#Beyourself, #brenebrown, #doitanyway, #freedom, coming of age, Ned Vizzini, under pressure

The Terror of “Knowing”

Picture it: It’s a chilly, dreary Tuesday morning, probably November 2nd, you are in the car, flipping through radio stations. The cusp of the holidays are approaching. You are not feeling anything in particular, perhaps even a little numb or dead inside. Probably chasing a hangover of some kind; from sugar, booze or your drug of choice. You are going through the motions of whatever tasks you have on your pointless agenda.

Suddenly, you hit a pause of silence on the radio; you hear those glorious drums…the chills involuntarily run up your spine, arm or the back of your neck. A gasp or slight smirk emerges on your previously despondent face. …Next thing ya know, you are belting out “FEED THE WOORRLLLDDD!” And “the only gift they will get this year is LIFE”….

Life?

You freeze with a furrowed brow, with that expression of “what-in-the-hell-did-I just say?” THAT.

This “FFFUUUUCCCCCKKKK”face.

The realization that the lyrics of this “jam” are so heartbreaking and sad. That naive, duh moment, “Omg. I’m an asshole. Uh, first world probs…I was just depressed about going to work on a boring Tuesday, feeling blah or overwhelmed about the holidays approaching…jeez get some real problems.”

It’s fascinating and tricky how musicians and songwriters can make a song upbeat & fast so you do not even realize what the song is truly about. A complete mindfuck.

Which brings me to why I am kind of freaking out right now.

The same situation just happened to me with “Under Pressure” by David Bowie & Queen.

I am mind-blown right now struggling to comprehend how I’ve been singing the lyrics to “Under Pressure” for twenty-something years and never realized what I was saying. How the hell does this happen?

🎶”Watching our friends scream LET ME OUT!”🎶 😱

David & Freddie, you deceased & tricky muthafers!

“It’s kind of a funny story” is a novel turned movie featuring “Under Pressure”. I will not spoil this for you with my usual humorous Memes-poking fun at this movie because it’s a hidden gem. It’s one of those movies that you will have to watch yourself. If I tell you anything more about it, besides the trailer below, you MAY NOT have the same experience I did.

Ironically, this movie is some thing that peaked my interest but I had no desire to watch it. I don’t want to watch a movie about depression when I’m feeling “blah”. It turned out to be-exactly what I needed.

The seasonal change followed by all the routine adjustments, the growing pains of my kids and myself along with them; feels a little more overwhelming than it has in the past.

This movie reminded me what it was like to be a teenager and how they feel. Adults can feel the same way, yet express it in different ways. Teenagers and even kids these days are more in tune with “life” way more than we ever were. They are exposed to so much more through social media.

It was a reminder why I went into the mental health field in the first place.It was a subtle hint that even though you don’t “feel” like doing something or believe that you have any “talents”, JUST DO IT ANYWAYS

Uncomfortable emotions are where the magic happens.

I’m sure David Bowie & Queen were feeling the same way when they wrote & composed the song “Under pressure”. This masterpiece of a song is what happens when individuals with shared values are real and authentic together and collaborate ideas.

“Queen’s Brian May says it was the group’s bassist John Deacon who first came up with the song’s unforgettable riff, and kept playing it over and over. The problem, Taylor said, is that everyone got hungry and went for pizza, and by the time they got back to the song Deacon had forgotten what he’d come up with.”

https://ew.com/music/queen-david-bowie-wrote-under-pressure-drunk-then-forgot/

The channeling of uncomfortable, but not necessarily negative, emotions such as sadness, anger, frustration, stress, pain, grief, despondency, and rage is an art in itself.

This process is a way of coping, using your gift, being authentic, being real, and living. You may possess something that transforms these emotions into some thing-spectacular, creative, and possibly beautiful.

However, even if what you enjoy doing doesn’t turn a profit or if no one likes it, this process is what flows for YOU and YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL.

Doing YOU is doing something YOU enjoy. THE point is: instead of numbing these feelings out, or ignoring them, you stay with them, feel them and eventually “do” some thing therapeutic with these emotions. Perhaps just putting your foot in front of the other and walking in the “allowing yourself” to just “be”.

What ideas come to mind?

How do you know what your gift is?

Paying attention to the things you enjoy doing and time flies by, you get lost in it. It could be something you dream about like playing the guitar, playing the drums, playing an instrument, acting, improving, charading, game-playing, doing stand-up, writing, drawing, painting, sculpting, singing,gardening, planting, weeding, cultivating, innovating, editing, photographing, cutting the grass, doing hair, coloring, fixing a car, fixing a machine, using watercolors, composing, wood-shopping, poem-writing, pole-vaulting, inspiring, speaking, glassblowing, baking, frosting, cooking, exploring, running, crafting, reading, climbing, hiking, exploring, directing, cleaning, organizing, running, walking, riding, exercising, decorating, wrapping presents, folding clothes, etc. are all ways of processing emotions.

All of these are an examples of occupational therapy.

Which you may or may not be aware of, that is what they were doing on the psychiatric floor in the movie during arts & crafts and musical expression. I can’t wait for you to see these parts of the movie!

What I love about counseling, being a counselor and the mental health field is the process of self-discovery and personal development; which is displayed in this movie. I am drawn to the process that the protagonist, “Cool Craig” experiences during his psychiatric admission. Once he stops resisting and attempting to control the situation, he lets go and trusts the process.

Just like this blog that may or may not have more than six readers 😜, it is something I do to process emotions and it gets my mind off the “terror of knowing what this world is about.”🎵

🎶 This. is. ourselves. under. pressure. 🎶

#Beyourself, #doitanyway, #freedom, Covid-19

The Vast Configuration of Things

A daily routine: The day in and day out of it can be redundant & exhausting. What is the point of it all?

The weekly grind of working, parenting and adulting overall is boring, tedious and unfulfilling most of the time. Throw in 18+ months of uncertainty, due to a lingering global pandemic; paired with this underlying pressure to “get back to normal” does not help.

Now, more than ever, we need to take care of our physical, emotional and mental health. How are we supposed to do this? It is extremely difficult when you feel confused, unsure, tired, worn out and depleted.

In a attempt to find some type of motivation myself, my brain has been searching for a frame of reference, a role model, to cope with this strange time. Which led me to thinking about George Bailey.

George is technically not a real person, however George is relatable to all of us and represents many of our real-life, elderly population. This wise, hardworking generation lived through true-times of uncertainty; such as the Great Depression and a World War. I suppose they just “kept showing up” through the confusion and cognitive dissonance.

George was already feeling stuck, trapped and living in a period of uncertainty before the real shit hit the fan.

“I’m shakin’ the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I’m gonna see the world! Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Colosseum. Then, I’m comin’ back here to go to college and see what they know. And then I’m gonna build things. I’m gonna build airfields, I’m gonna build skyscrapers a hundred stories high, I’m gonna build bridges a mile long…”

George Bailey

George wanted to do something BIG.

BIG is what we all “want”, isn’t it?

A bigger house, a bigger yard, a bigger car, a bigger bank account, bigger boobs, a bigger ….

I WANT a BIG one. (Everyone does George🙄)

Anyways, BIG does not always refer to SIZE.😜

BIG things can also come in small packages.

Burn out: What was I doing here again? I forgot already. 👆🏻

There is nothing wrong with dreaming BIG.

There can be an issue with dreaming big if you base your self-worth and life’s purpose on an external picture of “what-it’s supposed-to-be-like” instead of “what is.” As with anything, there are steps to greatness.

George wants to do something IMPORTANT.

George wants to BUILD.

However, George is so fixated on the “doing something BIG” he missed the BIG picture that he already was. George was oblivious that these little, menial things he was completing consistently on a daily basis that were adding up to BIG results.

