I was called “Man-ish”. It was meant to be insulting. And hurt my feelings. And guess who said it – Another woman.

I was a little shocked by that. I mean, the person who said it has some serious issues, so consider the source, right? But – nonetheless, this is what she thought would be hurtful to me. First, let’s get one thing straight. Can we – as humans – stop with the name calling. It is ridiculous. Luckily, I have amazing people in my life, who build me up everyday. So, her backhanded comment didn’t affect me negatively, it actually made me think. It made me wonder, why would ‘man-ish’ be considered an insult?

If you have seen me, of all the things I am not, is man-ish, in the derogatory way she meant it. I am a girly girl. I wear all the makeup, I love dresses, pink is my favorite color, and lace is a must in my life. That being said, I am a manager of a bodyshop. I love to do wood working. I am a mom of three kiddos, who support them. I also sew, crochet, and am teaching myself to weave. I love my jeep, and doing modifications. I love facials, and spa days. I have short hair and a routine to get it this color that only one woman on the planet can create. (Plug for Michelle definitely inserted here).

So what was meant by Man-ish? I am sure it was the few things in my life that are considered more of a typical “male” role. Which, I don’t even want to address just how problematic that level of thinking is. Problematic, archaic, and ridiculous. I was talking about this with a couple guys at work, and asked them their take. First, they all laughed at me being called “man-ish”.

But, I believe one of the guys nailed it on the head. He said to me, “It’s her anxiety, I bet. I find that the most female on female criticism actually stems from feeling inadequate in an area of life they admire about you. You are the head of the house. It’s only you. You are the breadwinner. The provider for your family. You have given them a great life. Your kids love and adore you. You are involved. You give them freedom to live. She probably wishes she was half that. “

Maybe that’s true, I like to think so, anyway. But my main point is this. Before you hurl insults at someone, make sure it’s them that’s the issue. I am so lucky that my confidence game is strong. I am happy. Completely happy. I love my job. I love my co-workers. I love being a mom. I love my crazy busy life. I love my relationships. Ask anyone who knows me, the last 6 -7 months of my life, have been the best I ever had.

I had some real conversations with those I love. We are a focused team. Same goes at work. Things are clicking. So, I am going to allow my “man-ish” self to be taken out to dinner. And I am going to allow my “man-ish” self, to have the door opened for me while we go. And when I get home? I might pour some concrete and make a super hip stool. (All those really happened, by the way. Literally exactly like that.. LOL! I can post a pic of the stool later.)

So, when you are named called, consider the source. But also, remember how wonderfully made you are. You are valued. You are needed. And pray for the ones who call names. Below. I’ll some pics of my “Man-ish” Self. Doing some “Man-ish” Things.

OH! One more thing, Stay Classy. Hot mess doesn’t look good on anyone.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

First of all, let me make a disclaimer. I am high maintenance – I know this. But in the scheme of things, when it comes to holidays and whatnot – I am not. I’m serious.

I really just wanted a happy day.

Well let me tell you about this weekend. It was trash. Complete and utter trash. It was so trash – that when people asked me how my Mother’s Day was at work? I said, “Tough weekend.” I can’t even lie and do the polite and southern, “I’m fine.” It was anything but fine.

It started out crappy Friday around noon. Homeschooling is wrecking my life. Constant phone calls of he said/she said. My 17 year old and 10 year old live in a state of who can tattle on the other soonest. And it is met with a barrage of phone calls. Anyway, the 10 year old calls – and I am already annoyed at the 14th call of the day. It’s noon – btw.

“Mommy!” he said. “Yes, Jacoby,” I muttered in my most fear inducing, angry, but I am at work and am unable to scream like I would like to do.

“BELLA BROKE HER TOE!”

“Sure she did. Let me talk to her.” He proceeds to put her on the phone. She is calmer than I anticipated, and said told me she thought she did. I told her to tape it together, because she probably just stubbed it – but just in case. And they don’t do anything for broken toes, anyway. We talked about Covid-19 and how we don’t want to go to the doctor during this junk, anyway. I tell her to ice it, take motrin, and call me if it gets worse.

I get home. Her foot looks like the Star Trek hand signal. You know, the “Live Long and Prosper” thing. Girl. That thing was displaced. She doesn’t want to go to the ER, so we make an appointment for urgent care the next day at 8:30 am.

