Be Good To Your Self, It’s the Only Self You’ve Got.

As much as I would love to be able to clone myself, and finally have those two extra hands I have needed since my first born was born, I have had to come to grips with the reality we only get one self. Obviously, I KNOW we only get one self, but it is really hitting home with me lately how much I have neglected my one self. I don’t exercise it as often as I should, although I do eat more healthily than I ever have in my life. I stress my one self too much and probably demand a bit much from my only self. I believe many of us parents are guilty of this epidemic. Why do today what you can put off until next never, because the kids require umpteen million things RIGHT NOW, and it’s just easier to take care of meeting everyone else’s needs ahead of our own?!? Can I get an AMEN!!

Law of Attraction

Recently, I started reading Practical Law of Attraction: Align Yourself with The Manifesting Conditions and Successfully Attract Your Desires, by Victoria Gallagher. Don’t roll your eyes, because I know you are rolling them and thinking I am about to unload some hocus pocus bullshit on you, but I am not, PROMISE!! A key concept I am learning from this book is putting my desires into motion by actually focusing on myself. I will never have what I want if I just sit around looking at what I do not have yet, and neither will you. If you want to lose weight, and all you focus on is the fact you need to lose weight, you will be in a constant state of, “I need to lose weight.” You may even find yourself gaining weight….oh the horror, right??

Change Your Mind, Change Your Life

Instead, focus on how you feel when you are the weight you desire to be, and what impact it will have on your health and wellbeing. Act as though you have already lost the weight. Say things to yourself like, “I enjoy being the healthy and active,” instead of, “Oh my gawd, I really want that ice cream but my ass is so fat I can barely fit in my chair.” You can see how one has a far more positive tone than the other. It is important to speak to yourself in a positive, uplifting way. Not necessarily sunshine and rainbows all the time, but kinda close. What your thoughts focus on is what you will manifest into your life. Keep that in mind. What you focus on is what you will receive more of, so be careful how you speak to yourself.

Put YOU First

I have also come to the realization I focus on others as a way to not have to focus on myself. I grew up like this, no blame, just reality. I grew up having to focus on my parents, focus on everyone else, and not really having a focus on me, or being the center of my own life. Thus, I feel most comfortable when I can devote my time and energy to others. Yes, I realize how unhealthy this is, and I am working on rewiring my brain to a healthier, more productive way of being. I know I am not alone. I know many people, mostly parents, who put their kids, their family, their friends and neighbors’ ahead of their own. It is as if we think we have to make ourselves the lowest totem on the pole in order to be a good parent, child, neighbor, friend, etc…

Happy IS as Happy Does

The fact of the matter is, the happier WE are, the better we are for ourselves, our kids, our family, our friends, everybody in our lives. Who couldn’t use a healthy dose of positivity in their life? I highly recommend reading the book and following the steps outlined, which are very well explained. It is time to take the bull by the horns and make our lives match our desires. It is time to put our SELF on our priority list, because it is the ONLY self we get and if we don’t nobody else will! To steal a quote from Dr. Phil, “We teach people how to treat us.” If we treat ourselves like second class citizens who do not deserve to be a priority, guess how we will be treated by others as well?!?

Let’s DO THIS!!!

Are you with me? Are you picking up what I’m putting down? Are you smelling what Coffee Mama is cooking?!?! I hope so! Start paying attention to your SELF! Take care of it as well as you take care of your kids, your spouse, your pets, everyone that you put on that priority list. Watch what you put into your mouth, get active, get happy, get what you desire out of life. It is NOT too late, it is NOT too much work, it is NOT hocus pocus. Start reading the book I mentioned, or any reliable information about the Law of Attraction. Start thinking about the ways in which you keep yourself bound to the ways you wish to change. Look at your contribution to your own SELF, and whether or not it is positive and affirming, or destructive and undermining.

Most importantly, LOVE YOUR SELF….

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Let’s Talk Vegan…It’s Not As Scary as You Think.

Have you been curious about going vegan? You think you’d like to try it, but cheese. Perhaps you’d dip your toe in the water but Easter just passed and what would you do without your chocolate bunny fix? I am here to share a few tips, tricks, and misconceptions about food and going vegan. I am NOT here to shove my lifestyle down your throat and make you feel like a murderer for eating dairy or meat. I would like to focus on the health and wellbeing of our planet and our bodies.

