No shame in my game. I love therapy. Listen- I was widowed at 32 and I am a single mom of three kids. That alone, makes me feel like I need to run screaming to my therapist’s office. That is not what I am writing about, though. This blog isn’t about grief, it isn’t about stress and anxiety, and it isn’t about heartache.

It being Mental Health awareness month, I want to tell you all about my biggest therapy “Aha!” moment. It was finally getting the whole “both/and” thinking. If you can wrap your mind around that, it will change your trajectory of life. What that means, is that two things are capable of being true at the same time. Clear as mud, right? Let me try to make it a little clearer.

Let’s take the most garbage human you know. Think of them. Is your blood boiling? Do you have rage about them? And when you talk to others about them, do you feel like you might explode? I am not gonna name any names, (albeit I would like to post a photo – address – blood type of them right here), but from my own experience – here is what I gather. I want the whole world to think of this person as garbage – truth being? They are garbage TO ME. Also? They are probably pretty decent to other people. Is your mind blown? Yeah. I know. Mine too. That’s just a casual example from my own life. Once again, I ain’t naming any names.

Either/Or to Both/And. Let me give another example. Either I do exactly what my significant other wants me to do today, or he will be upset and our night will be ruined. If you use the both/and mindset, it looks like this. My significant other has some things that are important to him/her and they want me to do it for them. This isn’t an ideal time for me, I have a lot to do, also. I can call them, prioritize, and we can get the most important things done and save the rest for tomorrow.

In this time of quarantine, take time to focus on your mental health. Depression rates are skyrocketing. Domestic abuse is at a high also. Suicide rates have increased. Pay rates have been cut and jobs have been eliminated. In this time of financial fear, I have been able to use my both/and thinking to keep my sanity. I can lose some pay – and still support my family. My company can take a financial loss, and rebound one day. A bad thing and a good thing can be happening at the same time.

If this post doesn’t make sense, my bad. But what I do want is this – kill the stigma and shame behind having mental health issues. You don’t have to keep it together all the time, by yourself. Life can be hard. And you aren’t alone. I still struggle with “all the things” at times. It might be my weight, my hair, my skin, my lips, my emotions, my intelligence, my trust, my fear, my finances, my health. And that was the things from this morning. LOLOL! And yes, I laugh. I laugh because that’s the way I cope sometimes. I laugh.

So, share your mental health story. Reach out and show support.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

Since the beginning of this pandemic, I’ve missed out on quite a few things. A couple concerts, a WWE Event, Crimecon, a trip to Chicago, and probably a lot of other things, that I refuse to think about right now.

That being said, I decided I would do a 50 before 50. There are so many things that I keep procrastinating to do. Because I feel like I have time. Well, we do have time – until we don’t. So – Here’s my list. Of 50 things to do before I turn 50. What’s some things you would add to this list?

  1. Get my Passport (doing that this Friday!)
  2. Go to NYC – and kiss in Times Square.
  3. Go on a proper vacation with my kids.
  4. Purchase a home.
  5. Have zero debt (beyond the home – that is.)
  6. Make a trip to Seattle just to go to the original Starbucks.
  7. Get Published
  8. Meet Mel Robbins and have a coffee with her.
  9. Look and feel completely healthy.
  10. Go to 5 baseball stadiums I haven’t been to yet.
  11. Go parasailing.
  12. Wear a dress by Rue De Seine ( http://www.ruedeseine.com )
  13. Learn How to Say “No.”
  14. Eat fish and chips on a pier.
  15. Read 100 books
  16. Read the bible from front to back, novel style.
  17. Take part in a protest
  18. Go in a hot air balloon
  19. Slow Dance in the rain
  20. Spend a month technology free
  21. Ride a Vespa
  22. Travel somewhere alone
  23. Ride in an airboat.
  24. Travel Somewhere Artic.
  25. Be serenaded in a public place
  26. Zipline in Costa Rica
  27. Indoor Skydive
  28. Find the Top 10 Hidden Mickey’s at Animal Kingdom
  29. Hug a Redwood
  30. Ride a horse on the beach.
  31. Stay up all night talking and watch the sunrise.
  32. Attend a Murder Mystery Dinner
  33. See Jimmy Fallon live
  34. See Pink! in concert
  35. Join a Flash Mob
  36. Take a Burlesque Class
  37. Find My Signature Scent
  38. Have a Housecleaner
  39. Host a Low Country Boil
  40. Eat a Molecular Gastronomy Dinner
  41. Give a Ted Talk
  42. Make a Significant Change in Someones Life
  43. Go Deep Sea Fishing
  44. Go to a Yoga Retreat
  45. Stand Up Paddle Board
  46. Ride in a Gondola
  47. Sleep in a Treehouse
  48. Volunteer at a Working Farm
  49. Wear a Fresh Lei
  50. See an Opera at the Sydney Opera House

