Therapy

I went to see my therapist today. I started going to her about a year and a half ago. For the first year, I saw her often but after a year we both felt I could come in on a “need be” basis. It had been 6 months since I saw her last.

I initially started seeing a therapist because I felt I needed to stop the ping pong thoughts in my head that brings on the waves of anxiety. I know the word “anxiety” is thrown around like saying someone has a headache but I’m not here to debate how the word is used (I’ll save that argument for another time). For me, the anxiety can be physically painful and I needed an additional tool to help control it. I’m a strong believer in therapy, medication, medicinal marijuana, exercise or any other thing that can help someone stop suffering whether it’s physically or mentally. Help is help.

About a month ago I felt like I needed to go talk to my therapist so I made an appointment and went today. All day I thought about “what am I going to talk to her about?” I was feeling better than when I had made the appointment. Full disclosure: I didn’t cancel because I didn’t want to pay the $50 late cancellation fee 🙃. So I went. We talked about what had initially made me make the appointment, I was tearful a few minutes after being there. Which led into me talking to her about feeling so empathetic with people. I understand most decent human beings are sympathetic & empathetic towards other but I am EEEEEEMMMMMPAATHEEEETICCC. I feel like I take on other peoples pain. Almost as if I can feel what they’re feeling. I’m sure that sounds strange, I felt it was strange too. I wondered: was something wrong with me?

I believe if I had the means, I would want to help fix every problem in the world and be an activist- the stuff legends are made of. I kid, but it’s something like that. The problem is- I would help people at my own peril. But I’m also the person who will tell you to fuck off if I’m mad at you. No balance. For example: my husband & I went to Bob Evans. The check came and he says “Man they charge $2.50 for a cup of coffee!” I responded with some comment that made my husband laugh. He says “I never know what you’re going to say.” I said “I know…it’s either ‘$2.50 for fucking coffee?!!’ Or ‘Well, maybe it’s because it’s a fair trade coffee.'” (In a nerdy voice) We both laughed because- it’s true.

So today, I talked to my therapist about it. I laid out my examples and every reason she may need to properly diagnose me. I waited for the answer on how to gain balance in my life. I mean, what’s the freaking secret? I had hoped Eat, Pray, Love would help me find some balance- it didn’t. So if Julia Roberts couldn’t help- who could? My therapist. That’s who. She’s going to give me the key to life! I would be able to share it with all my friends and pass it off as my own advice 😌. After I explain to her all of the things I think are wrong with me, she responds by telling me that those are good things about me and the most important words I didn’t know I needed to hear. She said “Honor yourself.” I have spent most of my life, like most women, doubting myself, turning my strengths into weaknesses, and questioning who I really was. I never stopped to honor who I was and love her. I’ve always felt apologetic for who I am. I can’t explain it- it’s like you walk around with “I’m sorry” on the tip of your tongue.

When she said “Honor yourself.” I started to cry. I don’t know why? I just did. It was a relief, I think. After years of doubt and destruction, it felt good to know that after alllllllll that nonsense- I still managed to be a good person, with an empathetic heart and fire cracker temper. Maybe balance is something unattainable? Maybe it’s unattainable for me? Maybe somewhere out there there is a Balance Unicorn and I just haven’t found it yet. I don’t know but I’m ok being out of balance. Pun intended.

I didn’t go to therapy today expecting this to be the ah ha moment I needed. But that’s the great thing about therapy, they’re there for the black & white. There’s no gray. It’s someone who’s going to tell you the truth and guide you in the right direction. If you’re on the fence about seeing a therapist, go. Just try it. I know it’s not easy to sit in a room with a stranger and be completely vulnerable with your words and emotions but you’d be surprised how much you want to say when someone opens the door and let’s you speak without judgement. Every time I go to see her, I leave with something to help me deal with situations I’d otherwise be spinning my wheels in.

*REVELATION*

I could give you some motivational speech about no matter your faults etc etc etc. But truth is this: Most of us are caring human beings. And somehow along the way, I started to believe something was wrong with me. Why? Because I don’t always go to events, sometimes I’m unreliable because panic sets in and I freeze, sometimes I hibernate when I’m depressed and sometimes- I just don’t know what to say to people. Does that make me weird? Probably but I’m just me. And I like me.

