar in simple meals and gourmet recipes. The possibilities are endless.

LOW ON THE GLYCEMIC INDEX: BetterBody Foods’ Organic Coconut Sugar is naturally low on the glycemic index. This means that it doesn’t raise your blood sugar as quickly as refined sugars do, so you can have the sweetness of sugar in naturally sweet coconut sugar without the associated insulin spike. 

PB fit peanut butter powder

  • POWDERED PEANUT BUTTER: All-natural PBfit has 87% less fat and almost 1/3 the calories of regular peanut butter. Made from roasted and powdered peanuts, it has real peanut flavor without the high fat.
  • PROTEIN POWER: With 8 g of protein in one serving of natural PBfit, you’ll get a boost of protein right before your workout. Add it to your morning shake or smoothie for a creamy peanut butter taste.

BBF oat Flour blend

This whole-grain, organic oat flour makes a great alternative to traditional flour for anyone with sensitivities to gluten or anyone looking to improve their diet. HEART-HEALTHY OPTION: Low in both saturated fat and cholesterol, oat flour is a healthy alternative to traditional wheat flour and also contains soluble fiber (1.2 g per serving).

Bowmar Butter

High protein cashew spreads. Flavors include peanut butter pretzel, cake pop, sugar cookie and buckeye!

Cashew Spread ( Cookie Butter)

High protein peanut, almond or cashew nut spread is a great way to add more protein into your diet.

These spreads all have 10g of whey protein and are a great alternative to other butters and spreads that are loaded with sugar and artificial sweeteners. available in cashew, almond, and peanut butter.

I’ve also started drinking my water, getting enough sleep, exercising, upping my moisturizer game and taking care of myself, mentally and physically. Maybe I narrowly escaped the pause for now but its coming for me ( and you too) so why not start preparing now?

And if you’re wondering about the mystery root of my hot flashes and panic attacks and what cured it? ½ a dose of Sudaphed 2 times a day, it was all caused by the fluid in my ears. It’s crazy what your body can do to signal that your check engine light is on.

What are you doing to prepare for the next phase of womanhood? Have you already entered perimenopause of menopause? If so, what is one piece of advice you’d give to those following close behind?

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what its like to have an eating disorder, are eating disorders hereditary, skinny, vanity, weight loss, are eating disorders genetic? , raising girls, tweens, eating disorder, bulimarexia, eating disorders, anorexia, weight

Have you ever wondered are eating disorders genetic? I have since the day I gave birth to my first daughter because the last thing I wanted to pass down to my girls were eating disorders. Many of you know that I have been in recovery from bulimia and anorexia for nearly 20 years, with very few slip-ups. But eating disorders don’t just magically leave, they plague you for life. It’s impossible to unlearn those behaviors and almost as hard not to act upon your instinct. I know that’s not what anyone wants to hear but it is my truth.

Today, it finally happened. A day I’ve been dreading since she was born. The day she compared herself to me. One in which I had to really consider …

Are eating disorders genetic?

Unfortunately, my research says, yes, eating disorders are, in fact, genetic just like Bipolar disorder, depression and so many other mental illnesses. We like to think we can protect our children from illnesses but what do we do when we are the very people who gave them the genes to develop the disorder? It’s through no fault of our own. We can do everything right and still not be able to protect them from these kinds of things. I’ve tried my best to do everything right and I am super aware of the behaviors because of my own experience but what if none of that can stop any of it?

For me, there is no competition. She is better than me in every single way. She is a tall, leggy blonde with blue eyes that smile, a sweet voice and the perfect peaches and cream complexion.  Bella is everything I hoped to be as a young girl.  Smarter,  more graceful and stronger than I was at her age. She is independent, cultured and not afraid to stand up for herself and for what’s right. She is my idea of perfection.

In many ways, we are alike. That strong, independent bossy streak that runs deep in her, is all me. Her smile, me too. The intelligence, well she got that from both of us and the culture is something I have been instilling from birth. However, the tall, graceful leggy blonde is not me at all.

