Archives For Self-love

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Ladies have hard expectations when it comes to how we’re supposed to look. Photoshopped magazines and the Victoria’s Secret televised fashion show can do wonders to damage our body image.

Because most of us will never look like that in real life.

Even most of the models in magazines don’t look like that way in real life when up close and personal with them! (Trust me, I lived in London in a flat with high earning, world traveling, Vogue gracing, catwalk strutting models.)

Patterns of body bashing and negative self image can start really early. In fact, I read a figure that suggests that by the age of ten 40% of girls have poor self-esteem or body issues.

We are not taught that our bodies are beautiful and that no matter what our bodies look like on the outside, we should respect and appreciate them. It’s no wonder that so many of us feel awkward in our own skin. We’ve forgotten how awesome we are in every way!

To get that mojo back,a little full on self worship can help you see yourself with new eyes.

::Shake What Your Mama Gave You::

Doing something physical can totally help you feel like a sexy mofo. Maybe that means hitting the gym or using cable to do a free OnDemand video. It could mean taking a yoga class, going for a walk, or (my all time favorite) dancing like a maniac to good music in the comfort of your own home.

Feel your body moving and embrace how wonderful it feels just to move. Your legs may feel extra strong, or doing push ups may help you feel extra bad ass. Or maybe you’re twerking it and just feeling lovely in your skin. Allow yourself to fully feel your body and to marvel in how amazing you are.

::Reframe Your Thoughts::

When we look at ourselves in the mirror it’s easy to focus on the things that we don’t like. Acne, dull skin, wrinkles, age spots, boobs that are too big/small/perky/saggy, too much/little body fat, cellulite, thick cuticles, bushy eyebrows, and the list goes on an on. Instead of looking at those things, pick one body part that you really love and focus on how beautiful that is.

Maybe you have beautiful eyes in a gorgeous honey brown color. Maybe your lips are perfectly pouty, or your hips are round and you have a booty that would make J. Lo say, “damn girl.” Maybe your wrists are delicate like a ballerina’s or you have feet that would make someone with a foot fetish have a wet dream. Look at the beauty in that part of your body and don’t even think about the other parts.

::Wear Sexy Undies::

This is my solution for a lot of things, actually. I don’t know why but sexy lingerie has the potential to just make a woman feel good. It’s almost like a naughty secret that hides under regular clothes.

I’m not talking about just wearing a matching set, but rather lingerie that makes you feel sexy – the kind you’d actually want your lover to see you in. The kind that makes you feel beautiful. Wear that for no reason other than you’re awesome.

::Get All Dolled Up::

Now, when I say get all dolled up I don’t mean you have to throw on bright red lipstick and your highest heels if that doesn’t make you feel good about how you look. I mean get all dolled up for you and your personal sense of style. Wear something that make you look and feel like hotsauce, or whatever feeling good is to you.

While I’m not one of those always in sweats or yoga pants kind of girls (not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you) I don’t always go the extra mile. I buy clothes that fit me well and generally just put on whatever’s closest. No lie.

But, When I take extra time to really plan out an outfit and really dress up I feel freaking awesome and I look even better. See, when we feel good about how we look it shows on the outside too. It’s that shine and spark that folks see that make heads turn.

::Accept It::

Our bodies are amazing creations. With them we can do so much from taste to move to experience different sensations. And that is freaking amazeballs, isn’t it? (And, yes, I used the word amazeballs. Sue me.)

Sure, they may not be perfect but they are perfectly ours and really what in life is perfect?

One great way to show yourself and your body love is to just accept it. Accept your body for all it’s beautiful parts and for everything that it is. This doesn’t mean that you have to fall madly in love with your cellulite. I will never love the stretch marks I have from having three kids, but that doesn’t mean I have to hate them either.

Acceptance can be liberating. It frees us from the chains of self-hate and leaves us with more room to focus on the things about ourselves that we do love about our bodies.

Your body is the place your Spirit lives. There’s no point in fighting with it, hating it, or rejecting it. It’s the place your Spirit lives. It’s your temple, babe. Worship it.

 

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Yoga Berra said, “When you arrive at a fork in the road, take it.”

Robert Frost wrote about two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and how he wished he could have traveled them both. Our lives are kind of like walking down a road. Sometimes the road is smoothly paved for us and sometimes there are rocks and cracks.

Sometimes we’re guided down the road by our parents, fear, or just the idea what we have to keep going in this direction because that’s the only road we’ve seen, so we make like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz and follow it hoping that it will take us to safety.

Or sometimes there are no roads.

When I was little I had my life planned out.

I was going to go to George Washington High School and I was going to be on the pep squad. I would then go on to college, most likely at Spellman, where I would learn to speak fluent French, Spanish and Italian.

See, I was going to be the first female Secretary General of the United Nations and in the past all the Secretary Generals had always spoken multiple languages. Or at least that’s what my 10 year-old self remembered from the tour of the UN.

