Chapter 47: My Tips On Survival

A couple of weeks ago, I celebrated my 47th birthday. It’s been a rocky road… There have been a lot of good times and plenty that have just downright sucked. I started this list of thoughts and I just kept going. Before I knew it, I had to narrow it down to 47 and a bonus.

I thought I would share them with you…

1. Compliments are nice to receive, but they are also wonderful to give! Here’s a tip I have been trying get through to people… Complimenting someone else will in no way diminish any of your potential. Try it!!!

2. The right people will become more than friends, they will become your family.

3. Letting go of people who hurt you doesn’t mean you don’t love them anymore. You can love people, but set boundaries. You do not have to endure emotional abuse or blackmail, or physical abuse, just because you love someone.

4. Setting boundaries does not make you a bad person!

5. Standing up for yourself, and others, even if you stand alone, does not make you a bad person!

6. Sometimes it is just not worth the effort to try to explain things. Let people assume whatever they want and continue to live your life as you see fit.

7. The way you choose to live your life is none of anyone’s business.

8. No matter what you do, how kind and generous you are, some people will never like you. They just aren’t capable of seeing the good in others and it is not your fault.

9. I have written it before, but I will again, let them talk!!!!! Someone, somewhere, is always going to talk shit about you or someone you care about. Let them. You don’t have to listen.

10. Value your honest friends. You may not like what they have to say, but if it is the truth, swallow that pill, and thank them. You will end up thanking them one day anyway, whether you actually tell them or not.

11. The end of a friendship doesn’t mean you have to destroy that person’s character to others. Move on. Cherish the good times. Live your life. Let them live theirs. Don’t be a miserable little troll and trash them behind their back. At one time, they were special to you. Remember that. (OR you were pretending the entire time and using them. In that case, you SUCK! And still leave them alone!)

12. Distance doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder. Sometimes, it is just distance. Sometimes, it is a painful necessity to preserve your sanity.

13. You can love someone with all your heart and not be a part of their lives. It may hurt, but again, it is sometimes very necessary for self preservation.

14. If you don’t lie, you won’t have to struggle to remember what you have said. Simple, right?

15. Never put anything in writing you don’t want used against you, because at some point, even if you think you trust the person completely, they will probably use it against you. This even applies to memes. Seriously. I have seen it done. In a legal setting. Crazy! I know!

16. Stop worrying about what people say behind your back. Worry more about the people who are listening to that shit, and report back to you under the guise of friendship, rather than defending you or shutting that shit down when it was happening.

17. Blood may be thicker than water, but it’s not a guarantee of loyalty or love.

18. If you want something done a certain way, do it yourself! Don’t stand over someone’s shoulder nitpicking!

19. No one owes you anything! Get off your ass and work for what you want in life.

20. Do not give expecting anything in return. If you are keeping tally of charity, gifts, or favors you will not get far in life.

21. You cannot discard people when you are done with them and expect them to welcome you back into their lives at your convenience.

22. There is a big difference in pride in your accomplishments and bragging. However, some people will always see your happiness for accomplishing something you’re proud of as bragging.

23. No matter how nice you are there will always be some spiteful and bitter little person cursing your name out of jealousy. Let them. They don’t matter. At all.

24. Be open to new experiences. It may look boring at first, but you may just find something you feel you won’t enjoy to be one of the best memories of your life.

25. Men and women can have platonic friendships. It is totally possible. Not everyone is dying to screw someone of the opposite sex. They might not even see their “gender” when they think of them. They may just see a friend. So, calm the hell down and let people be friends.

26. If two people are happy in their relationship, let them be happy! Don’t be a home wrecker! Please note that home wreckers are not always outsiders trying to get your partner to cheat. Sometimes, they are people who are masquerading as “concerned” friends or family members. Yeah… They sabotage relationships, too.

27. It is absolutely okay to be depressed, tired, not yourself, withdrawn, or feel however you’re feeling at any particular moment.

28. You don’t owe anyone any kind of explanation for anything you choose to do. None. If you want to give an explanation out of courtesy, that’s cool. However, you have no obligation for any reason to give someone some detailed explanation for your decisions.

29. Learn to be aware of your surroundings. The world is a dangerous place.

30. It is perfectly okay to say no. You are not obligated to agree to anything you don’t want to do and don’t let anyone or anything make you feel guilty for opting out.

