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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Choosing Me.

Everyone deserves to be loved for who they are, not what someone wants them to be.

One of the biggest problems in relationships exists when we lose sight of loving our significant other for themselves. When we stop seeing that person as the extraordinarily unique human they are and start seeing the negative, that’s when the relationship shifts. We begin expecting instead of accepting.

Let’s be real here, it’s easy to love someone when things are perfect. When everything is wonderful and you’re blind to flaws and you’re on that honeymoon high. That point when infatuation tangles up with love and it’s all-encompassing. But, infatuation is petty, self-seeking, and a fragile imitation of love. It can be exciting but superficial. Loving someone when things get tough, when you realize you’re both imperfect when you keep messing up and getting everything wrong, that’s when you see what love is made of. Anyone can love someone who’s doing everything right and being everything you want and need all the time. But the exquisite thing about love is, it’s in the times when you are at your lowest when you feel so broken when you’re lost, but you see them standing by you no matter the challenge ahead, that’s when you know how real it is. That’s when you feel it the most.

The magic is when you begin to see the flaws and loving that person despite it all. Letting go of who you think they should be or what they should do and instead, choosing who they are is the key to deep and profound love. Creating a safe space for vulnerability and intimacy and finding that sweet spot. Finding your bubble and getting back there as much as possible, that’s the key.

So, no matter how many things I get wrong, how much I mess up I always want you to know how entrenched inside of myself, my love is for you. How many times over I choose you and how you love me despite myself. I know I struggle to get it right sometimes, and I know there are times that I don’t show you the love you deserve but I promise it’s there. I could never love another soul the way I love you.

Image may contain: Jackie Sexton, plant and outdoorThank you for loving me regardless of my flaws, for choosing me. And thank you for giving me another Christmas with you. You are everything I ever wanted, plus more.



Thursday, December 13, 2018

Who are we to judge?

When you become a parent, I think it’s natural to have expectations and preconceived ideas of what the little person you have created, is going to be like. Imagining the future and what that could look like.

Image may contain: people sitting and textBut, as they grow, you begin to see them become this little person who is unique and special. At that point, you should let go of the idea and expectations you had in your mind at the beginning. You should grow as a parent. Because, this child, this little human being you are raising, is their very own little person. They have ideas and personality and a spirit all their own.

Accepting that little human is your job as a parent.

Your job is not to mold them into who YOU want them to become. 

Your job is not to tear down their spirit and build it up to your expectations. 

Your child is not your blank slate to create on, nor are they your clay to mold, nor a miniature version of you. Your child is a person, growing and learning and figuring out their place in the world. We as parents should open that space for them. We should teach, celebrate, guide and love. Simple.

Who are we to judge?

We are people too, imperfect and learning for ourselves. We have no manual, no copy of what life and parenting are supposed to be. We are all on this journey.


We, as parents, need to learn our children are who they are supposed to be. They are different from us and that’s ok. They are supposed to be different from us. 

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Cancun Family Vacation Review

There is no secret about the fact that I love traveling.

The world is so big and there is so much of it to see and I am determined to see as much of it as I can.

Image may contain: one or more peopleSo, this year when planning our big trip for the year we knew we wanted to include the boys and maybe get them interested in travel. We looked and planned and budgeted and eventually decided on taking them to Cancun. I am so glad we did. The experience of traveling internationally and seeing a whole new culture is something, I hope, they will always remember.

I am not going to lie, I was so nervous about traveling with them to a foreign country because it can be so stressful and a bit complicated. But, lucky for us everything went so smoothly. Other than a little hiccup getting stuck in downtown Cancun on Saturday night, the whole trip was perfect. So let me give you the highlights!

First off, we booked our trip with Cheap Caribbean  and got a fantastic deal. We were able to score the boy's flights' free with ours and book at Crown Paradise that was an all-inclusive, family-friendly resort. If you are traveling with a family and want to go a resort that welcomes kids, this one is it. From the multiple pools to the slides, and kids club, there was so much to do the boys never even uttered the word "bored" the entire trip. 

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Kids Club

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The beach at the resort


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Slides
Day 1: We spent traveling. Traveling with kids can be challenging but between extra chargers and some snacks we made it into Cancun without a hiccup. The biggest thing I read when researching was finding reliable hotel transport. I booked a month in advance with Olympus Tours so, when we arrived our driver was waiting with ice cold water and some info about the city. I highly recommend booking ahead of time to avoid going through the dozens of transport companies looking to sell you their services upon arrival. 

Once we were dropped off at the resort we checked in. Everyone at Crown was so nice, let me warn you though, they will try to set you up for a sales breakfast the next morning. If you aren't interested, don't do it. They may tell you it's for something else, but if they are asking for a reservation for breakfast, say no. 

