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Posts tagged ‘relationships’

A Letter to My Daughter

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Dear Clara,

You’re still so young, but there’s some things I think you should know. I write this letter with the hopes that when you read it, you’ll know how much I love you.

You are beautiful.

Can’t is only a limitation you set for yourself.

If you want it, claim it.

Treat others with respect.

Give, give freely, but don’t be a doormat.

Don’t abuse any power or influence you get.

Laugh, laugh a lot.

Dream.

Chase your dreams.

You most likely won’t need things like Algebra post high school, but I expect you to do your best in ALL of your classes.

You don’t NEED to be in a relationship to have a happy life, to feel complete.

However, there’s nothing wrong with being in a committed relationship, not if it brings you joy and it’s someone you love that loves you.

If you need to cry, do it. Trying to look strong when you’re hurting isn’t necessary. Crying helps.

Girls don’t have to like pink and frills. Guys can, without being gay and whether they are or not, I go back to the respect thing.

It doesn’t matter if someone is different than you. Their skin color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, political views, etc may not match yours and that’s okay. People can be different and still get along.

I love you. I will always love you. I will be your biggest cheerleader.

Being your biggest cheerleader will not cause me to sugarcoat things when you need to know the truth or cover your butt when you’re in the wrong.

I cry, a lot. Not all of my tears are sad ones. When I’m proud of you, I’ll cry. When I’m scared, I’ll cry. When I’m really angry, I’ll cry. When I’m over the moon happy, I’ll cry. I’m not weak. Like I said above, if you need to cry, do it. Crying or showing emotions doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human.

Did I say you’re beautiful? I did? Well, you are.

If you’re wrong, admit it.

If you need to apologize, do it, but only if you mean it.

Don’t let pride ruin relationships with those you love. It’s okay to apologize first, even if you don’t feel you were wrong or more in the wrong.

Like stated above, if you love someone, it’s okay to say it, but only say it if you mean it.

Words can heal or hurt, use them wisely.

Believe in yourself. No matter how much we may believe in you, it won’t hold nearly enough weight unless you believe it too.

Some people really suck. Some people are mean, beyond cruel. With that said, know that some people are really wonderful. Some people are loving and kind. Don’t give up on humanity, no matter how bad things get.

The world is huge, don’t let yourself get lost in it. Remember too that, one voice and one person can make a huge difference. So stand up for what you believe in.

And before I end this letter, once more, I loved you from the moment I knew I was pregnant. I loved you as you grew within me. I loved you the first time I held you. I loved you every time you threw up on me. I loved you every time you threw a tantrum. I loved you every time you curled up in my arms. I loved you every time you smiled at me. I loved you yesterday. I love you today. I will love you tomorrow. I will always love you.

No matter what life throws at you, me, your daddy, your brother, or any of us, you are my daughter. I love you. As big as the sky, for as long as the stars shine, I love you. You and Zach are my life.

Love,
Your mom

 

**picture I took at my son’s birthday party**

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Bi-Polar Unmasked

 

Many don’t know or understand what living with a mental health illness or living with someone who has one is like. It’s definitely more recognized now than in years past and I’m thankful that more are taking this seriously. Mental health illnesses deserve acknowledging, being researched, funding for help, etc. From bi-polar to schizophrenia, doctors, scientists, and more are taking notice and working hard to help those of us that struggle with these seemingly invisible illnesses. Still, there are many out there who treat mental health illnesses as though they’re unimportant, made up, or those who have one are some sort of freak show. Being treated like what we live with isn’t a big deal or like we’re damaged goods gets old. It can be hurtful to be treated like what we live with is just something we can just snap out of at anytime.

Maybe if you eat better, surely it’s just a matter of diet. Maybe if you just willed yourself to overcome it. Maybe if you just get over yourself. Maybe you should just stop being so dramatic. Maybe if you prayed harder. Maybe if you did this or maybe if you did that. Gah!!!!!!

OR…..

You’re a total freak show. I can’t associate myself with someone so messed up. Your moods are just too all over the place. Your depression brings me down. Why are you so anxious all the time? Does it really matter if things are out of place? Why are you freaking out? Is there a reason you’re crying, again? How long has it been since you brushed your hair? I can’t be your friend, you’re just too high maintenance.

