I’m not a bad person for cutting out a friend who chose addiction

I know I’m not a bad friend.

Still sometimes my heart and my mind collide.

It had been months of no contact when my daughter’s picture appeared on my ex best friend’s profile picture (read to the friend that isn’t a friend anymore).

My jaw hit the ground.

I had boldly and clearly expressed my wishes in this relationship… what did she want from me?!

A tone that sounds so cold but saying goodbye to that friendship was never easy for me either.

I made one of the bravest protests in my life by saying I wasn’t going to do this one way friendship anymore.

Then I just shut off the feelings completely so that I could learn to live with that choice.

It’s just as hard as choosing to leave the one who keeps cheating on you- not because you want to but because you need to.

I want the friendship back so badly but she isn’t in a stage where she’s going to chose to grow up any time soon.

We all have our limits.

This isn’t my rollercoaster.

But that wasn’t always the case.

You see, part of the freaking problem is that same annoying voice in the back of my head that keeps whispering, “you gave up on your friend… those are not your values.”

This voice sits and interrogates me until I’m blue in the face in conflict with myself.

A voice that’s so beyond false I can’t even believe it yet the power it still holds over me is so much more than I like to admit- even to myself.

This process has been constant battles of reminding myself of who I really am and the lengths I went to trying to save the friendship.

I wanted you back so badly and you still picked the drugs- again and again.

It was TWO YEARS of desperately searching for a way to fix this addiction.

I never compromised my values by refusing to enable her.

She mainly kept her distance and disappeared for long periods of time, leaving my mind to fester.

Boy did I make myself crazy in those two years…

I spent more time trying to fix her self-inflicted situation than I gave to my own family.

As a wife and mom to two young children, I feel like that in itself is why I did all that I possibly could have until it just wasn’t enough.

Instead of comforting my husband after a long day at work, I would obsessively google her name to make sure she hadn’t died yet.

While she was shooting up to numb the chaos she’d created, I was living all of it in full strength and it was freaking terrifying.

I did it because that is the type of friend that I am.

After two years of begging, pleading, making myself crazy, I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I never wanted to lose her as a friend, but our lives have taken two very different paths.

How many friends from grade school have you grown apart from?

More than you can count probably.

As we grow and change the people that mesh well in our lives change also.

It is completely appropriate to grow apart from people- that’s life.

Putting needles in my arm and nodding out in a motel isn’t really my thing and I think that it’s fair for me to acknowledge that.

I would have helped her get clean but she didn’t want the help to do it properly because she doesn’t want to be clean.

Being fed by a household that enables her every need.

Call me insensitive but as a former addict myself, addiction is NOT a disease that makes you incapable of asking for help.

You have to want help and be ready to put in some insanely hard work… you have to OWN everything and everyone you ever wronged while using.

This requires a great deal of not so comfortable self reflecting.

There is nothing easy about looking in the mirror and doing some serious, heavy self reflection.

It’s not an easy process, and yes I would know because I’VE BEEN THERE.

I came to that dead end where I’d had enough of what I’d made of myself and so I changed.

Until an addict makes it to that road, they will keep hiding behind their “disease”- another reason “they’ve been done wrong in this world”.

This ball is in her court and her court only.

I’m genuinely sad that our story had to end this way.

When she stood next to me as a bridesmaid at my wedding, I never could have imagined this is where we’d be in four years.

I hate that I just wasn’t enough to make you want to get clean.

It kills me that I couldn’t be that friend who helped you get through this dark time.

I’m sorry that I couldn’t help you get back to the sweet person I first became friends with.

I genuinely pray that someday this will all make sense to you.

Saying goodbye was insanely hard for me but it was a choice that I stand behind.

No matter how twisted the story gets through the telephone line, I know who I am.

I’m not the person who just dropped their friend when they started using heroin.

I am a die hard believer in a person who is hiding behind drugs and I refuse to put myself through their negligent choices anymore.

I am a girl who loves her friends SO much that I will NOT bite my lip and settle for anything less than what’s best for them.

I will fight for what’s best for her, with or without her, until the day I die. ❣️

Check out my Project Identity for more empowering content! ❣️❣️❣️

To the person that doesn’t feel beautiful right now

I get it.

I know it’s hard feeling beautiful sometimes.

For many of us, genuine self confidence is a major hurdle.

‘Because I’m not beautiful …’

Says your mind.

Your mind is lying.

You can’t win the game it’s playing.

You’ve been chasing after perfection as if it’s obtainable.

But your eyes are lying too.

In this messy world with these cookie cutter goals…

The girl you see with what looks like everything, is living with a broken mirror as well.

She has her self imposed imperfections on display, yet none can see except the broken eyes that feel this way.

We are our own toughest critics.

Nobody sees us like we see ourselves.

Many of us are too busy shredding our own insecurities to have time to nitpick the invisible “flaws” in others.

I know that when you go out and feel like a spotlight is on you, like everyone is staring at your “flaws”, it’s hard to believe it.

But the streets are not filled with these materialistic beliefs that we are hammering into ourselves.

**eye roll**

Goes your mind.

Maybe you don’t feel beautiful because a toxic relationship stripped you of every sense of your worth.

As much as you try to remember who you really are, those pieces feel as if they are fading away.

Maybe a hurtful comment has branded truth into your negative feelings about yourself.

‘It must be true because someone else said it.’

So, SO false.

There is truth in the statement, “you will never be happy if your happiness is somewhere else”.

We feed these inner voices that are constantly compromising our happiness.

What if we really didn’t “need to just lose five pounds”, or “get a littleeee bit of Botox”, and we could just love ourselves like God loves us, simply?

What if instead of drowning in a pool of everything we hate about ourselves, we worked towards silencing those thoughts with the things we like about ourselves?

What if we tried “nurturing ourselves beautiful” instead of continuously failing at “hating ourselves pretty”?

Such a profound display of self love could be the key that unlocks your prison.

Every day is as beautiful as you choose to make it.

While day dreaming of your perfect physique may seem innocent enough, it’s not a healthy place to linger.

The fact is that you are not “that girl you’d die look like”.

You aren’t “shorter”, “blue eyed”, “skinny”.

By dwelling on the idea that your happiness lives in these things, you are setting yourself up for a long life of discontent.

What if the secret to feeling beautiful was way more obtainable than you thought…?

I know that telling you to love the person that you hate is the last thing you probably want to hear.

And that is the problem.

The truth is my dear, you are so beautiful.

You don’t need to change yourself, you need to change your mirror.

Check out Project Identity for more inspirational content! ❣️

The process of finding yourself

Is there a part of you that feels like you don’t really know who you are?

As I read through old journal entries dated from childhood to adolescence, there is a common theme to them.

“Who am I?”

“What is my identity?”

This confusing sense of identity has been a constant in my life.

I know myself but I just feel like I’m missing something… who am I really?

The moment I “lost myself” is not an incredibly clear one.

My best guess would be the transition into teenage years.

When you are struggling to fit in, you keep trying on different masks until you find one that people like.

I never found that mask but I did find alcohol, which always took the edge off of the excruciating feeling of living in my own skin.

Tired of failing at being accepted for who I was, I stopped trying completely and pursued the next best option- numbing.

When I was 13, I achieved the feeling of being completely numb for the first time.

Alcohol became my best friend.

When I was drinking, I just didn’t care.

I didn’t care that I was ugly.

I didn’t care that nobody liked me.

I didn’t care that life was racing in a blur around me when I was supposed to be growing into a decent young adult.

The negative choices I made in my adolescence are what robbed me of my identity.

I freaking gave up on myself, gave up on finding my mask.

I chose to hide behind the emptiness of covering up my pain with substance.

Now in my adult years feeling a void in establishing my personal foundation.

I missed all of that and so now, that I’m mature enough to go and try on masks again, I’m figuring it out one mistake at a time.

Life is crazy you guys.

I took a risk when I chose to find myself.

Self reflection isn’t the easiest when you have a battered past.

“I want to go back and relive my worst traumas!” Said no one ever.

But those traumas are literal chains that will keep us bound until we face them.

In the process of finding myself, parts of the old me had to die.

The haunting shadows of the scariest memories of my life felt like a reality again for quite some time as I sorted through it all.

I got a lot crazier before I got better.

I’ll never forget my very first session with my anxiety therapist.

I was two months pregnant with my second child and had already gained 20 pounds.

