Finding the Beauty in the Darkness 🌹

Sometimes life throws a shit storm your way. Like legit proverbial shit storm that feels like the end is near! It’s so easy when life feels like it’s kicking you in gut while you’re already down to give up. It’s even easier to believe that nothing good can come from the bad. You get completely into a state of self defeat and can believe that there’s no way out. You can even get into a state of believing you must deserve whatever is going wrong. I’m totally guilty of that and it’s something I still work on.

When shit hits the fan though that’s the best time to look for the good. When everything’s going wrong you’ll find that it was probably never right to begin with. It’s the universes way of saying it’s time to move on but how you react to it makes all the difference. I’m one of those people that the moment things blow up I first need to cry, scream and feel like the world is ending. But with either coaxing from loved ones or myself I open my eyes to the reality of the situation and see the opportunity to do better, find better and surround myself with better. Anytime something has failed or I’ve had a major conflict with someone and I sit back and really look at the situation I can find that it wasn’t right ever. The person I have conflict with wasn’t right to work with and there were red flags from day one, a relationship wasn’t solid from the start, a situation had lots of problems I’d ignored. You can only ignore the signs for so long till the universe will force you to pay attention. When it does finally wake you up you have two choices. You can either give up and continue to let things get worse or you can see the lesson and start getting honest with yourself from day one about what you really want.

Not everything goes right all the time but it doesn’t mean it all goes bad either. If you find the good in the bad you can usually find better. Every time I’ve opened my eyes to what really didn’t work in the first place I’ve let go of what didn’t work. Then I’ve found something or someone better and life improved, my mindset and progress within myself improved. So when things go wrong step back, see the situation for what it really is and you will find a way out. Life is full of ups and downs and it’s so easy to forget that there’s so much good. In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller “life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in awhile you could miss it”. Take the bad and find the good and then find the way into the great 💗

What depression teaches you

This is kind of a dark topic to finish out the decade when there’s so much excitement for the new one but whatever, I never do things in the normal order. Honestly, in some ways it’s the perfect time because as you start to think about what you want for your new year you have to eliminate things you don’t want. For me, the last several years has been the most transformative of my life and I’ve been through some shit but this last period…talk about change! I’d like to say that all the transformation came from just simply deciding to work on myself and keep improving but it’s not. Most people don’t go through a transformation without having some sort of dark night of the soul. My start was dark, as dark as it’s ever been, and it was not pretty. Of course no one ever fully realizes how shitty the process of self development is till your in it. We hear people say it’s a rough road to get there but until your in the trenches you have no fucking idea how ugly they can be.

So how did my journey start? It started with everything breaking down around me to a point I found myself in the hospital under suicide watch. Not many people know that, well honestly more than I wanted knew due to the betrayal of someone I’d once trusted but we’ll get to that. Regardless, yes I was in the hospital for an attempted suicide and I lied to get myself out. For the record, the hospital I went to was a horrible place and all I had to do to get out was say that I wasn’t a danger to myself or others. That’s it, no actual therapy or talk just say yes or no and your out. In truth, I was very much still a danger to myself but after witnessing and experiencing some of the poor treatment in there I wanted the fuck out. So I lied, went home to my crumbling life and tried to continue hiding how bad things were for fear of being readmitted. The day after I got out I sat through an entire four hour conversation with my now ex-fiancé yelling at me, telling me everything I was doing wrong and ultimately leaving me. The whole time my thoughts were doing the cycle they’d been doing of say things like “see you are unloveable, no one wants you or to deal with you, your just a burden and hated and really are you doing anything good for this world? You’re not, you can’t provide for your daughter the way you should, people hate you and want to see you fail, you’re alone, no one cares, you should just leave this world, it’s too painful here just leave it’ll be better for everyone if your dead”.

Yep that was the stream of thought in my head and in the car after that long conversation my only thought was “you could just run yourself off the road and it’d be so easy and everything wouldn’t hurt so much anymore”. I don’t know how or why I didn’t but I drove myself home and slept. I slept because it was the only thing stopping me since I had no intention of going back under observation. If I was gonna leave this world I was gonna make sure I wasn’t getting stopped but I was being watched heavily by my dad and my poor daughter who in my mind would’ve been so much better off without me. While all this is going on a breakdown was still happening within my business that started an avalanche and my decline. I’d spent years giving myself to my business and what I’d initially created it to be had completely changed into something I didn’t want. I let so many other people determine what it was, how it functioned just to make them happy that I had lost all passion for it. I’d gone through an assault by a former client a few years before that I was so ashamed of I still hadn’t received help for it. It wasn’t my fault but I still felt shame and that event led to me closing myself off. I trusted no one anymore, I hardly ever went out anymore but because of the utter loneliness I felt and need to liked by someone, anyone I latched on to the people around. That would’ve been staff and a few long term students that became staff. This was the biggest mistake I’d ever made and biggest lesson of my life.

