When “Merry Christmas” Is Not So Merry

Christmas 2009 was not my most merry. My divorce from my almost 18 year marriage had just been finalized on December 17th that year. I had planned on still having a joint Christmas celebration with my kids and my newly “ex” husband…. (you see, he and I, although we had just gotten a divorce, were and still are very good friends…but THAT topic will be saved for its own blog post….)………., but as my non-merry fate would have it that year, Texas received an unseasonable snow storm and no one was getting out of their house to travel. My kids were with their dad, the other family members that were planning to come were also snowed in, and so there I sat, all alone. Merry Christmas to ME!

I remember very vividly how I sat on top of my kitchen counter with an entire bottle of wine, thinking to myself: Now what? What in the hell is my life going to be like now? And I drank. And I turned the music on my ipod up to an obnoxious loud level. And I sang. All by myself (it was quite Bridget Jones’y like now that I think back on that night…). Merry Christmas to ME!

Flash forward 6 years later and my life has changed drastically since that very un-merry Christmas Eve. I have since remarried, made many changes both personally and professionally, watched my pre-teens back then become young adults today, gained another daughter through my new marriage, and the list goes on. I am very much looking forward to the festivities this Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will bring (yes, it includes once again, spending it with my now modern family, which includes not only my husband and our family, but also my ex-husband and his beautiful family…again, promise to write on blended families very soon….), but I will never forget the feeling of loneliness, sadness and anxiety I experienced back on Christmas Eve 2009.

So, dear one, if you are feeling anything BUT merry as we approach the Christmas celebrations, please know I am saying a silent prayer for you. I am sending you all the best light, love and positive vibes I can, and hoping that you can see that whatever it is you may be going through, you will be able to move forward. I don’t say that lightly. I don’t say you will ever get over it, but you WILL be able to take a next step very soon. Let yourself feel un-merry. It’s okay. Drink. Sing. Do whatever it is you feel like doing to get you through. But you WILL get through. I am rooting for you.

If I am writing a page out of your life and what you are experiencing this year, girlfriend hear my when I say:

Girl, I Hear Ya!

Have a very Merry (or non-merry) Christmas!

With love from me to you. Always.

Kalee XO

FB_IMG_1450147939707

“Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.” 

I have worked on this for a long time. I have had some pretty big hurts during different times in my life and have worked really hard to understand that if I continue to hold onto the pain or anger, that in the end, it only hurts me. I know this. But, it still didn’t keep me from being a complete bitch last night at an event where there were people I hold resentment against! I am not proud of this my friend, but I do want you to know, this is real life and we all screw up.

After I came home I felt guilty. Being a bitch is really not my natural character. I have always been a people pleaser. I like people to feel good. But when anger or pain is present, sometimes our “natural state” can become anything but what we “normally” are. This was me last night. I am going to be honest, I felt some pleasure while I was in the act of being elusive. I thought, “see, you get what you reap”. How terrible is that? But then, after the initial smugness, I felt bad. This is not how I want to be. This is not how I would want to be treated. I failed myself last night……

BUT, this morning the good news is that I choose not to stay here. I choose to be forgiving. I choose to be loving. I choose to look at myself deeply and acknowledge that I failed so it doesn’t consume me. I choose to let the resentment go and just accept what is. Today, I let it go. Not for them, but for me.

If you can relate my friend, then today I encourage YOU to let it go as well……..

Today, I shout it loud and proud: Girl, I Hear Ya! 

Hello Beautiful!

 

chevron

I am going to start this post by telling you that I have no toenails on my 2 big toes, I have a double earlobe on my right ear, I have stretch marks on my belly that I think could honestly be transcribed as a map to a lost city, and I still sometimes get pimples like I am 12 years old. Now, don’t you already feel better about yourself?

This is what we do right? We compare to each other, to what we see on TV and in the magazines, and then we compare some more. THEN we go ahead and point out all our negatives to anyone who will listen (most importantly WE are listening to our own self-shaming), so that way no one can hurt us with it. Like somehow if we say it first, it shows a higher sense of self awareness that no one will find any fun in attacking. This has got to stop. We have got to stop. I have got to stop doing this!

