I wasn’t going to blog today. Today wasn’t a good day. In fact I cried thrice today. There are things going on in my life that I have no control over and it is very hard to deal with. I do things. I fix things. I presently feel helpless. It is a terrible feeling to carry around. Most days I can find the silver lining to the storm cloud,  but not today. Today I am overwhelmed. Today I am filled with doubt. Today I am defeated.

But tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day that brings new opportunities. Tomorrow I can discover new ways to overcome my challenges. Tomorrow I purpose to be happy. I am responsible for my happiness. I am thankful that every day is a chance for a new beginning.

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I believe in miracles. I believe in magic and fairytales. It is my choice to believe in spite of my experiences that dreams do come true.  I see them happening all around me. So many of my friends are falling in love, getting married, having babies… I remember that level of happiness.

I have a special place in my heart for fall weddings. I was married in the fall. Oddly enough we separated a few weeks from our wedding anniversary. And while my marriage was a mess and my divorce hurtful, I still believe in marriage. To the right person, that is the key. The saying goes: you can be bitter or you can be better. I want to be better.

I look at all the love in the world as proof that it can happen to me. Again. I am positive about these things.

Come back soon.

My mother sent me a  message on Friday: What did you do good for yourself today?

I didn’t really understand the question. I told her about my pretty crappy day and the few glimmers of sunshine that I saw.

She told me I was going about things all wrong.   What had I done for myself that relaxed my body, informed my mind and nourished my soul?  The answer was: nothing.

She went on to say: It is imperative that you remember to do something nice for yourself daily as a reminder of your self worth.

I realized that I had spent the day responding or reacting to what happened and sorting through my feelings about it. I had not done anything to make myself feel good. Point taken.

I already had a trip planned to go out of town.  I needed this weekend to getaway in the worst way and I planned for it to make sure it went off successfully.  I visited one of my closest friends, Mon. Mon has been a really safe place for me and I her.   Together we are able to love and encourage and lament and bitch and drink and laugh and put forth positive plan of action for ourselves and for each other.  I ate all my favorite foods. We went into a gluten coma at the deed of delicious pastries, flirted with hypertension as we gnawed on ribs, developed a strong case of the itis from the fish fry and paid our livers overtime processing St Germain + vodka cocktails cuz we are so fancy.

Spending time with Mon + the support of her family reminded me of my time back home.  There is no reason for me to suffer alone. I have no intention in earning martyrdom.  I am not afraid to voice my shortcomings outloud, we all have them.  I am not infallible.  I can identify an unwinnable situation and chose whether I want to play.  And most of all I can always pick up my toys and go home.  Retreat is not defeat.

If you have been following my journey we ate the bag of carrots raw, lmao. No fancy recipes just literally vegged out on the couch with carrots and homemade kombucha.

I don’t feel happy today. I wanted a do-over from the moment I woke up. To treat myself this week I am going out of town escaping real life for a couple days.

1. I am happy I have a safe place to run to,  people who care about me and want to see me well. I am going to unplug but will do a few check-ins so folks know I am okay.

2. I am increasing my job knowledge. I’ve conquered IP subnets,  hooray for me. Next week I have some challenges coming up and I am excited about it. I am determined to swim,  no sinking allowed.

3. I scored a giant 3 lb bag of carrots from work. I don’t know what I am going to do with them but I will enjoy looking for recipes. Mashed,  glazed,  roasted,  candied… I’ll post a picture on IG of what we come up with.

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*deep sigh* Today was actually a horrible day for me. I tried to smile through it but it was just one wrong turn after another. I’m going to eat a bowl of cereal and go to bed. Yeah one of those days.  But first to find something positive.

Other than the fact that I still among the living I don’t have much to be thankful for. But I got some great news from my friends so I’m going to share their joy.

1. My home girl has a new boo and is totally smitten. She’s a great gal and I am so happy for her.

2. My boy Wordz got his first royalty check from his book. I am so proud of him. You can buy his poetry book on Amazon,  its called The Sound of Falling Things: Broken Pieces.

3. My trainer Katie got engaged to her boyfriend while on vacation to Jamaica.

I celebrate other people’s happiness even if I’m in the dumps. I want everyone to prosper in life and in love.

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I am so glad September is over. August wasn’t the greatest month for me but it had a few great points including my little sister coming to help get my daughter settled into college at WKU,  my son starting 4th grade,  and a visit to Cali to see the A-Team and my family. And then September happened. It was full of humbling life experiences that had a low attached to every high. The good news is I made it through.

My BFF 5-Letters and I decided that I need to take a more positive outlook for October. Life is going to happen,  I am going to experience less-than-desirable circumstances but I will make it through even if I cry the entire way. For the next 30 days I am simply going to let go of my worries,  stresses,  anxiety and focus only on the positive things.  Also once a week I am treating myself to something nice.

Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch-on the affirmative, but don’t mess with Mr Inbetween…

Day One:
1. Both my kids got great marks on their progress reports.
2. I put on a dress I have not worn since my trip to Mexico in July and I look even better in it now.
3. I have really good friends who care about me,  support me,  and check in on me daily.
4. Some books I was going to purchase I found at the library so I can read them for free!

Your attitude is a choice.  Life comes at you fast and so many of those things are completely out of your control.  When things are at their worst I look for humor. It is that laughter that allows me to relief, if only through sarcasm and obnoxious observation that helps me get through the day and the courage to do it again the next day. Here is why I choose to Laugh My Ass Off.