Unless you live with a mental health illness, you can’t truly understand how crippling it can be. How long has it been since I brushed my hair or showered? You know, I’m not sure. Why did I just spend money on things I don’t need? I felt a compulsion and couldn’t stop. Does it really matter if things are out of place? Yes. YES! If things are out of place, I feel an agitation I can’t put in check. I MUST have order. I MUST have things a certain way. I won’t rest until I do. Rest? I feel like staying in bed all day. I’m just exhausted. I feel so depressed. The tears won’t stop. I’m a failure and a freak. Why would anyone love me? I’ll just call in today, again. Mania sets in and now I’m crazy cleaning, extra irritable, and ultra hyper. I have such energy. What’s wrong with you? I don’t know. Why are you so touchy? I don’t know. Why are you snapping for no reason? I don’t know. Why are you crying, again? I don’t know. Why can’t you just snap out of it? I DON’T KNOW!!!!

Therapists, pyschologists, psychiatrists, and medications, oh my!!! Say that five times fast! Insults are hurled if we utilize these to get help. Can’t you deal with things without meds? Why do you need some shrink? You’re just weak. You’re just having a few bad days here and there, just suck it up. But then again, if we refuse to get that help, then we are wrong too. Clearly you need help, so why not get on medication to control your mood swings and stabilize yourself? You know, it’s not just about you, right? See a therapist, you need help. No matter what we do or don’t do, we’re failing in someone’s eyes.

It’s a daily struggle, on or off meds. Whether we see a mental health specialist or not, things are still hard sometimes. Fighting your mind isn’t an easy feat. You’re constantly torn. You try so hard to be “normal”. Why can’t I just be mentally stable? Why am I like this? Why?! Why is it so hard to maintain friendships? Why do people turn their backs on me? I know why. I wouldn’t want to deal with me either. I want to hold a regular job. I want to succeed. Eh. This job just wasn’t right for me. Maybe the next one? I want to be loved. I don’t deserve love. I can overcome anything. I am strong. I can beat this. I can’t do anything right. I’ll never amount to anything. I can’t beat this. My past stirs up awful memories. The nightmares leave me barely able to function. The past won’t beat me. I survived. I can survive anything. I am lonely, but I don’t want to leave the house. I want to make my dreams come true. I’ll fight to do just that. Well, maybe tomorrow. Up, up, up, and then crashing down, HARD.

I have bi-polar, anxiety, PTSD, and OCD. I’ve been ridiculed, laughed at, treated like a freak, and pushed away, by many, including myself. Many can’t make sense of what goes on inside my head, least of all me. Growing up, I didn’t know what to make of what was going on inside my head. I just thought I was broken. As an adult, I got diagnosed with bi-polar first. The others followed behind that. I have been on many medications and seen many doctors. It’s been a fight the whole way, with or without that specialized help. One thing I’ve found that’s helped the most is a personal support system. They have made and continue to make a huge difference in getting through the really hard days. They deserve so much credit.

Those who live with people that have mental health illnesses should never be overlooked. They deal with our mood swings, meltdowns, odd behaviors, and more. They help us through. When we’re beyond reason, they just wait it out and deal with whatever we throw their way. If they themselves deal with mental health illnesses, that makes things even tougher. When you have more than one under one roof, it can be a challenge. My son and I both deal with them. Our relationship sure has been tested. Then there’s my husband, the stable one, trying to deal with us both. It’s not been easy for anyone. Somehow, he manages. Accepting us both hasn’t been easy, but I’m thankful he has. Since he’s entered our lives, there’s some semblance of stability. He deserves a thousand shout outs. As hard as it is to live with the actual illnesses, it’s plenty difficult living with those that do. So, thank you.

Things like cancer, MS, Cystic Fibrosis, and heart disease are major concerns and definitely deserve to be recognized, researched, have people fighting for cures, and to have people across the globe raising awareness for them. I find no issue with any of that, at all. I have had family members and friends face cancer, Type One Diabetes, heart disease, CF, Dementia and Alzheimer’s, and more. Some I love have even lost their lives to these. It’s not been easy watching people I love suffer. So I support causes that try to help them and others that live with or have lost their lives to such illnesses and diseases.