However, I don’t want to talk so much about how our society’s definition of the “perfect woman” these days is in all reality nothing more than a photo shopped, unrealistic version of what once was a beautiful and natural female being, because that is already a given. I want to touch on the fact that we lead with excuses and apologies if we don’t fit into that ideal version.

Look in the mirror. Whatever you see looking back at you is perfect. You are beautiful. And not in some generalized sense that “everyone is beautiful and perfect just the way they are, lets all hold hands and cry type of affirmation”,  but beautiful in a way that is set deep down to the core of who you are as a human being, as a woman, type of pure admiration. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!! Your life story makes you beautiful. Your strength (or lack of) makes you beautiful. Your scars (whether physical or emotional) make you beautiful. Your talents (whatever they may be) make you beautiful. Your empathy, your kindness, your generosity makes you beautiful, and the list goes on and on and on……

I want you to vigorously accept these words to be truth. I want you to repeat them over and over until you see what I see every time I see you. You may not see me, but I see you. I look for you every time I come across you in the store, on the street, at a red stoplight when I look over to your car, in a restaurant, at my work. I look at your beautiful face and hope that you see what I can see in you. You are a woman. You are going on with your day to day life, carrying your own story, carrying maybe some heavy baggage, but it all makes up who you are, and who you are is beautiful. Not beautiful if you lose x number of pounds (yes, I am listening to myself…), not beautiful if your hair was longer or shorter, or darker, or lighter. Not beautiful because you drive a fancy car. Not beautiful because you have children or you don’t. Not beautiful for having teeth as white as fluorescent lighting. Not beautiful because you wear designer clothes. Not beautiful because you don’t…….Nope, none of that. Beautiful because you JUST ARE!

Please stop letting your insecurities of what you think you “should” look like, or “should” act like, or “should” be doing with your life take center stage in your mind. Stop making jokes about your physical appearance just so others can’t say or think it first (a secret: most of the time others aren’t even thinking about us at all…). Stop pointing out what you perceive to be imperfections and just let others see who you are, not what you are.

Believe me, this takes time to own. I am still working on this every day, and probably will be every single day the rest of my life. I think it is what is called being human. But, I do know I am beautiful in a way that no one else can ever be, because no one else will ever be me. And the same goes to you my sweet girlfriend. So get out there and do you. Go ahead and strut your own kind of perfect beautiful so the next time I see you out and about, all I will have to say to you is:

GIRL, I HEAR YA!!! 🙂

PS. I know the next time you see me, you will be looking for that double earlobe….haha….  😉 XOXO

 

0ba9028428540d3c5022cd0dd80fc334

Whatever you do this weekend, be sure you do this:

Be kind

Laugh

Do something just for yourself

Do something just for someone else, just because

Drink some wine (oh wait, this is my list….maybe you don’t want to, but if you do…cheers!)

Rest your mind

Love the moments

Be thankful

Repeat daily…..

Happy weekend my friend! XO

Why “Just Kidding” Sometimes Is No Joke

wpid-no-assholes

 

 

Yesterday afternoon at work something unbelievable happened. I was astonished at the time, but as I have thought about it the last 24 hours, my astonishment has turned to anger. Here is what happened:

I work at a well known coffee establishment (we wear green aprons… 😉 )…anyway, as I was securely positioned as the drive-thru window order taker, I turned to my co-worker, who was actually the one serving the sugar coffee to the guest at the window, and happen to see just at that time the driver make a hand motion in front of my co-worker’s face like she was slapping her! I didn’t hear what the driver said at first but I did catch the last part….a fake smile while saying, “I’m just kidding”….and she drove away. Of course, I asked my co-worker immediately what the hell that was all about, and she said that because we were out of stoppers (you know those stupid little green plastic sticks that gets in the way of you actually drinking your coffee?…yes, that little thing..), she made that gesture to show her disappointment that she would actually have to drink her coffee like a big girl and try not to spill on herself. WHAT??!! This made me think………

