“We Were Born to be Powerful!”

One week ago, I was leaving work about this time to go home and nap before an EPIC weekend of sisterhood.

Many of you have heard me talk about GRRRL Clothing before.  For those that aren’t aware, GRRRL clothing does not use standard sizing for their clothes.  Everything is based on your measurements, and named after a BAD ASS female athlete.  Sizes are bullshit.  GRRRL also seeks to unite women as sisters, and allow us to realize that we do not need to be in competition with one another , but rather, to encourage and build each other up to change the world.

I posted last year about GRRRL Live, and how life changing it was.

Well.  We just finished #GL18, and it was every bit as amazing as last year.  If its possible, it was more so.

This year, we talked about so many important issues…sisterhood, intersectional feminism (with the BEST. PANEL. DISCUSSION. EVER.), white privilege, overcoming food addiction, breaking through what is holding you back from achieving your dreams, writing your story/loving yourself where you’re at,  and so many more amazing topics.

There were also INCREDIBLE workshops available, like dead lifting and Strong GRRRL, self defense, ultimate body confidence, MMA with ROSE NAMAJUNAS!!!, plant based living,  and the Nurtured Heart Approach.

Let me start with Friday night’s pool party.

I’m not a bathing suit fan, or rather, I never used to be.  But being surrounded by so many amazing women, knowing that they weren’t there to judge my thighs or scars, or body hair, I was so comfortable.  In fact, they’ve made me feel so comfortable, that I’m planning to buy a bikini for this summer.

We danced.  We sang.  We ate cheese.  We jumped into the pool (I say “we”, I mostly mean “they.”  I kind of hopped into the super shallow end, with my water phobia.  lol) I got to hug and reconnect with some of the AMAZING GRRRLS I met last year, and then met some AMAZING new friends…who are local to Las Vegas!!!!  It was an awesome night, despite the ridiculous wind that tried to blow us all away.

Saturday was amazing.  We heard from 2 of the Next Gen GRRRL models, who are still in school, but are learning important lessons in life about supporting your sisters, dealing with bullies, and finding something you’re passionate about (I’m looking at you, Ava!  You were amazing with your presentation) and doing it to the best of your ability.

Talking about intersectional feminism was one of the Saturday highlights for me.  As a white woman, I need to make sure that I am using my privilege for GOOD (and not being a trash bag about it).  This talk and the following panel opened my eyes to so many things, and reaffirmed so many other things that I had already thought about.  We spoke briefly about cultural appropriation, a topic that always concerns me, as a student of Arab Dance.  It was eye opening, and I’m looking forward to learning all that I can.   I desperately want to be helpful, but not in a “the white girl is here to take over” kind of a way.  I want to find an organization or cause dealing specifically with issues for POC, and see if they’ll let me help out in the background…stuffing envelopes, etc.  I don’t need to be a mouthpiece, I just want to help.

Saturday I also tried dead lifting for the first time, and I am HOOKED.  I am currently searching for places/people to train with, because I just loved it.  The world of power lifting is beckoning me!!!

Sunday was emotional.  We had a talk about freedom from food addiction, and I resonated SO much with what our speaker was saying…I am extremely excited to have some one on one time next week with her so we can discuss steps I can take to be truly free.  So much of what she said hit me…things I can’t really get into here, but lets just say, she could have been talking about my life.

We also had a talk about breaking through barriers…quite literally.  Our speaker brought enough boards for all of us to write down what we wanted on one side, what was standing in our way on the other side…and we broke the boards with our fists!!  Talk about empowering.  I’ve never felt so amazing.

The highlight for me, however, was being asked to co-teach the ultimate body confidence workshop with 2 other amazing women.

We taught body confidence through dance.  There was twerking, chair dancing, and of course…belly dance/Arab Dance.

This was the largest group I’ve ever taught in a workshop setting, and I loved every last second of it.  Even with the 30 minute time constraints, every participant was able to grasp the basics of the moves that I showed, and they learned a short combination to dance to.

Being able to share my passion for dance, while imparting how amazing they all were was incredible.  Dancing has bolstered my confidence so much, and even though I still have days where I feel a little like “Oh, I don’t know…my scars will be showing,” etc…if you love what you do, the confidence will come.

The other awesome part for me was being able to educate these women (albeit a bit briefly) about the origins of the dance, and to impart that this is someone’s culture, not just a super fun “shake your butt” activity.  (Although it is super fun, but its also a cultural dance.)

There were other events that I wasn’t able to stay for, like an AMAZING WEDDING!!!!  2 incredible GRRRLS that met through the Facebook group got married on Sunday night! There was also a movie premier, which I wish I could have been able to attend, but we had other things going on that night.

