When you feel the full force of the weight anxiety can bring, it can be as debilitating as a cold or flu. Stealing your sleep, tightness in your chest, lower back pain, sweats, headache, all of it.

It is a virus that gnaws on your cells; a bacteria that eats at your soul. It is a mind altering disease that will distort your entire reality. It will shift a seemingly normal and happy life into a wasteland of pit and despair. I am for the most part good at handling stress, out of necessity. I’m a natural worrier. My mom passed that lovely trait on to me. Something big, something small, doesn’t matter, we worry about it all. 😉

Back in about 2007 after my son was born, I had an emergency gallbladder surgery, my husband was laid off work, we lost our house, and moved away from all of our friends and family looking for work; I started noticing this unbearable tightness in my chest. It was one that didn’t just disappear. I broke down and went to my doctor. Low and behold, I was having panic attacks. Hmmm, I can’t possibly imagine why that was happening.

He wrote me a prescription for Paxil and told me not to worry as much. Doctor’s orders. Just don’t worry.

We all know that is shit advice.

You can’t just not worry. Just like you can’t just hit a magical button to heal yourself from the flu. You have to take steps. Learn to explore ways to deal with the stress, not just mask it. You can work on the cause of it, not just focusing on the symptoms. You can learn to change the way you view your stressors, and better control how you react to them.

I found other ways to cope with the stress and anxiety. Yoga, writing, laughter, making sure I was getting enough Vitamin D, sleep, cut down on the caffeine, capoeira etc. After a year or so, I was able to get off the Paxil and learned how to monitor my stress/anxiety levels. For the most part, I do ok.

It’s mostly being aware of how you are feeling, and trying to find perspective on the things that weigh us down. Are we carrying burdens that we can’t remedy? Are we trying to save the world or become perfect? We have to know our limitations, and know when to raise our hands and ask for help. We have to take action on the things we can control, and learn to accept the things we can’t. We have to give ourselves permission to try, fail, and especially succeed.

Stress is good for us from a biological standpoint to a degree. It helps us see dangers and puts our body in a state of reaction. But it was originally designed for us to see a bear and react in a way to help us escape and survive that bear. But, when our system is overloaded with bear after bear, and some of those bears aren’t even really there, then that is when we become pumped so full of biological chemicals that our bodies shut down in a way. A physical illness caused by stress.

Lately, I have been feeling these symptoms again. I know tricks to heal, to calm myself, to feel better about things. But sometimes, it can just be too much. Work, kids, life, storms, dogs–it all adds up and can overtake your system. Mine is feeling a bit overloaded.

My plan is to step back a little bit and enjoy the hell out of the upcoming weekend at Music Midtown. Music festivals are my happy place. I am going to reset my system with good music, laughter, and dancing equally in the sunshine and the moonlight. When it’s over, I will return to my hectic life with a renewed spirit and a fresh perspective.

To others struggling with anxiety, take time for yourself. Give yourself permission to relax and enjoy the things you love. Get some sunshine. Laugh. Sing as loud as you can to a song that frees your soul.

Most of all…breathe.





A few days ago, I wrote about support systems, but from the perspective of dealing with the less than supportive. Today, I want to offer up a great big thank you to all of those people in my life that show their support in profound ways. Thank you to everyone who has reached out or extended their interest in my work. Words of encouragement can go a long way when we are embarking on a journey, especially when one is opening up in a raw sort of way.

It’s easy to get bogged down in life and forget that other people have their own stuff going on. We all do it from time to time. We have to take a breath and look around to make sure that we are appreciating those around us for the things they do to make our lives better. Even the tiny things like helping us move, and the giant ones like making us laugh. 😉

It’s important to show gratitude. Gratitude has been proven to be very instrumental in happiness. Not just for the person being thanked, but also for the person doing the thanking.

However, gratitude is not something we just give to other beautiful people, it’s something we should give to the universe, as well. When we can stop and appreciate our particular situation, the sun shining, a green light, a cool breeze, an adorable kitten, and so on, we give ourself an opportunity to see the good all around us. Which provides a moment of peace. A moment to be in the moment. And that is a beautiful place to be.

Gratitude is not all rainbows and kittens though. We also have to appreciate the struggle which makes us stronger. It is the line that makes us more patient. It is the missing someone that can make love deepen. We need these things. The hard times.