How many times do people (do I…) say or do things impulsively, or knowing full well what we are doing, and then immediately turn and say “just kidding”, or “just joking”……..actually, if your first impulse is to act out, then you are truly not joking. Why is it okay to throw out daggers and then immediately turn around to take them out and think that is okay? I am here to tell you…IT IS NOT OKAY.  So often if we are angered, or hurt, or disappointed, our initial response is to want others to feel the way we do. We lash out (mostly to the ones who are closest to us) without regard to how we will make others feel. Usually, after we calm down and we understand that our actions are unfounded, most of us apologize and think we can all just move on from there. Well, sometimes the ones that were attacked find it a little more difficult to move on. It is not okay to make others feel bad out of your own personal frustrations! Hurtful words and actions linger, and then to turn around and make a joke out of it is certainly never okay. Always remember this my friend! I know some of you are thinking this does not apply to you, but I can promise you, it does. It will. At some point, this may be you.

Now, believe me, some people are just assholes (like that lady yesterday) and this is how they live their lives every day (you find them often when you work customer service jobs….), but for the rest of us, a good reminder of how our actions affect others is never a bad thing. Believe me, everything I write about is something I have already had a good reality check with myself about. My number one rule: Just don’t be an asshole. 🙂

How about you? Girl, I Hear Ya! 

XO

 

It’s All A Matter Of Perspective

True story: My daughter turned 18 last July. For several months leading up to this monumental move into “adulthood”, all she could talk about doing when she turned 18 was getting a tattoo. Now, although I don’t have any tattoo’s, and personally not crazy about them, I don’t hate them or judge anyone who chooses to get one. In fact, I always try to pride myself on being open minded when it comes to pretty much anything. So, as she was telling me all about this fabulous tattoo she is going to get, I kept thinking (as this really cool and laid back mom that I am) I would gladly greet my child’s new body art with grace and zen. Something like this: “wow, that is awesome. I really love it. Good for you”! ……In reality, it went more like this: “WHAT? WHY WOULD YOU EVER WANT TO DO THAT?! IT IS SO BIG! NOW YOU HAVE TO WEAR LONG SLEEVES FOREVER IF YOU WANT TO WORK AN OFFICE JOB…BLAH, BLAH, BLAH”!  It was like my zen totally took a vacation and left me high and dry (I really am much cooler in my own head, but whatever…)…….and then she explained the importance of her tattoo. And I listened. I didn’t listen to respond, I truly listened. I listened to her “why” from her perspective and not my own. It changed everything. I went from looking at the tattoo through my eyes, to understanding it from hers. I finally could appreciate this permanent piece of art on her arm as a gift, rather than an affront to what I thought was best for her. Several months later, I can actually look at it and smile. It is truly a beautiful part of my beautiful girl and her story this far. A wonderful visual piece of her perspective. I am so glad I stopped to listen to her perspective on it.

Listening from our own perspective is what we do, right? To be fair, that is all we CAN do. It is what we know. Our own life experiences shape who we are and how we look at things. Many things shape our perspective. For instance, where we geographically grew up. What our family life was like. What our friends were like, etc……I can guarantee as a California born girl who lived in Europe as a teenager and then ended up in Texas, I have a much different life perspective than any of my friends who solely grew up in Texas. My perspective is not better or worse, just different. Our individual perspective may be very different from our own family even, or what society says is acceptable, but does that make it wrong? Never. But it also doesn’t make other’s perspectives wrong either. This I have to remind myself of daily.

