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…

BING!

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.

Always,

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

Always,

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.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ❤️

Lessons Through Pain

Once upon a time I went through a devastating breakup.

I felt myself splinter apart and I couldn’t see how the pieces of me would ever fit back together again.

The view of mascara stains on my pillow and the ache of misery in my belly that made me feel full to stuffed was something that I became accustomed to.

With time that pain dulled, but it offered a view of myself when I was raw and broke that allowed me to see into all the dark forgotten corners of myself.

The areas that I’d allowed someone else to occupy, the parts that I’d left ignored without tending for far too long, those spots I’d tucked away and camouflaged, dressed up and disguised.

I also saw someone intelligent, interesting, and made with a core of titanium strength.

That deep look allowed me to see both the parts of myself that I didn’t like that required some work, and the parts that I loved and allowed myself to embrace.

The pain of this breakup became a part of me that prepared me for what was to come.

It’s interesting, though, as I’ve experienced much more difficult things since this first heartbreak, that nothing has broken me quite like it.

Now I can be thankful for this pain, for I see how it prepared me for what was to come. How the unique person I carefully pieced back together was more prepared to handle the struggle.

Friend, pain will eventually dull with time, but open your heart to it. Let it rip you to shreds, and when you’re completely naked to yourself take a long look.

Figure out who you are, and do it by yourself. Don’t ask anyone else to define you or to piece you back together.

We are all unique people with uniquely created pain, and this is your time to claim that for yourself.

Why in the world would I do that, you ask?

Because life will balance back again, and you will go through worse pain.

You’ll need this experience as absolutely necessary and it will become a part of you.

So, take a long look and, whether or not you like it, figure out who you are as a unique person without distracting yourself.

In your pain you have an opportunity to get to know yourself in a magical way. I know, I’ve been there.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ❤

Perceived Perceptions

So much time is devoted to attempting to view ourselves through the lens of other people’s perceptions, followed by hacking off pieces of ourselves to squeeze into a box we think others have ascribed to us.

We try to be what and who we believe others want us to be. Performing gymnastics to be some twisted version of ourselves.

To look like the characters in fashion, beauty, and fitness magazines and putting on a personality as we would a costume that we think we be most pleasing.

Guess what?

It’s our own fault when we find our wrists wrapped in chains. We’ve tied ourselves together, twisted up the knots, because of what we imagine someone else is thinking.

In reality, most people have so many of their own worries and fears running through their minds that they don’t have the mental space to be making assumptions about us, at least as much as we perceive that they do.

So, we’ve stressed and created anxiety as we’ve redefined ourselves and limited ourselves for nothing but our own guilt, fear, and crisis of identity.

The sooner we are able to root ourselves into our own truth the better.

Dig deep, friend, and take note of who lurks within.

This is the only person you should be presenting to the world.

Let her free.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ❤

Us/Them

It seems we’ve never fully matured past high school cliques.

I understand the desire and need to surround yourself with like-minded people. This is natural, because as you pursue your dreams, goals, and chase aspirations you’re going to meet people along the way that are on the same path as you.

The danger in this, my friend, is the way that forming cliques and groups can separate you from other people. People who are different than you, people who are on a different path than you, people who could potentially have something new to teach you outside of your comfortable sphere and bubble.

Instead of seeing others outside your path as potential teachers and eye openers, they are often looked at with skepticism and judgement.

We develop an us/them mentality, labeling them as ‘other’.

The side effects of this us/them mentality is that it gets converted into the idea of good versus bad, right versus wrong, the hero versus the villain.

Most of the time, though, this isn’t true. There are no good guys and bad guys. No cowboy in a white hat to save the day from the black-hatted villain.

This leaches it’s way into our ideas, ways of living, and how we walk through this world. We each feel our way is ‘correct’ and our views are the ‘right’ ones.

There are so many ways in which this can lead to folly and misunderstanding as we try to convince, persuade, and argue with those around us in order to get them to fall in line with us.