It’s broken. And had to be set. She is in a walking boot. Can we say mom fail? Ugh. I should have taken her the day before. And it kept going downhill from there.

Now, let me give some credit. Bella created the sweetest sign. Got me balloons and some gift cards and candles. She’s so sweet! And my oldest, he got me a gift also, though I don’t know what it is yet – because it got delayed in shipping. It wasn’t the stuff that made it bad. It was mother’s day disappointment.

I psyched myself up with the expectation that because all I wanted from the kids was a clean house, and some time to chill out – that would be what I would get. And everyone would chip in to make it happen, because it’s only one day, right?

Wrong.

No one wanted to do anything. But argue. And cry. And tattle. And cry. And argue. Repeat. OH! Did I say argue? Throw in yelling. Then crying. I actually woke up to screaming. It was great.

You want to know what happened? Hidden expectations. And as hard as I tried to stuff them down in the trenches of my soul – the were spewing everywhere. By Sunday afternoon, they had splattered all over the floor, and suddenly I was in a sad state of self-pity. I felt so self righteousness that everyone should appreciate that I am not greedy, and do the small thing I asked. But – I’m a mommy. It doesn’t work that way. Just because Hallmark called in a holiday, doesn’t mean that kids are going to stop being kids, or that I get permission to not be a parent.

So now what do I do? On my 21st mother’s day – I am setting and adjusting my expectations. Or any other holiday for that matter. I really did want to be spoiled on Mother’s Day. I wanted me-time. I wanted food that I didn’t cook. I wanted peace and quiet. And yes, I did want presents. And I am grateful for them.

On a more heart-felt note: This past year I spent time with a mom who lost her child. I, myself, have struggled fighting lupus and other medical stuff. There are moms out there who are battling for their lives – or even their children’s lives.

Hello freaking perspective: This makes me slow WAY down and realize that when it all comes down to brass tacks – all I really want to do is love and hug and kiss and squeeze those babies that made me a mom. I want to spend time with the people who help me raise them, and love them like their own.

So , maybe I need to keep that healthy perspective in the front of my mind. This way, I will be able to see the true importance, and kiss them all to pieces, and be satisfied with that. No gift, no clean house, no quietness- can make up the fact that these people are my tribe. My posse. My really small gang. And we always gotta work together everyday. Family doesn’t get a vacation because a holiday – nor does parenting. And I am so grateful for these three wild kids running around on this planet. And I wouldn’t trade one second with them for anything.

So, I am not going give you a cute photo of all of us on Mother’s day. Because it didn’t happen. But hey, I got to see Bella’s bones. So that was cool. LOL!

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

Where my boy moms at?

Guys. I’m praying for you.

As you may already know, I have three beautiful children on this planet. The youngest of which, is Jacoby. Let me tell you about Jacoby. He’s 10. He’s wild. He’s full of energy. And sass. Jacoby is one of the sweetest most loving people I have ever met. And he is definitely the hardest of my three to parent.

Our word of the quarantine is “boundaries”. Why boundaries, you ask? Because this little guy doesn’t know any.

He’s ten, and this little guy will walk into my bedroom like he owns it. He gets grounded from YouTube (yes, I grounded him from YouTube) – and I catch him watching it. I ask him why he was watching it when he knew he was grounded? “Because I was bored.” He is remorseful. He tells the truth when he is wrong. But in the moment – this kid does what he wants to do. And it’s maddening. It’s brutal. It makes me want to pull my hair out from the literal root.

I have yelled. Cried. Screamed. Prayed. Phoned a friend. And did it all again. And again.

I have now enlisted a checklist for him. What his expectations are morning, midday, and evening. We talk about personal space. We talk about earning privileges. We talk about what it means to have to wait. We talk about the law, the speed limit, rules, and why they exist. We talk about being a good human. And, exactly how that looks.

And, he seems to like the structure. Knowing what is expected. I actually took photos of his room – clean – and laminated them. So he can have a visual as to what it means. And I also added three times of exercise. No just playing outside. Intentional exercise.

We talked about him being an adult. Being a father. A husband. How he would have to take care of other people like mommy takes care of him. That you have to understand the biggest gift you can give is your respect and being trustworthy. Then, all things will fall into place.

