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Danielle Ione

Romance Writer. Twin Mama. Wife. Sarcasm enthusiast. Mental Health Awareness. LBGT Advocate.

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mental health

The story of us. A post for my husband on our anniversary.

It started with a kiss at the top of Tower of Terror.

It started with a whirlwind.

It started a power, a force, bigger than anyone could understand.

It started from the moment our lips collided.

The rest was history.

There’s something to be said about two people finding each other and instantly knowing that it’s right.  It doesn’t happen often, in fact, it rarely happens at all.  The first time I met Kirby, I was attracted to him, but not just his looks, it was his sarcastic attitude, the way he so easily made everyone around him laugh, the way he looked so at ease; something that I so desperately wanted to feel within myself.  In a way, Kirby was everything I wanted to be myself.  He was happy, laid back, the type of guy that went with the flow, the type of guy who dealt with things head on and didn’t let them hold him back.  That’s what kept him in my mind after the first and only day we had hung out.  It wasn’t until a couple of months later that we had our first date.

To this day, we still debate on who picked who up, but for the sake of the story, I’ll say I did, because I totally did.  I shot him a message on Facebook being the modern dating woman that I was, and he responded almost instantly.  We talked and talked and talked about things I can’t remember, but it was easy conversation. He was witty and I had a permanent smile on my face after each message came to my phone and when he asked me out on a date for the next day, I about died.  I remember being in my mom’s office in her house, squealing and doing a happy dance.  The embarrassing kind of happy dance, the one that I hope no one saw through the window.

I had butterflies and I had that kind of near explosion feeling in my chest.  I was out of my mind excited.  I spent the entire day leading up to our date prepping.  I went into full girl mode, something I don’t often do.  I tried on a ridiculous amount of outfits, and I did my makeup and hair a thousand times to makes sure they were perfect.

I counted down the hours.

I counted down the minutes.

And I’m pretty sure I annoyed the hell out of my cousin that day because I was gushing so much.

I remember I was getting ready when he sent me a picture of himself.  Before you get your minds in the gutter, it wasn’t like that.  He sent me a picture of him making a super goofy face.  It was what I loved about him, even then, that he was willing to just be goofy with no false pretenses of who he was, he wasn’t trying to impress me with fronts, he didn’t pretty himself up for a selfie, he took one and it represented him.  It was a lot different from what I was used to.  I sent him a picture back, one of me smiling so big it hurt, and he responded with how damn beautiful he thought I was.  I swooned.  I actually swooned.

So you can imagine when the time came for the date to start, I was anxious, excited, thrilled.  We met up at a park down the street from my cousin’s house, one that my cousin and I frequented on a daily basis.  My cousin and Kirby knew each other, so we hung out for a few before deciding to go on our date.

I don’t remember a lot of what we talked about that night, I don’t remember every single detail of our date, but I do remember this part.  I remember standing there in the parking lot, tucked underneath his arm, staring up at those vibrantly blue eyes, thinking that this felt different to me.  We clicked.  It wasn’t something that I had experienced before.  Usually, you meet someone, you find yourself attracted to them, and then after time goes by, you discover whether or not you vibe together.  It happened at warped speed for us.  So much so that I reached up on my tip toes, and kissed him.  This is always an argument between us because he remembers kissing me, and I remember kissing him first.  It doesn’t matter how it happened, it only matters that it did happen and it will forever be burned into my memory.

We went to our date, going through all the rides at Disneyland, hand in hand, smiles all around.  He took me to California Adventure, and we got in line for Tower of Terror.  If anyone knows me, they know that I am not a thrill seeker.  I’m a rule follower.  I’m afraid of life.  I’m definitely not a roller coaster person, let alone a free fall ride type of person, but he asked, so I figured, why the hell not.

I was nervous as hell throughout the entire line and nearly backed out as we shuffled into the ride.  But, Kirby being Kirby, he held my hand, told me to relax and said something funny.  He distracted me as we rode up and up and up on this damn ride.  I was shaking and got the nervous giggles.  He held me close, and as we neared the top, he looked me in the eye, smiled, and leaned in for a kiss.  And as we kissed, we fell down, down, down, towards the ground, the ride bouncing up and down before letting us free fall some more.  He timed it perfectly.  He kissed me with the intention of distracting me from being afraid, he kissed me with passion, and he kissed me with a smile on his face while I dug my nails into his hand because i was terrified.  I don’t think he knows how much that meant to me to this day, but one day, I hope he will.