I have always been average to tall, 5’7”, dark hair, hazel ish-brown eyes and small-boned. My parents are not big people. My mom is 5’3” and my dad is probably around 5’10”. So, I was always the youngest and often one of the smaller kids in the class.

Today, as I was cleaning out my attic to prepare for the yearly garage sale, I was pretty excited because I have a bunch of “vintage” clothing that my newly 12-year-old can rock. These are pieces I loved but just will never look right on me again. I’m not 21 anymore and I’ve birthed 2 children; half tops and low-rise flared jeans are just not appropriate for me in my current situation. Read; an adult with some junk in the trunk and a tiny spare tire.

Anyways, as we sifted through the tubs, I got very excited because I was excited to pass these pieces on. Then it hit me, she is bigger than me now then I was at 21 ( because I was 3 years deep into my eating disorders; I was anorexic.) I knew this might happen, I’d planned to adjust for it but I forgot.

You see, a few months back, I told my oldest about my eating disorders as a preemptive strike. Now, I really struggled with whether or not I should tell the girls because I don’t want them to think less of me, think it’s ok or, worse still, be responsible for planting that seed in their brain. She’s almost taller than me now.

Her feet are passing me by and I noticed that when I tried to give her a pair of my shoes, she compared her feet to mine. Firstly, we have different builds. Secondly, she is a ballet dancer who dances in pointe; wide feet are a by-product. But none of that matters because she was comparing herself to me and I was the bar by which she was measuring herself. She judged her difference as a deficit. I assured her that different does not mean less than, it only means not the same.

Today, as we sifted again through the bins, she began trying things on. Things she knew I wore to my bridal shower and on our honeymoon and I could see her judging herself. It broke my heart. I had to jump in and explain that we have different builds and that I was not healthy when I was that size, the size that is smaller than a 12-year-old child. In all honesty, my 9-year-old happily accepted and fits into one of my favorite outfits from when I was 25. I was sick. Death was very possibile and none of that is ok.

I try to explain that I had already gone through puberty and my shape was different than hers is now. I also explained how I had no boobs and hairy legs when I was her age; to give her some perspective. Still, I saw the defeat in her eyes when she tried on one of my favorite skirts from the 90’s and she couldn’t fasten it.

The feeling is familiar. I wasn’t a fat teenager but I felt huge compared to my mom. My mom’s clothese got too small for me around the same time. This was also the same time; I began my lifelong battle with body dysmorphic disorder so all of this is scaring the shit out of me. Like, I am literally lying awake at night wondering how this is all going to play out and praying that eating disorders are not genetic because they never go away. There is no cure. You are just in a constant state of recovery for the rest of your life. I don’t want that for my girls.

To this day, I follow girls in recovery on Instagram. I’m invested in their recovery from eating disorders. Part of it is because I miss being in control like that and part of it is to cheer them on in their recovery. I want them to get better; to survive and have a life and a family and be able to eat food without mental anguish; cruelty-free without torture. But then I get this thought in my head, what if I’m cheering them on and they see me, overweight now, and relapse?

I’m terrified that the size of my clothes are going to push my daughter in that direction. She is almost as tall as me and she is going to be much taller. She is  more athletica than I ever was. Her father is bigger than my father. She is buying S/M in clothes and I am L/XL and I am afraid she is going to see the gap narrowing too much and see herself as bigger than she is. So, I have to get healthier so I don’t negatively affect the way she sees herself.

Believe me, I know this might sound crazy to many of you, especially if you’ve never had eating disorders but if you have, you know what I am talking about.  If the universe demands one of us be sick or feel bad or unhappy.Let it be me.

I may not be able to change her genetic makeup and predispositions but I can certainly be aware and be present and try my hardest to not let genetics outrank my nurturing. Maybe the answer to the question, “are eating disorders genetic?” might be yes but the outcome doesn’t have to be the same as it was for me.

