My Story Isn’t Over


2 years ago. This was very important to me.  

2 years have passed. It is still important to me today.

I am eternally grateful for those who held my hand that day because it was one I will never forget and one that makes me always think twice before saying anything to anyone about myself. 

I have a habit of opening up, letting people in and getting hurt by those who judge me. I wear my battle scars proudly and I share my life story with everyone who will listen in the hopes of helping them. 

Recently I was invited to a conference to discuss recovery housing.  It blew me away how many people actually want to listen to the story of someone who, 15+ years ago would have benefited from a form of housing that supported mental health or addiction recovery.  It was empowering to be in rooms where, today, people that need help are being helped. Being there and opening up to people, those I consider friends and colleagues, was something I wasn’t sure I was ever going to be able to do, without being judged, belittled or stigmatized against. 

Sadly, being hurt and judged is something I have become accustomed to experiencing. However, it is my decision how I act upon that hurt and judgement.  You see, while knowledge is power, it also yields a double edge sword that can hurt me and those around me. 

When I have taken the Briggs-Myer personality tests in the past I have been considered a “Consul” or ESFJ.  When I read through what the description is, I tend to agree with a lot of it, but choose to disagree with a lot of it as well. I love people, this is true and social situations both intrigue me and scare me. 

I have borderline personality disorder.  Most think this means I have a split personality – I don’t, that is a different diagnosis.  I have spent hours in countless therapy sessions and gone through an array of DBT Skills classes to get to where I am at 39.  I have also been diagnosed as ADD, which for me came on at a late age. Both of these combined led to a pretty rough past life and one that, in some instances, I am not proud of. 

You see, the plus side to my personality type and my mental health diagnosis is that I am aware. I know what my strengths are and I know what my shortcomings are.  Sometimes I can stop myself before doing/saying something and sometimes I can’t.  So, while I believe sharing is caring – sometimes it isn’t.

When I say my story isn’t over, it’s because I am not going to continue to be ashamed of myself and my life.  I chose to live it freely and do the best I can for everyone involved.  Will I keep making mistakes, sure.  Sometimes I will hurt myself and others in the process, but I won’t use my mental health diagnostic code as an excuse or my scapegoat. 

Like me, love me and walk with me or walk away.

My story isn’t over.

Dear Future Partners

Dear Future Partners,

I am writing this tonight in the hopes that those who choose to Google me before we date have a clear sense of what I am looking for.

The list isn’t long and I don’t have a lot of requirement or rules when I make a plan to meet someone, but there are some standards that I am looking for.

#1 – My moral compass states that it is inappropriate to date anyone knowing that they are married.  This means if you are not divorced, dating me is likely not going to happen.  I am not going to be the other woman.

#2 – Don’t do drugs or be an alcoholic.  The occasional beverage is fine, I am not going to short you for that, but if you require copious amounts of alcohol or drugs to get through each day – I will pass.  I believe in recovery, but I am not the one to date if you are in active addiction.

#3 – Do unto others as you would want done to you.  Meaning if you want your partner to treat you well and you want to be treated with respect and kindness, then do that for your partner.  Be honest and forthright.  Don’t hide things.

#4 – Don’t lie, cheat or steal from me or others.  I lived that life once and I don’t want to live it again.  People recover from bad past behaviors, but I can’t tolerate someone being actively deceitful.

#5 – It is okay to have flaws and not be perfect, but own it.  Be who you are and say how you feel. Nobody is perfect. Nobody.

Dr Seuss

With all of that being said, here are some things that some may consider wrong with me.

#1 – I am insecure. This is by far my biggest flaw. Deep down I know I am smart, pretty, funny and kind, but at the end of the day, I seek out the reassurance and respect of those I surround my self with.

#2 – When I am in a new relationship, I want to spend as much time with a person as I can.  It is new, exciting, fun and I want to get to know everything about you.  Now this may be because I do not want to get hurt down the road and would rather get it over with quickly (like ripping off a bandaid), however I just want to be able to experience all that is a new person in my life.

#3 – Florence Nightingale is my inspiration. She was a kind and loving woman who wanted to take care of everyone around her. She put her mark on the nursing profession and made sure that those around her were taken care of. I desire to be like her in caring for others and making sure their needs are always met before mine.

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#4 – I use social media and I use emojis. I don’t apologize for this. However, I am fluent in the English language, but sometimes I like acting like I am 12.