All in all, after the weekend, I feel much better about some of the things that I’ve been wanting to do, but putting off.  I have new ideas,  and although they will take time, I know that I have some amazing things to do that will help me achieve some of my commitments, and make an impact in the lives of GRRRLS everywhere.

I’m going to leave you with some photos from the weekend.  I can’t wait for GRRRL Live 2019.  It promises to be an even more incredible weekend.  To all my GRRRLS who I met/reconnected with this weekend, thank you so much for everything you do, and everything you are.  We were born to be powerful.  We are warriors!  We are sisters!  We are going to change the world!!!!!

 

 

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Change is coming from my Shadow

Its been a while, my dear readers.   I have to apologize, I’ve been super busy of late.  I got a promotion at work, and while previously most of my writing was done at work (along with all my reading and knitting), I have tasks that keep me focused pretty much all day, so I struggle to find time to write.

Perhaps that is part of why I wanted to write this blog…

You see…I’ve been in a bit of a depressive state for a few months.
Most of you know that I’ve struggled with depression my entire life.  Over the last few years, I’ve found more of a balance, and I’ve found ways of coping that are healthy, but the last few months, I’ve been struggling.

I have a little bit of a reputation these days for being very strong, and being very grounded.  Today I feel out of control and confused.  I feel very weak.  I want to give in to my depression and go home early from work, and just sleep.  But I can’t.

And so, enter the functional depressed person.

Depression isn’t necessarily a red eyed person crying their eyes out all the time.  Its not the person who calls in from work all the time.  It can be, but not always.

Today, depression looks like a woman who got up and put on her “relaxed/casual Friday clothes” because she couldn’t stand the thought of putting anything other than a HUGE baggy sweatshirt on, because her self image is in the tank.

Today, depression went to pick up my free 8″ birthday pizza, and ate the entire thing in one sitting, within about 10 minutes.  Its overeating.  Its not eating later tonight because I overate at lunch.  Its indulging in my last day of eating carbs before I go strictly back on my low carb diet.

Today, depression hasn’t gotten much accomplished at work.  She’s looked busy, but she’s not doing much.  And next week, she’ll be overwhelmed.  But today, I just can’t.  I don’t care right now.  I just want to go home, but I can’t.  I have to be responsible.

This weekend, depression will dutifully get up and clean the house, because she knows that she has to help out. She doesn’t want her husband to know that she’s depressed, because he’s struggling with his own depression.  He needs me to be the strong one.  I don’t have the heart to tell him that I can’t be strong right now.  I need to go to sleep, and I need to rest, and regain my strength.  So, she will force herself to get up and do what needs to be done.  She wants to feel like she has accomplished something this week, when she knows that she has done so little.

Depression has been nagging at me to sell the workshops I’m supposed to attend in July.  No particular reason, she just doesn’t want to go, even though she knows that its going to be a great learning experience.

Depression today, looks like a girl who is just a little tired, when inside, she’s so exhausted she can barely sit here to type.  She’s feeling sad, and confused, and anxious, and desperate, and lost.  But if asked, she’ll say “I’m fine, just tired.”

I’m functioning.   I know I’ll get better.  But today…there is no light at the end of the tunnel…or there is, but its a train headed right for me.

I try not to post negativity here, or on my social media accounts anymore, because positivity begets positivity.  But sometimes…sometimes I just have to let it out.

I don’t want any of you to worry about me, my dear readers.  I’m going to be fine.  In fact, I’m looking up the practical Self Love things I can do to help me feel better soon.  OOOOH  I found it.  I found the one I wanted.  Look Here.  This post is amazing, and doesn’t trivialize self care down to bubble baths and mani/pedis.  (The post has not been altered at all.)

I know I feel weak, but let me tell you, it takes strength to admit that you’re not ok.
And right now, I’m not ok.

But I will be.

Blessed Solstice, Merry Yule

and so, dear readers, the end of the year is upon us.
This year, I’m doing things a little differently than I have in the past.  My new year is beginning on the Solstice, with the longest night.  The following day marks the returning of the light, and I’d like to begin my new year with the promise of bright days to follow.

As I do every year, I like to recap what goals I’ve met, and set goals for the new year.

Personal Goals Met:
*Observed and celebrated Samhain, Mabon, and Yule (this week)
*Read 1 book per month
*Read over 52 books this year
*Kept up with household chores
*Started memorial tattoo

Dance Goals Met:
*Took 1 workshop with OOT dancer
*Performed 3+ times

This past year, my CDFs were:

Cultivated:  grounded, rooted, earthy, and immersed in culture.
Magical: witchy, observant of magic all around
Connected: closer relationships
Stong: physically, mentally, emotionally
Cozy: comfortable, relaxed
Playful: playful with friends and family

I feel  like I embodied a lot of these this year, particularly Cozy, Cultivated, and Magical.  I spent quite a lot of time drinking tea, cuddled in bed or in the bath with a good book.

