Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Q&A: A New Normal





























I received an email from a dear reader just the other day.

Her words disclosed that for a myriad of health reasons, she may be unable to have children of her own. 

This is what she asked:

"I guess I'm turning to you in the hopes of finding some comfort. Having a family was my dream! I'm heartbroken that it has come to this. So, do I have to learn to be happy knowing that we may never be parents?

And - am I making this harder on myself than it really needs to be?"

First of all, I am so sorry that you are enduring such a difficult time in your life. This is NEVER easy.

Second, because I have never experienced anything like this, I can only speak from my heart. And that is what you get from me today :)

Here goes...

So, here's the thing about life... IT IS HARD. We all have really challenging things we are dealing with. To answer your question about "am I making this harder on myself than it really needs to be?"

No. You are not.

This is a BIG deal. This is a life-changing deal. This is a deal you never thought you'd be "dealing" with in the first place.

If you don't grieve and just blow over this, like nothing is wrong, then I would be worried about you. I would be worried because the pain and suffering and sadness has to go somewhere, and if we don't feel it and experience it and process it, then it goes into a dark, quiet place that festers and suffers alone. This is never good-- for anyone.

That being said, it is okay to be sad. It is okay to feel lonely. It is okay to feel disappointment. It is okay to be heartbroken.

Talk about it. Feel it. Explore it.

One of the absolute best posts I've ever read was written by a friend of mine, Missy, and posted on my old blog. You can read it HERE. It was out-of-this-world in its inspirational truths. I invite you to dissect her words. They will boost you, and help you shift into a more positive perspective, especially on this particular topic ( but you'll LOVE IT no matter what your trials are).

Then I would like to offer my love and strength to anyone enduring such challenges in their lives. 

My heart aches for the loss of life you thought you had. I totally get it- 100%.

But no matter how terrible your loss is, there are always opportunities to create happiness. And life CAN be just as good- if not BETTER- than before! So, whatever that may mean for you, whether it be exploring the idea of adoption, or further medical help, or fulfilling other dreams that you've always wanted to, you can find joy and peace and comfort and a HAPPY LIFE!

Easier said than done. For sure. But it is true!

So in the meantime, when you're trudging and sifting through the unexpected mud-balls that life throws your way, the best advice I can give is this:

Try to see it for what it is. Try as hard as you possibly can to process what has just transpired and what it means for you. And then, the hardest part of all, try to adjust to your new normal. Don't expect instant results or miraculous solutions to swoop in and make everything okay. That will just make it even more agonizing. Remember that all things take time- especially when it involves overcoming hardships. So take it one breath, one step, and one day at a time... and then, hopefully, you'll soon realize that your life still holds magnificent potential. It may just be the complete opposite of what you originally had in mind.

And again, I will reiterate what I have said many, many, times before:

YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS!

I love you... and I am always rooting for you!

P.S. it's never embarrassing to reach out for professional help, to other women who are experiencing the same thing, or to those who are genuinely interested in your well being. You'll find love and support like none other! 

Image Credit

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Fitting In




















I cannot tell you how many times I have felt like I didn't fit in in my life. Numerous. You can read about some of those times here.

Even still, after all these years, there are moments that a gnawing feeling of "I don't fit in" engulfs me.

But it's not so much about my physical appearance anymore, it's more about what I have. Actually it's more about what I don't have compared to others.

I see what is plastered on Pinterest and on blogs or even in my friends houses and I want to have what everyone else has-- the trendiest, newest and most happenin' thing. I envision myself in the shiny new car, or in the house with brand new Restoration Hardware Furniture, or totally dressed from head to toe in all things J. Crew, Anthropologie, and Nordstrom or with the picture perfect family where everything is always just peachy.

I get totally sucked in. But it doesn't take much time to get off my euphoric dream and realize that I might not be able to have the trendiest, newest and most happenin' things. Then a bitter slap of reality smacks me in the face and I look around everything that I should have, but don't... and then I feel inadequate.

Like I don't fit in.

*****

Yesterday Seth and I were talking about just this... and here's what we came up with together...