I’m not going to say all things serve a purpose, because sometimes the world does just suck. But some of the most creative and most magnificent humans I’ve ever met have been through some shit. They have trekked through the darkness and emerged out the other side. They were once broken plates, but are now a beautiful mosaic. So, even if they can’t appreciate it, others still can because of the art that they create, because of the patience they teach, and the example they illustrate.

Taking time for gratitude can make a massive difference in all of our lives. I try to be a person that enjoys the little moments and sees the importance in the struggle. I try to tell those around me that I love and appreciate them. I know that I am not always the best at it. But, I also try to stop and appreciate that I am not perfect, and show a little bit of gratitude to myself for trying. Why? Because it’s important we sometimes stop and tell ourselves thank you for what we do, as well.

Ps. Thank you to all of you lovely people who pop over to read my words and who have downloaded Iron Thirst. ❤️

DragonCon begins…

When I first moved to Atlanta, my family and I went to the DragonCon parade. I didn’t necessarily consider myself a geek, and I didn’t really know much about what goes on at these conventions. The name of it sounded like something I had no business going to. I mean, I wasn’t a huge fan of Dragons. (This was years before HBO and all of my friends changed that.) But, it was a parade. That wasn’t much of a time commitment, and hell, it was a free thing to do on a Saturday with two kids. (The boy was 2, and the girl was 6.)

What I saw blew me away. This was the most fascinating thing I had ever seen. The amazing work that people put into the costumes and the actors stepping into their roles felt like I was on the set of a production company shooting every movie and tv show known to man. Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Fifth Element, Batman, and on and on. Since we only showed up for the parade, we didn’t get to really experience the Con. Just get a sample of the craziness. We decided that the next year we were going to buy passes, and we were going to attend.

The ex and I showed up the next year dressed and ready to go. Both of us had gone through the schedule and lists of famous people, and we had a plan. If memory serves me correctly, that is the year we went as Huntress S. Thompson (me) and his attorney, Dr. Gonzo (him). We watched a production of Rocky Horror Picture Show. There was real live wrestling. And we met Adam West, Nathon Fillion, and Alan Tudyk.

My favorite part — the people watching, and interacting with people in the most random of scenarios. Some people will cast you in a role in their own mini-plays, never breaking character. So, when I, dressed as Huntress S. Thompson, run into another person dressed as Hunter S. Thompson – we launch into a whole bit that cracks up those standing around us. Multiply this by 100 and divide it over a whole weekend, and you end up with sore ribs and no voice by Sunday. A wonderful problem to have.

I also learned so much about geek culture. All the various genres, the new video games, whatever the heck anime was, and that there are varying levels of geekhood. Most importantly, I learned that I was a little mini-geek. It was news to me.  Since then, I have nurtured that little geek inside of me and embraced her. Fly proud your geek flag!

It was this trip that I would remember and pull from when I began writing Iron Thirst. There are scenes in the book that I witnessed that year. Hell, there are many more scenes that no longer live in the book (cut for brevity and story flow) that I witnessed that year. Word for word, twisted slightly to help the story, or sprinkled in as a little spice to make the reader laugh.

Vampires were huge when I had the idea for the book. Twilight had just blown up. I was reading True Blood and Laurell K. Hamilton. At the time, it was logical that I would put the two things together–vampires and DragonCon.

That little adventure to go see a parade set a whole series of things into motion. Hmmm, one of those whisperings of the universe. Here you go, you’ll enjoy this path. And I have. That trip opened my mind up to so many possibilities. It helped me see myself in a different light, and let me know how much I enjoy new experiences. It rekindled my love for writing, something that I hadn’t done since maybe high school. And, it gave me an excuse to drink a shit ton, stay up ridiculously late, and act like a complete idiot.  DragonCon is like Geek Vegas, after all.

If you haven’t been, I highly recommend it. If you have, would love to hear more in the comments. 🙂



About Damn Time…

We will return to our regular scheduled broadcast shortly, but first, breaking news…

It’s release day for Iron Thirst!

Funny thing, too! Last night, I finished all the steps to have it published, and the little message I received said it would take about three days. That seemed fine to me, because DragonCon is this weekend, and DragonCon was my goal. However, when I checked this morning, I was shocked to find it was already sitting happily on Amazon.

