Feeling Inspired

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Muriel Strode (Author).

Sunday evening after I had successfully submitted paper three for my online course (I am so close to becoming a LPC), a dear friend of mine texted me, inviting me out for hookah! I figured that it was a better move than spending the rest of the evening at home, alone, on a holiday weekend and after experiencing a great loss (We’ll get into that another time). So, off I went. As I got ready and headed out, I thought about how long it has been since I have been out with friends, or have had much fun, or even got my blog on. As the summer comes to a close, I realized that I have been rather swamped these days adulting and what not. I have been managing three jobs as a mental health professional (one full time and two part times), family issues, and my own personal life stressors. As I pulled up to the Lebanese Restaurant (In my Homer Simpson Voice, “Mmmmm, Lebanese Restaurant”), I let those thoughts subside and decided to be in the moment with my homie.

I was a fabulous night with clear skies and crisp air with low humidity (My hair and sweat glands were thankful). We caught up on our lives and laughed at jokes while toking on our gum mint and grape filled shisha and sipping on mint tea. The menu looked scrumptious, loaded with some of my favs, but I was unable to indulge due to my Whole30 diet plan (3 weeks in!!!). Dude! I wanted a craft beer or a glass of Malbec so bad, but I abstained. Don’t worry; I had a Larabar in my bag in case ish got real (Which it did towards the end of the night, LOL!).

Anyway, after a while, two older men at the table next to us started up a conversation with us. They introduced themselves and the conversation lead to their travel adventures. A great deal of their travel was work related as they are in the business of satellite communications and some was for leisure over the years. My homie fit right into the conversation since he was born overseas and has lived in/traveled to many different countries. I have been to a few places (mainly around the U.S. and the Caribbean), but I did not have much to offer for travel experiences. With that said, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to them rattle off all the places they’ve been. Thailand, Dubai, Australia, London, Various parts of the Caribbean, Korea, Japan, Brazil, Argentina, just to name a few. The conversation was delightful; I was so entertained and inspired. I got that travel/new experiences itch bad. The last time that I traveled was about a year ago. I am close to accomplishing a huge career goal and once that is done, I’m ready to live a little more!

Coming across the quote at the start of this post contributed to my reflection on the above. The quote, alone, was motivating. I receive daily quotes to my work email from Values.Com and I love them. The challenge paired with this quote is to “Take a spontaneous trip, and explore a new place; even if it’s in your own town.” Ay Yi Captain! I have discussed this many times with my significant other within the past two and a half years. Though we have adult life focuses, we still need to have fun and experience life in a bit of a spontaneous way. Ya know, to keep things interesting!

I had to step away for a bit so that I can get my life, but I’ll be back! It is funny how a simple impromptu outing can leave you pondering life. Consider the quote and its challenge for yourselves.  Get out there and do your thing!

#UnitedIndependence = Accomplishing our individual goals together!

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Fruits of Your Labor

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“You have to learn how to slow down and enjoy the fruits, man”, says my BF in one of the long, random conversations we had over this past weekend. I recall getting into one of my rants of how I’m overwhelmed and tired from doing so much, yet, in the same breath, I talked about how I wanted to add more to my heavily piled plate! He took the time to highlight what I sounded like and he couldn’t have been more right. Oh my goodness! I do need to chill!

It’s funny that we are much alike in that we are very ambitious, determined, and driven… Oh and FOCUSED MaaaaAAAANNN! Some may also group us into the Stubborn and Hard-headed category, but that’s a conversation for a different day. Anyway, being so ambitious, determined, and driven can also mean that we do not know how to sit back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of our labor. I believe we both call each other out on this.

Speaking for myself, I guess I have operated like a well-oiled machine for so long that I don’t know what to do with myself when I’m not working on something or thinking about working on something. They say that you gotta work hard to play hard, but over the last several years I have found myself working extremely hard, accomplishing goals left and right, but not taking the time to match my play.

Now this isn’t to say that I never cut loose and enjoy myself from time to time. I’ve made some good memories, but I’m currently feeling extreme burnout. I’m all out of juice like a broke down hoopty on I-95. I’m getting to the point where I feel like something has to give. The funny thing is, I actually have some control here and I simply need to make a plan towards a solution for my problem and see it through. Is it weird that I feel guilty for resting and taking a time out for myself? Can any of you relate to this feeling? I know it’s because of some bogus fear/unrealistic expectation I place upon myself and I just need to push that load of crap aside and live.