Once we dropped off our bags, we admired the view and then set off to explore the resort. We ate at one of the snack bars and then hit the beach. 

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Day 2: We spent the day on the resort. Between the beach, slides, pool and kids club we stopped only when we grabbed food at the buffet. By the end of the day, we were all exhausted and ready for the excursion the next day.
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Day 3: We took an excursion to Tulum and a little dip in a Cenote. The Mayan ruins were amazing to see but my advice is, dress comfortably. There is a lot of walking and it is HOT. The excursion I booked with Get Your Guide , best place to read reviews and find a company that meets your needs. 

The perfect end to a hot tour was swimming in a cenote. Coolest experience of the trip. 

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Image may contain: drinkDay 4: Shopping in downtown Cancun. The best part of this is the negotiating prices. I love to haggle and find bargains and that's how the markets are. Plus, we found a Starbucks!
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Day 5: Our big excursion for the week was Xcaret. The park was a mix of a natural water park and Mexican culture. My big advice on this one, make sure you book transport. I spent an hour on the phone the night before because I booked transport and they couldn't find the reservation, talk about frustrating. But, the park was a great experience. After leaving the resort super early, we arrived at the park and immediately hit the underground river. An hour swimming through a river is super exhausting so, we hit the gorgeous beach at the top of the park that was filled with hammocks. Gorgeous. Snorkeling, sightseeing and lunch later, we headed back to the resort. The park was a great experience.

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Day 6: Cancun Marathon! So, I think it's best seeing a new place on foot. Plus, my wife is a BIG encourager so I found myself registered for a race. I'm glad I did though. What a cool experience! I had no clue what anyone was saying or if I was even in the right corral, but it is definetly one of those races I won't forget. After 13.1 miles of cancun heat, I felt accomplished and like I had a good ending to a fantastic week in Mexico.

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Travel day: After dragging ourselves out of paradise we made it home. Due to some wintery weather, we had a few cancellations and delays but we made it home. I think my kiddos first international trip was a success and we are already planning our next adventure. Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, tree, outdoor, nature and water




Friday, November 2, 2018

The unconditional kind



A little about my dad.

My dad is conservative by nature, republican through and through. He's a disabled coal miner who spent his life in the same town he was born in. He, up until recently, lived in the same house he built with his own hands when he was young. My dad worked hard every day of his life and sacrificed his time and body to provide. He is an example of hard work and persistence.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standingNow, by contrast, let me tell you about his daughter. She's a very liberal; activist and bleeding heart kind of girl who wears her emotions on her sleeve; can't sit still for very long;  had more jobs than possible to count and who just a few years ago, told her dad that she was in love with a woman. If I sat down and thought about, I would need fingers and toes to count the number of times I have moved, lived in another city or decided to change careers.

What do you do if you are like my dad and end up with a daughter who is about as opposite as it gets? Well, if you are anything half as amazing as my dad, you just love her. You don't try to change her, you don't try to understand her, you just love her. That's it.

Fathers, you should take a lesson from my dad. This is how you love your children and even though I am quickly approaching mid-30s, I will always be a daddy's girl. I will always need my dad. I always know no matter what I do, what happens in my life, or where I end up I am always his little girl. That kind of love, that unconditional kind is hard to find.

So, on your birthday, I wanted to say thank you, dad, for never needing me to be anything other than who I am. You taught me how to work hard, love the outdoors, how to be kind and how to love. You are exactly the man I want my boys to be.

I love you and so happy I get to tell you Happy Birthday another year. I hope it's the best one yet.

Friday, October 26, 2018

My own worst enemy

Not everyone who knows me would know; I struggle with anxiety. I try to deal with it, but I will confess, I'm not good at handling my anxiety every second of every day. There are days I just can't, it consumes me. It drains me. Living with anxiety is hard. It's sneaky and hard to detect. You can have it for years and never realize what it is. The best way I can explain anxiety is sort of like this quiet voice in your head that is constantly whispering all of your insecurities and your deepest and most irrational fears. You may not hear where it's coming from or who is saying it, but you hear it constantly and you start to believe it. Anxiety may not always be there all the time, for everyone. For me, there are times it's worse than others. Then there are the times I feel the doubt creep in and the darkness all but swallows me up. I can barely breathe. The previous "what ifs" suddenly turn into "when".


It can be dangerous 
"When will those I love realize how much of a mess I am, and stop loving me?"

"When I try, I'll just fail."

"When is she going to see how unlovable I really am?"

"When am I going to lose it all?"