This was so huge for me. This may be one of the biggest TO-DO items that I have ever checked off of my list. Every year I get so mad at myself when yet another DragonCon passes and Iron Thirst still is just hanging out on my computer, completely left out of the party. This year it is dressed and ready to go.

Currently, only the Kindle version is available. You can download the sample to see if it’s your bag.  I’m working on the details for the paperback version, and I hope to have that available soon for those of us who still prefer to dog-ear pages. I’m not leaving anyone out. Hell, once that happens, I can send a copy to my mom! Don’t you think she would love to read about vampires, murder, and mayhem?! (No, no, she wouldn’t. She will hate it. But, she would still be proud of it.)

So, if you have a few spare minutes toss this one in your “to be read” pile.

Adam Bristow is a sarcastic forensics biologist, who has been tasked to keep an eye on the vampires that are popping up all over DragonCon. He and his team are in charge of keeping the vampires a secret and not letting the costumed fans become lunch. Armed with wit, guns, and a stiletto, he realizes quickly that his team is outnumbered and headed for trouble, although he would never admit that out loud.

Meanwhile, looking for an escape from the norm, Felicity Johnson dresses for trouble, and finds it when she steps into the magic of this pop culture convention. The trip that started as a search for adventure leads her down a path that could leave her either dead or with the ultimate makeover, one that can only be undone with a stake to the heart.

Iron Thirst is a funny, murder mystery, with a love story.  

A special thank you so much to those who have already downloaded it!

You rock!!!


Iron Thirst: Coming Soon

Back in 2008, I went to DragonCon for the first time. It was an unique experience, as I had never been to any type of convention. I didn’t know what to expect. But, I definitely didn’t expect what would happen once it was over.

I made some comment about wouldn’t it be cool if someone wrote a book about vampires going to DragonCon and taking their costumes off. They could just be free, because they would blend in with all the people in their glorious cosplays. Next thing I knew, I was building characters, plots and dialogue. Something I had never done. I always wrote, but never really fiction.

It took about a year to write the original version of the book, another two years to learn about writing books, and several edits later it still lives only on a hard drive. But that will soon change.

I want to set it free into the universe. It doesn’t have to live in my basement anymore. I don’t expect it to go anywhere, but I feel like it should have a chance to fly. Tons of people helped me grow this little thing, and Felicity, Bristow, and Blake want a chance to have their voices heard.

I tried to have it published abocoverut six variations ago, and had a bit of success when I tried again about two versions ago. It is now drastically better, because I poured hours and hours into editing it time and again. However, I don’t really care about trying to have it published by a major house or anything like that. I’ve put enough energy into it, and now I just want to let it go so I can move on to other things.

I’m self-publishing through Amazon. I’m currently cleaning up the formatting so it’s easier to read on a tablet. I’m only going to do an ebook for now, and I might have it printed before the next DragonCon. Who knows?

It’s not overly deep, it’s not even that great, but it’s fun. Lol. Yep, that’s my pitch.


Alright, alright, let me try that again.

It’s a funny, murder mystery, with a love story that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The story is told from two points of view. Bristow, a sarcastic forensics biologist, who has been tasked to keep an eye on the vampires that are swarming DragonCon, and Felicity, an awkward girl, who decides to step out of her boring life and into the magic of this pop culture convention. Of course, dressed as a vampire. Neither knew exactly what they were getting into.

I’ll keep you posted on when it is released. I’d love for a few more people in the world to get to meet these people that currently only live in my head.

Support Systems: Help them Help You

Let’s say you decide to build a house. You do your research, you gather your supplies, and you design the framework. You then tell all your friends about this plan of yours, and you invite those who have the time and energy to come help out. Everyday you show up, and you are happy to see that people came. They are holding their hammers and hard hats and are ready to pitch in. An amazing sight.

You get to work and you see the fruits of your labor. The house is beginning to look like a house. But one day, a friend shows up to help and in their hand you see a chainsaw. Within a few moments in their efforts to help, they have managed to take down an entire wall. Friends gather round to help repair the damage. The next day that same friend shows up, but this time carrying a blow torch. Off to work they go, and you watch the freshly built roof burn. You turn to your other friends. They shrug and begin pulling back the debris. This pattern continues. At what point, would you ask the friend to stop helping? At what point would you stop calling them a friend?

When we embark on a journey of change we need to surround ourselves with friends who are offering their support. Having someone there showing their love, kindness, and understanding makes a world of difference. But, we do bump into those that look more like the dude with the blowtorch from time to time.