The staff I latched onto I’d developed a rapport with and relationship with but it was one that had no boundaries and one where I asked for no respect as a boss. When I needed to talk about something, instead of going to the friends that had been in my life, I’d isolated myself and talked to my staff. So that meant if there was an issue with a staff member the only other people I had to talk to about it were their peers. The problem with this is obvious but for someone who was still hurting so bad over being violated and betrayed, then shunned by a few people that did know about my assault, I didn’t see that. I’d finally gotten into a relationship again but so much of me was still closed off because I couldn’t fully trust and having a partner that scolded me anytime I needed to vent just made me shut down further. So there’s just a whole shit show of problems with all of this and in the middle of it I’d made bad decisions within my studio financially. I added unlimited memberships to make people happy which by the way is the worst decision any small boutique studio can ever make and I was paying my staff way more than was affordable or deserved. They were coming in teaching using programming I created, advertised for, paid for in a place that I paid for and ran but I was paying them more then I paid myself because again I latched on.

So all of this boiled down to major financial strain that basically was on the verge of ending me. One instructor, who I’d become particularly close with was unhappy and started reaching out to the others. She’d offered to do an event for the studio that she wanted to put on and let the studio keep the profit but afterwards, and because admittedly I was behind, decided she did want the money from it. It wasn’t there because I had used it to start getting ahead on things but she wanted it. In this whole timeline I’d set all my staff up to believe they were more important then me and I had molded everything to what they wanted all the while loosing my dreams for it, feeling like I couldn’t tell them when they were screwing up because they’d get mad and leave and having absolutely no boundaries. This ended with said former employee going to each of the other staff members and telling them I’d said horrible things about them. She’d stepped down already and was reaching out but at this point what she didn’t realize was that I was in a state of depression so deep I couldn’t get out and was trying to figure out how to kill myself. She didn’t know but the shit storm had started and one by one many of my employees started coming down on me. Why? Because I allowed all of it and things were so out of control that I couldn’t see a way out. So I ended up in my car driving to a damn and on the ledge ready to jump when I was found by police and subsequently taken to the hospital.

All of this led to me being ordered into therapy which honestly is where I should’ve been before but money had been the issue and well it’s really hard to think of getting help when you believe the worlds just better without you. But I started therapy and yes everything was breaking down and it broke down more through this whole thing. But as I was going through this whole process of finding myself again I learned so much valuable information. I learned that giving everything you think people around you want will not make them love or stick by you. I learned that putting everyone before me leaves me empty. I learned that letting others decide what’s best for me and my business only ends with me feeling used, hurt and alone when they don’t get their way anymore. I also learned how much I needed to lean on the people that truly cared about me and stop settling for people that didn’t have my best interest at heart. I also learned that hiding from the traumas I’ve been through doesn’t fucking work and the problems your going through cannot be dealt with alone.

I have dealt with strong feelings of failure throughout this journey and sadness knowing some people utterly hate me. That has always been something I’ve struggled with given I grew up with a mom that hated me. I don’t like the feeling which is why I always tried to make others happy even when it destroyed me in the process. Getting past that is something I constantly work on but as shitty as it all was I don’t think I would’ve ever gotten to a place where I actually faced the real problems had I not gone through this. Depression will teach you so much and I’m certainly not advocating going through that. I wouldn’t wish being in that place on anyone because it fucking sucks! But, like it or not, it can be the thing that finally gets you to a place where you finally start living for yourself. That will mean people will leave and they won’t support your journey. The people you let walk over you or get more from you than you’re comfortable with will end up hating you. They’ll hate you because you’re not allowing them to be more important than you or get away with things you were never ok with. You may loose your partner which looking back who wants to be with a partner that shames you for needing to vent or lean on them when your falling apart? No one in their right mind needs that and sometimes you have to loose your mind to get in your right mind. Depression sucks and it’s certainly a long road through it and out of it but it can teach you so much if you let it. The trick is once you learn the lessons you don’t repeat them. I hurt and scared my family so much with this and that’s the only thing I still struggle with. But everything I’ve been through has led me on a path to finally understanding what I really need and want in my life and that is an invaluable lesson.