Fitting in ISN'T about having what everyone else has or molding into how they (or the world) think you should be.

~ Fitting in is about feeling comfortable in your own skin.

~ Fitting in is about realizing and then understanding that you're not always going to "fit in" with every single lady in your neighborhood or at play group or at work. THIS IS OKAY!

~ Fitting in is about embracing WHO YOU ARE and being true to that person, even if you are different than others around you.

~ Fitting in is about finding your inner confidence and carrying it with you always.

~ But it's also important to note that fitting in is also about self-awareness- not only how you think you come across, but how others perceive you.

Because there IS a distinct difference between confident versus arrogant/inconsiderate.

The mentality of "I don't really care what you or anyone thinks about me! So screw you!!!!!" isn't cool, nor is it confident. It's rude.

But the mentality of "Hey, I think this is pretty cool, so I'm going to own it with class and dignity." is a different story.

Being confident in yourself and your ideas is KEY. Because when you are true to yourself, you soon realize that you DO "fit in" somewhere. First and foremost with the most important person- YOURSELF. Then, other people who see the value and uniqueness of you will want to be around you.... and you will attract people who like you for YOU.

But there is also one more element that is crucial to this whole fitting in thing... and it is this:

~Fitting in is BEING KIND!

The truth is, you can "fit in" anywhere you want- no matter how different you are than those around you- you just have to be KIND to others. You don't have to be a fashionista to be friends with a fashionista. You don't have to have a gorgeous, totally decked out house in order to invite people over to your house for dinner. You don't have to have some sparkly Ferrari to drive your friends to a girls night. You don't have to share the same political or religious ideas in order to be inquisitive and to be a good listener. You don't have to be a marathoner to hang with people who run marathons. You don't have to look exactly like all the other girls you associate yourself with. You don't have to close the door on ENDLESS opportunities of "fitting in" because someone works or stays home, or because she's divorced or doesn't have kids, or because she has so much more or so much less than you.

You get the idea.

And if in the end you find that you're being as nice as you possibly can and you still don't fit in with certain people, then it's most likely their issue, not yours. And you'd probably rather not "fit in" with those types of people anyway. Because if they're judging and basing their friendships on whether or not you fit a specific mold, you'll soon realize that they're not worth wasting your time or energy on. Don't feel bad, don't let it hurt you, just let it go and work on befriending people who will genuinely care about the awesomeness of you.

If you do this, whilst staying completely true to who you are, chances are you'll fit right in where ever you go- but for all the reasons that actually matter!


**THOUGHTS ON THIS?? I'd love to hear!

Image Credit

Friday, April 19, 2013

LOVE WINS!





















Thanks to my friend Jessica for writing those two words in the comments the other day... because she is right...

Love does win! And it DID win!

No matter what trials or hiccups or misfortunes have come,  LOVE WON and we came out even stronger than before.

So, TAKE THAT!

We are married... we are happy... we are figuring things out...

When we were right in the thick of chaos my mom said to me,

"If you two can get through ALL of this together, the hectic, uncertain, painful and forever changing times, you can get through ANYTHING! I promise you that."

And I think she's precisely right.

We've experience even more together than I am sharing here with you. Difficult circumstances that most *newlyweds* don't experience (because having a child involved is hard.... and so are all the dynamics that come along with it) are allowing us to grow together. To listen to one another. To love even more.

So here's what I've learned...

Life is unpredictable. 

There are no guarantee's.

Even when you think you deserve a free pass or want to believe that nothing bad will ever happen to you again, I beg you to reconsider. Life will happen and crappy things will always be apart of it.

And if you go through your life thinking otherwise, you will be frustrated and let down time and time and time again. You will always see things as "never good enough... I am so unlucky... why me?... my life sucks... of course, this is what happens to me... I'm just destined to fail..." 

When we do this, we forget all the wonderful things we DO have! We get so sucked into our own misfortunes that we overlook, quite possibly, the most visible and vibrant blessings in our lives. We focus on what isn't right, instead of looking at how much IS right.