George could not see he was already BUILDING:

George was BUILDING homes that provided other human beings with a sense of dignity and integrity.

George was BUILDING relationships and friendships through candor, loyalty, honor, honesty & consistency.

George was BUILDING a community with these relationships who held the same core values.

George was BUILDING the foundation.

Without a solid foundation, a community, a family or an individual falls apart. 👇🏻

Pottersville: a community of selfishness with no values or morals.

This solid foundation of community & the connection of core values is what ultimately saved George’s life & mindset. By his perseverance and showing up, he inadvertently saved the entire town from plummeting into the gutter.

It is tiring staying true to your values with leaders and other members of society do selfish, stupid, manipulative and downright evil deeds. How are we all supposed to maintain a sense of hope?

This may lead you to feeling like you should do something drastic & BIG, such as quitting your job, switching careers, moving, cutting off family or friends, and even leaving the country.

Fantasizing about a massive change to stop the awful, bewildering sensation of cognitive dissonance is normal; it’s an escape for the brain. A good grounding exercise for when you catch yourself fantasizing about living in the country alone with no internet, wishing for a bigger house, a better car or a BIG vacation to “fix” how you feel=look back at your childhood.

What is the first vacation memory that pops in your mind?

This is what I honestly thought of. 👇🏻

We didn’t have any vacations but what I do remember is the night we went out together for the first & last time as a family to dinner….

The McRib Story

We were all showered and dressed in our Sunday best for our first dinner out. We eagerly piled into the family van, wide-eyed with excitement for the evening ahead. Our mouths were watering, recalling that glorious sandwich with its golden, brown-sugary appeal. Our vivid memories of that commercial were so powerful, we could almost taste it. We craved this tasty delicacy with an empty, insatiable hunger.

All of us were smiling greedily at those Golden Arches, we were finally here! My stomach fluttered with butterflies as we pulled into the McDonald’s drive-thru so we could all finally try the infamous McRib sandwich….Drool was rolling down our chins as my Dad ordered six sandwiches from the overly-perky, fake smiling attendant !

The drive-thru attendant’s expression changes to that patronizing-exaggerated pucker and states, “The McRib was only here for a limited time, so we no longer carry that sandwich. It may be back. Sorry.😕 May I get you something else?” My Dad shakes his head no, speechless. Our mouths hang open, frozen, in disbelief. The devastating disappointment was written on our faces as we drove back home.

This sad story of the BIG Sandwich that resulted in BIG disappointment is ironically what makes all of us laugh now. It didn’t turn out as planned, just as most things in life. Now this story provides us with BIG joy.

Through my family’s solid foundation of a good sense of humor and laughter-in-the-face-of-adversity is how we found joy. How we DEALT with the disappointment is the shit-sandwich I remember as an adult.

The point is, in the vast configuration of things, Potter is a scurvy, financially-rich spider 🕷 living an empty life and we have no control over anything. We also have no control over what our kids will remember as adults.

In the BIG picture, we are only able to provide ourselves with a SENSE of control. An example of this sense of control is a planning ahead, a consistent daily routine, shifting our mindset, staying connected to those who maintain the same values and practicing coping strategies. Meanwhile, still accepting that something may still go wrong as a part of life; such as the joy-robbing, limited-time, McRib Sandwich.

“The McRib is a barbecue-flavored pork sandwich periodically sold. It was first introduced to the McDonald's menu in 1981. After poor sales, it was removed from the menu in 1985. Seasonal items are an important marketing tool for the food industry. Limited releases almost give consumers a Pavlovian response.”By Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN Business
Worth & Value are found in prioritizing the serving of others while making a living.

Bottom line: Keep showing up through it, we all feel the same way. Find ways to cope with the foreign feelings.

ADDENDUM 11/30/21

If you love It’s a Wonderful Life …

There is a restaurant and bar in Berwyn Illinois called Fitzgerald’s. This super, cool place is located along a quaint and adorable block. Not even joking. A cross block before it is Clarence street. 😇.I am so grateful I was able to get the free tickets and show up to their viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life! They had specialty drinks such as mulled wine, flaming rum punch (of course) and a fun drank ZuZu’s petals!

I went with friends. We all agreed they had fantastic food, best waffle fries we ever had. This is definitely going to be a regular place to go for us all year round. Loved it!

https://www.fitzgeraldsnightclub.com/

More on this topic:

https://www.binghamton.edu/news/story/2390/a-path-to-peace-researchers-explore-the-best-ways-to-cope-with-covid-stress

https://thriveglobal.com/stories/how-to-incorporate-the-three-c-s-of-resilience-into-your-life/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2021/08/11/pandemic-anxiety-psychology-delta/

#Beyourself, #freedom, #greatpretender, #millenials, #opportunity, #simonsinek, Badassery, Find A Way, gun control, Hamilton, Lin Manuel Miranda, march for our lives, unlockingus, Women's Fight

BLUE is the new BLACK

During my time as an ER crisis worker, I was written up at least once a year for accumulated tardies.

I have also been put on levels for mistakes I made.

I am one of two individuals in the history of my department that was on a “level”. (Level three is termination.) How unfair right!?

Back story: When I first started, I got so mad about a PTO policy that changed; I impulsively went straight to the CEO. 🙈😬 Soon after, I began to receive levels for “minor” mistakes.

Upon receiving this level, I went into full-on JED mode (justify, explain, defend) a.k.a JJM (JOLIET JAKE MODE) to my boss.

I was FURIOUS at her audacity because I had stayed late the night before!

HOW DARE SHE!?

How dare THEY!!!”

I then exclaimed, “It was 7:01! Can’t you let this slide?” (What about the other six late clock-ins? 🤔)

I pissed and moaned about it to my coworkers.

One day, a nurse in another department candidly told me “I’ve been on a level before. You know what? It’s just to help you learn. It’s not like a jail sentence.”

When I stopped blaming, I was able to see clearly what I did wrong and how I need to change. I DESERVED the LEVEL.

This level was about a choice I made.

This level was about a mistake I made.

My justification that it’s “no big deal” or my valid reasons for committing this violation does not matter.

It is a rule, policy, procedure etc. and I broke it. PERIOD.

I needed to THINK.

I needed to THINK, With MY BRAIN, Not the internet.

OWN IT. Learn from it. Accept. Admit. I.was.wrong.

I needed to feel the pain and shame of the consequences in order to change.

I preferred to “get in trouble” individually than have my whole team suffer for my mistake, my ignorance, and my stupidity.

Just as I HATED it when I was a kid and we lost recess because of the one asshole who wouldn’t stop talking. I never wanted to be that kid.

I didn’t want to be that coworker.

Takin one for the team.

This “dumb” rule and it’s “unfair” consequences is to prevent much bigger mistakes from occurring in the future.

I attended a mandatory re-training, with clear concise examples and the consequences if not followed-ahead of time. Also annual trainings to keep this fresh in our mind.

Oh and remember how I went straight to the CEO when I wanted to have a tantrum about what I didn’t like? I learned to follow the chain of command. It is there for a reason. I get it…now. If I didn’t make those mistakes, perhaps I wouldn’t have.

Do I deserve to lose my pension because I made some bad choices?

Should my entire department lose their pension because of my mistake?

Speaking of losing pensions, here is another authoritative tale where I believed I was right…This is in regards to the countless tickets I have received for speeding, failure to come to a complete stop at a red light prior to turning right, and blowing red lights.

After my violation, I would respectfully hand over my insurance card and license to the police officer with a sweet, innocent smile. Sometimes, in a vain attempt to get out of the ticket, I may have flirted a little.

This manipulative behavior on my part would be dismissed with a “nice try” nod or a wink as if to acknowledge the effort. Then the police officer did their job by handing me the ticket.

Later, while attending court to fight this outlandish claim: I smiled, apologized and respectfully presented my case.