I’m looking forward to it! Life is no joke short; I don’t want to waste anymore of whatever time I have left here on bullsh*t. Our conversation really got me hyped for doing more for me. Though I’m a Beachbody Coach, we talked about me joining a gym to have access to weights, etc. So, I went and toured a few. LA Fitness and Sport & Health were nice! Um, Planet Fitness didn’t do it for me. Lol. Then he suggested that I create my own workout space in my home, just for me. Hmmmm, that sounded good because I don’t have too much time, but for some reason I didn’t think I could do it. “I’m just going to join a gym”, I thought to myself, but then he encouraged it more and that idea became more appealing.

I became excited to have this private little space in my home for me and started putting it into action!

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I moved stuff around (like that monstrous treadmill), purchased a weight bench (and put that joker together) and bam! Check it out. Lol! It’s not fancy, but it’s cute, mine, and functional. I just need to get a heavier set of weights, a barbell, and the Body Beast fitness program from Beachbody. Ooooooo, I can’t wait! Really, it is the little things. Putting that room together has lifted my spirits and I have been excited all week working out in there (beats working out in my bedroom)!

If you are feeling the burnout like I am, I encourage you, me, us, to chillax a bit in efforts to recognize how much our hard work has paid off.

Here’s to enjoying the fruits!

R.I.P.

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I have mentally and emotionally prepared myself to bid farewell to the bruised little girl who still lives deep inside of me. The little girl who is trapped between the ages of birth to five years of old; The little girl who is uncertain about the consistency of her caregiving, essentially, the consistency of her world; The little girl who unfortunately taught herself to feel comfortable all alone; The little girl who believes that she is unworthy of love; The little girl that carries the shame and guilt of her family; The little girl who has seen too much too fast; The little girl who dissociates when experiencing pain/trauma; The little girl who doesn’t fully understand why they did what they did and why they left her; The little girl with fear and sadness in her heart, yet bravery in her soul, which can be seen through her gentle, little eyes.

Hey there little pretty girl that God has made. You have blossomed into a wonderful, joy of a woman. It’s ok; you’re safe and have been safe for quite some time. Look my little ninja, we made it! There’s that beautiful smile little girl! Come over to me and give me a warm hug. Dry your eyes and look at me. Let’s not live in and/or relive the past, because I want to fully live here in the present. I want to be right here in the present where not only am I safe, but there’s consistency; Life is simple and enjoyable; I don’t carry the family’s shame and guilt, or even my own, Dammit!; I am not being traumatized; I am by no means alone and have people around me I can trust; I am worthy of love and receive love; My strength and courage to face my world is intact and even admired by others…..

Little girl, I have nothing but respect for you because you did what you could to the fullest extent of your ability for us, but your job is absolutely done. I hope you can trust that I can and will take it from here. It’s time for us to deliver our valedictions. So long little girl… May you REST IN PEACE.

Maxin’ n Relaxin’

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Chillin on the beach in Miami in my all-white bikini and just for a little while I don’t have a single care in the world. This weather is unbelievably perfect. Not too cool and not too hot; the humidity is low and my hair is thankful. There’s an awesome oceanic breeze blowing that tickles my skin. (Teehee) The sun is shining ever so brightly in the baby blue sky interspersed with little white wispy clouds; it looks like it was freshly painted on an empty canvass. When I close my eyes I find the sound of the waves crashing into the shoreline so soothing and relaxing. All of the people surrounding me: the seemingly happy large families, the pregnant young mother and her adorable toddler playing in the sand, the random single muscle men jogging by in speedos, the groups of 20s-30s something girl friends/guy friends drinking and partying, the random dude sitting solo in the cut people watching, the stoned beach bum who is flying a colorful kite by himself, the cute young couples scattered about holding hands and exchanging little hugs and kisses; all of them are having a good time; we are having a good time. And even though I wish you were here, I’m all smiles and am able to enjoy the moment. I think I’ll daydream a bit while sipping my beer… #Cheers

Zero F*cks Given

Often, our blogs have taglines. But, what if humans did too? What would your taglines be? 

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I’m actually so random and unpredictable that several different taglines could be used to represent me, but at the time of seeing this writing prompt, “Zero Fucks Given” is what comes to mind. I’m counting down to the wonderful age of 30; 14 more days; OMG exactly 2 weeks from today, eeeeeek! And do you know what’s funny? I actually feel different. Though it’s been a gradual uphill struggle getting up to this point, I feel like only within the past 3 – 6 months have I realized the many significant changes within my mind, body, and spirit. Some people may share my sentiments and some people may scoff and think that my age ain’t nothing but a number. Shrugs, I dunno, I’m just going by how I am currently thinking and feeling. 