We all have our quirks, we may not even know them but other people see them. So what? I know a lot of my insecurity comes from the ways anxiety can affect my life. I feel bad when I let people down or cancel last minute. I’m tired of feeling bad about that. Because there are a million other times I’ve been a best friend, life saver, there in an emergency and gave good advice. And thanks to my therapist, I feel ok shedding the coat of shame. Honor yourself- even if you’re a little weirdo.

Thanks for reading,

Stacey

wabi-sabi

I’ve always enjoyed writing. From an early age I can remember loving to write and this was an age where I had to actually WRITE the words. I don’t know if I’ve ever considered myself “good” at it, I’ve just always liked it. Now that I have put myself out there and started this blog, I read and reread my stories and generally I’m pretty satisfied. No…I’d say proud.

It’s not easy to put your thoughts out there for the world to read and open yourself up to criticism. In daily life, I don’t worry too much what people think of me. But to put my uninterrupted, revised thoughts out into the world is intimidating. It’s transparent and vulnerable. Ugh, is there anything worse than feeling vulnerable? Not much.

I sometimes wonder if I cuss too much or sound unintelligible in my writing. But I write how I speak to people- just like the normal, regular person I am. I’m pretty sure I’ll never write anything profound and that’s not my goal. I only had two goals when starting this blog 1) I wanted to see if I could do it. #BucketList and 2) I wanted to be honest and relatable. I think some of my stories have been received really well and I’m super proud of that.

But I worry. I worry that the people around me are thinking to themselves or talking to each other saying “why does she keep posting her blog?”. Neither my kids nor my husband have said anything to me about my writing. I’m not sure if they’ve even read any of it.

*Paused* Everything you just read above was from May 10th, 2018. I was really struggling with the confidence to keep writing. I started to feel like I was sounding self centered. I felt almost..embarrassed. I don’t like to draw attention to myself and sharing my thoughts made me cringe.

Flash forward to today: August 21st, 2018. I have been thinking about getting back to writing my blog but wasn’t sure how to do it. I didn’t know how I could write a blog and not share my thoughts. And then I …

*REVELATION*

I remembered the first post to my brand new blog. I thought back to how I wrote that it would be Headlines, Footnotes & Obituaries from my daily life. MY life. My opinions and experiences. It got me thinking- what’s more interesting than being inside the mind, reading the intimate thoughts of an ordinary person? To me, I find it fascinating in others. Maybe someone finds it interesting in me?

I’ve received emails, comments and likes. Over 1,000 people have read my blog posts but it none of that mattered because I felt leery about continuing to write. In my mind, I imagined a few people I know rolling their eyes or purposely not “liking” my stories.

But here I am. Shaking that off and feeling confident in myself. So just to save you the suspense: This blog will be about my life, my thoughts and my opinions. I hope you can enjoy and/or relate to the every day life of an ordinary person. If that’s not your thing and you’re looking for something more, you won’t find it here.

Do ya thing chicken wing,

Stacey

I was. I am.

I was 19 when I had my first son, got married at 22 and had my second son that same year. It’s a lot of work, especially if you’re single. At 18, I had a full time job at a store called Hart’s. When I had my first son, I was making $3.35/hr. That was minimum wage at the time.

Anyway, I preface this with that. I graduated high school and less than a year later, I was a mom. At 40, I really didn’t know anything else besides being a mom and working full time. Like a million, zillion other moms out there. This isn’t a “I’ve had it so much harder than any other mom” story. No. All moms work their asses off and go through hard times raising babies and trying to pay the bills. I don’t care if you’re HBIC at your workplace or if you’re a stay at home mom. We ALL sacrifice most of ourselves for our kids and no matter where you spend your hours during the day- we’re all the HBIC. This is a story on the ONE thing I’ve ever done as an adult that was just for me.

Running. I’ve written before about running and how I got into it. But what I’ve never told anyone is what running told me about myself.