It was the first time I had eaten like a normal person after an Exercise anorexia 8 month spiral.

I had stopped taking 4mg of prescribed Xanax a day cold turkey because I didn’t want to hurt my baby.

Every day was one big panic attack.

She asked me to say aloud,

“I am beautiful.”

And I couldn’t.

Instead anger and tears erupted in defense of my self deprecation.

We spent three years poking and prying, in which time I became completely nuts.

The first phase of finding myself was filled with anger and blame on others.

In that time I irrationally pointed the finger and blew up on my mom multiple times.

I would call her and be freaking out, sometimes even yelling, about something that I was understanding for the first time.

These memories stemmed from my grieving mind fiercely and emotionally believing that I had been done wrong.

It was a long going, deep seeded outburst of emotions I was just coming to terms with for the first time.

I found out that my Mom has Borderline Personality Disorder.

Her symptoms of the mental illness distorted my perception of myself.

I wasn’t actually “the ugliest kid in the entire world”, and if we are being real, I can’t blame her for the fact that I never found myself.

The first part of finding myself required facing some heavy shit so that I could live a better life.

The second part of finding myself was a beautiful blossoming into who I was always supposed to be.

Like a butterfly spreading its wings for the very first time, I broke free from the hell that had been consuming me.

The process of finding yourself is a journey of understanding that you are the only one who can change your situation.

The moment you decide to own responsibility for everything in your life, is the moment you become a butterfly. 🦋

It’s worth the process.

Check out Project Identity for more inspirational content and resources. ❣️

Self validation

“Stop it Alexis, you are such a hypochondriac!”

I’ll admit, I’m definitely on the dramatic side.

My animated personality and high functioning anxiety have unintentionally given me this reputation of being a complete hypochondriac.

A lifetime of being told that every inner intuition was a joke has taken from the grace I give myself.

Sinus infections have been a major part of my life.

I genuinely can’t even remember when this all started as that moment was likely silenced with the distrust I’ve developed towards my own sensations.

I’ve been muddling through life, neglecting chronic facial pain by reaffirming to myself that I’m “just being dramatic”.

I don’t feel fine.

I’ve had a sinus infection for as long as I can remember.

Every day begins with a blaring sinus headache.

Attempting to focus on anything is an impossible task.

It feels like living in a perpetual grogginess.

‘Stop being so dramatic.’

Drowning my thoughts with this message as I attempt to pull through another day.

The frustration lies in the fact that I can’t just turn it off.

No matter how much I try to convince myself that I’m fine, I don’t feel fine.

I’m playing a constant game of manipulation with myself.

It’s a confusing way to live.

Trips to the doctor happen as time and patience allow.

Usually this looks like long periods of not wanting to deal with it until it gets so bad that I cave in.

This past year, as symptoms became increasingly unbearable, I received at least five separate six-week trials of antibiotics and steroids.

The medications provide some minor relief but the problem always returns abruptly.

Over time, I’ve convinced myself that this is just “normal”.

And it is normal, for me at least.

2019 has been a year of taking back control of my health.

I’m tired of feeling like crap all the time… this isn’t normal!

I got a new psychiatrist who actually wants to work as a team.

I broke it off with my anxiety therapist after we couldn’t come to an agreement on proceeding with EMDR.

And finally, I had a CT scan done on my sinuses.

The results were one big wake up call.

“Your CT shows some major changes in your sinuses due to chronic inflammation.”

The doctor then began walking me through the imagery.

First he showed me an example of a normal CT scan of the sinuses.

The image showed air pockets throughout the sinus cavities.

My images were almost a complete contrast.

The right side appeared to be completely blacked out.

The left side, a close runner up, with only tiny pockets of air visible.

“How have you been functioning like this…? You have got to be miserable.”

He said, with complete empathy.

Words that were absorbed like a foreign language.

“I don’t know… I guess I just thought everyone felt like this all the time.”

I was referred to ENT to meet with a surgeon, whose remarks on my CT weren’t much better.

He stuck a scope down my nose to take a peek.

The good news?

I don’t have nasal polyps, which could require recurrent surgeries throughout life.

The bad news?

My sinuses have been inflamed for so long that some of the sinus cavities are swollen closed.

The right side has 3 of 4 nasal cavities completely sealed from inflammation.

The left side is narrowing and bacterial fluid has begun stockpiling.

Both sides will require surgery.

The surgery I’m having will require “cutting out bone” to reopen the sinus passages, allowing them to drain for the first time in years.

Multiple doctors commenting that this surgery could potentially be life changing.

I’m ready to experience this new normal.

April 3rd is the big day and it honestly can’t come soon enough.

I’m ready to experience life at my full potential.

In the meantime I’m left pondering a powerful lesson on self validation.

You see, if I had just listened to my intuition, this could have been taken care of a long time ago.

I have nobody to blame but myself for such neglect.

“Something in my body feels off.”

Is a statement that isn’t up for discussion.

You are the only person who knows how you feel.

Yet society has us trained to value the opinions of others above our own; To practice self care the way in which we were taught, which may not even be the best method for us personally.

I’ve learned that the opinions of others are irrelevant when addressing my personal feelings.

What are your self care habits?

Are you an exemplary advocate for your inner intuition?

Or is your shadow trying to tell you something…?

Check out Project Identity for more empowering content! ❣️

Exercise anorexia

**WARNING: Some of the content/images in this post may be triggering for individuals in recovery from an eating disorder! **

It was time to get back on a diet.

My eating disorder makes it difficult to lose weight without going extreme…

Even when I’m making every effort to not be obsessive, I find myself subconsciously testing the boundaries.

In 2015, I found a new way to “cheat the system” and have an eating disorder without “having an eating disorder”.

It started as a semi-innocent attempt to lose a little bit of weight and quickly spiraled into a full fledged eating disorder- but not the type of eating disorder that people talk about.

Although I wasn’t quite “clinically” overweight…yet, I was the heaviest that I had ever been and I felt like I needed to take control of my health.

November 2015

Losing weight freaking sucks.

I swear that you are never more “hangry” than when on a diet.

In 2009, I was hospitalized for anorexia and bulimia. (Read for more on that experience in Tell me to eat? I’ll starve myself.)

Whenever I think “lose weight” my brain goes immediately to starvation.

Starve yourself = get skinny.

When I’m serious about something I want results and I want them quick.

With the help of my Fitbit activity tracker, some low calorie/ high protein drink mix, and a food logging app, I had everything I needed to go full on eating disorder for almost a year.

I struggle with severe anxiety.

Many days it about controls my everyday life.

At the start of this new “diet”, I experienced the relief from my anxiety with an endorphin high achieved by high intensity exercise.

It also just so happened to fit right in with my new “healthy lifestyle”.

The statistics on my Fitbit were THRILLING- driving me to push myself beyond my limits.

The next piece to my master plan was the PERFECT protein powder.

Researching like crazy to find the best low calorie, high protein, powder.

Eventually choosing a brand that offered an 130 calorie serving while packing a whopping 30 grams of protein.

The original plan?

Substitute a couple meals with the protein shake.

The actual plan?

Protein shake with water for breakfast- 130 Cal

Protein shake with water for lunch- 130 Cal

Regular dinner with the family- max 300 Cal (typically consisting of a bite or two that I would chew very slowly to trick myself that I was eating more.)

Days that I didn’t have to cook I’d drink a third shake for dinner and skid through the day with 390 calories.

This new “diet” allowed myself a measly maximum of 560 calories a day.

Before I knew it my eating disorder was out of hand.

The initial adjustment was insanely hard.

I would think about food every second of every day.

It was miserable.

The only way to distract myself from the hunger was by exercising… all. day. long.

It wasn’t abnormal to have 600+ “active minutes” every single day.

There wasn’t time for anything else anymore.

My days literally revolved around trying to exercise the hunger out of me.

This was explained to loved ones as, “the more I burn, the more I can eat!”

Though the calorie allowance never actually adjusted.

Exercise became the most important thing in the world to me.

I withdrew from friends because I knew they wouldn’t be “up” for what I did all day- and I had to do it.

There were no exceptions, there were no “breaks”.

I clearly remember dropping out of anxiety therapy because I didn’t want to sit down for a full hour and not be burning calories.

But oh no, “I didn’t have an eating disorder”.

I was just “being healthy”- which also happens to be much more socially accepted.

Don’t get me wrong.

Exercise is indeed very healthy and an extremely important aspect of health.

