My Gap-Toothed Smile

When I was little I had a gap in my two front teeth.

It was large enough to fit a nickel and a dime pressed together perfectly.

I know this because a friend handed me a nickel and asked if it would fit between my teeth. When it did easily she scoured her pockets for any more loose change and handed me both the nickel and a dime.

It fit, almost getting stuck. I had a brief moment of panic when I removed my fingers and the change stayed between my teeth.

Fortunately the change, after that brief moment of panic, fell out.

People noticed my gap and teased me about it.

I was called names to the point where I learned to hide my smile.

As soon as I was able to get braces to repair the gap, I did. I am now the proud owner of a gapless smile.

When I got older and saw a model in a magazine proudly and boldly displaying her gap-toothed smile that looked an awful lot like the smile I used to have I felt a tinge of sadness.

I had let factors outside of me tell me that there was something wrong with me that required fixing.

There were years when I was insecure about my smile and hid it behind my hand or closed lips.

So often the things that make us different or unique can also be a source of embarrassment.

I wish I’d had the confidence to own my smile with pride. I wish I had believed the one teacher who told me that my smile was beautiful.

Because it was.

Your Trusted Friend ❤︎


Relationships can be minefields.

As every one of us is a unique individual, it can be difficult to truly understand the people around us; their views can be so drastically different from our own as to be incomprehensible.

This isn’t necessarily wrong or bad, it’s just that we’re standing and looking a different way, seeing a different perspective based on our unique history and experiences.

Sometimes, people are further along the path and know what’s coming around the corner when you do not.

I met someone who I instantly felt that I knew, it was a deep sense of “Hi, I know you,” and yet we were strangers.

This was a gift to meet someone and feel that deep connection so effortlessly.

With time, though, I recognize why he felt so familiar and known to me.

I knew him because I used to be him.

There were so many ways we could understand one another because some of our darkest trauma and trauma wounds were identical.

We were, however, in different places in our journal towards healing.

You see, much of my trauma had resulted in me becoming a co-dependent people pleaser.

I felt deeply afraid and unworthy of love so I would do everything I could to prove my worthiness, to prove how good and great and special and unique I am.

The proving wasn’t only for those I was wooing, it was for me too.

I see that now in the rearview mirror, the ways I desperately clung to situations that didn’t serve me because I thought if I could earn the love and approval of someone else, then that would mean I was lovable.

So, I knew him because I used to be him.

I saw the ways he yeared and reached for affirmation and emotional regulation outside of himself because those used to be the same places that I looked for validation.

The insecurities that arose in questions and comments…

“Why are you dressed up, is there someone you’re trying to impress?”

“I saw a look between you and so and so that seemed meaningful, is something going on between the two of you?”

“You feel different, what’s going on? Do you still like me?”

“I don’t think anyone here likes me.”

“No one understands me.”

“You don’t understand me.”

But you see, I do understand you because I used to be you.

I used to look outside of myself for validation, and attach it to whether or not someone else decided to choose me.

If you don’t love yourself and feel wholly worthy as you are, this is the evidence.

These are the landmines you’re planting in your relationships.

The doubts, the questioning, the need for validation, and for someone else to be responsible for your emotional regulation.

I know, because I used to plant them and then be surprised when they would erupt in my face.


Your Trusted Friend ❤️

The Pull of Self Abandonment

“Dressing ‘Single'”

Recently I reflected on what happens when you step outside of your comfort zones to change, grow, and bloom into something new.

The external result of your internal changes may be to make others uncomfortable with the new and unfamiliar version of you.

There will be those that cannot continue on a mutual journey with this new you, as they do not have space for your growth. However, there will also be those that celebrate your evolutions and make space – rejoicing in getting to know each new incantation.

There have been times in my life where I have felt pulled or called to change, grow, and/or do something differently.

One of the ways in which I have grown the most is in my ability to release the urge to people please and to move away from codependent relationships.

For a great deal of my life instead of looking internally to see what would bring me the most peace, I looked to the people around me and evaluated what would cause the most discomfort for them and this is what informed my decisions.

Allowing external factors to influence and impact who I shaped myself to be, versus looking inward at what brought me the most peace, resulted in me losing myself.

I put on the costume of who others expected me to be and strove to please and be loved by others by the things I put on, instead of working towards loving myself and finding what brought me peace and joy.

People pleasing and working to earn the love and approval of others was something that I had to let go of.

Instead, I recognize that I am worthy of love just by being.

Not long ago I found myself in a relationship with a beautiful, but incredibly insecure man.

I felt these insecurities like weights on my being.

The time I was going to work and he asked me why I was dressing as if I was single or when he asked if there was something going on between me and my best friend’s boyfriend because I had touched his arm in the midst of a conversation.