After all, I had VALID reasons why!!!

However, deep down I knew the truth.

I wasn’t truly sorry….I was sorry because I got caught. Perhaps this ONE time I may have been right; but what about was 27 other times I made the same mistake and didn’t get caught.

I was only sorry for my behavior because it hit me where it hurt. 💰 💴 ⏰ I could not afford the consequences.

Therefore, I was not GENUINELY sorry, but feeling sorry for myself.

After my presentation at court, you know what the police officer or judge would reply 97% of the time? Something like:

“You weren’t even close.”😂😎

I didn’t get out of it.

I didn’t have a tantrum. I didn’t persuade anyone in powerful positions that “I know” to get me out of it.

I was stuck with the consequences as I should be.

I paid the $200 fine. I went to traffic school. I drove more cautiously to avoid future infractions. I learned to stop the behavior.

Should I have gotten a lower fine because I’m a woman?

Should I have gotten a lower fine because women earn less than men?

Would a man have gotten out of this?

Was I just pulled over because I am a female?

Was I written up because I am a female?

I don’t know all the answers but I’m leaning toward a hard NO. My point is, we are all humans and make mistakes. I can at least own my part. Shouldn’t we all?

Some make worse mistakes than others and those individuals need to receive their appropriate consequences.

We still ALL EQUALLY need consequences to continue to learn and function in society. Yes, of course there are racist and sexist people in this world; but there are many more who are not.

What happened to accountability?

I knew the rules and I still chose to break them.

I am aware if I commit a serious crime, I go to jail. No getting out of it. I respect my freedom so I obey the law. (See below for Chris Rock- obey the law skit)

I DO NOT deserve special treatment because I am a woman.

I SHOULD NOT be let off easy because I’m really, really good looking 😜(Zoolander). (See halo effect)

That is the BOTTOM LINE.

There are NO excuses.

There are no valid reasons.

I should receive consequences and re-training.

It never even OCCURRED to me to argue with police or judges.

Perhaps some would call this an example of “white privilege.”

I call it RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY.

I call it RESPECT for our COUNTRY.

I call it RESPECT for the RULES.

I call it respect for those HUMAN BEINGS who are doing their extremely difficult job to enforce the rules.

I don’t know about you, but I NEED rules.

I need authority.

I’m not sure when all this ENABLING started, but it has to stop.

In a time, not too long ago, we used be like this:

A time when people laughed instead of being offended about everything.

How can we get back to this? Where we laughed and celebrated our differences?

How can we move forward from today and stop being so divided? In the end, we are all equal human beings, aren’t we?

Perhaps making everyone read this book below as a mandatory part of being a United States Citizen would help us remember.

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know https://www.amazon.com/dp/0316478520/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glc_fabc_3j2aGb1RGFC5V

Regardless of what any of us think of our previous president, he is human too. One person cannot be held responsible for everything. There is a LONG chain of command that is also accountable. We NEED Many LEADERS! Like thousands!

Addendum: https://markmanson.net/newsletters/mindfck-monday-66?vgo_ee=uZEOWBYMFd2rLfzi%2BJIpDmQOP8ZXmRzMvz3Yw%2BcA7gI%3D

#freedom, Christmas; The Grinch; The Ultimate Gift; Mother knows best; 2020

The Stocking is Half-Full

The biggest fights I had with my mother were about her relentlessly forcing me to watch old movies.
.
It was so “unfair”! I wanted to watch “normal” stuff like everyone else. I would fight her to the end.
.
I was SO stubborn! I STILL am! Right now, I am gritting my teeth like these defiant toddlers & teens below.👇🏻🤬.🙈

I refuse to touch the grass!
I’m not moving, what you gonna do about it?


I haven’t watched THE BISHOPS WIFE since I was an eye-rolling teenager- too busy scowling to see the magic. Even if I did, I wouldn’t admit it.

To keep from slipping into that Charlie Brown-what-is-Christmas-all-about-depression this year; I needed something bigger than Buddy or the Red Ryder BB gun.

So I made a point to watch The Bishop’s Wife over Christmas weekend, remembering how much my mom loved it.

Watching this movie now at 46, in 2020, was like fuel for the soul.

How did I miss the sweet snowball fight scene? (Or my favorite kid of all time- the young George Bailey—Bobby Anderson). Probably because my mom was trying to tell me to look.

George Bailey I’ll love you til the day I die. (Just don’t tell my mom or I’ll have to kill you,)


I didn’t appreciate the ice skating scene; probably because my mom gushed about it; which in turn made me think it was “dumb”.👇🏻

In pouting and covering my ears, I also missed the story about the shepherd and the empty stocking.🥰🥲😢🤩
.
I see it now. I feel it now.🙈👇🏻

White Christmas- I dreaded this one too- “I hate musicals!” is all I would defiantly scream.

My Mom: “You don’t hate musicals. You love Grease, West Side Story, Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music & Mary Poppins.”

Me: (grrrrrr🤬) “Those aren’t musicals, shut up and don’t talk to me!”

When my mom is right. Me: 🖕🏻


Over the last few years, I finally swallowed my pride and let myself enjoy White Christmas. Fine!

Ok! The songs are kinda catchy. 😜

Who am I kidding? I love all of them. 🙈
I get the true meaning of the story now.

That General Waverly chokes me up every time😢…

Sobbing like a bitch at home 12/26/2020

I now appreciate the insane dedication, practicing and hard work that went into this movie: the real dancing, the real singing, (not computer generated ) the lighting, and the dresses! Perhaps it’s because we live in lounge wear & jammies now but I never truly noticed THESE outfits!

I mean…who wouldn’t feel sexy AF in this?

I am grateful that my mom is still here for me to tell her THANK YOU for being so annoyingly persistent. It only took 30 years+a quarantine for me to come around.

Read this true story about Irving Berlin. It will break your heart even more about this song, the story and the👇🏻 movie.

https://www.countryliving.com/life/news/amp45720/white-christmas-song-history/

THE ULTIMATE GIFT

This year, I recognized the greatest gift I have ever received. The gift of this knowledge presented itself on Christmas Eve and was about as welcome as Ebenezer’s three spirits.

A old friend casually joked with me “at least you got to believe in Santa Claus.”

I never thought of “believing in Santa” as a gift or that having the “chance” or “opportunity” to believe in Santa Claus was a privilege.

It makes me sad that my friend did not have this opportunity.

I realize now how much effort is put forth into having your child “believe”. Perhaps some parents don’t have the energy, imagination or faith to keep this alive; or maybe some parents do not know how.

The innocence, imagination and simplicity of a child’s mind made the magic of Christmas easy to pull off.

Their excitement over little things made me excited; which in turn made me WANT to make it fun and magical.

The last two years have been opposite for me with two teenagers. I honestly had no clue what to do for them because they are genetically predisposed to be selfish, ungrateful assholes.

The vibe & statements I received from them was, “Christmas isn’t as fun anymore mom, it’s no big deal. It’s okay.”

The message I would give back, “It’s okay kids. I have nothing left to give anyway you life-sucking punks. I am empty.”

Which in turn caused me to NOT WANT to do anything for them this year. I didn’t care.

However, this is the year they needed me to care the most.

Then I remembered what my mom would do. Despite what we said, she would do it anyway. My mom still did everything the same even when we were teenagers and early twenties. She still put presents out from Santa on Christmas morning and put stuffed animals in our stockings despite the eye rolls. It was as if she could still see our inner child; kinda like this commercial.👇🏻https://youtu.be/QJntbYytPz8

She had the ability to be where we were at… yet she still knew what we still wanted; even though we were too stubborn to admit it.

I did what my mom did and I did it anyway. I stayed present with where my kids are.

I had no expectations of them or their reactions. Instead of being mad about their lack of excitement, I rolled with it.