The tattoo story with my daughter is just a small example in my own life, but all any of us have to do is look at the world these days to see how having a different perspective than others, and not being able to listen to their perspective without feeling compromised of our own, can be hurtful and destructive. It is hurtful to ourselves and to others. There is not a day that goes by where we don’t see or read about one group of people yelling about another group. Whether it is religion, or race, or sexual orientation, or how we spend our recreational time, or any other endless number of things, it all stems from listening only from our own perspective and wanting to respond accordingly, instead of listening to understand. We all need to truly learn to understand the perspective of other human beings. Just because we stop to try and understand, does not mean we are giving up our own beliefs. And that may or may not be okay (but be prepared that this may cause some soul searching on what you believe to be true, and that can be uncomfortable, but then, change is always uncomfortable)….But, it does mean we are willing to give others the respect of having their own perspective without feeling the need to change their perspective to our own.

My little blog is not going to change the world, or make a dent on the major issues facing all of us today, but if it makes one person stop and listen the next time they are disagreeing with someone to truly try to understand where the other person is coming from, well, then my purpose has been served. After all, if only ONE person changes, that is all it takes to start a chain reaction and make a complete difference. I know I am working on this topic daily, how about you?

Anyone? Girl, I Hear Ya? 

Now back to working on that zen of mine….. 😉 XO

 

92070.original-4388

 

Give Yourself Permission To Be In Your Jammies All Day

20151205_105443

As I sit here writing this blog post this morning, I am wearing my favorite flannel pajamas that are covered with images of cupcakes. They are not the most flattering of pajamas, and my husband certainly isn’t thinking he is going to get lucky whenever I am wearing them, but these particular pajamas have special meaning. Not only because they are over sized and soft, but because they have become sort of my partner in crime in moments where I am not doing much else than just “being”. Some days just being means sleeping in late with no time constraints (aren’t those the best kind of days!), some days it means even if I wake up early, I have no place to go so why not just stay in my jammies all day? But some days, it has meant so much more. Some days, just being, has been a bit scarier and my cupcake pajamas have comforted me when I COULDN’T get out of bed.

Not too long ago, I had many of those days. The uncontrollable feeling of being pinned down to the bed by an unseen force, and no matter how hard I tried, my body failed me when I attempted to get up and get going. The experience of actually seeing myself on the side of the bed, telling myself to get the hell out of bed, yet still unable to move. The days where my “just being” were really more of “just existing”. You see, during that time I was going through the darkest period of my 44 years (lets just refer to it as “the time we don’t speak of” for now. For this post at least….I promise to share when the timing is right……). Life had taken me to such a place, that the only security I felt that maybe real life wasn’t happening was when I was covered up under the blankets, and left to the memories of a life before that fateful day. This was so unlike me. I am usually very much a glass half-full type of girl, a girl who usually is very outspoken on encouraging others to BE POSITIVE, BE YOU, and all that other cheery rhetoric. Well, the joke was definitely on me back then. I was feeling anything but, and feeling like a failure.  A failure to myself, my family, my friends, my work, my life. My cupcake pajamas thought I was pretty great though. They got to be worn almost every day and they never once made me feel guilty about it. There was just something about the bright colors of the cupcakes and the sweetness they reminded me of, that made me want to be wrapped up in them.

Well, thankfully I did decide to get out of bed and get going on with life again. I know that even when life seems too scary to face, it is always very much worth getting out of bed for. And thankfully, I have my cupcake pajamas that remind me that I have “been there” and I don’t ever want to go back. I can wear them today knowing I am stronger than I ever have been.

So my sweet girlfriend, whether you are on top of the world and just feel like being lazy, or you are wondering how you can take another breath without losing it, give yourself permission to stay in your jammies all day! You deserve it. Just be. And please know that someone else is out there at that very moment experiencing the same thing you are (may look a little different, but they KNOW…I KNOW my friend….). None of us are ever alone.

This morning I wear my pajamas out of laziness and happiness, but I am very aware that life is not always so. If you are feeling anything but happy today, please know dear one……Girl, I Hear Ya! XO

 

Confidence. You’ve Got It Girl!