My plans were like a path laid out in front of me. I knew exactly the road to walk to get to my goal of becoming the Secretary General.

Clearly, that didn’t happen and instead, I choose to meander off the path and into an area that was undefined. And it all started with one small step and one giant leap of faith.

And this little city that you may have heard of – Paris.

In keeping with my young girl dreams I  studied Spanish and, though not completely fluent, found that languages really were a gift for me. So I decided I’d also learn French because why not?

Lots of living and life happened in between and then one day there I was at the airport with a one-way ticket to Paris.

Not only was I completely off the beaten path, but I was deep in the wild uncharted territory of life. And I was scared shitless.

Yet, walking away from the planned path for my life was the best thing I ever did. It changed me permanently leaving a lasting impression like a butterfly tattoo on a teenage ankle.

I did not have a plan when I left other than to live and experience, and to see and to feel. There was no goal in mind other than to grow and just have life experiences. The feeling of just being without anything extra attached to it, no goal or expectation, felt like freedom. It felt the way birds must feel when they fly high into the air with nothing but the clouds around them.

It felt like life.

But, we get older and wiser and with kids it’s not always possible to just throw on a back pack, stuff some traveler’s checks in your pocket, and hop a flight to anywhere.

Yet there are still things that we can do to feel that sense of freedom, of excitement and mystery in our everyday lives.  We can feel freedom and that je ne sais quoi by just daring to be a little uncomfortable, or maybe even scared shitless, and to try new things by taking a tiny step off the usual paths we walk down.  Things like…

Doing Something You Never Want to Do Alone

For me, it’s going to the movies. I’ve never wanted to go to a movie alone. I don’t know what weird phobia that is, but I’ve always imagined that going to the movies alone would be a really lonely experience. And yet when you’re at the movies it’s not like you talk to anyone anyway.

In reality, these types of feelings are usually fear. Fear that someone will see us at the movies alone and think, “Wow, what’s wrong with her?” I mean, I traveled the world alone at a very young age knowing no one there and yet I couldn’t get my butt to the movies alone? Life is nothing if not ironic, n’est pas?

When we push ourselves to do things that are outside of our comfort zone, we create a space for possibility. We give ourselves permission to experience life.

Taking The Stairs – Doing Something Uncomfortable

I recently went to a retreat for my life coach certificate program. When we registered we had the option to have single or double rooms. Normally, I’m the type who would pay extra for a private room because I don’t want to be sharing a room with a stranger.  I mean a stranger is someone who I wouldn’t know. Someone who could be, well, strange.

But, I really want to meet and connect with other women who are like me and how on Earth am I going to make new friends and connections if I don’t step outside of my comfort zone? So, I got the double room. And then I spent the days leading up to the retreat kicking myself and even as I was checking into the hotel considering whether it was too late to get the solo room.

I didn’t end up getting a solo room and, instead, had a great roomie and a fun night of talking and laughter. I got what I wanted – connection. I also opened my world up more and gave myself a little more freedom to just live and to be. And all by taking a tiny step off the usual path I walk down.

Getting Classy

No matter how old I get I will never stop being curious about the world and wanting to try new things. There is just so much out there to experience and yet we often miss out on things that we would really enjoy because we don’t make like Nike and just do it. Classes are a great way to expand our minds and open up more space in our lives.

It could be anything from a language class to a dance class, a cooking class, or learning how to fix your own brakes.

I am participating in two programs this year and my mind and heart have been blown wide open. For the first time in a really long time, I feel the same sense of excitement, bewilderment and endless possibility that I did when I stepped off the airplane in Paris when I was 18.

You don’t have to travel the world with a hiking backpack to find yourself or to renew your zest for life. You can just open your mind, feel the fear of trying something new, take a step off the comfort of the path, and run barefoot into the woods of life.

If you don’t like the road you’re walking at, start paving another one. – Dolly Parton

“Never give up.”

“Keep on trucking.”

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!”

Many a bumper sticker, magnet and cute meme are peppered with quotes about never giving in and never giving up.

McHammer sang that he was “too legit to quit.”

There is something to be said for sticking to your guns and trying your best even when you fail at something. Many a successful person has failed miserably at their first attempt at something. People probably questioned their sanity at times when they continued to try.

“Don’t be a quitter,” is a message most of us learned from early childhood.

But there are times when the best thing we can do is quit. There are times when quitting is not a sign of weakness, or not being smart enough or good enough, or a judgment on the type of person someone is.

Sometimes quitting is an expression of self-love.

