Wow, it’s been a long journey from my first blog post in 2011. I have grown and slipped backwards, cried, laughed and had my heart broken. I’ve changed jobs, become an “empty-nester”, had my 50th and 55th birthdays and FINALLY finalized my divorce. The good the bad and the ugly; it’s all part of life, Girlfriends, yet not all of us chose to share those stories publicly, right?
I’ve slowly become more and more visible. You laugh? For those that know me, I am a big personality and it’s hard for me to be anything but visible. The visibility I am talking about is my personal life; my emotional honesty and my vulnerability. It’s easy to celebrate publicly and show you the good stuff but it’s so frick’in scary to struggle publicly. Like death and taxes, we all struggle, don’t we? We just don’t want to talk about it. It’s easier to keep up the perfect facade.
It’s kinda safe to hide behind words thrown out into the world wide web. It’s another thing to follow my own advice and be accountable publicly. I may look like a natural, however it’s daunting to host live video chats as my Miss Perfection voice sternly reminds me, “Don’t do anything stupid! The world is watching so don’t make even one mistake.”
It’s really scary to own my talents and someone who can zero in on the kernel of truth and distill valuable insights. I fight my critical voice, Miss Expert, as she grumbles, “Who do you think you are. You’re no expert! Why would anyone listen to you?”
It’s terrifying to tell you that I feel compelled to do more — to help women, especially Superwomen, who now feel less than, small, invisible, empty, unhappy and hopeless. I’ve been there. Ask me now I know? I’m both the student and the teacher! I’m living this journey right along with you.
I am so proud of my labor of love! It’s just like bringing home my firstborn from the hospital – I am over the moon excited yet scared to death that this baby is totally dependent upon me for survival. I have to feed it, help it grow and give it direction. The enhanced visibility and responsibility scares the crap out of me, yet I have no choice. This is my calling and to sound cliche, the risk is worth the reward.
My website, www.mygirlfriendvoice.com, will serve as the foundation and home for the My Girlfriend Voice community. I have more up my sleeve than blog posts so please “sign up” to stay in touch! There will be tools and events coming in the near future. I am taking one step at a time, quality over quantity! Come hang out with me, Girlfriend!
Under the tab “Work with Me”, you’ll find my new offer; a Girlfriend Chat. It’s an invitation...
Oh Momma…….. My heart is heavy because I learned on Friday that my Mother passed away. Thank God she transitioned swiftly in her own own home and on her own terms. She was terrified of becoming dependent on her children or living in a nursing home.
Mom had inoperable aneurysms and never knew if or when she’d leave us. Our relationship was good; not always easy but really solid. I’m so proud that we were on good terms. My relationship with my Mother was a priority so I forgave her and accepted her for who she was. She was a little wounded bird.
I hold on to her praise and how proud she was to have birthed a woman like me. She revelled in my kindness and my way with words. I still laugh about her asking me, “Why are you so honest?”
Mom loved My Girlfriend Voice and kept a binder of my blog posts. I hadn’t shown her the new MGV website yet — my only regret. She would have loved it— except for the swear words peppered here and there! I’m sassy, what can I say? I have to be true to my voice!
My biggest hope is that my Mom wasn’t afraid to die. I want her to know that everything will be OK here. I’ll grieve her absence and celebrate her memory. Wow, she lived so much longer than any of us expected, having been ill for almost twenty years.
I’ve traveled back “home” to visit her body to kiss her goodbye. I had to touch and talk to her face just once more. Losing your Mother, the person who brought you to Earth, is devastating. I trust that she is free. I trust that she feels complete and worthy. I trust that she is rejoicing with my Dad.
Please keep me, my family and Momma “Kaye” in your prayers. I picture her young and healthy, dancing and laughing— the broken body has been left behind. Her spirit lives within me and amongst us.
Mom is one of the two women who most impacted my life. And for that, I am grateful to be her daughter.
From my broken heart,
The Emotional Roller Coaster. The constant ups and downs; extreme highs and the lowest of lows. You alternate between exhilarated and devastated; passionate and detached.
How did you get on the damn roller coaster in the first place?
YOU. Yep, sorry Girlfriend. You jumped on the ride. You got on the roller coaster all by yourself. How do I know? Because I did the same thing!