This wasn’t just exercise though, this was an eating disorder.

February 2016

Exercise wasn’t healthy when it began taking priority over every other thing in my life.

390-560 calories a day is totally unacceptable- certainly not adequate fuel for 15+ miles of exercise a day.

Exercise anorexia is still not clearly recognized as an eating disorder, though some developments are being made in that direction.

I’m writing this because I know loud and clear that these behaviors were just as deadly as my anorexia/bulimia hospitalization in 2009.

Even though I weighed 100 pounds more this time around and was practicing what our society views as “normal healthy behavior”, it was equally valid as an eating disorder.

Eventually I plateaued and the extreme behaviors weren’t making me any skinnier.

By then, I needed to be skinnier… a lot skinnier.

If you have an eating disorder you can understand the feeling of never being skinny enough.

You could die as a pile of bones and still believe that you left this world “fat”.

And that’s what fuels this sick addiction.

I continued trying to amp up my workouts.

‘5 more pounds!’

One day, literally waking up from the kitchen floor.

Instead of feeling scared and ready to throw in the towel, I felt an overwhelming rush of pride.

I had starved and overexerted myself to the point of literally collapsing and this was something I accepted like a trophy.

My “out” came when I became pregnant in June 2016.

No way was I going to harm my baby trying to achieve the perfect physique.

My body quickly packed on the pounds after months of starvation.

I had zero energy, was hungry all day long, and embraced this change in protection of my pregnancy.

February 2017

Thankfully, I have been able to maintain regular eating habits after a short relapse postpartum.

I still haven’t lost all of my baby weight… and that’s something I’m learning to be okay with.

I’m blessed to have a husband who loves me just as much at a size 10 as he did at size 0.

You guys, these superficial standards that we all feel the need to chase after are so ridiculous.

God didn’t create food so it would give us panic attacks.

You are beautiful exactly the way you are. ❣️

Freedom from my eating disorder has been incredible.

I’m not confined to superficial desires anymore or the disappointment that comes with them.

Instead I’m choosing happiness, self love, and confidence.

You are all you have.

Be kind to yourself.

Self love looks beautiful on you! ❤️

January 2019

Check out my blog, Project Identity for more inspirational stuff! 💕

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, check out the links below!

Meet Nikki, my eating disorder. talks about who is really in control when you have an eating disorder.

Understanding Bulimia for more info on Bulimia.

Tell me to eat? I’ll starve myself. my hospitalization for Anorexia/Bulimia.

Through the ears of my eating disorder for loved ones of someone struggling!

Drop a comment or send me message for additional help! ❣️💕❣️

❤️

Changing the mental health system

There is a major issue in our world that we are all very aware of yet nobody wants to talk about it.

What am I speaking on?

Mental illness.

Our society is built on the idea of “being perfect”.

Every day we wake up and put on our best faces for the world.

Our social media’s are filled with smiling faces and while I’m not disagreeing that our lives have picture perfect moments, I’m calling bluff on this “perfection” front.

We are human and we are flawed.

Though our reality is a planet full of people who are desperately chasing after perfection.

We are not Jesus.

Instead we have Jesus, to teach us the most raw lessons of forgiveness as we inevitably mess up, time and time again.

And then there’s this thing called life.

Life is not peaches and cream people.

Life is a journey full of ups and downs, heart beats and heart breaks, setbacks and stand ups.

As our broken souls chase this fantasy idea of being “perfect”, it’s understandable that we internalize every failure as a flaw.

Life gets hard and we are trained to pretend that everything is fine, that we are fine.

Mental health isn’t discussed in the way physical health is.

And why?

They are in fact, one in the same.

People are so accepting of any body part breaking down, except our minds.

When our minds are broken, nobody wants to talk about it.

Instead our society is still running on this stigma that views the mentally ill as monsters.

People who are mentally ill are weird, unpredictable, dangerous.

It’s the 21st century and the advancements being made decade by decade are monumental.

Advancements in the mental health system on the other hand have been minimal.

If you are genuinely unaware of how bad this situation is, check out An “insiders” opinion on the mental health system.

This is not an isolated incident.

Our mental health system is a freaking joke you guys.

It’s unacceptable.

For anyone who has never experienced mental illness, I hear you.

It has got to be confusing as hell when somebody “can’t just be happy”.

I get that you don’t understand.

Similar to the everyday battles someone with a physical ailment faces, yet also very different.

Our eyes can see why the man with one arm struggles in climbing the rope, our eyes validate this understanding.

When someone’s mind is under attack there is nothing to validate their behavior- nothing that screams “wow, I can’t imagine how hard it must be getting out of bed every morning”.

In turn this equals stigma and grave misunderstanding of the mentally ill.

When our brains are under attack we are left with a world of broken resources.

Mental illness is a tax on the poor.

If you can’t meet the price tag, genuine help is literally non-existent.

There isn’t a logical plan in place to actually help these people.

What needs to be done to change this?

Who are the mentally ill?

The bus driver, your next door neighbor, your best friends brother, your mom.

It’s not just the horrific individuals who commit mass shootings; the “crazy people” being tied down and shipped to an insane asylum in the movies.

Nobody is exempt from getting a mental illness.

Why are people in crisis being treated like animals?

Why are our publicly available crisis centers releasing people crazier than when they were admitted?

There is obvious room for improvement in the system and we need to do this to help our people.

Being suicidal in today’s world is like needing an emergency appendectomy in a world without doctors.

In my mind there are so many things that we could do differently.

Safe havens shouldn’t feel so cold.

I am coming up on one year of doing this blog.

It has been an insane process of self reflection and growth.

I’ve decided that I am extremely passionate about advocating for the mentally ill- people like myself.

It’s a cause that we are all too familiar with but refuse to constructively change.

It sucks being mentally ill in a world that views mental illness as abnormal.

And I’m ready to start pushing for changes.

Share this post if you want change in the mental health system.

If this post hits 5,000 shares, I will personally draft up a game plan and do everything in my power to get it to Colorado legislature.

Who better to brainstorm a solution than the people who know this battle all too well?

Together we can change the way the world views and treats mental illness.

Change starts here.

Check out my blog Project Identity for more empowering content. 💕💕💕

Who am I aside from “mom”?

Last week my Mother-in-law took both of my kiddos overnight.

As a stay at home mom for almost two years, it was a bittersweet feeling.

There was this ominous blaring of freedom along with an overbearing sense that I was missing a big piece of myself.

Waking up the next morning to a quiet house and calmly walking into the kitchen.

Greeted with a rush of confusing emotions.

How do I start my morning without my kids?!

The moment was surprisingly overwhelming, igniting a stream of tears down my cheek.

‘Who even am I besides Mom…?’

I’m not your average mom.

When I got pregnant the first time it wasn’t mapped out to happen according to my “picture perfect plan”.

I was 19 and a full blown alcoholic when I got my positive pregnancy test.

I didn’t know how to take care of myself at the time… let alone the life of a tiny human.

There wasn’t a house or a husband… it was indeed, very backwards.

January 2012

I posted this photo to announce the news.

The caption stating, “joining the mommy club!”.

The things that people wrote in response to that post were terrible.

In their defense, the thought of that person as a mom was rightfully baffling…

“That baby is going to be so messed up!”

Only God knew what I was capable of.

The pregnancy was a process of growth and change.

August 2012

I was learning how to navigate life sober for the very first time while also juggling the chaos of preparing for a newborn.

For me, pregnancy was the perfect distraction from all of my “crap” though.

Nothing else mattered besides the precious little life that was growing inside of me.

After my sweetie pie arrived everything literally started anew.

No longer was I the broken young adult, searching recklessly for love at the bottom of a bottle.

It’s like that person died and a totally different me was born- equipped with a baby.

My name is Mommy.

And boy, I could go on and on about her.

Happy mom, sad mom, mad mom, rushed mom, stressed mom, excited mom… to name a few.

Alexis on the other hand?

Literally doesn’t know how to start a morning without her kids.

That’s honestly about all I know.

Motherhood has this beautiful way of changing us.

We take on this new role that nothing could ever prepare us for.

It’s the most fulfilling yet consuming title on earth.

In my case, motherhood literally took my old mess of a life and replaced it with a really good one.

Suddenly I had a reason to live…. my kids.

Motherhood gave me purpose in life so I established an identity around that role.

“Mom” was the new me, a foundation I’ve built from over the past 6 years.

