Dear Michelle,

20190320_122634.jpg**Let’s take a peek into a letter that I wish I could have received from future self when I was 19/20, pregnant and scared as all hell!**

Dear Michelle,

Oh dear, I hope that you are doing okay as you read this letter. At 19/20, pregnant, and scared… there are not many words that I know that can ease any worries, however, being your future self at 36– let me talk to you for a minute.

Things are about to get super real and you need to hear some things that you are not going to like. You and your baby’s father are over. You are done, no longer together.  This will feel like the end of world, but believe me when I tell you it is not. It is the best thing ever. Him walking away will save your life. SAVE YOUR LIFE!!  I can tell you a million times over that this will leave you broken, but you will NOT stay that way. There will be a piece of you that he takes with him forever, but you will not need it because in the end you will receive something even better.  So allow yourself to break down and collapse, it is not the end girl- you are truly at the very beginning. In fact, let’s talk about what is about to happen.

This pregnancy is going to suck. You will be tested in ways far beyond what you have seen and you will surpass each and every test. But listen to me girl- You are a f****** warrior! This pregnancy and experience could seriously break you down to nothing- however, you will not let it. You will cry, scream, yell, hide your feelings, feel as lonely as ever but will come out of this stronger than ever. You will lose friends and will piss people off because of some of the decision you will make, but trust me- it won’t matter.  First- you will experience some things throughout your this pregnancy that will cause some danger to both yourself and your baby. Stay calm, there are some people who are going to want to see you at worst and are going to try to make that happen.. and you WILL let it happen and will hate yourself for it, but again- keep moving forward. I still cannot tell you what made you decide to keep this pregnancy as opposed to terminate as you had done before but I think you made the perfect choice and on June 27th, 2003 you are going to give birth NATURALLY and CALMLY to one of the best individuals ever and it will be THE MOST POWERFUL moment of your life. And I mean that with all of my soul. I mean- trust me- it has been over 15 years and that precious child is a damn rock star human being!!!!

One of the other things that I want to talk to you about is your self-doubt and your  lack of confidence. I know that people think that you are the most confident and outgoing person of life. I also know that these thoughts about you is so freaking far from the truth. I know that you currently sit in your room alone scared to death of the life you are going to bring into this world. I know that while you are sitting there you have cried buckets of tears because you are nowhere near where you thought you would be. You never made it to NYU-nope. You never moved to New York and chopped your hair off-nope. You aren’t on your way to become a criminal psychologist- nope. You dropped out of college- yup. You passed on an opportunity to move to Chicago and start over and have no idea why- yup. You feel like your parents are so disappointed in you- yup, they probably are. You feel like you are alone and I stress that because this is going to follow you, but you will embrace the “alone” differently as you age.

I will tell you that over the next 16 years or so those same feelings and thoughts will continue to be ever.  You are going to still feel that self-doubt and have that lack of confidence. What I am going to say is that you are going to come so far.  But let me tell you about some of your feelings.  By the time you turn 36 you still won’t be where you thought you should be… your entire life will have changed. You will decide not to reenlist in the military. You will get married at 24, have 2 more super amazing kids before turning 30, live on your own, live with your husband’s parents, and then purchase your own home at 28.  These are all big events and you survive them all. Not all of them are easy but they have all been worth it.  You will haven’t made it to NYU, but your oldest daughter hopes to go to a school connected with NYU for dance. You did chop off your hair after you turned 36 because by then you were finally brave enough and confident enough to not give a shit about what anyone else thought.  You go back to college a couple of times and are currently active in school hoping to receive your Bachelor’s in Criminal Psychology by the time you reach 38.  You still never went to Chicago and that desire and want is since faded.

So, no I cannot tell you what life would have been like if those things worked out different, but I can tell you how life has been.

It has been a roller coaster. You are on a “never-ending” journey of self-love and you are really working your ass off.  You struggle with being a mom, and know there is a shit ton of room from improvement- but have finally understood that parenting is a challenge. And while it was originally never in the cards for you, it is probably one of the reasons why you are not homeless and addicted to drugs.  You are thankful for each one of your kids and the special gifts you bring to your family. Your husband and you have ALWAYS had to work double hard to maintain your relationship- but neither one of you has yet to give up.