So, what is with the chainsaws and blowtorches? Well, it could be anything, but I normally throw into one of these three categories.

  1. Misguided, Good Intentions – There are times when a person might feel like showing up with tough love is the best way to help you. They truly want to see you get to your goal, but they prefer a drill sergeant approach, and you may not. Or, maybe they go another route. They say that you don’t need to change, because you are perfect the way you are. Sweet, yes. But if your goal is to lose 25 lbs, and they keep bringing you donuts, it’s not really ideal.
  2. Fear of the Unknown – This could be fear that you might outgrow them, fear that you won’t have time for them, fear that you will judge them because they aren’t jumping on the bandwagon with you, or fear of losing touch because they don’t understand your choice. From a very simple perspective, let’s look at the diet. You and your friend go out for beers and burgers every Friday. You go to the same place, and you order the same thing every week. It’s your thing, your routine. Now, you have just announced that you want to go on a diet. Where does that leave them? They don’t want to go on a diet. This is the friend that has the amazing metabolism, so they don’t need to. You know that you want to spend time with them, and you know you can handle eating the grilled chicken and broccoli while they chow down on the burger. But, they might not. Instead of saying any of this though, they launch into a whole diatribe about how this is an awful idea and how you won’t stick to it anyway. I, mean, you did give up on the harmonica lessons after only a week.
  3. Straight up haters – Sometimes people just aren’t supportive because of their own shit that has nothing to do with you. Maybe it’s jealousy or maybe they are miserable in their own situation, I don’t know. There is normally an underlying reason, but you aren’t it. Think of the internet troll, the heckler, or crabby Grandpa Jones (this is a made up name. I don’t know a Grandpa Jones). But, you know the “get off my lawn” or the “why you wasting your time” crowd.

Well, what do you do?

The first thing is to try to understand where they are coming from. Start at the top of my list and work down. Don’t do it while you are angry, because everyone is an asshole when you are triggered and all upset.  Try to give them the benefit of the doubt.

For those well intentioned, misguided souls–be honest. After all they love and support you, they are just maybe showing this in a different way than you need. Tell them gently, yet truthfully the best way they can support you. No one is a mind reader. Give them credit and gratitude for trying.

For those that are afraid of what your change will mean to them, communication is key here as well. Don’t just tell them, show them. If you don’t want beer and burgers, organize something else. It’s not the thing; it’s the connection. Make sure they know they are not going to be left out of this new vision of yourself. But, also make sure not to force your new goals on them–these are yours. We wouldn’t want you to become the misguided fool with good intentions, now would we?  😉

The haters are the toughest nut to crack. I’d say try to see if you can spot the why before you react. You want to double check that they aren’t just afraid of the unknown or very misguided with their good intentions. Sometimes those can appear very hostile if you are already sensitive to the subject. Try to communicate, however, if you realize they are just truly not being supportive and are being hurtful and tearing you down, well, they may need to go in time out. Life is too short to be surrounded by negative forces. Maybe this is temporary, maybe it’s permanent — that’s a personal decision that you must make.

Some people may not buy into what you are trying to do. That’s fine. Not everyone is going to be your cheerleader. The ones to watch out for are those that seem more like they are rooting against you. If you can ignore them, that is probably the best. But if you realize that their words are affecting you, they may need to be told to go and not return until they can handle themselves. They shouldn’t be allowed to be a toxic influence over your life. That shit is contagious. And if you catch it, lord knows who else you might spread it to.

Most importantly, don’t lose sight of your goals and be drug off course by negativity. Sometimes people don’t know how to help but want to, others will be afraid of what this change will mean to them, and sometimes, haters gonna hate. You just keep on loving though. Let your little light of positivity shine. The world needs more of that.

Nightly Questions: Ask yourself this

A while back I read a great book called Triggers: Creating Behaviors That Lasts—Becoming the Person You Want to Be by Marshall Goldsmith (gasps for breath), about self awareness. It’s an easy read packed full of practical and actionable advice. It is pointed a bit more at career and leadership, however you can use the same advice to help increase your personal potential and growth as well.

A big focus of the book is about moving from planning and talking about change to actually taking steps towards change.  “We are superior planners and inferior doers.”