I made my kids wait until after church to open gifts.

I stalled a little longer to finish wrapping gifts for others. Even though “it’s not fun like it was, mom” they may have accidentally displayed some anticipation and a glimmer of childlike-Christmas-morning-glow.

By expecting them to be as they are instead of what I hoped them to be; I was pleasantly surprised by their pleased reactions and gratitude.

It was a beautiful Christmas and my kids were grateful, sweet and thoughtful.

My mother gave me this gift to me…

My mother “showed” me how to “do” Christmas.

Mom, I should just wrap you up and put you under the tree every year because you are truly a gift. 😢☺️

And you were right about everything.🤬😂 (Inner Teen: Thrashing defiantly inside.)

Well, almost everything….

I refuse to stay up til 4am wrapping – that shit is done way ahead of time while kids at school or out with friends. I also learned from this SNL skit to ask for exactly what I want, buy it for myself if I do not get it and to stuff my own stocking!. 😂

No flat as a pancake stocking here 😜
#freedom

Adult Goldilocks

As a mental health clinician, I have the right to diagnose myself. Lately I believe I have been suffering from MULTIPLE OZARK PERSONALITY DISORDER. (MOPD)

MOPD is located in the DSM-V: Diagnosis code: 69692020. ICD-10 Code: 2337.

Since quarantine, I have noticed that I am taking on more and more characteristics of these Ozark personalities. (You WILL definitely relate to this, whether you watch Ozark or not. Truly… no spoilers here, anything discussed is all pretty obvious.)

What I find ironic and hilarious is that my husband will no longer watch this show with me because he found the show “ridiculous” and “unrelatable.” He stopped after season one…typical. Season one of any show is comparable to a psych 101 class; basically playing just-the-tip with character development.Sheesh.

Anyways, the irony is, that the more outlandish and ridiculous this show becomes, the more I find it relatable.

Let’s be real, everything is ridiculous in the world right now. I mean who would ever think we would not be allowed to attend live sport events and there would be cardboard fans? Who would ever think that kids would not be attending school in person? Who would ever think that in the midst of massive change and uncertainty there would be a presdential election? I digress

These real-life events make some good old-fashioned, illegal activity seem refreshing. What’s the big deal about a dad who wants to make some extra bank on the side for his family?

Since we were encouraged to do nothing but sit at home, scroll on the phone and binge watch tv; we extinguished our coping skills. Now, everything is different at one time. All this change is just too painful for my brain to tolerate; my psyche has now split in order to protect my sanity…

Split Personality #1:The first episode of the third season of Ozark, Ben is introduced. He is a substitute teacher who seems pretty cool; but then he is exposed to the reality of tweens and smart-phones when a student begins to cry in class about a text with a photo received. The lack of eye contact, respect or response from the rest of the students infuriates the him. He then proceeds to take all the kids’ cell phones and throw them in a garbage. (I think this is a completely appropriate reaction.) He goes too far and throws them all into wood chipper. I find myself relating to this entire scene up until the last 17 seconds.

Take it easy Ben, you are just a sub. Substitute teacher: https://youtu.be/Dd7FixvoKBw

Split Personality #2: Ruth Langmore, who can make you blush with her raw cussin and brutal lack of filter. Ruth’s demeanor, even while having sex, gives off that don’t-fuck-with-me vibe that can make you cringe. She has also channeled her white-trashness into some useful business woman tips. What is cool as hell about her is she owns her mistakes; no excuses. Fuck is now a noun, verb, adjective, pronoun, adverb and a language in itself because of Ruth. Anyone else speak fluent fuck nugget?

Straight up…my Spirit Animal.

Personality #3 The matriarch of the show, Wendy Byrde, who manages being a mom and wife with political policies. Wendy Byrde is completely transparent with her kids, does whatever the hell she wants in her marriage and uses her political knowledge to commit illegal crimes legally.

First episode of season one: Wendy is an ordinary, stay-at-home mom who gave up her political career/power to raise her kids. Her life was uneventful and easy, and she was unhappy and bored. She thrives in chaos. She had a rough childhood. 👈🏻(This article is brilliant about her acting out when she doesn’t belong.) She comes alive while juggling negotiations with a mexican drug cartel and her power soars when she comes up with strategies to legalize her husband’s money laundering operation. Wendy spins these webs from the safety of her minivan.

Just like any mom does, “Wendy’s got this.” Mom’s know what to do. Wendy can handle almost anything and plow through the day, unaffected. However, what is so relatable: it’s the little shit that throws her over the edge. Everything is cool until her damn emotions slow her down.

She can blow off a call from a drug lord👇🏻.

She can answer her kids tough questions without missing a beat.

Wendy’s-mentality: Don’t sugarcoat anything. Throw us a bone and let us know where we stand. Mama Byrde: OK, here’s a bone…straight up your ass.

TO HUSBAND: “Quite Frankly, I Don’t Give A Damn If You Like It Or Not, Cause I Feel Pretty Good About It. It’s A Good Idea, And I Did It For Our Family. What Did You Do Today… For Our Family?” Wendy Byrde (boom)

Marty replies flatly: “I bought a strip club.” (He is pretty bad ass but I haven’t gone numb yet;)

Everyone has a weakness and Wendy’s is: she cannot handle her brother and his “irrational” behavior. Why can’t her brother just understand that they are laundering money for a mexican drug cartel and everything is going according to plan? Why won’t he leave things alone and stop trying to make everything moral and just? Why doesn’t her brother “get it” that it is normal to be disintegrated in an acid barrel when you stand up to the cartel’s lawyer or you work with the FBI? Why won’t he stop behaving like a toddler and involving the police? Jeez…

Wendy. loses. her. shit. with her brother. The flooding of emotions causes her to get hammered in a parking lot in her minivan for days. When she does eventually come home, she wants to hide under the covers. She doesn’t want to get out of bed. She doesnt care about any of the stuff she was relentlessly working toward. She lost her tenacity and drive. She fell apart.

Which brings me to my “Wendy Moment”. No I did not get hammered in my minivan. What are you nuts? I do not drive a minivan😜.

Backstory: The last seven months during this global pandemic, I’ve taken pride in that I’m a Gen Xer. I have been thriving in this chaos. Watch movies with my kids every night, psshh, my dream come true. I have loved not having to go anywhere. I accomplished so many projects and got in the best shape of my life. I was kicking ass at work and rolling with the changes. My relationship with my kids and husband has never been better. Even when I struggled with e-learning and juggled my kids being home while I was working; I persevered.

Then the little shit happened that threw me over the edge. School started for 2 days, then was canceled for two more weeks (something died inside me that day😜). I broke my own phone and had wait 6 days for a new one (I am still re-doing every password in my life). My daughter received her scoliosis brace and she was NOT happy. This clusterfuck of events has triggered me to split. These are all NORMAL, regular, solvable problems, yet I cannot deal. Like Wendy, I can deal with the crisis and big stuff. The little, unpredictable, emotional shit…not so much ..

👆🏻Mama Byrde broke into her old house in Chicago, then acted out by pulling an adult Goldilocks. She drank their beer and sat on their beds. She realized she no longer belonged to this life anymore.

MOPD Examples:

Monday: I was picking up some girls for a volleyball camp carpool and my friend was talking briefly about her day to me as a elementary teacher; now teaching her students online. It sounded unbearable, extremely stressful and overwhelming. A flashback of me teaching my daughter in May, triggered a depersonalization episode. It was as if I was hovering above both of us, looking at our life thinking “this cannot be real.” Similar to the Wendy-Goldilocks moment when she realized she did not belong in that life anymore.

The no longer knowing is terrifying.