But take away my kids for one morning and suddenly I’m completely lost.

There aren’t roles for “Alexis”, “wife”, “self“.

The problem lies in the fact that I can’t be my “best mom” if I don’t ever tend to my needs as an individual.

And what even are my needs?

I don’t know.

How do you even go about learning who you are…?

Baby steps.

Small observations while continuing on with everyday life.

A good starting place might be imagining my “perfect morning” if I lived alone and had nobody else to worry about.

Understanding how I’d prefer to spend my morning doesn’t mean it’s going to change anything, it’s simply establishing preference as an individual.

Personal identity is a vital part of life.

Our identity cannot rely solely on another person as our identity is what is true for us.

At the end of the day, I am the only person that I’m in control of.

Yes, “mom” is a piece of my identity…. a very important piece that I hold high in value.

But I’m more than just “mom”.

My name is Alexis.

I value God, balance, family, and routine.

I dislike chaos, drama, feeling rushed, and over scheduling.

I will do anything for the people that I love.

I thrive on taking care of others.

And someday, when my kids are grown and moved away, I will be okay with who I am as an individual.

Check out my blog PROJECT IDENTITY for more raw inspiration! 💕

When toxic relationships turn violent

“They give you heaven and they give you hell.”

After graduating high school I moved to Florida to experience life away from home.

A couple months into this experience I crossed paths with a guy I went to middle school with in Colorado.

Jumping into a relationship, the passion grew like fire.

Dysfunctional was an understatement.

It started as little battles with control.

We fell hard and we fell fast.

I drank myself stupid every single day.

I had a history of picking guys that became obsessive- The red flags disguised in familiarity.

His burning desire to sustain this dysfunctional relationship resulted in a tightened grip on me.

I worked at a kiosk in the mall and he would creep around upstairs, watching me.

Everyone else could see the madness, but I was blind.

The first time he got arrested was because I wanted to go tan.

He hated when I tanned because they wouldn’t let him go in the room with me.

He couldn’t watch me for 15 minutes of the day and it killed him inside.

“YOU ARE MEETING A GUY IN THERE AND CHEATING ON ME!!!”

He roared.

As the grip tightened, I repelled.

This first incident started with my attempt to to sneak out the door and tan.

He came racing after me, jumping in his car, without shoes or a shirt on.

At the stoplight he put his car in park and started banging on my car window screaming.

A bystander called it in.

“SHOOT ME! JUST SHOOT ME!!!”

He yelled at the police officers as they took him into custody.

After being released from jail he moved right back into my apartment.

Looking back I know I should have recognized the signs.

But lust blinds us…

The next time the cops were called came after a dispute on rent money.

He couldn’t hold a job with his full schedule of stalking me and once again I was left to come up with all of it.

I was almost an entire bottle of Burnette’s in, but no amount of alcohol could erase what happened next from my mind.

Enraged and heated, substances amiss, he snapped.

He grabbed my throat and slammed me against the wall.

Using his grip as leverage he began to lift me up.

I went numb.

The next thing I remember is the way the carpet felt on my face.

He was gone, I was shaken and impulsively called the police.

In the minutes it took for the police to arrive though, I had changed my mind.

I wanted to erase the phone call for help and resubmit to this hell.

So I crawled underneath my bed trying to hide.

BOOM BOOM

“POLICE! OPEN UP!!”

It took close to 30 minutes and threats to break down my door before I surrendered.

I was hiding to protect someone who tried to kill me… like how twisted is that?!?!

I’m writing this because I know that someone reading it will resonate with domestic violence.

You guys, toxic relationships DON’T GIVE YOU HEAVEN!!!

It’s the devil distorting every ounce of sense from your mind.

If just days later my roommates wouldn’t have robbed every last thing I had, I possibly would have remained in the relationship.

I know for sure that at times when things got lonely, times before I fell in love again, that I would have gone back for sure.

That is so ridiculously messed up that it’s not even funny.

Thankfully, I made it out of the relationship before it was literally the death of me.

Don’t settle for toxicity in relationships!

Don’t be blind to red flags!

GET OUT BEFORE IT GETS BAD!

You may be in a toxic relationship if your partner is:

  • Overbearing
  • Abnormally controlling
  • Obsessive
  • Stalking
  • Manipulative
  • Verbally abusive
  • Physically abusive

You deserve someone who treats you like the worthy, incredible, person that you are.

And they ARE out there!!!

Not until you escape your prison, lock the door, and throw away the key… will you find them.

If you or somebody you know is in an abusive relationship, feel free to send me an email!

If love to assist you in getting through this! 💕❤️👇

Alexisvw.projectidentity@gmail.com

Or DM me on Instagram at:

alexisvw.projectidentity

Or drop me a comment below! ❤️👇

Check out my blog, Project Identity for more articles on overcoming adversity! 🌤

Through the ears of my eating disorder

My relationship with food will honestly never be normal.

A lifetime without relapse wouldn’t be enough to change the way I hear the words,

“Wow! What a healthy meal you are eating! Good job!!”

Because instead of hearing you compliment me on my discipline I hear,

‘You are fat so you should be eating healthy.’

And from there it spirals into countless unhealthy thoughts.

I knew that many challenges would come with recovery from an eating disorder but I never thought the way that I hear things would be one of them.

Last week I was talking with my best friend who is also in recovery from an eating disorder when this realization hit me like a ton of bricks.

‘I’m not the only one!’

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if every person who has ever had an eating disorder experiences this to some extent.

Having an eating disorder is like playing a constant game of telephone with yourself.

Your mind is so good at feeding you crap by now that it enjoys manipulating the game.

When living with a brain that is constantly obsessing about food and weight, it can feel like everything is a trigger.

Food is a necessity for survival so you can’t “avoid it” as you can with recovery from most other things.

Multiple times a day EVERY SINGLE DAY you are being tested.

Eating in general can become an anxiety provoking situation entirely.

You are at war with yourself.

And like a sick and twisted death sentence… you must eat to live.

If you have a loved one who has an eating disorder, I’m writing this for you.

Life requires learning other people so that we can all better coexist.

An eating disorder is just another one of those REAL LIFE things to navigate.

Below are some examples of life through the ears of an eating disorder.

Take a moment to intercept this as your loved one.

“Gross! She obviously eats cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!”

‘My worth is determined by a number on a scale…’

“You were too skinny before I’m glad to see you’ve gained some weight.”

‘You are fat now.’

“Exercise is really good for you!”

‘You should be exercising because you’re fat.’

“I’m doing the #%* diet!”

‘You should be on a diet!’

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for doing your part to better coexist!

Check out my blog Project Identity for more! ❤️

What I didn’t know about addiction

When I got sober it was a fairly unique situation.

The day I quit drinking was also the very first day I wanted to quit drinking.

A couple days of seizures on the bathroom floor was enough to start anew.

It wasn’t until recently that I learned how much my personal experience has clouded my opinion on addicts.

To me, alcohol was an escape from myself.

I hated myself.

I hated my life.

Numb was the only way that I could continue functioning.

Alcohol was that door to checking out from reality and entering a world where I just didn’t care.

With booze, life always seemed less real.

I didn’t annoy myself as much when I was drunk.

The bottle was my ticket to escaping the life I couldn’t bare anymore.

My brother had his own struggles with addiction.

It would be years after my new leaf of living that nightmare with him before things turned around.

The only thing more difficult than addiction itself is watching a loved one throw away their life for it.

Your life becomes a living hell while they are escaping this reality with substance.

“I promise you that life in sobriety is fun T!!! PLEASE just give it a try and find out!!!”

I pleaded, for years on end.

The best word to describe myself in this plea would be naive.

Naive to feeling that every addict is running from reality.

Naive to think that my brother just liked being drunk too much to quit.

A couple weekends ago we were visiting my now 20 MONTH SOBER brother for fall festivities!

It’s MY FAVORITE family tradition we’ve created!

Our life is so normal now.

We get together and do things as siblings and I swear those are some of the best memories of our lives.

Day one we went to the most badass park I’ve ever seen! 👇

Day two we went to a corn maze and pumpkin patch!👇

And day three, during family breakfast, we talked about where we’ve been and how far we’ve come.

“Man T… I can’t believe you made it! I’m so proud of you!!!”

I professed.

“I had to stop or I was going to die. I’d wake up with ridiculous anxiety and start having panic attacks. It would feel like I was having a heart attack and the only way to make it stop was the booze. It was like a 24/7 never ending hangover.”