Marshall suggests looking at your environment to see what triggers you to abandon your plan for change. A bit like we discussed yesterday. He says we should set up the right structure that supports our goals and to be honest with ourselves about how badly we want this change we seek.

One of the biggest takeaways for me was the idea of nightly questions that you ask yourself at the end of every day (or actually he suggested going through the questions with a friend, loved one, or coworker). It allows you to evaluate your day and plan for the next. Got off course with your budget? Refocus and do better tomorrow.  Ate a bacon cheeseburger instead of staying on your new hardcore vegan diet? Well, go make your tofu salad for tomorrow so you can be more successful. Nailed all of your questions? Flipping celebrate, because you’re a damn rockstar!

The trick to the nightly questions is in how you phrase the questions. You are not just looking to see if you accomplished the task; you are mostly looking at did you try to do it. Did you make the effort? You can’t always control the result, but you do have control over the energy and effort you put towards it.

Here’s some examples of what the nightly questions can look like.

Nightly Questions


1. Did I do my best to check off one of my daily fitness goals? (yoga, run, gym, crunches, exercise class, dance)

2. Did I do my best to get to 10,000 steps?


3. Did I do my best to focus on portion control?

4. Did I do my best to not eat out?

5. Did I do my best to take my supplements?

6. Did I do my best to plan tomorrow’s menu/meals?


7. Did I do my best to make sure my children feel loved?

8. Did I do my best to provide for my children?

9. Did I do my best to set my children up for success?


10. Did I do my best to stick to my budget?

11. Did I do my best to control spending impulses?

You can use these for any goals you may have: interpersonal relationships, health, career, household, etc.  The number of questions vary greatly depending on how much you want and are willing to take on.

It’s a great book, and I highly recommend it.

Have you read this? Any other self help books you’ve read lately?

Any favorites?

Blueprint for Remodeling

Once we have identified what in our lives needs a bit of remodeling and renovation, we have to draw up the blueprints of what we are going to do. If your goal is to lose weight, what method are you choosing? Want to exercise more, when are you doing it? Want to improve your finances, how are you going to build your budget?

There are tons of methods and advice for how to improve each area of your life, and it can all be so overwhelming. One could get lost in the deep dark depths of Pinterest. (Omg, I love Pinterest so much!)

As you read through advise, processes, and methods of change it is important that you know yourself. Know your triggers. Know your personal style.

I hate to get up earlier that I have to, and I also hate to run. So for me, waking up early to go run is destined for failure. However, waking up early to do something I love, such as writing, has a much higher probability for success.

I could literally eat every single meal wrapped in a tortilla, so going on a hard core carb free diet could lead to some problems. I gained so much weight after going on the Whole 30 plan, because I felt deprived (even though other people swear by it). However, reasonable carb reduction and cutting out dairy is fine for me. Building a budget that has zero mention of fun will trigger me and send me on a shopping spree. However, building a balanced yet flexible budget and watching my funds closely works.

It’s not supposed to be easy to change your life, or we would have done it already. But do we want our lives to be boring, zero joy, snooze-fests? I don’t.

The point of life is to live it.

Pick an exercise plan that is fun. Pick a diet you can stick with, and is full of delicious new food that you are dying to try. Change is scary, but it can also be exciting.

We also have to decide what all we are going to work on at any given time. I know that I have a tendency of taking on too much. I will look at my list of life improvements and decide to jump in with both feet.  A tight budget, a strict diet, a rigorous exercise routine, a new writing project, an organization project, and a deep-dive into the psyche of the modern adolescent. Then, I will become overwhelmed and revert back to my old ways, abandoning the plan of change. I have learned that about myself.

So, now I try to take a more balanced approach. You can shine a light on one particular area of your life at a time. Another method may be to pick a single item from each list.

One thought process is to just change one thing, add something in or take something away for 30 days. A solid month.

This is a fantastic Ted Talk about that very thing. Great stuff!

This is all part of building the framework for our house of change. What is our plan? What are we focusing on, what amount of time are we putting in, and what method are we going to use?

I’m currently doing a mixture of these things. Here’s my current plan.