I think it was that moment that I actually fell for him.  We were physically falling down the stories of his ride, my stomach was in my throat, but my heart was beating fast, hard, and it wasn’t just from the ride.  It was from him.

Our romance was anything but conventional.  December 2nd 2010 marked the day of our first date and the day he asked me to be his girlfriend.  A week from then, I told him that I loved him for the first time.  I wrote it with my finger, across his forearm, half of me hoping he didn’t know what I was doing, and the other part hoping he caught on.  He definitely caught on, because it was no longer than a minute or two later that he responded, saying that he loved me too.  And from that moment, things sky rocketed.

The following week, we were driving around in his 1998 suburban, listening to Marry You by Bruno Mars.  He was singing out loud, something he didn’t do often, or nearly loud enough, but I loved when he did because he had a great voice.  We had planned on going to Vegas for my birthday, and while listening to this song, we made a joke about how funny it would be if  we got married in Vegas.  I laughed, he laughed, and then we got quiet as it started to sink in that the joke didn’t sound all that bad.

It started as a joke and it turned into something bigger.  The joke turned into a discussion about our futures, and what we saw for them.  And that discussion turned into what we saw in our futures with each other.  And that discussion turned into a talk of what if’s.  What if we got married? We loved each other, so although it was crazy, it could work, right? What would people think?

Well, Kirby was never one to care about what people thought, and I wanted to be that kind of person for once.  I wanted to put other people’s needs and opinions aside, and do things for myself.  So a week from the day we told each other “I love you”, we were engaged.  Most people don’t know that we got engaged twice.  Once, in the parking lot of Wal-Mart, where Kirby slipped on my first engagement ring, and told me “I’m going to do this right one day, and it’ll be a surprise when it happens again but I don’t want to wait to ask you to marry me.” To most people, that probably seemed dumb and impulsive, but to me, my heart still thunders away in my chest over it.  I remember how he looked, and how his hands shook, and I remember what it felt like to have that ring slide onto my finger.  I remember it all, and I cherished it.

No one really approved of us and I don’t really blame them.  How could anyone know what we felt for each other, that it was real, without being us.  We held strong through it though, while we lost friends, and lost respect from family.  We held strong because we knew that the love we had for each other was the forever kind.  We didn’t need to wait, we knew.  That’s all that mattered.  And in the end, everyone was glad that we were right in the long run.

When things settled down about our relationship, Kirby took us to Disneyland again, and we spent the day riding the rides and smiling just the way we had on our first date.  As we stood in front of the princess castle, watching the fireworks go off above us, I felt Kirby wrap his hands around me from behind and bring his lips to my ear.  He told me a lot of things that night, the things he loved about me, and what he wanted from us and our future, but the thing I’ll remember the most was the words “Will you marry me?”  I remember feeling like things were finally going right for me and that I was complete.  We kissed, under those fireworks, around a thousand other people huddled around, and I felt alive.

It was less than a year later that we actually married.  We wanted to get married in Vegas, but after some negotiating and compromising with our families, we settled on doing a traditional wedding.  It was gorgeous.  It was everything we wanted.  And if I’m being totally honest, I only remember the highlights because the day was over in a blink of an eye.  We danced.  We laughed.  We spoke our vows in front of the important people in our lives.  We were finally married, and it was everything I could have imagined.  I loved it all.

We went to Disneyland for our honeymoon.  It was our place, the place I fell for him, the place he asked me to spend my life with him, the place we celebrated the start of our lives together.  And one day, it’ll be the place we take our kids, too.

Our marriage started off differently than most people.  We were young, barely twenty-one.  And Kirby had enlisted in the Army a couple of months before our wedding.  He was set to go to basic training in January, so we only had a limited amount of time to really bask in the newly wed bliss.  We spent it well, though.  And when the time came that he had to leave, it was heartbreaking.  But, I felt good knowing that when I fell asleep at night, I had memories of him to think about.

It wasn’t easy for us.  It hadn’t been since day one.  Because I had mental health issues and Kirby hadn’t had to deal with them on my kind of level before.  He learned, and he was my rock through it all.  But, it wasn’t easy when he left either, because we hadn’t spent a day apart before that.  We made it through, and somehow we became stronger as a couple.  When he graduated and went to AIT, he was set to be in AZ for a couple of months.  I decided to move out there just so I could be close to him.  We had our first apartment there, and although I lived there alone, it was worth it.