31. You are not obligated by any invisible bond to continue to stress yourself just to make someone else happy.

32. Being a responsible pet owner is one of the most fulfilling things you can do in life.

33. The love of a dog is unconditional. Do not take it for granted.

34. Help people, but watch out for those who will take advantage of your generosity. When you have nothing to give, take a look around. You will find yourself with very little company.

35. Beauty is skin deep, but evil penetrates the soul.

36. People will try to bring you down. It’s not you. They hate themselves and by trying to destroy others, they get some sense of satisfaction. Let them live in their delusional little world and keep doing your thing!

37. No matter how pleasing the mask someone presents to the world, eventually the people that matter the most will see what is hidden behind the mask.

38. Love does not guarantee loyalty.

39. Age is not a limitation. For anything. At all.

40. You can do it. Whatever “it” is… I promise. You can. It will probably be hard, and take time and a lot of effort, but you can do it!

41. Therapy helps. It doesn’t make you a pariah. It makes you a person who decided to deal with life in a strategic and healthy way. (It saved my life.)

42. You have nothing to be ashamed of if you have a mental illness diagnosis and if someone uses it against you, in any manner, THEY SUCK! (And probably recognize they have mental issues of their own, but are too cowardly to seek help. If you don’t like that, I don’t care.) It also does not automatically make you a danger to society and anyone who assumes this SUCKS!

43. No one is nice 100 percent of the time. Every single person on this planet has done or said plenty of things they regret. If they set themselves up to look like saints, don’t open their closet doors. You will be shocked by what they are trying to hide. If you decide to open that closet, move aside… You will probably get hurt by the shit that flies out!

44. It’s okay to like sex and express your sexuality. You have nothing to be ashamed of… Be sexy! Be you!

45. It’s okay to wear whatever you feel good wearing. If someone is critical of your clothing choices, THEY SUCK! And they are probably insecure and a little jealous because they don’t feel as confident as you.

46. Let shit go… Holding onto grudges and animosity will make YOU miserable.

47. Don’t forget your sunscreen. Start wearing it early. I don’t care if you’re 17-years-old and think you don’t need to worry about skincare. Wear sunscreen!

BONUS: Learn some sort of self defense. I don’t care what you choose to do, but learn to protect yourself. Everyone in this world today needs to know how to defend their lives and those of the ones they love.

If you made it this far, I want to thank you for reading. I have been blessed with 47 years of life. Have they all been full of sunshine and cupcakes? Hell no! However, there have been some amazing times and I am so grateful to still be here. I hope I have many years ahead of me, because there is so much left I want to do…. So many adventures to be had!

Until next time, hug your loved ones, cuddle your fur babies, read some good books, take care of your skin, and get out there and enjoy life!

Peace, love, and butterflies!

FRIDAY FAVES Volume I

Well, out of necessity, and a bit of boredom, I have decided I will try to share something I really love each Friday.

Why start now? Why this Friday? Well, Instagram has decided since I like to actually engage with my followers and other Instagram users, I must be some sort of rebel rule breaker, and has restricted my activities. It really seems counterproductive for them to do this to their users, but I am sure somewhere in their terms of service is a perfectly good, and hard to comprehend, explanation.

It is what it is… Let’s move on to the fun stuff!

Last year, I was given the opportunity to try an amazing product from a company called DANI Naturals. This was not my first time working with DANI Naturals and I was genuinely exciting about receiving the new product.

They sent me their Coconut Hibiscus Exfoliating Sugar Scrub. This can be described as exfoliating paradise! The scent is intoxicating and the texture… INCREDIBLE!!!

Unlike most of the scrubs available, which work perfectly well for the most part, this scrub is just a bit “more”. I can best describe it as luxurious and very moisturizing. While it does the job of exfoliating, and does it well, it does not leave your skin stripped and feeling tight.

The scent! It is nothing short of intoxicating, as I stated before. It is a lovely mix of mandarin, hibiscus blossom and apricot, blended with pure coconut. It brings to mind a warm night on the beach with tropical breezes. Who wouldn’t love such an escape, at least for a few minutes, during the shower or bath?

DANI Naturals Coconut Hibiscus Exfoliating Sugar Scrub is made with organic cane sugar and organic soybean oil. It is ultra-gentle and super moisturizing. It is also vegan, cruelty free, and free of parabens.