Tears started streaming down my face as I realized how much I hadn’t understood about his addiction.

Here I am, preaching to my brother about how cool life is when you aren’t confused all the time, and he wasn’t even confused…. he was sick.

He confessed the fine line of “sipping and driving”.

In other words he wasn’t drinking just to drink.

At just 29 years old, his body was beginning to show signs of long term alcohol abuse.

His body was reliant on alcohol and was literally shutting down without it.

Longer drives required greater focus and when he was “under-medicated” the withdrawal symptoms were so intense that he would end up pulling over for hours at a time in attempt to stop his heart from bursting out of his chest.

He wasn’t drinking to be drunk- he was drinking to stay alive.

He had punched the ticket but he no longer wanted to ride the ride.

“I was embarrassed with myself for how bad it had gotten. I would have died trying to detox on my own. There was a lot of shame in what it had become and the reality of those choices. It was like drowning and waiting for somebody to save you.”

The day his second niece was born was the day my brother amounted the courage to chase his lion.

“I need this to stop and I don’t know how.”

He admitted to a buddy of trust.

Thank you for hearing him, Carl.

It took ten days in detox before being medically cleared for inpatient rehab.

Detox from alcohol is a serious thing!

My brother put in some insanely hard work as he fought for his life.

**Did you know- detoxing from heroin isn’t deadly (though it feels like it), but detoxing from alcohol can be?!**

20 months later my brother is still prioritizing his recovery as an AA sponsor.

God gave me my brother back and I am beyond grateful for this.

I’m thankful that I have a sibling to enjoy life with.

I’m thankful I’m not living in a nightmare anymore.

I’m thankful for his journey, and the new understanding it has given me about addicts.

We are all different so it makes sense that no addiction is the same.

Every addict is running- our differences lie in what is chasing us.

Thank you for using your story to help others T.

I love you.

Check out my blog Project Identity for more. ❤️

Meet Heather, my anxiety therapist

Define “therapy” in a single, brief statement.

Was your definition associated with a positive or negative perspective?

We are all individuals who think, feel, perceive things differently.

For me, therapy is a lifeline.

I never imagined myself as someone who would be so “dysfunctional” that I’d need therapy for the rest of my life.

And I’m not that crazy.

I’ve simply found a therapist whom I trust and whose opinion I value.

The first time I sought anxiety therapy my assigned therapist was a man.

He was nice but we never really established that bond needed to make progress in my trauma saturated background.

Round two I was placed with Heather.

Instantly I felt right at home.

My personality needs a therapist who isn’t tiptoeing around political correctness.

I need someone who is real, raw and genuine.

Someone that I know I can trust with my deepest darkest secrets.

Heather has been that person for me.

As my therapist for a little over two years now, most weeks I couldn’t imagine my life without her.

Therapy is me time.

It’s the only time all week that I get to converse with another adult without a million kids hanging off of me.

I get to sit and unload all of my crap to someone that I don’t have to worry about offending… someone who has nothing but love and good advice to throw back at me.

Therapy is the place where I can navigate my troubled past while taking the necessary steps to improve myself.

A therapist is like that friend who has never done you dirty in the most one-sided relationship ever.

When I feel like bitching about stuff that’s stupid… there she is.

And the stuff that’s not stupid?

There again.

Heather is there to talk about everything.

She’s there and she cares.

Yes, I’d be lying if I said that therapy isn’t hard work at times.

While we’d all like to just pretend that our worst moments never happened…. they did.

If you never deal with your “junk” then it will haunt you in the form of panic attacks eventually.

We can’t run from trauma.

We must be courageous and face it head on- with those badass little friends called therapists in our back pocket.

And even when you’re feeling good, GO TO THERAPY.

Our mental health requires just as much conditioning and maintenance as our physical health.

If you quit your diet and started eating cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner then it wouldn’t be long before your health took a plunge.

All of the crap you put up with on a daily basis?

That is the “cake” of your mental health.

So one last time, define “therapy” in a single, brief statement.

Did your opinion evolve after reading this…?

For me, therapy is simply choosing to not eat cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

If you are struggling with trauma, mental health, or even nothing at all (psh…ha!), I encourage you to find a therapist who is a perfect match for you.

Find your Heather.

Take control of your mental health and reap the rewards of doing so. ❤️

Check out my blog Project Identity for more!

The “devalued” child

“When I was a kid I remember crying in the mirror and feeling so badly that my parents had to have the ugliest kid in the entire world.”

I expressed to my anxiety therapist.

“What happened to trigger that? At the age of 4 or 5 a child doesn’t just come up with these feelings from nowhere… something must have happened.”

She questioned.

“Nothing happened. I’m just ugly.”

It would be YEARS of therapy before unlocking this can of worms.

Years of wondering if I was raped or abused as a child and just blacked out the entire thing.

Years of silencing that fear with my proclamation of ugliness.

‘At least if you understand that you are ugly you aren’t ugly and in denial…’

Confidence has never been my strong suit.

It wasn’t until my anxiety therapist gave me a list of books to look into that my life started making sense for once.

While she never said it directly, all of the books had a common theme.

Borderline personality disorder.

The second I looked up the definition, I felt my mom’s picture should have been pasted right next to it.

It was her exactly.

My mom has borderline personality disorder.

Borderline personality disorder is characterized by the following behaviors:

  • Intense, highly changeable moods
  • A pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones- often swinging from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
  • Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors (spending sprees, substance abuse, binge eating)
  • Extreme emotional swings
  • Hostility
  • Lack of restraint

In my case, “a pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones- often swinging from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)”, my brother is the idealized and I am the devalued.

With this newfound knowledge about my mom, it has been an emotional rollercoaster the past few months.

Growing up in a home with a parent who has borderline personality disorder is an extremely traumatic thing to go through.

The fact that I never even understood this piece of myself for the first 26 years of my life completely blows my mind.

There is no denying that all of it makes sense.

Anger, sadness, frustration.

Every emotion showing its colors in myself at this new revelation.

‘Is therapy making me crazier?’

Instead of my mom just removing herself from my life all together, I grew up in an “I love you, go away” environment.

There was a constant push and pull.

Actions that were justified by clothing me in shame and guilt.

Our father, whom I got along with best, was away from home making the money.

The way I internalized my moms behavior as a child was processing it as a personal flaw.

The almost comical “obsession” (idealization) she had for my brother was a stark contrast to the way she treated me.

“Maybe if I was prettier my mom would love me too…”

The constant push and pull from a person in trust is enough to destroy someone entirely.

My feelings were never heard or validated.

I was always wrong, she was always right.

My attempts at having a voice were converted into backlash.

Growing up in the care of a parent who had borderline personality disorder distorted my self worth at a very young age.

The devalued child feels unworthy of love- even from themselves.

You get used to always being the one at fault.

To this day I overuse the word “sorry”.

I am sorry.

Sorry for any way that I may be bothering you with my presence.

It’s been hammered into my head that I’m a nuisance.

My mom loves me and I know that.

I don’t believe that she ever intended to hurt me.

Yet there is still a part of me that hates her.

A part that wants to give a voice to the child who didn’t have one.

A part that wants to say, “F you” and never talk to her again to pay her back for that broken little girl looking in the mirror.

Except I’m not going to go out like that.

Yes, this understanding has been quite the rollercoaster… but it’s one that I’m glad to be riding.

Without understanding myself I would never have the means to fix anything.

I can’t change my mom.

And I will probably never get an apology from her.

But that’s okay.

THERAPY TAKES WORK!

It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

But it’s the only way to obtain justice for myself, for the little girl in the mirror.

I know that someday all of this hard work will pay off.

I will love my mom forever and while I can’t guarantee it’s the end of the outbursts, I can agree to forgive her.

Holding firm in my boundaries while staying true to my values.

I’m choosing to live my life in love instead of hate.

I’m choosing to accept the things I cannot change and changing the things that I can.

Dear little girl in the mirror,

You are beautiful.

Have empathy for your mother even in the times that it’s hard.

You don’t HAVE to do so, but CHOOSE to do so.

Forgive your mom.

Live your life in love.

Learn to love yourself the way God loves you.

Your moms behavior has everything to do with her and nothing to do with you.

Remember that her outbursts are professions of her pain rather than expressions of her feelings towards you.