For the Love of Earth

For this article I will stick to the scientific facts of global harm done by farming, and avoid the whole animal cruelty argument….although yes, what is done to animals in the name of feeding humans is cruel. (Just to be official about my stance). Raising animals for human consumption globally requires 26% of the Earth’s surface right now. That number will continue to increase. Over 1/4 of Earth is being used right now to raise animals to eat. Not to mention the amount of methane gas released by these animals which is also harming our environment. These facts alone are reason enough to at least consider veganism, or at the minimum vegetarianism. Some simple research (Google that shit) shows just how detrimental to our planet the meat industry has become, and we only have one Earth…just sayin’.

Impact on the Body

Another reason to opt for the vegan lifestyle is for your own health. Antibiotics are given to farm animals at an alarming rate. The consequence of this to humans comes when the antibiotics are passed on to our systems, causing difficulty fighting off infections. We then end up with superbugs which kill 23,000 people yearly. While you may say, “I don’t purchase meats containing antibiotics, I am very careful at the grocery store.” Think about the times you go out to eat, or eat at a friend’s house, or at work. Daily, there are many opportunities in which you have, or may have, consumed antibiotic tainted meats. Unless you are vegan.

In addition to the antibiotic impact, there are the heart health issues, increased risk of heart disease, heart attack, and blood pressure issues. Animal products clog up our arteries and impact our health in so many negative ways. No amount of, “I need to get my protein from animals,” can make up for that, or lessen the reality of the situation. We can get all the protein, and other nutrients, we need through eating plants. We just have to eat the right amounts of the right plants.

Let’s Do This!

So we’ve established the harmful impact eating meat has on our planet and our bodies. Are you ready to give it a try? I promise you will not be eating like a rabbit, unless you want to. The vegan world has a plethora of great options for meat replacement, recipes, and sites which are geared towards supporting a vegan lifestyle.

Let me warn you, there will be cravings. But just because you are craving one thing does not mean you are deficient in that thing. For instance, a craving for sweets can mean you are dehydrated. Moving to a vegan lifestyle will send your body into a TEMPORARY state of shock. Once you get past the first 3 days, it will start to get easier. You may also opt to wean yourself off meat and dairy, and into veganism. That’s fine too! It’s all about the greater good and the big picture. Anytime we start something new it is important to focus on doing things the most successful way for us personally, and finding support. We all have difficult moments but the greater your support system, the easier it is to maintain the change. The Vegan Society has even created an app to help people make the transition to veganism.

What Do I Eat?

By now you are wondering what the heck you are supposed to eat. I am happy to tell you the answer to that will not fit in this simple blog post. The diverse menu available to vegans is a wonderful thing. Vegan recipes are easy to find and delicious! Open your mind, and your tastebuds to a world it may have been cut off from until now. Explore your local produce department, or better yet, go to a farmer’s market, or local farm. Get the kids involved too, because when they are part of something they are more likely to accept and try something new.

I also recommend following vegan pages on social media. I find great inspiration and support by following other vegans. I get great recipe ideas and find myself continuously inspired by other people’s journeys as well. Share your food porn even if it is a salad you made. You may be surprised at how much attention you get from the vegan community. Vegans are a close-knit group, even if we are strangers. We often find ourselves on the receiving end of society’s criticism and are fodder for endless jokes. We find solace in supporting one another, encouraging and motivating each other toward the common goal of a healthier lifestyle.

Stand Out in The Crowd

Do not be afraid to wear your veganism proudly. Stand tall, keep your chin held high. Do not waver in your resolve! If you falter, know it is okay, just pick yourself up and keep going. Seek support when you need it, and offer support when you are able. Share everything, your recipes, your successes, your health changes, your weight loss. SHARE EVERYTHING! The more you show the world how positively this lifestyle impacts you, the greater an impact we can all make. When people begin to see how fantastic we all feel and look, the less they can disregard and ignore the positive outcome to a vegan life. Be vegan, and be proud to be vegan!

Coffee Love….