Did you realize that you had a choice to get ON and more importantly, that you hada choice or the power to get OFF? Remember the ruby slippers Dorothy wore in the Wizard of Oz? All along she had the power to return home. She just didn’t know how to access her power.
What are the warning signs that you ride the emotional roller coaster? The biggest red flag is that drama follows you everywhere. There are more subtle red flags too.
You laugh and cry in the same sentence.
You feel exhausted.
You give and give because it feels good but you’re now running on fumes.
You feel exhausted all the time.
it’s hard to focus or make decisions.
There is no time for you or for any fun.
What can you do to avoid the never ending roller coaster ride?
- Become aware.
- What story are you telling yourself? I bet it is not true!
- Let go of the past. You can go round and round with the “woulda, coulda, shoulda’s” but that serves no purpose, does it? It just burns your precious energy! Forgive yourself. You were doing the best that you could at the time.
- Avoid future jumping– wondering what is going to happen tomorrow, or ten days from tomorrow. The “what if’s”!!!! Be present in this moment right here, right now.
- Adjust your mindset and take care of yourself. When you run on an empty tank, your are more susceptible to being taken hostage by your emotions.
- Release yourself from meeting the expectations of others. How about releasing yourself from the reactions and approval of others too? ( Such a juicy topic! I want to delve into this one further on a future post.)
- Enforce healthy boundaries. Learn to say NO. And when you say no, mean it!
- Witness “the drama” with either curiosity or compassion. Trust me, this approach will unhook you from the emotionally — give you some breathing space!
It is easy to be addicted to drama because you want to feel important! You want to help! You might think that it is your responsibility to help or to serve. This is my biggest weakness. I couldn’t quite see that I had started to enable bad behavior. It is a HUGE and EASY trap to fall into!
Does the emotional roller coaster ride resonate with you? It is something you experience more with family or in the workplace? With friends? I’d love to hear how you detach yourself. What happened that finally gave you permission to get off the ride? Drop a note...
While my posts focus on the “inner voice” and managing our critical chatter, today I want to focus on our “outside” voice or how we speak to the world.
In light of the events in Charlottesville, it is critically important to state that I do not support white supremacy or any of their beliefs. It sickens me that there are 917 identified and active hate groups in this country (Southern Poverty Law Center 2017). How is hate a driving force with thousands, actually millions of Americans?
I spent last week observing more than acting. Don’t get me wrong, I am livid. I am sickened, saddened, enraged, threatened and shocked. I felt a shift too. I came to the conclusion that my angry vile words are not going to do anything but contribute to the problem. Let me explain…….
You lose your power and credibility when you spew hate.
Self-righteousness, xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic, racist language is HATE TALK. Who has the right to diminish the worth of another individual!! I am ashamed that so many Americans feel they are more worthy than another based on the color of their skin, sexual orientation or their religious affiliation.
It’s emotional pollution. Hate comes out of their mouths like smoke from a factory chimney — acrid and heavy.
No one has the right to inflict harm on another. This includes financial, physical and emotional harm.
Arm-chair activists may not realize that posting another article on social media is not enough. We have to do more without entertaining those looking for a fight – confrontation — violence.
Vote with your presence.
Vote with your support.
Vote with your dollars.
Instead of silence, question mistreatment when you see it take place. Instead of walking away, question the water cooler talk that sounds racist. Question everything in an intelligent, determined, curious voice. I want you to ask, “WHAT DID YOU MEAN BY THAT?”
As angry as I am, I can’t give in to name calling, shaming and hatred. This is how we will impact the world. Our collective voices WILL make a difference.
Use your voice. Use your words whether written or spoken. Contact your representatives. Participate in your community. Support organizations dedicated to this cause. Act now from a place of compassion, not hate.
Shaming is a catalyst for divisiveness. Let’s inhibit this reaction with peaceful conduct.
Stop the hate. Question everything.
This is not a fight between political parties- it’s a fight for human decency!
“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention,” Heather Heyer, 32, posted on Facebook before she was killed by an alleged Nazi sympathizer in Charlottesville.
I feel insulated because I live in a very diverse and liberal part of the world. I hadn’t even heard the term “white privilege” until two years ago. I don’t like it one bit yet I...
Girlfriend, you are so accustomed to your features that you forget just how beautiful you are to strangers!