You are resilient, loving, empathetic, kind, sensitive, and a bad ass all rolled into one.  You can’t stand people just as strongly as you love them.  And this is all because of the person you are right now as you read this letter.

DO NOT GIVE UP! KEEP MOVING FORWARD! KEEP DOING THE HARD THINGS! Write as much as you possibly can. Talk to anyone that you can. Continue to build relationships with people. Do not be afraid to trust. Be honest and open and raw and real- even when it makes you or other people uncomfortable.

You got this Michelle!!!  Keep hanging in there… maybe one day when you are in your 50’s you can write a letter to your 36-year-old self…. I can only imagine what that letter will say….

In all things find beauty,

MRC

 

Entering 36 and the upcoming journey…

Three weeks ago I turned 36.  I remember being a child and honestly feeling like a new, more mature person with each birthday morning.  Now- not so much.  I never mind my birthdays. The idea of getting older is actually exciting to me. I don’t tend to look at getting older as something cringe worthy.  It actually excites me- well, at least for now.

I woke up that morning and felt good. Well I was still a little sore from a yoga class I took 2 days prior… but all in all… I felt great!  And now three weeks in, I still feel great. I am confident that 36 will be just as enlightening that 35 was.  As we were getting closer to this particular day, I did start to think about the past 365 days and how I have grown through them.

My mindset has certainly shifted. Entering my 35th year, I was still living for other people.  Saying the things that people want to hear in order to not hurt them. Supporting things that I did not believe were right, because I felt that is what I was supposed to do.. Not moving forward towards opportunities or towards the things I want because I knew they would be difficult or I didn’t want to hear from naysayers.

Over the past year, I have slowly began to just be honest- not the brutal honest kind that is hurtful and disrespectful, but just gentle honesty that most people respect and some people just need.  I no longer support things (financially, emotionally, etc) that I do not agree with. This isn’t to say that I wasn’t honest before… It was more that I didn’t say certain things because I knew that they weren’t what people wanted to hear or because I knew that it may hurt them. 


I want 36 to be even more different. I want to be more adventurous and more myself. For years I had been an impostor- like my true self had been hidden because I was busy trying to fit in to little groups and be the right person for each group that I was a part of, work-family-friends, etc.  That is a scary realization and one that I worked hard on fixing over the past 2-3 years.  I don’t think that we are ever just one thing and that is what makes humans amazing creatures.
I want to experience life this year. You know, really experience it. Try something new once a month. Whether it be a new book, a new place, a new food. The world is full of so much and I want to take in all it has to offer. 

I started school AGAIN(for the 3rd time) at age 35 therefore for 36, my only goal related to this is to not quit. (We all know I am a chronic quitter- they really should make an award for this) I am not due to get my Bachelor’s degree (finally) until well into my 37th, so it is imperative that I work hard through 36.   I don’t want to float through this age, but to sashay down the runway that is age 36. I will put more focus on writing and less focus on talking about writing while not actually doing it. I will say NO when I don’t want to and begin to follow through with my YES’s. I will honor myself by taking time for me and not feeling selfish for it. I will no longer look for validation from the outside but instead from the inside of my soul.

36 will be the year that I will recognize my POWER. My power as a woman, as a mom, as a wife, as a student, as a writer, etc. And I will use that power to rise above my fear and my inconsistencies.

I am going to work hard to not compare myself to others as often as this is something I do always. I am not as disciplined as this person, not as motherly as that one. I am not has organized as so and so. I will work hard to eliminate these thoughts and to understand that in my power, I find my strength and my worth.

I will no longer tell myself that it is too late to change  my parenting tactics and just begin to make the necessary tweaks to help my family and my relationships with my kids stronger, regardless of my children’s ages. I will hold certain expectations for my home and how my home is run and I will no longer allow others to impede on these. 

I will focus on using my voice and words to build others up and stop tearing people down. I am going to work hard at making my conversations be less about criticizing other people and more about praising them instead. When praise cannot be found, I will simply stay quiet if my words cannot be beneficial. 