Suddenly, I am my own worst enemy. I beat yourself up about everything and a simple criticism or someone pointing what I'm doing wrong turns into tears. Sometimes, I even hate myself but I don't tell anyone because they wouldn't understand. So, I just leave the overwhelming chaos and illogical fears and that whispering voice in my head and carry on. I keep the anxiety bottled up until the next time it overflows. But, despite how deep the darkness takes me, I always pull myself out.

I tell myself all situations are temporary. Nothing lasts forever, change is inevitable.

There is no wrong decision. There are a million different decisions that all have different outcomes. The best thing is just to choose one.

I think about all the difficult moments from my past, I survived them and I'll survive this too.

I seek stillness. Sometimes this is running miles, showing up for yoga or a lazy night in. But I have to choose to focus on one thing at a time.

I stop and think of what is going right in my life.




This is so true.


















If you think you are living with anxiety, seek out a therapist. There is nothing wrong with admitting you need help. Everyone needs help sometimes. Your mental health is just as, if not more, important than your physical health. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Where does time go?

Time is so fleeting.

It's not always evident but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. During different stages in our lives, time seems to crawl. Through financially struggling as a young adult and through some of the harder times in your life; time is a turtle walking through peanut butter. Time can almost feel like it's at a standstill.

Then, there are the happier times in our lives, the times when we wish time would slow down the warp speed it travels at. The funny thing about motherhood is, I remember feeling a little of both. This may be one of those things you don't say out loud as a mom but, I remember telling myself as I was fumbling through the house for the 3rd time in the middle of a night that this part of life was temporary. That this time would pass. I knew I wouldn’t always be exhausted and sleep deprived. I knew there would come a time when I would feel human again, when time would pass. How much I would give to go back to those days; the days when I was consumed by the soothing baby smell and the cries that were meant just for me. I miss the days of the sweet sound of my boys calling for "momma". I miss the days of Backyardigans concerts and little toddler giggles. I miss the days of trying to carry a toddler and a baby around while doing the million other things I needed to get done. I miss the chaos and the rogue cheerios and the cries and the total exhaustion. At the time, I honestly didn't think I would ever make it through those days.   But, here I am, wondering where the hell time went.
 
Now, typically I am not super sentimental about parenthood. I am a rational, working mom who knows my time with my kids will not last forever. I'm rational a good majority of the time. I know I am raising them to be independent, free-thinking, compassionate men (I hope). I also know that my job is to guide, teach and lead them as long as I have them at home. Even when I dropped them off at school for their first day this year, I didn't cry. I smiled. I was strong and positive and encouraging.

But this morning, something happened. My oldest son got out of my car and walked with a friend up to his middle school. Now, that doesn't seem like something worth crying over but I did. I spent the car ride to work emotional, wiping tears and reminiscing on the little boy who has all of sudden grown up. My little boy who no longer needs to me to walk him into school, because he's got this, made me realize how much he's grown.

So, here I am wondering, where did time go?


I blinked and now my kids have lives of their own. They have friends and social lives and don't need me like they once did. They have video games to conquer, events to get to and games to be played. My role as the center of their universe has diminished to the person who finds their lost shit. Don't get me wrong, I know they still need me and mom will always be here but I feel the shift. As tiny and incremental as it's happened, I feel it. I feel the tug of the next phase of parenthood and I am trying to prepare myself. I have to prepare myself for what was once story time and cuddles, is now sleepovers and get-togethers. I can do this. So, I wipe my tears. I smile and remember the days of snuggles and kisses and know that no matter how many things I have gotten wrong in this life, loving those two boys is something I have done so right. And so, I will continue to be there. I will continue to adapt to each new phase of motherhood as it comes. I may shed a tear or two along the way but I will do that knowing I have loved my boys so fiercely and no matter how fast the next few years go or where they end up as adults, I will always be mom



Saturday, August 11, 2018

Stay Away from Assholes

All those years ago you found a girl who was empathetic, gentle and kind. You knew she just wanted to make others happy and avoid conflict and you fed on that like the manipulative narcissist you are.

But, I have limits. You have seen those limits, the night I told you I was done. The night you probably remember often. The night I was done with the controlling, lies and manipulation. I was done with doing everything, all the time, always. You had compromised my peace for way too long. I was finally done. I dismissed you from my life. It was simple. The little girl who was scared to take the leap, jumped like a fucking gymnast and never looked back.

Now, even though time has passed, your lies and stories still rear their ugly head. But, you telling false truths and spreading lies and bending the story to benefit you means nothing to me. You mean nothing to me. The people who believe your shit, their prerogative. You are toxic and what toxic people do when they lose control is they try to control the way others see you. That's fine. They will see it, eventually. Or they won't. I don't care. Because I have given you a taste of your medicine and you tell everyone I poisoned you. Funny how that works. But, I give no fucks now. I will never give a fuck anymore. I will not react, because that's what you seek. You seek response and pain and in that gives you power. You have no power. You are insignificant in my life. I have grown, unlike you. I was broken for a long time, you did that. You did it every day, with every comment, every put-down, every manipulation, and every lie.  You made me believe for so long I was worthless and powerless and nothing but yours. Lies. It took me a long time to pull myself out of the fog, to figure out who I was. But, I did.