This year has been interesting.   It hasn’t been bad, but it hasn’t been spectacular either.  This year has definitely been one of growth.  Outgrowing practices, people, bad behaviors.  Losing people.  Gaining others.  Connecting with different people.   I danced quite a bit.  I spent quite a lot of time with the love of my life, and with my family.  I feel as though I’ve gained quite a bit of knowledge and perspective this year too.

I’m looking forward to the new year.   2017 wasn’t spectacular, but it was a pretty good year.  Lots of learning experiences.  I feel that 2018 is going to be amazing.

So, without further ado, my goals for 2018:

Personal Goals:
*Finish editing Morgan’s book
*Get fit, strong, and healthy
*write my own stories, 1 day per week
*Read 104 books
*Start language study again
*Cook more
*Fit into costumes again
*More planning time
*Monthly date nights
*Monthly friend dates

Dance Goals:
*1 workshop/private lesson with local dancer
*1 workshop with OOT dancer/musician
*1 OOT workshop
*Perform 3+ times
*2-3 times a week practice/drilling
*Purchase Karim’s sagat DVD

My CDFs for 2018 are:

Limitless: without limits in every aspect of my life.
Delight: 
Pure joy.  Playfulness.  Magic.
Sage:
Wise, and powerful as fuck.
Stimulating:
Intelligence, wit, conversation, sex
Passionate:
filled with passion for life and my loved ones
Magical:
witchy, filled with wonder at the real, every day magic in the world.

Life is what you make it.  With the returning of the light, may this year be bright and full of promise, and goodness.

I want to wish my readers, my loved ones, very happy holidays, whatever you celebrate or don’t.  Have a safe and happy new year, and may 2018 be full of joy and love for you.

Gratitude, and a new Year…

Another year, another “I’m going to post something I’m grateful for every day” on social media…another year that I am dreadfully behind.

The fact of the matter is, I’m pulling away from social media more and more these days.  And that’s actually something I’m feeling grateful for.  I have resolved to spend more face to face time with people that I love, and I don’t want to spend all my time on my phone.

As is customary for me, I always want to post a blog detailing the things that I’m grateful for.

This had been a trying year.
Tragedy struck Las Vegas just a few weeks ago.  There’s been all kinds of crazy tension between people online due to political leanings, racism, sexism…friends fighting friends.  People thinking that LGBTQ rights and struggles are a laughing matter.
I personally have seen a different side to people that I thought I knew.  Intolerance for different races, sexual preferences…even snide comments from people we were once super close with.  I’m sure they thought I didn’t notice, but I did.  Believe me I did.  And it hurt.  But I’m not letting people hurt me anymore.  Its not worth my time anymore.
I’ve lost touch with more people that I loved.  Things are weird and tense.  I’m pretty certain that I’ve been written off completely by at least 2 if not more.  I try to keep things friendly, but if they don’t want to reciprocate, I’m not going to force it.

Which leads me into my gratitude list.

First and foremost, I am grateful to have people in my life who are true to their words when they say that they love me.  They stand by me.  Even when we disagree on things, they don’t let ego get in the way.  They respect our differences.  They can recognize that things have been hard, even if we don’t confide details.  I am grateful that they know that I love them as well.  Even though I’ve been shite at seeing and hanging out with people recently (something I truly hope to remedy soon).

I am grateful for my husband.  Through thick and thin, we have each other’s backs.  Through hard times.  Through fun times.  Through arguments.  Through laughter.  We’re there for each other.  We respect each other.  He’s my strongest supporter, biggest cheerleader, and the love of my life.   I love our drunken scrabble nights, our snuggly Downton nights, our bacon and cuppa mornings, and our cooking days with music and dancing.  We have our ups and downs, but the constant is that we love each other, and I’m so lucky to have found that with you, Morgan.  I love you babe.

I am grateful for my family.  My parents, aunt and uncle.  I’m grateful that we see each other almost weekly these days.  That we are able to laugh together, talk about politics, celebrate birthdays, and being cancer free.  I love that my family has so graciously and completely accepted my husband for who he is, and that they love spending time with both of us.  I’m grateful to have spent so much time with my youngest niece and nephew, Jacob and Jillian, this summer.  It really made me happy to be able to see you two for more than just breakfast one day.  Thank you for going with me to the Goddess Temple.   I’m grateful for my seester Sara, and for Meghan, and so proud of her for going off to school, that we are able to talk with snapchat.  I’m grateful for writing letters with Aunt Norma, and even though I don’t talk to them as often, I’m grateful for Unksie, Sandra, Adam, and Aunty Kathy too.

I’m grateful for my pups.  My little loves with the stinkiest breath ever…they are just the sweetest.  They know when I’m sad, and they do their best to make me feel better.