Some great things to quit are:

::Smoking Cigarettes::

Now, I’m not one to judge but let’s get real here, smoking is bad. It’s not a judgment; it’s just science. I smoked for years. I have even smoked the occasional outside a bar cigarette even after quitting. I’m not saying that it’s easy to quit, or that the occasional once a year “cause it’s my birthday” cigarette is bad either. What I am saying is that smoking is not good for any of us and the less we do it the better. When we do things we know are harmful to us, we really have to think about why we would make that choice.

I’m not telling you something you don’t already know. If you’re still smoking that’s your choice but quitting is always the better option. Plus, when you quit smoking you’ll realize how horribly those things stink. So, if you look at it from that point of view, you’re also quitting being stinky at times. Cigarettes are also hella expensive. That’s shoe money right there which makes quitting a triple win because you’ll have better health, no worries about smelling bad, and have more shoe money. Winning!

::Making Excuses::

We’ve all had times when we don’t want to do something and we say no but we still feel like we have to make an excuse or explanation. Just as we’ve all had moments when we want to do something but we’re worried about what someone else will think so we make an excuse about it.

“I’d really love to come to that event, but my husband is working and I don’t have a babysitter, so I wont be able to make it,” or “I know it’s dumb but I’m only taking this dance class because I need another elective to get my degree.”

Those kinds of excuses – quit that shit!

Saying no is okay. So is doing what you want even if no one else gets it.

No excuse is needed.  This goes at work, or with your spouse, your kids and even with yourself.

When we make an excuse we’re essentially shifting our focus from how we feel onto something else to avoid being accountable, in a way. Like, last night I didn’t workout that hard or for that long. I said, “oh, I’m too tired to do this,” which was an excuse. In reality I just didn’t feel like it. And that’s cool – no excuse needed. But I told myself that excuse to avoid feeling guilty when in reality I had no reason to feel guilty about it. It was my choice and I should’ve just been okay with it.

Owning how we feel is important and is also a way that we can hold on to our power. When we make excuses and are not accountable for how we feel, it’s almost like we’re saying how we feel isn’t okay and can’t stand on it’s own. It’s kind of like admitting we’re guilty for how we feel so we have to find a reason outside of ourselves to make it okay. Whether you want or don’t want to do something, that’s cool. Do you and quitting making excuses.

::Saying You’re Broke::

One of the things I’ve really been working with is my relationship to money and realizing that money is just energy. I’ve also been working on taking responsibility for my financial decisions. “I’m broke,” used to be a standard response when asked to do something I didn’t want to spend the money on.The truth is that usually when we say “I’m broke,” we’re not broke. It’s just that we choose not to spend our money that way. I’m sure that, like me, when there has been something that you really want to do, you found the money to make it happen.

Quit saying you’re broke and instead own your financial choices. Replace the thought “I’m broke” with “I choose to spend my money differently,” or “I choose not to spend my money on that right now.” Not only are you totally owning it, but it also keeps the good money energy flowing towards you. Think of it like this, do you think energy wants to flow to something that is broken? Probably not.

::Playing Small::

(Okay, here’s where it gets super sappy and woo woo ’cause that’s how I roll. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!)

You were born to shine. You are special because you are YOU and there is no one else in the world quite like you. You were here to share your unique gifts and talents and to be fully yourself. You were not born to play small, beloveds.

So, quit playing small. When you do something great — own that shit. Own the hell out of it like it’s your favorite new purse that you just have to carry with you everywhere. Reach for your dreams, whatever they are, even when it feels scary and like you’re doing everything wrong. Even when it makes other people uncomfortable.

Quit playing small in any way that you do be by taking care of everyone but yourself, to over committing, to not speaking up in a work meeting to share a great idea, or staying in situations that no longer serve you. Stop playing small by quitting the things that make your heart sing while holding onto those that don’t.

Like everything in life, there are times when you keep walking forward knowing that no matter how many times you get lost, you will reach your destination. But there are also times when we need to know when to fold ’em. Never feel too legit to quit.

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I have always loved Valentine’s Day.Since I am a hopeless romantic it’s pretty much a given that I love Valentine’s Day.

(Okay, I confess, I love just about every holiday, but still….)

I love the idea of a day that’s just dedicated to love.

People doing sweet things.

Surprise flower deliveries, sweet and chocolate – oh my!

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Even so, Valentine’s Day and I have had a sort of torrid relationship. Sometimes we’re the best of pals and other years it has been a total bitch. Life, right? And yet I love it still. Because love is like that, not always flowers and chocolate but always worth it.

Now that I have kids I think I love the holiday more than I ever did before. It’s less about romantic love but just love in general. Love for everyone.

Love for ourselves.

Easy, simple, natural love.

We’ve already done our Valentine’s Day cards for the two third grade classrooms. We’re not giving out candy this year but are giving out cute pencils along with the cards. We’ll also bring cupcakes delicately decorated in pink icing and sprinkles. Even Lovebug will bring Hello Kitty magic pen pads to everyone at daycare.