So,  I ask now, what have you accomplished?

The toxic lies you have spewed.

The hateful things you have puked out.

The disgusting and false stories you've told.

What did that get you? Not me. What did it help? You are just as wrong and bad and hateful as always. You have accomplished nothing. You continue to be nothing in my life. You have scurried for power. You have scraped at pieces of the past trying to grasp at something. But you are the past. And now you know, I am not on this earth to be your punching bag. I no longer have to walk on eggshells or say things to keep the peace. That's not my job any longer. You are not my concern any longer. You are a business transaction and a blip on my radar. I speak with you only when necessary because even on the best days when your words aren't venom, don't think for a second I will ever forget or see through you. I know you more than most, I know the narcissistic ass hole that is hidden beneath the surface. But, I have learned to let some people believe their own lies and stories they make up in their heads. I have also learned one of the best lessons in life, stay away from ass holes. You and the ones like you.






Wednesday, August 8, 2018

My Woman Crush Wednesday



In one of Edgar Allan Poe's poems, he said: "we loved with a love that was more than love". I don't think it was within my ability to even understand the context of that poem until I met you.

I don't think, in my 30 years on this earth, I had met someone like you. Maybe that's not accurate. Maybe I have met you before. I like the idea that probably before this life, I loved you while I was in some other body. Like one of those romantic movies, where two souls continue to search for one another. I like the idea of that. I think that was us. I think that idea explains how I found myself in some random city hundreds of miles from home. I think the moment I heard your voice and my eyes met yours that night, something sparked. I didn’t have a clue what the hell happened, but something big happened.

Image may contain: mountain, outdoor, nature and waterAnd, here I am. After a series of events, that I could replay in my head like one of those songs I play a gazillion times, I find myself in awe every single day. I love my life, for the first time ever I really mean that and you are the reason.

Because of you,

because of my #wcw.

In my time here, in this body, I have met so many people. Some of those people have changed the way I look at things, some of those people I have held onto. But not one single person has impacted me the way you have.

Not one single person has captured my attention like you have.

Not one single person have I really physically felt their absence the way I do with you.

Not one single person has completely consumed my mind and my thoughts the way you have.

Not one single person has calmed my soul the way you have.

By now, you know how restless my soul is. You know stillness is not in my nature. But, somehow you calm my soul. When I am with you it's like the most comforting exhale, everything stills. For someone like me, that feeling is soothing. That feeling and the hold you have on me is more than I can put into words. Being a writer, I try like hell but never quite succeed. So, I will spend the rest of my life trying to give you that version of peace that you give me.  With every hand held, every smile seen and every voice heard I will always find my peace because of you.

I have loved you since I met you and will for as long as I breathe. Then, whatever existence we find ourselves in after this life, I will seek you out so I can love you then. My soul will search for yours and the stillness and happiness you give me.

I love you my every single second of every day, and every single day and every Wednesday for the rest of our lives.

  

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Sexuality

Talking about sexuality is a conversation that makes folks a tad uncomfortable. 

Sexuality is always some big dirty elephant in the room, it’s there and obvious but everyone avoids talking about it. That's because sex has been taught for generations that it's a dirty thing we keep to ourselves. Whether the stigma of sexuality is rooted in religious teachings or just the absence of knowledge we sort of come up short as a society where sexuality is concerned. There are countries and even some existing tribes where talking about sex is as common as talking about the weather but, most places sexuality is still a very taboo topic. We offer sexual education in some schools, we talk to our kids about the birds and the bees but beyond that, how often do we ever really talk about sexuality?

Our own sexuality is such a personal experience.  

But, the thing is, we live in a society where labels are the way we learn about everything; male, female, gay, straight, trans, queer, and so on. These labels are not only how we put sex out in the world; it's how we put sex into a box. If what you are or do is outside of that socially accepted box, we as a society have this insatiable urge to label (again there's that word) you an outsider. How dare you not like what "everyone" else likes? My question is, how do you know what everyone else likes if you don't like to talk about it? I think that's what really baffles me about discrimination involving sexuality of any kind. How it's possible for discrimination against sexual orientation and gender to even exist. The heteronormative lifestyle can be such a private endeavor but it's a bit hypocritical to be completely okay to focus on the way someone else has sex or who they are attracted to or what they want to do with their own bodies? Let's talk about what happened in your bedroom the last time you had sex and see how you feel about it? The double standard is there whether anyone admits it exists or not. Example, I see articles often about what happens in a lesbian couple's bedroom, why? I don't see any lesbian couple chomping at the bit for a play by play of what happened in Sue and Dan's bedroom last week or last year or what have you. If you want to talk about sexuality then I think it's fair to talk about the whole gambit. Don't you agree?