When I started running I was trying to save myself. And I did. I went from being very depressed to getting out of the house every day, going to a high school track and running. I couldn’t run for 1 minute when I started. No joke. Not 1 minute. I trained 3 months for a 5k. I knew nothing about distance running. So, I was learning and reading about different running shoes, stretching exercises and the correct foot strike, along the way. My first race was a 4th of July race, which probably has the largest field of runners for our smedium city. I was thrilled to have finished it! No feeling like it. Or so I thought….

The following weekend I had another race in a city not far from me. It was a trail race called Flirt with the Dirt. Two things happened at this race. 1) I realized I loved trail running & 2) It was the first race I placed in! It was completely unexpected! My second race ever and I, me, 40 year old Stacey, placed in a race with other really good runners. But wait, I don’t tell you that to brag. I tell you that to bring you to what it told me.

I was good at something. It had nothing to do with the kids, or a husband or anything else. It was all me, for me. As a mom, you’re never selfish. We make mistakes but generally, we’re available to everyone at any given time. So, when I placed, it was the first time in my adult life that I KNEW I would’ve been good at anything else I may have done if my life. I had wondered what if I had gone to college after high school, what if I had moved across the country- just things I think most moms wonder when they have babies young. I always felt I was a pretty good mom and I’ve always taken pride in that. I think my boys would most likely agree. But taking pride in something you’ve done and feeling proud of yourself are two different things.

I had gladly given my whole life to my kids and a husband. But, at this point in my life, I had a little more free time because I was now divorced, one son had his own place and my youngest son was driving and pretty much self sufficient. It gave me the extra time to run every day, work on my times and take care of myself. It was the first time in my life that I had worked for something just for me. And I was successful. It gave me the confidence to believe that I could’ve made it anywhere.

I recently read an article on the growing popularity of women-only trips. A group of friends and strangers, go on an adventure together. The New York Times said that the trips that catered to women and pushed the limits, resonated the most. Why? I believe, most women live within limits that keep us structured and “safe”. Mostly, because we are responsible for other people, therefore, we keep our household fairly structured and safe. So,to be able to go on an adventure, with other women, and see what you’re made of- sounds like a life changing opportunity. Just know that you don’t have to go far away or be with anyone else to get the same result. Full disclosure though: I’d totally go on an adventure with some kick ass women!

I used to be self conscious and aware of what other people thought of me. Once I gained self confidence and knew what I was capable of- I became comfortable with myself. Truly comfortable. Accomplishing something just for me, changed my life. I’m not as fast or as in shape as I used to be, but I’m a changed woman. I understand if you’re busy with kids, the house and work. I get it. But when you are able and available- My advice is: find something. Just for you and test your limits. You’re more than you think you are. I promise.

Thanks for reading,

Stacey

Stop apologizing. Stop it.

So, I have this problem~I say “I’m sorry” way too much. I could’ve written the above meme from real world shit. I’ve apologized to the cat for getting in his way….yes HIS way. Me: reaches over the cat to get something from the counter “oops sorry kitty.”

In the grocery, at the end of almost every isle, I am constantly saying “I’m sorry”-for someone running into me. I do it over and over. I always say, “I’m not saying I’m sorry anymore.” Or “Oh ok! Nooooo, excuse me”, this is of course, after I’ve apologized and continue to do throughout the store.

I understand there are social graces and maybe it just sounds like normal social graces. But after this last year I’ve begun to wonder- Why do I continue to apologize for….stuff? Life. Do we actually forgive people or are we secretly keeping score?

Last year when my kids lost their dad, my ex husband, it was something none of us had been through before. The pain and changes are so indescribable, I now know, it’s something you can only feel through experience. I say “feel” because I don’t really recall being able to think clearly, I could only feel what was happening. It was obviously a very trying time for our family and also to those close to us.

Before the tragedy, I had an issue with a friend of mine that I was working on. She didn’t know and i hadn’t had a chance to talk about it because I was still working it out. She’s important to me and part of my squad but I feel things changed over the last year because I had an unresolved issue, life was interrupted and changed, and that became unimportant. Today, it’s something I feel bad about because I had given her the cold shoulder and she had no idea why or if it was all in her head. It wasn’t. I was mad. I hope I get a chance to have coffee with her and talk to her about it.

