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Here’s To Strong Women

Be One

I have two people, two women, as the subject of this blog post. Two women who had a huge impact on my life and who were mentors for me.

We always have an effect on someone. Maybe it’s one person, but more than likely more than that. Young women teaching younger women. Young women impacting younger women. What they say. What they do. Being who they are and not afraid to show up.

This first woman came into my life when I was around 16 or 17 I think. She had the best aerobics studio in town. It was in the Waterfront Center in Pierre, on the top floor. A small space that had room enough for about 12 people. It was so fun. The music was loud. The sweat was running. The energy was amazing. Women kicking ass. Pushing themselves and their bodies to the limit. Working hard and being proud. Butt burners for sure. So many hydrants! Hips of steel.

These classes consisted of the workouts put to songs. Old school. Feel the beat. This was when we had record players with albums. The rest consisted of waiting until the next album and song dropped. Sweat poured.

She taught me how to work hard. She taught me how to keep going when I wanted to quit. She taught me discipline. She taught me how to make my body strong. She taught me that my body could do some amazing things. She taught me to love my body for what it could do. She taught me how to be confident. Whenever she didn’t feel well or had lost her voice, she let me be the leader of the class. She was a role model for sure. Thank you so much for teaching me how to excel. Thank you so much for teaching me that it was okay to be a strong and confident woman. Thank you Diane Friedman. I wish I knew where you lived now.

The next woman who impacted me so positively took a chance on me. She hired me to be an instructor when I was so young, maybe 19 or 20. I taught aerobics. That’s what it was called back then. I just loved it and I love thinking about how fun it was to make up the routines for the songs. Now we had cassette tapes and didn’t have to stop and switch the record after every song. Streamlined for sure. I still can remember a few songs from my class. Walking On Sunshine and R.O.C.K in the U.S.A. were a few. Those were FAST songs. Makes me tired thinking about it.

Her dream became my life. She put her heart and soul into opening The Sweat Shop. I became all in. All consuming fitness. I have been a fitness buff since age 12, but now at this time I was an actual instructor and I loved it. At that point in my life, I knew I would never look back. I knew I would always be involved in some way with fitness and health. Her vision was there. Her dream was there. It was so cool to watch it all unfold. I loved watching all the work go into The Sweat Shop. It was so exciting. Such a great vibe. Such great energy. Passion. Hard work. Perseverance. Fun.

She taught me responsibility. She taught me work ethic. She taught me to be there for myself. She taught me to follow my dreams. She taught me to be confident. She was a bad ass. She still is a bad ass. Thank you Lori Riehle for showing me the way.

When we find mentors in our lives, we need to hang on and learn everything we can from them. Wisdom means something. Learning means something.

So many years later I often think of these two women. I often think of the impact they had on my life. I learned so much and am so grateful they were put on the path of my life. I will never forget their impact.

They empowered me to stand up for myself, to be there for myself and to show up for myself.

Here’s to strong women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.

 

 

 

Cinnamon Rolls and Plastic Forks

It’s a common thing. Have you taken this drive in your car? 

Car binges. Car overeating. Binge/restrict. Restrict/binge.

Many, many people have done this and still do. Eating disorders are a real thing. They are very prevalent in our society. It can be super hard to overcome, without some kind of help. 

If you know me and have followed me for a while, you know that I had an eating disorder when I was in high school a billion years ago. 

I was lucky, in that I overcame the disorder, but some tendencies never go away. 

Car binges. Car overeatings. This behavior can be really hard to overcome. I still struggle with this. It is so easy to feel that pull of restriction. The pull of thinking I can’t have something. I have lost over 40 pounds and have kept the weight off for a long time. And even though I eat what I want, sometimes it can still be hard to ditch the diet mentality. The feeling of being restricted. The feeling of “Oh, I can’t have that.” When you find something that works for you and is sustainable for you, you have struck gold. It doesn’t mean that all those former behaviors just disappear however. It’s a constant work in progress. I am a constant work in progress. I have to be on top of my mindset all the time, or that voice tries to pull me out. LIke in the 1979 movie The Warriors – “Warriors come out to plaaaaaay.” You know that one. Your inner critic. 