I think as a society we miss this huge neon sign that’s obviously flashing in the foreground, we are all different. We may be aware of that in some capacities but then forget in others. There may be commonalities between people but those should not be the standard. Every person experiences life in their own way. Every person lives, loves and plays in a way that's unique to them. Sexuality is no different. It's a personal experience.  As a society, we have a hard time even having conversations about sexuality. We avoid the uncomfortable at all costs.  I think if those conversations existed, there would be a lot less tendency to banish one behavior or trait or difference to the outside. We would then understand there are so many differences in what happens in the bedroom or what doesn't. Maybe there would be less of a desire to compare others to what is perceived as the norm and more of a desire to accept and be more open.


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I'm not an expert, but I have been on two different sides of the fence as far as sexual orientation goes. So, I see sexuality a little different than most folks on either side. I believe sexuality goes beyond gay and straight. I think gender is beyond male and female. We are born with a million different physical and personality traits, I don't think it's unrealistic to believe those differences are found in our own sexuality either. What is unrealistic is to oversimplify sexuality. We are far more complicated than that. Stop being scared of sex. Stop being afraid of what's different. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

The other F-word

Girl, you are born with a fire inside of you.

Your fire scares everyone.

Image result for feminist quotesThe strength that comes from that fire is intimidating. The strength you have is unmatched. That's why, for as long as we have existed the world has tried to extinguish our fire. To make us lesser than, and weak. Simply because the world fears us.

You can see the fear when you stand up for yourself,

when you raise your voice,

when you tell a man no,

when you do something that's not ladylike.

Most of us are taught when we are little we are supposed to "act like a lady". All the way back to the nursery rhymes, "girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice." We are watered down from birth, taught to play with dolls and pretty things. We are convinced we need someone to make us whole whether that’s a husband, kids, or shiny things. As women, we are told we are pretty or beautiful or a dozen other superficial compliments. Men are complimented on their strength, their drive or determination. They are taught through school to build one another up. They are taught teamwork and camaraderie. Girls are implanted with competition and cattiness. We are infused with jealousy and mistrust of other women.

How amazing would it be if girls were taught to lift each other up and celebrate their ferocity? Instead of bitterness, girls should be taught their self-worth has nothing to do with their thick or thin thighs, the curves they do or don’t have or the color of their skin, hair, whatever. Maybe then, women would stop fearing whether another woman was going to take her man, and instead, she would realize the man was not worth keeping if that was her fear? We are not a bunch of sleeping princesses waiting for our prince to arrive and awake us with a kiss? We have our own damn sword.


I'm a feminist. I'm that other F-word most folks get squeamish about. The thing is; I have not always been the best feminist. I don't really meet the stereotype everyone pictures. I don't hate men. I'm not some angry, bitter lesbian who refuses to shave her pits and wear a bra. Well, scratch that I guess, I am a lesbian but definitely not bitter or angry, and I do shave but the bra part is iffy depending on the time of day. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I have just learned over time that women are sorely underrated and taken for granted. In my lifetime, I have been too loud, too pretty, too smart, too strong, too much of one thing or another to some man. I have been made to feel less than because the man I was with felt less than a man. I have watered myself down to make a man feel better about himself. Never realizing, my strength and my intelligence is not a fault. Just like feminism is not a dirty word. Feminism does not have to look a certain way. It just starts in small increments, the things we teach our daughters and even our sons. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

The Highs and Lows

In the age of social media, it can be easy to see someone’s life and judge your own based on their highs. To see someone’s highlights but never know there’s a struggle going on leads down a dark path. So, here I am being real. I am not always rainbows and sunshine. Some days, anxiety can be found festering below the surface. 

I’m a worry wart. 
I stress, often. 
I take on more than I can handle.
I want to make everyone happy.
I love hard.
I feel deeply.
I have highs and lows.
I get anxious. 
I’m an emotional person.

I know these things about myself. 

And, I always hope knowing them is half the battle. 

 I am a restless soul who rarely slows down. A definite fault of mine. I think because of this, I'm also a person who needs an outlet. Hence, all the running I do. When that slows down or stops, or I take on more than I can handle, shit starts going sideways.  I start to feel the ropes that I usually keep sorted and knotted up neatly, pull me in a million different directions. 