That made me tired just looking at it!! And excited, too! What are some things you would like to do in the next few years? Have you done any of mine? I’d love to hear your ideas, and what you have done or plan to do once this pandemic is over. Did it make you reflect? Make new goals?

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

Oh, and don’t touch your face. Apparently, all I ever want to do now is touch my face.

So – I really wanna know. Whatcha doing in this pandemic? To be honest – my life is somewhat the same. I am an essential employee, so I am still going to work – just shorter hours and less busy. On the weekends, I stay home. Which, to be honest, isn’t that out of the ordinary. I mean, my weekends normally consist of the craft store, grocery shopping, a choir concert, hair appointments, etc. But it’s not like I am some social butterfly, running about town.

What I have noticed is this. It’s weird to have to really think before you go to the grocery store. Or, to ask someone to go for you. It is really weird to stay inside. Not going for a walk downtown. Or running to 7-11 to get a Coke Zero with ice. Ohhhh… I miss a Coke Zero with ice. It’s weird, not seeing my best friend when I want to. And it’s also weird, that my hair is turning into a whole mess. These things I have taken for granted wayyyyy too much.

And maybe, in a weird way – this is a good thing. I do believe, that myself personally, will be forever changed. And anytime I am annoyed from a crowd – I’ll be grateful I can be in one. And when I dread my kids starting school, or get annoyed over homework – I’ll be grateful, that I am not the teacher. Glory in Heaven for that. I am not teacher material.

But, for real. What have you guys done? I have, and in no particular order – Binge watched Tiger King. Same with My 600-lb Life. I have sewn a ton of face masks. I made two skirts. I am working on making a bathing suit – we will see how that goes. I have went to church in my Living Room, and have had worship service in my bathroom. I have learned that I am a hard core dance queen, and my daughter’s Tik Tok account is proof of that. I have meditated. I have watched movies. I have done yoga. I have done my make-up – just because I want to be pretty at home. LOL!

You know what else I have done? Cried. I have cried because I miss my bestie. I have cried because my hair looks like crap. I have cried over not knowing if I should or should not venture out to the grocery stores. I have worried over finances. I have made lists of things I want to accomplish – then I took a nap. So, I guess my intro is a bunch of malarkey. My life is different, too.

So, whether you are creating, or crying. Laughing or grieving. All are okay and perfectly acceptable. But drop a comment or send me a message, and let me know how you are handling it. And give me some good ideas – because this could be longer rather than shorter.

Oh. And Carole Baskin totally did it.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

(And I won’t tell you to “Wash your Hands”, because you are grown and know to do that, and to say that is almost passive-aggressive, rudeness at this point. LOLOL! )

Sat Nam.

So…. this year, at my company’s Christmas Party, I won an Amazon Gift Card! I was so excited! If you are anything like me, when I have no money – I can tell you 100000 things I would like. But give me a gift card, or let me have some spending money, I have a hard time making a decision.

But this time, I knew exactly what I was going to get. You got it – I got a ‘bed of nails’, or as other less dramatic people call it – an acupressure mat. Having an autoimmune disease is super tough. There are days that you feel great, and then boom – all of a sudden your body feels like that of a 90 year old woman. Stress, and by stress I mean emotional or physical, can almost cripple me. Well, guess what – everyone has stress, right? There is no way you are going to be a momma of three kids and not have stress. So, what does one do?

Well, you learn to eliminate your stress as much as possible. I meditate, I pray, I exercise, I watch what I eat like a hawk. I take my medicine. I write. I journal. And now? Yep. I lay on a bed of nails. And as crazy as it sounds, if you suffer with back pain in anyway shape or form, get this thing. And no, I am not being paid to review this at all. This is just one girl wanting others to have the same relief I have had.

My bed of nails!