I just want to also raise awareness for people who live with mental health illnesses. What we go through is serious and deserves recognition too. So, here is bi-polar and such unmasked. Yes, the illnesses are in our minds, but only in the sense that’s what they effect. They stem from imbalances in our brains. They’re very real. If you know someone that lives with one, try showing compassion, patience, and love. I know we’re not easy to deal with, but we’re far more than the illnesses we live with.

I am not bi-polar. I’m not my illness. I have bi-polar. There’s a difference between being and having something. I refuse to let it define me. The mask is off. Here I stand, telling you about a part of myself. I hope you’ll learn something. Maybe it’ll help you with someone you know or maybe you are dealing with this yourself.  Either way, I hope this opens eyes and minds. Mental health is important. It starts with the mind, but it also effects physical health as well. A healthy mind and body go hand in hand. Having support instead of insults and ignorance is the first step to helping. Let’s all take one step forward today….

Break the Cycle

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I’ve been working really hard to be that person. It’s not an easy feat, at all, but when I look at the world today and see so much hatred, ignorance, cruelty, and bitterness, how can I just be a part of that? Sometimes I look at how people treat others and wonder how they came to act that way. I wonder if they were hurt somehow and ask myself what if they’d been shown some compassion, love, forgiveness, or acceptance? What if they had been taught to do the same by someone? Maybe they’d been hurt really badly, but what if just one person had shown them there was a different way to handle things?

We are NOT what happened to us. We are NOT our pasts. We are NOT our mistakes. We are NOT our illnesses. We are NOT defined by the color of our skin, what neighborhood we come from, who are parents are, how much money we have or don’t have for that matter, our political views, our sexual orientation, or any of that which many decide should label us.

We CAN be whatever we choose, no matter what others say we should be. We CAN be greater than the choices we’ve made thus far. We CAN be better than we have been. We CAN make a difference. One person CAN change things for those around them. We don’t have to let the cycle continue. Don’t let the cycle define or confine you. Let the anger, resentment, bitterness, vengeful actions, and state of constant sadness stop here. The choice is yours.

When the Past Hurts Say Hello…

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Sometimes the past stays away for a long time and then unexpectedly knocks on the door, says hello, brings in their baggage, and wants to stay.

You hear a song, see something on TV, look at old pictures, find old things, have a conversation, read something, or have a dream that brings the memories of old to the surface. Though you’re living in the now, the past sometimes tugs at your sleeve, begging for your attention. Psst, don’t forget about me….

Sometimes our memories are pleasant, making us smile and laugh. Inside jokes, family gatherings, vacations, fun times with friends, your kid’s art projects and memorabilia collected throughout the years, something or someone that helped you grow and change for the better, firsts, buying your home, anniversaries of jobs, marriages, friendships, and so much more. While we should live for today, it’s okay to remember yesterday. It helped us become who we are today.

But sometimes, the memories and feelings they stir up are anything but pleasant. I had a moment like that this morning. Someone is celebrating their birthday tomorrow and dreads it each year, because they keep hoping their dad will acknowledge them and then is disappointed every time. I know this feeling. I share a birthday with my dad and he’s not once called, sent a letter, come to visit, asked me to visit, or done anything to wish me happy birthday. I’ve done so for him and every effort is ignored.

It’s hard to ignore the past when it’s part of your present. There’s still a part of me that longs for my dad’s love, effort to have a real relationship, and healing for all the pain over the years. Despite all he’s done, he’s my dad and I do love him. I think a part of him loves me, but sometimes I’m not really so sure.

I needed to lift myself out of the depression I felt trying to swallow me whole, but wasn’t sure how. I felt the tears coming and kept trying to stop them. I turn 40 this year and I still feel like a little girl begging my daddy to love me. How do I not dwell on this???

Some advice I gave this young person was though it’s easier said than done is to try to focus more on those who are there for them and less on those that aren’t. Advice can and is usually easier to give than take, but I knew I needed to try. I had just posted recently about moving forward, not staying in the past. I knew I owed it to myself and anyone I’ve given this advice to, to take it to heart myself.