On bad days, I can still show up and make an effort to treat the world better than it treats me. But, I sometimes have really bad days. I have times when I can’t deal. Those days, I just can’t. Negativity doesn't bounce off so well, it digs its heels in deep. Those are the days where holding my shit together isn’t possible. I become a bit self-destructive. I get so down on myself that I can feel the self-loathing ooze from every pore. Those days, I don't know what else to do but cry. Those days don't happen often, luckily. But, they are the days I need extra; extra time, extra patience and extra love.

But, I'm a work in progress. I have been broken to pieces and glued myself together anew. I'm not who I was, I have grown and changed and am more myself now than I have ever been. So, I forgive myself...

Today, I will breathe.
I will think of solutions, not problems.
Today I will not let worry get the best of me.
Today my stress will not control me.
I will breathe,
Because I’m a badass woman.
I am gentle and strong.
I am fire and grace. 
I will smile on purpose.
I’ve got this.




Monday, June 25, 2018

Choices

Some days I have the patience of saints. I can roll with comments and questions and handle blatant discrimination in stride.

On the other hand, some days, I have no patience for ignorance or crudeness. Today was one of those days.

Listen, I'm not a scientist of any kind. I don't know anyone else's journey but my own. I'm not pretending to.
On that same token, no matter what people choose to believe, my lifestyle is mine. I don't need to explain to anyone why I do what I do. However, I feel like ignorance is perpetuated if you don't educate.

So, here is my lesson for the day:

I was born gay. I didn't wake up one Tuesday morning and think how much fun it would be to "turn" gay. There was no decision process to decide whether I wanted to be attracted to men or women. Yes, I dated boys and married a man. Believe me, I have done a lot of reflection and I think a big part of this is because of where I'm from. I have talked about this numerous times in the past. My environment was very conservative, religious and all things discriminatory you can throw into one geographical area. I was never a kid that questioned much of anything. Being raised in a conformist Christian area where anything not out of the bible was sinful, meant discovering myself or anything out of the pews was off limits. We were in church every single day the doors were open. Fire and brimstone can really deter one from being very curious about much of anything. But, I don't really regret that I was raised that way because my parents had the very best intentions. However, questioning beliefs isn't really super encouraged in a conservative church. 
Image may contain: 1 person, ocean, sky, outdoor, nature and waterSo, I did what I was supposed to do. I was a good girl who followed the rules. I had periods of angst but for the most part, I did what I was supposed to. Including, getting married and having babies. But, don't think for a second the guy I was married to didn't know about my attraction to women, he did. He was well aware from the first days of our relationship when we were too young to even know what responsibility was. But, I was very open about it. But, I never acted on it which is something I regret. I lived a life that was not fair to me. I lived a life knowing there was so much more than what I was getting. Nonetheless, responsibilities come into play, expectations are very clear and there I was.. married to a man while fantasizing what it would be like to be with a woman. That was what I chose for a long damn time.

BUT, let me be clear, I did not "choose" to be gay. I didn't suddenly become attracted to women because I had been burned by men. Sexuality doesn't work that way. I didn't "choose" to be gay because of a bad marriage. The only choice in the whole deal was choosing who to be with. I chose to act on the feelings that had been consuming me from the moment I met my wife. I didn't wake up and suddenly find women attractive. If you think that’s how it happens,  there is a fantastic experiment you can do, are you willing to try?

Okay, here it is. Tomorrow, wake up and willingly chose to be attracted to someone of the same sex. Go ahead, pick someone. Really focus on it. Give it all you got to be physically and emotionally attracted to the person you choose.

How'd that work for you?

Now, stop believing its some choice that's made. You can no more make yourself desire having sex with someone of the same sex than you can choose to have the color eyes you have. You can alter your eyes with contacts; you can try to hide what color they are, but it doesn't change the color.


There you go, your lesson on sexual orientation for the day. 


Image result for gay pride quotes

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Hard Stuff

There is a school of psychology that teaches the concept that every person sees the world through their own perceptions. So essentially, two people can see a single event and it means completely different things to them and affect them in different ways. The world is all about perception. How we perceive things is the reality for each and every person. Whether it’s assumptions between exes as you climb the summit of co-parenting; relationships with two people blending their lives and baggage together or even co-workers struggling to reach the same career goals. It’s these assumptions and perceptions that inevitably lead to conflict. 

Let’s take the everyday personal conflict one step further, assumptions can be a slippery slope to discrimination. How many cruel words have been said, feelings hurt and rejection felt from questions that could have been asked or words are spoken? How easy is it to assume you know what someone’s life is like? Why not take the time to ask or learn? Nothing is harder than asking the awkward question or open that line of communication in a real and genuine way. I promise it’s received so much better than a crude joke or behind the back laughter or bible verses tossed at someone misunderstood. Don’t make up a story for someone’s life because you don’t know. It’s always easier to create a picture or image out of simple ignorance or lack of knowledge than take the time to understand or talk. Take yourself out of the small world you live in and consider the possibility of a whole world existing our there beyond your door.