Every Valentine’s Day morning my kids come downstairs to find cards, chocolates and whatever little chotskies I find, like light up heart rings, or pens with big fluffy hearts on the end.

But the best part is the card.

Always.

I want my girls to know that they are loved. That they don’t need to get a card from the cutest boy (or girl) in class, or from a secret admirer. I want them to know that they aren’t only loved but they are love. And that’s reason enough for chocolate and glitter.

Even when you tell someone you love them everyday there’s just something a little special about saying it in a glittery card. Just the little extra effort in the morning to make the table all cute, or to start the day with a chocolate kiss.

Because it really is the little things in life that are the big things.

Even if you don’t have a sweetie or a lover, or kids, you can still celebrate love.

Because we are all Love. It is our very essence.

Don’t have a date – take yourself out. Buy yourself flowers or candy!

In fact, have flowers delivered to your office for you (but plan in advance because you’ll never be able to get a last minute delivery on V-Day), and sit them on your desk and enjoy their beauty.

And if anyone asks who they’re from tell them, “Someone who loves me very much.”

Wear a pretty dress. Throw on some lip gloss and some sexy lingerie. And don’t forget to tell yourself how pretty you are one the way out the door.

Because it really is the little things in life that are the big things. You are worthy of flowers and sweetness and something a little extra special just because.

So be your own damned Valentine. And go and be love, beloved.

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The great online business guru for the modern day soul-preneur (or really anyone trying to start an online business) Marie Forleo advises that we should start before we’re ready. In fact she says that it’s the “key to sucess!”

Her belief is that you don’t need a fancy website and all the trimmings of a “real business” to make an impact. What an entrepreneur has to offer is more than the total sum of their webpage, how many fancy widgets they have, or whether their monthly newsletter looks like it was designed by a rockstart. Ms. Forleo encourages her followers to make like a baby bird and jump out the nest.

Because you don’t know if you can fly until you jump.

The idea seems terrifying but it makes perfect sense.

So, with that… I’m spreading my wings and jumping head first into the world. In a way, I’m coming out a closet of sorts.

I don’t have my fancy website yet. No personalized branded logo that matches my Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter banners, but…

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I have launched my own Life Coaching Practice!!!

By now you have probably heard the term Life Coach thrown around and if you’re into self-help and all things woo woo then without a doubt you’ve heard the term. But, you may still be wondering, “What the heck does a life coach do anyway?”

I work with individuals who want to live their life to the fullest. My ideal clients are folks who have already planted the seed for change and personal growth, and who are ready blossom into their full potential.

I may not have the fancy site (yet!!!) but a fancy site does not make the work we will do together any less powerful. I have guided my own life from being a struggling single almost teenage mother to a woman with a book coming out this year, and now my own coaching practice. And I am still on my journey and would love to help you along yours.

If you are interested in working with me, you’re in luck! I’m hosting a giveaway on Facebook! When I reach 250 Likes I will be giving away two months of sessions with me! Like my page and encourage your friends to do the same for a chance to win!

For those who want more information about what I do, please feel free to send me an email.

World it’s so nice to meet you!

With love, Yroko Marie, Life Coach

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I never used to have a morning routine. In the past, I just woke-up when my alarm went off, sometimes a few minutes before, and stayed in bed until I absolutely had to get up.

From then, I rushed to get the kids ready for school, get dressed, and get out the door on time. It all went by in a blur and sometimes felt like a complete mad dash. It was exhausting!

By the time I got to work I often felt like I’d already done a half day’s work. I also felt rundown a lot, off-balance and frequently sad.

In fact, I dreaded mornings because there was just so much to be done and so little time.

It didn’t help that, more often than not, I was completely sleep deprived so by the time it came time to get back up and do it all over again, I was running on empty.

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There was a time when I cried in the morning in the shower just about everyday.

I was just so tired. There was just so much to do. I just knew that the day was going to suck. I needed coffee.

And, fuck, I couldn’t even put my underwear on before there was a knock on the door of someone wanting something!

There was important information that just could not wait. I needed to hear important things such as, “Mommy, I just want to let you know I’m not wearing this dress as a dress; I’m wearing it as a shirt.”

Or I need to help solve the mystery of the always missing hairbrush, which was more often than not, the last place it was used — in the kids’ bathroom!

The world just seemed…. cruel and harsh. Woe is me, was my morning song. And I had it on replay.

One day, and I can’t recall when, I had enough of the pity-party. I had been reading awesomely inspiring blogs by life coaches and feel good gurus and noticed one thing in particular – they all had rituals. They had rituals for being thankful, and rituals done on Sundays.

And just about every one of them did something in the morning, every morning, to make sure that they felt good. Like her, and her, and her too.

With nothing to loose because, hell, I was already crying in the shower pretty much every morning and that clearly was not working, I decided that perhaps I needed to start my morning off a little better.