Don’t forget to be there for yourself.

You are worthy.

Check out my blog Project Identity for more. ❤️

Revisiting the memories I would rather have forgotten

“Maybe you should just stop doing the blog if you aren’t able to make any income from it. It’s just so negative….ha. You are always talking about about weird stuff. People must think that you’re nuts!”

This blog has been an absolute rollercoaster.

Some days I ride the high of feeling like I’m helping people while in turn freeing myself of my “baggage”.

Other days I feel like an idiot and wonder why I’m wasting all this time for nothing, until it spirals so far out of control that I about quit.

“Should I really post that?”

“How are people going to react to this?”

Will anyone react to this…?”

The truth is that it would be SO much easier to just go about my life and pretend like all the years of chaos never even happened.

Easier to pretend that I’ve been this “normal” person my whole life…

Easier to bury my skeletons than to go searching for them in attempt to resolve the trauma that they’ve branded me with.

My blog is called Project Identity because I hope to uncover what I feel are “missing pieces” of my identity through the process of this project.

In terms of adversity, I’ve had a very wide range of it.

Mental health, eating disorders, sexual abuse, dysfunctional families…. YOU NAME IT!

By revisiting these traumas, my goal is to sort through my life and figure out who I really am.

This is NOT in any way an attempt to glorify or normalize the things that I’ve done.

Im not sharing my deepest, darkest secrets with YOU to win sympathy or to place blame on others for things that have happened in my life.

My intention IS to help others by saying,

“this is where I was and look where I am now.”

An attempt to find the answers for survival after adversity– answers that I don’t necessarily believe that I have, yet somehow…. I made it.

And the story isn’t over.

People don’t just overcome something and live happily ever after.

With time, the book you just closed will start revealing itself in your next book.

Growing up in a home with a parent who has Borderline Personality Disorder left me runningself medicating with drugs and alcohol.

The consequences that I received for such behavior opened the door for a newfound battle of control with food (read Tell me to eat? I’ll starve myself).

All of the above rooting me in distorted self worth and eventually leading to rape and suicide attempts.

Recovery from both addictions simultaneously greeted me with crippling anxiety and PTSD- symptoms I now have to face head on, without a crutch.

I don’t believe that God dealt me these cards by mistake though.

Why?

Because I shouldn’t even be here right now.

The moment my life turned around was also the lowest, darkest place I’ve ever been.

My desire to live was gone, but God had other plans.

Just weeks after multiple failed suicide attempts and hospitalizations, my polar opposite walked into my life and we ended up pregnant.

I wasn’t living for me anymore.

A tiny human who would love me forever was too good of an offer to pass up.

God took the life I couldn’t handle anymore and replaced it with one that I could.

He wanted me here because He knows my heart.

My adversity is God’s opportunity.

His opportunity to change more lives.

This is why I do what I do.

I write about my rawest moments because frankly, life is raw.

The world needs more raw people, too.

Check out my blog Project Identity for more!

Rain rain go away

Rain rain go away

The rain just won’t stop pouring

Rain rain go away

You’re so freaking annoying

Rain rain what did you say

I really must be going

Rain rain go away

The forecast calls for storming

Rain rain go away

I need some help please save me

Rain rain go away

I haven’t been behaving

Rain rain go away

God are you there I’m sorry

Rain rain go away

Is this really my story

Rain rain go away

Your light is there it’s glowing

Rain rain go away

By praying, You can show it

Rain rain go away

I need you Lord I know it

Rain rain go away

Together we can beat this

Rain rain go away

You’re all I ever needed

Rain rain go away

The voice of Jesus humming

Rain rain go away

The changes they are coming

Rain rain go away

My God, He’s so forgiving

Rain rain go away

My life is so worth living

Rain rain go away

My God, He’s always near

Rain rain go away

With Him I’ll conquer fear

Rain rain gone away

The sun is finally here

Check out my blog Project Identity ❤️ for more!

Difficulty saying “no”

On a daily basis I land myself in situations that I don’t necessarily want to be in.

How?

Because I don’t know how to just freaking say “NO!

I’m an interesting character.

Anxious, goofy, and don’t forget that lovely “resting bitch face”… 😐

But no matter how “odd” or “different” I may be at first glance, deep down I am one of the kindest people you will ever meet.

I’m an empath.

If you ask me it’s a double edged sword.

While I love being able to offer compassion to those in need, sometimes it can be hard keeping myself afloat when I’m constantly drowning in everyone else’s emotions…

As an empath I feel with people.

Some days I feel solely responsible for ensuring happiness in what feels like all of the world.

It’s not a duty that I was assigned but rather one I must accomplish for my own emotional well-being.

How does this play into everyday life?

In many ways, but today I’m addressing one in particular.

Difficulty saying “no”

Empathic personality or not, I think many of us can agree that saying “no” can be challenging at times.

I just recently learned that apparently, you don’t have to give people a reason of why you can’t do something…?

Wait, what?!

This realization won’t be changing anything over here though…

As refreshing as that seems, it’s not really my style.

I’m more of the, agree to do something because I don’t have balls to be honest then send myself into an anxious frenzy dreading whatever I just signed up for, type of person. 🙄

A couple weeks ago I was getting ready to prepare dinner when the doorbell rang.

Peeking out the window, spotting a woman who appeared to be around my age with a little boy.

My enthusiastic five year old selling us out from pretending to not be home.

It turned out to be our across the street neighbors who we had never met before.

The little boy was going to be starting kindergarten at the same school as Karissa (my daughter) this year.

How crazy that we had no clue about each other until just now!

As excited as I was about all of this the timing couldn’t have been worse.

I’d been talking myself off the ledge all day as my anxiety had been through the roof.

Also in the process of scaling back on an anti-depressant that was causing me to sweat excessively (… TMI sorry! But I have a point I promise!!)

It had been one thing after another that day and I was one wind away from completely losing it.

To make matters even worse I didn’t have a bra on.

My sweet neighbors unaware of when is a good or a bad time for me unless I of course would just verbalize that, right…?

Right.

Just not for ‘Miss unable to express how I really feel’…

Aka ME.

“Do you guys want to come in?”

😑

There I sat bra-less and awkwardly dripping sweat on the couch…

When I’m awkward, I’m really awkward.

Instead of clamming up I start “word-vomiting” to this stranger about every and anything.

I don’t know how long we sat there but it felt like nine days.

The finale was Karissa slamming her finger in the door while they were playing.

She was screaming at the top of her lungs for at least five minutes while we continued visiting with our guests….

Eventually we exchanged numbers and tentatively planned a play date for a couple days later.

‘Man why am I so weird…? 😣’

Spray painting myself with embarrassment and shame.

Internally fighting on how to handle this “situation” if we did in fact, confirm this play date.

She was so nice and the kids had totally hit it off…

The empath in me told myself to just, ‘be a good neighbor and mom’.

But my anxiety is selfish.

Every time I tried reasoning with myself my pulse would soar, skyrocketing until I was so freaked out I continued brainstorming my escape plan again.

The morning of our plans I woke up to a text from her.

Crap.

The plans were no longer tentative.

A panic attack draped over me as I impulsively began typing…

Stopping myself to focus on slowing my heart rate as a tear fell down my cheek.

My first impression was an absolute train wreck…

This girl was cool, pretty and sweet…

There was no way that I could show my face right now, especially with my meds so out of whack.

What if I started sweating again… or rambling AGAIN.

I’d already told this poor woman my entire life story while pouring with sweat and bra-less…

Everything about this situation sucked.

The stress of it all was too much.

I sent the screenshot to my husband as I began venting my frustration:

Be honest?!?

I had no one to be angry at but myself.

Simply saying “no” could have avoided this situation entirely.

He was right…

but I can’t say “no”… remember?!

So I prayed about it and eventually, this is what I wrote….:

Oh my gosh I was actually honest…😳

The moment I hit ‘send’ on that text I felt like 80 pounds was instantly lifted off my back.

It was the strangest thing.

I was honest….and nobody died.

Even better?!

HER RESPONSE! 😍❤️:

This simple display of honesty strengthened our friendship in such a special way:

You guys…

This experience taught me so much!

If you struggle with saying “no”, like I do, I encourage you to give this a try.

Honesty is in fact, the best policy.

Thank you Lord, for teaching me things. ❤️

Check out my blog Project Identity for more great stuff 💕

Love what you’re reading?!