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With a name like Coffee Mama, it is no surprise that I love my caffeinated deliciousness in a mug. I like to vary my coffee choices often, but I always go for the bold. I run on high octane and will share my favorites with you. I will also share all things coffee here. You’d be surprised how much goes into making a great coffee.

Coffee Talks…And Talks…And Talks..

Coffee mug mockupEvery day this week I have cried. I have lost a good number of my VA clients due to them leaving the main company I contract for, my oldest child likely has Lupus, and now my mother is not speaking to me. Just a few items on the laundry list of reason why I have shed umpteen million tears this week. What are the sayings,

“God never gives you more than you can handle.”

And the ever popular…

“That which doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.”

Let me just say this, I will be bench pressing a couple Buicks later, and I WILL be charging to watch. Hey! I must earn that lost income back, somehow right? During therapy today, I dumped all this crap in my therapist’s lap, and then sat back waiting for the pearls of wisdom to ooze from his well-trained psyche. He yawned. No, I am not kidding…he yawned. Apparently, I was boring him to sleep. After he recovered from his near-nap tiredness he gave me some half-assed recommendations for increasing my work, but nothing overly tangible or actionable. More like, hey, you might be able to increase your business by more self-promotion.

I left feeling both better and worse. I felt better because I had a huge brain dump and getting all that out just felt better. I felt worse because I have no solutions for anything. Don’t get me wrong, I never expect him to solve my problems, but he is usually efficient at helping me help myself. I feel like I was left blowing in the wind out here. I told him the problem with my self-promotion is that my self-loathing always gets in the way…. he laughed. He thought I was joking, but I was not. Ultimately, he said he could help me with that, but again, no actionable items were offered. I know you are probably thinking at this point I need a new therapist…hmm. I do need to work on self-promotion, and possibly through doing so, I will stop a bit of the self-loathing thoughts that spin on the hamster wheel inside my brain.

As far as my kid’s health, really, only time, and more doctor’s appointments will tell. It is VERY likely that she has Lupus. I should probably treat her as though she does, do the diet changes, and whatnot. Hopefully in a month when we go to the rheumatologist they miraculously tell us she does not! At least this way if she they confirm she has it, we will already be adjusted to the dietary changes necessary and be working towards controlling flare-ups. I am still trying to wrap my mind around the idea that she has it. I just need to come to grips and keep it moving.

My mother has not spoken to me since Friday, and I have no idea why. She was very aloof when I texted her on Mother’s Day and did not answer when I called her. I told my therapist I have too many issues going on right now to deal with this passive aggressive bullshit. I am taking a mental vacation from her, until she gets over whatever it is she is upset about or decides to call and just talk about it. She knows everything I have going on now, and if the silent treatment is what she feels is appropriate, then silence she will get in return. I have no patience or time for cutting off communication. I tell my kids, my friends, family, significant other, I NEED words.

Wednesday afternoon, and I have two more days just to this work week alone. I am exhausted, mentally and physically. I need a drink…. of coffee. Do people without PTSD suffer from the amount of mental discord I do? I often wonder this. If I did not have PTSD, would I react the same way? Could I have been one of those people who is happy-go-lucky and just lets things roll off their back like water off a duck? I cannot even fathom what that would be like in my life. I have trauma after trauma, and I cannot even fathom just letting it go. I would love to, don’t get me wrong, but this is my norm.

Did I mention my 6-year-old brought home a picture that has me worried about her mental stability? Yeah, well, she did. She is scheduled to see her therapist tomorrow. Her teacher gave the students a page that said,

“What CREEPS me out is…”

The sheet had a place for them to write sentences and a place for them to draw a picture of whatever creeps them out. Now, at 6 I would think about things like spiders, snakes, clowns, Barney the dinosaur. My child, she said death. Yes, DEATH! My brain took a while to digest this, as I swing between a few emotions. On the one hand, I was thinking how mature she is, because that would be an adult answer. But then, I kept wondering how much fear she has inside that she even THINKS about death, like AT ALL. I decided to ask her about the picture. Boy was THAT a mistake. She became very upset and tried to throw the picture in the trash. It was as if she thought this would make it go away and I would totally forget about it.