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sexual health, women's health, women's bodies

Sometimes as a busy wife and mom, my life can get pretty hectic. Probably a lot like yours. It’s not easy when you have to be 100 places at the same time and you have little people depending on you for survival. That’s a lot of pressure, in and of itself, add to that work, errands, husband time and the fact that I am not as young as I once was and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed pretty quickly. That’s why I trust sites like anipots.com to provide me with the right knowledge regarding health supplements and remedies.

The thing is that this happens quite frequently and when it does, I don’t feel like myself. Does that happen to you? I’ve noticed that whenever my life gets busy and I’m experiencing a lot of emotional stress, there are always accompanying physical ramifications. For example, when you’re stressing out over why the baby isn’t sleeping through the night and the next thing you know you get a monster pimple between your eyes or you remember in the middle of the night that you have to bake 50 cupcakes for the PTO bake sale and then you fall victim to a migraine.

I’ve had an extremely stressful few months recently. I broke my leg last fall which created a host of other issues, as you can imagine mostly because when you are confined to one place and can’t bear weight, you start to feel like a ghost in your own life. You can’t imagine the emotional stress that feeling irrelevant can put on someone. Makes you appreciate what it must feel like to be elderly.

Then this spring I started having gallbladder attacks which led to a surgery to remove a diseased gallbladder. If you’ve never had a gallbladder attack, I don’t recommend them. They feel like an induced labor with no epidural. This caused more emotional stress that manifested itself by physically wiping me out. On top of all of this, I’m pretty sure that I’ve entered perimenopause land. They say it can start anywhere from your thirties through your forties (or even earlier for some) and can last anywhere from 10 months to 10 years, so that makes it a definite possibility.

I haven’t noticed any major symptoms like hot flashes, irregular periods or lower sex drive but others like urine leakage (hello, giving birth to two babies with huge heads), fatigue (a mom’s work is never done), mood swings and trouble sleeping (well, I’m a mom and a diagnosed insomniac so this has been part of my reality since having kids) but other than that I feel like I’m 25-years-old. Well, except for the occasional vaginal dryness but I blame that on the stress. Not to be too graphic but sometimes it’s like a slip and slide down there and sometimes it’s like the Sahara. I adjust. I’m not giving up my sex life because my vagina is being bipolar. Hey, 2 pregnancies, a broken leg and wonky gallbladder didn’t stop me. I’m not about to let aging win the war. I’m not dead yet.

The thing is life slows down for no woman so we have to make time to take care of ourselves. Sometimes that means getting some extra sleep, sometimes that means taking vitamins and exercising, sometimes that means sneaking away to pee in silence and sometimes that means giving yourself a little help in the lubricant area. Hey, my mama always told me, “God helps those who help themselves.” I have no shame in helping myself to the sex life I want. If that means picking up some Vagisil ProHydrate then I will. Vagisil ProHydrate Natural Feel helps make my love life feel natural again without the dryness that comes with perimenopause.

 

Unfortunately, it quite literally, took me falling and breaking my leg and being completely bed ridden for 4 months to learn that lesson. So when your body is telling you to slow down or take care of it, do it. You only have one body and one life. Enjoy!

What do you do to relieve stress that’s just for you and nobody else?

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mass shooting, gun control, LGBTQ, Orlando, Florida, Pulse, Shooting, Gay Community, Pride, Omar Mateen, Eddie Justice, Mina Justice

My heart has been breaking since learning about the mass shooting that took place at “Orlando’s Premier Gay club”, Pulse, early Sunday morning leaving 49 victims dead and 53 wounded. I’m saddened and sickened for so many reasons. I could write about ISIS, terrorism, bigotry, racism and hate but what saddens me the most is that 49 mothers and fathers lost their child last night because a lunatic with a gun decided he wanted it to be so.

49 unsuspecting people thought it was just another Saturday night. Actually, it was a pretty special night, it was the eve of Pride Day. If ever there was a night to celebrate as a LGBTQ person (or a human being for that matter) it is the night when we all feel like there is a little less hate and lot more love and acceptance in the world. A day when we feel closer to a world of human equality and further from separation.Today the entire world feels vulnerable and helpless; victimized and terrified. We are angry that this was allowed to happen again but don’t let the anger turn to hate. Hate is what got us here to this moment of childless mothers and fathers, in the first place.