You can support this blog by clicking the link below😃❤️

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The moment that made me SO distraught I ALMOST put my hands on a child… 💔

*This blog does not condone violence against children or violence period. The following is the raw emotional story being told as a reminder that we are all susceptible to reaching our breaking point.*

The playground- a child’s wonderland.

Of course my five year old was thrilled when our campsite backed up to one this year.

Less than 50 feet away without an obstructed view.

At last, I could relax while simultaneously keeping my child entertained! 😍

Or so I thought…

Karissa is the tiny, little, perfect human who changed my entire world.

Read My untraditional fairy tale for more on my introduction to motherhood.

💕👶🏻👧🏼👱🏽‍♀️🧔🏽💕

My baby will be SIX years old in just over a month!!! 😳

Where has the time gone?!?!

I feel like with my first child I was trying so desperately hard to just keep her ALIVE that I was unable to really ENJOY every minute of it.

When I found out I was pregnant for the first time I was a 20 year old alcoholic.

After eight years of recklessness, my sobriety didn’t come without a price tag.

I’d been branded by the trauma of my past…. now without anything to numb it.

But this baby was ‘the one thing that would never leave me’

She was SO worthy of my sobriety.

I’ll never forget that confusing moment when we closed our car doors to leave the hospital with our firstborn.

We shared the, “Are they really just giving us a human and saying, “Here you go! Good luck!‘?!” face…. ha.

When my Sassy little one year old, Havynn (pronounced Hay-ven) was born, it was the same insanely beautiful moment but one that I was definitely more prepared for.

This time, I’d have the tools…

The experience… to not lock us up in an apartment for almost a year- attempting to ensure that nothing would ever happen to her.

My anxiety and depression became redundant after the delivery of my first.

Not only was I a new Mom, I was also in my first year of sobriety.

My image of the world was that of the life I submitted myself to at my worst.

Sunlight…fresh air…both were contributors to deafening panic attacks.

Some days even opening the blinds would seem like “reckless behavior” to my crazy mind.

If we never went outside then nothing bad could happen…

Hiding so that “the evil in the world” wouldn’t break in and hurt us…as it once had.

Havynn has had a much different upbringing.

I learned a lot in the process of doing it once.

Through trial and error, “navigating the ropes” of motherhood.

It’s a process of constant learning.

Learning which rules are worth the battle and which ones are just plain stupid.

Using that knowledge as you start again with your second.

You trust yourself more…

You know that you’ve done this before and that YOU CAN do it again.

It’s a comforting feeling of success that helped me in seeing life more realistically the second time around.

Proceeding with confidence now.. my kids are experiencing a lot of things for the first time together.

I can make plans, but only God can make them happen.

Back to the camping trip. ⛺️

Havynn didn’t go camping with us this year.

Karissa was playing her heart out at the playground as I began chopping veggies for foil packets on night two.

It was Friday so kids to play with were finally arriving!

Peeking over my shoulder every couple of seconds to check in on her when I overheard the boys at the playground yelling,

“YOU ARE DIRTY!”

Said one of the boys, as he threw a handful of dirt and rocks in another child’s face.

The boys, who appeared to be around ages 5 and 7, were playing distastefully rough for my liking….

I didn’t have a good feeling about them and didn’t really want my child over there.

Taking measure to avoid overreacting, I ran it by my husband.

“Babe I don’t think those boys are playing very nicely….”

And contrary to my assumption he brushed it off… 😳

‘Okay I must be overreacting.’

…right?

As the sun began to set we welcomed our friends who had just arrived.

I excused myself of “security keeping” for a minute to greet them when my mom’s frantic voice struck down on me like lightning.

HEY STOP IT!! THEY ARE HITTING HER!!!”

My baby is in danger

The world went red as reality washed away around me.

My heart shattering like never before as I chased my daughters cries…

How was this happening?!?!!

I peeled my screaming daughter off the ground….

It’s a feeling that no one prepares you for

The pain in her eyes igniting an uncontainable RAGE in me💔

The boys were attempting to flee as I forced them into a halt.

“DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT RUNNING!!!!”

I demanded, in a tone capable of setting off car alarms.

They paused and gazed up at me with sheer terror painted across their faces.

“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!?!?!?!”

I was sweating… screaming….shaking.

There was nothing I wanted more in that moment than to make those boys experience the same pain that they had put my child through.

It was a foreign, overbearing outburst of pain that could have ended completely catastrophically.

I thank God for giving me control that I didn’t have in me at that moment.

Control to not KILL two children- something I never dreamed of ever needing control for.

“Take me to your parents, NOW!”

I hissed.

My husband caught up with us as I hysterically caught him up to pace with what was going on.

We were headed for parents who were nowhere in sight, even with all of the commotion going on.

Were these parents even going to care…?!

Their physical lack of presence and the fact that their children are beating other children up didn’t give me a favorable first impression.

Everything about this situation made me angry.

Fifteen seconds into our mission we were intervened upon by a bystander who defended that they were “probably just playing”.

Karissa was too shaken up to verify what I had not seen with my own eyes.

Taking a deep breath as I whispered a prayer.

“I didn’t see what happened so I’m not going to waste any more time on this…

Violence is absolutely unacceptable and it will not be tolerated.

Remember that someone is always watching.”

I declared, as we turned to go back to camp.

Advice I needed to hear myself as well.

Per Karissa’s request, we would wait to discuss the incident until we got home.

If the boys were at the playground, we would go to the river or animal farm instead.

When the time came to have that heart to heart, she confirmed that the boys had punched her multiple timesnot playing but in an effort to hurt her.

That admittance made me break into a million pieces all over again.

Tears poured down my cheeks as I held her tightly, apologizing repeatedly for failing to keep her safe.

Karissa is thankfully doing just fine.❤️

She remains the little “angel in my ear”,

Lord…what do you want me to learn from this?

This was an experience that required some self reflection after.

Inflicting the same pain on those boys would have accomplished nothing aside from creating an even bigger monster inside of them.

I saw a side of myself that I didn’t know was in there.

A side angry enough to almost put my hands on someone’s child.

Please remember that it’s not fair to judge how someone reacts in a situation until you’ve been in that situation yourself.

I’m telling you this because THIS COULD BE ANYONE!

I’ve never really imagined how I would react if this type of thing happened but even if I had, my prediction wouldn’t have been accurate.

Planning lacks emotion.

There is literally no pain worse than when your child is in pain.

When I agreed to bring a life into this world I also agreed to do absolutely everything in my power to keep them safe.

I’ve learned that no matter how hard we try to keep our kids safe, their safety is never guaranteed.

We can make plans, but only God can make those plans happen.

It’s not worth wasting your life trying to avoid all risk…

Your story has already been written and your future is inevitable.

Instead of hiding from your fears, pray about them.

Exercise caution as appropriate but live life FEARLESSLY.

That is something that you ARE in control of.

Amen🙏

Check out my blog Project Identity for more❤️

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Kindness to strangers

While pulling into the gas station half asleep one morning, an “incident” caught my attention.

As a car emerged an empty pump, the car sitting at the pump ahead of it decided to gun it in reverse.

That driver then proceeded to fly out of the car and scream at the other cars windshield with both middle fingers up.

Being the bigger person, the other car sulked into the parking lot waiting for an empty pump.

Ummm excuse me but was it really necessary to be so hateful?!?!

Maybe I’m weird (just kidding I am weird) but I would never go out of my way to be nasty to someone.

My heart broke for the mystery person in that car.

I couldn’t help but wonder how their day was going before this happened…

What if they are going through a hard time right now?

What if this incident was one of many negative things that this person has had to deal with recently?

What if this seemingly small incident turned out to be the straw that broke the camels back?

Empathy for this stranger began to overwhelm me.

As the cranky man drove away, the other car cautiously arrived at a pump on the other side.

I stood fighting with myself on whether or not to intervene.

‘Am I overreacting?!’

Something inside me just couldn’t leave and wonder.

After a couple deep breaths I finally amounted the courage to walk over.

The stranger was a tall male with glasses, mid 30’s probably…. completely expressionless.

“Hi! Umm… I saw what just happened with that crazy guy and I just wanted to tell you that his craziness is NOT a reflection of you. That was nuts and inappropriate… I hope you have a wonderful day!!!”

He looked up at me after pausing for a couple seconds.

“Thank you.”

He muttered softly as a small smile began to form.

That moment was everything.