If they don’t? We stomp our feet, throw a fit, and declare any dissenters our foes.

What if we didn’t do this, though?

What if instead we sought to understand the whys?

I read about a couple that was having disagreements about money. Both felt they they were right and correct and were at their wits end with the other.

In counseling they were both asked to explain WHY they felt the way that they did about money.

The husband had grown up in a family where a job loss occurred and no buffer or savings was in place to protect the family. Due to this his family had to move into a hotel. He told himself he would never end up in this position as an adult and as a result saving became a top priority to him.

The experience of the wife was vastly different. Her family growing up had saved, always putting off vacations, hobbies, and experiences until later. Unfortunately her dad died unexpectedly never being able to enjoy all of the things he planned for. She told herself that she would never put things off, and this became a top priority for her.

Both were aware of one another’s priorities when it came to finances. Obviously one wanted to save, while the other wanted to spend. However, they were not aware of one another’s WHY and how past experiences had shaped their views. Neither of them was wrong, they just had a different experience and perspective.

How about instead of creating divisions and sides, trying to prove we’re right and convincing someone else that they are wrong, we seek to understand their WHY.

Agreement doesn’t have to happen, but understanding can. Seeing where someone else is coming from can open eyes, allow empathy, and provide opportunity to create a middle ground that all can exist in.

Most of the time, friend, there isn’t a good guy and a bad guy… just different perspectives, experiences, and whys.

Let’s take the time to seek out these people with a different view.

Think of all of things we can see, learn, and understand if we do.

After all, we’re not in high school anymore.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ❤

An Imprint

We each of us leave an imprint on the people around us.

The people we touch are forever altered by the touches we mark them with.

You get to decide, my friend, the X you leave behind – that mark that says you were there.

Did you speak words of kindness, gentle whispers brushed lovingly across a beloved’s ear, or did you rail down criticisms and complaints shattering spirits and wrecking hearts?

Did your touch trail down your lover’s spine sending tingles of adoration and anticipation, or did you ball your fists and smash holes in the walls of a home lovingly built?

Do the people you’ve met gently cradle the memories built with you as treasures, or lock them into boxes in an attempt to forget them?

You’ve left your imprint, of this I guarantee, even if you were but a temporary visitor.

We can all think of kind words spoken by a stranger at just the time when we most needed them.

The woman in the grocery store who had to stop you and tell you what beautiful energy you have.

The elderly gentleman that thanked you for your beautiful smile and told you that you’d made his day.

The barista who asked how your day was only to have you burst into tears, and instead of acting shocked and embarrassed, asked if she could hug you.

The teenager who told you that you were easy to talk to.

The man, so touched by the safety you offered, commented in open amazement on how easy it was to open up and be vulnerable with you.

You choose the imprint you leave.

Choose carefully…

because X marks the spot that says you were there.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ❤

Practice Patience

Friend, so much of our ability to remain patient depends upon our ability to practice being hopeful, to believe that in everything there is a reason and that all detours, setbacks, and heartbreaks are – in reality – preparing you for something better.

Something greater.

I am not the most patient person.

Nope, I’m the kind that wants to read the last page of a book to see how it ends.

Not just fiction, but real life as well. I can admit that I’ve pushed many relationships to the breaking point by trying to rush to the finish line.

To push to define what we are, and where we are going.

This doesn’t just happen in my personal relationships, but also when I face any obstacle. There is this almost desperate need to know why.

Where is this leading?

To push through the difficulty as quickly as possible and to reach the finish line, to learn the lesson, earn the prize, and reach the next level.

For our growth does not come in the calm, it comes when we are under pressures.

Perhaps, friend, we need to stop, breath, and take notice of these situations more – instead of, like me – trying to barrel our way through them?

It’s been a lesson to learn to feel all the feels, to let sadness just like happiness flow through me and to have equal respect paid.

This same lesson could be applied to life experiences as well, to give respect and time to dishevel, disruption, and destruction.