Gone where the days when I could get up at 5 a.m. and rush off to the gym, or wake-up and leisurely stroll around the house taking as much time and care as I wanted to get ready without anyone else to think about, so what could I do?

I did the easiest and most simple thing that wouldn’t require too much movement (don’t want to wake a sleeping baby!) and didn’t require too much of anything.

I started meditating.

Before I even got out of the bed, I would meditate. At first, it was difficult to calm my mind. I had trained myself to immediately jump up and start going through my daily “to-do” list so that was my natural inclination. But, I kept at it. I would set a timer and slowly up the time.

By the second week, I was at 10 minutes. My mind was quieter and, lo and behold, my days seemed better!

I felt happier in the morning and I hadn’t even had coffee! Imagine that!

I slowly started to incorporate more into my morning routine and realized that having morning rituals that go beyond having a cuppa jo’ is a way of practicing self-love. We should start our days from a place of being connected to ourselves and by loving ourselves first.

I will admit, this required scheduling in time for me to do this. It means getting up a little bit earlier. My baby still does not sleep through the night so giving up a few extra minutes of sleep is HUGE for me. But so worth it.

My current routine looks like this:

1. Morning Meditation –  I aim for 20 minutes. I can’t always get a full uninterrupted 20 minutes, but I do what I can. If for some reason Lovebug wakes up before me, I do a shower mediation (explained below). Something is better than nothing.

2. Journal – I keep a journal next to my bed. After I meditate, I journal. I don’t aim for a page count. I just write. Even if I can’t meditate, I try to journal. This is something that can even be done with a toddler calling out, “Wake up,” to everyone in the house. (Well, really she says, “Way-bup,” but you get the idea.) I make sure to include gratitude in my journal entry in some way, and ask the Universe to help guide me to be of service. I feel like by asking to be of service I am setting a positive intention for the day – to be the Love I want to see in the world.

3. Sing – Everyday I sing the “good morning” song to Lovebug right after I wake her up or right when she wakes up. Since I’m away from her all day, it’s nice for both of us to have a quiet moment together.

4. Oil Pulling – This is something I have great spells of doing and then can go a week without doing it. Oil pulling is a way to help detox the body and is good for oral health. I do it while cooking breakfast for the kids or packing lunches. I nod or write down instructions if I need to interact with anyone and by now everyone is used to me doing it. Being a mom means I’m a multi-taking rockstar!

5. Shower Meditation – I always do a shower meditation even if I’ve already done my 20 minutes. It’s like a feel good insurance policy! This is very quick. I simple take three minutes and close my eyes and breathe. I imagine that the water is white light washing over me and through me and washing anything icky away. When I open my eyes I usually do a little Beyonce shimmy to remind myself that being in my skin is pretty awesome, then I turn off the water and get out feeling good!

6. Drink Warm Water With Lemon – I usually do this on the way out the door or as I’m making my green smoothie. It takes a few minutes and makes my body feel good. If I’m feeling extra spicy, I may add a little cayenne. If we’re out of lemons then I’ll just drink plain water. The reason I drink warm lemon water is to help hydrate and alkalinize the body. It is said to help aid with digestion, energy levels and can help if you have problems getting things “moving,” if you know what I mean.

And that, folks, is my busy mom morning ritual recipe for a kick ass day!

It does not take a lot of extra time. I only get up like 30 minutes earlier and some of the things can be done while I’m doing other things, like getting Lovebug dressed or cooking breakfast.

The change in my mood and overall happiness has been astronomical. I feel good pretty much every morning. Even if I initially wake up in a funk, I usually shake it off by the time we’re out the door. I don’t cry in the shower or feel sorry for myself, and I’ve noticed increased energy.

Since I feel better in the morning, that means that more of my days feel better and happier. I am more present. I feel in control and that mornings, which used to feel frazzled and like another job, are now joyful.

You can play around with your routine and see what works for you. At one point, I tried doing Sun Salutations (yoga) but that took too much time and I just wasn’t digging how tight my body was and how forced the movements felt. So, I trashed it.

Here are a few things you can do to get a morning ritual going that’ll up your energy and the quality of your days:

  1. Listen to music and dance in the shower while you suds up.
  2. Meditate.
  3. Journal.
  4. 50 squats while you brush your teeth.
  5. Dry brushing before your shower.
  6. Listen to personal development or audio books while you cook breakfast or make your coffee.
  7. Go into your backyard and practice grounding (touching your bare feet to the Earth).
  8. Pray.
  9. Make a gratitude list of three things that you’re thankful for.
  10. Look in the mirror and tell yourself “you’re gorgeous,” or “i love you,” or “you’ve never been more beautiful than you are today.”
  11. Check out your naked body in the mirror after your shower and focus on a part of your body you love for two minutes.
  12. Make your hallway a catwalk and strut up and down after you get dressed channeling your inner Naomi Campbell (but keep your hands to yourself!).
  13. Pick a morning theme song and sing it.