We’ve been through ups and downs.  We’ve lived in five states, six cities, and seven houses over the last four years.  But each year rolls around, and each year I’m so taken back as to how strong we are.  Even when I think we’ve hit the max amount of closeness, of strength in our relationship, that we’re just too awesome, it all grows, we grow as a couple.

In the years spent in Texas, Kirby helped me through my mental health situation.  I was bipolar, and completely unstable.  I was on seven medications a day, I was sick, and I was tired.  He helped me when I decided to wean myself off of my medications.  He helped me when I decided to take a break from all of the doctors.  He supported me when I did it all, because he had faith in my that I could do it.  And on the days I needed him to baby me, he did without question.  And on the days where I needed him to take the kids gloves off, he did it.  And it was in those moments that I made the biggest strides.  I had him to keep me motivated, determined, because he was always there with the right words keeping me in check.

I’m convinced that had I not met Kirby, my life would still be in shambles.  I would still be unstable and sick and burning bridges.  I would still be making awful life choices, hanging out with the wrong people, and still stuck on medications.  I would still be the girl who gets told that she can’t have the life she dreamt of; that I would never had a family, that I would be in and out of a hospital for the majority of my life, that my life would never be good.  Without him, i would still be broken, but because of him, I am now whole.  Because of Kirby, my dreams are my reality.  Because of Kirby, I have a beautiful family, in a beautiful house, and I’ve experienced more than I ever imagines.  Because of Kirby, I’ve learned a lot about myself and how strong I am, and what it means to be apart of a couple.  Because of Kirby, I’ve learned what the definition of home is, and let me let you in on a secret, it has nothing to do with the walls holding up the roof over your head and everything to do with the people in your heart. Because Kirby is my home.  We don’t have the most conventional relationship; most people think they wouldn’t be able to handle Kirby, and most people wouldn’t be able to handle neurotic behaviors, bu hat’s what makes us work; we handle each other perfectly. I’m not a religious person, I lean too much on the what if’s of life to be one, but I do think that everything that happens in this life is purposeful. And I’m pretty sure Kirby and I were meant to be together.  We were meant to come together in a time where we were young and in need of some life guidance.  We were meant to come together with intensity, with a sort of power, with an overwhelming amount of love.  And we were meant to go through hell, only to come back on top with our dreams within reach.  Because now, I’m nearing twenty-six, and we have these two amazing children together.  Kirby is following his dream in his new career with the Army, and I’m following mine with books and hopefully school.  We’re following our dreams together as a couple, and I couldn’t be more blessed.

By reading this, you would never know that I”m not the lovey dovey romantic type.  In fact, neither Kirby nor I really believe in romance.  We believe in what’s real.  Flowers and chocolates only last so long, but the connection you have with someone, being able to show the person you love how you feel on a daily basis without all the false pretenses, is what is important.  We believe in speaking the truth, and that truth is that I love him, he loves me, and our story is hardly done.  It’s just beginning.  Here’s to the best four years of marriage, and the best almost five years of my life.  Here’s to many more.  Here’s to loving you with my entire being.  And here’s to you for changing my life, for being my reason for life, for being mine.

Remember, you are not perfect, but that is okay.

Everyday cannot be perfect. You cannot be perfect. And that’s okay.

There is no such thing as perfect.

There is no such thing as truly normal.