If you haven’t seen this cheesy movie, here is the clip I am talking about. You can skip to about the 1:25-ish mark to hear what I am talking about.

 

Here’s scenario one: 

You go to the store for your weekly shopping trip. You are trying to stay on your “diet.” Everything looks good. You just want something, something sweet. It ends up being cake. For someone else it might be something else. Candy, donuts, cookies, or even pizza if your trigger is salty. You can fill in the blank with what foods you have a hard time not eating all of it, if you have one. On this day it’s cinnamon rolls. Other days it may be cake.

You start to get the feeling. That feeling. The – I shouldn’t be doing this – feeling. It can happen in an instant. You can be strong as hell walking into the store and walking out you feel like a weakling. Pretty soon you hear the voice. The -I deserve this -voice. The -I have been sooooo good- voice. I haven’t had cake or cinnamon rolls in months. It’s the all or nothing. It’s the diet mindset. The rigid diet rules. The deprivation feeling is strong. It’s winning. You tell yourself you will just have one bite of the cake or one middle of a cinnamon roll on the way home. You even stopped in the deli for a fork so you don’t have to just use your fingers. Been there, done that. You get the 8 pack of cinnamon rolls. Because you think you can control yourself. Why get just one. Seriously.

The car scene can be a train wreck. You put your groceries away and you throw the trigger in the front seat. Close range. Easy to grab. Easy to eat. It’s like a ritual. You don’t want to look like an ass, so you get it opened and ready. You back out of your parking spot and slowly move through the parking lot. It starts. One bite, then two then three. You tell yourself you are just going to eat the middles of the cinnamon rolls. If you eat all 8 that equals one full roll, right? WTF??!!! Look at that logic. Pretty soon, a bite or two out of every one of them. But you don’t want to go crazy. You don’t want to eat ALL of them. So to make yourself feel better, you just go back to the middles and eat the middles out of all of them. By the time you get home, you may have eaten 3 or 4 full cinnamon rolls or the entire piece of cake, or the full dozen cookies, or six donuts, or 3 slices of pizza. Whatever it is, it’s been eaten. And you can’t even believe you did that. Mindless eating is a thing. You just did it. 

You feel like crap. You feel like you failed yourself. Miserably. 

This used to be me.  I still want to do that sometimes. It’s definitely hard to break through that mindset. 

But let’s move on to scenario 2. A better scenario. Something to work towards. Something I do now. 

You go to the store for your weekly shopping trip. You know you want something sweet and you know you still may struggle with trigger foods. You buy one cinnamon roll. You know you don’t need 8 rolls and the excuse that the rest would be for your family is bullshit. 

You get to the car and you put ALL the groceries out of reach, even the cinnamon roll. You drive home. You put all your groceries away and then make some coffee or tea. Once that is done, you get your cinnamon roll and you put it on a plate and you sit down at the table with your coffee or tea. Then you savor and taste every single bite of that cinnamon roll. You eat it slowly. You enjoy it. By being mindful and by realizing it’s okay to have a cinnamon roll, you don’t feel restricted or deprived. You can enjoy it without feeling guilty and without feeling ashamed. 

Plan treats into your program. It does not have to be all or nothing. Trying to eat better or trying to make changes does not mean you have to eliminate all your favorite foods. Be smart about fitting them in. Be mindful! It takes practice. By slowing down, listening to what your body is telling you and then enjoying that food in moderation, it gives you a level of freedom from food jail. It gives you a sense of power. Keep practicing. Take ownership of your behaviors. Know that this takes time and it does take patience and it does take consistency. Keep going. 

