Wednesday, February 3, 2016

No. No Is Okay.


It's me.

The girl who used to say yes to everything. Seriously, to everything. Yes, even that.

If it made someone else happy, I would eagerly agree, trading my wants for their smiles believing their happiness was worth more than...well my worth. I felt indebted to others. Indebted because they simply allowed me into their worlds, their lives, their existence on this crazy bluish-green marble swirling around this universe.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the way I forgot that this world was mine as well, that every inch my feet claimed for their own was not a misstep, that I actually belonged where I stood. So, I did what many others do, I overcompensated. I tried to prove my worth, I tried to show I belonged, I tried to create the illusion that I was irreplaceable.

Life has a funny way of reminding you, though, that everyone is replaceable.

Could I babysit? Yes.
Could I loan them money? Yes.
Could I volunteer? Yes.
Could I raise money for another fundraiser? Yes.
Would I be on a new committee? Yes.
Would I help make crafts? Yes.
Would I stop and take a moment, just one damn moment, to myself to enjoy my world? No.

I was too busy saying yes to participate in my own life. Work. Volunteer. Donate. Outing. Work. Crafts. Helping others. Volunteering. Maybe sleep. That was repeated until I no longer remembered what downtime was, what I liked to do, or why the hell I was saying yes in the first place. It was a knee-jerk reaction, if someone asked me for something I said yes. No matter how much it put me out-I did it with a smile on my face, because I should have been lucky enough to be trusted with that responsibility.

^What kind of crap is that? Unacceptable crap-that's what.

Saying yes did not make me happier. It did not make me kinder. It did not make me more loving. Staying that busy saying yes to allthethings, simply distracted me from my life and things I wanted and needed to do.

These days I hesitate if asked to do something. I deliberate and choose what events to get involved with, I pause before jumping in, I weigh if I truly want to do an activity or feel if I should do it simply because of some imaginary inadequacies that can fill my heart and plague my head at times.

Saying no is not rude. Saying no is not mean. Saying yes and stretching yourself way too thin is rude to yourself and those you pledged your commitments to. Saying yes because you do not think you are worthy of someone's company is devaluing and demeaning yourself. Saying yes when you want to say no and forging along with a sour heart and disposition is wrong.

When I say no, I am not saying no to your event. I am not saying no because I do not have time for you. I am not saying no because I am being stuck up and have better things to do. I am not saying no because I am mad at you.

I am saying no because too many times I said yes to strangers masked as friends who willingly and brilliantly took advantage of my giving soul.

I am saying no because I like the way it feels coming out of my mouth.

I am saying no because I do not have to prove myself to anyone.

I am saying no because my worth, your love for me, and my self-esteem should not hinge on me placating you with a plastic sycophantic smile plastered on my face to please you.

I am saying no because I want to.

I am saying no because it is a complete sentence. I do not need to justify, explain or legitimize why I am not doing it to anyone, at any time.

Really, I am saying no because saying it is okay.

And because by saying no to the things I do not want to do, I am finally saying yes to my desires, my dreams, and to my amazing self.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Bringing You Into The New Year

"New Year, New Me" bullshit? Nah, I like the old you. The old you has learned and evolved and it has got you this far in life. And it smells like macaroni and febreeze. But here's a few things to remember when crossing that threshold into a new year.

You will never be everything to anyone. If someone says you are their *everything* back away slowly because they are either lying or delusional.

You are not a half. You are a whole being that deserves to love themselves for who they are, what they want, and where they want to go in life.

You are not sorry. You do not need to constantly apologize for speaking up, for being different, for offering another perspective, for craving alone time, or liking what you like. You are only guaranteed so many breaths a lifetime do not waste them saying sorry for things you enjoy.

You are not a dump. You do not need to accept any kind of trash, toxicity, garbage or anything foul from anyone-including yourself. Accept what will help grow you into a content and healthy person in your emotional, spiritual and physical self-and leave the rest behind.

You live in the now. Keep your memories, your mementos, whatever puts a smile on your face but don't give up today's happiness while searching for a perfect day that never happened in the past.

You do not need this new year to become who you want to be. You just have to be a little brave. You have to remember that moving forward into the unknown is better than getting stuck in the comfort of the dead past. You can do it now or in five months or two years. Whenever you are ready to embrace yourself and live life fully you are ready for change. It is not selfish to enjoy time with yourself, by yourself. You are your longest friend, it's healthy to invest in that friendship. It is not being selfish to remove hazardous-to-your health people from your life. That is self-preservation and healthy. It is not selfish to try new things to be unabashed for your opinions. That is self-love.

I cannot promise you or tell you how this new year will go. I do know there will be pain and  confusion. Heartache and relationships lost. There will be tough times. But there will be good too. Even when it is super hard to find. There will be kind people and loving hugs, good music and new adventures, shattered misconceptions and growth.