My theme for 36 will be INTENTION. I will aim to be more intentional. I will make decisions rationally and boldly. I will be confident in who I am. I will honor myself and my family and focus on teaching my kids the importance of being confident and true to your word.

I am beginning to realize that while age 35 was the year of realization, age 36 is going to be the year of execution. Let’s get this party started!!

In all things find beauty, 

MRC

 

 

Becoming a confident woman

*WARRIOR * This is NOT the body of a supermodel. Or a non super model. Or model of any kind in that case. Well maybe the model for real life flaws and the journey to body confidence. Okay, I’ll take that one😃
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This body has seen many shapes and been many things. It has been fit, heavier, exhausted, battered, strong, bruised, beautiful… however, it was/is very rarely
confident.
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We need to love ourselves and that goes so much deeper than our physical body. This does not mean that there is shame in wanting to lose weight, be healthy, look “good” in certain clothes. This just means that we need to be respectful to ourselves allow for mishaps on occasion throughout the process. We deserve to love ourselves first. Lately all across our social media pages we see posts of all kinds of bodies: thin, not as thin, fit, not as fit, loved, not as loved.  None of these is wrong. None of these is right. We are not in a position to judge anyone else’s bodies and/ or their perception of their body. That is a personal thing,  one that I happen to not mind talking about.
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My current body is not my favorite, and yet I will honor it while I put in the effort to switch up a few things. I will honor my body for the fights it has had to go through as well as the accomplishments it has survived with me. This is the same body that carried and birthed 3 babies naturally and un-medicated. This is the same body the pushed itself past many physical limits during boot camp and my time in the Army. This is the same body that endured physical abuse from someone who I cared about. This is the same body that trained and completed many 5Ks and a Half Marathon. This is the same body that has held my children and friends in her arms while they struggle with life. This is the same body that participated in an adult hip hop class for 5 years even though I looked a hot mess. (Trust me, it was so fun that it was worth it). This is the same body that walks into yoga classes and walks out feeling slightly more powerful.This is MY body. This is MY temple.
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*CONFIDENCE* This is NOT the body of a model. This is the body of a WARRIOR. And this body is no longer fighting a battle. It is not fighting any enemy. This is the body of a woman who has learned her worth and is working to have that worth shine out of every pore. This is the body of an up and coming CONFIDENT WOMAN.

Show the hell up…

Just show up! This is what I have to tell myself daily. Show up for my kids. Show up for my husband and other family. Show up for my friends. And damn it… SHOW UP FOR MYSELF!

Such simple words. Yet it is not a simple notion for me. I am known for not showing up. It is a sad fact and breaks my heart that many see me in this light.  My intentions are always good- but life is hard and people are sometimes just way to much for me. I love telling people yes and being there for people. I don’t like having to leave the comfort of my home sometimes, my safe place.

When I talk about showing up, I mean the term in many different ways. I mean being there for the people who are important for me.  Being there through their roughest moments as a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, or just someone to sit in silence with. Being there during their accomplishments as one of their biggest cheerleaders. Being there just to be there to hang out, talk, be crazy, catch up.  This goes for family(and not just those related to me by blood), friends, coworkers, other adults or children in my life that just need someone to be there- to show up for them.  This is my goal, but this is not yet my reality. I back away and do not always show up because … well… mainly just be because I am afraid.  I am afraid to be there for one person more than another and then upset someone else. I am afraid to not be there in the right way for someone and then I end up hurting them more. I am afraid of letting myself out of my comfort zone and then what?  All the what ifs start to creep in at theat moment.  And don’t get me wrong- I do still show up… sometimes.  And when I do, I give my all. My biggest problem is aggreeing to show up before knowing if I truly can. That is where I get into the most trouble and I am tired of doing that. And then that makes me afraid to commit at all.