#5 – I am a hopeless romantic. I love picnics, walks, baking and cooking for my partner and overall making sure that they feel loved and cared for by doing the simple things. You don’t have to do big and elaborate things to make me happy and I promise I am all about doing small and sweet things to make you happy.

At the end of the day I am pretty simple. I don’t need a lot to be happy.  Here are my things that I need/want in life.

  1. Roof over my head + bonus points if it has a big kitchen.
  2. Children – young or old, I want children in my life.  They can be grown or they can be small, but I want to be able to care for children.
  3. Pets.  I love my dog and cats (in fact the dog is snoring next to me as I type this and there are two cats on either side of me).
  4. Sports – I love sports. We can disagree on teams, but don’t turn off football or hockey when I am watching it.
  5. Family and friends. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for them, so don’t think I am going to abandon them for you. I want you to integrate into life and be a part of theirs too.
  6. Physical compatibility – this is important. I am not saying we need to be skinny or body builders, I am saying that we need to be able to match up physically. This also fuels into romance and intimacy. Without these a relationship is doomed.
  7. Career – I want a career that I love and I hope that my partner has one too. However the career pays the bills and shouldn’t come before the other person.
  8.  Communication – this is important and maybe shouldn’t be last, but being able to communicate and know how best to do so is important.

Well my future partners, I am not sure if you are up to the task, or if all of this seems daunting to you. However maybe, just maybe if everyone was open and honest when it came to dating and who they were looking to date, we wouldn’t have this crazy life that pushes us to be who we are not.

Until next time friends I wish you the best in all that you do and ask that you please keep me in line and let me know when I am maybe stepping out of the boundaries or normal and into abnormal.

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Mirrors

When I look in the mirror what do I see?

I don’t see pretty.

I don’t see sexy.

I see ugly and unattractive.

Recently I had a long conversation with a friend.  He was kind and informed me that I was attractive, that I have a nice smile and pretty eyes. While that was nice and sweet, it was what he didn’t say that really got to me.

I used to think I was all that and a bag of chips. As I am nearing 39, I realize that is not the case. I don’t have what society, or even my doctor calls a healthy body (as I sit here at McDonald’s and write this between appointments), my skin still breaks out like I am in my teens, I am pretty sure I find a new ache or kink each day when I wake up, my hair isn’t long and beautiful (it is short and the gray hair has been popping through something fierce), once in a blue moon I can get my nails to grow and if I am not wearing makeup I feel naked.

It is amazing what happens when I take before and after pictures.

This first picture was heading into the salon.  I was in desperate need of an update. I mean realistically I don’t think that any guy would have walked up to me and started a conversation looking like this.  No makeup, hair a wreck and eyebrows totally array.  The second picture, was later that night – I had my hair cut, colored (all one color) put some makeup on and made sure my eyebrows were shaped.

 Please tell me you see the difference and agree with me?

Maybe I have perfected the art of the selfie?  Maybe I can just get away with taking pictures from the neck up that make me look goooooood! Regardless, I am not in the minority of women out there. As I sit at this McDonald’s and drink my Diet Coke, I listen to other women (of various ethnicities) talk about make up, hair and nails. They are swapping recipes or looking up fad diets on their phones (yes, we are still at McDonald’s and talking about dieting).

In this whole process of dating and trying to make sure that I feel better and look better in order to attract “the right one” I find myself slipping back into the mentality of who the hell cares if I ever meet someone, being alone is just fine and once in a blue moon I start to think that I am not worth it and not deserving of love.

When I look in the mirror I see someone that has failed herself and her family miserably. Someone who hasn’t ever owned a house, held down a job for more than 2 years at a time and runs far from problems instead of trying to fix them.

Does this sound like a person who deserves to love another and be loved by another?

Not in my opinion.

Moving back to what happens when I look in the mirror – I am sad. I see what used to be a vibrant and outgoing person. Now, you could classify me as an extroverted introvert and if you aren’t sure what the hell that means – this article explains it better than I ever could. People say I have a lot of friends and I have people that love me and will help me, but someone said the other day I must feel like a used car and I laughed (I mean I was laughing so hard I was crying) when they explained what they meant. The problem is, once I realized what they meant, I went from laughing to tears. They were right, I feel like I get passed up/around by people. This is why when I look in the mirror, I see damaged and used goods and nobody wants that long term.