Break On Through To The Other Side

I’ve challenged myself to try new things, go on adventures and get my brave on. Well, I can’t really go on many adventures because 2020, but I have been putting in more time learning and more time working on me. Self-development they call it. I’m not ashamed to say that when I first started coaching my nutrition clients I felt shit scared. But, I put in the work and I put in the study and I find ways to empower them to want to change. I don’t like to tell people what to do. I want them to be in on the decision-making. We find ways together, to help push toward their goals. Not my goals for them. Their goals. It took me some time to come around. It took time for me to change. It’s not an instant thing. I know how it feels. 

I used to think that when it came to fat loss, that if I just ate less and moved more, that would be good enough. Or if I just ate clean, I could eat as much as I wanted. I thought all the cardio would be good enough. I thought all the good food would be good enough. Sure, that’s part of it, but not to extremes. The biggest needle pusher is mindset. I found that out when I lost over 45 pounds. I finally figured out the trick. It wasn’t all or nothing. It wasn’t restriction and then overeating again and then restricting again. And then again saying, “I’ll start Monday.” The magic is doing things consistently. And changing the mindset. Changing how I thought about things changed everything. 

I remember when things felt hard. I wanted to run the other way as fast as I could. And I did. I did for a long, long time. I was justifying every single excuse I was making. Every shitty behavior. I had an excuse. The in my head voices told me to do the easy thing. Run the other way. That’s easier. Just east whatever you want. Just drink whatever you want. 

Fear. The unknown. Not being sure if I really wanted to change, even though I told myself I did. All these things are super common and I felt every single one of them. It can be so hard to kick that can down the street. The chatter is loud and it can be extremely hard to reframe those voices.

It’s so easy to go back to the comfort zone. You know, the blankie, the Netflix, the couch and the potato chips. Our bodies crave that comfort. It’s warm. It feels safe and yummy. But the thing is, nothing changes though, unless you change something. I changed. I finally changed my behaviors and my habits. I took responsibility and quit justifying the behaviors that were taking me nowhere. 

But the thing is. There is so much information out there. Where does one start? Start small. Something every day. Start snowman building. Build the habits. Change the mindset. Practice being better. Practice making better choices. Start with the basics. What are the basics? 

Guess what most people don’t get enough of? Sleep

Guess what most people don’t get enough of? Nutrient dense foods

Guess what most people don’t get enough of? Movement

Guess what most people don’t get enough of? Protein

Guess what most people don’t get enough of? Water

Those are my basics. You don’t have to do every single one of them right away. Start with one. Do it for a week or two and then add another. Keep building these behaviors until they become easy. 

Motivation will come. Mindset change will come. Positive things will start to happen. Don’t give up. Show up and be consistent. 

That’s what I did. I showed up. I did the work and I got the results. I did it even when I didn’t feel like it. If you are going through change and it feels uncomfortable, keep pushing yourself because on the other side is something really, really good. 

I’m always here for you if you need help and accountability. 

Nostalgia, The Library and Sharky

nos·tal·gia

/näˈstaljə,nəˈstaljə/

noun

noun: nostalgia; plural noun: nostalgias

  1. a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

I was having coffee this morning and thinking about what I wanted to write about. Nothing came to mind. I mean absolutely nothing. I kept trying to find a trigger. Something I could grab hold of. A word, a thought, a sign. Nothing. I hate when that happens. It can be hard for a writer to get going sometimes. It’s hard to grasp that tiny piece of thread to start the unwinding of the tale to tell. For me anyway. I would imagine writers are like that. Beginning ones. Me ones. 

I just let my mind go. I was curious to see where it would end up. Ahhhh, the library. The Carnegie Library. The kid library. I remember spending hours and hours at that library. I loved the card on the inside cover of the book. The librarian stamping the due date, with the rubber stamper, filled with blue ink. I wandered for what felt like hours, looking and searching for books. 

The library was officially opened in March of 1905. My birthday month. I knew there was special meaning to this place. It served as the public library until 1972, when operations were moved to the Rawlins Municipal Library. 