The not knowing how to do our job, not knowing how to be a parent, not knowing how to behave in public (That awkward-should we hug, I want to hug but, are you hugging?…)

Everything we once “knew for sure” we no longer know.(split) In comes Ruth Langmore: “This is crazy. I don’t know shit about FUCK!”

Tuesday 9/28/2020 – I Drive kids to school, attempted to listen to the news on my way home. The discussion about the presidential debate …Flood of emotions …I walk past my office, get in bed and hide under the covers…(split) Ben Davis “I will not fall into line with the others. What you walked into is normal… this is all normal….No, nope, no it’s not …smh…” (split) In comes Ruth again…

“What are you going to do, kill me? you bitch wolf?

☝🏻Ben the sub: insubordinate and churlish☝🏻
Wednesday: My son was excused from school for a golf tournament. I drive him to golf course at 5:30am. By 8:46am: My son has a golf-injury, I shit you not. He hit a ball, it ricocheted off a tree and knocked him in the chin. He was gushing blood apparently. I had to stop working and bring him to urgent care to get stitches. The day was shot. Anything my family said to me after that, I replied:
Kid: “I’m going to ride my bike to Dunkin.”
.
Me: “The fuck you are.”
.
Kid: “I’m going to the skate park.”
.
Me: “The fuck you are.”
. Everyone just stay here, stay safe, stay uninjured. But…wait…we already did that…and that’s not living. Of course I thrived when we were all in a bubble. Nothing ever happened. We were all zombies. That’s not normal. It was a nice break; a reality check on what’s important. Yet it is all a blur. You don’t remember the nights you got plenty of sleep. You remember the nights you almost died in a field while you were at a “sleepover.” “Ok, ok you can ride to Dunkin after you do the dishes, and get decaf”. Look both ways when you cross the street (dipshit).”

“Ok. Ok you can go to skate park after you take out the garbage. You better wear helmet, knee pads, elbow/wrist guards…and here’s some bubble wrap (dumb ass).”

In the end, the little shit is all that matters and that must be why it’s so hard. -Quillan Kelly-Dunn

#doitanyway, #freedom, #homeschoolingrealshit, Find A Way, parenting struggles

District 2020

We had a 13th birthday party for my daughter last week; decided to make it an 8th grade kick off as well. This means we invited the whole class, all genders, hoping the class would possibly get along…together. (This class has not worked since day one.) We also rented a dunk tank assuming this should be a hit; and perhaps they would forget they can’t stand each other😂.

My daughter kept warning me about the boys, she said “Mom, they have no consideration for anyone but themselves.” (Probably repeating what she had heard year after year from the teachers.)

I was getting the yard (arena) ready the night before. I ripped a piece of shipping tape off the side of the pool (kids tried to ghetto-ly hang some rope lights next to the filter. 😂) Suddenly, I feel a sharp, shooting, burning pain on side of my head. I thought for a second I electrocuted myself. Then I see a wasp flying around. I look under pool edge and there is a giant a yellow jacket nest.

I considered spraying it and removing it myself. However, when I googled what to use, it strongly advised not to do this alone. Then found some websites for bee removal services and “Swarm removal.” 😬 (Usually, I would ignorantly underestimate the situation and fearlessly proceed. Then I had a momentary flashback of THE HUNGER GAMES’ tracker jacker scene and….it is 2020.

The hive has probably been there all summer. Adults & kids have been here swimming almost daily; no one saw it or got stung. I email some of these services, receive some prices and then they explain this is a 3 step process that needs to start at dusk .

The party begins in 14 hours, there won’t be time for someone to do all these steps. I hope, pray and assume no one will see the hive. I am then distracted by a past winner, “Haymitch” who graciously drops off a cooler of Gatorade and cookies.

Good luck…

12pm: I notice on my phone the temperature outside is a perfect 84 degrees; I look out the window, not a cloud in the sky. The most perfect day. Despite the temperature on my smart phone, stepping outside is a different story. As I slowly slide the door open, I am hit with a humidity blast that feels like 110 blazing degrees.

I am pouring with sweat setting up the bean bag boxes and volleyball net. I stop to wipe the sweat from my brow that is stinging my eyes. As a stand still, I feel the sun searing through my sun-screened, pale af, freckled, perimenopausal skin.

12:30pm: Most of the “tributes” have arrived. The girls remain on the deck, staring wide-eyed at the boys who are violently shoving each other into the pool and holding each other underwater. The floats are mangled and destroyed within seconds. The girls remain shocked & terrified; unsure if they should enter the pool or get blistered in the sun.

1pm: The dunk tank has been delivered. As I am pulling our hoses to fill the tank, I hear “It’s a Yellowjacket!” “Omg there’s a yellow jacket nest!” “Awesome!!!”

To my horror, all the boys are now surrounding the backside of the pool armed with bean bags, a ball, whiffle bats, and a broom (where the hell did he even find that?) Immediately, I demand they drop their weapons and step away from the hive.

“You guys are going to get stung!“ I exclaim. The boys playfully reply, “No we won’t!” Or “We don’t care!” I try another tactic: “Would you care if I record you and send to your parents?” Most freeze and give that you-wouldn’t-dare-look. I glare back at them👇🏻.

All except one take the bait and retreat. The last is still laughing maniacally as he is shoving the broomstick into the heart of the tracker jackers lair. I remove the broom from the boy, he mopes away with his head down, temporarily defeated.

1:30pm: I witness the girls still standing on the deck with their mouths hanging open. I gently encourage the girls to go in the pool while boys are out. Thankfully, “Peeta” shows up with lunch!

While kids are eating, I hide the “weapons” in the basement. Then I hear a loud, thumping sound. I run outside and see a heckling boy sitting on the dunk tank seat. The boys have already begun throwing balls at the dunk tank target. The Problem is there is only one inch of water in it. I envision a Tom & Jerry episode (pic below).

Before I plummet into debt from a kid requiring extensive dental work or sustaining an injury in the empty tank; I completely over-react with a loud, shrilling, scream. Everyone looks at me, stunned. *Side note: My reaction is amplified due to the dunk tank manual boldly stating SEVERE injury should occur if dunk tank is not full or “damage to the tank will result in responsible parties assuming cost of repair.”😱🙈

👆🏻Me: Visualizing myself having to listen to my husband’s lecture about adulting and “dunk tank repair” is not being financially responsible. 😜

2pm: I regained composure and tell the kids how high the water needs to be in the tank before they can use it. I assured them I have three hoses going and it should be full in 20 minutes. This answer pacified them and the boys retreat back into the pool, while sporadically antagonizing the bees. I notice The grass around the pool is flooded (Tick Tock Tidal Wave).

2:14pm “Someone’s been stung!” I hear repeatedly by numerous girls. (Tick Tock Tracker Jackers)

As I am searching for a sting antidote in my closet, I remember something important from my kids toddler years.. At every playdate, it was chaos the first two hours; then magically the kids started to get along. The kids had to get used to and adjust to having another kid around. Epiphany: That is what is happening now! The two hour mark is in 15 minutes!

Stung tribute…Don’t say I didn’t warn ya kid.

I walk down the stairs and find the entire floor from the back door to the front is soping wet. I am blindsided with a smell of stove gas & wet dog combined with sewage. My daughter is shaking her head at me. I ask her, “For the love of God, what is that smell?” (Tick Tock: Poisonous gas) My daughters glares at me with contempt, that “mom-you’re-so-dumb” look.

“Mom! I told you this would happen! All the boys smashed into the bathroom and locked the door so we couldn’t use it! They don’t wear deodorant! Then one of them took a big dump!” My daughter exclaims.

For once, the Covid mask comes in handy as I cover my nose & mouth. I locked the front & garage door to prevent numerous, wet entries and dried the floor. I tell my daughter, “They are boys, they never hung out with you guys yet. They just need boundaries and limits; it will be okay. If not, they are leaving in 2 hours and we won’t have to do this again.”