So, here’s a little bit of history on it. They claim that the bed of nails has been used as a relaxation aid for 5,000 years. Thousands of sharp spikes apply pressure to skin and muscles supporting restful sleep, relaxation, mental clarity and well-being. And guess what? It really does. Now don’t get it twisted. It is one of the weirdest things I have done, that actually works.

So, you have this mat – with these hard plastic spikes all over it. You it down, strip down, and lay back. I undress from the waist up, and roll down on it. One vertebrae at a time. Now, it is gonna be uncomfortable for the first little bit. But then, you feel a warmth take over your whole back. The first time, I did it for about 10 minutes, now – it’s about 25. I listen to a guided meditation while I do it, but if that isn’t your thing, you could totally watch TV, too.

And here is what I have noticed. I feel calmer. I do sleep better. But my favorite? When I wake up – I don’t feel stiff. So, Kristie tested. Kristie Approved. Get on amazon and get ya one!

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam

Well, well, well. Here I am. Eating Crow.

Ya know all that crap I wrote about getting my nails done? How I hate holding hands with people, but I am going to do it? Budget it? And make it happen?

Yes. I know. It is horrifying.

Well, that was a lie. Ya wanna know why? BECAUSE I AM NEVER GETTING MY NAILS DONE AGAIN! (That could be a lie, too – but it’s gonna take a minute. ) You want to know why? Pain. That’s why. Pain.

You know how they say beauty is painful or something like that? I don’t think they meant slamming your finger in a door and ripping the perfectly manicured nail off my long, bony fingers. And yes, I realize I made my hands sound like witch hands. Whatever, It’s Halloween. And MY FINGER LOOKS LIKE MY COSTUME!

I will say this, I had put off blogging some, because it was really hard to type with my nails. Maybe God was saying, “Kristie! Wake Up! Stop being vain, and do what you are supposed to do!” I wish it had been a little less vicious, not gonna lie. LOL.

So, I don’t often eat crow. But today, I bow my head, and say – “I’m gonna stick with my natural nails for the standard days – and get me some press-ons when I need a boost. Because. This was traumatizing.

Canuck the Crow gained fame for stealing a knife from an East Vancouver crime scene. (Facebook/thecrowandI)

And by eating crow, I don’t mean the super cool murder-y Canuck. I mean, the colloquial idiom, pure humiliation after being proven wrong – when you take a strong position. Yeah, I had to eat crow.

And for you viewing pleasure and add a little-lightheartedness to this – here is a pic of my favorite crow, Canuck. Canuck is a mischievous little crow, who according to the Audubon society:

Canuck, a hand-raised crow from Vancouver, Canada, that was caught making off with a knife from a crime scene in a McDonald’s parking lot earlier this year. The incident was a violent one: A man set fire to his own car and threatened the police with a knife. Shots were fired. Afterward, in swept Canuck, plucking the knife from the crime scene and even causing an officer to give chase. Eventually the bird dropped the weapon and avoided any criminal charges.  

Audubon Society

So there ya have it. I should stuck with my gut. If I had, maybe my finger wouldn’t look like Cancuck dropped his murder-y knife on it.

Live Fully. Live Fully.

Sat. Nam.

This is not what I intended on writing about. At all. But if you haven’t seen this show on Netflix, called “Botched Up Bodies”. Watch it.

Well, wait a second. If you have a weak stomach, or you are weak of heart – don’t watch it. But seriously. I am traumatized from seeing it. Completely.

Disclaimer: I am not opposed to plastic surgery in anyway, shape, or form. I believe, that if you can afford it, and it makes you feel better about yourself – do it! But please, make sure that you are doing it for yourself.

Botched Up Bodies is a show from the UK. It shows some of their top plastic surgeons, who are fixing the terrible work of either inept surgeons, black market, or faulty surgeries. What I saw was horrifying. It also broke my heart. Some of these people, had been miserable for years after their procedures. And most, have suffered actual medical problems, that they didn’t have to begin with. All stemming from surgery. For example, a nose job that went wrong – that actually caused sinus damage and prevented breathing from one nostril.

Then it got into injections. People had been injected with bathroom sealer. Into their faces, their bottoms, their breasts. I can’t. Just the whole idea makes me feel all twirly.

So, Kristie. Why are you writing this? Cause it happens. And I don’t want it to happen to anyone. Because it was horrible. A lady lost her hands and feet from it. And was grateful, because it could have been her life. She said, “We live in a world where we want what we want, and we want it now, and don’t do the work to get it.”