I think if we had not endured the verbal, emotional, and mental abuse we had during the first 6 years of her life, I would be more surprised at this paper. But, because I know what she has been through, because most of it was aimed at me by her father, I honestly think this is somewhat “normal.” You know, a normal reaction to a totally fucked up situation. I will find out tomorrow because I am bringing that thing to her therapy session.

Up to Thursday now, and after dropping off my middle, and sending my oldest to school to at least complete her AP test, I start getting ready to take the youngest to her therapy appointment….but wait! A call from the high school, oh fanfuckingtastic. My oldest has passed out right before the test and I will need to come pick her up. Sigh….I was in the shower, literally, one leg in, one leg out, and now…my whole plan has been shot to hell. I hurry up and finish, getting myself and the youngest ready much faster than I had anticipated. I scoot over to the high school, pick her up, and head out to the counseling appointment for the youngest…which is 45 minutes away. On the way I call and make an appointment with our family doctor for the oldest, who has now passed out 4 times in 6 months. Thankfully, during the appointment we learn the reason for Death….apparently she has been watching too much Life….the show on Netflix all about nature and the cycle of life. Thank goodness, it is just a normal reaction to something. Oh yeah, and her therapist actually suggested I get her IQ measured, because she feels she is really advanced intellectually. Finally, something I actually enjoy hearing!

Appointment over, grab dog food on the way back home because I actually remembered we were out, and we get home just in time for our family doctor to call me and tell me to take the oldest to the emergency room for an evaluation. Ummm…excuse me?? I now grab the middle kid from school, run home to leave middle and youngest home while I take oldest to the ER…this was so NOT in my plan. Three hours later, we are discharged with instructions to follow-up with our family doctor…say what? UGH! So first thing tomorrow I get to call and make an appointment with our family doctor, again.

We are relaxing, FINALLY, and unwinding from our hectic, crazy day. My oldest leashes up her massive pup, and goes to take him outside. The moment she opens the door, insanity ensues. The shepherd from upstairs was coming down, and going past our door the very second my kid opened it to go out. The dog lunged at our dog, with my kid right there in the middle. She did the very best thing she could, she slammed the door shut, our dog inside, psycho dog outside. I jumped up and she was already crying and upset from what just happened. I went outside to see the dog and owner still walking away. I waited…stewing. When she returned we had a chat about what happened. She apologized and took ownership of her dog’s behavior, THANK GAWD. She said since she was pregnant about a year ago the dog has been protective, but only when on leash, and only against other dogs. We agreed to be mindful of when we each walk our dogs, and she apologized again. I wasn’t thrilled, but I don’t want to go to jail, so I’m certainly not gonna push the issue….

Every day things like this happen in my life, and I cannot determine if I am special, or if this is just life. It is all I know, but I feel like those around me, for the most part, do not have the amount of drama and trauma in their lives that I do. I feel like I know people that lead happy, peaceful lives in their middle-class suburbia, and not just on Facebook, but actually lead them in real life. I don’t know, my life need a filter… or ten. Can’t wait for next week….not.

What Nobody Tells You, But You Really Need To Know…

 

A newborn baby

Ever notice how becoming a parent not only opens you up to an entirely new universe, but also shows you how full of crap people are as well? Yeah, I know you know. When I was pregnant with my first child, all the moms I knew that breastfed made it sound like breastfeeding was such a natural, easy thing that just happens. Once I had my daughter, I quickly came to realize either I was already a horrible mom, or these women had mislead me to a degree. After 100 different positions, nipple shields, and cabbage in my bra, she and I got the hang of it. It was the beautiful experience they all said it would be, but it was a bitch getting there.

People also go on and on about the terrible two’s…but no one tells you to watch out for three-nagers. My girls were angels at 2 years old. I thought I had made it home free, until 3 came along. All this talk of, “no,” and my personal favorite, “why?” Everything was WHY WHY WHY. Because I said so, that’s why! OMG, I sounded like my parents, and then it all made sense. I spent a year, three times over, explaining with age appropriateness why we did everything we did, from pooping in the toilet to breathing air. WHY WHY WHY me?!?! Because I am a parent, that’s why. Nobody warned me about three….and I do wanna know why.