“Two more hours of this!? UGH!” She exclaims and stomps away.

2:30pm Some of other boys have now realized that there are girls present. “Effie” shows up to help me (hallefuckinglujah!). We gather them all together to take a group picture. Immediately following the flash, the boys simultaneously charge at the girls, pushing them into the pool. The girls nervously laugh and Effie and I shrug in unison; “At least they are all in the pool together.”

The dunk tank is full. The girls huddle and watch the boys heckle, whips balls at the bullseye and dunk each other. This contained, organized activity has seemed to spark the interest of all parties. The boys surprisingly organize themselves into a line and take turns throwing and being dunked. I overhear one of the more advanced thinkers of the group (who has sisters 😂), “Aren’t we going to let the girls have a turn?”

With two other moms present to supervise, I take this opportunity to escape. I had some lunch, cooled down in the AC and changed my clothes. The fear-induced “hallucinations” begin to subside and I have an epiphany.

My yard is the “arena” and the arena in a CLOCK! Just like in Catching Fire! It’s just a GAME! Stop giving a fuck and just play the game!!!

3pm: I look outside at the “arena”. I see “Effie” & “Peeta” sitting on lounge chairs with their feet up. To my surprise, some of the kids are either playing bean bags together or making a whirlpool. What…the…

Toddler to Teen mindset: Every “play date” takes two hours for the kids to get along.
That’s just the way it is.

Haymitch shows up holding a 6-pack and provides some useful advice. We enjoy some cold, adult beverages as a team. We effin did it! It WORKED! We won!

I have a sip of the “adult elixir” and experience another revelation… “They are just kids! They are supposed to be assholes! It’s our job to teach them to not be! They do not know how to play the game yet! We have to teach them how to play!”

Peeta organized the bean bag tournament. The kids all sat TOGETHER and watched each other play. I couldn’t believe it. Haymitch periodically would make the kids stop and take cleaning breaks. They listened. It was an effin miracle! (A 2020 miracle …pssshhh. No way.)

The four of us are sitting around talking and laughing. Parents are starting to show up to pick up their kids; grateful for the long break from their kids after a five month quarantine.

My daughter whispers in my ear, “Can you text all the parents now before anyone else comes so everyone can stay later?”

“What!? I thought you couldn’t wait until this was over? Remember you were frustrated there was two hours left?” Stay later?!? She’s hallucinating; musta been stung by a tracker jacker. I still almost fall out of my seat.

Daughter: “Well that was before. It’s been SO fun. I never want it to end. Everyone wants to stay.”

“They do?”

“Yep. And…You. were. right. Mom.”

👆🏻HO.LEE.SHIT. Was not expecting that👆🏻Me, Mom…was…right?. Tears of joy welled in my eyes.

I really did win!

😂 #winningmommoment

#freedom

That Was Way Harsh, Tai

As my 14 loyal fans are aware😜, I am a huge fan of the REAL & RAW AF @markmanson
.
He posts a free newsletter every Monday. I highly recommend it. How to sign up: https://markmanson.net/newsletter

It’s called MINDFUCK MONDAY. Which I usually read on Tuesday because I’m too tired on Monday to be mindfucked.😂
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Sometimes Mark is way harsh… and I want to crawl back in bed and hide under the covers. 😂 I eventually process and see where I’m wrong…or think more about what he means in ways that make sense in my brain…then move forward.


My kids are at this stage of where explaining to them how to make decisions based on their personal values needs to happen… (yes we should be helping them figure that out- knowing your teens personal values also helps us understand them better.) #homeschoolingrealshit

https://markmanson.net/values/personal-values-guide

Perhaps you don’t even know what your personal values are. It’s okay, just figure it out now by using above guide. It helps you understand why certain situations piss you off more than others.

By Teaching yourself, then you can assist the kids; and your spouse😜.

I am sure we are all teaching our kids the COST of their decisions even while toddlers; without even realizing it. Teaching them the consequences of their actions. However, I think with teenagers, we want to teach them the consequences BEFORE they actually make the decision. Then they won’t ponder “what would happen if I did this?” Example: “Will my mom lose her shit if I say this? Let’s try it….”

Teaching our kids the COST: I.E. spending a half hour reading before playing a video game and a half hour exercising may SUCK. However, what you do now sucks and you will spend one less hour with your friends online; but the BENEFIT outweighs the cost. The COMPOUND EFFECT of this sucking over a year equals GREAT, BIG, HUGE results.

This is also a great read to reinforce daily habits.

Here is an example of Mark Manson link from newsletter:

“Our minds are poor at compounding things over time. We overestimate the pain of doing something for 30 minutes today, without realizing the compounding effects it can have if we fail to do it every day for months and months on end.

Mark Manson

“For example, let’s pretend there’s some imaginary skill that if you practiced for 30 minutes a day, that you’d get 1% better each day for the next year. Now, let’s say you actually did practice for 30 minutes per day — how much better would you be at the end of the year?

But the real answer? You’d be 3,778% — or almost 38 times — better than you were at the start of the year.” https://markmanson.net/decision-making

Thinking of my shenanigans as a 13 and 14 year old has resulted in my having some minor panic stricken moments…

Now I am no expert, however I go with my gut with most decisions and in my few stellar parenting moments. Yes I think Mark Manson is brilliant. However, One thing I have that @markmanson doesn’t have is…offspring.

I have experience with my offspring. The vulnerability of loving someone so much that you created and you are 100% responsible for; that is some real, hardcore shit. Parenting ain’t no joke.

Before I had kids, I believed “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.”

Post kids belief, “APPLIED KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.”

I thought and believed a lot of things before I had kids that completely changed once I had kids. My personal values are completely different now than they were 15 years ago. Or having kids strengthens the values you did have or causes you to modify your values.

Example: One thing I hated as a kid and teen and now as an adult is mixed messages. I did always value transparency. “Do what you say, say what you mean.” Clear communication and concise messages makes a difference to me. I’m not into games, assuming, expecting someone to know what I’m thinking.

I hate when people expect me to read their mind. I’m not a fan of those work emails that are vague, and sent as a blanket to the whole department addressing someone’s mistake (usually mine). “Please remember to not have sexual intercourse on your desk.” (That was wrong? Should I not have done that?)😜

Then everyone becomes paranoid, “Did I do that? I didn’t know we couldn’t have sex on our desk?!”

I would prefer my boss to address my screw up personally in 10 words or less; then give me the consequences. It sucks at first but I won’t ever make that mistake again. Then move on. The rules are in the handbook. No need to involve everyone. Sheesh.

I see this a lot with my kids. When I am not being clear or specifically asking them what I want them to do; this results in big arguments. They check out after about 10 words. So I attempt to count the words prior to addressing them.

1.) If 2.) You. 3.) Want 4.) Money 5.) You 6.) Have. 7. ) To 8.) Do 9.) These10.) Chores

As far as letting your kid know the consequences before the decision is made, then there is no assumptions. If we are upfront about our expectations and what the consequences are if they do not follow these expectations; there is less battles in the long run (compound effect).

Example: My son has not given me any indication that he has used alcohol yet or has tried to sneak it. However, the more I learn about alcohol and binge drinking; the more I wonder how me and my friends are alive right now. I think about how lucky we were. Anyone else relate?

Sadly, I know some that were not so lucky.

Anyways, I told my son one day in May this year while we were hanging out watching TV “Oh, by the way, If you or any of your friends drink alcohol anywhere, you will lose your phone for a month and no one will come over for the rest of the summer.”

His eyes bulged out of his head and replies softly, “We won’t. I won’t.”

Clear concise consequences stated before the decision. There is no “I didn’t know.”

Now I am aware of the other loopholes that I would have also used with my parents, “You said alcohol! You didn’t say anything about weed or his moms prescription Xanax.”