It is available, along with so many other awesome products, at www.daninaturals.com for $26. I highly recommend this one!

Check back next Friday for another of my favorites and throughout the week for other posts!

Until then… peace, love, and butterflies!

☮️❤️🦋

Note: This was originally posted May 7, 2021. I am not sure what mistake I made or what happened. I had to publish it again today. Weird. ☺️

Let Them Talk!

This week my post is going to be short and sweet. And to be perfectly honest, I am taking it from the caption of one of my past Instagram posts.

I think it is important to share, because there continues to be so much rivalry and pettiness, not just in the online Influencer community, but between women in general. It baffles me. I don’t know why we cannot support one another and be stronger together. Instead, there is a lot of shit talking and unnecessary criticism…

However, I say… Let. Them. Talk.

Love. Yourself. No matter what you do, good or bad, someone is going to talk about you.

LET THEM TALK!!!! Why?

You have done something to get someone’s attention. If they are saying something positive! Enjoy it!

If they are talking crap… Who cares? They are still talking about you. You are doing what you set out to do. You got their attention! They are probably grumbling behind their little screens because they are unhappy with themselves and projecting their unhappiness onto you! Let. Them. Talk.

Remember who you are Queens! You rule! No one can destroy your peace unless you let them. It took me a long time and a lot of tears to learn that lesson! Keep smiling and let them talk!!!!

Thank you for reading!

As always… Peace, love, and butterflies! ☮️ ❤️🦋

It’s A Human Thing…

If you search for the meaning of the word “empathy” online, the first result you will get is from the New Oxford American Dictionary. It defines empathy as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”

Let’s think about that a moment… How many people can really say they take the time to actually attempt to do just that? Understand someone’s feelings and share them? It may seem like a lot. It may even seem like a burden, but it really isn’t. Most of the time, it just takes a little bit of listening and a few words of comfort. Some of the time, you don’t have to say much of anything at all. You can just listen and let another human being know you are there for them and you care. You get me?

It is NOT hard to do. It is something more people should try to do. Or at least I think so. Especially in this world today, with all the many problems we are all facing. Have a little empathy for your fellow human beings!

Which brings me to the awesome sweatshirt I am wearing in the photo accompanying this post. There is a story behind it.

Oh, and that is my baby girl, Marisol! Isn’t she just the cutest?

So, about my sweatshirt…

When I was offered the opportunity to work with the company FerrisBuilt, I was thrilled. That is the company that sent me this incredible sweatshirt. Lindsey, the owner, reached out to me and gave me the choice of designs. This is one of the many she has to offer. I chose to include this one in a blog post because of Lindsey Ferris.

Lindsey had been working in the event production business for over two decades when the pandemic struck. For her, it was more than just a danger to her health and that of her twin daughters. It was the end of her career. What is a single Mom with two kids to raise supposed to do when there are no longer big events and that’s your business? Well, some people would probably still be trying to figure it out, but Lindsey is a go-getter. She put her knowledge and creativity to work! And thus, FerrisBuilt was born!

Lindsey has channeled her energy and skills in both business and art into creating a unique company that sells not only graphic apparel with contemporary messages, but also handmade wood art that she creates in her own home studio. And let me tell you, it is absolutely gorgeous! There are some pieces I have seen on her Instagram page that have blown my mind!

She has recently made the addition of mugs to the products available and I have my eye on a couple I definitely want to add to my collection for my daily tea and coffee!

Lindsey had been doing this as a side hustle for a while, but it became her main focus in July of 2020. And it works! Not only does it give her the freedom to express her creativity, a source of income, but it also allows her to organize her schedule to meet the needs of her children. If that is not setting an example of a strong and capable woman, I don’t know what is! In fact, I think she is phenomenal!

What started as an entry into a contest with FerrisBuilt, I feel has grown into something much more. I feel we are two women, in different parts of the country, who understand what it means to make a small business successful. We know how hard it is in this country to keep going when things don’t seem all that hopeful, but against all odds, we make it work. We are able to EMPATHIZE with one another, support and empower one another, and strive to help one another succeed.

In the end, isn’t that what it is all about? Helping your fellow human beings? I think so…

Thank you, Lindsey, for the awesome shirts and all the support you have shown to me. It is greatly appreciated! I admire you and am proud of everything you have done so far and what you will accomplish in the future!