That’s what I was feeling yesterday, as I rode the 15-hour drive home from Boston and saw all the smiling, celebratory faces of my friends, celebrating at Pride Parades and block parties. I felt the pride all last week while I was in Boston and glorious rainbows adorned all of the buildings and landmarks around the city. I could feel the acceptance in the air, it was palpable.

But last night, the ugliness of hatred and stupidity reared up its head and stole the lives of 49 children from their parents. No, they were not small children like the victims of Sandy Hook but anyone who has a child knows that our children are always “our children” no matter how old or how big they get. It is our most primal instinct to protect them and love them as fiercely as our hearts will allow; to give our lives in place of theirs without hesitation or thought.

When I read the story of Mina Justice and the texts that she received from her terrified son, Eddie Justice, while he hid in the bathroom from a gun wielding bigot, afraid for his life, my heart shattered into a million pieces. It’s horrid that any one person had to die so senselessly in such a brutal way for no reason at all other than for being who they were meant to be and loving who they were born to love. But to see his own words in the texts to his mother; to know his fear was almost too much to bare. I can only imagine what his mother must have been feeling.

As a mother, I wanted to crawl into the fetal position and die. I wanted to run to this mother and hold her and tell her that it was all going to be alright. That her son was fine. Like this was some primetime drama and at the end, everybody would walk away just fine and the bad man would be apprehended but that’s not how it happens in real life.

In real life, bad things happen to good people. Terrible unthinkable things happen to unsuspecting people who’ve done nothing more than live their lives, openly and freely. Mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, lose their loved ones because bad people with no scruples are allowed to obtain guns because, apparently, the right to bear arms trumps the right to live in our United States.

We are becoming desensitized to the point where when we see shootings on the news, it’s no longer shocking unless it’s a mass shooting.

People are outraged, screaming that terrorists are targeting and murdering the LGBTQ community and I agree with their outrage but for me, it’s much simpler. Someone murdered 49 children, his name was Omar Mateen.  He was an American-born man, a domestic terrorist, who called 911 before carrying out this ghastly task and pledged his allegiance to ISIS, while referencing the Boston Marathon bombers. He then chose to gun down 50 innocent people. This is the deadliest mass shooting in the United States and the nation’s worst terror attack since 9/11.

Mateen somehow managed to carry an assault rifle and a pistol into a packed club around 2 a.m. Sunday morning and started shooting, he murdered 49 people and wounded at least 53. After a three-hour standoff, while 350 people were trapped inside the club desperately calling and messaging friends and relatives, police crashed into the building with an armored vehicle and stun grenades and killed Mateen.

Omar Mateen was 29-years-old, lived in Fort Pierce, Florida and had been interviewed not once but twice, in 2013 and again in 2014, by the FBI but was found both times to not be a threat. They were wrong. In the past two weeks Mateen legally purchased a Glock pistol and a long gun, ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Trevor Velinor told reporters.

Authorities spoke with Mateen’s father and ex-wife and both said that Omar Mateen was not particularly religious but his father said that recently, Omar saw two men kissing in Miami and it offended him. His ex-wife says that she thinks he was bipolar but was never formally diagnosed. Sounds to me like he was a bigot with a gun; a bully.

49 moms and dads are beside themselves trying to figure out how to live without their children alive to love. 49 childless mothers are sobbing primally because their world has been destroyed. 49 childless fathers are looking at the door expecting their child to return, knowing they never will; feeling a void that is so massive that it feels as if their heart will crush beneath the weight of it.

Today the entire world feels vulnerable and helpless; victimized and terrified. We are angry that this was allowed to happen again but don’t let the anger turn to hate. Hate is what got us here to this moment of childless mothers and fathers, in the first place.

