“Once Upon A Time” Versus Forever & Always

A Facebook post came across my Newsfeed yesterday. The original author, Abbey Elizabeth Boone, stressed how important it was to wait to find someone who appreciates you and who you can appreciate back. Her simple little blurb was picked up by Love What Matters and has been shared numerous times, cementing its purpose to thousands of readers.

I encourage you to read Abbey’s original post (at the link above). Her comparison between her past toxic relationships to her current, healthy one made me smile. Today is G’s and my second wedding anniversary. Two years ago we stood in front of our loved ones and expressed vows of unconditional love, unfaltering companionship, and endless date nights. Marriage has been the best adventure of my life so far, even if it is also the most difficult. G and I have waged through a number of wars only to come out stronger in every situation. And that is the greatest difference between my own past relationships and present one.

So here is my own little version of my “Once upon a times” compared to my “Forever and Always”:

Continue reading ““Once Upon A Time” Versus Forever & Always”

Reblog: Trauma Is Not Your Fault, But Healing Is Your Responsibility

I have two good friends who are going through different forms of trauma currently. Speaking with them over the past few weeks has brought a lot of tears, some laughs, and many memories of times I have wrestled with inner traumas myself. As has become common, I came across a blog post written by Brianna Wiest on Thought Catalog and her words touched several topics in conversations I’ve had with these two friends over the past month. (Sometimes I wonder if the Ever Listening Web has implanted my mind in order to bring these treasures to my world…)

The entire post rang true on so many different concepts, but I especially appreciated Brianna’s quote, “We are not meant to get through life unscathed. We are not meant to get to the finish line unscarred, clean and bored.” Though we go through Life hoping for things to be easy, can you imagine if every wish you ever wished or every dream you ever dreamed came to fruition? No challenges means no changes. No failings means no winnings. No tears means no lessons. There are difficulties in my past that I still regret, but they have also led me to become a stronger, wiser, and more conscientious woman — and isn’t that the goal for growing older? To me it is.


What happened to you was not your fault.

It was not something you asked for, it was not something you deserved.

What happened to you was not fair.

You were merely collateral damage on someone else’s warpath, an innocent bystander who got wrecked out of proximity.

We are all traumatized by life, some of us from egregious wrongdoings, others by unprocessed pain and sidelined emotions. No matter the source, we are all handed a play of cards, and sometimes, they are not a winning hand.

Yet what we cannot forget is that even when we are not at fault, healing in the aftermath will always fall on us — and instead of being burdened by this, we can actually learn to see it as a rare gift.

Healing is our responsibility because if it isn’t, an unfair circumstance becomes an unlived life.

Healing is our responsibility because unprocessed pain gets transferred to everyone around us, and we are not going to allow what someone else did to us to become what we do to those we love.

Healing is our responsibility because we have this one life, this single shot to do something important.

Healing is our responsibility because if we want our lives to be different, sitting and waiting for someone else to make them so will not actually change them. It will only make us dependent and bitter.

Healing is our responsibility because we have the power to heal ourselves, even if we have previously been led to believe we don’t.

Healing is our responsibility because we are uncomfortable, and discomfort almost always signals a place in life in which we are slated to rise up and transform.

Healing is our responsibility because every great person you deeply admire began with every odd against them, and learned their inner power was no match for the worst of what life could offer.

Healing is our responsibility because “healing” is actually not returning to how and who we were before, it is becoming someone we have never been — someone stronger, someone wiser, someone kinder.

When we heal, we step into the people we have always wanted to be. We are not only able to metabolize the pain, we are able to affect real change in our lives, in our families, and in our communities. We are able to pursue our dreams more freely. We are able to handle whatever life throws at us, because we are self-efficient and assured. We are more willing to dare, risk, and dream of broader horizons, ones we never thought we’d reach.

The thing is that when someone else does something wrong and it affects us, we often sit around waiting for them to take the pain away, as though they could come along and undo what has been done.

We fail to realize that in that hurt are the most important lessons of our lives, the fertile breeding ground upon which we can start to build everything we really want.

We are not meant to get through life unscathed.

We are not meant to get to the finish line unscarred, clean and bored.

Life hurts us all in different ways, but it is how we respond — and who we become — that determines whether a trauma becomes a tragedy, or the beginning of the story of how the victim became the hero.

Written by Brianna Wiest and updated November 3, 2019. Find the original post here.


I have two big regrets in my life. The first is not attending my alma mater straight from the beginning of my collegiate career, and thus losing a full-ride scholarship. The second is writing a blog post about one of my past relationships in a rage of emotions. Though I do not regret what I wrote, I regret allowing hate and hurt control my actions and ultimately casting a shadow on my character. I do not regret writing the post, but I regret publishing it.