A part of me does long for my dad’s love and attention, but if I dwell on that or anything else that I can’t control, I’ll be an emotional mess every day. I can’t control others or many situations, only myself and how I react to what happens. I may not have the affection I seek from him or many others, but I do get it from so many more. They show me love and it’s that love I should focus on, treasure, and give to them in return.

So, past and even present pain, I say this to you, you’re not welcome today. I will take your baggage for you, place it and you in an Uber, and send you on your way. You will not destroy me with your negativity, not today, no not today. I hope this helps even one of you who may be struggling this way yourself. May you know you are loved and use that as a light to get through to a good place. When the past hurts say hello, let us tell them goodbye.

The right path isn’t always paved with gold….

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Sometimes the path most worn, most traveled looks like the safest and best one to follow. I mean, if many take this path, it can’t be bad, right? It looks easy and safe, so why not? I don’t have time for bumps, puddles, or any obstacles really, so I’ll just play it safe.

I have felt these things myself plenty over the years, but something I’ve often found is that taking the way most traveled or the seemingly easier path just led to more problems than I had before. Sometimes what we want most is not just so easy to get, but we can be an impatient sort, can’t we? 😉

I’ve heard people say that if it’s worth it, it’s going to take patience and hard work. Now and then, we do happen upon good things, but often, we do need to work for it and we have to be willing to wait. Sometimes, we’ll stumble, fall, and end up looking and feeling pretty worn out and sometimes we’ll even end up not getting what we want. But when failure, rejection, or disappointment leaves us feeling defeated, we shouldn’t give up. No one gets everthing right the first time or even the 50th and really, no one gets everything they want period.

We all face hearing no, not getting our way, not getting something right, failure, and disappointment. The most successful aren’t those that seemingly get things right every single time or who have it all. They’re those that have felt defeated and let down, but kept on going. They are the ones who don’t quit and the ones who know that it’ll be worth it in the end to travel that bumpy road.

I sometimes want to make a break for the smooth path for a bit, to catch my breath, but I just end up swimming through raging currents in the end. With each wrong step, I try to see them as lessons now. And now, instead of feeling ashamed, I use them as tools to inspire others. We all fall, knowing that can be uplifting, when we see how they made it through. I know that’s been the case for me, so I want to do the same for you.

Whether you’re on high ground, feeling pretty good or stuck in a ditch, feeling hopeless, never forget, neither one lasts. We can all help one another too, remember that as well. We can use our journey, the good parts and the bad ones, to inspire others. You use your success or your failures to help someone. The one who is hurting can see that you’ve struggled and that you have found your way out and the one who is doing well can use that as well, to fuel their journey onward and upward.

What we want may not cone easily or at all, but we ought to keep trying and throughout, let our stories help one another. May we give hope, courage, compassion, and love to those around us and may we be willing to accept it when given in return. It certainly makes things a lot better, to have others to share your journey with.

Another year gone, another just beginning…

2017 is over, wow. I remember the 1980’s, how is it 2018 now? *shakes head* Last year was a roller coaster of highs and lows, as I suppose is true of every year.

My son has been struggling. He’s been getting into trouble, so much acting out and defiance. He’s unhappy at his dad’s, which I know is part of the reason he’s been in trouble. I think he’s got mental health issues, which his dad isn’t dealing with. Part of it too is he’s just not making good choices. We have court soon to try to switch primary placement back to me. I’m hoping the judge sees that a change is needed, that him coming home is what’s best for him. In the end, I think it’ll be what’s best for everyone. I’m tired of watching my son suffer and I’m tired of watching him throw his future away. I hope 2018 brings change for the better for him. He’s a bright young man that can have a wonderful future, but things need to get turned around somehow.

My daughter turned one last year and now she’s nearly two. She’s grown, learned, and changed so much. She’s so inquisitive and I love watching her figure things out. She’s gotten sassier, those terrible two days have come. But even with the challenges, it’s been a great year with her. I love spending my days with her. Her laugh is contagious! When she smiles at me, wants to cuddle, plays with me, shows me she’s understanding what I’m saying, or does something new, it makes my day better. I can hardly wait to see how she grows and learns this year.

My marriage hit a couple of bumps, as have our finances, but we’ve tackled everything head on, together. We’ve faced loss, the death of his grandma hit his family, the death of my aunt hit mine and I’ve lost friends. It’s been hard, but we’ve helped one another get through each day. Marriage, parenthood, and all relationships are maintained one moment, one day at a time. I think 2018 will be better, because we work to make it so.