Beauty stems from shining bright and living unapologetically!
Beauty isn’t defined by age, dress size or color.
Beauty is confidence.
Be YOU and you’ll be beautiful!
From the heart,
#mygirlfriendvoice #beauty #agelessbeauty #bodypositive #beauthentic #smile #shinebright
Just when I think I have evolved into a spiritual peace dwelling goddess, I hear something that really pisses me off. Damn, in a few seconds I am playing tug of war with my rational brain to stay engaged and objective while my emotional brain rages. My heart rate increases and I feel my lips pursing; the sure sign of, “you’ve got to be kidding me or more likely WTF, what did you just say?” I think you may be able to relate to my scenario.
A coworker, who is normally pleasant and quite helpful, forwards an email thread between she and myself over to my boss. She includes a condescending statement about my “need for development”. The email thread was regarding a policy that was new to me but not a new policy. I admitted that for whatever reason no one had ever explained the scenario to me so I asked a handful of clarifying questions. I want to be better equipped to set expectations with my future clients. There is nothing wrong with admitting you don’t know something, right?
My boss is the one who brings this situation to my attention. He responded to said coworker revealing that my correspondence demonstrated professionalism and my desire to continually develop my skills.
What gets me is why she would not speak to me directly if she had any concerns?
I hate wormy cowards.
It is so much easier to chose to let go of something or to address the matter directly! No measly grey area. No judgment. I respect people who speak the truth.
I asked myself if anything she said was in fact true? My rational and raging brain agreed. The answer was no. No truth there so I am not feeling threatened.
Was I worried about looking bad or sounding stupid? No. This is a sensitive trigger area but nothing was engaging there.
Am I really annoyed with my own behavior? Am I a coward when I need lead? No, that’s not it. I am not projecting.
I asked myself why I was bothered at all? Why did this invoke a classic Cara, “pursed lips and roll my eyes response”? I am OK that she has an opinion that varies from mine. I am perturbed with the secrecy of the method. If you see an opportunity for a “teaching moment”, why wouldn’t you address it directly? Ask if the other person is open to a discussion?
Two days later I am still annoyed and then it hits me. I am annoyed not because of what she said. I am annoyed because I want her to be more like me. I want her to be empowered. She is likely annoyed wanting me to be more like her. It’s an AHA moment!
I assume that we are all doing our best and that is no malicious intent (unless of course you are my “X”)! There is beauty in our diversity!! Our skills and strengths actually compliment one another if you remove the conflict.
A open, respectful, honest conversation + respect for...
Oopsie! I had a premature post there a little bit ago – hopefully that won’t happen again. I’m using the WordPress site on my IPad as my laptop died on me. So inconsiderate!! I just lost an entire post so I’m grabbing a sangria and starting over. Cheers! …………
Ok, Girlfriends, I need to rant. I need to blow off a little steam and GET THIS OFF MY CHEST. I don’t want to go to carry around this angst.
So what has my panties in a twist? Take a guess……
My kids? Surprisingly no.
My X-husband, “Mr. MF-Ski”? Nope.
My boss? Ha, ha, no. He has been behaving lately.
I am not pissed about my cellulite, how the refrigerator stinks (again), the high cost of living in the Bay Area or how hard it is to find stylish walking sandals that don’t look like Grandma Wilma’s orthopaedics!
I am breathing hard because I am FED UP. Enough already!
I have heard too many excuses; excuses like you don’t have time, you don’t have a choice, you don’t have a small waist or a big bank account…… you don’t think your opinion matters, you don’t want to rock the boat, blah, blah, blah!
You don’t want to date until you lose ten pounds. You don’t want to travel until you retire. You don’t want a new job because you don’t like change.
…….. ……….. ………. ……. You don’t have any problem complaining though. ………that’s the part that annoys me!
I see your heavy heart. I feel your outrage. I hear your desperation.
Your pain is very familiar to me.
Like you, I chose to play it safe. I lived surrounded by walls built by my own fear. I put everyone else and everything else first. I either numbed or distracted myself to keep from feeling anything. I blamed everyone and everything for my UN-everythingness!!
Superwoman puts up with bullshit because she can; she’s a fictional character!!! We on the other hand are only human!