I missed a lot of family functions this past year. I just couldn’t. I didn’t want to go and I gave myself permission to stay home and not feel guilty about it. To my family, I’m sorry. It’s not that I don’t love you, I’m just still healing and figuring life out. I love my husband, my kids, my grandkids and I have an all around great life. But there’s been loss. And we’re still trying to navigate the new path. I wanted to be home just in case my boys needed me. I wanted them to know, I’m home base. This is where we can gather and be together. It’s important for them to have that going forward in life. They’ve always split their time between their dads house and my house on holidays so it became important for me to be home to give them stability, safety from the sad days.  Maybe things will be better this year.

When this happens to you, you come out on the other side changed and a little dazed. You look back as if you were in a dream. Feeling like you’ve lost chunks of time, it’s just gone. During this lost time, you’ve missed saying “Happy Birthday” to friends and family, you’ve missed church, you neglect the most important people in your life, you probably didn’t say “thank you” enough or acknowledge someone who helped you. Many unreturned phone calls and responseless messages.

So, why would I apologize to complete strangers who are rude to me but I haven’t said “I’m sorry” to the people who are most important to me? I don’t know, really? I wish I had a good reason, hell- even a good excuse would do. Even though, I’m not sure that I have to apologize for any of these things?

Full disclosure: I couldn’t find the right words to finish this article and it was very frustrating. I know that when I get stuck like that, that I’m not really saying what I want to say. The paragraph above was written last night and stopped short because I just didn’t have a clear direction. Until today.

In fact, when I started writing this, my intention was to apologize for all of these things because I do feel bad that alot was lost on me this past year. I’m not usually like that and I try to be thoughtful concerning everyone. But the more I wrote, the words just weren’t coming out. At then end of almost every paragraph I had written “I’m sorry”. Did I really feel that way or did I feel I HAD to say it in order to make everything ok with those around me?

REVELATION

This morning I was listening to Steven Furtick’s message Trapped in Nazareth. If you’re not familiar with him, check him out-he’s a pretty cool pastor. Anyway, I’m working away at my desk listening to the sermon and something he says stops me in my tracks. He says “Don’t you apologize the rest of your life for a weak season!” AHHHHH the clouds have parted and I’ve seen the light! I’ve struggled so much with feeling like I need to reach and out say “I’m sorry” but it just didn’t sit right with me. Not that I’m above apologizing, because I’m not (see the first paragraph where I said sorry to the cat…). I’m sure my family and friends probably felt neglected along the way but the ones that know and love me understand and they don’t need an “I’m sorry”. They’ve probably been more forgiving to me than I’ve been to my self. I’ve probably agonized over it more than anyone else has even thought of it. Thank you anxiety. You’re a real pal *eye roll*

I had a weak season. I’m not proud of it nor ashamed of it. It was a year in the life….

Thank you God (literally) for giving me perspective on this sunny, Tuesday morning.

Thanks for reading,

Stacey

A Letter to My Younger Self, Fantasy vs Reality

stacey2

Dear Stacey,

There are some things I want you to know and try to understand before you head out into the world you think you know. You won’t always take the easy path, you won’t always be liked, you will get your feelings hurt, and life is harder than what you’ve been told. No one will prepare you for the real world. Looking back, I can’t believe I went into the adult life with a baby on my hip and no idea how to balance a checkbook. The only things you know about adulting are fantasies you’ve created in your head based on hope- not fact. Oh Stacey, Stacey, Stacey. You are in for a reality check sister.

 

Fantasy:

Your 10 year plan in your Senior book will include: getting married to your high school boyfriend, having 6 kids and working for the FBI.

You’ve had a boyfriend ever since you can remember and for some reason they’re all so serious. You never just date. This will come back to haunt you, so slow down. Your senior year, you and your best group of friends are going to have a picture taken together but you’ll want to skip it because you and your boyfriend are fighting and all you care about is him. Take the picture with your friends. You’ll regret it if you don’t. Trust me.