I’m grateful for new opportunities that are starting to present themselves.  Options for a future, for a change…I’m grateful that I’m able to keep an open mind.

I’m grateful that Morgan has taught me (by osmosis, mostly, and watching) how to cook more intuitively.  I’m grateful that he’s open to my crazy ideas in the kitchen.

I’m grateful for my still new spirituality.  For the openness I have with my husband about performing rituals, for smudging, for collecting rocks and crystals, and incense. For him putting up with my failed attempt to garden. (Just wait till spring, I’m totally trying again!)

I’m grateful for my witchy sisters.  For Nina, for Brooke, for Leslie, for Janae, for Lisa, for Lala, and for Heather.  You all have provided me with much needed help, information, inspiration, and resources.

I’m grateful for dance.  Every year.  I’m grateful to Sandi, for hosting the haflas, and providing a place for us to dance for the community.  I’m grateful to Phil and BBear for asking me to dance at their many charity events…for allowing me a stage to do not only traditional Arab dance, but to dip my toes in the fusion pool in a safe space.  Thanks for letting me do shots of tequila on stage and then spin around like crazy. 🙂 I’m grateful to have been able to take a workshop with a dancer I was previously unfamiliar with, but who I LOVE now!!  I’m also grateful to have been able to volunteer at the Tribal Massive this year, and meet many amazing dancers.   I’m grateful for my dance friends, old and new, who not only believe in me and encourage me, but inspire the hell out of me.  I’m grateful for the opportunities I have coming up this coming year…I already have 2 workshops to go to, and I couldn’t be more excited!

I’m grateful to friends that I don’t want to single out, but you know who you are.  You open your home and your heart to us.  We play games together, cards, smoke cigars, drink wine, eat delicious food and cheeses.  We trade smutty stories, and cookbooks.  Your family is my family.  You come to concerts with us.  You just come over and hang out and drink, and play games with us.  You offer an ear when we need it.  You play disc golf with us.  You come to my dance performances.  You encourage and inspire me to keep trying when I feel like I can’t do it anymore.  We read books and share experiences together.  We workout together.  We inspire each other on the web.  We maybe have never met in person, but we can confide in each other about experiences, and stressors.  You come to karaoke, and drink and sing with us.  You are an ear, a shoulder, and a pair of arms when I need a hug.  You give me alternative methods of taking care of myself when I’m sick, and offer amazing help and advice.

My friends, I am so grateful for you.

In a year where I feel as though I’ve lost so much, I am so grateful to know that I really have so many amazing people and opportunities left in my life.

My year in review is coming up again, and as the holidays descend upon us, I wish you and your family a peaceful few months, whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate.  May your days be filled with joy and laughter, and your nights be warm and easy.  May you be blessed with amazing food, drinks, and time with  friends and family.

Until next time, dear readers, I remain grateful for you.

Time to let this fall from my hands…

Random musings for a Friday morning:

I’ve been thinking an awful lot about friendship these days.
What makes a good friend.  Am I a good friend?  How strong or fragile are friendships these days?  Are you really a friend if it takes just one tiny thing for you to not want to be around someone? Is the fragility of our friendships intensified by how offended everyone gets about everything these days?

Am I a good friend?  I try to be.  I try to be supportive of my friends, and what they want to do, what they are passionate about.  When I have the ability to, I like to help my friends out: drive them places, buy lunch, get a little gift, go to a performance, babysit, pet sit, house sit.  Above all, I really try to be there and be available for them.  If they need someone to listen to, cry to.  Need advice.  Need a hug.  Need cheese and wine.  Need a night out.

By the same token…when others don’t do these things for me, it upsets me.  Not that friendship is a “Do this for me, and I’ll do this for you” arrangement, because its not.  But if I am constantly inviting you to come see me dance, because I want to share my passion with you, and you never ever EVER come to see me…that hurts.  That makes me feel like you don’t care about what I’m passionate about.  I understand that people have lives.  But if I always make an effort to share in your passion…can’t you do the same for me one time?

I think of my friends from back home.
My friends that I’ve not really been in much contact with outside of casual Facebook interactions…but these same people, the people I’ve knows for 15 years or more…many or most of them are people that I can talk to as if no time has passed.  We get along.  We trust each other.  There’s no weird tension.  I am not afraid of offending these people.  They  know who I am, who I’ve always been.  We can disagree, and even argue without worrying about losing each other.

I look at my friends here in Vegas, and I do have some friends that I feel that way about.

But the longer I’m here, the less I feel that many of my friendships are “real.”
Maybe its just Vegas.
I recently saw a girl that I am not friends with, that I haven’t spoken to for 6 years come up to me and try to hug me, and she said she loved me.    No, honey, you don’t.  You’re high, and a drama addict.  I’m not your friend, to be honest, I don’t even LIKE you.  I haven’t given this girl the impression that we are friends, but here she is, trying to be all “I love you” to weasel her way into my life.