So much leading up to our wedding day, and the things that happened before, weren't ideal. But what it turned out to be instead was a really really memorable and awesome experience for so many reasons. Not only is it a FANTASTIC story to tell but more importantly, it is proof that we triumphed and that

LOVE ULTIMATELY WON!

As a result, I'm in the midst of learning to accept whatever comes my way and handling it with as much grace and positivity as I can-- a task that continually proves I am in control of my happiness- no matter how things play out.


**Do you have any stories like this? When something didn't go how you planned, but you turned it into a positive experience anyway?

p.s. I won't post anymore wedding pictures I promise! Holy overload :) Just posting some for the newbies here... ;)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Our Wedding Day





















The night before our wedding, we had a big dinner party at my aunt and uncle's house. It was really awesome! We had a delicious smokey BBQ in the lush desert of Carefree, Arizona and the best sort of company- best friends and family! 

Everything was going smoothly... except a few little (BIG) things:

~Seth was feeling achey and sick.

~My dad and Seth's dad were both under the weather, too.

~Out of the blue, my shoulder started hurting really, terribly, bad. I wasn't sure why?

~Little Dude had fallen off of his bike that day and busted his lip. I was lucky he didn't land in a cactus. Seriously.

Regardless, we were surrounded by those we love most and made the best of the night anyway. We closed up shop fairly early and tried to get some rest before the "big day"ahead.

When the sun rose the very next morning, I ran downstairs to my parents.

"Where's Seth?", I asked.

"He had an awful night... he is so sick... he went back to bed. Whatever he has came on fast and it has just knocked him down! How was your night?"

I totally lost it and started bawling.

"What do you mean he's that sick? Well, I literally cannot move my arm- AT ALL! I don't know what's wrong but I am seriously dying here. There is no way I can get married like this! I didn't sleep a wink last night...  This is excruciating! Like, I really laid in bed last night bawling ALL night. What the heck it wrong with me??"

I took some Advil and sat next to the fireplace in tears.

How could this be happening? How can I seriously NOT move my arm without wincing in absolute pain? ON MY WEDDING DAY!? And WHY is Seth sick??

We let some time pass, hoping my arm would feel better... but to no avail, it didn't. I was a total invalid and there was only one alternative: leave Seth to rest in bed, leave my parents at home to setup and prepare, and have Uncle Jeff take me to the Emergency Room.

Yes folks, the emergency room. It. Was. That. Bad.

It was about 11:00 am when Uncle Jeff and I made it to the E.R.

I was to be walking down an aisle in 4 hours. Crunch time anyone?

Upon entering the E.R., I instantly got VIP service because I was the bride-to-be. The nurses and staff thought it was pretty comical- even though they felt awfully bad for me, too. They squeezed me in quick, set me up in a room and it was then that I met Dr. Chapmann. While he may have resembled a 1970's casino guy (you know, with the dyed black comb-over hair do, rosy cheeks and glasses on the tip of his nose) he ROCKED my life!

He took 4 X-rays of my shoulder and discovered calcific bursitis of the shoulder.

"Now what?", I asked?

He grabbed a couple of long needles filled with cortisone and shoved them deep into the horrific pain of my right joint.

"Shi#*!" I screamed!

"Oh girlfriend," Dr Chapmann said, as he dug the needle further down into my sensitive bursa sac "you can say whatever you want in here.... Sh#*, Da#*, Fu#*... Cuss away! It's your wedding day!"

I busted out laughing, even though actual tears of discomfort were falling from my cheeks.

Within 10 seconds of that  miraculous shot, I was healed. THANK YOU MODERN MEDICINE! It was amazing just how fast it worked! I could raise my arm as if nothing had happened. I'm pretty sure I hugged Dr. Champmann afterwards!

But as I was leaving he said,

"Now, this medicine will only last about 8 hours- enough to get you through your vows- and then it will get worse for 3 days. I mean, even worse than it has been. Take the Lidocaine patches and use them wisely. Snag some tape or they won't stay on your skin. Good luck on your honeymoon! And when you get home, make sure you go get an MRI- I think you may have a rotator cuff injury."

Whhhhhhaaaaa?????