Do you have morning rituals?

The Other Side of Pain

December 16, 2013 — 3 Comments

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When I was pregnant with Lovebug towards the end of my pregnancy we discovered that it was a high-risk pregnancy. Lovebug had something called IUGR (Intrauterine Growth Restriction) which meant that she essentially stopped growing inutero for a reason that was unknown at the time.

This meant, among other things, that I had to be induced so that my pregnancy did not go full-term.

When I was induced my labor was slow to start. It was unnatural because my body was not ready so my body fought against going into labor because it simply thought it was not time for this baby to be born.

Finally, with the constantly increasing doses of medication my body was forced to get on board with the idea of having a baby before it wanted to. Contracts started and became frequent.

They were painful. (Big shock, right? That labor contractions would be painful?)

It was so painful and I couldn’t move. I also couldn’t really walk to ease the pain because I was attached to a monitor and had to be monitored to make sure Lovebug was okay.

Before the process even started I decided that I didn’t want pain killers unless I absolutely had to have them. It was already traumatic enough that the labor had to be induced and I didn’t want to add anymore drugs to the mix when I was already so worried about Lovebug’s health and didn’t want to risk doing anything that may potentially harm her.

The pain kept going and going and going like the Energizer Bunny but not nearly as funny.

Sometimes it was so intense that I forgot to breathe and other times I managed to ride the pain like a wave. I tried to surf the pain as long as I could but eventually I threw in the towel and begged for drugs. I was only dilated to 4 cm and suspected it would be hours until I reached 10. I knew I could not be in that type of pain for that long.

“I just don’t want it to hurt anymore,” I cried.

So the anesthesiologist came and they gave me an epidural, which basically means they poked a hole in my spine so the pain meds would go straight there.

And then they laid me down.

Instead of feeling relief the pain got worse. At that point, Daddy had left the room for a bit and I laid on the table while the nurse with Australian accent assured me that the pain would be gone soon.

But it didn’t go away. With every breath I took it got worse. The contractions were coming closer and harder and the pain covered my entire body like thick sweat.

I sobbed hysterically, “please make it stop.”

The nurse tried to reassure me that “soon” the pain would stop, but I didn’t see how that could be true. The ceiling looked blurry and all I saw was pain. I could no longer ride the waves and now the ocean of pain was trying to drown me.

And then I felt the urge to push.

“I need to push,” I screamed out to the nurse.

“That can’t be,” she replied. “Do you want me to check you,” she said with an unenthusiastic tone. She was clearly just trying to distract the overly dramatic impatient me.

I nodded yes as best I could. The pain making it hard to move or think.

She snapped a rubber glove on her hand, inserted it into you know where and then looked my weeping face with an expression of surprise.

“Well, if you want the pain to stop you’re going to have to have a baby,” she said rather flippant. “I’m turning off the medication and calling the doctor. You’re at 10,” she continued.

The medication had not had time to work and now I couldn’t have it at all. I was in pain and now a small stage of panic.

The pain consumed me as the urge to push became stronger and stronger. Finally the doctor and Daddy returned to the room and then I pushed.

With every bit of my strength I pushed. I knew that if I just got to the other side (and had the baby) that the pain would stop. I remind myself of that as I panted and cried while the weight of the pain beat on me physically and emotionally.

I started to use the pain as a cue and to work with it. With every painful contraction I bared down and pushed. Pain was transforming from something that was physically uncomfortable into a tool that I could use to making getting past the pain easier. With each painful contraction I pushed and suddenly my tiny angel in my arms looking up at me.

And just like that the pain stopped.

Lovebug, 4 days old

There are a lot of moments in life that will be painful. You will have a huge fight with someone you love. Your heart will be broken. You will do something that goes against who you believe yourself to be. You may loose a job or suffer financial or legal troubles, or maybe you’ll get sick.

There are times when a situation may hurt so much and it seems like it would be easier to ignore the pain. Or to quiet it with food, sex, drugs, shopping, or whatever your personal numbing mediation is.

To do anything, but look pain in the eyes.

Sometimes we feel like if we bury the pain deep inside our hearts it will go away. If it only it were so. Buried pain is just a seed that will eventually blossom into a flower with thick and thorny vines that have the potential to wrap around a heart suffocating it.

Pain deferred is worse than a dream deferred. It doesn’t just sag like a heavy load; it always explodes in one way or another.

(And if you didn’t go to public school and didn’t celebrate Black History month and can’t catch the reference it’s to Langston Hughes’ A Dream Deferred poem.)

And yet only way to truly get past the pain is to go through it. To hold on to it until your knuckles get white and you just want to scream out for your mommy to come and chase it away, like the monster under your bed.