How many others here are like that?  How many will say they love me to my face, but talk about me behind my back?
How many friends invite me over, begrudgingly?  How many friends only put up with me because I’m friends with their friends?
How many friends keep their true feelings about me hidden away?

I’m not asking for a million friends.  Lord knows that I don’t get to see or talk to the ones that I have now.
I just want quality friends.  I want people who truly care about me and about my husband.  I want people in my life who are honest, who will tell me to my face if there is a problem.  People who don’t thrive on drama or chaos. Obviously I know that avoiding things like this are difficult, but I just don’t want to be around people who thrive on it.  People who seek out drama like a bloodhound, to insert themselves into someone else’s business.

The thing is, life is too short to spend energy on people who don’t care.  Or people who have no respect for you.  Or fake people.  Or people who talk about me behind my back, and resort to high school behavior.

I want friendships that last.  I want people who are willing to fight for our friendship.  Not people who are willing to drop me (or us) without even trying to fix things.

Over the last year and a half, I’ve lost people that I thought I’d be growing old with.  People who were in and at my wedding.  People I’ve been intimate with.  I don’t understand why.  I don’t understand what happened.  I haven’t changed, other than trying to make myself a better person.  My husband hasn’t changed: he’s still the crazy, uninhibited, caring, passionate person he’s always been.  Sure, both of us have been a little on edge lately, but with friends starting to drop left and right, wouldn’t you be?

Then there’s the strain of people who want to remain friends with me, who aren’t friends with my husband, or vice versa.  Morgan has friends that I don’t want to have a relationship with.  Some of these people I still care for, but I cannot be friends with them.  It isn’t healthy for me.    Others, I simply cannot stand, whether its due to their character or something they have personally done to me…I can’t do it.  I can’t even fake being nice to some of these people.   It makes things difficult on both of us, and in turn, can make things awkward for other friends. We don’t ever want to do that to our friends…

I have friends who six months ago called me family, who can’t even give me a “like” on Facebook posts anymore.

And it upsets me.

Truly.  I don’t give love or trust easily.  I’ve been hurt a lot in the past.  Especially in the past 2 years.  I’m cautious and anxious about investing in people.  But once I’m there…once I love you, I love you.
I don’t understand how people who once said that they loved me can barely speak to me when I haven’t done anything.

Maybe I’m being passive aggressive by making this post, but if I’m honest…they will probably never see it.  I feel like they don’t see or comment on anything I post anymore, even though I do on their things.

Not that Facebook is the be all end all of friendship, but when its been the primary form of communication for years…getting cut off like that…I don’t get it.

Once again, here I am, affected far too much by other people.

Maybe the problem is my standards are too high.
I expect people to treat me and my family with respect and consideration.  I know that I certainly try to do that in my interactions with others.  I’m not perfect, by any means, but…man.  I’m just so flabbergasted at how quickly I’m seeing friends drop, and seeing other friends get dropped for ridiculous reasons.  Or with what seems to be no reason at all.

Me? I don’t unfriend or drop my friends lightly.   I do when I feel disrespected.  I do when I am being used.  And on Facebook, if we NEVER interact, I’ll unfriend you, because you’re most likely not really a friend anyway.

I miss my friends.
I know its ok to miss them.
Hell, I miss Pat sometimes so much it makes me want to cry.

But that friend…the Pat I loved and miss…he doesn’t exist anymore.

Do these friends not exist anymore too?  I hope that’s not the case.  I keep hoping that maybe…just maybe, something will happen, and things will be good like they used to be.  We can all hang out without there being awkwardness.  There can be poker games, and karaoke, and pool parties, and late nights drinking.  Dinners, and games, and all of the things that I’m missing, terribly.

I feel I should note…this is not about just one group of friends, but several people who have dropped out of my life over the last couple of years.  I know it might seem like I’m focusing on one group, but I promise, I’m not.  There have been several, two of whom basically vanished without a trace.

As it is now, Morgan and I have been spending a lot of time with my blood family recently.  This, I am grateful for.  I’m beyond grateful to have a family who is supportive, loving, and caring.  I’m even more grateful to be so close to them.  When we lived on the other side of town, we had a hard time getting over to see them.

This year, we have been doing dinner with them at least once a month, if not every week or two.  We’ve seen movies together.  2 days ago, we took my niece and nephew up to Mt Charleston together, and just had the most beautiful day.

I’m also grateful for those friends who remain.  Friends who truly ARE family.  Who can do the hard talks, and the fun times.  Who understand when things aren’t going great that we do love them, we just can’t afford to go anywhere.  Friends who consistently offer support and love during trying times.  Friends who are incredibly selfless.