So I’ve read about a monastery that has a weekly meeting that just spends a couple hours every Tuesday as a sort of briefing for the week. This simple meeting is the place where communication is utilized without judgment. If one guy didn’t do his chore and another is pissed off, they talk about it. Often times it’s as simple as someone assuming the other person had it and they thought the same. That miscommunication led to a week of unnecessary anxiety and possibly even turmoil in that person's life when it’s was something easily solved with words. So that one night a week they hash it out, and the harmony that ensues after is magical. Everyone leaves the session without regret or any resentment that typically result from words not said and assumptions made. Resentment is the direct result of words not said compounded over time. I know it’s a silly concept but how much awesomeness could come if you spent an hour or two each week with your loved one, your spouse, your co-workers and just hashed things out? Okay maybe hash is too gruff of a word, maybe talk. Just a few minutes to see things from their perspective or just consider that they have a completely different perspective? Get uncomfortable and say the hard things.
Communication isn’t easy, it’s uncomfortable and hard but essential. Don’t assume you know. Talk. 

St. Louis on foot

So, I just got back from St. Louis, Missouri. I spent 5 days working and sightseeing in the show me state.

Now, when I visit a new place I am terrible at having a plan. If I am being prepared, I will have a general idea of the things I want to see but usually, wing it once I get there. Life happened this time and I honestly went into this trip with no plan other than seeing the arch, which was where my hotel was located, I had nothing on my agenda.

But, once I landed I hit the ground running, literally. I checked into my hotel, laced up my running shoes and explored the area around my hotel, on foot. The arch is massive, unfortunately, the inside of the arch was on winter hours and I was unable to take the inside tour because of work. But, seeing the outside of the arch and the beautiful park surrounding it was enough for me.

Since I was there for work, I kept my budget pretty tight. I used Uber twice and only because I found myself in an unsafe part of town. The rest of the trip I rented a bike or put on my good ol' running shoes. I have to say, St. Louis was a very bikeable city. The majority of downtown was equipped with bicycle dedicated lanes. I think it was honestly one of the most fun ways I have toured a city. Usually driving around you miss a lot and don't get to see some of the restaurants and shops, but the downside can be the inability to go too far out from your base.
Forest Park

In addition to the arch, I explored some of the highlights of the city I found online. I was able to make it to Forest Park, which was gorgeous. I actually even found wooded trails, which shocked me. Inside of Forest Park was an awesome, and free, art museum that was packed with fantastic exhibits.

Forest Park
Now, even though I saw some cool sights, the best part of the trip was the food! I stayed at the Hyatt while I was there and honestly the food in the hotel restaurant, Brewhouse Historical Sports Bar. They had delicious tacos and the yummiest burritos. I had a chance to check out the local barbeque at a place called Sugarfire and the taco scene was AMAZING. I biked one evening to a place called Mission Taco Joint and I am telling you right now, best taco I have put in my mouth. If you EVER have a chance to check it out, DO IT!

Mission Taco Joint
The park where the coffee shop was
Now, to end the trip I cannot forget to tell you about the most awesome coffee shop in town, Kaldi's Coffe. I had breakfast there which was an amazing vegan breakfast burrito followed by a coffee that would make Starbucks cry. It's rare to find a coffee shop that exceeds the coffee I had in Iceland but let me tell you, that one came pretty damn close.



So my overall review of St. Louis was pretty great, I spent most of the week working but I utilized the time I had to explore a bit of the Midwest. I'd like to go back and spend a bit more time, and maybe even have more toasted ravioli.









Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Coming out, over and over again.

Coming out is not something that happens once and it's over.

Coming out is something that happens every time I talk about my wife, or get asked about "my husband" when they see the ring on my finger. Nope, sorry no husband here.

Coming out is just a part of my life. Maybe if I walked around with a rainbow flag I wouldn't have to, but I keep it tucked away until PRIDE, so I just know coming out is something I have to do.

But, as you may recall from past blog posts, the first time I came out was with a bang. Coming out at work was gradual and less dramatic. The anxiety accompanied with the initial big reveal has faded. Nevertheless, I continue to experience coming out over and over again.