Things were smooth sailing for a while there, and I got cocky. I thought I had this parenting schtick down pat. It was then that it happened. It happened all oops upside my head too, my oldest became, a teenager. I am not sure when exactly it happened because she was 7, I blinked, and then she was a teenager. Makeup, boys, sports, and now…driving. Someone get me off this crazy ride. My oldest two are now BOTH teenagers, both girls. Yes, I have all girls, and yes, we are cyclically aligned with the moon and the stars. It is a wonder we each survive month to month. I must be doing something right.

Nobody warned me the issues that teens face these days. I mean, you see it out there online, but often it seems unrealistic and fake newsy. But I am here to tell you, online bullying, predators, and the whole kit and kaboodle are real, very real. We have to walk this tightrope of allowing independence and hovering with protective might. I swing back and forth between wanting to lock my teenage daughters in a closet, and wanting to send them to live with the traveling circus. My kids rarely get into trouble and for the most part, are fine, upstanding members of society. I just want to protect them from those who are not.

When I was pregnant with my oldest, I read all the books, made note of all the advice, and listened to everything my mother guilt tripped me about. I thought I was prepared. But just like war, nothing quite prepares you for parenthood. Although, I do think some more realistic examples could be provided. I see some of my friends and family on social media, and I think, “wait, Joan’s life is a hot mess, how does she look so together on Facebook?” Or I see an adorable picture of my friend’s kids, and I ask her how she got them to sit so nicely, only to find out that was 3 hours and 55 threats into the photoshoot, and she had just threatened them with losing all their electronics. Only to get a split second where the photographer was able to snap one single photo in which they did not look completely possessed.

I wish parents would share more of the true stories. I think we could all commiserate and sing Kumbaya together. It isn’t about failing, it’s about persisting. I was proud of my friend for hanging in there, and claiming her one picture worth of glory. But share the war story, so we can all know it is not JUST US, and we do not sit around questioning….WHY??

Who’s That Girl??

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“Be the woman you needed as a girl.” So many thoughts spring to mind when I read that. I feel sorrow because I never had the woman I needed as a girl, and I feel happiness because I feel I am the woman my girls need as girls. I feel confusion because I don’t really know HOW to be the woman I needed as a girl to myself. I know, silly right, just be the same person I am for my girls, for myself, duh. Easier said than done for some reason…well, not some reason, trauma reason. Now I feel angry because I hate that I use the word trauma so often in my life. I hate that I experienced so much trauma in my life. I hate that trauma feels more comfortable, more normal, than peace and tranquility. I hate that part the most. I hate that trauma has caused me to push away people who are healthy for me, while allowing toxic people to reign supreme in my life.

In order to be the woman, I needed as a girl, I need to look at the girl as I do my girls, not as I look at myself. If I stop and think of my daughters when I utter that statement, and not myself, my perspective softens. I have a great deal of anger towards myself, obviously. But over what? Logically, I know the things that happened to me were not my fault, not my doing. But since when does logic rule over emotion when dealing with traumatic disorders?!?! Yeah, never. Perhaps I don’t need to think of myself when I picture that girls. What happens if I picture my own girls, or some stranger. A child is a child, every single one precious, innocent, and fragile. I know, I know….what makes me different?!?! It almost sounds narcissistic, or at a minimum martyr-ish. Every child is innocent, precious, and fragile, except me, I was worthless, unlovable, and easily abandoned. Seems rather silly; actually, it seems cruel.

So what the hell, why do I keep punishing myself for something that I KNOW was not my fault?!?! Why do I keep up this self-loathing, self-hatred, everyone is better than me, and everyone deserves happiness but me….blah blah blah. I sound like a frigging broken record at best. Whining about why God gave me this life, why me? What the fawk did I do to piss him off to the point of dealing with trauma since birth?!?! Some people say, “He knew you would be strong enough to handle it.” *Insert blank stare* I really have no rebuttal for this one, other than, “Gee, thanks?” I mean I can think of a multitude of ways in which I could handle a great deal and not have to bring trauma after trauma into my life. Are you as sick of that word as I am by now?? TRAAAUUMMMAAA….I am almost to the point where it makes my skin crawl to say it or hear it.