Both situations had me questioning who I was and how I was presenting myself in order to be perceived in such a way by someone that I cared about.

I felt myself leaning towards changing myself in order to make him more comfortable and to not provoke his triggers or insecurities.

As I felt this pull to change and alter myself for another, I recognized that this did not feel natural for me.

There was nothing wrong with the way that I dressed or the way in which I interacted with the significant others of my friends.

Abandoning myself and choosing something outside of myself would only result in misalignment within me, even if it may make someone else happier or more comfortable with me.

The more instances of insecurity that popped up over the course of our relationship the more I felt the danger of abandoning myself for my ex and his comfort, of doing something just to make him happy, the more clear it became that this wasn’t a healthy relationship for either of us.

There was a moment when I recognized that the old version of me would have been perfect for this man, as she would have changed her clothes and avoided her friends in order to ensure that her partner felt loved.

Now I recognize that this isn’t love, it’s self abandonment and – while I could very well have made someone more comfortable for the short term – I would have lost myself in attempting to be the perfect version of myself that I thought he wanted.

If that’s love, it’s not the kind of love that I desire.

I want the kind that invites me to be myself and celebrates in the birth of each new authentic version of me.

A love that is not threatened by any part of me, but is able to admire and appreciate.


Your Trusted Friend ❤︎

Comfort Zones & Disappointment

Opening yourself up to something new can be scary, whatever that ‘new’ might be.

It’s easy to get stuck in comfort and what is known and familiar.

While I do think that there is something valuable in being able to be content in life, I also think that it is equally valuable to grow and expand.

There will be people who are able to make room for your growth, and will celebrate.

On the flip side, there will also be people who will not be able to accommodate.

There have been times when I have played small out of fear of losing those that had an inability to make room for my growth.

So I squashed myself, like squeezing into jeans two sizes to small, I bore the discomfort because it was known and familiar and didn’t cost me anything extra… except my discomfort.

As a woman this has been a burden that I’ve been conditioned to bear, to put the needs and comfort of others ahead of my own.

To be self sacrificing.

As I’ve gotten older and recognized what this has cost me, I’ve had to unlearn this habit and learn – instead -to put myself first and that by doing so it doesn’t make me selfish.

I recently learned of a potential opportunity, a whisper of something new.

It excited me, but my first thought wasn’t on what would be best for me, what would be best for my quality of life, it was on what I’d be leaving behind and what that would mean for those that a would be impacted by my absence.

So, I prepared for a possible shift and imagined myself leaving the comfort that I’d established.

There was a whole life I was able to visualize for myself that I hadn’t even contemplated before and with this vision I prepared to act as soon as the possibility became reality.

In this space I felt myself grow and while the opportunity didn’t materialize, I feel a new found freedom in the fact that I was open to possibility, to change, and to stepping outside of the life that’s become so familiar to me.

Additionally, I embraced the disappointment.

That’s where I am now.

Disappointed and releasing a vision I had for myself, while leaving space for something else to bloom and grow.

Apparently, this round, was just the practice match.


Your Trusted Friend

Embrace Embarrassment

We all make mistakes, say things we don’t mean, or have awkward social moments and all of these can result in embarrassment.

Whether you learn at the end of the day you’ve had food in your teeth since your lunchtime salad or you send a scathing email to your boss instead of the co-worker you’d intended to, we all find ourselves in situations we’d rather not.

Embarrassment can result in feeling ashamed, out of place, upset, regretful, or self-conscious.

As a result, we can diminish and hold ourselves back because we are fearful of embarrassing ourselves further.

It can help to remember that in our mortification we are not alone, as everyone has their own personal stories of intense humiliation.

Granted, there are those people who are able to shake off embarrassment more easily than others, and that’s okay.

Most of the time I am one of those people.

Being someone that can, at times, not only be socially awkward but a major klutz, I’ve found myself in numerous moments of shame, and – because of this – I’ve learned to ‘brush off’ these innocent human moments.

Recently I was in a text exchange with two people talking about an upcoming camping trip.

One is a close personal friend, the other I’ll liken to a celebrity crush.

Meaning it’s someone I will admire and pine over from afar, enjoying the swoon.

In the course of these text exchanges, as you’ve probably guessed, I sent a message to my celebrity crush instead of my close friend.

Not only that, but I didn’t even recognize my error until late in the afternoon of the next day.

In my realization, I felt the entirety of my body respond by blushing and I tossed my phone across the room in my horror.

While I can fairly easily brush off my error as an innocent and funny mistake, it doesn’t mean that there wasn’t also some pretty intense embarrassment.