 

1987: Why didn’t I just wear the clothes I really wanted to when I was a teenager? Why didn’t I hang around with the people that were the ones who didn’t care what I looked like? Why couldn’t I have just told the guy who I thought was the hottest thing since Simon Lebon, that we would be great together? Why couldn’t I express my real feelings when someone hurt me? Why was I so terrified to show up every day just as myself? Why was I so afraid to go after what I really wanted?

Why didn’t I know that all of us back then were feeling the same thing but were just too afraid to say it out loud?

Why is it that I can replace any of those sentiments above with updated versions today and realize we are all still afraid?

If I only knew what I know today….(how many times have you also said that?).

Here is the definition of confidence:

“A feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities”.  

Often we only feel confident in other’s abilities and qualities, and never take into account our own. We appreciate that others seem to know what is best for not only themselves, but often, what they have no problem telling, without filter, what is best for us as well. I think this is where we get the “mean girl” perspective from. In high school there always seems to be the one or two girls that exude so much confidence you almost feel like just being around them will somehow allow you to absorb this super power of theirs. They are just a little bit cooler than everyone else. A little bit more wise to the world. A little bit more, well frankly, full of shit. How did I not see that the ones I admired so much back then were really just better at hiding their insecurities and self-doubts than the rest of us? No one is immune to this feeling of unworthiness.

However, as we get older and life starts to show us all its many different colors, thankfully we start to realize that just like any other feelings we have, confidence is as real as we allow it to be. You have heard the phrase before “fake it until you make it”? Well, there is a lot of truth to that. Mind over matter truly helps me exude confidence. Most often what we feel insecure about, or what we spend time worrying about, is just a figment of our own imagination. No one else can create the feeling of insecurities in ourselves except us.

True story: Up until I was in 4th grade, I used to break into tears every time I had to stand in front of the class and speak. Truly, it was tragic. Not until my very favorite teacher in the whole world, Mrs. Persinski, allowed me to do my oral report on Betsy Ross with my back to the class, did I realize I actually had something to say. I may have needed my teacher’s allowances to make me feel confident, and I am sure it looked a little strange to my peers hearing about Betsy as they looked at my back, but nonetheless, it was my first feeling of doing things “my way”. That feeling wouldn’t last very long, but for that moment, I think I was pretty much a rock star; a confident, 9 year old, Betsy Ross rock star. Or at least the back side of me was…..

PicsArt_1449150994833

(me in my Betsy Ross costume on that infamous day)

All of this to say, confidence is 100% up to us. It is up to us to feel like we are worthy of making our own choices for our life regardless of what our friends and family might think. Confidence is going after the job that everyone tells you is unrealistic, or you don’t feel qualified for. Confidence is standing up to the people in your life that may hurt you with words or actions just because it makes them feel like they are one step ahead or above you. Confidence is looking back on decisions you made in the past that probably didn’t benefit anyone, including yourself, and realizing they don’t define you today. Confidence is being able to say “I’m sorry”. Confidence is being able to accept someone else’s apology and not continue to hold past hurts against them. Confidence is wearing whatever the hell you want regardless of how many looks of disregard you receive. Confidence is being able to change the direction of your life at any time, at any age, at any crossroad without apologies. Confidence is to love unconditionally.

Sometimes we need the Mrs. Persinski’s of the world to enhance our confidence. But most days, we just need to realize that from the day we are born, confidence exists inside us. It is ready to be tapped into and ready to help you create a beautiful version of yourself that no one else can ever be. So, do me a favor, go introduce yourself to your confidence. Start slowly, a relationship takes time to grow, but I promise you that if you nourish it, it will be a friend worth having.

And yes, I wish I wasn’t 40 something and just now feeling this. I wish my younger self could have benefited from this awareness, but that is just the way it is. Does this new found confidence ever fail me? Of course. All the time. After all, the things and people we worry about as an adolescent never go away. They just become older and become different manifestations of themselves. They are always waiting around a new corner, acting like the wind that can so easily knock down a fragile flower. This is life. But, I now know that it is up to me not to allow it.

Girl, I Hear Ya!!