This could go for men also, I suppose. Based upon my gender and my friend groups – I see it with women moreso than men. If the shoe fits, though – Wear it.

Here is what I am talking about. Let’s get down to it. If you are broken up with, don’t be petty. Don’t go after their job. Their kids. Their families. If you have been broken up with – say a prayer of thanks, and move on. Because if that person isn’t with you anymore – they weren’t meant for you. If you cared enough about them to be in a relationship with them in the first place, they can’t be all bad.

I have done things that I am not proud of. Things I don’t want to be judged for. Therefore, I do my best not to judge back. I have been a garbage human in relationships. I have been treated like garbage in relationships. It’s all relative. I guess, I just have the foresight and/or hindsight to see my part in it.

Now, I’m not saying I want to sit in singing circle with my exes and sing “Kumbaya”, but I don’t wish anything bad on anyone of them. The good exes and the bad exes. One of my exes just started dating a new girl. One of my friends sent me a pic and said “Look!” You know what I did? I sent him a text and said “Congrats! I am so happy for you! And she is beautiful!” And why is that? Cause I’m woke? Maybe. But in all honesty – I she is beautiful, and I am so happy for him! I want all my exes to find their special person – because we are all human and worthy of love. I can also look in the mirror, though. Even in the relationships that I really feel like I did no wrong, I have done wrong in others. Am I a bad person? No. Did I make a mistakes? Yes. So I haven’t got a high horse to sit on, and I know deep down my heart is good.

So before you dog out others – look in the mirror. Think about the mistakes of your past. The ones you think you got by with. Would you want your parents to know? Your grandma? Your church? Your job? Because let me tell you something else – we often want to tell others people’s dirt to hurt them. What you don’t realize is this – it actually sets them free. I remember hearing a sermon one time, and going to my mom. I was heartbroken. Like any other teenager, I had lied to my mom over things, and I love her. And I wanted to apologize and tell her the truth. I was crying and told her that I had some things to tell her. And before I could even get a word out, she said to me, “Stop. I forgive you. Right now I forgive you for it all. I don’t want a roll call of it though, it will just upset me. Some things I might know, I might not. But you are forgiven, so just keep it to yourself.” She kissed me and walked on. I talked to my dad about it, because my mom had confused the bejeesus out of me. And daddy said, “If you forced her to hear it, you were doing it to ease your conscience – not for her. So maybe, your punishment in this is to carry the weight of it and protect her from it.” Well, that hit a cord. I say to say this, when you gossip and you spread either truths or rumors – The ones that you hurt are the unintentional victims. The ones who care about that person and you. And if you think that for one second, that the ones you told aren’t running and talking to everyone else about you – they are. It’s what people do. It’s messy. It’s embarrassing. And it’s shameful. And while you are out to ruin them – you really are shining a spotlight on yourself. You also lose credibility and trustworthiness. Because if they will talk about others and spread their business – they will talk about you. Word gets around – and no one will ever hire someone who creates drama. Remember that.

God teaches us forgiveness. And those that sit and speak of God’s love, but will then run and trash talk another human out of their own personal choices, well – It’s sad. So think more of yourself. Of each other. Hold your head up – and quit being a victim. Own your life choices, and carry on. I know I have. And I am so happy and grateful for it.

Love fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

If we are being honest, I had to have my friend cut my Spanx off with scissors. Twice. I swear – no joke. The second time, I swore them off. And I haven’t looked back.

If you don’t know what Spanx is, it’s a modern day torture device. (No offense, Spanx lovers. I just can’t hang.) For real though, they are shapewear. I was talking to a friend of mine about this blog – and she didn’t know what they were either, so here is a brief summary. They are undergarments. That are super tight. And they are made to lift your booty, flatten your tummy, and smooth out any wrinkles, dips, or crevices that you don’t want seen through your clothes. Think skin tight dress.

Understand, it wasn’t recent that Krissie had to cut my SPANX off. It was like 10 years ago. I have been SPANX free ever since. But picture it. We had went to a Chamber of Commerce event. I had on a gorgeous dress that was fitted. I was super self-conscious of my tummy and thighs in this dress, though. Well, let’s put on some SPANX. Voila! My body was looking pretty good, if I do say so myself.

For the first couple of hours, I was ok. Those suckers were tight, but I was good. I was feeling confident knowing that I was all tucked in. Then we sat. And then I felt the top start to roll down. (Please note * the SPANX I had on were a short style. They came to mid-thigh, and then top came to below my chest. Think Steve Urkele pants height.) AS THEY ROLLED, IT BECAME TIGHTER AND TIGHTER. I look down, and my top fat was jumping right out. Mortified, I quickly go to the bathroom to put them back in their proper position.