I visited the library mostly on Saturdays. Walking through the doors and down the steps. The smell that immediately hits. That dark, damp, book smell. I LOVE the smell of books. I walked down the creaky stairs to the kid section. Just walking and looking and feeling at peace. Books, books and more books. The key to learning. The key to life. The key to disappearing. 

By definition, that is exactly what the library meant to me. Happy personal associations. I loved it there. The librarian, whose name I cannot remember, was a tiny little lady. I can see her walking, she had distinctive walk, kind of a shake to the head as she walked and her heels clippity-clopping on the hardwood floor. She always wore a dress, tied at the waist and always a print. She had glasses too. Stereotypical librarian, I suppose. 

Our house was built in 2000 and we completed the moving in process in 2001. We had an amazing carpenter. He was meticulous with detail. Very OCD if you will. He knew how we appreciated the past. We loved old treasures from long-forgotten, abandoned buildings in town. We have columns in our house from the old Flame Room. We went with him and dug through the upper floor of the building hunting for the treasures. His name was Sharky. He kept an eye on us. He noticed how much these things meant to us and how much the history meant to us. 

He built the mantel for our fireplace and he built the bases for those columns. The craftsmanship is stunning. His work ethic like no other. Meticulous, precise and thorough come to mind when remembering the building of the house.

During the process, he absolutely floored us with something I will never forget. He told us he had salvaged the shelves from the old Carnegie Library. He asked if we wanted him to build our home library with them. Ummmm, yeah! They are a true work of art. The wood is gorgeous and so smooth. Not a bump or a flaw anywhere on them. 

Every time I am in our library, which is where I sit right now, as it has pretty much turned into my home work space, I look at those shelves and I am reminded of the nostalgia of my youth. I am reminded how much I loved that library. He brought my past to life in those shelves. It was a true gift. He was a true gift. 

Sharky passed away on February 7, 2014. He was 62. Sharky was his nickname. His true name was Mark Drees. I still see him roaming through the house, t-shirt and jeans, pencil behind this ear and giant cup of coffee. His voice was distinctive. His laugh was contagious. The talent was crazy amazing. I pulled up his obituary and in reading through it was reminded of the history surrounding his work. So many places lucky to have his touch. He is definitely missed. 

This post started out as the library and turned into the craftsmanship of a man we were very luck to have met. Thanks for the history Sharky. We will never forget it. 

Sharkey Obituary

Good friends do hard things for their friends

It’s never a good time.

How would you know if it was?

The admission is hard.

The decision is hard.

The finality of it is hard.

Today was a day like that. Today was a final decision day.

Pets are an important part of our lives. They become family to us. It’s hard to watch the decline. It’s hard to watch the inevitable. Denial is normal. Emotions are normal. None of us want to face the facts.

My husband helped a friend today. He took his friend’s dog to the vet to be put down. He sat with her and was with her as she let go. He gave her comfort. His friend couldn’t do it. It was just too hard. Pets are like our kids. It’s so emotional.

He gave his friend comfort.

Sometimes we just can’t do it ourselves.

Sometimes we need a little help from a friend.

Sometimes friends are what we need the most.

He texted around 8:30 this morning and said she was gone. I asked if he gave her lots of love. He said yeah and that it was hard. We both loved that dog too. She was a great dog.

Sometimes we have to do really hard things.

Sometimes we do hard things for friends and it is appreciated.

I hit send…

I did a thing. And then got slammed.

On November 25, 2020, I submitted something I wrote. It was to an online site, using a writing prompt. The parameters were pretty easy. Start with this phrase … and end with this phase… and write 1000-3000 words. So I did. I’ve never put my writing out there like that. I’ve published a ton of blog posts and a few short stories, but I have never publicly thrown down like this. I was nervous and was definitely feeling self-conscious. The story was fiction, so that was a little different for me to write, but I thought why not. I thought it would be fun to stretch myself a little bit. I thought my story was a little dark, but decent. 

