The Shoulds and Coulds

Photo by Giuseppe Ruco on Unsplash

Large chunks of our lives are devoted to what we think we should do, who we think we should be.

All the shoulds and coulds can be so very loud and prominent as we learn to navigate self identity.

This could very be a part of the evolutionary process into adulthood, but this doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be something we pay attention to and be mindful and intentional in dissecting.

There are so many beliefs that are poured over us from very young.

As a young girl I believed that I was supposed to be good.

Being good meant, among other things, being pure.

This required waiting until marriage for physical intimacy, marriage being the pinnacle of a woman’s experience.

In a marriage she could then live and fulfill her life’s purpose of being a wife and becoming a mother.

While these can be incredibly beautiful things, they lead women to believe that once they have these things they will be happy and fulfilled.

It teaches women to find their value in what they do, as well as to find their meaning in relation to others, particularly in their service to the people who surround them

Happiness and fulfillment do not come from anything external, though these things can be sources of great joy.

This was a shocking blow to me as a young woman when my own short lived marriage crumbled to pieces, resulting in feelings of failure, devastation, and very real thoughts of ending my life.

What failed me was the idea that I could find fulfillment in anything outside of myself, whether that be a role or a person.

Being a woman, being an individual, is so much more than the roles we play and fill, and certainly more than we can ever give.

This is an example of just one of the lies we choose to believe.

That lie that we can ‘put on’ our identity and that who we are is found in the labels and roles we play.

The downside is this belief that develops as a result, “If only I get ____________, then I’ll be happy.”

The coulds and woulds are so easy to put on and take off, and yet always utterly unsatisfying.

If I could do ____________, then I’ll be happy, successful, known, appreciated, valued.

If I would do ____________, then I’ll be seen, recognized, loved.

Trying on roles as easily as a costume in this constant search for meaning.

When really we what we need to do is peel them all off.

Strip away all that isn’t authentically us, all that doesn’t belong to us.

It’s an evolutionary process, completion or having every ‘made it’, is an illusion.

The finding of ourselves only emerges in the process, again and again, and again.

But, friend, who you are isn’t found in any role you wear, or title you gain, or thing you do for another.

They asked her,

“What is real happiness?”

She answered,

“Happiness is not fulfilling every pleasure or

getting every outcome you desire. Happiness

is being able to enjoy life with a peaceful mind

that is not constantly craving for more. It is

inner peace that comes from embracing change.”

yung pueblo | being

Find your peace, friend.

Look for it within you and not in the roles you play or in the people who love you.


Your Trusted Friend ❤️

She Was

She was the sun,

but you couldn’t handle how brightly she burned.

She was the storm,

but you couldn’t bend with the torrent.

She was all the things you crave,

but you couldn’t let yourself savor.

– Miranda Skye Bullock

So often we are told by society that we are too much of something, particularly as women.

We’re supposed to fit neatly into a little box, sprinkles of just the right about of intelligence, allure, and confidence so that we are pleasing, palatable, and acceptable.

Too smart and you’re challenging.

Too sexy and you’re a whore.

Too confident and you’re a bitch.

Let us also not forget that we’re not supposed to be overly emotional, otherwise, we’ll be perceived as “crazy”.

That box doesn’t fit, and I refuse to try to squeeze myself into something that isn’t meant for me.

Nor will I hack off any of the bits of me that work to create my wonder and mystery for someone else to understand or like me.

Just like the beautiful and mysterious moon,

You have an opportunity to witness my phases and to also see both my light and dark.

Those are my offerings.

They are glorious and powerful, and certainly not always agreeable and easy to digest.

Someone once told me that when I am feeling good I am the best person in the world to be around, but when I’m not…

Eyebrows were raised and shoulders were shrugged as if this was some sort of thing that I should find shame in.

For a moment I did, friend.

I felt shame in the fact that I wasn’t always ‘easy’ and ‘pleasing’.

However, as I sat with this I fumed.

Why do I need to ALWAYS be good? easy? pleasing?

What a ridiculous and impossible expectation to place on a woman.

Yet, this is often our burden to bear, if we allow it.

To speak softly of what irks or irritates us, to be careful with other people’s egos at the detriment of our wellbeing.

No. I will no longer sacrifice my authenticity for someone else’s comfort and ease.

There is beauty and wonder in me, regardless of where I am when you come to sit beside me – if this is ‘good’, ‘bad’, or something in between.

No one can show up 100% of the time, there is no such thing as perfection…

or of even being the best version of yourself all of the time.

To have this expectation placed upon you either externally or internally doesn’t show respect for the fact that there are ebbs and flows.

If the moon can be allowed to wane and wax, to be full or new, so can I.

So then can we.


Your Trusted Friend ❤️

Losing Your Leaves

There is a wonderful feeling in calling people and things into your life that encourage you to bloom.