I talk a lot about my fears when I am writing because that is the emotion that has the most control over my life currently. Who am I kidding, this is what has controlled me for the better part of my 35 years.  But the thing that fear has most controlled when it comes to showing up– is me showing up for myself. I mean really- I am probably one of the most selfish people I know (listen, I am just being honest here- this is my safe place)- so why on earth would it be so difficult to do things that benefit me?  Now don’t be confused, yes I take plenty of time to binge watch my favorite shows, to eat the crappy foods I enjoy, to drink too much at times, to speak in ways that are not always becoming- but I cannot seem to show up for myself when it comes to making healthy decisions,  working towards MY goals, and doing things that truly excite me…yet I cannot seem to figure out why?

I have been thinking about this so much because I have been a part of a workout/healthy eating challenge through a local gym.  And one of the things I have been focusing on is SHOWING UP FOR MYSELF.  This requires discipline  in showing up for at least 3 workouts a week and focusing on getting the “correct” amount of protein and water in my daily “diet”. Oh my word- I SUCK at this.  I always have. Being disciplined is hard for me.  A lot of people think that it shouldn’t be this way since I served 8 years in the military– but boy are they wrong.

I still don’t get why showing up for myself is hard. Like, shouldn’t being there for myself be a priority? Shouldn’t I want to love on myself and take care of myself so that I have enough to give back to others? Shouldn’t I feel that I am important enough to show up for? The answer… HELL YES!  It is time to show the hell up for myself.  Stop with the excuses for why I cannot invest in myself. I am in a constant battle in fighting what I want to do versus what I need to do versus what people expect me to do…  The fight is over…..I am no longer going to worry myself about what other people feel I should do.. as long as what I want to do and  need to do align..then, the only thing that I am going to hold myself accountable for over the next 380 days is to just show up for myself!!  It will be challenging, scary, will piss people off, will push some away, will draw some near… but will continue to be worth every moment!

WISH ME LUCK

In all things find beauty,

MRC

Regretting words…

Image result for quotes about anger

Oh how the above resonates with my soul. Especially over the past few weeks or so. I have such a hard time maintaining my anger and it scares me sometimes. You know me, all about being honest about my flaws. I am a hot head. I don’t recall always being this way, but am definitely one currently!

And my poor family always gets to be on the receiving end of my anger. Why do I allow those closest to me be the ones to suffer the most? I wish I had answers. What I do know is that I am not an easy person to live with. I do not always make my house a pleasant place for my family to feel comfort and safe.

How have I let it get this bad? Again, a question I fail to find an answer to. I feel like I let it get this bad for a couple of reasons. I felt it was safe. I still have no idea how to actually control my emotions/outbursts.

Safe? What? I know that is what you are thinking. Let me explain – at work, I cannot have outbursts because it could seriously impact my job. At school events, people may judge and stare, etc. At home though, yeah I will upset the kids and Damian, but they will get over it. They will love me no matter what and then we will just move on. Right? WRONG!!!!! Yes, it upsets all 4 of them. It makes them uneasy, anxious, nervous to even just be around me. They live in a constant state of thinking, “when is she going to flip out again?” “What am I going to do that is going to set her off?” It makes them not take my words seriously and sometimes not even want to interact with me at all. Trust me when I say that this is not the environment that you want your family to be in. Well, at least I do not. I want my kids to want to be home, to feel safe, to be at ease. I want my husband to want to talk to me. I want my family to feel safe and feel comfortable having their friends over.

Unable to control my own emotions? How is that even possible? For me, so damn possible. I know what certain triggers are, but that isn’t an excuse for my explosive behavior. I try to talk myself down. But I can tell you, it very rarely works. I give up after about 30 seconds and just go full force cruel and whoever is around. Sometimes it isn’t even the person that I am upset with.

Even with my answers, I know that they are not valid and are merely excuses. I don’t write this because I think I know the answers, it is actually the opposite. I write this because I need to get these feelings out and work through them.

I know that my family thinks I am just a mean person. I know that, it is a fact. There lies scars within each member of my family that I have put there because of my actions and my words. I tend to say that I know my actions are wrong, but if… However, there is NO JUSTIFICATION because of my actions. Yes, I think my children are spoiled and sometimes extremely lazy and irresponsible. Yes, I wish my husband would think that keeping the house clean was just as much a priority as I do. But these are in no way a reason for my reactions to things. I cannot change my husband. I can only guide my children. Yes, I have to repeat myself several times to everyone in my family, but again, clearly the outbursts are not working, because I am still repeating myself SO why do I do it? Why do I flip and then feel guilty after, upset everyone else, and still nothing has been resolved.