It felt great. I felt like I really did a good thing and was supporting myself and pushing myself. I was super proud of myself. So when I received an email a few days later with a notification that someone commented on my post, I was really excited to see what that person had to say. I read the “critique” and immediately felt like someone punched me right in the gut. You know that gut feeling, where you just want to crawl in a hole and hide. The kind where you feel it throughout your whole body. Every single inch of your body feels the shame and humiliation. The hotness of those feelings radiating throughout your body. It’s so tangible right now as I write this. That feeling sure stuck. The feeling of being so embarrassed and wondering why you even tried. Yeah, that feeling. It was gut-wrenching for sure. All the emotions circled around for days. More than days actually.

I felt like such a failure and I questioned everything about my writing. That feeling stayed with me for a while. I didn’t want to write anything. I couldn’t. It blunted my creativity for several weeks. There was nothing critique-y about it. It was pretty much a full body slam. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I have not gone back to that site. I don’t know if I will submit anything there again. I might. It will probably take a long, long time if I do. I can’t let one person’s opinion sway me from continuing. 

I think about the things people say and their unsolicited opinions and advice, and I try to put myself in other people’s shoes. For example, I liken this to when someone who is trying to make some positive changes in their life. This person decides in order to change they should start working out. They buy a gym membership. It takes guts to put yourself out there. Then this person goes to the gym and gets made fun of because they are overweight or not doing an exercise correctly. The point is they showed up. They showed up to try and make some changes. They showed up to be better. Isn’t that enough?

I showed up for myself and got shot down. It took me a while to get over that. And frankly, it still stings. It stopped me in my tracks for a while., but I feel like I am back to being my “normal” self with my writing. I don’t plan to give up. I plan to keep going. I will keep writing. I will keep working at it. Why? Because I love it. Because I care about getting my words on paper and because I care about growing and stretching myself in this craft.

What you say matters. Remember that. You can inspire or you can dishearten. You can motivate or you can discourage. Think about that before you respond. You never know what someone has been through or what someone is going through. Be helpful and be positive. 

If something like this has happened to you, I would love to hear how you persevered. I would love to hear how you kept going and how you are doing now. Please let me know. I love to hear from you. 

Shine your light. 

Diet Pepsi and Donuts

Yesterday was Christmas. John, Tayler and I took the dogs to LaFramboise Island for a Christmas Day walk. The temp was beautiful, around 45 degrees. We timed it right. By the time we left, the parking lot was almost full. We walked for about an hour and 15 minutes – 3.65 miles. The dogs did great. Once we let Jack off the leash he was much happier. He is a hunting dog through and through. Nora did well considering she is afraid of everyone. 

The coat I wore was one I have had for a while. Pretty much a down liner jacket. It served its intended purpose. Perfect layers for the day. 

Once we got back home I was taking off the jacket and pulled a dime out of one pocket and a receipt out of the other. The receipt was from December 15, 2019. Two things were purchased. I have to laugh at this because it shows how much I have improved my food relationship. And it also shows what I have been doing for the last year. Diet Pepsi and donuts. There. My life has consisted of Diet Pepsi and donuts over the last year. Seriously, though, I eat nutritious foods most of the time and throw in the donuts and cookies once in a while. I also coach people to help them find their big picture life. Changing my mindset has improved my coaching so much. 

I used to have that all or nothing attitude and I used to be a food snob. Boy, have I changed. Now, I know I can eat donuts and fit them into my day and I am not ruining any progress I have made. I know that if I eat a donut I didn’t wreck my eating for the day and then go off the rails the rest of the day or even weeks after. I learned that I don’t have to restrict these foods, because come on, we all know they taste absolutely amazing. I have learned that I can eat this stuff and still maintain my over 40 pound weight loss. I don’t have to be ashamed if I eat this. I don’t have to feel like a big failure if I eat this. 

I can be me. I can enjoy the foods I want. I don’t have to feel guilty for eating things I love. But, the thing is, it took me a long time to get to this point. It takes time to change. Change isn’t easy, but it’s definitely worth it. I work on myself every single day.