You do well in school, fairly popular (given there’s roughly 70 kids in your senior class), and you play volleyball and run track. You haven’t taken much seriously to this point and soon you’ll tell your volleyball coach that you couldn’t come to practice because you had a dentist appointment. She finds out you’re lying, calls you out and puts you on the JV squad. Out of pride, you’ll want to quit- don’t. This could be your first lesson in taking responsibility for your actions but it won’t be, if you quit the team like I did.

I know, right now, you think you and your boyfriend will be together for ever. You won’t. I know you think that you’re going to get your own place and it’ll be cute and super fun. It won’t be. You’re going to move to Scott street and realize you  made a mistake when a lady gets shot that lives about 6 houses down from you. But it’s yours and your roommates are ok. It has to be better than being 18 and living at home, right?!? No. Stop it.

 

Reality:

Fast forward to marriage and babies. Everything you see will tell you that having kids is cute and wonderful. And it is, at times. But it’s a freaking job raising little humans. It’s tiring, expensive and a job. They are the first people you love unconditionally and you will scratch somebody’s fucking eyes out if they hurt your babies. They don’t call us mama bears for nothin’. But it’s hard. You’re disorganized, your car will be a disaster and so will your house. It’s ok. So is everyone else’s. They just make you believe it’s not. Don’t make anyone make you feel like you’re not doing a good job because you are. At times, your best won’t be good enough but it’ll still be your best. Your kids are happy and you are being the best mom you know how. You’ll grow and learn from mistakes- even though it’ll take a few times to learn every now and then. When your kids get older, they’ll tell you you’re the best mom in the world. Believe them.

Marriage. Geez. It is not a lovey, dovey, constant cuddle. Your husband is not going to lay his coat across a mud puddle. He isn’t going to carry you either. If it’s raining-he’s going to run to the car just as fast as your are. In rain, it’s every man for himself. There will rarely be breakfasts in bed. It’s not entirely a myth but it’s pretty close. Your husband will not just get up and help you clean, you’ll want to stomp around and let him know you’re pissed. Don’t. I’ve learned all you really have to do is- ask for help. And lastly, the Unicorn of all myths: Your husband isn’t always going to console you or “understand” you when you’re upset. More than likely he won’t get why you’re so upset and he most likely isn’t going to care enough to “talk about it”. He’s afraid of your emotions and how in some way, whatever you’re feeling is going to require him to take the blame. Whether the tears are about him or someone else, it’s going make him uncomfortable. Don’t take it personal. It’s not just your husband, it’s the way God made man. Marriage is not what you see in movies. Its not The Notebook. Most men aren’t going to follow you around begging for a date and then wait 10 years for you. Just because your husband doesn’t do or rarely does any of these things does not make him inadequate. It’s just not reality. Get a grip Stac. You’re no prize all the time either.

I can tell you what marriage IS. Marriage is making some else coffee, or arguing over cholesterol, making fun of each other and at times not speaking for a few days. You’ll  live alot of years believing that when you fight with your spouse, it’s critical every time, all or nothing. It’s not. You’ll learn this with Robert. You’ll both have reasons to quit on each other but you won’t because you’ve learned it’s worth it to stay and work on things. You’ll both be stubborn and steadfast but eventually you’ll come to understand that there is a way to solve things other than divorce. Divorce. It’s an easy word to throw around and once it’s said- it sticks. Even when you make up, it hurts. Don’t say it.

Marriage will never be the fairytale you think it is. It can be better than that- because it’s yours. You may not get butterflies when you see your husband but you will be happy when he gets home. He may not bring you breakfast in bed but he will take you out to breakfast. And it’s ok to ask him to take you! Don’t sulk because he doesn’t come up with great, romantic ideas for a getaway- it’s probably going to fall to you to make the arrangements 1) Because men are easy and just want you to be happy and 2) You really want to make the decisions anyway. *shrugs* He may not put his coat over the puddle but he will drop you off at the door or bring the car up to get you. Sometimes you might have to say “Dude. Go get the car!” But he’ll get the car so you can stay dry. It’s still sweet and charming- just in different form than what you’ve read in books. He may get on your nerves but he’s yours and he loves you even though you can be a crazypants. Please let go of what you think marriage should be and let your marriage be what it really is. Because that’s where the good stuff is.