There is a song by Gnash that is called “I Love You I Hate You” and these lyrics about sum up how I feel most days:

I hate you I love you
I hate that I love you
Don’t want to, but I can’t put
Nobody else above you
I hate you I love you
I hate that I want you
You want her, you need her
And I’ll never be her

Mirrors are not my friend and unless I am putting makeup on or doing my hair, I try not to look in them. My confidence is better when I am not looking in the mirror and I just do what I do, not giving two shits about what anyone thinks about me.

Does this sometimes get me in trouble?  Yep.

Do I really care?  Nope.

I am me. Love me. Leave me. I will always be me.

I encourage anyone who has the same self-esteem problems or doesn’t like looking in the mirror to spend some time loving you. It can be a bath, hot shower, face mask, manicure, pedicure, time alone, a massage or just reading a book with a nice candle. Start loving you.

Don’t worry about what others think about you.

Easier said than done, but worth a try – am I right?

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S’ip by S’Well

This my friends is the water bottle of all water bottles.  The S’Well Water Bottle has to be the best thing that I have ever spent more than $10 in my entire adult life.

Do you want to know why it is so awesome?

Let’s start with water.  I am not a fan of ice cold water. I have become accustomed to putting water in a glass, letting it sit out for a bit and then drinking it because then it is room temperature and I can more or less chug it.  This is likely because I am not one to “remember” to drink H2O all the time and when I need it, I usually need it.

I put cold tap water into my S’Well Water Bottle around 8:00 am – I remembered to drink out of my water bottle around 10:00 am and I was expecting lukewarm water, the way that I usually drink it.

Nope.

It was still cold.  I mean it was tap water cold, but it was still COLD.

That is example #1.

Now for example #2.

Hot tea.  I am a lover of tea, hot or cold. When I travel I like to make tea in the morning and drink it throughout the entire day, since I don’t add anything to it and like it hot and cold – this can be black tea or green tea, it really doesn’t matter much.

I had to travel this past week and I wasn’t a fan of the hotels coffee, so I would make black tea each morning, put it into my S’Well bottle and head to the office.  The first day I was expecting my tea to be drinkable by the time I got to the office, but I left it in my car, forgot about it and when I returned to my car a few hours later I opened it up and expected to chug it, like any reasonable person would, but to my amazement (proof by my burnt mouth) it was just as HOT as it was when I poured it at 8:30 am.

This was life changing. I can now pour myself a drink and know that it will be the same temperature for hours later.

S’Well says a drink will remain cold for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours and I can say for certain that this is true. On top of the bottle being stylish, fitting into my cup holder in my car and super easy to clean, I am pretty much in love with this water bottle.

I am thinking about getting the larger bottle next, so I can keep one hot and one cold.

If you get one, or already have one, let me know what you think!

Lifestyle Hack #1

As I am starting a new blog with a new purpose, my first post is about how I used everyday at home items to fix a surprising problem that arose today.

I am pretty much a creature of habit when it comes to doing laundry. In go the sheets, towels, blankets or clothes. Then follows the laundry detergent, softener and I close the lid, hit start and in about 90 minutes I have wet items that need to make their way into the dryer or be hung up.

This morning I took a shower. Normal. Yet today when I put the towel up to my face it had a “funk” to it. I hadn’t used the towel yet, it was just hanging there, waiting for me to use it. I was under the impression that I would be using a nice smelling and fluffy towel to whisk the water away. This did not happen.

It is rare when I feel like my housekeeping skills have failed, today I felt like I had failed miserably. I am not in the position to purchase new towels and they are currently brown, not white, so I can’t just bleach them.

Now I recall my mom using the washing machine to fix things over the years, but washing machines have evolved over the last 20 years and mine isn’t like hers at all. With that being said, I struggled to figure out how to use baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice to clean the towels and attempt to bring them back to their natural state.

I started by beginning the cycle on the washing machine, once I could see the towels were almost completely covered in water I promptly hit pause, opened the lid and poured in baking soda, vinegar and some lemon juice. I let it bubble and fizz a bit, closed the lid and hit start again.

Once the cycle was done, I ran a regular cycle with some detergent and then put them in the dryer. They came out smelling good – the test will be when I go to use one of them; if they stink I am shit out of luck, but if they smell good after one use, then I was successful.

What do you use baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar for?

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