But I didn't have time to worry about that. All I cared about was that I felt better... SO MUCH BETTER! When I walked into the waiting room to leave, I got choked up to see my family sitting there with a warm cup of tea. They were so worried and came to make sure I was okay. I was so grateful, but the only person I was worried about was Seth.

(here we all are in the E.R.)






















By this point it was about 1:00.

We drove home, back to the place where our nuptials would be, and my handsome-husband-to-be greeted me with concern. He was worried for me, and I think he was worried for him too. He looked miserable. Just miserable. I've never seen him SO sick. He could hardly function. We decided he should go back to bed and rest for the little bit of time we had left.

The family and I finished up the last of the prepping and suddenly it was time to get ready. In a rush, I ran upstairs and as quickly as I could, I curled my hair, threw on some makeup, brushed my teeth and tried to help get the Little Dude ready (who was very upset because I left his brand new spiffy shoes at our house an hour away).

Seth woke up to the sound of cars pulling into the driveway- just 30 minutes prior to saying "I do". I was still scrambling to find our rings, get my bouquet, get the boutonnieres to the gents. I ran across the room in my sweat pants and tee shirt to hand off one last thing when Aunt Trudy caught a glimpse of me and said,

"Jacy! Why aren't you ready yet? You should be ready! You're getting MARRIED in 10 MINUTES!"

Yes, Aunt Trudy... I am fine... I will be ready.... 10 minutes is ample time.

I seemed somewhat calm, but let me tell you, I was a disaster case!

In a whisk Seth threw on his new suit, pinned on his paper flower, guzzled some medicine down, slapped on a smile and waited patiently at the end of the aisle.

But we had a problem. One BIG problem.

Everyone was in their seats. 

Canon in D was playing.

But our officiator wasn't there yet. 

Where is Joe?

With one minute to spare, Joe finally pulled his silver Prius into the driveway and bolted into the house.

"I am so sorry. Literally the traffic was horrendous. I am here!"

And with that, he approached the center of the room and I was told that it was go time!























And just like that... with a simple and sweet ceremony.... we were pronounced man and wife.

And the best part might have been the two airplanes that decided to take off right outside on the runway. There was no airplane activity all day, and it just so happened to happen right as we were saying our vows.

It went something like this:

I, Jacy, take you, Seth, to be my life long companion... the father of my children.... the {insert incredibly, almost piercingly loud plane engine here}....

We laughed at the perfect timing of it all.  There couldn't have been a better exclamation point to such a beautifully, messy day!



























After that was all said and done, we had a marvelous Mexican dinner, some family pictures, and a few words spoken by my new father-in-law. Simple and carefree; exactly what we wanted. Although, I don't think an orchestrated version of the song "My Heart Will Go On" was my first choice to be playing in the background. Owell, who cared at that point? :) 

















































So, the wedding was a success- for a whole 6 hours- and then, would you be surprised if I told you it started to deteriorate?

After all the chit chatting, the smiles and the well wishes, and after all of the adrenaline ran out, by the time everyone left the party, Seth was feeling really really really terrible. You could just tell he was getting sicker by the moment. An to rub salt into the wound, my arm felt like it was going to fall off. Dr. Chapmann in the E.R. wasn't joking.

Are you kidding me?

We packed up our gear, said our goodbyes, and headed to our cozy Waldorf Astoria cabin at The Boulders- a place booked with intent of a night full of romancing. Instead, right as we walked through the threshold (and, no, Seth did not carry me), THIS HAPPENED:






























Man down.

Man down.

Man dooooooowwwwwnnnnn!

After I wrapped him in blankets and got a little fire started with my one functioning arm, I slapped a lidocaine patch on my shoulder and threw on a long sleeve tee-shirt over my sexy little nightie to make sure the patch stayed on (yep, I forgot the surgical tape Dr. Chapmann told me to buy). 

So, there we were- experiencing everything you never want (or expect) to experience on your honeymoon. And poor Seth! He was shaking uncontrollably, like someone with hypothermia, and barely muttered the words to have me grab the trash can in case he needed to barf. 