Be easy on yourself. You will do the best you can. You’ll have regrets, no doubt, but you’ll realize when you’re older that you are bold enough to try new things, old enough speak your mind and you’ll be the most honest version of yourself you’ve ever been. You will learn through mistakes and failures. Most things are only learned through personal experience, the human eog’s fault, I suppose. We think we can do it better or differently than the advice we’ve been given to avoid the pitfalls in life. You won’t listen, although you should have at times.

Forgive yourself. I mean, you didn’t kill anybody but you’ve definitely messed things up at times. (whispers* I won’t tell your secrets) Then- forgive everyone else. Girl, if you keep holding onto everything everyone has ever said about you or any time someone’s done you wrong- you’ll waste a lot of life. Let it go. It’s really that easy. Just.Let.Go. Once you really let go of the past, it’s freeing. It’s starting over with yourself and making yourself happy. Don’t put that responsibility on someone else. It is up to YOU to handle your happiness or lack thereof. If you count on other people to make you happy, you will constantly be disappointed. It’s no one else’s job to give you joy, except you & God. Learn to love yourself, do things that make you happy and start by being kind to others. It’s amazing what happens to you on the inside when you just let go of hurt and pain and are genuinely kind to other people. It builds joy in your heart. You will learn to embrace your faults and… own them! There’s a certain level of happiness that comes with being able to make fun of yourself about the things you used to feel self conscious about. Don’t let other people have that kind of power over the value of your life. I wish you wouldn’t wait until you were 40 before you learned his secret- but you learned it and that’s what matters.

Lastly, your friends matter. You won’t be BFF’s with your high school friends but you will remain in touch (mostly through Facebook). You will go through a period of feeling like you don’t have any friends or not in the same place in your lives and it’ll hurt. It’s ok. It’s normal growing pains. You’ll meet new people at a job, you’ll meet new friends through old friends and become close with a group of awesome women. This core group of women you have in your squad are freaking awesome! All of them different in so many different ways but each of them are powerful, strong, smart, generous and encouraging. Women that are good to other women. That’s your tribe.

Love yourself,

Stacey

Advice for My Nieces That Only Your Aunt Can Tell You

To my nieces, the daughters I never had,

If I had had daughters, I’d want them to be just like you two. I love you both very much and I feel it’s my duty, as your favorite aunt, to give you 9 pieces of advice that your mom can’t quite tell you.

1) Don’t be a groupie. So many people love to follow “celebrities” and try to emulate what they wear, how they act and how they live. You don’t need that, make your own life. Most of the famous athletes and celebrities are only famous for dumb shit. How many nice guys have you seen on a cover of a magazine or caught on tape doing something nice? Don’t be on a magazine. And no one has to catch you being nice, just be nice. Chances are you will never be famous nor rich. So, be smart, be brave and for fucks sake- think for yourself! Never base your decisions on someone you don’t even know.

2) Go to your mom. With anything. I know you’ll want to keep your life private, I get it. I kept things from my mom and looking back, I wish I had went to her for help. There’s so many things she could’ve helped me get through with minimal damage instead I took some roads of destruction. But I promise you, your mom won’t judge you, she will only want to help you and after the crisis is over- she will make sure you’re ok. I know it’ll be scary but no one has your best interest at heart more than your mom. She will understand more than you think she does. Whether it’s sex, boys, or friends- she’s been through it herself. She’s the smartest woman you know and she’ll know what to do. Full disclosure: she will probably talk to me about what’s going on but just know it never leaves our sister circle of trust. Moms need a shoulder to lean on too.

3) Don’t dismiss older people. These people paved the way for you to have more than you need. Everything you have and mostly who you are, is because of the influence you’ve had in your life from your mom, dad, aunts, uncles, grandmas and grandpas. You may be smarter than them but never wiser, grasshopper. Experience beats education every time. You get wisdom through experiences not tuition. Treat your elders with respect. They have been through more than you’ll ever know. I don’t care if it’s grandma or a random elderly person, if they’re telling you a story- put down your phone and listen to them. If they’re walking through the door, hold it open for them. When they say “thank you.” (And they will) Reply with “you’re welcome.” Not “Yep”, “you’re fine” or “uh-huh”, say “you’re welcome”- like you have some home training.