These days I am less anxious, more calm, and easygoing. I have more understanding and acceptance, especially of the people, places, things, and events that I cannot change. I love myself more and appreciate my true beauty. I feel more confident and have the motivation and courage to do what I want. My people-pleasing days seem to be coming to a close. Regardless of the fake ass, hardcore bullshiggity people spit from their mouths about not caring about what other people think about them, we all want to be liked/loved, valued, and appreciated. Me included! But, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, this is less important to me than it was in my previous years. I figure that as long as I like me, God has my back, and I’m ok with my thoughts, feelings, and actions, then I’m good to go! 

I want to share something with you… Given my unconventional upbringing in a substance abusing household, I have developed what those in the mental health profession refer to as  dun, dun, duuuuuunnnnn, “codependency issues”. According to merriam-webster.com. codependency is a psychological condition in which someone is in an unhealthy relationship that involves living with and providing care for another person (such as a drug addict or an alcoholic); as a psychological condition or relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition; dependence on the needs of or control by another. According to Codependency for Dummies, symptoms are as follows:

Low self-esteem

Not liking or accepting yourself

Feeling you’re inadequate in some way

Thinking you’re not quite enough

Worrying you are or could be a failure

Concerned with what other people think about you

Perfectionism

Pleasing others and giving up yourself

Poor boundaries

Boundaries that are too weak and there’s not enough separateness between you and your partner

Boundaries that are too rigid and keep you from being close

Boundaries that flip back and forth between too close and too rigid

Reactivity

Dysfunctional Communication

Difficulty expressing thoughts and feelings

Difficulty setting boundaries — saying “No” or stopping abuse

Abusive language

Lack of assertiveness about your needs

Dependency

Afraid of being alone or out of a relationship

Feeling trapped in a bad relationship and unable to leave

Relying too much on others opinions

Intimacy problems

Avoidance of closeness

Losing yourself

Trying to control or manipulate others

Feeling trapped in a dysfunctional relationship

Denial

Denial of codependency

Denial about a painful reality in your relationship

Denial of your feelings

Denial of your needs

Caretaking

Control

Controlling your own feelings

Managing and controlling people in your life; telling them what to do

Manipulating others to feel or behave like you want (people pleasing is a manipulation)

Obsessions

Addiction to a substance or process

Painful emotions

Shame

Anxiety

Fear

Guilt

Hopelessness

Despair

Depression

Um, well damn! As a mental health therapist with a specialization in working with individuals with co-occurring disorders (i.e. someone with both a substance use disorder and at least one other mental health disorder such as bipolar disorder), I am fully aware of those who present with codependent behaviors. I’m actually well-versed in the subject matter, but for years I felt as if I was above those issues due to my studies and career in the field… How foolish! It wasn’t until there was a major crisis within my immediate family 1.5yrs ago, the heart breaking end of my last relationship 6 months ago, and my participation in brief outpatient therapy which ended about 3 months ago, before I realized that a lot of my stress and depression was directly related to my freaking codependency issues!!! Cue the cartoon light bulb above my big ass head!

Therapy brought me back to life. It helped me to get centered and put my life into perspective. It helped me face my denials and hold myself and others accountable. It helped me deal with my extreme feelings of guilt and shame. It helped me gain the strength to say “NO!” and feel ok about it. It helped me to loosen my death grip on everything and everyone because, can you believe this?, I actually don’t have all the control in the world. It helped me to recognize where I was being taken advantage of. It helped me to simply let go and forgive myself and others.

I still care about other people and some things, but not at my expense. I do what I want and drop whatever gets in my way. I thank God that I have peace today… #ZeroFucksGiven

Thanks for stopping by, feel free to comment.

DP:Tagline

Aren’t We Fortunate?

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Enjoying the simple things today, like my apple and cinnamon infused water I was sipping on all day at work. It was delicious to drink and even though I typically drink a gallon of water a day this provided the extra motivation to get through the last few ounces. While drinking it throughout the day, I thought about those people out there who can’t even enjoy a regular cup of clean water, let alone an apple to eat. I immediately felt blessed. We often times go about our days taking so many things for granted without realizing how fortunate we truly are. Just thought I’d share my thoughts….

😉 #stayblessed homies! #happymonday!

Turning Corners

“At one point or another, your life will change. You will turn corners and come upon new blessings and challenges in your lifetime. This can be a positive experience, because it means that God is ready to change you and bring you into a new season of blessing. God never made you with the intention of staying the same. Instead, He made you so that you would change and grow and move forward. God is not in the business of becoming stagnant and never changing. God has promised you that He will never leave you or be too far away. Even though you may turn a corner without knowing what is on the other side, God knows. He will not allow you to trip or stumble when you’re following Him completely. So go ahead and turn those corners in confidence with God at your side!”