So, do you struggle with this whole “I am a mom, teacher, breadwinner, care-taker, disciplinarian, and please don’t let my child turn into a felonious nightmare…. ” all while maintaining a good hair style, make-up on , clean house, etc. It can be a lot. But let me tell you – when I kiss that little guy good night, he is worth every single grey hair on my head. I mean, that’s what bleach is for , right?

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.

A few weeks back, on my personal facebook page, I posted the below :

You wanna know why that’s funny? Cause it’s true. This new year, I have been quieter. Well, this whole holiday season, (see the last blog). But I was still here, reading, and lurking… LOL! And I saw a little bit of everything from folks. From “New Year, Same me” to “Almost time for the gym to get busy” to “Make New Year’s Resolutions- but not about your body!” (I really saw that one, too!) And all of this made me think, about my own take on the new year.

I like it. Is it just another day? Sure. But is it a block of time? It is. I also like the beginning of a football game. I am a huge Baltimore Ravens fan, and there was nothing I used to like anymore, than Ray Lewis coming onto the field and doing his chicken dance. I loved it. And why? Because you knew that the game was about to start. Race on. It’s my starting line.

I am a Virgo. Competitive by nature. So it was no shock to my own self when I realized I was making baby goals in my mind. And some were big and some were small. Then I was thinking about how to achieve them, and then it hit me. Like a ton of bricks.

Last year was a tough year for me – mentally and physically. I realized in late September/early October, there is a difference in being a doormat and standing up for yourself. I am so lucky that I have some amazing people around me – who supported me – and talked me through this – and even encouraged me. Now, although I am not comfortable with it, I am trying to do it more often. It isn’t my nature, you understand – my nature is to be a people pleaser. So often times, I shut up and take it. Just not to make waves.

Sis, that’s just ridiculous. I have learned that you can stand up for yourself without being a raging lunatic. You can say “Stop.” You can say, “I am not going to allow you to speak/treat/talk to me that way.” You can create boundaries. And you can forgive the whole time you are doing it. I am realizing that disagreements, along with standing up for yourself, doesn’t mean the person hates you – or that you are killing a relationship. It just means, you are saying, this doesn’t work for me.

I am not a ‘wave-maker’ now, but I am heard. There’s a difference. I feel like, I have a right to be heard, as do you. And we should be able to express ourselves, exactly like that. I also believe, that if someone is doing something good, we should be supportive, right? As humans, all doing this life thing together, we should be nicer. I literally just said, we should be nicer. Why, oh why, aren’t we nicer!?!?

Well, and there was my answer. In 2020 – and from this point on – I am going to work on being more consciously grateful. Consciously Kind. And also, maintain respect for myself. And if I can do that? Well, I would dare bet – a lot can change, right? And notice, I said that I am going to “work on it.” I might not do it great, I might have days where I fail miserably. But what I do know is this – I can always do a little better than I did they day before.

I put this photo on here, because this was definitely – my favorite day this year.

So, join me on this gratitude journey. Try everyday, to think of a few things that you are thankful for. Big or Small. Then write it down. And here’s the key- don’t make it the same three or four things. Because then it becomes reciting, not feeling and thinking about it. And I am making my own rule here, My top two – will never make the list – and I say that because consider it unspoken. I am thankful for God and my faith, and for my kids.

So, I will start us off.

  • Love. I am grateful for love. Being loved. Loving others.
  • Modern Medicine and Alternative Medicine. When you have some of the health issues, I have had – you learn to appreciate both.
  • Having my best friend. A tell all. Another human to do life with – that gets you without judgement.
  • Coffee. I love coffee. I love the habit of it – the way it starts my day off.

So, big things, little things, and things in between. Tell me, what are you grateful for? Maybe, I am taking something for granted, that I need to appreciate a little more!

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

Being a parent is tough. Hardest job I have ever done. And my day job is to make people happy who have wrecked cars. Being a momma – much harder.

I am an emotional person. I can be all over the place. Ask those who know me the best. What I consider my worst trait, is my capability to go zero to 100, in a matter of seconds. I am a perfectionist, who likes things done a certain way. I am Southern, so I was raised with manners. And being defiant, makes me wanna lose my mind. You want to know how I have handled lack of any of the above in my kids? I have yelled and grounded – normally in that order.