4.) Don’t be intimidated. Do not let people mistake your kindness for weakness or your composure for compliance. You don’t need to “find” courage or “get” courage. You were born with it. You, my dear, are fucking amazing. No matter how #blessed people seem to be, find your own happiness and blessings within yourself and through God. That’s where you’ll find the blessings and joy that is meant for you.

5.) Love someone. Love a man or a woman, as much as you want. But protect your heart. I’m sure you’re mom has and/or will tell you to never let a man (or woman) put their hands on you. I’m sure she’s got that covered. If not, come see me- I’ll handle it.🤨 What I want to say is, as a mom of boys, respect your boyfriend or husbands relationship with his mom. She’s not the competition and she’s not judging you. She just wants to make sure it’s safe to hand him over to you. A mothers son is loved just as much as a mothers daughter. I know my sons’ girlfriends have called them “mamas boys” because of the things I do and have done for them. But please think of all of the things your mom has done for you, it’s no different. We want our sons to be happy with a kind and loving person. We worry just like your mom does. So if he dotes on his mom, don’t take it as if he loves her more than you, it’s a different kind of love. A love only a parent and child can have. One day, you too may have your own son- you’re own “mama’s boy” and it’ll be wonderful. And when he gets older, you’ll understand.

6.) Think. Never play dumb to make someone else feel superior. Not your friends, lovers or bosses. No one respects a push over or a purposeful idiot. You’ll lose said friends, lovers and maybe a job or two because of this advice- so I’m sorry in advance. But fuck that noise. You are too intelligent to be made to feel inferior just to boost someone else’s ego. When you speak your mind, be prepared to be called a bitch, bossy, pushy, over bearing and controlling. Those are just words to make you shut up. Don’t. If you’re right, then stand on principle alone. Seek peace but be prepared to go to war.

7.) Look out for each other. A sister is one of the most important relationships you’ll have. Kait, I know you’re 12 years older than Sami and it will somewhat fall to you, at times, to take care of her. Your mom has always been my keeper. And being the oldest, that responsibility will fall to you- it may seem like a task now but later in life you’ll find she’s one of your biggest priorities. You’ll be the only person that can confront her and ask her “what the fuck are you thinking?!”. She’s Sam and she won’t be pushed around, but she’ll respect you and listen to you because she knows you’d never lead her wrong. Sam is strong minded but will always feel like your little sister when she needs you. Be there for her.

8.) Despite what your mom has told you- you cannot be anything you want. You can be what you’re good at, you can be what you work hard for but you cannot just pick any profession and think it’s for you. So that unrealistic thing we tell our children is just bullshit to give you confidence but I want you to know this advice now. Maybe it’ll save you years of frustration. And to save you the suspense, no one will give a fuck about your feelings. It’ll hurt sometimes but the workplace is just that- work. Never let it be more important than your family. Unless you are literally saving lives- some things can just wait until Monday. Oh, and you may not have it all figured out yet and that’s ok. You don’t have to know “what you want to be” at 21 years old. I don’t care if your friends seem to be on the fast track to wherever they’re going, trust me, they are just as unsure and confused as you are. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’ll figure it out along the way, I promise.

9.) Trust your gut. A woman’s intuition is her super power. If your gut says “get out of there”- then leave. If your gut is telling you something isn’t right- it’s not. I can’t explain it, but it’s there, looking out for you when your head or your heart may be somewhere else. At times you’ll find it was nothing but most of the time- you dodged a bullet. It’s your super power, use it, get to know it, and learn to listen to it.