With this in mind, I also believe healing must occur when we are at fault. Healing must happen to forgive one’s own actions, learn from one’s faults, and move forward with more care and kindness. Sometimes we lose control of our emotions, but it is our responsibility to clean up after the wreckage and assist with healing those who may have gotten in our way.

Both the victim and the warlord need healing to better the world.

All the best, my friends,

Living In Fearless Gratitude

Someone I once knew used the phrase “fearless gratitude” as her mantra. She was a vibrant girl whom I treasured and I honestly can say she did live fearlessly grateful. She loved life and she was thankful for her place in life. And I held this girl to such prestige for those very reasons.

I knew this girl during some of my more gloomy days when I struggled to be both fearless and grateful. I marveled at her perseverance towards positivity even when times were tough. I watched from a distance and wanted to be more like her. I grew closer to her, hoping some of her resolve would rub off on me. She was a role model to me as I sat in my shade, and I yearned to live with fearless gratitude one day as well.

Over the years, I catch myself thinking back on how I idolized this girl. When a difficult situation arises and I find myself drawing back into the shadows I think of her. I think of her continuous smile, constant air of happiness, and ease of brushing things off her shoulders. And so I choose to say, “No. Not today. Today I’m going to live in fearless gratitude.” And I do — I change my thoughts and find strength in the silver linings of situations.

Yet sometimes I need more assistance than just my own convictions. And today was one of those days.

About a month ago I received a phone call from my physician in regards to my annual physical. She opted to call me personally rather than let me read her findings online because she has experience with my anxiety issues. Bless her heart. She began the conversation calmly, saying, “I want you to stay calm and take a seat.” I was already seated, but my heart started to race.

She continued to tell me that my Pap test had found abnormal cells.

Precancerous.

I had never received failed test results before, whether health-wise, professionally, or even in school. I didn’t know how to react.

I’m sure she told me more, but my mind was jumping a thousand steps ahead already. I was 10 tabs into Web MD when she asked me if I was okay.

Okay? That word crept at the edges of my thoughts: precancerous.

“I will be,” I answered. “What’s my next plan of action? What do I need to do?”

My physician said she had already placed a referral into our local gynecological health system to quicken the process of treatment. She wanted me to have the cells removed as soon as possible. I tried to take this as a compliment, but all the while I was questioning why she felt that urgency.

From one call to the next, I jumped on the line to schedule the next appointment. Speaking with the gynecological office, the receptionist recommended I have a second opinion done prior to scheduling the removal procedure. I agreed but also moved to schedule the colposcopy as well since there seemed to be a waiting list already. Better safe than sorry.

After being given the same results at my second appointment, I moved through the next two weeks with “FEBRUARY 14” triple-circled on my calendar. I’ve never been a fan of Valentine’s Day, but this year’s reason far-outreached my usual disdainful criticism of the Hallmark holiday.

I spent the days leading up to the next appointment building my strength. I spoke with friends who had gone through something similar. I Googled every term I could remember being said concerning the issue. And I attempted to remain strong inwardly and outwardly.

Overall, I felt ready for my Valentine’s Day date.

The morning of my appointment, a slew of text messages provided strength and comfort to me as I mentally prepared for the unknown. I had learned over the past few weeks that the procedure was relatively common. Perhaps not for women as young as myself, but a number of ladies I had spoken to had received similar results throughout their years of the Pap test. I also had heard what to expect in terms of the procedure and after effects. By the time 10:30am rolled around, I swallowed 8 aspirin and was ready to get ‘er done.

Fortunately the procedure passed uneventfully. There was some discomfort, but overall I was in and out quickly. The doctor walked me through the process as she went along so I knew when to expect pain and when to breathe. I even made a joke here and there, in between my nervous finger-wringing and toe-tapping.

Once released, I found another slew of messages awaiting me. “How’d it go?” “Are you okay?” “I love you.”

Similar to when I received that first phone call from my physician, my heart began to beat faster. But for a whole different reason.

I am so grateful to the beautiful people who not only reached out to me today, but who have provided assurance, encouragement, and love over the past few weeks. Though I realize that my procedure was not as serious as it could have been, receiving news containing the phrase, “precancerous” is horrifying.

I am grateful to my husband for his persistence in being by my side throughout the past month. I am grateful to my parents for their care and support. I am grateful to the girls who prayed relentlessly for positive results and quick healing. I am grateful to the ladies who took time out of their day to bring dinner and laughs to the house. I am grateful for all the thoughts, words, and hugs. (And coffee — I am very grateful for the coffee, Toto.)