  1. I am trying to write for 30 days straight to get back in the habit.
  2. I built a very nice excel spreadsheet budget that works great for me, based on EveryDollar. I made it a bit more flexible and double check it regularly to stay on track or adjust when things get off course. I’ll probably share it here in a future post. The format, not my actual budget.
  3. I am not drinking beer for 30 days. I had been enjoying tasting all the yummy craft beers out there, and well, those sneaky little liquid calories snuck up and bit me on the backside (or more accurately, latched on to my backside).
  4. I am walking Cosmo three times a day. This helps with exercise for both of us and training for him. It also helps with the writing. I love how ideas pop in my head on our walks.
  5. I am trying to cook more and eat out less. This helps with both finances and nutrition. When I cook, I tend to prepare fairly healthy meals. I don’t really fry a lot of foods. I use lots of veggies. When I eat out, I am quickly distracted by the greasy, cheesy goodness listed on the menu.

I am giving this all a solid month before I try to add or change more. Some of this will stick and others will be replaced with a new plan. Some of it will become second nature and I won’t even have to think about it anymore.

Time will tell.

Do you have a plan for something you are trying to improve in your life?

I would love to hear it. 





Inspiration: Tattoos and Vision Boards

Once you find inspiration, it’s important to hold onto it. It is a tricky little devil that will sneak out the back door in an instant. It’s easy to get tripped up by colds, vacations, traffic jams, wilted lettuce, or whatever random inconvenience pops up to give you an excuse or a real live version of  a reason to not do the thing you want to do whether it’s write, work out, eat healthy, dog training, painting, or meditating. It happens.

Like we talked about yesterday, when that does happen it’s important that we accept it for what is and then move forward. We can pick up after a breath, a good night’s sleep, or the next time and give it another shot. It’s important to not lose sight of the reason we were so motivated to do the thing in the first place. What is our end goal? Where are we trying to get to? What is the payoff?

It can be nice to have a visual reminder of why you should not give up. A thing you can glance at to put you back on track or reignite your passion. Something that speaks to that beast of inspiration living inside of you. Is this a photo or a quote? Maybe it’s a meme? It’s a very personal thing, so you have to find that.

If you are embarking on a particular treacherous journey of self change and discovery, you could collect a few things that speaks to you and put them together as a vision board.


I made one recently, and I love it. I put it inside my walk in closet, so I have to see it everyday. Let’s break it down a little bit.

Pictures  – I took the 7 above photos of London on my very first international trip. I grew so much because of that trip. They also remind me of my art (photography), which also reminds me to stay present. They remind me of my love of traveling and exploring the world, as well as my long term dream of one day moving there.

Quotes –  It’s hard for you to see them in the picture, but here’s what I grabbed.

Image result for discipline is the bridge between goals and

Image result for start writing no matter what

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Image result for the perfect job doesn't exist

Image result for if we wait for the moment when everything

Image result for you have to make time

And this little image about healthy living…

Image result for think positive healthy living

And then, I just hung up all of my longer necklaces around it, because why not.

Sometimes though, there are things you want around as visual reminders in a more permanent way. I’m talking tattoos. I have definitely put some ink, money and pain into that before.

One that I had done a little more recent was actually inspired by a meme. Have you heard of foxtato?

Image result for foxtato

I fell in love with this little guy the moment I saw him. I shared it with friends, with coworkers, and my kids. In fact, it became a bit of a running joke. I would tell my son “Foxtato believes you can do the thing” on a regular basis when trying to motivate him to do extremely difficult tasks like getting out of bed in the morning.

So, for reasons I might go into in a future post, I decided to get a tattoo of Foxtato on Christmas Eve of last year to remind me that I can do the thing. Whatever the thing may be.

View this post on Instagram

I did the thing. #foxtato

A post shared by AJ Rhodes (@a_life_created) on

It looks better now after healing, but I’m too lazy to take another picture. lol

My newest tattoo is possibly my favorite experience of the tattoo process. I worked on the idea for this tattoo for years, and it is 100% about self awareness, taking inventory, balancing the chakras, and embracing my spirituality. I found a wonderful tattoo artist who listened to exactly what I wanted and she created it. Thank you, @kylieagreen

Whatever method you choose, enjoy the process. That is the important part. Change is a journey that is more gratifying when you playfully engage with it. Create something that taps into that vision you have of your best self, but does so in a way that embraces who you are now. Because you are pretty fabulous just as you are.



Self Talk: Be Kind and Rewind

It has been a rather busy few days. I had a large meeting on Thursday, followed by a fancy dinner with coworkers. Friday at work was chaotic and hectic, a whirlwind from the time I woke up. The evening was the fun kind of busy. A good time out on the town, but I did witness a bar fight.  I wish I was kidding. (Jesus, people are so angry these days.)