For these times tear us down.

They break us, and then we build brand new.

This understanding, that hard things create and mold us, will bolster us, friend, and provide us the patience, grace, and strength that we need to preserver and – just maybe – the ability to savor these moments for what they have to teach us.

All of this requires our patience, to not always try to rush and escape the hard stuff in order to get to the good.

Friend, the good IS coming, trust that, but right now we have to sit in the bad and not try to skip through to the end of the book.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ❤️

Closure and Tomatoes

Recently I read a quote by Mel Robbins where she stated, “You don’t need closure. You need to move on” and this made me think about tomatoes.

I hate tomatoes. They literally make me gag.

Several years ago when I met my daughter’s great grandfather and he heard of my aversion to tomatoes he decided that I just needed to eat the right tomato.

I was hesitant as to his rationale, after all I’ve lived to a grand ol’ age without my taste buds altering to this particular flavor profile, but I figured I’d give his theory a chance.

We walked to the farmers market together with my daughter in tow and he bought several varieties of fresh grown local tomatoes. He gushed over each while I raised a brow in speculative doubt.

Honestly, they all looked like mushy disgustingness to me. Past that firm, shiny, red exterior was slimy, warm, seedy, mush.

An unexpected quiver of revulsion ran down my spine as he took a large bite of one as if it were an apple to have the juice run down his chin and fingers. He smiled in delight as he handed it to me.

Not wanting to let this wonderful man down, I grabbed the tomato, closed my eyes, and took a tentative bite. My teeth broke through the firm skin and into the mushy pulp beneath, filling my mouth with its warm gooey texture and…

Friend, I hated it. Instead of chewing, I swallowed down the mush in one gulp along with the bile that threatened to rise.

It didn’t take the right tomato, friend. I just don’t like them.

This doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with tomatoes, or anything wrong with you if you like them. I just happen to not enjoy them.

So, why do I tell you this torrid tomato tale? Because it reminds me of our need for closure when relationships end.

We want to know why.

Why didn’t she choose me? Why didn’t he like me? Why didn’t this work? Why did he cheat? Why did she ghost? Why did they stop speaking with me? Why don’t we hang out any more?

Guess what? It’s simple. It’s because he or she or they don’t… and that is okay.

It doesn’t mean that something is wrong with you, or that someone else won’t come along and find you marvelous and mouth watering.

You just were not the right taste, texture, and flavor for that one person. That, my friend, is all you need to know.

If someone doesn’t like tomatoes you can’t convince them otherwise, no matter how flowering the descriptors and adjectives, no matter how much you – personally – love them, they don’t.

We don’t, generally, take loads of time trying to convince someone to like a food that they find undelectable. We just accept it and don’t try to force our personal preferences upon them, but when it comes to people… well… we’re not as objective, because they’re people and feelings are not always objective.

Relationships are deeply personal. What I do want to point out, though, is that not everyone you cross paths with will be for you or you for them and, just maybe, if we try to think of it similar to a tomato we won’t try to force it, explain it, or understand it.

Sure, we’ll be bummed, sad, and disappointed – but we won’t require some deeper explanation to justify why someone doesn’t like us.

We will, instead, just accept that maybe that person just doesn’t like a tomato and then we can move on to someone who will enjoy us with delight.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ❤️

Sexy

Sexiness. A quality that I have striven to dominate and make my bitch since a boy told me, “Miranda, you’re just cute.” My initial reaction was to think, “I’ll show you!” My fist raised in my mind’s eye in defiance. Why I didn’t just accept the compliment of being cute, I’ll never know… perhaps it was because it was accompanied with that word, ‘just’; indicating — in some way — that being cute wasn’t enough. You tell me that I am not enough, hint at it in any way, I am going to see that as a challenge — one that I can’t refuse.