I read this in an email from TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria that my aunt and/or mother tends to send to me daily during the work week. It is a good message that I am open to hearing. I’ll take all of the encouragement I can get! I find comfort in trusting in the Lord, as individuals in my life have proven to function selfishly and inconsiderate of me at times. This is life and I accept it; for me it ain’t a thing, because God is always there!

Happy Wednesday from #UnitedIndependence!

Demons

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Demons…We all have them, and if you want to function at your most optimal level, you must face them jokers. The thing is, my demons are mine, I’m aware of them, and I own them muthafuqqas. But guess what, though they contribute to who I am, they don’t define me. Can you say the same? That’s what you should be worried about, and I’m speaking to you adult persons out there. Depending on the day, I may look into the mirror and see the negative, the past traumas, the short-comings, the failures, the bruised ego, the rejection, the hurt, staring back at me.  The thing is, as I age and mature, I actually smile back, because without all of those “things”, I wouldn’t be the awesome person I have become, the awesome person that I am today. (High-Five to Self!)

This year has consisted of several personal changes and growth for me, after being in a rut the year before when I had to deal with familial relationships and complications, changes at work, and some health challenges (hypothyroidism). This year has also been a bit challenging, yet, overall enjoyable and productive. I have accepted and taken risks on different levels from my career to my relationships; I’ve won some and lost some, but definitely have come out on top. I have learned a lot and have actually shifted perspectives on a lot of things.  I have better determined what I want vs. what I do not want; I have identified problem areas and have taken steps in the efforts to effectively address those problem areas; I have established/re-established and reinforced personal boundaries; I have remained true to myself; and more importantly, I have not allowed fear to hold me back, actually, from anything.

I had some support this year too, even support from a new source.  It was much appreciated and came right on time. It helped to propel me forward, but also what it did was test me.  This source originally helped me along, but then turned around and tested me a bit… Hmmmm….  Without getting into too much detail, what started as assistance, turned into a hindrance. This isn’t a bad thing, though. See what happened is that new source, served its purpose and is no longer valid in my life. That’s when the art of “Letting Go” comes into play. 😉 **waves goodbye**

As I write this, I feel so grateful that I’m able to stand tall no matter what.  I’m able to do my best to get what I need out of this life. I’m able to face anyone and anything as my true self and accept the outcomes. I have the patience, consideration, understanding, and empathy of a flippin’ saint sometimes. What I remind myself is that as long as I have remained true to myself in all of the situations that I encounter, I can’t go wrong. It is funny how we say that we appreciate and value honesty/integrity, loyalty, and respect from others, because, not even a small fraction of us really mean that. No matter what though, I do what I want, I am who I am, and I’m straightforward. I get the job done and frankly, I don’t want to be around anyone or anything who/that isn’t strong, confident, and winning at this game of life…. with your demons and all.

There’s no issue in being flawed; I haven’t met a perfect soul yet!  It’s how you work them flaws and compensate with your strengths.  It’s about your character!!! My life story so far includes so much disappointment….my goodness…. but I’m still here and have accomplished more than a lot of folks. And for that, I’m grateful. And I am cool with my character! I’m proud of me, and I love me! Again, can you say the same?

In the spirit of the Thanksgiving Holiday, be grateful folks! Recognize how far you’ve come! If you’ve done your best, all you can do is be proud and content with your efforts, in spite of the outcomes! Punch your demons in the face and allow your beautiful selves to shine ever so brightly!

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Serotonin

“I never want to come down from you.”

Serotonin, a neurotransmitter primarily found in our Gastrointestinal tracts (GI tract), platelets, and Central Nervous Systems (CNS), is popularly thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness.  Who doesn’t just absolutely love it when they are experiencing the wonderful feelings of sheer bliss? I took some time out to meditate today and recall a few different happy moments throughout my life.  It was nice, I’m all smiles today. We know that negative moods are associated with negative outcomes, and in the words of the wise Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

We have to keep our mind, body, and spirit up! That is if we are planning on making it in this world. So, brothers and sisters,

#1 – Turn them frowns upside down – Get your mind right!,

#2 – Let’s get up in the gym and work on our fitness – Come on now, Beer and Wings are only going to get you but so far…, and

#3- Give it up to your higher power – Do what you want, but my HP is the Holy Trinity.

We “goin’ up, on a Tuesday!” LOL Happy Tuesday followers! I challenge you to take a holistic approach to your life….. Being great isn’t easy, is it? But, we got this!

Best wishes,

The Greatest
…JK, but not really. Lol… 😉

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