I hope that someday I might get back to that point with some of these absent friends.  I know for a few, its too late, if for no other reason than I haven’t had a way to talk to them in years.  But for some…my heart still aches.

Maybe I am too sensitive.

But its who I’ve always been.

From My Hands
VNV Nation

So much I thought, I’d have to say
though I try to speak, my meaning strays
We can”t avoid the facts that brought us here
I have come to say goodbye

The lies I try to tell with my own eyes
An act of pride, a wilful compromise
Please understand how torn I am
when I walk away from here

I lament the moments we won’t share
If I am far too sentimental, I apologize
Please understand, this is who I am
and who I’ll still be when I’ve walked away from here

You know that I am not unkind,
when I say: in the future, the past is just the past
No going back, no change of heart
But this is now
Time will not defer

My thoughts betray, so easily confess,
how long I’ll wait here after you have gone
Nothing ends but I don’t believe that now
Please don’t walk away from here

When alone, when I remember days,
nothing will change a single fact of who you were to me
Oh, come what may, forever to the end
I find it so hard to let you go

Hush now
Let it go now
There’s no need for sad goodbyes

Hush now
Let it go now
I know it’s time to go

Time to let this fall from my hands

 

 

 

Can I be your GRRRL?

Its been an interesting week, my dear readers.

Nothing bad  happened, but my mood has been very low, and I’d been struggling with a lot of self doubt, and self loathing.  All I could think of are the many times I wasn’t “enough,”  and the instances right now where I feel removed from my own life.

But then, I attended a conference that was all about confidence, self love, and changing the world.  You know.  General Bad-Assery.   This conference has already changed my life, and it just ended on Sunday.

Indulge me, if you will, in looking at the thoughts that were coming up the few days before the GRRRL Live Conference.  This is going to be a long post.  Please hang with me.  It will be worth it.  I promise.

Looking back over my life, as far back as I can remember…I’ve never really been the pursued in relationships.  I’ve always been the girl with the crush on the guy that doesn’t know she exists, or only likes her as a friend.  Yes, there have been one or two exceptions, of course, but the vast majority of my memories of being a teenager into my late 20s involve me doing the chasing, me keeping up most of the communications, and me falling in love with guys who just wanted to “have fun” with me, or wanted nothing to do with me.

All of these instances, I recall wondering what was wrong with me?  Why didn’t they want me? Or, why didn’t they want more?  And the reasons…Oh the reasons I came up with:
1.  I’m not pretty enough
2. I’m not thin enough
3.  Not smart enough
4. Not nerdy enough (yes, that one actually went through my mind)
5. Not Christian enough
6. Not “freaky” enough
7.  Not close enough

You get the idea.

If I ever asked anyone, the only answer I ever got was “You’re great, I just don’t feel that way about you.”  No why.  No reason.  Nothing for me to fix or work on.

I had a chat with Morgan about this the other day, as we were heading to have dinner with family, expressing my feelings on this.  I told him that I felt silly for feeling this way…I’m married, I’m happy.  But he pointed out to me that even with him, for the longest time, I was the pursuer.  I wasn’t the first choice.  He said that it had to sting, and still hurt, even though things worked out for us.  He has a point.

I try not to dwell in the past.  In the end, he fell in love with me.  Enough to want to marry me, which he said he’d never do again.
But before all that…it was just another scenario where for years I wasn’t enough.  Strong enough, and other shortcomings.  (Morgan has told me on several occasions that it wasn’t that I wasn’t enough, he just had a different set of priorities then.  I understand that and accept it…but it doesn’t change how I felt back then.)

I can’t help but feel a bit sad about this.
I’ve spent most of my life feeling like I’m not good enough.  So even when I am happy, and I’m married, and am told that I’m enough…I still have days where I don’t feel like I am.  The past comes back to haunt me.

Of course, it bleeds over into other areas of my life too…not just the romantic side of things.  For the last 13 or 14 years, I’ve felt like I’m lacking in the dance department.  Not thin enough.  Not pretty enough.  Not talented enough.  Not connected enough.  Not good enough.  Not good enough to join troupes, not good enough to get paid gigs, not thin or pretty enough to get a restaurant gig…it gets debilitating at times.

There was a trigger to these feelings coming up now, although I’d rather not get into it.
As I said, I’m married and happy.  But it just sucks when you believe something in your gut, and you’re right about it, and then your brain says “See?  You weren’t good enough for that either.”

This concept of self love…of confidence…of being enough…where does it stem from?  Should we base our worth on the opinions of others?  Of being enough for another person or group of people?

I don’t think so, no.  Look at me.  My self worth has been based on if so and so likes me/is interested in me, etc…and its gotten me a whole lot of nothing but depression and doubt.

How then, do we change how we discover our value?  How do we look inside for our worth?  How do we, to borrow from a popular phrase these days, “Stop giving a fuck” about the opinions of others?