So, I set out to become sexy, friend, and, I am going to be honest, my initial attempts at being sexy were ridiculous, and more of a cause for ridicule than anything else. I watched the women around me who I thought had ‘it’.That spark, that thing that made them ooze sex appeal. The way they carried themselves with aloofness, flipped their hair, and looked alluringly down their noses under their eye lashes. The casual sway of the hips, shoulders back, chin up.

These small things I saw and attempted to emulate. When a man approached me while out and about I fluttered my eyelashes and tossed my hair, eliciting the reaction, “Is there something in your eye?” The eyelash fluttering was partially caused by my previous hair tossing, which resulted in whipping myself in the face and then a profusion of eye watering. Hair flipping should come with a warning label.

The casual sway of my hips looked more like a limp, the result of some unfortunate accident and my alluring gaze made those around me think I was trying not to fart. In addition, I tried to do a sexy crawl, bite my lip, and casually moisten my lips with my tongue. All met with laughter, by the way.

With these failures in mind I knew that serious measures had to be taken. I went so far as to visit a ‘gentlemen’s club’ with two girlfriends. My goal was to observe these women… the way they moved and carried themselves. Perhaps, somehow, I could find some lesson here that I could take, make my own, and finally make that crossover from ‘cute’ to ‘sexy’.

One performer caught my eye. She was wearing a sports bra and boy shorts, knee socks and tennis shoes. One would assume that with the fact that she was wearing much more clothing than the women around her that she would receive the least attention, yet the floor around her was littered with green bills of various amounts and the stage around her had an audience cramped around her.

Her signature move was tossing her body down onto the ground and, in effect, humping it. Every time she did this move it was met with whoops and cat calls, and a plethora of dollar bills rained down upon her. Rationally I thought to myself, “A-ha! I think I can do that!”

Now, I am not one to assume I could do such an advanced move without practice, especially with my previous hair whipping fail… or without getting my best friend to watch and evaluate my attempt at being ‘sexy’. So, I practiced in the safety of my home. Turning 80s and 90s music on full blast, and prancing around my apartment. Once I felt I had sufficiently mastered the move I asked my gal pal if she wouldn’t mind observing and giving me some feedback.

So, one Friday night, after steeling my nerves with copious amounts of wine and girl giggling I was ready to turn up some tunes and show off my new sexy move. I started to dance. I do not claim to be the best dancer, matter of fact I’m fairly certain I look like a mix of Napoleon Dynamite and Elaine from Seinfeld. These impressive dance moves were punctuated by me tossing my body onto the ground and proceeding to bounce my hips up and down, up and down… over all of this were the squeals of my NOW former best friend’s laughter which only ended when she fell off of her couch.

I hate her. Okay, no, I don’t. That’s a lie. It was ridiculous. I know this is retrospect. TRUST ME, lesson learned. I failed to consider the usefulness of this new ‘move,’ or how, where, and when I would actually use it, a slight oversight on my part. Can you just imagine me… at a coffee shop? I spy an attractive man ordering an espresso, logically; I toss myself onto the ground and start humping it.

Looking back I realize how futile these attempts at sexiness were. It was silly. However, I can appreciate the laughs I had and the ridiculous moments with friends. One thing I have learned about sexiness is that it isn’t an article of clothing that you put on, I did buy a fabulous pair of black vinyl/plastic pants… those are particularly difficult to get off and on. Nor is it the moves you memorize and perform, or the tossing of your hair in slow motion. Sexiness is none of these things.

Though it could be.

Let me explain, friend. Sexiness is in your attitude, the way your personality, body and mind blend together and are exuded to the world, in the way you carry yourself with confidence. This was why little sporty spice had a standing room only crowd around her. It had nothing to do with what she did or didn’t wear, or even that she was humping the ground. It was in HOW she carried herself.

Sexiness is living your life without apology of who you are, radiating a self-love that makes others love you too. They just can’t help it. And when you have this, it doesn’t matter if you are goofy or nerdy… or cute,like me, you are also damn sexy.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ❤️