My first year in business went far beyond my expectations. I met so many wonderful people, some of whom became friends. I’ve learned a lot and aim to continue learning. I expanded my studio, so I can accommodate bigger families. I started doing weddings, newborn sessions, cake smash sessions, adult milestone sessions, etc. I hope to add more styles/types of sessions to my repertoire. I’m excited to see where 2018 takes me and my business.

Here’s to an incredible year we’ve left, may the lessons we’ve learned and great memories we’ve made stay with us. Here’s to a great year ahead, may we continue to learn, grow, and enjoy life while we can.

The Truth About Partnership

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I think most of us have heard the saying, a partnership is 50/50. The truth of it is, many days it is not 50/50. There are times when either our partner, better half, significant other, spouse, best friend, etc or ourselves are not able to pull our weight in the relationship. There are times when it is more like 70/30 or maybe even 90/10. There are times when the other will carry the bulk of the relationship on their shoulders and will likely feel stressed by it, but should remember that sometimes it’s the other way around.

A true partnership has many ups and downs. No relationship is perfect, no matter how wonderful some make theirs look to their loved ones, every relationship has its issues. All of the posts about flowers they got from their boyfriends or husbands, the amazing meals and gestures their wives or girlfriends made them, the romantic nights, the terrific family vacations, or how perfectly happy they appear in pictures, there is always more to the story then the rest of us see or yes, more than we ourselves share when we’re the ones gushing about our amazing partners and “perfect” relationships.

Growing up, many of us have fairy-tale relationship expectations. We think we will find our prince or princess and ride off into the sunset together, living happily ever after. Happily ever after does exist, but not in the perfect state of bliss we imagine it to be. There are sleepless nights, arguments over petty stuff, short tempers, illnesses, financial struggles, death of loved ones, loss of a job, differences that are hard to overcome, lies, grudges, rough days that lead to one or both taking it out on their partner, issues with the kids, and so much more that get in the way of perfection. They say, “don’t go to bed angry.”, but the truth is, sometimes it happens. Sometimes we are too hurt or angry in the moment to talk calmly, sometimes we need moments to ourselves to calm down, sort things out. None of that means that a couple is unhappy or that their relationship is failing. Every relationship struggles from time to time.

Does the good outweigh the bad? Do you trust your partner, do they trust you? Do you respect one another? Do you make one another laugh, smile, and enjoy life? Do you love one another? If so, then you know that the bad will come, but it will pass and until it does, you work together to get through it. It won’t always be 50/50 through those tough times, but that’s okay. Expecting 50/50 all the time is unrealistic and unfair. What should be expected is that you give your best, whether it happens to be 10% or 90% at any given time will vary, but always give the best you can. When you’re the one pulling a lot of the weight, try to remember the shoe will be on the other foot and when your partner is the one lifting you up, be thankful for that and do the same when they need you to do the same for them.

A true partnership works together daily, giving the best of themselves each day to make it work. Whether you’ve been together one week, a year, or 50 years, nothing changes that it is a daily effort to make your relationship last. If it is worth it to both people, then both must give of themselves. It won’t survive on the efforts of just one. We may not be able to give 100% of ourselves each day, but we can give the best we have each day. I urge you to look at your partner in a new way today, to see them the way you did in the very beginning. Think about how they have changed over time and about how you have changed, the good and the bad. How have you inspired one another while together? Let’s face it, partners habits, ways of thinking or doing things, and so on rub off on one another. Have you helped your partner become better throughout the time you’ve been together, have they done so for you?

Let today be a day of reflection about our relationships, our partners, and ourselves. May we work on lessening the weaknesses and making the strengths even stronger. May our relationships grow, may we get closer to our partner, and may we find more love and compassion for ourselves as well. We can be our own worst critics, so I also urge us to find ways to see us the way others see us, especially those who see our beauty, strength, and worth. When we love ourselves, let go of guilt and regret, we can be better partners and also better parents, children, friends, and so on. May today be the beginning of changes, healthy ones. Our relationships will benefit from them, as will we and those we love.

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