I used to live that way but I don’t do that anymore. I gave myself permission to think and act differently. I’m in no way perfect- I still slip up and indulge in a bitchfest or feel sorry for myself. Progress not perfection, Girlfriends!
When I was in the elementary school, I pitched an idea to my teacher. We had a trash problem on the playground and I told her that we could solve the issue if we bedazzled our trash cans. “Let’s make it fun to throw away our trash!” ! Ok, I didn’t use the word bedazzled in 1972 but this is a true story! The project was approved. I moved ahead with my idea. The can said, “FEED ME’ and featured Lucy from The Peanuts.
Fear has a way of looking really attractive; like a big colorful trashcan called Lucy who eats your dreams. The more you feed the fear, they more fear grows and keeps you small.
What does your bedtime routine look like? Personally, I prefer to read for a bit then go to bed early. Geez though, you have be careful what you read as the day’s headlines are so damn depressing.
I was too lazy to get out of bed and walk twenty feet to the living room where I’d left my magazine so I picked up my phone. The phone at bedtime! BIG MISTAKE. I made the all too familiar mistake of looking at my email and two hours later I was too worked up to sleep.
To educate myself about the Opioid Epidemic, I have Google alerts which provide me links to daily news articles. Tragically there are so many daily alerts that’s it’s hard to keep up. So why do I put myself there? Because I chose to and because I’m a Fierce Mama turned Advocate. I will advocate to reduce the stigma of substance use disorders and influence policy makers to provide more effective and affordable treatment options. Incarceration is not the answer.Just like Bob Marley said, “get up, stand up, stand up for your right.” I have a right to be me and follow my passion just like you have a right to be you.
I’m exercising my right to speak up. I believe one person can make a difference.
So why opioids? My family has been and continues to be impacted or shall I say devastated by my son’s misuse of opioids. It’s hell. Actually hell sounds nice compared to our story. It’s impossible to describe the gut wrenching nightmare we’ve endured. The pain has sent me to my knees a million times over.
Please note. I do NOT want your pity. This is NOT why I’m writing about my experience.
I write because it helps me cope. It grounds me. Writing heals me.
“My Girlfriend Voice” arose from my frantic attempt to survive the chronic stress of my life. Not only did I have a child suffering from substance use and mental illness, I had another child who desperately needed his Mother’s attention and love. I was depressed and ending a long term marriage. I dreamt of running away.
Now while I don’t claim to know everything, I know I am resilient. I am wise because I learn from my experiences. Yes, I make mistakes. I cry big ugly snotty cries and I swear like a sailor. I rage, although not as often. I have bad days just like everyone.
Despite all of “this crap”, I’m happy and optimistic. It’s hard work but a terrific return on my investment. I am grateful for my deep compassion and perspective.
Thank goodness we gain wisdom as we experience pain!!
I’m willing to let you witness to my process. I’m willing to share my thoughts and my tools in hopes that these stories will help you. I don’t want you to ever feel alone and hopeless.
Do you think this is weird? Narcissistic? You have a right to your opinion! I respect that! I don’t have to defend my motives or intentions.
In the spirit of sharing, here...
I still chuckle when I think of this conversation with my Mother. Mom asked me, “Why are you so honest?” The question came out of the blue on a Sunday afternoon phone call. I laughed but not unkindly and replied, “It’s the only way I want to be.”
Wait a minute, wasn’t I raised to be honest?
Isn’t honesty a core value?
Is it weird that my Mother is questioning my virtue or am I on Candid Camera? (for you Millennials, this was a TV show a hundred years ago.)
Yes, I am honest. Proudly honest. I can also tell you that honesty is not a license to be cruel or to share your unsolicited opinion. Have you ever had someone roll into your life, framing their words with, “I’m just being honest!” Thank you very much –NOT! I don’t want any type of uninvited advice. Just to be extra clear, I don’t give anyone permission to comment on my appearance, love life, parenting skills, cooking, driving, sleeping habits and diet UNLESS I ASK YOU TO COMMENT! Thank you.
(If you are new to the world of digital communication (Mom), typing in capital letters means I am shouting at you. I am not typing in capitals because it looks cool or because it is easier to read on my phone. ) Getting back to the story…… I’ve digressed!
I had another conversation recently about my artwork. I was asked a simple question. “Why do I chose to share my doodles and private thoughts on the internet?”