There’s this thing that all people do; they try to fit themselves into this tiny, perfectly shaped box when, by nature, human beings are too unique to do so. We all try to fit into this mold of perfect and normal when those two words are nearly impossible to define. My sense of perfect, my idea of normal, will not be the same as most people. And most people’s normal, their idea of perfect, will not match mine. That’s just it. That’s how it goes.
I spend so much of my time trying so hard to be perfect. Trying to paint this picture of what I want to be, but sometimes missing the mark.
I try to be the perfect mom. The one who never loses patience, or the one who never feels overwhelmed. Or even the one who can some how manage to keep the house clean, despite the fact that I have a twin-ado that strikes everyday, multiple times a day.
And I try to be the perfect wife. The wife who has it all together. The one who can keep the house spotless and have food made without burning it on the new (and in my opinion, evil and useless) flat top electric stove. The wife who never carries attitude in her tone for no reason other than because the day has been stressful and overwhelming and is taking it out on the wrong person.
And I try so hard to be the perfect version of who I want to be. The one who doesn’t have slip ups, every once in awhile, in the mental health department. The woman who takes on the world and handles it with ease. The one who tackles writing books, taking care of tiny humans, cooking, cleaning, and spending quality time with her husband, with her family, without dropping the ball on one of those on her list. The woman who takes the extra time to do her hair and makeup just to give herself a little confidence booster. The one who never makes a mistake. The woman who plans on going to school, until she’s in her thirties, with no sense of fear that she might fail despite every time she’s tried to follow her dream, where school is involved, she has fallen straight on her face.
I write that and I’m reading the words and laughing at myself. In my mind, it seems so black and white. Be perfect. Do everything right. When its not how life works. And that’s okay.
As much as I try to fit myself into this box of what my definition of perfect is for myself, for my life, I see that it is impossible.
It’s impossible because perfect does not exist. It’s impossible because in life, there are bound to be bumps in the road. It’s impossible because those expectations are just ridiculous.
I need to remember that just because I want to be able to achieve all of these things for myself, doesn’t mean that when I don’t, that I’m failing because in reality, it just makes me human.
I need to remember to take pride in what I do accomplish every. Single. Day.
Like being able to make my kids laugh so hard they snort, making me laugh so hard my face hurts.
Or being able to provide a healthy and stable home life, filled with smiles, laughter, support, and tons of cuddles because they deserve it.
Or the fact that in less than a year I’ve written two full books and I’m now working on the third. And not only that, these books are being published. I followed a dream I never had the balls to follow before.
And being able to say that I have the most solid and stable marriage with the most love and happiness I could ever imagine. And we achieved this by being the most Unconventional couple around , treating each other with nothing but respect, and being able to talk things out before the turn into an argument. Because I married my best friend, and that’s the truth.
And the not so little fact that I changed my entire life in what seemed like an overnight event and I work hard at it every single day. Some days are harder than others, but I still fight and I fight hard for this life.
Sometimes I need to take a step back and see this. Because I am human. I am not perfect. And most days, I take pride in what I do. But there are other days where I sit and think about every flaw, every tiny detail that I don’t like, and feel as if I’m not good enough. But its times like those, like tonight, where a good cold slap of reality is needed.
So here it is.
I am not perfect.
I am not normal.
But here’s what I am…
I am loved.
I am happy.
I am living a life I never thought I would be able to have.
I am a good mother.
I am a good wife.
I am alive.
I am breathing.
And I am flawed but those flaws are what make me, me.
Flaws are beautiful anyway.
So remember this on the days where you feel run down, incompetent, not pretty enough, not smart enough, or on the days where too many bad things have happened and you just can’t manage to sift through the gloom to see the light. Because you are worth it.

Confessions

I have something to confess, and it’s not going to be easy. I’m sure once I’m done writing this, I won’t even have the guts to re-read it.

It’s something that needs to be said, a story that needs to be told.

Lately, I’ve seen a lot of article about heavy medications being FDA approved for off label use in children.  I’ll be honest, every time I read one of those articles, my heart constricts.  Because I remember what it was like to be a medicated child.  I remember the numbness, the cloudiness, the out of body feeling every time I woke up.  I remember it all and the thought of another child going through it without having any idea of what it would be like, it scares the hell out of me.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes medications are the answer, but a lot of the articles I’ve been reading have been the use of strong, heavy for adults, medications for behavior issues.  Not mental illness, not autism, not an actual condition, but to get them to sit still while in school or to not throw temper tantrums like children do.  And that, God, that kills me.

I want nothing more than to shout it from the roof tops that this idea of medications being the answer for everything in this life is so incredibly wrong.  But I’m just one voice, one tiny tiny voice shouting against thousands of louder ones.  There’s not much I can do about that, but I can tell my story.  And that’s what I plan on doing, at least a part of it.