Now, luckily – my kids are pretty good. I have had no major issues (knock on wood). But one day, a year or so ago, a friend of mine heard my correcting my little guy. He said, “Relax. You are louder than he is, and you are telling him to stop being loud. He probably doesn’t even know what you are saying.” If we are being honest here, I was mad. One, opinion wasn’t asked for. Two, my kids are good and this is why. That being said, I couldn’t ‘unhear’ what he said.

Then it hit me. My heart got broken, long story – so we won’t get into it. But anyway, there I was, broken hearted. It was the type of broken heart, where I couldn’t even cry correctly. Snotty nose, crying hiccups, and really – wailing out loud. I was trying to will myself to shut up. I wanted to pull it together. I couldn’t. And guess what? The next time my little guy started screaming and crying, I remembered what it felt like to be out of control in sadness. And for the first time, I didn’t raise my voice in response.

One of my favorite pics of me and my little guy! He’s the “spirited one” that makes me practice what I am preaching! LOL!

I calmly told him he can cry, I hugged him, and when he pulled it together – we talked. I asked him why he was freaking out. He said because he knew he would be grounded, because he disobeyed. And he was sad. Well, I told him he was right. He would be grounded – because he had to listen. He teared up again, and I told him he could cry if he needed , too. The best way to stop, though? Just obey the rules. He sniffled some. Then he hugged me, and we moved on. I didn’t feel like I was about to have a heart attack, and he seemed a little more understanding.

I practice it a lot more. Sometimes I have to step away before I speak, because I still can get to 100 pretty quick. That hasn’t changed. It’s just the speed that opening my mouth that has. I mean, I love them and want the best for them – so I gotta keep myself in check.

I think it’s hard to remember, that just because they are little – doesn’t mean their emotions aren’t big. You and I might know that what they are going through will pass. They don’t know that yet. And newsflash – it means nothing when we tell them it will. So whether it’s sadness, fear, disobedience, whichever. Let’s work on taking care of these little people’s emotions. Cause this word is hard sometimes – and it doesn’t care about your size.

Love fully. Live fully. Sat nam.

August 5, 2019 we lost an amazing writer. Toni Morrison passed away at the age of 88. And to be honest – he words changed me in a lot of ways. Her words encouraged me to write

The first time I ever heard of Toni Morrison, was back in my college days. I took a class called “The Nobel Laureates of the NorthWest”. Well, my mind figured it would be about the winners in the Northwest United States. Nope, not exactly. Northwestern Hemisphere. Just a smidge larger.

Anyway, in this class, we were assigned to read 5 books from 5 Nobel Laureates. One of the books I chose, was Beloved by Toni Morrison. And I was hooked. (Fun Fact, that novel also won a Pulitzer Prize.) But the story, was just – entrancing. I couldn’t put it down. Sethe, the protagonist of the novel, will break your heart while standing in awe at her resilience. That’s all I will say so I don’t ruin it. Fast forward to yesterday.

I had a blog post written, and I pulled it down. Because I knew I wanted to write about Toni Morrison, and I wouldn’t have time to do it justice until late tonight. So, you are getting it a day late. Sorry about that. But today, I got a blog notification from Brene Brown, and she was talking about Toni Morrison. (If you aren’t aware, this is just further proof that Brene Brown and I are supposed to BFFs… LOL!) Well, she was talking about how much she loved her also, and she brought up an Oprah interview. Of course, I google it – and I watch it. Below is from Brene’s blog, quoting Toni Morrison. I just can’t word it any clearer.

She asked, “Does your face light up?”
She explained, “When my children used to walk in the room when they were little, I looked at them to see if they had buckled their trousers or if their hair was combed or if their socks were up. You think your affection and your deep love is on display because you’re caring for them. It’s not. When they see you, they see the critical face. What’s wrong now?”
Her advice was simple, but paradigm-shifting for me. She said:
“Let your face speak what’s in your heart. When they walk in the room my face says I’m glad to see them. It’s just as small as that, you see?”

Boom. Wow. Quake. Think about that. And I thought about all the times that I have pulled into the garage, and little feet come running out the door excited to see me – and what do I say? “GET IN THE HOUSE! WHAT IF I HADN’T SEEN YOU AND HAD HIT YOU!?” Little feet scurry back inside. Ugh. I would give anything to turn back time to those moments and change it. All I can do, is apologize now – explain why – and try to change it. They are my whole heart. I never want them to think for a second that I don’t want to see them. I can’t let fear, bad moods, sickness or anything else – come between them knowing that they have a strong and powerful purpose.