Sometimes you gotta let pain jump you in like you’re taking an ass-whopping trying to be down with the gang of life. Feeling every blow because life isn’t always sweet, and none of us are ever promised a rose garden.

Sometimes we have to feel the pain with every single fiber of our being. We have to breath in its thick scent. We have to hold it on our lap while it threatens to crush our knees, or walk over it like hot burning coals.

We have to clinch our eyes closed as tears well up because, man, sometimes life is so fucking painful.

But as intense as the pain may be in that moment as soon as it’s over it’s over. The faster you move through it, the sooner you make it to the other side.

And often times what we find on the other side is a gift.

In the case of my story with Lovebug, I didn’t just get the gift of a beautiful baby after the pain but I was also left with a new realization about myself: that I was stronger and more powerful than I believed.

I thought I could not have a baby via an induced labor without pain medication. For a split second, I thought the pain could literally kill me. But it didn’t and I survived and when I look back I’m not sure it was even really that bad. Okay, I lie, it was that bad but I survived and once it was over it was just that – over.

This is something that will stay with me and then next time I don’t believe in myself or think something is too hard, I’m reminded of all the things I’ve thought I couldn’t do or wouldn’t survive and did.

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Have you learned a lesson from pain?

No Doubt, It’s My Life

November 30, 2013 — 1 Comment

Music is so powerful. It can totally turn your world upside down. Music can be medicine.

Did you know that?

That music can be medicine?

Well, it can. Music can totally make you feel things. Listening to a sad song when you’re song can make you feel sadder. Listening to a booty shaking song can make you wanna shake your bum-bum. Love songs can make you feel that sappy in love feeling.

Have you noticed that in movies the music always makes you feel the story more? You know when something scary is going to happen because of the music. You can tell when people are falling in love because of the music.

I’ve talked before about how listening and moving to music can help you shake off a funky mood, but there are so many other ways that music can drop kick a bad mood.

Recently I was feeling sorry for myself. Not because I’d had an especially difficult day or anything in particular had gone wrong.

For a little I let myself feel sorry for myself because it’s cool to feel bad. Not like feeling bad is cool but rather it’s natural to feel what you feel. Sometimes we are going to feel shitty and that’s cool as long as we don’t just stay in that negative headspace.

After a bit, I decided I’d had enough of feeling funky. I listened to a meditation and that was okay. I felt less anxiety but I didn’t feel especially joyful. I was neutral and I wanted to feel good.

(I’m a total believer in feeling good as much and as often as possible. We’re only here for a finite period of time so for fucks sake try to feel as good as you can as often as possible!)

So, I put my headphones on and turned on Pandora and WHAM… No Doubt comes streaming into my ears all sultry and hard. It slapped me in the face with it’s heavy bass.

“It’s funny how I find myself in love with you,” Gwen Stefani sang.

And just like that – joy. Easy and sweet as pie.

A Hello Kitty band-aid for an achy heart.

“It’s my life, don’t you forget,” Gwen and I sang together. A huge smile took over my face and, man, the light switched was flipped and happy flooded into the room like light.

Nothing changed. Dinner still needs to be cooked and there is a pile of crushed popcorn under the coffee table, and Lovebug just pulled Macaroni’s hair and they’re both upset. And yet everything changed.

See, the song reminded me that “it’s my life, it never ends.”

Joy is always available to us and sometimes happiness is a conscious choice. It’s not something abstract that only happens when we’re in a great mental place and everything is going right. It’s not something reserved for the rich, or the beautiful or children.

It’s really just a shift in perception.

It’s finding enjoyment in the small things. It’s listening to a song and letting it pick you up and carry you along until the little ache in your mind relaxes and leaves a smile to a backdrop beat.

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There is something magical about falling in love. Isn’t there?

When you’re in love with someone you want to do nice things for them because you love them. You may write little notes, make them a mixed tape, buy them clothes, cook them special meals, wear sexy lingerie just for them.

You do things for them as an expression of your love. You do them because you love that person and not for any other reason.

But when it comes to showing ourselves love, we don’t always put forth the same effort that we would with a romantic partner. In fact, more often that not we put ourselves last. As a mom, wife, working woman or student not taking care of yourself can lead to depression, burnout and stress.

But what if you could feel that magical feeling of love rather than burnout?

You can!

There are some easy ways to fall in love with yourself. Here are some ideas:

Buy Yourself Flowers

I was having a rough time and made a promise to myself to buy myself flowers every week. It’s amazing how this simple act can bring such joy. They don’t have to be expensive but buy yourself flowers, put them in a vase somewhere you can see them and spend a few minutes enjoying them everyday. If flowers aren’t your thing find something that is beautiful to look at and spruce up your space.

Take Yourself Out On A Date

Pick your favorite restaurant and go there. If you usually bring lunch to work, take yourself out for a lunch date at a real restaurant. Order an appetizer and maybe a glass of wine, or a special tea. Eat leisurely and take time to look at the presentation, smell the food, and enjoy the taste. Take time to soak up the total experience.