To everyone reading, if you are interested in checking out what Lindsey has to offer, you can click the link below. There is something for everyone! You can find something that speaks to you or gift for someone special in your life!

FerrisBuilt https://www.ferrisbuilt.net/?ref=cotufvoqzns

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this blog! Stay tuned for more! As always… Peace, love, and butterflies.

☮️ ❤️ 🦋

New Year, Same Me?

I kept promising myself I would write more. It was one of my main goals in 2018. I didn’t do it. I made the very same promise to myself in 2019. I let myself down again. I could list a hundred depressing excuses, including depression itself, but what would be the point? I just didn’t do it!

Why is this year going to be different? This 2021? The year when we all are supposed to overcome so many things worldwide… Because I know I am capable of doing so! I found strength I never knew I had. It was hiding inside of me. Just waiting for me to stop hesitating and holding myself back.

I spent almost an entire year away from social media and it was refreshing. Actually, it was just the thing I needed to gain some perspective about how I wanted to spend my time interacting with others online. I also gained valuable insight about the time I desperately needed to spend offline. The time I needed to focus on myself and my family.

Now, I am not going to wax all poetic and pretend my time away was perfect and full of sunshine and cotton candy. Hell no! I spent a lot of time depressed. I neglected to take care of my health and gained about forty pounds. I barely moved off the couch unless it was absolutely necessary. I was social distancing before it was necessary. Things were rough even before the pandemic, but just when I thought there was no hope of anything getting better for me… It did.

It didn’t happen overnight. It was a progressive sort of thing. It started with our house. We had moved in August of 2019 into a new home. Well, a new home to us. I was excited at first, but the excitement wore off rather quickly. Somewhere along the way, it started building again.

Though we had wanted to move to another state, somewhere warmer, I fell in love with my house here in Indiana and started to decorate. I added the little touches I had always dreamed of having, and on the day our new sofa was finally delivered, after months of delay due to COVID, I took a nice long look around. I realized this wasn’t just a house in a state I really didn’t like at all. It was a home. It was OUR home and I love it. I had made it into everything I dreamed of and I take pride in it.

From that point, I realized there were other things I loved so much in life and I had not done them in a long, long time. Reading, for example. I used to consume books. I could easily read an entire book in a day, and think nothing of it… Other than I was satisfied for having done so and disappointed because it was over! Therefore, I began reading again. Before I knew it, I had read over twenty books in a month! I was so surprised! Why had I waited so long to escape into the prose of the brilliant authors I loved so much? And I discovered new authors and more books. I am still, to this day, reading as much as possible. I refuse to give up a hobby again I enjoy so much.

Then during one of my many sessions with my trusted and beloved therapist, she suggested I start journaling. Journaling had been something I had done most of my life. I had stopped over a decade before she suggested it. I don’t know why exactly. I just didn’t do it anymore. I still had stacks of journals dating back to when I was a teenager. Others before then had been lost or thrown away. I am not sure what happened to them. I guess it doesn’t really matter now. So, the next time we were out, I bought an inexpensive journal. Nothing fancy. And I began to pour years of pent up emotion into this cheap, multi-colored book. It helped. Before long, I was recording the events of each day. Unloading all my frustrations and memorializing all the happy times. It was just what I needed. It jump started a transition into a kind of healing and motivation to take care of myself!

Taking care of myself became a priority. I knew, in order to survive, not just the pandemic, in general, I had to do more… More for me. I had to find a reason. For once in my life, that reason couldn’t be anyone else. The reason had to be me. My own health and happiness. I got off my butt and I started eating better and moving more. I drank more water. I got more sleep. I started saying no to things I would feel obligated to say yes to in the past. I set boundaries and removed as much toxicity from my life as possible.

I felt guilty, but I pushed that aside and I found the strength to keep going. I started doing everything I loved again. I did my makeup. I got my hair done. I bought some new clothes. I laughed at silly things. I held my husband’s hand more often. I sang in the car. I watched old shows I loved. And I kept on reading and journaling.

Finally, I found the courage to return to Instagram. I was so afraid at first. I had been away so long and I had basically disappeared at the end of 2019. I didn’t know how my return would be received by others. Fortunately, I was afraid for nothing, because I was welcomed back by a lot of my old friends and I have connected with a whole new group of amazing people. I have been enjoying my time creating content for Instagram again. I love what I do. I had forgotten how much satisfaction I get from creating a post about a product or makeup look and sharing it with everyone. It’s not even about the likes. I mean… The likes and comments don’t hurt. Everyone wants engagement! And I love the feedback, but the whole process and interaction with others is what gives me the most satisfaction.