It was confirmation that I made the right choice in stepping out of my comfort zone.

The second I got back in my car tears of joy started pouring down my cheeks.

It was a small act of kindness that felt like 100 bucks.

Have you ever thought of saying something kind to someone but didn’t?

It could be running over to an old lady who just finished loading her car and offering to put her cart away.

It could be complimenting someone on their dress instead of just thinking it.

It could be messaging your number to a Facebook friend after seeing a post that says “I’m done”.

The Bible tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourself.

For some people {or even most people}, interacting with strangers can be extremely anxiety provoking.

I’m fairly outgoing yet this gas station incident had me sweating.

If everyone made a conscious effort to just be kind then this world could be a much better place.

Changing the world starts with changing ourselves.

You can start by simply being the energy you would like to attract.

Please, never go out of your way to be hurtful to others.

You never know what battles someone may already be fighting.

This week I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and do/say something positive to a stranger.

One positive interaction could potentially be enough to save a life.

Together we can make a difference ❤️

Check out my blog Project Identity for more 😊

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Depression episodes

My life is pretty freaking close to “perfect” yet I keep having these episodes where I feel like I’d be better off dead.

All of my reasons for living get sidelined and I have the worst kind of tunnel vision.

In the middle of these depressive episodes I surrender control to complete negativity and genuinely feel that I’m not worthy of help.

Positive thoughts are rejected one after the other in an attempt to completely drown in my misery.

The problem with self help tools is they are often difficult to access when you are in crisis.

We are not our best selfs while in crisis.

We are scattered, broken, distraught.

The thoughts pulsing through your brain are so ridiculously foreign to your values yet they won’t go away.

Depression opens its big mouth and swallows us whole.

If you’ve never experienced a depressive episode then first of all… you are one lucky duck!

Depression is not an easy thing to go through.

Imagine your mind being hijacked as a dark cloud moves over you.

Suddenly the impulsive, totally not “you” thoughts take over.

“I can’t do this anymore.”

“This is too much to overcome.”

“Death is the only way out.”

At times this helplessness can feel like too much to bare.

You guys, how do we fix this?!

If you’ve read (An “insiders” opinion on the mental health system) then you already know that I won’t come within 100 feet of a crisis center… “our system”.

Never again will I submit to such insanity.

Instead I will handle these moments of crisis on my own.

Recently, I added a new “tool” to my “belt”.

In a moment when things were calm I identified my number one ABSOLUTE reason above everything for why I could not lose this battle with depression.

What was it?

I pictured my husband telling our children that “Mommy had to go to heaven because she was very sick”.

I felt the pain that they would feel as they grew up without a mother.

That experience was the most gut wrenching, terrible, unbearable feeling ever.

I could never do that to my children if there was ever an option to choose differently.

Depression freaking sucks.

While I can’t completely avoid these episodes, I can enter them prepared.

In the moments when every sense of logic is completely unavailable to me because of my depression and I’m mentally incapable of helping myself…

That image of my children broken into pieces is much more readily available than a list of things that “I’ve got going for me.”

All it takes is one moment, accessing the image tied to my reason for surviving and suddenly the pain that I feel for my children is greater than the pain I’m feeling in the current moment.

For me, it’s helpful that my image isn’t about me.

Depression makes me feel unworthy… unworthy of living…. unworthy of helping myself.

No matter how unworthy I may be, my kids are the most worthy of things in the world to me.

I would do anything to prevent the pain they feel in my foreseen scenario.

ANYTHING.

Including suffering this “hopeless low” so that their hearts never have to break like that.

It’s important to find a “reason” that fits for you and your life.

FIRST–> Tie that reason to an easily accessible image or “snapshot”.

THEN—> Tie that image to the overwhelming emotion that it brings you…

For example, don’t stop at “my kids need me.”

Instead, validate this statement by feeling what your kids would feel if you gave up on them.

Make it something that is deeply meaningful to you.

If you are struggling on coming up with something pray about it.

I’m praying for you too.❤️

I promise you that there are so many reasons for your survival even when your depression is destroying you.

Once you have your reason tuck it safely in your back pocket.

Every so often take it back out to refresh the emotions that are tied to it so they remain raw– do this as often as necessary for yourself.

The next time you are greeted with a dark cloud it may come in handy. ❤️

Love and prayers for those battling this tough illness…

YOU ARE STRONG!

Check out my blog Project Identity for more!

Surviving with broken self confidence

“Hi. I was just calling to see if you can tattoo permanent makeup on my face… skin color… to hide my freckles?!?!”

Yes I literally called a tattoo parlor and asked that very question.

Tired of the skin I was born in.

Desperate to change myself.

I used to wear A TON of makeup.

It would take THREE hours of painting my face every morning before being able to walk out the front door.

Never feeling satisfied with the end result.

I don’t know what I was trying to paint…

Just anything other than myself and this terrible face I’d been given.

High school has a weird way of structuring us.

We finish very different people than when we started based off the people and experiences we encounter.

So much time is spent in school.

Time that is crucial in building the foundation of who you are.

If that experience is a negative one, you may find yourself grown and left picking up the pieces.

Graduation was a time of undeniable relief for me.

No longer would I have to walk down those halls and be crucified.

I was free in a world where maybe, just maybe, people would love and accept me.

That freedom did not come without a price tag though.

In the real world,

My lack of self confidence was evident, making me an easy target.

My coping mechanisms were unhealthy, leading me to the wrong people.

(Read Running🍸)

When your core beliefs about yourself have been completely damaged how do you move forward?

For the longest time I was literally unable to repeat the words “I am beautiful”.

Even in the comfort of my own mind… I couldn’t think it.

Part of me felt like it was easier being ugly if everyone knew that I knew that I was ugly.

What does that even mean?!

There is this sense of security in hiding behind “being ugly”.

“At least I’m not one of those in denial ugly people…”

Have you ever done that?

When you have been against yourself for so long you eventually lose sight of how you got there.

I couldn’t say, “I am beautiful”, because I was so completely convinced that I was the farthest thing from beautiful and genuinely unworthy of saying otherwise.

I’d forgotten that my “ugliness” was a belief that had formed in response to my negative experiences in school.

It’s so much easier to take what we are being fed and run with it than to stand up and correct ourselves.

Easier to believe the evil words that people throw at you instead of just loving and accepting yourself for who you are.

As soon as you start believing in yourself nothing else matters though.

My “freeing” moment came when I realized that if I am the only person that is on my side, I sure as heck better make sure I’m an advocate for myself.

The quote, “if you can’t beat them, join them” rings so entirely false in this situation.

Joining them is what we always seem to do…but WHY?!

Why step aside and watch yourself rot…?!

I don’t care how “ugly” you are… you don’t deserve to do that to yourself.

We each have a choice on how our story ends.

The fact is that I am me.

This is who I am.

The only way you can move forward with broken self confidence is by joining the same team as yourself.

Love yourself even when you’ve been given every reason not to.

Accept yourself piece by piece- note that accepting is different than liking.

Make a list of what you are instead of what you wish you were.

By saying, “this is my face” instead of “I hate my freckles”, you are accepting the fact that you were given a face and this is what it is.

When you allow negativity to define you, you are giving up on yourself.

Don’t give up on yourself.

Love yourself.

Encourage yourself.

Strengthen yourself.

At the end of the day, “you” are all you have.

Treat yourself the way you wish other people would treat you. ❤️

Check out my blog for more goodness💝

Project Identity

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Dear copycat shooters,

I’m sorry that I don’t know any of your names.

The beautiful souls that I grieve in your place consume too much time to pay you any mind.

You’re gone.

It’s sad because this life is beautiful and you just didn’t know how to open up your eyes and fully enjoy it.

I hate to tell you that your “shot at fame” fell short.

Your intended “legacy” destroying every last bit of you.

It’s second nature to misplace your ugly memory.

Filling it instead with the beautiful lives that you have taken.

And God forsaken,

All the time you wasted plotting a terrible crime I’ve got to say it,

It’s so distasteful.

As our nation is experiencing this divide

Watch as your only living memory washes away without a shrine.

You’ve been filed in the group of nameless monsters we dismiss.

You’re not unique.

You’re just the same

As all the ones who paved your way.

Now please return back to the dark where you will now forever stay.

You are nothing and I’m done wasting my breath on your dismay.

❤️

{In loving memory of all shooting victims~ the ones we all remember}

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Project Identity

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