I love you girls very much,

Aunt Stacey

My Thoughts on Being an Introvert

I wish I could be insincere, it would make life a lot easier. Society & I label me an introvert. I didn’t realize that’s who I was until the last couple of years. I used to think it was a side effect of my depression or anxiety. And I guess maybe sometimes it is. *shrugs*

Being an introvert doesn’t mean you’re shy. I’m not. I believe most people that know me would say I’m far from shy. I generally speak my mind and have an obnoxious laugh. I’ve been told that people think I’m stuck up, a bitch or plain scary. I’m not any of those things. I’m just really uncomfortable talking to people, especially people I don’t know. I don’t make new friends easily, although I think of myself as a pretty good and loyal friend. My social relationship status: It’s complicated.

What I’ve noticed, when I look past the “reasons” I like to be at home is- I really like being at home. I enjoy spending time alone. For most of my life I would make excuses (true or not) why I couldn’t, shouldn’t or wished I could go to a party, game, dinner and a thousand other reasons people invite you out of the house.

Being an introvert comes off somewhat narcissistic when you try to explain to someone why you “are the way you are”. Or do I just think that because I’m an over thinker?I’ve taken my fair share of questions, jokes and guilt because I don’t go or show up to someplace where I’ve been invited. It’s never about the person inviting you and you inevitably apologize over and over for not going. Ugh….I used to feel so bad when I was invited but said I couldn’t go.

And then, I started feeling good about my choice of being at home alone. I felt I could just be myself and have my own space. When I embraced that, it became easier and easier to tell people no. Just no. One of my friends texted me and asked if I wanted to go to the basketball game. It was the high school we had graduated from and they had gone pretty far in the season. “You want to go to the boys game with me this week?” I replied, “No, I don’t want to.” She laughed. When I noticed she wasn’t upset by my response, I gave myself permission to just say how I felt.

I read an article about people who are introverts have a hard time with small talk. And that’s exactly how I had been my whole life! I struuuuuuuuuuugle with small talk. It makes me so uncomfortable and it shows. I either say something weird or talk to someone for an hour about something I don’t even care about. All because I don’t know how to walk away after an appropriate amount of time. It’s the worst. Imagine the awkward hug at the end of Step Brothers…that’s what it’s like. I shared with a friend, about a scenario I had gotten myself into and how I couldn’t escape. She said she had a trick that would get me out of situations like that and would tell me later. I need to get with her.

I find small talk tedious. Even talking on the phone. I’ll be on the phone with my husband, who isn’t a talker to begin with, and I will say “ok I’m gonna go.” about 4-5 times before we get off of the phone. I don’t know if raising boys, and how you have to relate to them as a mom, is part of my character now? They don’t talk a lot. So if you are one or date one- you know boys and men have very little to say. And if you mention feelings, everyone scatters. You get used to not talking a lot at home, so that coupled with being an introvert- makes for very uncomfortable “hellos”. I can talk about deep things, controversial things, or laugh with a small group of friends but I somehow can’t get a handle on the small talk with strangers or even people I know.

Per social graces, I try to sound sincere about whatever you’re talking about. But it’s hard for me to be insincere, I have a hard time faking much. I would just rather be honest and say how I feel or give my opinion, without having to lace it with niceties. Not because I want to hurt anyone’s feelings, I don’t. But because it’s easier for me to talk to someone matter of factly. Of course different people experience different interactions with introverts but generally- we just want you to stop talking to us. Again- it’s not you, it’s me.

Introverts aren’t lonely, we just like being alone. It’s not that we don’t want to come to your get together, we just really want to be at home more. It’s our safe place, it’s comfortable and we feel like we can breathe. Don’t get me wrong, I like (and do) get out and go do things. But I just prefer most of my time to be spent at home. When I was younger, I felt a sense of responsibility to show up or stay at places I had been invited. But the older I get, I’m much more comfortable saying “No thanks.” I don’t feel compelled to give you 1-2 reasons on why I can’t make it.

The small circle of friends I have today, have come to know and accept this about me. Which also says a lot about the women I hang with. My squad. They aren’t offended when I don’t come to their get togethers or social functions. They still invite me. although generally they know I won’t come. Those are my people. And I love them.

So if you find yourself engaged in small talk with someone who looks super uncomfortable, let them off the hook and tell them you’ll see them later. Because if not, you and I may end up talking for an hour about insurance and billing. And not in a “The Office” kinda way.

*stares at camera*

Thanks for reading,

Stacey