But, what happens when you feel yourself starting to wither and the signs arrive telling you that it’s time to let something go?

I’ve had the tendency, friend, to cling to things long past the expiration date.

This has happened for a multitude of reasons, and I’m sure that you can relate.

Sometimes there has been a time commitment.

I’ve given so much of my time, as well so much space in my life to someone, that it seems a waste to not stay.

Additionally, I’ve clung to the comfort of familiarity and the safety of what is known.

So, how do we let something go in a way that is healthy and healing, constructive and meaningful?

How do we say goodbye in a way that celebrates what it meant in the time that it served us?

For, it’s not that it didn’t matter, it’s that it’s no longer serving us now.

Instead of blooming, we’re withering.

Relationships are a lot like plants, aren’t they?

Recently I watched the leaves of my house plant fall off one by one.

I did everything I could to try and save it.

I pruned what needed pruning. I paid attention to a watering schedule, ensured it had sufficient light, and misted the plant regularly to try to save its last leaf.

It was no use, though. The last leaf turned yellow, then brown, and I was just about to admit defeat and toss the plant in the trash when I noticed new green shoots pushing up out of the soil.

For some plants dropping leaves is a normal part of its life cycle, particularly in the winter months so that there is less foliage to maintain while the days are darker. Makes total sense, right?

Relationships will also go through cycles as we grow, adapt, and change. There will be difficult periods in which we have less to give to those around us and we have to pull back to tend to ourselves.

However, in this situation that is just a temporary loss. Just like my plant. If I’d have given up I’d have missed the period of new growth that comes after the cultivation.

Many plants, though, drop leaves because they are not being properly cared for or the environment doesn’t suit them. In these cases the plant’s leaves will continue to fall off and, unless the circumstances are changed, the plant will die.

How true of us when we find ourselves in relationships that do not suit us?

Parts of us will start to wither.

Maybe it’s the sparkle in your eyes that dims?

Or a loss of interest in the activities and hobbies that used to bring you joy?

Perhaps you’re ignoring your friends and not spending time with the people that know you best?

These are the dropping off of your leaves, friend.

Your body will tell you, too.

For me, this has always started with intuition. When neglected, though, it will also be accompanied by anxiety, migraines, and intestinal issues.

These are the dropping off of my leaves telling me that a current relationship is not optimal for my growth and that I need to remove myself from the environment.

Maybe that’s just it, friend?

Perhaps what is necessary for this situation is to listen to our intuition and not stay until all our leaves have fallen off?

This could be how we honor something, is to recognize when nothing else is going to grow from the soil.


Your Trusted Friend ❤️

What Love Looks Like

“I used to secretively watch Nick listening to Alice when she told a story; that tender, proud look he got on his face, the way he laughed harder than anyone else when she said something funny or typically Alice. He got Alice, the way we did, or maybe even more so than us. He made her more confident, funnier, smarter. He brought out all the things that were there already and let her be fully herself, so she seemed to shine with this inner light. He loved her so much, he made her seem even more lovable.”

Liane Moriarty, “What Alice Forgot”

Of all the things I’ve read and experienced in regards to the topic of love, this struck me as a fairly accurate depiction of what I desire in love and commitment. Not only in my romantic entanglements, but also in my friendships – in those people that I keep closest to me.

To be loved by someone who looks at me with pride and amazement, whose hands have an irresistible urge to touch and caress me, whose love is so clear and tangible that I am left with no doubts, and am thus able to live without the fear of rejection, or of not being good enough — because with every look and touch I’m told;

You’re special, I choose you.

This love isn’t one that strives to change or alter me in any way. It is one which sees into me and ‘gets’ me.

When we feel someone really sees us, friend, then we can’t help but feel more confident, funnier, smarter…

No one makes us these things by what they say or do, but by the way that they are tender with us.

Those that look at us with pride and a relishment have the ability to encourage us to be fully in line with who we are at our core.

These are the people that we can’t help but feel ourselves settle in to being the most authentic and genuine version of ourselves.

It’s as if love is coaxing that best version of ourselves to come forward.

This isn’t a love that goes one way, either.

It’s reciprocal.

Flowing both ways from one to the other. Each person perpetually growing and blooming into themselves.

These are the only type of people that you should surround yourself with.

The people that challenge you, uplift you, inspire you because of who they are.

These will also be the people that treat you with loving kindness and unlimited respect, courtesy, and compassion.

You won’t doubt their love and respect, for it’ll be so clear as to be tangible.

Be this person and wait for these people to surround you.


Your Trusted Friend ❤️


We all crave intimacy, and yet it’s the scariest thing in the world to receive for it requires vulnerability.

Vulnerability – my friend – demands that we give up control.

For so many of us control is a way in which we protect ourselves from pain, from hurt, from being broken.

The danger of intimacy is that it can result in abandonment, of opening ourselves up and being found not enough.