With my one good arm, I grabbed the bin and set it by his bedside.

No tender I love you's.

No passionate kisses.

No wedding night sentiments or "hold me and never let me go's".

More like "don't wiggle the bed or else I might puke!" and "you touch my shoulder and you're a dead man!"


Lights were out by 9:30pm.

No more than 60 minutes later, I awoke to the sound of pro.ject.ile vomiting. Seth was barfing over the side of our bed, into the trash can; over and over and over again. 

Yucky! But I couldn't do much to aid him because I had taken some painkillers that had knocked me out. Seth was pretty much on his own.

After the spewing episode ceased, we crashed out. Gone-zo. We were so tired. So tired that neither of us did anything with the can of barf! That's right, folks, the barf stayed in our room ALLLLLLL night long. And when the sun glistened in on our faces the next morning and we awoke as a newlyweds, all we could smell was a wondrous smell of stagnant puke that had be soaking next to our bed for 10 hours. 

10 HOURS PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alright, alright, so it wasn't the most peaceful and dreamy wedding day or start of our honeymoon...  and it definitely was NOT what I envisioned the experience to be... but I did learn a WHOLE heck of a lot and I can't wait to share it all with you!

Part 2 of this story HERE

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Costco Run and a Spectacular Couple





























Walking through the aisle of Costco, I could barely hold back the tears. My eyes were burning so badly... they were so tired... so exhausted... so heavy....

I had been crying all day, after all.

Trying to  process things that have to do with being divorced and having a child can be difficult at times.

It can be so draining at times.

I had already talked to my husband a bunch (who offers sound and thoughtful advice and is so sweet to listen to my ramblings) and my shrink for a quick "help me get out of this spin" phone session.

I felt better, but not totally.

So there I was in Costco, deciding if I want to make my first EVER purchase of a 32 can Diet Dr. Pepper case.

I walk over to the stack of soda, excusing myself around a couple standing nearby, and go to reach for a case.

Right as I do, the woman standing there reaches down and grabs the case for me. As she goes to hand it to me, her husband says, "let me" and walks the heavy case of pop to my cart about 15 feet away.

Totally taken back by the kind gesture of this older couple, I walk closely behind the gentleman. As he put the goods in my cart, I put my hand on his should and say while trying to hold back the tears and smiles,

"Wow... thank you so very much. I have had the worst day today. This just made it a whole heck of a lot better. Thank you!"

The couple look at one another, smile, and say,

"Well I'll be darned... We have too!"

So there we stood, just the three of us, perfect strangers, in between the paper goods and dish detergent, talking about all things life.

Then the sweet woman said,

"You know what, sweetheart? I'm a widow... and my husband here has been married and divorced twice... I am his third wife... and I am here to tell you that life is too short... it will all work out... and you will be alright. I promise you that. Even if it seems crazy at times, we are proof that crazy can be happy!"

For just a moment, I stepped out of my sorry self and realized something...

Life is too short.

There is no sense letting something (totally out of my control) sour my whole day.

I mean, here this couple was, having a hard day of their own and they were helping me and trying to lift my spirit.

Woah. So amazing.

I realized that it's okay to feel emotion... it's okay to deal with grief and frustration and crappy things for a time... it's okay to acknowledge your reality... but when it becomes  NOT okay is when you LET it paralyze you and cripple your precious minutes/hours of the day.

I left Costco yesterday feeling like a new woman. I got in my car, turned on my favorite song, and drove home with a warmer heart and happy tears. Really. I couldn't wait to get home and enjoy time with my family, as me, the real me, the happy me, the "I can overcome this" me.

Thank you to that amazing couple for doing something so nice. It meant the world and reminded me of so much.

I hope that I can do the same for someone else tomorrow.


**Do you have any stories like this? If so, I'd love to hear :)


Friday, April 12, 2013

Seeking Happiness






























Saw this, loved this, had to share this.

So many times I have found myself looking into the future, saying things like....