A couple of days after the mis-text I was spending time with several girlfriends and shared with them my error. In my telling I one of my friends’ hands went to her face to cover her open mouthed shock, the other’s face turned red in empathy and we all laughed.

Big belly, tears rolling down our faces laughter.

It felt good to laugh at myself, but even better, it felt good to connect.

I shared a very human moment, one in which I was extremely vulnerable, and through that I was able to to share a moment of connection.

This moment was worth the embarrassment…

even though I have yet to hear a response from my celebrity crush in the aftermath of sending the wrong text.

It was worth it.

There is power in embracing these moments of embarrassment and discomfort.


Your Trusted Friend ❤︎

The Power of Belief

When you believe something you become it.

Our beliefs are a source of immense power.

Beliefs are our guiding principles of life that provide both direction and meaning.

When we have experiences in life it is our beliefs that function as a filter for our perceptions of the world and provide color, they are our brain’s way of making sense of the world around us, and help us to navigate it.

If your belief is that you are unworthy, then your experience of mental, physical, or verbal abuse is filtered through that lens and is perceived as deserving.

I know, I’ve been there. I’ve believed myself to not be worthy and, as such, ended up in situations in which I was mentally and verbally abused because I perceived that I was deserving of it.

Our beliefs inform us and are, in essence, our command center that determines how we perceive what is happening to and around us. It is how we create meaning.

Beliefs originate from what we hear and keep hearing from others and ourselves.

So when my inner mean girl continually tells me that I am not enough this creates a belief system that taints my perception of my experiences.

Our beliefs, though, are not stagnate and can be changed and altered.

Since our beliefs originate from the stories we tell ourselves we can change our thoughts and thus become open and receptive to other information.

When we change our thoughts, we change our beliefs and behavior.

Our beliefs are truly powerful.

With the power of our mind, we can believe that a placebo is a miracle cure and make it so.

Every cell of our body is perfectly aware of our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.

If the power of belief can cure ailments, think of the power it has over what you magnetize and attract?

Think of how you either empower or disempower yourself with your beliefs?

What we perceive, is what we will receive.

I believe this impacts so many aspects of our lives.

There are many irrational beliefs that can take root in our minds that result in self-sabatague.

Thoughts like;

All my friends are better than me.

I’m not good enough for this relationship.

There is no way I’d get that job.

These types of negative beliefs create a subconscious internal map that is used to navigate life.

A map created by limiting beliefs won’t get you very far, and certainly not where you want to go.

If we want to change this, we must change ourselves and how we think.

A good place to start is with those thoughts that we are repeating to ourselves and replacing them;

The people around me are a direct reflection of my beauty and potential.

I am more than enough for this relationship.

This job would be lucky to have me if it is for my greater good.

Beliefs need to change in order to result in a shift in perception and alter behavior.


Your Trusted Friend ❤︎

How You See the Glass

There are some people who no matter how much sunshine and rainbows you try to rain down upon them, will always see the potential impending doom and plan accordingly.

Perhaps these are the people that would fair best during a zombie apocalypse, for they have already thought through to the direst of outcomes and have stockpiled numerous resources so as not to be caught unawares?

These are people who have already visualized the outcome and are mentally and physically prepared for any eventuality.

See, this is me – looking at the positive of a situation. Looking at the possible benefit of someone being a Negative Nancy, or a Dooom-and-Gloomer.

Shakespeare says in Julius Caesar that; “Cowards die many times before their deaths, the valiant never taste of death but once.”

This is the true downfall of those that worry about what is to befall them, which is that ‘death’ happens many times.

By worrying about all the things that go wrong you suffer before it’s even necessary to do so, sometimes even bringing on that which you worry about upon yourself.

Like the time I went to an event all by myself, worrying that I wouldn’t connect, feel comfortable, or have the ability to enjoy myself.

I entered the event with this fear, so I felt disconnected, uncomfortable, and didn’t enjoy myself – creating and manifesting the very thing that I was afraid of.

Additionally, I demonstrated a lack of faith, trust, and confidence in myself by perceiving this solo adventure of mine through a negative lens.

I didn’t trust myself to make positive connections, to be able to attract like-minded people to me, to find comfort in the friends and companions that I’d inevitably run into.

It’s been a while since I mingled in a social setting that I arrived at solo. I was out of practice and let doubts and insecurity be the prominent voices in my head.

So, perhaps another element of having the ability to see a situation from a positive lens is having faith, trust, and confidence in yourself and your abilities?

And, also, a growth mindset – because, as humans, we will mess up. We will fall. We will fail.

Just like I did in my solo outing.

Even though I let my sense of disease run me off to retreat back home, I returned home with a really full heart – recognizing that, while I was uncomfortable, I am still loved and celebrated.