Channel your hatred, anger, helplessness and vulnerability into change. Donate blood. Be kind to strangers. Treat people as humans. Don’t judge people for who they love, the color of their skin or the God they worship. Be a voice for the mothers and fathers who cannot speak or barely breathe, those who lost everything because one evil man was able to possess a gun and with that gun he chose to murder people just because he could.

We have to say no more, stand up for those who need protection and be the change we want to see in the world. The time for  expecting others to make things happen has passed. We have to vote, risk and force the change. Next time, it could be one of our children.

What would you be willing to risk in order to prevent another mass shooting?

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parental survival tips, back-to-school, first day of school, nerves, moody judy

The first day back-to-school is today and yesterday my girls lost their minds. I never noticed this phenomenon before. Nerves are to be expected at back-to-school but full-on crazy was never part of the deal! Maybe it’s a tween thing or maybe I’m just noticing it but yesterday was the worst. Forget about my worries of avoiding the kindergarten hallway of death with mother’s strewn on the floor collapsed in puddles of snot and tears. Today, back-to-school can kiss my grits! Now, I know why all the parents in the 3rd-5th-grade hall just carry in paper goods like pack mules and never look back. No photos, no kisses or have a good day, just lots of knowing nods and exhaustion.

The tween has gone completely bipolar on me (and you know I don’t use this term lightly, takes one to know one and wow! She’s making my head spin) one second she’s smiling and hugging on me, cuddling in for dear life and the next, she is rolling her eyes so hard that I think she might have sprained something and crying, sobbing over boots that she begged for….that I bought. I thought that was a good thing. NO! I was dead freaking wrong because in tween brain that means I bought her stupid boots that she can’t even wear over her pants, with her skirts or until NOVEMBER! I’m such a horrible mom.

But she asked for them. Tough shit lady, you should have known better. Then she begins sobbing uncontrollably in the middle of the Target. As I’m ready to check out and on the cell phone with my sister, like one of those assholes who doesn’t give a shit about other people’s hearing space, talking her off a ledge about the details of her upcoming wedding, the 10-year-old is throwing a full-on tantrum because I’m not buying all of the volleyball shorts and athletic t-shirts.

Why am I being so evil? Because I don’t think its pertinent to buy these things when 1) she hasn’t made the team yet 2) we are still trying to figure out how she is going to fit 5 ballet classes, 2 robotics team meetings, violin, cheerleading practice and games and MAYBE volleyball into the schedule. Did I mention that 5th grade is a clusterf*ck? Be afraid, be very afraid. It’s the year of everything and ballet has decided that this is the year that my kid needs to decide to dedicate her life to it. She’s 10!!!!!! But more about that later.

The 8-year-old has been sneaking into my bed every night for the past 5 days under the guise of a “stomach ache” that mysteriously disappears the moment her head hits my pillow. It’s all  nerves induced by back-to-school. I give her this because I get it but it’s school, not war! And in the past week, I have gotten next to zero accomplished because of making all the moments of summer count and all that jazz. It’s like every year the week before back-to-school, my girls try to climb back into the womb and at 4’8″ and 5’1″, they just don’t fit anymore but that doesn’t stop them from trying.

Between my children going completely insane, recovering from travel and impending travel, planning a bridal shower, a bachelorette party, being the maid of honor, while squeezing in a press trip, deadlines and oh yeah, did I mention trying to coordinate the most insane extracurricular schedule ever…I am feeling less crying about missing my babies today and more hell, yeah, finally some quiet time to work…in my house…alone…without the white noise of constant girl bickering.

Don’t get me wrong, I left drop off this year, just like every year before, missing my little girls. But this year, we all need some quiet alone time. The years are rushing by at warp speed and we just need some time to decompress from all the excitement and growing up. It’s stressful but at the same time, it’s exciting for all of us.

back-to-school, first day of school, nerves, moody judy, parental survival tips

Is it wrong that I want to throw a one woman dance party followed by complete silence to celebrate back-to-school?