I say all of this because yet again, I was in a situation over the weekend where I had to come out.. again. I participated in an event for my graduate degree on campus, which is back in Kentucky. As soon as I found out I had to go and participate in a personal growth group, my nerves went bonkers. Those very nerves made this typically extrovert girl, bury herself in her invisible turtle shell. Why? I dreaded having to come out to my group of cohorts. I was just scared. Scared what would be said. Scared how I would be looked at. Scared for the judgement. I put up my armor. Let me tell you, If you've never worn armor, it's fucking exhausting. But, I could have not said a word. I could have kept my armor up and kept my private life private but I feel like that's wrong. Hiding the fact that I have a wife feels wrong. So, I made the choice,  I came out.

How'd it go you wonder? Fine. The build up was worse in my mind of course.  There were questions, which makes me happy. There was a little judgement but there is always judgement of some sort; human nature I suppose. But, for the most part it went well. I always feel like when I come out, someone learns something new. Stereotypes are hopefully challenged and maybe someone who hears my story gets something positive out of it.

First question I got, how did my kids handle it.

Usually that's the first question. I don't know why that is, if it's a religious thing. I don't know if  people assume there is perversion and madness or if its just an honest to goodness curiosity. No matter the reason, I always answer; my boys are happy.

The unknown is where people have the ability to create assumptions in their mind. Just like any divorce or ending of a relationship that involve kids, there is an adjustment. There was no more of an adjustment for my kids than if I would have introduced them to a guy instead of a girl. They have no biases. They had always been told love looks different for everyone. They saw their mother happy and they were satisfied. Our family is like any other. We love, we lose patience, we laugh, we do normal things. We are so very normal.

So, I will continue to come out. I will continue to answer that question and any other over and over again and I will hope that somewhere I am positively affecting someone. I hope at some point I won't have to come out and it will be completely normal. I hope assumptions will exist less and less. But until then, it's well worth the nerves and coming out over and over again to hopefully alleviate biases.



Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Gulf Coast Adventures

Seeing the world and enjoying life is sort of at the top of my to-do list. I love to travel to new places and experience as much as I can while I'm there. This past month I had the opportunity to explore the sunny and beautiful Saint Petersburg. Florida.  I got lucky enough, in between attending a conference, to experience some of the best parts of the area. My wife came along for the adventure and I gotta say, I will definitely be going back at some point. 
The trip started with stepping out of the airport to the most perfect weather I have ever felt. April in Florida is amazing. I left Pittsburgh in a hoodie and landed in perfect sunny Florida. After finding the hotel and unloading we went on the hunt for some food. My wife spent a good amount of her 20s in Japan, so she was ecstatic to find a legit ramen noodle place. The food was delicious and according to her, super authentic. 
After filling our bellies we took an Uber to the Weedon Island Preserve  and rented a couple of kayaks from a cute little side of the road stand and spent the next two hours beneath the mangrove trees. A fantastic place to kayak! 

Day 2 was filled with conference sessions and networking while the love of my life lounged at the pool and explored a little of downtown. After session ended, we walked (through a part of town where Rottweilers were running around without a human) and made our way to a rental car place. I just want to say we had awesome Uber drivers and they gave awesome advice but if you want to see the best sites, rent a car. 


So with rental car on the road we headed straight for a Sunset Booze Cruise at Madeira Beach. For super cheap, my wife and I spent a couple hours cruising around the inner harbor at John's pass while ending on the gulf for a stunning sunset. Oh and did I mention, free beer and wine? A must do if you're looking for some evening fun. 


After that we landed at Mad Beach Brewing for some delicious food and awesome craft beer. 




Day 3
, bongo bands and more conference followed by a drive back to the beach. This time, we got our toes in the gulf while we waited for our parasailing appointment. This was our most expensive venture but, well worth it. If you have never been lifted 400 feet in the air for unbeatable views, I highly recommend. The guys at Gator Parasail  kindly waited for us (we got a bit lost finding the place, make sure you read the email a couple of times) and helped ease our nerves as they hoisted us up. 

Parasailing is an unforgettable experience, how many times in your life to you honest to goodness get to feel like a bird? Do it. 






Our last day, after the conference ended, we found ourselves at Fort De Soto Park, where we hoped a little ferry to Egmont Key.  While seeing dolphins follow the boat, we listened to the captain and first mate tell us about the island we were heading on where we would be spending the next several hours. Egmont Key is not drive-able and the only way to get there is on a ferry or boat. This was my kind of place, uninhabited. We spent our time there exploring the island, snorkeling, gathering shells and chasing Manatees. 

There is something so beautiful in places like this....





After a week packed with sight seeing and exploring the beautiful gulf coast every second we had, we headed to the airport.. sad to leave. 

I have never been a huge beach lover, mainly because sand fleas love the taste of me, but also because of how commercial and congested they can be. St. Petersburg is happening, don't get me wrong but you can find so much adventure there, if you look.