Now, here I am… It’s the beginning of 2021. I have lost the weight I gained and then some. I have cut my hair shorter than it has been in years. So am I the same me after all? Maybe not. Perhaps, I have been working towards a better me for a while now and 2021 will be the year when I just keep making the changes I need to live the life I deserve. The one I owe it to myself to live. My best life!!!!! Isn’t that what everyone really wants?

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more… I plan to stick to my goal of writing regularly. I hope you enjoyed this blog entry. And as always…

Peace, love, and butterflies! ☮️❤️🦋

(Please note that I do take what is happening in this country and worldwide very, very seriously. I do pray daily. If prayer offends you, I will not apologize. That is my personal way of dealing with the stress and sadness of what is happening. However, it is my personal choice to refrain from directly discussing anything political at this time. Thank you for your understanding!)

Goodbye, Miss Sunshine…

I recently took a hiatus from posting on social media to rest and reflect upon recent events that have taken a toll on me both physically and mentally.  It all stems from social media, and connections I have made there, and connections in my personal life.  While I have been blessed with some wonderful and amazing people through my activity online, I have been exposed to a dark side.  A side that has depressed and disappointed me… Offline has been an abyss of dissatisfaction for a long time.

I have cried. I have lost sleep. My whole routine has been off. Everything has been negatively affected. It’s not healthy. It’s not acceptable. It’s NOT going to continue in this manner.

I know you’re probably thinking I shouldn’t take things so seriously.  I do try, but you see…  I have a heart.  I genuinely care about people.  A close friend recently advised me to not get so emotionally invested with people. Especially online. You know what?  I am going to take this inspiring woman’s advice.

Here’s why…

I am not perfect.  No one is.  I make mistakes.  I actually have a life.  With responsibilities, and you know, stuff that has to be done. I can’t be to everyone exactly what they want me to be. I am human. I am just one woman. I need time to focus on my personal life and my health. I want to enjoy things and avoid stress and drama.

Then there are the “friends” you talk to regularly that are unable to comment publicly on your posts. Nope. Done. If you can’t support me publicly, then don’t expect the same from me. I support people like I am getting paid to do it, and don’t mind it all. I get enjoyment from seeing other people do well and complimenting them. I like to uplift people. It’s part of who I am. I wasn’t raised with a lot of encouragement and kindness, so I try to spread it around like it’s confetti. Right now, it feels like it’s been fertilizer. You picking up what I’m putting down?

I don’t like being used either. People who know me in real life know I am a direct person and have shut down many conversations by asking the hard questions or pointing out the obvious truth everyone else avoids for the sake of not ruffling feathers. I will speak up. I will say what no else does. I am not rude, but I am not intimidated by truth. So, if you suddenly pop up out of nowhere, after having known me for years, get me to do something for you, then immediately show you had ulterior motives, I have my scissors ready. I have family I haven’t spoken to in years. I am not going to cater to someone who takes advantage of my kindness under the guise of “friendship”.
That is the cold, hard truth.

I also do not and will not play games. I am too old to try to keep up with being popular. I had my fair share of that back in the 90’s. I just am not going to conform to fit in. I am who I am, and I am okay with that. I am not part of the “you can’t sit with us crowd.” I have reservations at a better restaurant. I am fine eating alone. I never liked high school cafeteria food anyway.

I am not saying I don’t appreciate the genuine people out there. I most certainly do. The ones who make an effort to support me. To speak up and stand by me. To check on me. To chat with me. The ones who accept me for the eccentric person I am. Who are okay with my flaws. Don’t mind my direct and honest way of dealing with things. The ones who recognize that no matter what, my intentions are good and I am led by my heart. I know who each and everyone of you are. I am touched and thankful for the messages of support. I am extremely grateful and overwhelmed by the generosity of those who have sent me beautiful gifts and cards. Thank you! So very much! I love you. YOU ARE APPRECIATED! Peace, love, and butterflies to y’all. ☮️❤️🦋

As for what happens now, well, buckle up… It’s about to get real. Say goodbye to Miss Sunshine. There’s some stormy weather on the horizon.