And I am grateful for that girl from years ago who taught me how to live in fearless gratitude. Without continuously saying that phrase in my mind, I would not be as readily able to see the positives in my life when the negatives rear their ugly heads. Strength comes in as many facets as blessings, one just has to be willing to shine a light of the darkness. 

I am also blessed to have tribes who pick me up when I am down and carry me to a brighter light when I find myself blinded. With my tribes, I was able to walk into the procedure today with my head held high, fearless.

Today, I lived in fearless gratitude to those God has placed in my life. And I could not be more humbled or honored to be surrounded by these courageous and loving people.

I am one blessed girl.

So from the bottom of my heart — thank you, my loves. 

 

Reblog: It Takes Losing What You Were Settling For To Remember What You Deserve

I think it’s a natural occurrence to look back on your life and marvel at the changes over the years. Though there may be some changes you would like to reroute to their original path, most changes have probably been for the better. It is normal to want to strive to be better and do better and become better in all areas of your life. Some may argue that is the very concept of humanity — to grow into our own perspective of better with every passing year.

With that in mind, I was perusing one of my favorite sites to pass the time and came across an article by Raina Naim who discusses how loss can change us for the better. If you’re someone who has been following my blog over the years, this is one of my key beliefs also. I am a firm believer that when you lose something it is only because something better is about to take it’s place. I know of a few friends out there who need to hear this message, and Raina says it beautifully…


It takes loss to make us realize what we deserve.

It takes heartbreak to make us realize the kind of love we want.

And it takes falling in love with the wrong person to make us realize who’s really right for us.

It takes losing what we had to realize that it wasn’t what we really wanted or needed. It takes losing things to realize that we can do better. We’re destined for greater things. We’re meant to be with better people. We don’t deserve pain. We don’t deserve to suffer. We don’t deserve to settle.

Many things in life make us settle for things we don’t deserve. Maybe it’s loneliness, maybe it’s a lack of self-love, maybe it’s peer pressure, maybe it’s family traditions. It can be a lot of things we’re unaware of doing but we’re just conditioned to be a certain way or do certain things that we frankly don’t know why we’re doing it or who we’re trying to please.

Which is why losing things is the best wake-up call. It’s the beginning of you transforming your life. It’s the beginning of your self-awareness and your soul-searching journey to unlearn everything you’ve ever been told and listen to your own voice.

It takes losing people to find yourself.

We sometimes eat lies when our hearts are hungry. We believe that mediocre things are the best. We hold on to people who don’t respect us. We tell ourselves the lies we want to hear as we bury the truth because we just don’t want to live that kind of reality. We don’t want to wait another month or another year. We don’t want to start over. We focus so much on what we want that we end up forgetting what we deserve.

We sometimes spend our lives fighting for people who only hurt us and disappoint us. We fight for people who don’t fight for us. We fight for people who break our hearts because we think we’ll never find that feeling again or this chemistry or this vibe again. But it’s only when you fight just as hard to let go that you realize you deserve more. You deserve better. You deserve someone who doesn’t break your heart and call it love.

It took me a few years to get over certain losses in my life but when I look back now, I realize that every loss brought me closer to finding myself. Every loss taught me what I truly deserved. Every loss reminded me that there’s something greater to be gained.

Written by Rania Naim on February 8, 2019. Find the original post here.


There is nothing better than losing some and gaining more, friends. Looking back, my life has been full of little losses than have resulted in my greatest blessings. Even the “big” losses grew bigger than have imagined! I would not trade any of my past tears, grief, or heartache for happy moments because they’ve brought me to where I am right now… and that’s a pretty amazing life to live now.

All the best,

6 Lessons I Learned In 6 Months Of Marriage

Today marks a half-year since G and I said “I do” in front of our loved ones and God. Honestly, I cannot believe it has only been six months. A lot has happened during that time including a career shift for G, both of us enrolling into coursework, a new truck and house, an adorable nephew, and all the other thrills of being newlyweds with busy schedules. While enjoying sushi at our favorite restaurant on Friday, we reminisced about all of our milestones since the wedding. The ink is barely dry on the marriage certificate, but we are excited for the next memory we’re able to make in this adventure.

One thing we had fun talking about over dinner was what we’ve learned so far as newlyweds. Some were foretold during marriage counseling and illuminated during our few months as newlyweds, others we’ve uncovered on our own. We have learned a lot in this short amount of time, and I can only imagine how much more we have to discover.