So, we hide ourselves away, keep aloof, in order to protect from this unconscious fear.

In the process, though, we miss out on deep intimacy that is created when we’re vulnerable and seen.

One of the most basic needs we have as human beings is connection.

We want to know and be known.

Not just for how we make others feel, but for who we are – deep inside.

There is this urge to be someone special and not just someone used to fill time with.

So often we settle in our relationships because we’re afraid to be alone.

We settle for a warm body, for a time filler.

When, really, what we long for is to be someone special to someone special.

A connection in a world that seems so loud, so busy, and – so often – so very, very lonely.

For some people a warm body is enough when it is stacked up against the option of loneliness.

Not for me.

It’s okay to be alone in a loud world – as long as it means that I’m not settling for being a soft warm body for someone to hold on to just because they are too afraid to be alone.

I’d rather be alone, then to be a filler in another person’s world.

For others they will spend copious amounts of time to try and earn connection, or to prove that they are ‘good enough’ for it.

Instead, though, we need to be willing enough.

Willing to show up as the unique version of ourselves. Willing to wait until we’re seen. Willing to let go.

So, in the meantime, I’ll practice vulnerability and relinquish control in order to be seen and chosen for my own personal brand of magic.

That’s the only kind of love anyone should be willing to settle for.

One that sees you as you are, and loves you there.

Appreciates it, but understands that where you are today isn’t where you’ll be found tomorrow.

Today this serves as a reminder, that my life and love is magical and I only want to share it with someone who can see and revel in it.

Until then, I’m not just a warm body – and nor are you.


Your Trusted Friend ❤️

Precious Stone


Stay hopeful, please.

When you’re in the dark so long it’s easy to forget what the light feels and looks like.

Easier still to feel that you’ll never see it again.

It’s easy for me to remind you that you will see it again and to ask you to have faith.

Words can fall short of what we need or want in situations where we feel alone.

I wish I could climb down into the darkness with you, wrap you in my arms, and let my light bloom around and over you.

If I could I would.

What I can offer you are words and empathy, which I know is a small thing.

Can we pretend that I am sitting there with you?

If so, I’d tell you to close your eyes and take a deep breath.

Hold it for just a moment.

Then, slowly, let it go.

When I’ve been in my darkest moments, friend, sometimes that feels like all I can do.

Just breath.

Breath and hold on.

I’ve been in dark moments, ones that broke me to what I thought was beyond repair.

Ugly shower cries, mascara stained pillows, too many days spent in bed without a shower.

All the while wondering how I would muster the energy and the resilience to go on.

I felt the darkness press in all around me, suffocating me.

Then I breathed, and I kept breathing.

Very slowly I picked up all the pieces of me and fit them back together as best that I could.

Initially it was a patchwork job, but friend, over time I’ve sanded the edges and filled the cracks and this person that I am has been made a masterpiece because of the darkness I’ve visited and survived.

Life can feel sometimes like you are facing a fire breathing dragon with nothing to defend yourself with.

You’re forced to stand and take the brunt force of the fury of the beast full on.

Miraculously, though, when the fire is spent, you’re still standing.

You’re still standing.

What happens to a precious stone when exposed to heat?

It is made more beautiful.

You, my friend, are a precious stone being refined, altered, and changed.

Once through this you too will be even more beautiful.

Until then, though, I’ll be here.


Your Trusted Friend ❤️

A Lesson

We encounter many different people over the course of our lifetime, and each person serves a purpose.

Most of the people we meet come into our lives to teach us a lesson.

Something we are meant to learn, and then move on from.

This is true of our friends, mentors, and lovers.

Only a select few people are able to stand beside us through a lifetime of lessons.

So much of this is because the path that we are on, the lessons we are meant to learn, and the pace in which we learn them are all unique to each individual and not everyone will be able to accompany you on your journey for a lifetime.

Each of us has a path that we are meant to walk, the path that feels right to us.

Each of these paths – if we are following the one laid for us – isn’t always going to be the one that is well trodden.

Meaning, the people around us will come and go – leaving us with a jewel, a remnant of the relationship, that we are meant to carry with us.

It is often easier to accept this when it comes to our friendships. It is easy to realize that there are friendships that we simply outgrow.

Harder to understand when this comes to our romances.

When a romance ends people often have a harder time wrapping their heads around the why of it.

How many times have you tried to hold onto a relationship far beyond the expiration date?

The reasons are endless.

First, it’s scary to move on and second, relationships provide an amazing amount of comfort even if you’ve outgrown the fit.

It’s simple, really.

They were only meant to be a lesson, a guide to walk with you for a time.

People who are only meant to teach you a lesson, are not meant for a lifetime.

Those lifetime relationships have a different feel to them, friend.

Look around you. I am sure you already have these kind of people in your life.