Take it one step farther. Your boyfriend or girlfriend. Husband or wife. Parents. Does your face light up when you see them? If you hadn’t seen them for a month, would it be any different? A year? If you thought you would never see them again, but you got another chance? Listen. I ain’t judging, cause I am going to tell you the truth. For YEARS of my life, my modus operandi was this – If I liked a boy, I played it cool. If I was excited to see him, I played it cool. Don’t show that you are happy or excited. That will make you weak. Then they have the upper hand. And apparently everything in my life was some type of crazy display of power.

Until the day I decided that I just don’t care. If I am happy to see you – I am going to hug you and show it. Simple as that.

So today, take a second, and look lovingly at your kids. Really, do it to anyone you love. But hey, they are little. Start there. And read a book. Or get on Audible.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Sat Nam.

So, next week, my kids go back to school.

And I freaking hate it.

I know, a lot of parents get excited for back to school. They look forward to the structure, the schedule, the whole nine. Not me, though. I really hate it. I felt this way when I was a stay-at-home mom, and also as a full-time working mom.

For me, it seems as if the school years fly by. Once the it’s August, in a blink-it’s Christmas. After Christmas – end of another school year.

One of my kids has graduated. One will be a junior. And my little guy is going to be in fourth grade. Funny enough, the all get along. I am going to miss hearing them laugh. I am going to miss seeing them all pile out of my oldest’s car because they took a trip to Twistee Treat. I am gonna miss the ‘no structure’.

Granted, I do have a hippie vibe, agreed. That being said, I am also quite structured for myself. I like things tidy and orderly. It calms me. But I love the chaos and mess the summer brings. You wanna know how many times there were tears this summer? Maybe 20. Divide that by three kids – that’s a good number. You wanna know how many times there were tears during the school year? Probably 25,134. From over-tired, to not understanding homework, to mommy not understanding homework, kids being mean, my kids being mean – you name it. Tears. I love the peace that the summer brings. The laughing. I love it.

I guess, I am sad over knowing, that soon – way too soon for me – these kids are gonna go. And I am going to be in a house where the only differential between summer and winter is the thermostat. I dread those days, because I love these so much.

Are you excited for back-to-school? Why or why not? And if you got any tips for a momma to feel less sad, and try to act excited – I am up for suggestions!

Love Fully. Live Fully. Sat Nam.

I know, we learned this as little kids. But I am not talking about your standard – “Don’t lie.” I am talking about tell your truth. Yours. The dialogue that runs in your head. What is that truth?

For the past 10 years, I think I have suffered with some type of identity crisis. No seriously, I think I did. Around January – February of this year. Everything seemed jumbled, and then it slowly began to come into focus. I am a big fan of self – help, meditation, prayer, the bible, journaling, all of it. And I used all of these tools for years, but it wasn’t until the past couple of months – that I surrendered.

Surrender, you say? That seems dramatic. Yes. It is dramatic. And here is how. You see above how I said I love the bible? Well, since I was a little kid – I was brought up in church. I knew these verses – I just never thought to actually apply them. Yeah, I know – I am a quick learner.

“ ‘Do not steal. “ ‘Do not lie. “ ‘Do not deceive one another. ” – Leviticus 19:11. An honest witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies. Proverbs 14:5 And well, that’s just a couple.

Now you might be sitting there and saying, “Well, Kristie – I am glad you have gotten your pathological lying in check, but I don’t have that issue. ” Well first of all Karen, that’s not what I am talking about. But second of all – I think we all struggle with this a little more than we think.

I have a therapist. And she is great. Why do I need a therapist? WE ALL NEED A THERAPIST! Now, maybe you have one. Maybe you have a girlfriend, sister, someone else – who steps in as a therapist. Me, personally – I like having the outside perspective. I have girlfriends I can talk to – but guess what? They love me. If I’m mad – they are mad. We are a team. So, I need someone who will say – “Kristie, you are wrong and you are being crazy.” Jan loves doing that.

So. Here is my big lie. And maybe yours, too. It’s only two words – and I used it like a badge of honor. You ready? —– “I’m fine.” ——- That’s it. I always acted like everything was fine. And to be honest, the last ten years of my life – not really fine. There’s been a lot of good, don’t get me wrong, but there’s been a lot of bad. And it’s only been in the past 6 months or so – that I have gotten comfortable with saying what my truth’s are.