Listen, I don’t have answers. I know that it is a problem. I am working on getting professional help to aid me in handling these emotions and help fix some of the relationships that I am in the process of ruining.

I think that it is perfectly healthy to get angry. Anger is necessary at times. It is NOT okay to be cruel and outof control. I know this yet struggle with executing a tame version of my anger.

Go ahead and judge me for my honesty, judge me for not being a better wife, mom, person. That is okay. I can take the judgement. I cannot take the overwhelming feeling that I get after each “episode”. The guilt and sadness. Nope, I am not ready to apologize. I can say the words but am not at a place where I feel it will mean something. I will be ready. One day. Hopefully soon. And hopefully, long before it is too late.

Wish me luck on this ….

In all things look for beauty(I am still searching on this one),

*ME*

2017, it’s time to say goodbye…

2017 is only hours away from being over. Like most people, I like to look back on the past 12 months and reflect a little bit.  Honestly… The beginning of the year is sort of a blur to me. I know that I entered the New Year hoping for a great year of growth and transformation and I believe that I did achieve those goals.  Problem is … With growth and transformation comes shocking and not always good realizations about yourself.  Over the course of the past 12 months, I feel that the majority of my growth has come in these last 5 months or so.  It has been during this time that I have learned the most about myself, both good and bad.

I have incorporated yoga into my life more consistently.  I am hoping that 2018 will be the year that I practice at least 5-6 times a week.  Yoga has been the thing that helps me to feel grounded… And that is definitely needed for me since I am naturally so high strung.

2017 was the year that I gained back all of the weight that I lost in 2016.  When I first started to realize what I was doing to myself, I was angry… But towards the end of the year I have just realized that there is no point in being angry. I need to just make some changes regarding my eating and fitness and get myself back on the right track.  With the right choices I know that I can shed some of 2017 weight in 2018.

Toxic relationships are something that I struggle with ALL the time.  Every year I say that I am going to separate myself from anyone that I feel is toxic to me…and every year I fall short.  I have such a hard time letting go of things/people that no longer serve me.  I don’t know why it is so hard for me.  I don’t have a lot of friends to begin with and tend to just stick to myself …yet, a few of the people that I do interact just aren’t what I truly consider a friend.  I think they mean well, but they just aren’t really my friends… And I know that I need to respect both myself and them and end our ties. Maybe in 2018.

Real talk… I have learned some pretty crappy stuff about myself this year. I have learned about my resting bitch face,  my lack of confidence (OK, well I have known about that for a while),  and have let envy and comparison take a toll on me.  You see, I have watched some good friends do some amazing things in their lives this year… Changes in careers, leaving their comfort zones, opening new doors, slowly working out their master plans in life.  And it makes me so proud to call them my friends. I will support them and encourage them as much as I possibly can. And then come home at the end of the day and cry and feel sorry for myself that I am not working towards living my best life… Like what the hell? Why have I been allowing envy and comparison to bring out the worst in me and make me feel like I am not worth good things? I am capable of great things and in 2018 I plan to work towards greatness and happiness for the entire year!

I turned 35 towards the end of the year and that was probably the highlight of my year.35 is going to be an amazing, life changing year… I know it!  I am putting my best foot forward- escaping my comfort zone, practice yoga, spread kindness, volunteer my time for a greater good, stand up for myself and the things that I believe in regardless of how others may feel, and just live my BEST LIFE!

2017 has been a good year… But I am holding on to the fact that while 2018 may not be the best year yet( I have so many more years to experience) it will be a DAMN good one.  Here is to new beginnings! 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!

10 Years…

Relationships are hard. Marriage is, well, I would be lying if I said that I thought marriage was easy. And maybe it is for some. However, Damian and I – it has not been easy to say the least.  Today we celebrate 10 years married and 14 years together.  The days sometimes feel gruesome, the years endless.  I have been known to be a private person to some and then one who shares too much to others.  My marriage has been one of those things that I have shared with some and not with others.  I don’t feel that you need to share the intimate details of any aspect of your life.  But as someone who wants to be a write… I realize I do my best writing when I am talking about my personal experiences.