Think about how these people feel to be around; how they inspire you to grow and expand, how they feel like home, and how you feel like more of yourself in their company.

They encourage you to continually shed the old and are ready and able to embrace every new version of you along the way.

Why would you settle for anything less in your romances?

Don’t turn the lesson into a lifetime.


Your Trusted Friend ❤️

Indicator Lights

New things are scary, are they not, friend?

It has been a learning process to not dread fear.

All of our emotions; fear, doubt, insecurity, excitement, love, jealousy, etc…

They can all serve a purpose.

Our emotions serve as our indicator lights.

They notify us to pause and to ‘take a look under the hood.’

When something has gone askew, when we need to tune into something and look deeper…


Indicator light.

This is an opportunity to delve deep and to ask yourself why.

What is this feeling revealing to me?

What is this feeling telling me?

Why did this feeling show up now?

What is it that I am responding to?

Why am I responding in this manner?

Our emotions are a gift to connect to the people around us, but – more importantly – provide us important indicators and ‘warning signs’ that it’s time to address something deeper within.

Often, however, we see our emotions as triggers and – instead of pausing to look under the hood and taking the opportunity to delve deeper – we become reactionary, defensive, and/or avoidant.

Fear can often prompt us to run.

Anger to erupt.

Jealousy to obsess.

Doubt to hold back.

Instead of letting these emotions control our behavior and impede our relationships, we can – instead – look at these feelings as an opportunity for self exploration and for deeper conversations.

An opportunity to look at the underlying issues and address them.

Why are your emotions activating and what are they trying to draw your attention to?

It’s time to take a look under the hood and find out.


Your Trusted Friend ❤️

Thought Distortion

In what ways have you held yourself back, friend?

Have you, like me, not given voice to what it is you really want?

Have you also been afraid to speak your desires because of fear and the stories you’ve told yourself?

So many times I can remember not speaking either what it was I wanted, what I felt, or established a necessary boundary out of fear and the thoughts running through my head.

What if he says no?

What if I come across as needy? clingy? Too interested?

What if she leaves or doesn’t agree with me?

What if I push them away?

What if I’m asking for too much?

These thoughts are distortions created by doubt, insecurity, and the stories I’ve told myself.

If I want something, I cannot be afraid to ask for it.

The very worst thing that can happen is that someone says no.

However, if I never ask I’ll never give the opportunity to someone to meet me.

It is okay to have needs, wants, and desires.

However, if you don’t voice these things – if you don’t let the people around you know what you want – you’re denying yourself of having your needs met. Additionally, you’re not giving a fair opportunity to the people around you to take care of you.

To meet you, to nurture you, to give to you –

or to stop and cease something that may be hurting or hindering you.

This is how I’ve let myself down, friend, by not voicing what I want.

By not reaching out to grasp and claim my own desires. I’ve let my fear have control, instead of controlling my fear.

This is a way in which I’ve held myself back and played victim.

I claim responsibility and release it.

It is time to commit to asking for what I want, speaking my needs, and drawing clear boundaries while ignoring the distortions caused by fears, insecurities, and the stories that have held me back.

It is time to ask in order to receive.

It’s never too much if it’s what you really want


Your Trusted Friend ❤️

Life Preserver

Your self worth cannot be tied to anything external of you.

Not your job, your partner, your appearance, your family, the clothes you put on, your kids, or your friends.

I don’t usually like the use of absolute statements, but in this case I think it is applicable.

You should NEVER define yourself or find your worth in anything that is external.

You might be asking yourself why at this point.

Because, my friend, everything outside of you is temporal and changeable.

Jobs can be lost, moods of people are constantly in flux, appearances and fashion alters over time, kids grow up, and friendships evolve and change.

The only place you should find your worth is within. That should be your constant.

If you find your worth within then nothing external of you can destroy or take it away.

This by no means says you can’t be rocked by external changes, because you will.

Life has a way of engulfing and overwhelming us – but if you have learned to trust yourself and who you are, THAT – my friend – is your life preserver.

I say this as someone who spent a great deal of my life creating myself and viewing myself through the opinions of others.

External opinions and failures had the power to destroy me. To the point, my friend, that after my divorce I thought very seriously of suicide.

I genuinely felt that if someone could leave me the way that my ex did then there must be something very very wrong with me.

If I were a house, then this heartbreak tore me down to the studs.

This was necessary, for it allowed me to rebuild who I was and how I understood myself. I learned to love and trust myself, deeply, and there was absolutely nothing wrong with me.

There is another absolute.

You should believe this about yourself as well, my friend.

There is NOTHING wrong with you.

You are so lovable and so very worthy – but don’t believe it because I say it, believe it because it’s true and you know this in your very cells.

You will always be your own life preserver then, and life – while it can rock and swamp you – will not have the ability to easily sink you.


Your Trusted Friend ❤️