In short, how do I become enough for me?

Its a difficult balance, because I don’t want to downplay the opinions of the people I love.  People’s opinions DO matter (to me, anyway), but I get hung up in placing too much emphasis on their opinions instead of my own.

It doesn’t help that I generally have a pretty low opinion of myself a lot these days anyway.  I can’t lose weight.  I’m uncomfortable in my skin, and my clothes.  My clothes don’t fit, and I’ve busted the thighs of 2 pair of pants in the last week.

But…I’m healthy.  I haven’t had kidney problems since the stone was blasted in January.  I don’t have anything wrong with me medically.  My blood pressure, cholesterol, sugars, and thyroid numbers are all spectacular.  If that’s not something to be proud of, I don’t know what is.

Finding a way to love myself is hard.  Its hard for a lot of us.

The best news is…at the conference this weekend, I was given tools to use.  I heard stories from women who have been in the same position that I am.  People who struggled with loving themselves.  Women who hated who they were, hated their bodies.  These women rose above adversity and grew.  They learned to love themselves.  They learned to treat their bodies well.  And now?  They are MMA and UFC fighters.  They are endurance athletes.  They are power lifters who can dead lift over 600 pounds.  They are MFCEOs of amazing companies that are going to CHANGE THE WORLD!

DO IT LIKE A GRRRL
So, this conference was presented by GRRRL Clothing.
If you aren’t aware, get ready, because this is so much more than a clothing line!  I was introduced to GRRRL Clothing by a dear friend online.  I was just starting to get into fitness again, and she knew the struggles I dealt with emotionally, so she messaged me one day and said “I’m adding you to this group.  I think you will benefit from it.  Feel free to leave its not a good fit, but I think you’ll like it.”

Well.  needless to say, I stayed an d loved it.

What I found in the Facebook Group was a ton of women who are committed to building each other up.   To being supportive.
In so many instances, society and other influences pit women against each other.  We’re told that we’re each other’s competition.

And that’s the beautiful thing about GRRRL.  #notyourcompetition is a mantra.  A code of ethics.  A lifestyle.

Think about it.  As women, how many times do we look at each other and think something negative?  “Could those shorts be any shorter?”  “She’s probably had work done.”  “Cocky Bitch, who does she think she is?”

Why do we say those things?  Why can’t we say something positive?  “Look at that girl, owning her amazing legs, and being comfortable in her own body!”   “Damn girl, you look amazing!”  “Look at all that confidence.  That is badass.”

The other AMAZING thing about GRRRL Clothing is, they don’t use traditional sizing for their clothing.
As a line of workout clothes: leggings, sports bras, shorts and tops, all of their sizes are named after badass female athletes, and are based on measurements.
For example:  I am a size Amenah in pants.  Amenah is a power lifter and competes in strongman competitions.  She’s stunningly beautiful, strong, and just generally a badass.  There’s also size Kortney, after the MFCEO of the company.  You have have seen videos of Kortney floating around the internet…she’s pretty well known for CRUSHING WATERMELONS WITH HER THIGHS. She’s a badass.  And…she’s cool as hell.

So, rather than sticking to the stigma of S, M. L, XL, XXL, etc…now women can take their measurements and say “I’m a size Kortney.  Fuck yes!”  Or, with the addition of their newest size:  “I’m a size Sam!  Yes! Samantha Coleman is an incredibly strong woman! That’s amazing!”

Do I sound like I drank the Kool-aid?  I know I do.  But I seriously love and believe in what this company is trying to do for women.  Imagine how incredible the world will be when we can stop tearing other women down, and start building other women up!  Women are FIERCE.  We just need to harness that fierceness and work together.

GRRRL Live 2017: Break Free in LAS VEGAS!
So, now that you have a little background about the company…Kortney and the crew had this incredible idea to hold a conference for the GRRRL Army.  As women, we all struggle with things.  Addiction, eating disorders, depression, self harm…there’s always something going on with us.  Even those of us who have it all together a lot of the times.  No one can be perfect every day.

I’m not going to go into explicit detail about all of the speakers, or the things that were covered for a couple of reasons.
1.  There’s a lot.  Like, I seriously took 4 pages of notes on just ONE of the many speakers that were there over the weekend.
2.  This was a conference that had sold tickets, and I don’t feel right just GIVING away all of the information.   Plus…you know.  There’s always next year if you want in on the awesome scoop.

What I will say is this.
I learned several new tools for helping myself, including one that I started last night:  Putting the fork down in between bites while eating.  Checking in with my body.  Meditations to forgive myself.  Ideas on how to really get in touch with myself on a deep level.
I heard stories from incredible women who have been where I’ve been.  Different circumstances, different problems, but at the root of it:  women who were at rock bottom, and overcame the problems.  Women who are super successful, and happy now.  They found something they were passionate about: whether it was MMA, Running, Power lifting, or Laughing.  They found what they were passionate about and they pursued it, full force.