I used to talk crap to myself if I ate things like donuts or cookies or chips or pizza. I felt like I had to be all in all the time. I used to restrict, restrict, restrict, and then of course that can only go on for so long until the binge happened. I never actually binged according to the definition of a true binge. That was in my eating disorder days. Now, it would have been eating all of those foods that I had been restricting. I just wanted more and more and more of them. See, that’s the thing, as soon I told myself I couldn’t have a certain food or types of food, all I thought about was those foods and how much I wanted them. So, when I learned to build those foods into my plan, that pressure came off. It made it a lot easier to control what I was eating. I didn’t lose any progress I had made and I was happy with my food choices and with living my life. The food is never going away. It is always going to be around. 

So, what helped me change? I got a coach. Yes, coaches use coaches too. That lasted about a year or slightly longer. The accountability part is huge. I learned how to track macros. I had never really tracked anything previously. I remember in junior high tracking calories because of gymnastics. Which, by the way, is where my disordered eating began. But, other than that, I always thought just eating clean would do it for me. So not true. Because I definitely overate clean foods too and ended up needing a big life change. I learned to believe in myself. I empowered myself. I looked for the good in myself. I left the self doubt behind and tackled my health head on. Instead of wishing and hoping and saying what if, I jumped right in and saw the big picture. The best picture and the best I could become. I set myself up to do better and to be better.

Easy? No

Worth It? Yes

Shortcuts? No

Long Game? Yes

We always have choices. 

Lessons

Sometimes the kid is the one teaching the lesson. 

Tayler was home this week after her 18 credit semester. She needed some down time. We joined a gym for the week and went several times.  

I have to admit I had a little gym anxiety. Everything was different than my home gym and I wasn’t sure how to navigate what I needed to do. A little bit of overwhelm and irritation was happening. It all turned out good though. 

On the second day our program called for goblet squats. We found a corner with the dumbbells and got busy. We were doing goblet squats and I looked over and noticed Tayler had a 60 pound dumbbell. I was shocked. I was like WTF kid! I mean, I know she has been getting a lot stronger and has been lifting solid for awhile. She decided to try 70 pounds and nailed it. She made it look easy. We were doing the same program recently and she has been extremely consistent. Her body type – tall and lean and a hard gainer. She has a great aesthetic. If someone looked at her they would never think she would be as strong as she is. Her look is very deceiving. I love watching her get stronger and more confident. 

It’s funny because I always tell my clients they are stronger than they think and they shouldn’t be afraid to lift heavier or try new things. 

I thought to myself that I should be taking my own advice and lifting heavier. And watching Tayler definitely inspired me to go heavier. I have kind of been going through the motions. I PR on some things, but I kind of slack off on others. So I thought well I guess I will see what I can do. And, to be completely honest, squats are not one of my favorite things and I am sure that is why I kind of slack on those. Usually with a KB I will grab the 16 or 20kg bell and call it good. That translates to about 35 and 44 pounds respectively. I ended up going for reps of 8 with the 55 pound dumbbell and definitely had room for some more. What was I afraid of? Why haven’t I been pushing myself in the gym? I always wonder about things like that. Why don’t we find our potential and push past it? Why do we stay in the safe zone? Why do we settle?  We have to break through the barriers to make progress. 

So why don’t we push ourselves? Well, I will tell you – because sore as hell legs. That’s why. My legs definitely felt those squats and are extremely sore. That’s why! Just kidding. I mean, they are sore, but I will continue to keep lifting heavy. Sore is part of the process. 

I was lifting in the status quo. It’s okay, but it’s not what I want for myself. I want to be in the potential section. I want to be even higher than that. I want to be in the go for it section and nailed it section. 

Usually we are the ones inspiring our kids and helping them become a great version of themselves, but this time the kid inspired me. It felt great. 