"One day I'll get there"

or

"When I have this or that, then I will be happier"

or

"Once I get through this, it will be easier"

Truth is, happiness is not a destination... it's an ebb and flow process that is sometimes really, really hard. But never forget that every minute of every single day we are given priceless opportunities to find the good. It is possible to make happiness out of what we already have, we just have to open our eyes to it and then build on it.

Happy Friday to you all!

Enjoy your weekend :)

Image Credit

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Q&A: If I Were Different
































I just received an email from a beautiful single woman, trying to figure out the aftermath of a long term break up, and the feelings that come with losing your self worth in the mean time.

Here's her question:

How do you finally get over that denial phase, thinking that it was all your fault-- rather than both? I still feel like it's all my fault. I pushed him away. I was the fool. Not him. He is fine. He is successful and happy. He is doing what he loves and following his passions. Then I keep wishing if only I was deep and passionate and totally intellectual, maybe things would be different?


Okay, here's what I know... and I know this from personal experience alone... and this relates to ALL of us because ALL of us experience grief in some form or another. So keep on reading, even if you're not single ;)


*****


If you know the grief cycle, you know that its components are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.


Depending on your personality, you may bounce around the circle in an sporadic way... like me :)


You see, one of the most beautiful qualities a woman holds, I think, is her HOPE. We HOPE for all things good, all things loving, all things peaceful. We are uncomfortable with contention, we are uncomfortable loss, we are uncomfortable with things not being as good as they possibly can.


We HOPE.


But the thing with hope is that, sometimes, it can alter our view of reality. And that is where the denial begins.


Then we begin to bargain or think about everything... over and over and over again... we dissect... we replay... we circle around and around and around. 


This is where one of TWO things can happen:


1) We can ponder with calmness, hopefully come to accept reality and begin moving forward (which rarely happens for me haha)


OR


2) We can do what I do and fret and stew, just waiting for the miraculous solutions we've created in our minds to happen

If I would have done this, he would have treated me better. 
If I do this, they will finally see that I am a good person. 
If only this would have happened, things would be different.  

Then we spin... and spin... and spin... in a downward spiral. Scrutinizing everything we've ever done or not done, losing part of our esteem and our worth in our own self destructive demise. 

Miracles that move mountains can happen... for sure... but let's be honest... they are rare... so waiting around for things to be how you imagine them to be...

Not good.


Not good at all.


But here's the good part.


YOU DON'T HAVE TO KEEP SPINNING.


You can find a way to control the impact this has on you... the impact is REAL.


There is a way to get out of this... it just takes some rewiring of your brain and learning how to navigate through this new reality of yours.


Whatever your new reality is (whether it's a breakup, a loss, a diagnosis, or anything for that matter), you've got to find balance. You've got to be able to identify WHERE you are in the grief cycle. Am I mad? Am I thinking and fretting too much? Am I sad? Am I in total denial? Am I accepting my new reality, even though it really sucks? 


WHERE AM I?


Once you do this, you've got to think to yourself, "WHAT IS NEXT?"and then work on getting there. Work on building yourself back up to that place where you have unyielding self worth and determination (I call it, the pioneer woman mode) and do whatever it takes to get yourself there. 


Whatever you need to do... reground yourself. Every single time something unpleasant creeps up, and those awful feelings of "If I were different" regurgitate, try to remember that this is your new reality.... and that it is okay... you are going to be okay. Rehashing old "what if's" and "if only's"are a waste of the time and energy-- time and energy that you could be putting toward your healing and progression.


And I'm willing to bet my left arm that *most of the time*, the difficult situation you've found yourself in had very little to do with you and much to do with circumstances that were totally out of your control.


So go for a run... go meditate... go sit at the park and watch the sunset... wherever you go, whatever you do... reground yourself and remind yourself of ALL the reasons you are where you are today and then, start working on the What's Next? phase.

Grief is inevitable for us all. Flopping around the grief cycle is never easy. But by golly, it is SO rewarding when we can learn to control ourselves when we're in the thick of it. Just remember that healing takes time-- so make sure you give yourself the love, patience and care that you will most definitely need to make it through the hard times.



Image Credit

*All my knowledge comes from the lessons I've learned from my therapist Maurice Harker*
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