Do not fear bringing you-the true you-into the new day, the New Year, the future, into the light for all to see. Fear living a life where you are not comfortable existing and cannot do or say what you want out of a silly fear of what people will think.

Why are you still reading this? You know you best, so go. Do something that makes your soul happy. Don't get lost reading in between the lines and lose sight of the story that is waiting to unfold in front of you.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sunday Confessions: Dig

Never be afraid to dig your heels in for what you want. Stand firm and refuse to back down. Sink your teeth into the best part and enjoy the victory juices that dribble down your chin.

But what if we are just holding on because we are afraid to let go?
We have always been taught to fight what we need, what we want, what we desire. We have been inundated over and over again by the movies with the anticlimactic endings where two star crossed lovers finally run into each other's arms finally fulfilling their desires and destiny. We are told to never stop dreaming and to always believe in whatever we want because we can achieve whatever our little hearts desire. We are told to reach for the moon and even if we do not reach it that’s okay because we will land among the stars.
But that’s not okay.
Stars are hot.
They are gaseous, balls of angry heat that can get up to 100,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Why would we ever want to land among them?
Sometimes, we are encouraged to do whatever we want that we do not even think if it is what we should be doing. We can get caught up in routine that we do not stop to evaluate if the habits we are desperately clinging to are something that serves our hearts and souls. We just hold on, regardless of the rope burn we get from trying to stay grounded, from trying to dig in, trying to hold steadfast to our initial hopes and desires.
It can get scary abandoning all we have ever known. It can be downright frightening to give up what we thought we wanted and take a chance on what could be good for us. To gamble on what might make us happy is a bet many refuse to make. Because it is easier to know what we know and not risk the unknown.
But what if changing things up is a new shot at happiness? What if choosing to stray from the course we have always taken is something that brightens our days like nothing ever has? What would happen if we admitted that not meeting a predetermined goal is okay and that we can move on to new adventures and new ways to challenge ourselves…and then find our true selves?  
If you want to stick to clich├ęd memes and quotes that is your prerogative. If that is what truly makes you happy that is all what matters.  However, if you are chasing after the same ideals and goals you always have just because it has become something you have always done, perhaps, it is time to reevaluate why you are so insistent on meeting those objectives.
Never be afraid to admit that your desires change. Never be afraid to change your goals. Never be afraid to let go and move on to something new.
This has been a Sunday Confession with the one, the only, the magnificent Hot Ash from More Than Cheese And Beer. Please stop by her blog check her out and link up if you have a confession on "Dig".

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Use Your Words: December 11th, 2015

Hello and wishes for the happiest Friday for you.
Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them.
Until now. 
My words are:
cold ~ shopping ~ snow ~ flat ~ broken ~ holiday
They were submitted by:      
At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them. 
There are times, seemingly that feel like all the time, that you are flat out broken. No matter how much love and kindness you have in your heart, you just feel empty and cold inside. Unfortunately, it hits people no matter what time of year it is-around their birthdays, anniversaries, holidays; it does not matter if the sun is shining or snow is covering the ground-our emotions cannot be controlled or predicted.
It does not mean you have a defected character, it simply means you need time to renew your spirit.
When you feel broken or worn out it's a warning sign to yourself that you need to take a moment and figure out what you need to nourish your soul. It might be something simple like pampering yourself with a pedicure or treating yourself to a day of shopping. Other times the process of revitalizing your soul starts when you force yourself to take a good, long, hard look at what's causing you to feel defeated. You may need to eliminate the areas of your life that is bringing you down. Yes, that includes negative people who chip away at your self-esteem and discourage you from your goals. We all need to foster healthy relationships and dispose of any that are toxic to us. It may be hard...but it is necessary so we can get back on track to being ourselves.

And sometimes, unfortunately,we cannot pinpoint where our distress and unhappiness is coming from. But that does not mean we cannot resolve our just means we may have to go outside of our comfort zone and talk to a therapist, medicinal professional or trusted pastor to help you get back on your journey to being you.

There are dark times behind us for sure but awaiting us as well. But there is also light and guidance if we are willing to persevere and find out what is dragging us down in the first place.

Not being yourself is identity theft. Never be afraid to steal your life back.
Links to the other amazing “Use Your Words” posts:                                     Baking In A Tornado                          Spatulas on Parade                                          The Momisodes                                 Sparkly Poetic Weirdo                        Southern Belle Charm                                    Rena’s World                         Dinosaur Superhero Mommy              The Bergham Chronicles            Eileen’s Perpetually Busy                         Never Ever Give Up Hope                    Someone Else’s Genius   Confessions of a part time working mom                               Climaxed

Friday, December 4, 2015

Secret Subject Swap: December 4th, 2015

I'm late I'm late for a very important date—then again….better late than never right??
Sooooo sorry for the delay but warmest welcomes to December's Secret Subject Swap. This week 15 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. 
My “Secret Subject” is:

December is National Write a Friend Month.
Is there anyone, living or dead, real or fictional, that would like to write a letter to? What would you say?