It was inspiring.

Seeing so many women, feeling the same things.  Processing the same information a bunch of different ways…women breaking down and crying with people they’d never met before.  Being supportive of the brave women who shared their stories…learning that we are enough.  We are not things.  We are not objects.  We are women.

It kept coming back to me that I’m really not alone in my life.  No matter how isolated I might feel sometimes.  I’m not alone.  I have a motherfucking GRRRL ARMY behind me, helping me, supporting me.

And with their support…nothing can stop me.  Nothing.

 

 

Eye of newt, and toe of frog, Wool of bat, and tongue of dog…

Double double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble…

Did you know that when Shakespeare wrote Macbeth, and was writing the witch’s scene, that the ingredients listed are code?

Witches didn’t really use Newt eyes or dog tongues.

I ran across this information the other day while researching what I’m hoping will be my new hobby:  gardening.

I’ve decided, as a newly practicing witch, that I want to grow my own herbs for spells, incense, and just for general use in the kitchen.  There’s something strangely appealing to me about being able to pick fresh basil from a plant I’ve grown and tended to from seed.

The trouble is, I don’t really have much of a green thumb.
When I was younger, I never had much interest in growing things, but I’ve managed to kill a couple of bamboo plants…and I’ve heard that this is really hard to do.

My mom, on the other hand, has an amazing touch  when it comes to plants.  I remember the last day of fourth grade, my teacher sent me home with a spider plant that was on the brink of death.   My mom nursed it back to health, and it is STILL alive.  That was 27 years ago.

My mom has kept a plant alive almost as long as she’s kept me alive.
That’s fucking impressive, I don’t care who you are.

My hope now, being older and wiser, is that I will be able to tend these plants, and keep them alive, even if its just for a few months at a time.

I’ve wanted an herb garden for a long time now, but ever since my recent venture into witchcraft, the need has been overwhelming.  Something deep in me really wants for me to get in touch with the earth.  To dig in the dirt.  To grow and tend to something.

The good news is, that I’ve had my herbs for a little over a week, and I haven’t killed any of them yet.  Granted, my Sweet non-GMO Basil is wilty…but I think it might be too humid for it?  My other basil is doing well, as is my thyme and oregano.  I had tried to set up a schedule for watering, but so far I’ve found that just checking the soil daily seems to work.  I don’t water them if the soil feels damp.  If its dry, I water them, and make sure that they drain well.

So far, its much easier that I’d anticipated…but its only the first week.

I’m excited to have a little windowsill garden.  I’m already looking at what other herbs I can grow.  I want to get some catnip (I thought I had, but the basil had been mislabeled…although I should have known by the smell. Foodie fail.), and I desperately want to get some rosemary.  That I can keep outside on the front stoop.  I just need a pot big enough, and maybe a small stool so the dog doesn’t try to pee on it when we walk him…he can’t help himself sometimes, and I want to use that for cooking and spells.

I’ve already used my thyme in a healing brew, I made some thyme tea for Morgan and I.  We both have been feeling pretty under the weather, and so I lightly bruised some thyme from my garden, steeped it in hot water for 10-15 minutes, and added a little lemon and honey:  it smelled amazing, and tasted really good too.

Having this garden excites me.  I like being able to say “I helped this grow.  This tea that we’re drinking was grown by me.  The basil in the spaghetti sauce came from my garden.”  I have a sense of pride in being able to keep a plant alive.  Unlike a dog, it can’t whine when it isn’t well, and doesn’t tell me when it wants to go for a walk.  Not really.  The leaves might wilt a little bit, but its really up to me to take the initiative to check on them every day.

I’m also starting to feel a little more connection to the earth, which is important to me with my newfound spirituality.

I’m very in touch with fire.  I love to burn incense and candles, when we had the house I loved having a fireplace.   I already use fire and smoke in my rituals.

But fire is really the only of the elements I really feel a connection to, especially as a fire sign.  I want to start getting myself connected to earth, air, and water.

Earth was the one pressing at my spirit.  For the last 2 or 3 years, I’ve wanted a garden.  I didn’t want to plant one at the old house, because I knew that we wouldn’t be there long enough.   I’ve always loved the idea of growing things to use in teas, and more recently to make incense, or bath satchels.

I’ll update again after I’ve successfully kept these alive for a month.  When I’ve made it a month, I’m going to buy myself some more herbs to grow.  I plan to have a lovely little garden on my window sills, and patio.

Basil!  Don’t worry, a friend told me that the flowers AREN’T as good as I thought they were. They’ve been removed.

Creeping Thyme.  Makes great tea!

Oregano!