That hit home with me. We want the new cars. The fancy clothes. The perfect bodies. But are we willing to do the work? And of course, there are somethings that we can do nothing about through exercise, etc. But then, shouldn’t we do the work to be able to save to go to a reputable physician? That answer is an astounding yes.

Because, guys. Being pretty isn’t worth dying over. It just isn’t. Before you do anything voluntarily to yourself, make sure – you do your research. You know that the person is reputable, and you understand the possible side effects. I know, not my regular type of post. But seriously. It was scary – and made me think.

Well. I ghosted for a few days. Figuratively and almost literally. I’m gonna share more than I normally do – just because it is something that I think needs to be addressed. Because if I am dealing with it, I know I’m not the only one.

I am the picture of health to most people. I go to the gym. I run. I do yoga. I meditate. I am proactive about my health. But it isn’t because I am health nut- it’s because I have to be. The past two years my poor body has been through the ringer. It’s been one of those things where I really say, what’s next.

Sunday. I got sick. Super sick. The type of sick where you really get scared. I was vomiting uncontrollably. It went on for about four hours. I slept in the bathroom floor for awhile. I went to bed, and woke up once to puke again. I woke up, saying “I’ll be better today!” And guess what. I wasn’t. I tried to talk myself into it. Although, I had quit puking. I felt like crap. My whole body ached. My feet hurt when I stepped on the ground. I figured after a good nights sleep, I’d feel better.

Lies.

I woke up the next day, and to be honest, I knew there was something off. I call the doctor- and I am instructed to go to the Emergency Room. So, off I go.

I was ashamed. Ashamed I was sick. Ashamed there was another problem. I was mortified that I would miss another day of work. Let me state- that in the three years I have been employed there- this is the fifth day I called out sick. So, as of last Sunday- 3 days In three years. And please know, my employers are fantastic. Two of those days- they forced me to take off. Because they knew the problems I was having. So it’s self induced- the panic and shame I feel.  It isn’t from them.  It’s from me. 

I associate, and I think a lot of people do, being sick with being weak. This association is only for myself though. Not others. I feel for others with health issues. I encourage rest, doctors, talking, time off, take care if yourself. But for my own self? Complete shame. I feel like if I was stronger. If I did something different. Maybe I wouldn’t have gotten sick.

Well, this day- it was a ‘cardiac event’ stemmed from dehydration. To break it down- my heart was angry because I was dehydrated. I was given a million bags of iv fluids- and I am on the mend. It’s amazing how fluids can make such a difference. Who knew.

Guess who I contacted? Only the people I absolutely had to. Why? Because I don’t want people to pity me, or think – ‘now what’? Because listen. I’ve heard the tones before. When you have a weak moment and you tell a friend about what you are going through, and they seem- judge-y. It sucks. The “WOW. That seems like a lot.” Or “it seems like it something different every week. “

You are right, Karen. It does. And it doesn’t seem like something. It is something. But all the little issues all started with the big one. But please, tell me more about the person who had 14 items in the 10 item or less checkout. And keep being dismissive.

Yes. That was bitterness you detected. But this why I just keep my mouth shut. Shame. I was shamed once and became self conscience. So, I really kinda ‘suffer alone’- not even trying to sound dramatic. I could have asked a number of people to come sit at the hospital with me today- and I was scared. But I refused to ask. Why? Shame. Don’t want to bother anyone.  And I am so not kidding.  I literally have a list of people who would have came.  But because of one statement, by someone that I am not even really friends with at all, it clammed me up. 

So, if your loved one has health issues. Or you even know someone who is just struggling, health or not, and you are in a good mental place – Call.  Text them.  Reach out.  Let the speak freely.  It’s hard to be by yourself.  And just because someone is married, has kids, great parents – doesn’t mean that they don’t feel ashamed.  Autoimmunity, cancer, flu, or just a string of bad luck- let them know it’s okay to call them. It’s a lonely world when you feel shamed. This isn’t a fact that I have no one – I do. This is just me saying openly- it’s hard to let people in sometimes- especially when you feel like a broken human.57832145616__5040EA94-B9FE-440F-B011-59641F411E6F

Because some days. I do feel broken.  I understand.  It’s hard.

Then I gotta remember – God’s doesn’t let us be broken.  And then, I talk to my tribe and they reassure me.  That they love me.  They just love me.  And everytime, they tell me that.  A little bit of that wall comes down.  