1. Eat At the Dining Table together

When we married, G and I had set a goal to eat at our dining table together for the majority of our meals. Though this has not been a priority as of late, we still aim to sit together when we eat. With our hectic schedules this means we may not technically eat together but we try to make sure when one of us is enjoying a meal the other is sitting down in “active togetherness.”

I am a big proponent that relationships flourish over food. When you’re sitting down with your spouse, family, or friends, you are savoring every flavor and topic of conversation. Sitting together at our dining table/coffee table/counter top allows G and I to catch up on the day’s happenings and weekly goals. Or maybe vent, rant, and what have you, which is also just as important. Make sure you opt for open time to discuss any and every topic while having dinner — or any available meal — together.

2. Remember You Are Always Team Number One

Marriage means having a teammate in every situation. Are you having issues with work or maybe with a friend/family member? Your spouse should be your key point of communication when needing to talk things through. That may mean giving some tough love and providing valuable insight when your partner is in the wrong. Or maybe its being emotional support as your partner works out a solution. Either way, you are one another’s team members first and foremost.

Luckily, you probably have more than your spouse as your “Life Teammates.” However, sometimes you will need to narrow your team to only two people: you and your spouse. Do you have family members giving advice on how to handle a situation with your kids? Maybe you are giving too much time to an extracurricular activity outside your marriage? Whatever the case, if you see (or are told) by your spouse that they need you to take their side, DO IT.

Being a good teammate comes in a variety of circumstances too. You may need to voice your spouse’s opinion for them to an opposing team (i.e. telling a family member that you appreciate their advice, but this specific situation is strictly between you and your spouse.) Or it may mean putting an extracurricular on the sideline to be present for your spouses’s needs. There are a lot of different reasons your partner may need you to step up your “marriage game” so be on the lookout for red flags and pull your weight.

3. Pick Your Fights

I know this is one I mentioned back during our marriage counseling days, but it is still so good! Little arguments are bound to happen in any relationship. However, not every squabble needs to be a blown-out smash. Consider if making an offensive or defensive statement will help or hinder the issue at hand. If you’re saying or doing something to cause harm to your spouse, then you don’t have the best for your relationship in mind. The same goes if you’re attempting to elevate yourself or your objective. Remember, you are a team!

Some fights are better off just letting go for the benefit of everyone involved. Ultimately, you and your spouse have the same goal(s). Learn to choose your battles well and let any unnecessary issues drop to the wayside.

4. Be One Another’s Cheerleaders

One of the best parts of marriage is knowing you have a personal cheering squad in your spouse. Whether you achieve your goals or fall a bit short… Your spouse is behind you to encourage and uplift all your endeavors. Be open to sharing all your achievements with your loved one, and also freely share those little goals you haven’t quite reached yet. More likely than not, your spouse will provide the motivation, encouragement, and advice needed to reach all your milestones.

This is particularly necessary in those instances you are being hard on yourself. Take the love and adoration your spouse gives you to heart! He or she chose you and continues to choose you every single day, and that in itself should be praise enough even when you might not be feeling especially high in self-esteem.

5. Learn To Be Selfless

One of the biggest learning curves both G and I have struggled with in our marriage is something I think humanity as a whole struggles with: putting someone else’s needs before your own.

Personally, it is so easy to get caught up in my own schedule and bucket list that including my husband into the equation took a lot of self-control and mindfulness. G praised me on Friday for my effort though, and I was proud to hear I’ve been making headway in this arena of our relationship. (Insert pat on the back.) It took some practice to eliminate criteria off my weekly planner, but I did so knowing time with G was more important. In the same respect, G has gotten so much better at putting aside his perfectionism and goal-oriented mindset to sit back and relax every now and again. We compromise and enjoy common interests much more often than we go do something only one of us enjoys. It really has become the best of both worlds!

Actively attempt to put your spouse’s needs above your own while not forgetting to be an individual. You’ll be amazed at the new things you gain interest in and the adventures you and your partner can share when you prioritize your time together.

6. Enjoy the Little Things

Last but not least, my last piece of advice is a common phrase from one of my favorite movies: Zombieland. Enjoy the little things in life. Together.

G and I are still in the process of organizing our new home. We don’t fold the laundry every weekend, and we forget to dust sometimes. I don’t spend as much time reading as I’d like, and G isn’t able to work on his truck during his free time. Though that time might be a quick 30 minute viewing of my latest cooking-show binge or lounging on the couch playing cards, G and I make time for each other every day. While we certainly have our separate activities and we make time for our friends and family, finding quality time together is our number-one priority. And one we take very serious.

Fellow newlyweds, do you have any lessons to add to the following list? Everyone has different experiences, and I would love to hear yours. Please feel free to share in the post’s comment section below.

Until next time, friends,