I may have felt disconnected – I wasn’t

My discomfiture didn’t make anyone think less of me, matter-of-fact, I was seen and understood without judgment.

Next time I arrive solo at an event I don’t think I’ll be knocked off balance quite so easily.


Your Trusted Friend ❤︎

Introducing My Inner Voice

I’ve gotten used to the voice in my head, the mean girl who tells me I’m not good enough.

Not thin enough.

Not smart enough.

Not financially stable enough.

Not pretty enough.

Not feminine enough.

Not enough.

There has been a perpetual bar in my mind that I’ve tried to elevate myself beyond by working hard.

The voice has shown up as tough love to push me beyond my comfort zones.

So, in some ways the inner mean girl has provided motivation and drive to be as good as those around me, those I perceived to be thinner, smarter, financially more stable, prettier, and more feminine than me.

She also had me do squats in the shower because I’d seen the cellulite on my legs as I’d washed.

She had me pulling and tugging on my body to diminish the size of my hips and thighs as I looked in the mirror.

She had me doing extra cardio because I’d not fit into the pants I’d worn regularly just a month ago.

She had me stay in an abusive relationship because when he said I wouldn’t do better than him she said that’s what I deserved.

The inner mean girl that pushed me to earn my master’s degree also had me believing that I was not enough.

As I have become aware of how my inner mean girl has limited and restricted me I’ve made efforts to be an observer of these thoughts and *flick* them away.

I wanted to uproot these thoughts that had become a part of my belief system in determining how I felt about myself.

While this strategy worked for a while, recently she has just gotten louder and more demanding.

So I sat with her and acknowledged her.

I acknowledged how her efforts were her attempt to protect me and keep me safe, but that her voice doesn’t serve me any longer.

That in many ways the inner mean girl hurt and restricted me.

She had me placing limitations around myself, not only on what I deserved but on what felt I was supposed to look like.

It’s time to invite other voices.

Ones that speak to me with love, compassion, and affection.

Ones that echo and reinforce the truth of my enoughness


Your Trusted Friend ❤︎

It’s Just a Detour

There have been many endings in my life that initially felt cataclysmic.

Not getting into the college I’d dreamed of attending.

Break-ups with lovers that I’d believed would last forever.

Jobs I’d applied for that seemed a perfect fit passed me over.

All things I wrapped my hope and vision of my future around that prematurely ended leaving me devastated and lost.

However, once I got on the other side of these endings and found myself somewhere new I realized that none of these endings were roadblocks, they were detours.

So, now I’ve learned to see endings as new opportunities.

This doesn’t diminish the pain that endings can bring, but it does provide some comfort as I work through the accompanying feelings that tend to come with an unexpected detour toward embracing optimism and curiosity.

Perhaps one path has reached its natural end, but I’ve just been shown that another path awaits me, even if only one step is illuminated before me at a time.

I’m good at planning and dreaming of the route I’d like my life to follow.

Letting go of my attachment to these plans has been vital as I’ve found myself at detours that brought me miracles I was only able to create because of the endings.

Now I can celebrate new beginnings and the possibilities that they bring all because of an unexpected detour.


Your Trusted Friend 🖤

Give Yourself Permission

Photo by Klara Kulikova on Unsplash

Give yourself permission to let go.

When I think of letting go, friend, I think of two ways in which one can release.

Some things we grasp hold tightly because we know once we let go, once we stop trying, grasping, or clinging – whatever is in our grasp will disappear or leave.

So we hold on with a white knuckle grip and clenched teeth and we fight, often finding honor in the willingness to fight so hard and suffer in our relentlessness.

Instead, though, what we are actually doing is diverting energy, attention, and focus onto something that should be released. Something we should let go of in order to free space and make room for something else.

There is no honor or nobility in the white-knuckling, only blind stubbornness.

When we cling to ideas, dreams, or people after we’ve outgrown them because we’re afraid of letting go, of what comes next, we are cheating ourselves of our next evolution.

So, first, there are things that must be released in order to purge them. Other times we must release in order to flow. We must stop trying to control, fight, manage or manipulate and – instead – ride the momentum.

Sometimes there are things that need to be eradicated, dismissed, or erased because they do not serve us and who we are becoming.

And sometimes we just need to let go of control and let it be the momentum that drives us forward, the wind that fills our sails, the current that takes us downstream.

This is the type of release that creates space to flow with what comes easily while holding the rudder to avoid pitfalls and the river bank – but first we must push off the dock.

This is the release that allows the kite to dance on the wind while holding the kite string – but first, we must let go of the kite.

This requires the wisdom and understanding that we do not direct the current or the way in which the wind blows, but we do have to decide and then allow ourselves to be carried and guided.

So, give yourself permission to let go.

Your Trusted Friend ❤︎