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women's issues, body image, self-image, expectations of being a woman

I read a post written recently by Petra Collins titled Why Instagram Censored My Body. You need to read it. Petra’s instagram account was for the crime of posting a photo of herself from the waist down in a pair of bikini bottoms. She had not had a bikini wax. There was no Borat like tactics with rogue pubic hairs escaping at alarming rates but there was a definite shadow at her bikini line. I was not offended. Hair grows naturally; it’s supposed to be there. Grown women are not supposed to have pubic areas that mimic small children. Even though I’d never have the balls to grow in my pubic hair never mind snap a photo and post it to Instagram, I respect Collins for doing so.

We live in a world where women are expected to look, act, be and do things a very specific way. The manual for how to be a woman was obviously not written by a woman. It is very meticulous in the wish list for the perfect woman. Perhaps a teen boy wrote it at the beginning of time. It’s nearly ridiculous enough that I could believe it.

We all live by these imaginary, unwritten rules, whether we intend to or want to or not. We may wish we did not or pretend that we don’t care but every single woman who has ever lived has known that these rules for how to be the perfect woman exist. We either chose to embrace it, hate it, fight it or pretend to adhere while hiding who we really are and live with the shame of not being good enough. That is where most of us live, in the shame and unhappiness of not being good enough to meet these crazy unreachable expectations. If we are beautiful enough, we don’t feel smart enough. If we are smart enough, we don’t feel attractive enough. If we are thin enough, we don’t feel interesting enough. If we are interesting enough, we don’t feel exciting enough. If we are exciting enough, we don’t feel responsible enough. We never feel completely satisfied with who we are in the world. Do men?

Too much sex; we’re sluts. No sex: we’re frigid. The assumption is that men want to date sluts but marry virgins but no one wants to date a virgin. It’s a woman’s personal choice why can’t we all just have a preference without being labeled? An average sized body is considered too fat. Fat is considered disgusting. Malnourished and eating disordered is considered beautiful, no one cares the toll it takes on that woman to get there. Small breasts are not big enough. Big is never big enough. Damn your back and the fact that you look like a cartoon character. If you work, you should be home. If you stay home, you should be barefoot and pregnant. If you don’t work, you are useless. If you don’t want kids, there is something wrong with you. If you can’t handle your kids, something is wrong with you. If you’re succeeding at your career, you must be shirking your responsibilities as a woman elsewhere; unhappy husband, neglected children or bad hair. The expectation is that the house is supposed to be clean at all times and a home cooked meal is supposed to be on the table no matter what else is going on.

You are supposed to be beautiful, thin, patient and love motherhood. You’re never supposed to rest or complain. You’re always supposed to be happy. If you have an opinion, you are overbearing. If you don’t, you’re an dumb. If you’re smart, you’ve got a good personality but no dates. If you speak up for yourself, you are bossy. If you take a stand, you are a bitch. The world is a masochistic, ironic murderer of the woman’s self. The dichotomy of who women are and who they are expected to be is enough to make the sanest of our heads spin but then if we complain, we must be bipolar, PMSing or just bitter. How sad is it that we live in a world where women commonly use fat as a protection against their sexuality or the sexual advances from others? How fucked up is it that the worst thing a woman believes she can be is ugly or unattractive in any way to men? How sad is it that we live in a world where women still confuse sex as love?

We’ve been forced to stoamch women being treated as less than for so long that we accept it as the state of affairs. The unspeakable is status quo. We have been beaten down for so long that we no longer fight. We are too weak from the fury of fighting just to be treated as equal human beings.

I’m here to tell you that you are….
More beautiful than you can see. Special in your own way. Smarter than you will ever believe. Stronger than you think. Talented in ways you never expected. Perfect just the way you are. Better than enough. You set the rules. This is your life. You deserve to be happy. Fuck other people’s expectations. The only one you answer to is yourself. Choose to be happy. Shave. Pluck and wax if you want. If you don’t, let your bush flag fly but never let someone else dictate your happiness. To truly be perfect, we need to be free to be ourselves all the time without consequence of backlash for being scrutinized for every choice we make.

What is the one thing that You love about YOU?

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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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