I never thought that I wanted to be married.  I never imagined being a , “Mrs.”  It wasn’t until I met Damian that I really started thinking about marriage.  We both grew up in families with parents who were still together and had a marriage that worked and values that we believed in.  We both believed that when you get married there isn’t separate anything.  We don’t split who pays bills, we share our checking accounts, and truly felt that we were coming together as a team.  We weren’t losing our individuality, we were gaining another perspective.  

In all honesty, the days leading up to when Damian and I got married were not easy.  There were fights among our families, among each other- in fact, I think we both questioned whether we were really doing something that we should.  Just 3 days before my wedding, I was confronted by someone who explained to me that it was still okay to back out and we could just hold a big party on our wedding day instead of an actual wedding. So, when I say, things weren’t that great- I am not being dramatic.

We are so completely different  while our differences are sometimes what cause the biggest rifts in our relationship, they are same things that cause the excitement and adventure.. We do agree on some pretty important pieces though- two of them being that we love each other and love our kids and the family that we have built.

Throughout this 10 years, the two of us have shared so much sadness,anger, resentment, and bitterness towards each other.  On only a few of our anniversaries, we were even speaking. Just last year on our 9th anniversary- we hadn’t spoken for over a week… And we live in the same house.

But today, as we woke up on our 10 year wedding  anniversary, I woke up early and looked over at the man next to me.  I got butterflies in my stomach.  This is the man that I chose to marry, the man that I have grown a family with, the man that I come home to every night.  No one promised me roses, perfection, and happiness every day! I put that expectation on myself.  This is the man that has seen me at my worst and still chooses to stand by side.  This is the man that will put my flaws aside and still love me as if I am the most amazing woman.  And some of the flaws that he has chosen to push aside are pretty damn serious and may even being considered to deal breakers to some. 

I have learned throughout the years that sharing every fight and argument with everyone is not obviously the best idea.  Each time there is a big fight and I have shared or leaned on certain people. When they would take my side and then things would sort of work themselves out… Those people weren’t/ aren’t always so easy to forgive or better yet forget. And then Damian becomes the wrong person, the bad person, the person to blame.  And take it from someone who knows, it gets harder to share the happy, positive times to those people who are still judging from the last time.   Those closest to me have been there during some of these hard moments. Damian and I have both reached out to close friends and family for advice before. We have also both been told that we should walk away and give up. We have both tried to give up and walk away. Way easier said than done, I will tell you. And for those walk away advice givers, I by no means think that they were wrong… Or right. Damian and I just always knew that the choice had to come from us. We had to be the ones to make the ultimate decision. Obviously, since we are celebrating 10 years of marriage- choosing to stay has always won out.

I think it was the right choice. I still expect sadness, anger, bitterness, arguments at times. But now I look forward to creating happiness, laughter, positive memories, a stronger bond, everlasting friendship even more so than ever.

We have contributed to the rough times in our marriage together.  It isn’t right for me to talk about any wrong that I feel Damian has ever done.  Not here anyway. But since it is my post, I can talk about my wrong doings as much as I want. I will tell you this, I am not an easy person to deal with, let alone actually live with. I am the kind of person that treateveryone outside of my home with kindness and then subject my family to all of the built anger from the day.I am working on it, but it can cause a lot of problems in my closest relationships.  My husband gets the brunt of my anger most times. He is my safe zone, but I know it can take a toll on him. He tries to let it go, but sometimes it really does become too much for him. I expect a lot and can be super selfish when it comes to my hubby. I don’t always give what I expect to receive and that is quite a stressor as well. I am learning though’ that through honesty and communication- we can make it through.

This marriage is ours and ours alone.  I need to make it a priority and put forth the work and love to make it work.  

It has been a twisty, bumpy, and scary road with stretches of sunshine and perfect weather over the course of the years and I look forward to paving the road ahead and increases those stretches to longer and longer.  Ten years is only the beginning… The best is yet to come!