I wanted to write during those days, however I decided to not stress about it and just accept that sometimes life’s plans are different than my own. That wasn’t my initial reaction. That sounded more along the lines of, “Well, I managed to write 5 posts before I fell off the wagon, abandoned all 3 people that read this, and drove the inspiration van off a cliff.”

I had to bring myself back to reality. I’d love to commit to writing daily, but that is just not always in the cards. Much like how you would love to commit to reading, but we both know life isn’t always going to give you the time to do that alongside of all your other responsibilities.

Let’s make a promise to each other, shall we? I will try my best to write each day and you will try your best to read it, but we will give each other and ourselves grace and kindness on those days that life hijacks our schedules and says “nope”.  😉

We can all be too hard on ourselves at times. Everyone. I try not to talk in platitudes, but this one is literally true. We get mad at ourselves for eating too much, saying the wrong thing, not saying anything, not getting all of our to-do list checked off, spending too much, forgetting a simple thing, being tired, being hyper, being sick, being too focused on one thing, not being able to focus, missing a call, or a gazillion other things that we believe we should have complete control over.

There is a difference between deciding to work on an area of your life and tearing yourself apart for being you. It’s all in the tone you use when you are coaching yourself. Are you using the soft, gentle voice of a yoga instructor or do you sound like Samuel L. Jackson as a hockey coach?

The goal is to get where you want to be, but it would be better to not arrive with your spirit beaten and bruised. We wouldn’t allow someone to speak to us the way we speak to ourselves. The harsh, hateful critic that rips you down to your core. The scolding voice that says you never do anything right. That voice is an unproductive, asshole that needs to be told to sit down and shut up. We deserve better.

I am definitely guilty of this. But over the years, I have tried to recognize when it is happening. When I realize what I am doing, I stop, breathe, and change my tone. Change the approach. Soften and offer myself support, understanding, love, and focus on a plan. I try to figure out what went wrong, so I can either accept it or figure out a way to stop it from happening in the future.

The above example is one I just had to accept. My work event was important, and it needed my full attention. It was a positive experience that only happens once in a while, so it made sense to me to accept that I probably wouldn’t get a chance to write. I made peace with it and moved on.

The busy and hectic day on Friday was frustrating, but it was also necessary and understandable because I was doing both Thursday’s and Friday’s work due to the meeting the day before. I didn’t get a chance to go to lunch, which is where I normally do some of my writing. The rest I do at night, but I went out Friday night. Now, I could have woken up earlier on Friday to have some scheduled time for writing. In the future, that might be what I do. But I hadn’t thought of that and honestly, I wanted the sleep. So, I accepted that one, too.

However, I drank a little too much on Friday night and am feeling it. Why? I am normally a beer and wine drinker. I like knowing exactly how much I am drinking, making it easier to know where I am intoxication wise. But, I have decided to try to cut calories and carbs when it comes to drinking, so I switched to vodka sodas. It’s harder to keep track because all bartenders are not created equally, and some are very heavy handed. This is one, I can’t just accept. I have to be more careful and cut it down so I don’t blow up the day after with a stupid hangover. There are things I can do to help with that — drink more water, make sure to eat enough food (this is where I messed up last night), drink slower, pay better attention to what I’m consuming (and here), watch the pour if I can, stop drinking (ok, that last one probably isn’t going to happen in totality for me anytime soon, and I’m ok with that. Judge if you must.) However, what won’t help is raking myself over the coals for screwing it up last night. I, mean, I’m already being punished by the hangover after all.

So, do you see what I did there? Do you think you can try to go a little easier on yourself? This doesn’t mean to give yourself a free pass to do whatever you want, consequence free. But it does mean to try to grow while also protecting the integrity of your mental health. Recognize that you are worthy of love and that you are a primary source of that love. Understand that how you speak to yourself matters. Learn when to just accept, and if it is something that needs to change for the future — then ask questions to get to the Why and the How. Come up with a plan. Accept that unless you own a time machine, you can’t change the past–so you have to let that shit go. Let’s both practice healthy self talk and love no matter what life throws at us. We can’t control life, but we can control how we react to it.

So, today I wrote. Tomorrow, I will try.   And, maybe you will be able to read it.

P.S. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read this.