That is where going with your gut and personal values comes in. Does it feel wrong? Then it probably is.

Last summer, we both told our kids that if they are in a situation that feels wrong; call us and we will pick them up…no questions asked. If they want to talk about it, they can, when they are ready. Also, they also won’t be in trouble for telling the truth.

It was premature to tell them last summer, but I think the shock value of this statement stuck with them so early. Like “what situation could I possibly be in that I would have to call you to pick me up?”

This year, my kids have been in situations that seemed like they are no big deal to me (their friend said or did something they didn’t like or felt wrong) and they came home early or asked us to pick them up. To them, it is ALL a big deal.

I hate FaceTime but I would prefer my kids do that with friends instead of texting. Texting is helpful sometimes, however so much can be misconstrued via text. I tell my kids “have conversations with your friends” and “don’t put anything in writing or post anything you wouldn’t want their mom to read.” Once it’s out there in the “cloud”, it can always be discoverable.

Dealing with peer pressure is difficult, even as an adult. When you do stand up for what you believe or stick with your decision; it stings like a mfer when your “friends” provide you with their consequences for your decision.

Teaching your kids/teens the crabs in a bucket metaphor helps them have a visual. The metaphor of someone pulling you back down “stay here and be miserable with me.” It tough time find a video of crabs in action so I edited one I found from you tube. https://youtu.be/UJdtaaDOkEo

Lastly, my last two parenting tips for yourself and your kids in “five words or less.” #parentyourself

“Nothing good happens after 2am.”

Even if your kids aren’t going to late night bars such as Brewbakers or Grouchos; 😜 staying up at home watching TV or playing video games past 2am is usually not wise. This is where your friends get overtired and start saying stupid shit to stay awake or act out such as kick you out of “video game party” (whatever the hell this is).

Stick with this mindset

How this leads to bad habits as adults=After 2am bad decisions. This is where those last two dranks throw you over the edge; leading to a massive hangover or blackout. Past 2am is where you have beer goggles and hook up with someone that’s a “full-on Monet”…(see below) you wouldn’t have looked at before midnight.

If you have a friend, preferably gay, that calls you “Duchess” or something close to that 😉 . Any friend that makes you blush with how special & supported they make you feel; keep this friend at all costs.
Questionable friendship?
#Beyourself, #freedom, #landmarkforum, #opportunity, #rodanandfields, #sidehustle, Uncategorized, vulnerability, Women's Fight

Saying YES

Remember that story about the guy trapped in a flood on his rooftop and he begs God to save him?  First a man in a rowboat shows up and shouts “Jump in, I can save you!” The says “No, its okay, I am waiting for God to save me.”

Then a guy in a motorboat (that motorboatin sonofabitch)  shows up and says “Jump in, I can save you…”

img_0893

The guy declines again and says “NO, its okay, I am waiting for God to save me.”

Lastly, a guy in a helicopter shows up. The guy on the rooftop remained stuck in his faith, beliefs and expectations; gracefully refuses. He answers “I am waiting for God to save me”.

Alas, the guy drowns. When he arrives in heaven, he angrily exclaims to God, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, YOU let me drown! I don’t understand WHY!

God replied. “I sent you a rowboat, a motorboat (built for speed and comfort), and a helicopter. What more did you expect? God shakes his head and walks away whispering “dumbass” under his breath…

What did the guy expect? God himself to show up? He’s a busy guy. He sent his peeps to do his work. This guy clung on to his EXPECTATIONS instead of saying YES to opportunity.

Once you begin to look at everything as an opportunity, things in your life can begin to change; if you are smart enough to say yes. An opportunity could be a friend inviting you to lunch or to go out, an acquaintance asking you to come to a conference, a free seminar, or an exercise class. What happens is we hesitate; we start thinking. (#melrobbins) We start finding reasons why we shouldn’t or finding excuses to stay stuck. To stay SAFE.

Our brains are designed to keep us safe so if there is any kind of perceived risk, our brains respond to it. Our brains cannot decipher the risk, it can only respond to how we react. Our brains functioned exceptionally when we were non-verbal Neanderthal’s whose only existence was to procreate, hunt, gather and survive. The human brain’s “safe mode” allowed people to survive epidemics, wars, the holocaust, and countless other tragedies.

If you are fortunate to have your basic needs met (oxygen, water, food, shelter, adequate clothing, electricity, heat, running water, WIFI, a smart phone etc.) and you are physically safe; the brain prefers you stay that way.  When you step out of your “comfort zone”, the brain reacts to protect you; this is what causes you to hesitate.

“Hoping a situation will get better is not a strategy.” John Maxwell

Stepping out of your comfort zone could mean waking up a half hour earlier to jump start your day, not hitting the snooze button, doing an exercise you have never done, eating foods you have never tried, being real, being honest, not pretending, not reacting to the guilt trip your kids are trying to manipulate you with, speaking up in a meeting, standing up for someone, taking action in a situation that feels wrong, helping someone, putting yourself out there, doing something you have never done, physically taking action on something you want to change.

In reference to Theodore Roosevelt’s speech, The Man in the Arena…All of the above are examples “BEING in the arena.” (Debating with someone on social media about politics does not count-having social media balls is called sitting in the stands of the arena.:)

When you want something, you think about it, you speak about it, the universe responds. The universe has your back. It starts to work to bring you what you want. Unfortunately, many of us believe it should be “exactly” how we imagined or expected. However, we may not be ready for what we want and the next step in the journey shows up. Ever hear TRUST THE PROCESS?

If you keep talking about why you keep dating losers, how shitty your job is, how useless your significant other is or how broke you are; the universe will keep bringing you that as well.

An example could be when you are stuck in a rut, you believe your life is a mess, you have mountains of laundry, you look awful blah blah blah and a friend texts you to go to free class or meet for coffee or a drink. This is where you SAY YES.

When you want financial freedom, you may hope or expect to receive an inheritance, settlement or win the lottery; yet stay at a job you are miserable at. This expectation may enable you to not look for other options, ignore an idea you have, get a side hustle or even turn down a different job offer. It could even be a friend inviting you to a presentation or conference that could inspire or empower you. Instead you SAY YES to what has presented itself to you.

When you want to lose weight, have more energy or feel better, you may expect some kind of quick fix, magic pill or a surgery to do the work for you. Instead the universe may send you a friend inviting you to go a free exercise class, a stranger asking you to join an fitness/accountability group or you ignore the inner voice telling you to make that doctor appointment. You may do what you have always done and say no because you “don’t have the money, don’t have the time.” SAY YES.

You may long to be in a loving, fun and fulfilling relationship and you have expectations, opinions and false premises of what you think this is “supposed to feel like” and what this person is “supposed” to look like. The scenarios are endless with this one. The universe knows where you are at and is sending you individuals or situations to prepare you for what you do want. SAY YES.

Take Risks. Let go of Expectations. Don’t be a dumb ass. If you are, learn from it. Find the message in the mess.

No one is coming to save you!

God helps those who helps themselves.

Ross Stores, Women's Fight, Yoga Pants

Fight Club: Business Women in Yoga Pants

Fight Club: Business Women in Yoga Pants

The First rule about fight club is that we should talk about fight club.

We should talk about the constant fight for women to do it all. We are supposed to be business women, short order cooks, waitresses, housekeepers, unpaid Uber drivers and oh yea, moms.

What I envision when someone says “Business Woman” is Sigourney Weaver in Working Girl.

1. Power suit with huge shoulder pads

2. Big office with name& Big TITLE on the door

3. Briefcase & Business cards

4. Stiletto heels

5. Big coffee

6. RBF

This vision seemed to be the only kind of women who could support a family on their own.

Have you ever tried to cook dinner in a dress, blazer or pantyhouse? Total fire hazard.