Now, ask yourself when you are at the gym or wherever it is you train, why you don’t try to lift more. Don’t put yourself in the box of being weak or calling it not strong. Don’t put yourself in the box of being afraid to go to the gym or lift weights. So many times we worry about what the scale says or what other people think and we miss out on how strong we are or how strong we can become. We miss out on the process and we miss out on our potential. We miss the big picture. 

Today is Christmas Eve. What do you plan to do with the in between time? You know the time between now and the new year. Are you going to find your potential and keep going? I know I am. Set some goals in your discomfort zone and then take the small steps to get there. Find your happy and your healthy place. Find you. Find your potential. 

Thanks for the lesson Tayler. 

Sandy

Memories of loved ones lost. It’s always hard. This time of year, holidays, other days, maybe even all days. Looking at pictures of them. Wondering about them. The what ifs. The whys. Do you ever hold an actual picture and study it? Looking at the faces and the scenery—the background and wondering what was happening in that actual moment.

I noticed today when I picked up a picture of Sandy. On the back it said, “10/02/02 Sandy’s last ride.” 

It was a picture of her at the Buffalo Ranch. She was standing behind her motorcryle. Beside hers was Nancy’s. The opening to the ranch had two big rock posts. It looked like a beautiful fall day. Her face held her beautiful smile. She always had that. No matter what. I found myself trying to zoom the picture bigger. I took my thumb and forefinger and moved them apart, trying to bring her face into focus. Trying to see. I wanted to see her face closer. I wanted to see her smile closer. Her eyes, and her hair. I wanted to see her clearer. I wanted to see her better. I wanted to remember her clearer and better. 

I took a picture of the picture with my phone. And then, I zoomed it closer. There it was. There she was. The smile. The laugh. The positive.

Missing you today Sandy.

Are you really fine?

How are you? Such a simple ask. The auto response. Fine. Always said in haste. Always said automatically. But are you really fine? Think about it. Stop going through the motions. Start really thinking. 

What if you aren’t fine? We’ve all had a rough year. I closed the doors to my brick and mortar. I lost over half of my income. Is that fine? Maybe not, but it was a choice I had to make. 

Did you have some hard choices to make this year? Think about being fine. What does that look like? My emotions and feelings have been mixed. Anxious one minute. Relaxed the next. Gaining weight one day. Losing weight another day. Eating all the food one day. Eating none of the food another day. The navigation has been hard. It’s different. It’s hard to know what is happening. It’s hard not to look to the future and be anxious about it. 

Giving thanks and having gratitude helps. Thanks for the hard. Thanks for the lessons. Thanks for the outlook. Thanks for the time. Thanks for the clarity and thanks for the fuzzy. 

Everything matters and nothing matters. It all matters or none of it matters. Right? Weird how that works. So many things we want not to matter, matter. And so many things that do matter to us, shouldn’t. We focus on things we can’t control. We don’t take the time to work on ourselves where we are. We are constantly looking down the street. We are constantly looking for help. We are wishing and hoping and what if-ing. But what if we looked at where we are with compassion and love? What if we loved ourselves for where we are and what we are right now?

We are told we should change. We are told we aren’t good enough. We are told we aren’t skinny enough. We are told we aren’t pretty enough. FOR WHO???? It’s a trap. Go to the mirror and look at yourself. Look hard. Tell yourself how you feel. Be kind. Be loving. Be compassionate. It takes a long time to get to I love me, but it’s there. It’s in there. Sometimes it’s deeply rooted and takes a long time to come out. Start unwrapping. Start saying nice things. Start looking for her. Start looking for the person you once knew. The one who is fun and carefree. The one who wants to live and enjoy life. The one who does’t care what other people think. Do this for yourself. Only you can help yourself. Nobody is coming to save you, except you. Take a step. Take action. Little by little those steps will turn into big progress. It may take a year. It may take a month. It may take two years. The time passes regardless. Start loving yourself where you are right now. Start looking into your own eyes with compassion and love. Start seeing you. Start loving you no matter what.