In the bathroom stall, I take my dress off. I had too, because the way it was fitted, I couldn’t get it back to proper height. I unroll the top of the SPANX to try to get it back in the original positon. But that wasn’t happening. I guess I left it in the roll down position too long. Me, being an astute and crafty woman – I am not swayed. I jack those up a little bit more, and tuck it under my bra. I would like to state, in case you aren’t clear, the level of sexy there was like nothing I had ever seen before. Literally.

I get dressed again, and go out to the event. My friend and I sat there for another hour, and I leaned over to her and told her I had to get out of there, I was so uncomfortable I had started to sweat. Krissie is that type of girl who takes action. She gave me her keys, told me to go directly to the car, and she said our goodbyes and got us out of their quick, acting like I wasn’t feeling well.

She gets in the car, and asks me what is wrong. I begin to freak. “THESE STUPID SPANX IS ROLLING DOWN! I HAD TO TAKE MY DRESS OFF IN THE BATHROOM! TUCK THE TOP UP IN MY BRA! NOW… THEY ARE ROLLING AGAIN, AND I FEEL LIKE SOMEONE HAS A CABLE AROUND MY WAIST AND IS SLOWLY TRYING TO SEVERE MY TORSO!” She side-eyed me while she drove. I knew she wanted to laugh, but was gonna hold it in until I was less hostile.

My SPANX hero, Krissie. Right around the time that he rescue had to happen.

We get home and I start stripping as I walk in. Shoes… Dress…. I am gonna get those things off. But, I couldn’t. I am not kidding here guys. I literally could not get them off.

I start to pull them down, and they are so tight around my waist, that I can’t even really get my thumbs into the top. I make it into my bathroom, and I catch a glimpse of my reflection. I was sweaty, and my top looked all weird and distorted compared to my bottom. The SPANX had created some type of two dimensional universe all on my body. I take a deep breath, and tell myself to relax. It seemed the more I pulled and yanked, the tighter they got.

I hear a knock at the door to my bedroom. “WHAT!?”, I yelled at the door thinking my grunting and groaning had woken one of my children up. “You okay in there?” It was Krissie. I felt my eyes starting to get warm and burn because the tears were coming and about to mix with sweat. I go and open the door. And let her gaze at me in horror of the twisted SPANX mess that my life had currently become.

“So, are you stuck?”. I nod my reply. She pushed up her pajama sleeves and got to work. She coached me. She pulled. She yanked. She hollered. And then she said. “Do you want to keep these?”

“No. I never want to see them again. ” She walks out and goes to her room, and comes back with scissors. “The only way we are gonna get these off, is to cut them off.” I lift my arms over my head so she has plenty of access, and also symbolically surrender to the fact that the SPANX had won.

She began to cut. And I poured out those things like a busted can of biscuits. And as I looked at my tear-soaked face, with one cut side of spanks, yet my foot still in the leg of the other, I felt loads of humiliation and relief. My skin was all red and wrinkly. There were new lines on my skin, like what happens when you iron a shirt and didn’t realize a piece was folded over in the back. I look at Krissie and I hug her, and I tell her that I am so glad it was her and no one else. We began to laugh a little. Then we laughed hard. I swore off SPANX that day.

My SPANX story is really applicable to many facets of our life, though. I had an idea of what I wanted to people to see as. A certain view. I didn’t want any of my flaws to show. But I wanted the look, the respect that would I felt would come from me rockin’ that dress in an hour glass shape. What I didn’t want to do, was the work that it would take to wear that dress, they way I wanted it to look. So, I made a shortcut. And it didn’t work out well for me at all.

What I should have done was either fix myself or accept myself. Now understand, this isn’t pro-SPANX or anti-SPANX. Think bigger. This isn’t about body shaming or body positivity. My body was just fine. It was my heart and mind that wasn’t. And I am not dogging SPANX in anyway, shape or form. Or the people that wear them. I actually know some people who like the feeling of wearing of them. We can’t be friends, because I can’t understand your soul, but I know them. (I kid, I kid.)

This is a heart issue. My heart issue. If there is something you don’t like about yourself, you can change it or accept it. But most importantly, own your decision. If you don’t like your GPA, you can study more. If you don’t like your speed at running a mile, you can practice. If you don’t like your biceps, you can go to the gym and get the bigger.