How do I let go of this toxic bullshit way of thinking, and embrace the fact that I KNOW I am worthy, I know I AM lovable, and I know I AM amazing? Do not pull a Nike on me and say, “Just Do It,” because let me tell you, my friend, that does not work. I often feel like I need to take myself hostage, and instead of torturing myself with negative things, I have to force myself to do only positive, self-growth, empowering things. Things that I consider spoiling myself, and would never normally do, because…ya know, self-loathing. I feel like the only cure is to kidnap myself, proverbially speaking, and torture my negative-thinking brain with positive, affirming actions. Just bathe in it until I damn near drown in self-love. Only stopping when I reach such a kumbaya-like state with my self that I am borderline obnoxious.

The only thing standing in my way, me. I don’t know that I could actually force myself to do that for a day, let alone a week, or more. I would feel guilt over being selfish, and I would feel so far out of my comfort zone. Yes, I know, that is the point. Maybe I should….just give it a try. Make a list of things I would NEVER normally do for myself, and force myself to do all of them, and even more so, make sure I actually enjoy them. Maybe then I could be the woman I needed as a girl.

 

Some Random Thoughts…

As an over-caffeinated, work from home, mom of three, going through the separation/divorce from a narcissist, and dealing with CPTSD, I have many random thoughts. So I thought I would share the randomness of my mind for those of you brave enough to endure the journey….

All morning I have been sitting here crying off and on about faith. How do I maintain or have faith ever in a celestial being who has allowed so much damage, disease, torture, and just evil in the world?!? I mean, who has faith in a world so fucked up, anyway…but then a friend said, “do not forget, there is free will, and with it comes a multitude of problems. It breaks God’s heart to see people mistreating others and seeing people suffer.” I sat there crying some more thinking I had been so awful to be judgemental, and God is sitting there crying with me. But then I thought, dude, you have all the power to make it stop, so stop the crying and do something, dammit. Some locusts, a well-placed plague, something!

Of course, if I expect God to do something about the worldly injustice, I should be doing something about my own personal injustices…right?!?! Well, I am so back off okay. I am in therapy, and yeah…right now that is about as much as I can handle, and even that feels overwhelming at times. Some days I cannot even manage to focus on anything, at all. Other days I just kill it! Of course, the do nothing days far outweigh the kill it days.

So I still don’t know if there is a God, or not, or some other universal energy being, or not. I still do not feel compelled to have faith in anything or anyone, even myself. I feel tired, worn down, and too tired to give a crap. On the other hand, my brain really wants to have something fulfilling to do all day while my kids are in school. Work is no longer challenging me, or even sustaining me. I am feeling bored, uninspired, and totally out of shape.

Yoga, I need to get back to yoga…or running. Or both. Of course in order to do either I would have to have the energy to do anything besides cry and look for jobs online, most of which I am not qualified to do. I think about grabbing my camera and going for a walk, maybe start a project in which I write about a picture I take, something new every day. Nah, I am way too exhausted for that. I really should do something about my fatigue….oh wait, therapy.

Speaking of therapy, my youngest has her therapeutic visitation with her father tomorrow afternoon….ugh. This is a huge source of anxiety for her, and thus, for me. I hate making her do something she does not want to, and long for the day the court says ok, we tried, but she is not doing well with this, and she needs a break to completely heal. I would pray for that day, but to whom am I praying?!?!

Oh crap, now it’s 2:15pm, I have to pick up the little one in an hour, and I don’t know what we’re doing for dinner. And my oldest has a game tonight….ughhh….I would pray for a rain out, but ummm, yeah.

The better part of my afternoon was this random trail of thoughts bumping around in my head, over and over on a loop. I know a great deal of my issue is my CPTSD, but I really want to get to a point where I feel well enough. I know I will never be “normal,” since CPTSD impacts brain volume, function. But I want to be okay. I want to be able to figure out what I want to do and do it. I want to find passion again in my life. I want to do things I love, and feel good. I want to be fearless in my pursuit of what sets my soul on fire. I want to know what sets my soul on fire. I want to have energy, faith, happiness.

If you have made it this far, omg, you really are bored….lol. No really, thank you.