Good question, however the answer is not quite as simple as the inquiry.
- I do it because I find it relaxing.
- I do it because there is nothing wrong with illustrating a variety of emotions; even the sticky grey ones related to depression.
- I do it because I feel compelled to share.
- I do it because it is good for me.
Yes, I do it because I like to and it is good for me. Drop the mic!
Another question came up recently, causing me to chuckle. “Do I have a process?” A what? No, unless my process is sitting down with paper and a pen.
I don’t draw unless I feel an idea pop into my head. I can’t force my creativity but rather I allow my creativity to take me! Last night I was watching a program on PBS (my exciting life!!!) and the lady was talking about how we make our own prisons with our thoughts.
Shazam! An image popped into my head. Yes, I couldn’t agree more. We put all kinds of restraints on our power, our abilities. We let fears and anxieties box us in. Blame, anger, regret, worry, doubt…… they keep us locked out of THE PRESENT. (capital letter for emphasis, not shouting here, Mom).
Do I share everything I create? Hell no! I have a drawing titled “Nooner Envy”. I’ll leave it to your imagination. That one won’t be going up on Facebook !
Gentle: neither harsh or severe; tender and lovingly
When your heart is hurting, hold it gently. Give yourself the care and compassion your body is yearning to receive.
When you feel frustrated, pause and allow a gentleness to settle over you.
Anytime you feel uncomfortable, …….pause…….breathe……and be gentle with your thoughts.
Wisdomcommons.org provided this beautiful statement on gentleness. They say, “Gentleness means recognizing that the world around us is fragile, especially other people. It is recognizing our own capacity to do harm and choosing instead to be tender, soft-spoken, soft-hearted, and careful. When we are gentle we touch the world in ways that protect and preserve it.
Being gentle doesn’t mean being weak; gentleness can be firm, even powerful. To behave in a gentle manner requires that we stay centered in our own values and strength — that we are active rather than reactive. Coming from this center, a gentle word or touch can channel our energy into healing or making peace.”
“When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time.” Saint Francis de Sales
From the heart,
I am lucky, at least when it comes finding sources of inspiration. Or is it that inspiration easily finds me? I was inspired yesterday by baby pink tulips mirroring the morning sky in their heavy dew drops. I was inspired by a video featuring a childhood friend in her role as a Wetlands Biologist in Tennessee—another scientist from our small Midwestern town! Then there is my source of constant inspiration from a former colleague fighting cancer (again) yet she is the most positive person I have ever encountered. Inspiration surrounds me.
Inspiration wasn’t always at my fingertips. I was too busy fighting my demons, both real and imagined. I had work to do and that didn’t leave room for inspiration or much else for that matter. Blaming, angry, tired, unappreciated…… can you relate to how I was feeling?
Thank goodness my thinking has turned around. Consciously I bathe myself in gratitude and sources of inspiration surround me like a soft, warm blanket. I wake up happy. I am content here and now. So what exactly changed? What was getting in the way? Well, I believe I was stuck in “baggage claim”.
Let me explain. BAGGAGE CLAIM is the term I use to describe when my brain calls down to my heart and orders up the emotional baggage of yesteryear. You know the scar tissue of my early years, the guilt of motherhood, the pain of broken relationships, mistakes, words I can’t take back, etc. I am especially vulnerable when tired and stressed. Baggage claim loves to have a shout down from the brain to bring it all up in gory detail! Misery loves company. Misery is job security for baggage claim.
This is where my new mindset comes out to play. I could open those suitcases and revive the sad stories or I can look at the suitcase and celebrate the knowledge gained from those experiences. My choice. Will it be regret or celebration? There is a boat load of character building and perspective gained as a result of my 50 plus years of baggage!! So I’ve decided to put my emotional baggage to work as a fertilizer for the future. From where I stand, I see no other option.
I am creating a garden of wisdom by turning shit into sunshine!
Oprah often inspires me so I will close with her words. “You are responsible for your life and if you are sitting around waiting for someone to save you, to fix you, to even help you, you are wasting your time, because only YOU have the power to take responsibility to move your life forward. What matters is now, this moment and your willingness to see this moment for what it is. Accept it. Forgive the past. Take responsibility and move forward.”
Find your wisdom. It’s there. You may need to pull a few weeds from your garden before you can see the beauty of what you...