L –  Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, yeah this book is like my life.  I don’t talk publicly about everything that goes on because quite honestly it is so grandiose it seems unbelievable.  The most bizarre things happen to me, I would have to be a Class-A Sociopath to bother an lie about all of it.  My life is really full of highest of highs and the lowest of lows, I look at it as God’s way of keeping me humble.

M- Mercury is in Retrograde. Again. Well as of October 4th. This period has me super nervous, I know a season of trouble awaits for me.  If you are ever worried about when Mercury is in Retrograde check it here.  And sense I know the bullshit is headed my way it is joke I play with myself to see how ugly things get. I have a very dark sense of humor.

A- Acknowledging depression. Depression is a real thing.  I suffered from bouts of it at least twice, once after I gave birth to my son and again after separating from my husband. Both times were just terrible and the root of it was about me denying my feelings. I don’t do that anymore. I have safe places and share what is bothering me.  We talk, we cry and by the end we laugh.

O- Optimism. I am, in my own life, a pessimist who has convinced herself she is a realist.  The truth is I am always planning for the worst in every situation. But in the midst of those plans I am learning to to keep a positive attitude even if it is filled with snark. Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. I have absolutely no guarantees in life, but I do know that the tough times don’t last forever so I just have to hold on for the sunshine on a rainy day.

I won the sibling lottery being born into a family with two older brothers. I was the baby girl: cute,  bossy,  opinionated, and I had my two minions err brothers supporting me. My brothers had a permanent shadow for a baby sister. I had to do everything they did. I would make them let me take a turn reading books when I couldn’t even read. 

Better than anything when I got in trouble whether it was starting a fight I couldn’t finish or getting suspended from school I called on my brother Lam. He is the oldest and incredibly pragmatic. He was ultimately responsible for his two younger siblings bearing the brunt of our bad decisions as to assist our overworked divorced mom.

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There are so many times he has come to my aid. While my brother was born to be a Leatherneck and fits the bill well he has a softer side for his sisters that many rarely see. Last night I was talking to my mom about a situation I have been stressing over and she told me to wait it out but call my brother if it didn’t work. As a grown adult I have asked him for help only a few times and it was over things like car repair or buying a new washing machine. I didn’t think Lam would even help in this instance but she reminded me of the following story and his softer side.

When I was in college we had this huge formal night called Black Ball. I looked forward to this event all semester; shopping for the right dress,  picking out my color scheme,  surfing through magazines for hair style ideas; it was all my friends and I talked about.

Everything was set until one week before the ball when I broke up with my shady ass boyfriend. In truth I should have dumped him long before but I thought we could make it at least through the end of the semester. Anyway it was a week before the ball and everyone I knew had a date. My homegirls were calling their cousins or brothers to see who was available because there was no way I was going alone,  but we came up with no one.

My brother then was living in the Bay area a good two-hour drive from me but I called him and told him what happened. I’m pretty sure he chastised me for keeping that jerk boyfriend around so long and then asked me the color of my dress. The next Saturday he showed up sharp in a tux our chariot his ink blue Camaro with chrome wheels shining in the moonlight. We were clean.

He escorted me to the ball where we laughed,  drank,  danced and had a a good time. The night went really well until my brother hit on one of my friends at the bar. She came to me mortified that my “date” would hit on her. I let the truth fly and told my friends that my “date” was really my older brother.  We laughed and partied away.

Just a reminder that my brother will always be there for me whether it’s fixing your bike chain,  forging your parent’s signature on a permission slip,  paying for a new washing machine,  or standing in the gap when plans fall through. Thanks Lam for being there for me to run to when my problems seem too big,  you are a great brother.

Today I participated in a guest blogger event over at Tramuel.com celebrating the birthday of my e-boo Brian.  In honor of his birth month we wrote on the prompt Forever Young.  Each blogger submitted post was based on our youth: stories of love, childhood memories, music and culture, lessons we learned, etc.

My life has changed pretty rapidly since entering my 30’s and while I am not exactly sure where it is going I thought back as to what 30 meant to me when I was younger and how sure I was of what I would become.  My younger self was so amazing.

She is braver than I. She is smarter than I. She loves herself more than I do. I want to get her back.

I decided to have a conversation with my younger self and ask her what exactly made her so amazing. Why was she so fearless? Why was she able to look in the face of uncertainty and walk boldly into the unknown?  We both smile all the time, but her genuine toothy grin shines much brighter than my plastered reflex.

And so I did some reflection. She wasn’t simply young and naive. I wasn’t just older, colder and wiser. She was still in me. Combining what I have learned with age and the spirit of my youth and I will move mountains.

Young Haley

Imagine this scenario:
A young mother of two suddenly goes missing.  There are media reports,  yellow ribbons,  organized volunteers and her picture is shared across social media. People are fearing that she was injured,  kidnapped or worse. Our common response is to pray in these situations. Pray through the uncertainty of what may have happened to this woman.

A few weeks go by and the mother is found.  Life had simply become overwhelming and she just walked away leaving her home and children behind. The concern turns to outrage. The ribbons are taken down. The prayers cease.

Why is it that we are willing to go to God in prayer and trust him with the uncertain, but when we know the battle being fought we accept defeat?  1 Thes 5:16-18 says “Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ for you.” If we can believe God for all things then we should continue to believe through the known and unknown circumstances.

Pray before that job interview and continue to pray after you receive the rejection letter. Pray for your children at school and continue to pray when they receive a bad report card. Pray for that family member you don’t hear from and continue to pray when you discover he’s on drugs.  Pray when life seems impossible. Pray when the outcome seems improbable. Pray when you think the battle is already lost.  Continue to pray; asking and believing that miracles can happen.