On the flip-side, if you don’t like your GPA – maybe you accept it. Maybe you say, I have a 3.1 GPA. I study, but school doesn’t consume me, and I have a social life. Could I cut some things out and make it higher? Sure. But right now it isn’t important to me. I am satisfied with the balance of school and play, and I am satisfied.

Using the GPA as an example, here is the danger zone. The SPANX arena of life, if you will. When you struggle academically. But, instead of owning your truth that academics doesn’t naturally to you, you stay up all hours of the night trying to study. You take uppers or drink energy drinks, to cram for the final. Because you believe, that if you don’t give the perception of easy academic excellence, somehow people will think adversely of you. Maybe you want the praise. Maybe you believe that if they really knew you – you would be all alone and sad.

I’ve been there. In some areas, I am still there. But everyday I am working on it. I have people in my life, who I trust so much – I can tell them my whole truth. And just like Krissie sat with me in my humiliation, they sit with me in my truth. That truth can be shameful, embarrassing, humiliating, scary, and sometimes just plain weird. Sometimes we end up laughing. Sometimes we end up crying. But every time, I feel like I took a boulder out of my proverbial backpack of issues. Guys, everyone has issues. Everyone. No one gets out of here unscathed. But once we start talking about our fears and insecurities, and just lay them out there, others seem to disarm also.

So, I said I had to cut them off twice, right? Well, it’s true. I swore them off for good. I went years without wearing them. It was about 5 years ago, and my insecurity came marching in like a high school band. I was going to an event for the company that I worked for. The CEO was going to be there, there would be photos, and I wanted to look perfect. I decided to trade my go to sense of style, for something more regal. Regal meant very tailored. Like, tightly tailored. And it began. Insecurity won. And I purchased another pair of SPANX.

I regretted it. Again, two hours or so into it, I knew what I had to do. I walked out of the event and went to an employee and asked if they had any scissors. They did. I marched to restroom, stripped, and got to cutting. In thirty seconds, I was free of that mess. I got dressed again, walked out the bathroom stall and threw them in the trash. A lady was at the vanity touching up her make-up. She sees me carrying cloth while I walk out. I show her the scissors and the wadded up/cut up SPANX in my hand. And I look at her and say, “I said this once before, but this time I mean it. I am never ever wearing SPANX again.”

She laughs and says, “Those are of the devil. I can’t breathe with them on. ” I look at myself in the mirror after she says that. I feel good. I can breathe. And I see the line that I wanted to cover. You want to know what the line was? Where my leg connects to my torso. Guess who noticed? Probably only me. I walked out, and enjoyed (I mean as much as you can for a work function), the rest of the day.

Now, I only wear clothing that I am comfortable in. If it would require me to change my shape, it stays at the store. When some of the trends are not designed for me, I own it. And do my own thing.

Now guys, I don’t have this stuff figured out. Yes, I am actively practicing self-acceptance. I am learning to be more transparent and authentic – and trying everyday. I am in the trenches right along with you. Some days, I fail. And I fail miserably. But hey, once you see the problems and work to fix them, the easier it is to recognize the old behaviors – and well, “cut them away.” But sometimes, you need that friend – that person- who will sit with you and laugh and cry, why they help you cut it away.

Love fully. Live fully. Shine on.

Sat nam.

Well, this is gonna be short. I didn’t plan this blog, she just kinda flew out my fingertips. I have had a good day. No major issues. Hiccups. All good. Then, out of nowhere, “WHAM!” I got slammed by a flood of emotions that I didn’t see coming. Long story short – in a previous blog I wrote about the best friend break-up. (You can click the underlined part to read that if you haven’t). Well, some of their social media popped up in my world – and it was like I was stabbed all over again. I guess, I should just feel blessed that I don’t know how you do that. How you just drop someone for literally no reason/no explanation.

Anyway. That sucked. Tears were burning my eyes. I shut my office door. I cried for a second, cause my feelings were re-hurt. And then I did it. I made a phone call. I called and I cried. And guess what !? I wasn’t made fun of, I was listened to, and I ended up laughing at the end. So I say all that, to say this. I am so grateful. In a moment of yucky – I realized that I have so much to be grateful over. And guys, when you are upset, let it out to someone you trust. I started off feeling crazy for being emotional. I ended up receiving understanding and a deeper connection with them? Why? Because I got vulnerable and showed emotion instead of choking it down. So, try it. Let it out.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On. Sat nam.

It’s worth it. For real.

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.