I have had some medical bills. I have struggled in silence with those. Well, mostly silence. And finally I had enough. I made a decision. That decision was going to require me to be vulnerable, and tell the truth. I decided to implement Dave Ramsey’s plan to pay off all my bills, rather than just staying afloat, and making everyone else thing everything was perfect. That meant, telling those in my tribe. My friends, my kids, and to be honest, some people I work with. Why did I have to tell them? Because they were going to see a change. I am on a budget – a strict budget – so extracurricular stuff is gone for awhile. I am not being rude, I am not being distant. I am just being broke. But I am choosing broke for now, so I can be great later. That’s my truth. My truth isn’t that everything is fine. Because it isn’t. My truth is that it will be. So guess what I did. I told my friends. My family. My co-workers (that I am close with, anyway). I told them that I was going to start selling stuff that I/we didn’t use. I was going to throw every penny at my bills, and get them paid off ASAP. And guess what?

Every single person was nothing but supportive. Even my kids. Even Jacoby. No one thought any less of me. No one acted like I was some irresponsible 40 something screw-up. And to be honest? Most everyone either then told me about their financial struggles, either present or past. Gave me great ideas, and also said – ‘I’m proud of you. I know it’s scary. You can do it.’ They are right. I can.

Next, and here is a big one – I think especially for women. Let your loved ones know what you need. Just let them know. Jan said to me, ‘One day – You are going to have to actually say what you need. People aren’t mind readers. It isn’t being selfish. It isn’t being weak. There is nothing wrong with telling someone that you aren’t okay with something. Because if they react negatively? Either they can’t do what you ask – so you change your expectation, or you accept it and progress. You shouldn’t suffer and worry in limbo. So, at least then – you can determine where you place that relationship.’

Well, Jan. What if they don’t say what you want them to? What if you want them to love you? Need you? What if you want to be the apple of their eye? You want them to see you as strong? The go-to friend? The best daughter? An amazing girlfriend? The best employee ever? Telling someone what you need – THAT’S WEAK! I said this, not quite so eloquently, to her. She folded her legs up underneath her and shook her head. “I didn’t say it was easy. I said you needed to do it. But if you wanna suffer, hey – go ahead. But this piece of advice isn’t going to change. People aren’t mind readers – as much as we might want them to be.”

So, months later. I did it. (Listen, don’t judge me. I didn’t say I was obedient. Or a quick study.) But I did it. I started talking to those I trust and have relationships with. I told them about my trust issues. I told them about my fears. I told them when I felt ignored. Or not wanted. I told them when I just wanted to be alone. Once I started telling, it got a little easier. And guess what happened? Some of the folks – not all, but some. Started telling me back. And guess what? We are closer than ever. Some, have just listened to what I said. Some, have listened and told me that they couldn’t do what I needed. But guess what. Every scenario was a win. Everyone. Because one, relationships grew. And I was told how to love them better. And even in the situation where I was told that they couldn’t do what I needed? It wasn’t mean. It was just – they couldn’t. I can’t be mad at that, and I now have realistic expectations.

Listen, I still struggle. The act of being vulnerable and admitting you have a heart and feelings – well for me – that sucks. I’d much rather be viewed as the “tough, I don’t care, I’ll fight you then spit in your grave” type person, than the one who is tender hearted and cries by herself at night. I’d much rather be seen as tough, than the girl who is afraid that she will never be loved the way she loves. I’d much rather be seen as distant and cold, than for anyone to know – just how much I would give for those I love, and how I am scared to death that no one will ever love me back that way – and maybe, I don’t deserve it. I’d rather be seen as a bully, than the tenderhearted woman that I actually am.

Because once you see that side of me? The soft side? I feel like you can ruin me. I feel like you can hurt me like no one else can. And when someone has been hurt? Well, like my momma says, ” A burnt child, dreads the fire.” So, I guess – I have been afraid of the fire. Not anymore.

Well, that I lie. I am scared of it. But what scares me more? Missing some amazing opportunities, to self preserve.

So guys. There it is. Tell the freaking truth.

Wish me Luck.

Love fully. Live fully. Sat nam.