It was submitted by:  -Thanks Rabia!            

I have many unsent letters written in my head, stacked haphazardly, penned by regret and life's lemons that have washed my eyes clear with their burning acidic juice.
There are many people I would like to write to whose eyes have now laid rest upon their heaven or nirvana, whose souls have stopped aching in this physical world and have hopefully found the contentment that escaped them in this world.  There are some who I no longer speak to that I would like to write in big, black, bold, block letters, 2 specific words that I don’t even need to type out but you know what I mean. And there are some…who I have just drifted away from as we all do from time to time-no ill-will harbored…just life got in the way as it likes to do.

I would write to my friends who drop me postcards randomly from fun places where they travel around the world-and whose addresses I do not have because they are out living the fun life of adventuring-and just let them know I am so happy they are following their dreams and discovering the world that so few actually see.
But today, today I write to you. I write to myself too. I write for everyone's eyes words that they need to see.

              Hey you,
I see you, unsure of yourself and life, unsure of the path or plan you want to follow, doubting your destiny, dreams and desires.  No worries, I see that other side too. That side that says you cannot change, you cannot make a difference, so you might as well keep plugging along and do the best you can.
Do not buy the bullshit.
You are smarter than that. You know better.  
You, my dear, matter.
You matter to this world. What you do matters, what you say matters, what you believe and put into the universe matters. Don’t sell yourself short and think that you have no impact on this big, weird, chaotic, spinning world in this dark, vast universe. More importantly, you matter-to yourself too.
Treat yourself with love and compassion. You are allowed to make mistakes and make a fool out of yourself. You are allowed to be emotional. You are allowed not know the right answer. You are allowed to fail. And you are allowed to love yourself through it all.
You are allowed to be exactly who you are. Do what you want. Say what you want. Dream what you want. There is no hindrance in this world but you and the bullshit lines that we have chewed and swallowed for too long even though it never gave us any sustenance.
The only thing you need to partake in as if it was the holiest communion is self-love and self-acceptance.
Will that solve all your problems? Will it erase pain and hatred in your heart? Will it move mountains and get to you exactly where you need to be?
But it’s a start.
It’s a start to a revolution that you deserve to belong to. A revolution where you can love yourself flagrantly and honestly, aware of your faults and flaws, where you can move forward and refuse to focus on the past, where you be raw and open and grow, awkwardly and weirdly, yes, but nonetheless beautifully into that soul that is thirsting for acknowledgment.
A revolution, where you can finally be who you are and not give a damn what anyone thinks of you except yourself.
Love always,
Your friend Jenn
Don't forget to check out the other amazing bloggers who signed up for today's awesome challenge::

Friday, November 13, 2015

Use Your Words: Friday, November 13th, 2015

Hello and wishes for a happy Friday to you!

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them.

Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them. 

I’m using:   anniversary ~ sleeping ~ forgive ~ rhythm ~ necessities.

They were submitted by:

Never Ever Give Up Hope  -Thanks Carol!
                        *    *    *

The black and white words stare back at me. I read the last page first. I always do, I can't stand surprises, and I'm glad I did.

"If there is one take-away message that this book can offer to those in service work or supporting it, it is this: the poor, no matter how destitute, have enormous untapped capacity ; find it, be inspired by it, and build upon it".

-Toxic Charity: How Churches And Charities Hurt Those They Help

My head hurts in a good way if that is indeed possible. My mind is reeling from too much information that it probably already knew but is trying to digest and figure out what it means to me.

I am a giver. I always have been and always will be. Since I was a little girl I would give away my money, my toys, my crayons, my whatever if it brought a smile to someone else's face.

Saying I didn't have much growing up is an understatement, well at least in the materialistic sense. I had love, laughter, guidance, and loads of sarcasm, exactly what every little girl needs to grow up to be the sardonic, self-deprecating jackass she hopes to be. But when it came to necessities like food and what not to say we struggled a bit isn't quite accurate.

We had no monies. We had little food. If I didn't get clothes for my birthday from extended family members then my threads came from the donation piles at church. No hard feelings, just the truth. It's hard for my mom to admit that or talk about the real facts about raising me sometimes. She has apologized for not being able to provide me with more growing up but there is nothing to forgive. There is nothing to move on from or heal from. I have no shame in the way I was raised. I have no shame in what I didn't have. She did what she had to do and it taught me one of the most important lessons in life-perseverance.