I could never imagine myself in this role, nor did I ever want to be. Plus I like to be comfortable in my clothes. I thoroughly enjoyed being a worker bee and a mom. I tolerated some humiliating treatment in the past because I thought that’s “just the way it is” and some things “will never change”.

When my kids both were in school full day, the “mom-brain fog” seemed to lift and I was able to think about myself again. I got my health and nutrition back in order and found personal development.

It began with podcasts by Chalene Johnson. I noticed that my day went so much better when I would listen to her podcasts before work. I felt more empowered all day and I finally believed that I did not have to tolerate anything I did not want to.

These podcasts brought me to the realization that after working at the same job for 12 years; I was bored. I was unchallenged, frustrated, fed up with coworker-scheduling dynamics and micromanagement. In my heart, I knew I was meant for more. I was also tired of working evenings, weekends and holidays.

I was ready for the next step…BOSS.

That is what “moving up” means, right?

You become what you think about.

So, I made Pinterest Boards entitled “CEO” “Like a Boss” & “Boss Bitch”. I began actively looking for clinical supervisors and managerial positions.  

An opportunity presented itself and I was offered a Clinical Director position.

I enjoyed giving my two weeks notice to my manager and advising him that I would be leaving to be a DIRECTOR of a department (a title higher than his). I fantasized about this moment for months and his uneventful reaction solidified that I made the right decision to leave. (However I was disappointed he did not beg me to stay, counter with a pay increase etc.)

If you could fight anyone who would you fight?”

“I am the Director of this department” was  broadcasted by me as many times as possible throughout the day. I relished in watching people’s facial expressions change or check their tone when speaking to me.

I am IMPORTANT.

I am POWERFUL.

I thrived on getting up early, working out, sending emails, checking the status of “MY” department.

I owned it.

I rocked boots and $12.99 dresses from ROSS (I know-I am so fancy).

I listened to audio books on my commute. I was UNSTOPPABLE. This is what I wanted! I made it happen! I am killing it. I am making more Money and MONEY IS POWER!

After one month, I was hysterically sobbing after working late…again… and receiving a humiliating phone call with the CEO on my “day off”. My brothers wedding was that night and I didn’t want to go. I went with puffy eyes.

After two months, I was miserable all the time .

I was so confused.  After all, this is what I wanted?

Why am I so unhappy? I assumed it was the growing pains of change. I missed the connections and laughing with my coworkers.

I was lonely.

However, I told myself every morning

“It’s lonely at the TOP” and I persevered.

I focused on what I COULD do. I created a cohesive, unstoppable team like a tribe! I worked on empowering my team members. I devoted time cultivating relationships with my staff and knowing them personally. I got in the arena with them and did the work. I became the manager I always wanted: Someone who has got your back!

I EARNED the title I had and proved to my team that I am their fearless leader.

That did not matter to management though. Now I understood my previous boss a lot better.

Now I was miserable…empty, exhausted, and depressed.

Yes I made a lot more money “per year”. However, In reality, I was putting in 55-60 hours a week at work and spending 3-5 hours in my car commuting.

How much more money was I really making?

Also, I noticed I never felt free. I finally was “off” on weekends with paid holidays; but I was never truly off.

I had no clue what was going on with my kids. I was missing the kids games and planned dinners with my family and friends. I was passing out in my work clothes next to my kids because I missed them so much.  I was not sleeping well. I was getting massive carpal tunnel in my hands from holding the steering wheel so many hours and from typing, writing, and holding the phone.

The coworker “drama” I used to deal with became silly and comical; like a family argument that you look back on and laugh about.  The coworker drama I was exposed to now was some serious shit and I was the one who was supposed to handle it!

So what did I do? What does every girl do when they feel empty? I shopped. I bought more stuff. I justified to myself that I, I need to look good: I AM THE BOSS. If I look good, I feel good. I worked harder and got deeper into the trenches of my arena.

I refused to give up.

I noticed at my kids games that I did make, I had to answer the phone and be available. I was preoccupied with how my department was doing.

My kids were not doing well at school.

I actually craved punching in and working a weekend shift like I used to. I missed working my ass off and then leaving for the day, completely free.

I believed I was being immature and this is what being a “Business Woman” is all about.

I have to tough it out. I have to keep fighting.

Then one day a friend said to me, “You never smile anymore.”

I started to cry. It was the painful truth I was avoiding. I was no longer myself. I realized my kids looked sad and stopped asking me to do things with them “because you always have to work.” Then I noticed that I stopped giving a fuck…about anything…

“Worker bees can leave. Even Drones can fly away. The Queen is their slave.”

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club.

One night another friend said to me, “Your kids need you.” The guilt, pain and loneliness was unbearable.

After a chain of extremely stressful events that left me feeling lost and sitting in the parking lot, crying by my car; I had a moment of clarity.

What I wanted to be is the BOSS…OF MY LIFE…

I knew in the gut that this job was not the answer. I didn’t call my husband. I didn’t ask anyone for advice. I didn’t ask for permission. I trusted myself. No excuses.

Thankfully I kept a plan B, I stayed on as registry at another hospital. My supervisor there said he could guarantee me at least 20 hours a week. 

I walked in and resigned from my “BOSS” job.

I felt like a failure. I felt like a quitter. Yet I knew I made the right decision. It was a terrifying ambivalence.

It felt like I put my heart and soul into building and decorating a house and establishing relationships with a family; only to hand it to someone else. -Quillan Kelly-Dunn

Then I randomly found some podcasts by Marie Forleo who described failing as a “WIN” because at least the risk was taken and there wouldn’t be that “what if”.

By taking a risk, you found what didn’t work.  At least you know now what you don’t want. -Marie Forleo

Not gonna lie, things were rough in my marriage for two months, but I appreciated my kids and every moment I had with them more than I ever did in my life. That was PRICELESS.

I enjoyed going to their games, being present, making dinner and punching in and out. I enjoyed the “freedom” of being a worker bee.

My husband eventually realized how stressful it was without me being home and how much time and money we were spending on gas, tolls, and trying to figure out childcare. I was smiling again without the stress of what to wear, what to eat and was able to sleep.

I assumed the full-time career I longed for did not exist; however, I wrote it down anyways.

I surrendered by trusting the universe and having faith. I let go of worrying about how my resume looked. I let the chips fall where they may. I gave up the illusion of control.

Things became desperate financially. Out of this desperation, I accepted the first job offered to me. It was less money, temporary, and not that great of benefits. It turned out to be an amazing fit for me that utilized all my strengths. I found my passion, my drive, my balance and my purpose again.

It turned out to be a job I had never done before in the field and working from home. I spent less money on clothes, food, gas, childcare, & commuting. I was free to drop off and pick up my kids every day from school. It also turned out to be exactly what I had written down:

I wrote down: “a job where I could balance between my family and career while maintaining myself, my sanity, my integrity, and be in charge of my own schedule.”

“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club.

I was looking to feel important, powerful, unstoppable, assertive, ballsy, fearless, empowered, driven and fulfilled. I was looking for a job to make me feel that way.

What I truly wanted was to feel in charge of my life=a title does not equal that.

I am without a full time job again today 1/23/28(my company closed 1/12/18). I am writing this in my yoga pants, with messy hair/no make up on; yet I feel more important than ever.

I feel in control and more powerful than I ever have.  

I feel like a business woman.

I can give myself whatever title I want.

My office is anywhere I want it to be.

I can wear yoga pants or a Ross dress if I want. I’m ready to FIGHT.

“What you see at fight club is a generation of men raised by women.”

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

After all, you do not have to “get ready” to fight if you are already wearing yoga pants.

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 Next Blog:

https://quillankelly-dunn.com/2018/03/28/my-brain-is-oatmeal/