Dress Up Just Because

Dressing up always makes me feel good even if I may not feel so hot on the inside. Throw on your sexiest lingerie and wear an outfit that makes you feel good. Take a few extra minutes to style your hair, put on make-up or lip-gloss if that’s your thing, and some jewelry. Look at your beautiful self in the mirror and tell yourself how beautiful you look.

Take A Bath With The Works

Baths can be so relaxing. I don’t always feel like I have time to take a bath with a toddler who doesn’t sleep through the night so when I do I like to go all out. You can make a bath extra special by adding candles, rose petals, essential oils in soothing scents and epsom salt. It’s a great time to read a trashy magazine or listen to soft music, or just soak with a face mask on enjoying the warm embrace of the water. When you get out, give yourself a little body massage with oil.

Buy Yourself A Gift

Everyone loves getting and receiving gifts. You are worthy of gifts and one way to show yourself love is through small gifts. I’m not talking about buying the socks you need, but rather something that is not a need but something that you like and would make you smile. It could be a new book, a pair of earrings, a massage, a cute mug or fancy wine glass. Just a little token of your love.

Loving yourself means that you can better love others. When we feel good about ourselves and our lives, it’s easier to give and do more. Even when small things come up, when we’re bursting at the seams with love they’re much easier to handle. Love yourself first and the rest seems to fall into place.

click image for source

[WARNING…. this post includes a video with profanity and content that some may find offensive. Proceed at your own risk. I’ve gone back and forth about whether to publish this post and decided that I would because this is me and sometimes I listen to music that some may find offensive. At one point people found rock-n-roll offensive so you can’t please everyone.]

As I was driving the other day the song “Type of Way” by Rich Homie Quan came on the radio. I had heard this song before because Brother is often singing the lyrics and I’ve heard it coming through the walls of his room, in addition to the occasional spins on the radio.

My ****** been hustlin’ trying to make him something
Ain’t no telling what he’ll do for the paper
Soufflé, I’m straight, I scrape my plate,
Sade, I’m a smooth operator.

(I Drop The Top Of My Whip Baby!)
That car I’m driving make you feel some type of way
That Custom Breitling make you feel some type of way
This ***** I’m with got me feeln’ some type a way
Is it because my homies rich you feel some type of way?
Some type of way, make you feel some type of way

While the lyrics on their face may be simplistic, braggy or even slightly misogynistic they talk about something that most of us will struggle with at some point – feeling “some type of way” because of something someone else does or because of what they have, or appear to have.

I will be the first to say that I have felt “some type of way” because of something someone has or is doing. That’s not to say that I often or even always feel envy but there have been times when I’ve looked at someone else’s life and felt inferior, sad or lacking.

Yes, sometimes I’ve felt a tinge of jealousy.

I’ve also looked at someone else’s life, job or material things and felt inspired, encouraged, reassured, and validated. I have been made to feel like I can do whatever he/she is doing. I have read someone else’s words and they have inspired me to write, to buy a book, or to make a change in my life for the better.

It’s kind of amazing that another person has the power to cause us to feel “some type of way” (as we also do to others without even realizing it). They don’t have this power because they’re some mystical creature or somehow better or different than we are. They have the power to make us feel things because we give it to them.

In some cases, this is a very good thing and sometimes it’s a recipe for disaster.

Feeling “some type of way” because of someone else does not have to be a bad feeling. The way we feel is something that is in our control once we become aware of our thoughts. Not only is it in our control but it can give us clues about how we feel about ourselves and how we can grow and develop as spiritual beings having this human experience.

For example, when I see the mom who is put together everyday dressed from head to toe like a Kardashian with a personal stylist, I can choose to let it make me feel bad. I can choose to compare my ballet flats to her stilettos. I can choose to feel less than because maybe I just threw something on and it doesn’t make me feel like a sexy beast. I can choose to feed into my insecurities that I am somehow not enough.

I can choose to steal my own joy by comparing myself to her.

I can also choose to feel inspired. I can allow myself to be reminded that we both have the same 24 hours a day and if I want to look like a Kardashian everyday I can too; I just have to make the effort to do that like she does.

I can choose to see her as a sister and to admire and compliment her so that the next morning when I’m putting on my outfit for the day I take an extra five minutes to make sure my outfit makes me feel good.

It seems silly in a way but everyone allows themselves to feel a type of way because of other people at times. If no one did there wouldn’t be sayings like “haters gonna hate” or “likers gonna like.”

At the root, the way we feel has nothing to do with what someone has/is doing but is really a reflection of how we feel on the inside. When we’re conscious of this, we can choose to feel good and inspired by others rather than like we’re lacking.

Has someone made you feel “some type of way” recently?