Moms Gone Fishin’

I’m the mother of an incredible eighteen year old daughter who I’ve raised pretty much on my own aside from the help of dad. So being a single mom I didn’t have a partner to take over when I wanted some me time. I did, however, have a great dad who would watch Angel when I worked, went to classes and out occasionally. But being a single mom and one who had her daughter at the age of 20 let me tell you time alone was difficult! Even with a partner getting a few minutes alone to go to the bathroom can be an utter miracle or a sign of end of days…take your pick. Being a young mama though I was looked at with judgment often, especially considering based on great genetics and skin care people think at nearly 40 I look anywhere from 23-30. Other moms would give me looks like I was some product of trailer park living and had no education on birth control, abstinence or morals. Trying to fit in with the PTA moms when she was in elementary school went out the window quickly. Not just because they tended to not speak to me but because after some time of listening to them I had no desire to fit in with them.

When Angel was very little I was doing everything I could to be the ideal mom because I’d already given her a shit show of a dad that I left before she was two. I also was young and hearing the judgments of the world about how young moms were usually shitty parents. So I took Angel to library book readings and activities, metro park classes, museum classes, zoo classes. I took her to all these places and more pretty much daily and outside of college and working I made her my whole world. I didn’t go out really for over I’d say six years. Like not even for a haircut or massage and certainly not out with friends. My life was for her and if I could take her with me I did. It was the most unhealthy thing I’ve ever done and it backfired big time. Now don’t think I regretted taking her to all those activities because I didn’t. I gave her experiences my own mom never would’ve and it’s helped mold her into the compassionate, intelligent person she is. What I regret though is what I did to myself and what happened after those six years that effected us both.

After six years of making my daughter my entire world I snapped. I started going out one to two times a week which doesn’t sound like an obscene amount but let me explain why it was a problem. I was going out drinking and dancing with people I’d met through mutual friends and drinking way more then I wanted. I started “dating” again and we’ll call it dating because so much of it was hooking up with guys after a date or two I did not like and some I didn’t even go on a date with. I was hooking up with a guy for two months I couldn’t fucking stand for fucks sake! I was so lonely and desiring adult interaction, friendship, companionship that I was just giving myself over to anyone who paid me attention and doing things that really brought me no joy. In that two year period of going out like crazy I was also going through a long and just utterly damaging custody battle that’s a story for another time. I’ll just say in the five year battle he finally just walked away which is what he wanted to do all along anyway and it was the best thing he ever did for Angel. But I was living a life outside of being a mom that made me feel like a bad mom and ended with a sexual assault that’s taken me years to overcome (again a story for another day).

I didn’t get to do my early twenties like most people do and tried to make up for it in a way that didn’t make me feel any better. The problem wasn’t having a life and identity outside of my child. The problem was I waited so long to give myself that that I was lost and not filling myself up. So I stopped going out in that way and threw myself into work and her and went out very little. While my situation may be slightly different from the average mom the theme is the same. It’s the theme of putting your kids and everyone else before you! It’s what I consider an epidemic among moms and why so many mamas suffer from secret depressions, sadness, regret and so much more. As moms we tend to forgo our own needs and give some type of excuse for when we give to ourselves. How many of you mamas have gone out for a friend date and immediately told your friends your husband or partner was babysitting the kids because you’ve been doing xy and z? Probably a lot of you and when the friend date ended and you had a blast even with your secret guilt for being away promised to do it more often because it was really fun and “we really should spend more time together”. We both know though it’ll be six months to a year before you do it again and you use the excuse that life is different now and that’s ok.

I have moms come into my studio all the time that eventually drop off even though they love classes because mom is the first person to sacrifice time and attention. It’s heartbreaking to watch because you can see this amazing chick sacrificing something she really loves and is thriving with. But we over schedule our kids with sports and activities and yes ladies that needs to stop! Your child doesn’t need to do two sports a season on top of everything else you’ve got them into and it’s time to nip that in the bud. Kids need to be kids and have down time. They also need to learn an important lesson on self care and you are their first teacher. Learning to balance my time and identity as a woman with my time with my daughter and being a mom is one of the greatest lessons I’ve taught her and I know this because she’s told me. From me, she’s learned to go after what you want and that it’s important to have goals that are your own. She learned that building friendships and having hobbies that bring joy and pleasure are necessary and that self care is a priority. In fact, I’m writing this very blog sitting in a bubble bath with sexy music on and a mimosa on Christmas Day and I dint feel bad. Why? Cause I wanted some me time and guess what she’s doing? She’s painting because that’s her thing and plans to take a bubble bath later too because she feels like it. Yes she’s an adult now but this has been something after my wild child phase that she saw regularly. I give her quality time and always have but I’ve also given myself time and attention. I may not be perfect at it always but I’m a hell of a lot better then I used to be.

Having a daughter it was key to teach her to put herself first and for those that have sons it’s critical to teach them that as a woman your needs are equal to and as important as any males. That’s how we breakdown these ideas that keep women down in society. Teach your kids and your partner what you need matters and for the love of god stop apologizing for it!