And I am so grateful. For my health. My home. My family. My friends. I am a lucky one. 

Huzzah!

I really just typed the word to keep with the whole “H” thing.  Fits though, right? I digress, and we are only one sentence in.  Focus Kristie!

So, I have skated around the fact in previous posts that I have had some health issues.  Quite a lot of them, if you ask me.  But, one of the ones that reaked havoc on me, was the diagnosis of Hoshimoto’s Thyroiditis.  Sounds wicked, right?  Guess what.  You are right.  It is.

Hoshimoto’s is an autoimmune disease.  If you are like me, I had heard the term before, but until I was diagnosed I had no idea what it was.  So, in case you don’t know – an autoimmune disease is a disease where your immune system attacks your own body.  So, you know, your immune system is supposed to attack foreign bodies, right?  Like bacteria, splinters, whatever.  In my case – my body says – “IMMUNE SYSTEM!  GATHER AROUND! THERE IS A FOREIGN BODY INVADING US! IT IS CALLED THE THYROID!  GO GET IT!”  This ridiculous proclamation is followed up with a strong warrior cry and steadfast speed to my thyroid.

Sis, I am gonna need you guys to relax and back up off my thyroid.  Quit being agressive.

They didn’t listen.  So now I have Hoshimoto’s.  I felt like crap.  Aching joints.  Dry skin.  Restlessness.  Depression at times.  Mood swings.  And I can’t handle cold.  Like I can’t.  We aren’t talking about the type of cold when it’s 30 outside.  Cold affects me different.  Like I can feel my bones inside my body.  It’s freaky and it hurts.

So.  Finally, They figure out what is wrong with me.  I had an awesome team of doctors who actually read my blood work and figured it out.  They put me on thyroid medicine, but also changed everything about my diet.  Yes, I said diet.  I know, not fun.  But whatever.  It is what it is.  Here is what I figured.  I have had issues and felt like crap.  The doctor is telling me that diet affects my health.  (And we aren’t talking weight watchers lose weight – like dietary eating plan).  Why would I not do it?  Because it’s hard?  Well, I can tell you dealing with depression and mood swings and ending up forever alone – that would be a lot harder.  LOL!

So here is where I stand today.  I am Gluten Free.  Dairy Free.  As organic as possible.  I also meditate.  Pray.  Breathe.  And a lot of other things.   But I am now going to share with all of you – with gluten/dairy issues – the best thing that ever happened to me.  And it’s a recipe.  An easy recipe at that.

IMG_9242

It might not look like much to you – but to me… It’s heaven.  In a jar.  So, short backstory – I can’t eat out without mega planning.  In turn, I pack my food when I go anywhere.  A few weeks ago, I forgot my lunch at home. We were slammed – and I resorted to Uber Eats.  I found a place called Purple Oceans Super Food Bar– here  in Orlando.  I got an Acai Bowl.  Never had one. But research and a phone call – I got a gluten and dairy free acai bowl ordered. And it changed my life.  I love it.  It’s like a healthy banana split sorta.  Anyway, I loved it so much, I thought can I do this at home.  Enter Pinterest.  From Pinterest, a little shuffling of the recipe – and I have now found perfection.  Here ya go:

1 packet of Sambazon Unsweetened Acai Smoothie Pack

1/2 cup of FROZEN strawberries

1/2 cup of FROZEN blueberries

1/4 cup of Unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup of Diet Pomegranate/Cranberry juice

I make a few at a time.  And then, I pour it into mason jars.  And stuff them in the freezer.  Each day, I pull one out and throw it in my gym bag.  By the time 10 am rolls around… It’s sorta thawed, and delicious.  I use a stainless steel straw, and spoon!  You might want to add protein powder, if that’s what you do – or maybe whole milk.  Yogurt even.  Find what works for you!

It’s super healthy.  Full of anti-oxidants.  And delicious.  And I am not kidding when I say this – I always hated smoothies.  Like, Smoothie King, Planet Smoothie, Tropical Smoothie-I was never a fan.  This – yummmmmmmo.

Nutrional info –

147 Calories; 21 carbs; 6 grams of fat; 1 gram of protein; 12 g of sugar

And if you are in Orlando – GET OUT TO THE PURPLE OCEAN SUPER FOOD BAR (https://www.purpleoceansfb.com/) -For me – it doesn’t get much better.  I hope you enjoy!  Have a great and healthy day!