As Thanksgiving nears, I find myself thinking back to when we were delivered a food basket and I was maybe 9 and thought it was so nice but the strained smile on my mom's face stopped my stupid little joyous heart. It was an odd feeling. We only had dinner because they brought it. My mom felt shame, so then I felt shame but I also wanted to be nice and polite.  What made the situation the odd was the way the people who had delivered the food were lingering. Like they were waiting with bated breath for excitement, for joy, for extreme gratitude for us poor folks to kiss their feet and jump up and down. They surveyed our simple apartment with astute eyes, made no real attempt to make a connection or conversation but you could feel the contentment roll off of them for their job well of helping the poor around the holidays.

However, I have been on both sides of this awkward scenario. I have also been the foolish one to stand delivering the gifts and food awaiting my applause for my act of kindness. Proud as a peacock of being able to help those who needed it I unconsciously discounted people's feelings and dignity searching for a way to validate my own.

In my younger days, I felt I needed to prove I no longer needed help, instead I had to show that I could help others. I wasn't stuck in that bracket of 'poor', I was better. But turns out, I wasnt. I was just another immature ass who didn't truly know how to give from their heart.

I was helped and I was the helper and both times my heart wasn't really ready to accept or give.

It took me years to find my rhythm, to find my place, my fit. After realizing that simply performing an act of 'kindness' did nothing for my soul or the recipients I had to take a step back and reevaluate what I was truly doing and why I was doing it. If I wanted to truly make the world a better place I had to put love into my work. I had to meet the people I was serving, I had to form relationships, get outside of my comfort zone, truly put my heart into my serving. And you know what I found out?

I probably enjoy serving others more than anything else. Not because I feel better about what I'm doing, not because it makes me look awesome and I should be the next candidate for canonization, but because it allows me to put love into the world and get some back by learning and listening to people's life stories.

Love baby, it makes the world go round.

Recently, someone asked me how long I had been volunteering with the local women and children's shelter. They seemed put off that I didn't know the exact anniversary, they began to pick and prod asking why I don't talk about it like I used to years ago.

Quite simply put, I don't need to talk about it. I don't need to share my volunteering experiences with anyone else. I don't need to advertise how or when I help others. I need to just do what feels right for my soul. I need to talk, learn and laugh with those with whom I volunteer. I need to deepen my relationships, I need to serve others the ways I know how. I don't have to answer to anyone and I'll tell you now they can make assumptions or whatever they want about me and I'll still be sleeping perfectly well at night.

My head hurts in a good way and I do know now that it is indeed possible. My mind is reeling realizing that I have been on both sides of the fence and finally understand that I'm happy where I water my grass because I get that it gets greener and flourishes when I take care of it. It doesn't flourish when I am embarrassed when people help me with my lawn, it doesn't flourish when I stand there waiting for people to notice my hard work, it flourishes when I shut up, get dirty and work til my heart is truly content.

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

Spatulas on Parade

The Momisodes

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo

Southern Belle Charm

Never Ever Give Up Hope 

Rena’s World 
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

The Bergham Chronicles

Eileen’s Perpetually Busy

Confessions of a part-time working mom

Someone Else’s Genius


The Angrivated Mom

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Give In to Yourself

Being altruistic, having unselfish concern and love for everyone and the world around you is noble, it is kind and magnanimous. Being humble and showing selflessness because you have a social conscience is admirable. Giving grace and helping further our society with humility and humanitarianism is honorable.

But it means nothing if you neglect yourself in the process.

You can give the world whatever you can but if you do not give yourself a break and realize it is okay to be human and err you will get nowhere.

You, yes you, matter.

You with your anger and sins matter. You who are too rough on yourself matter. You who can find no redeeming qualities about yourself matter. You who replay your mistakes over and over in your head matter. You who wander and worry matter. You who have no idea who or what you are or are meant for matter.

You would not treat the ones you love with the self-deprecation or disgust as you treat yourself.

There is no doubt you will fail. You will hurt the ones you loved in ways you never thought you could. That promise you said you'd never break? You'll break it. There will be times you will be selfish, you will be mean, you will be caustic and crude but you know what? That doesn't matter. Those moments the worst of you triumphs does not define you.

It does not matter if someone has it worse than you. It does not matter if someone is better than you. Their experiences do not negate yours or strip your emotions of their validity. Your journey and path matters. It is okay to take a breath and be selfish to focus on yourself.

The fact remains you still can choose who you are, what you do, and where you go in this world. Regardless of your past blunders, faults, transgressions, or wrongdoings you can move forward. Just remember to treat yourself with love and kindness and take each day as it comes.

You will be your longest life-long friend and ally-you better start acting like it. Give yourself a damn break you deserve it.

Today's blog was a Sunday Confession hosted by the awesome Ash from More Than Cheese And Beer on the topic of give. If you haven't already checked her out, do yourself a favor and check out her blog.