I was only twelve when I was put on my first medication.  It seemed like the best solution.  I was showing signs of severe depression, severe anxiety, among other issues.  Now, the issue wasn’t just that I had more severe symptoms than the average child going into adolescence.  Of course, that played a part, but there was something a lot more important and that was that my biological Dad is a drug addict and we knew that his addiction stemmed from something just as serious, and that was a mental disorder.  Bipolar, most likely.  I showed signs of being like him, mentally, with an imbalance, and the thought alone scared the shit out of my parents, and out of me.  I was young, but I knew his story, and I knew that was not how I wanted to turn out.  Medication for us was the best choice, at the time at least, because there was such a large possibility that I could get worse, that I could go down the road that he went, and that’s something we wanted to avoid.  I don’t regret it, not completely anyway, because at the time, my parents and i did what we felt was right, what we felt would keep me safe.  It’s hard, you know, not knowing how to prevent something that could very well be hereditary.  So, we ventured into the world of medication in hopes of a fix, in hopes that it could solve my issues, solve the fear we all had that my life wasn’t going to be as bright if I didn’t get some help.  We had no idea what we were getting into, but I don’t regret it, because for a little while, it helped.  It gave us some peace of mind.  My grades improved, my mood improved, and I was doing well, until I wasn’t, until I built up a tolerance, until I became my illness.

I remember being so terrified to take these pills and I remember feeling stupid that I was so scared of them.  They were just pills.  Tiny little pills.  All I had to do was swallow them.  Drink them down with a glass of water, and I would be okay.  I would be normal.  I would be like my peers, I would be less like my father, I would be happy.  But, I think somewhere in my mind, I knew that they could be dangerous, even if I didn’t really know the ramifications of them.

I cried a lot the first few weeks.  I felt so foreign, like my body didn’t belong to me.  I had a really hard time adjusting, thinking, keeping myself awake.  I was in school walking around like a zombie.  I didn’t want to talk to anyone, didn’t want to see anyone.  I was so hopeful in the beginning, but that hope started to fade.

My doctor assured me that it could take four to six weeks until I felt normal, whatever that word really meant.  I nodded, said okay, and continued to struggle with how I felt.  It’s hard for me to remember everything from that time period, in fact, I have an extremely difficult time remembering a lot from my ten year walk with medications.   Some parts are blurry, hard for me to even picture.  I remember how I felt, but I can’t remember how I looked or sounded when I talked to other people.  I can’t remember if, in those first few weeks, I snapped at my mom or gave her attitude like I had been known to do.  But I do remember how I felt, and I felt…desolate.

Before the medications, I didn’t even feel that depressed or hopeless.  I just thought that was normal, and to me, it was my normal.  But after the medications, in that adjustment period, everything just felt bleak, and I constantly contemplated if it was worth it, if living this way was worth it.

But, like clock work, the fifth or six week came and I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I wasn’t so exhausted and I didn’t feel so alone.  I was getting better.  I can’t even begin to explain the relief that came from it, from going from thinking suicidal thoughts to smiling and laughing.  I think that first bout of medications lasted the longest than all the others I had taken.  I was starting to act like a normal kid, even though I still struggled with the side effects, my mood was better and that’s what I was happy about.  Of course though, the other shoe had to drop at some point.

At some point, the side effects became more apparent and they came out of no where.  Headaches, exhaustion, my eyes were dilated to the point where my sister constantly asked if I was using drugs.  They never went down, you never saw the greens and yellows that encircled my eyes, all you saw was black.  It wasn’t just the eyes though, I was starting to get sick.  At some point, I was constantly feeling sick to my stomach.  I couldn’t eat, which made me lose more weight.  I was already 110 lbs, soaking wet, I didn’t have much more to lose.  And once the side effects showed their faces, the medications stopped working as well, if at all.

This is where I went down the long road of changing medications, desperately seeking that relief I once felt from my thoughts, and failing miserably as more and more medications were piled on and more and more medications made it worse.  The more they added, the more dark I went.  I was an eight grader having to be watched by my school counselor because I was afraid that I would give in, that I would hurt myself.  And I did, a lot.

I could explain how it felt every time I changed a medication, but it would be repetitive, I guess all you need to know is that I never felt settled.  I hurt, mentally and physically.  I felt heavy, and dragged on because these pills made it hard for me to move my body.  The medications either made it so I couldn’t sleep, or made it so I only wanted to sleep for eighteen hours at a time.  I never felt like myself.  I felt trapped in my own foggy brain, trying to claw out an escape.

As I got older, I accepted that it was my norm.  As I got older, I accepted that this would be my life.  As I got older, the side effects got worse, as did the disorders.

Part of the issue will always be with the doctors.  There’s this standard where throwing medications in their patients way, without talking to them, discussing things with them, happens all too often.  I’ve seen dozens of doctors over the years, and they were all the same.  Some were worse than others, but for the most part, it seemed that they were all too focused on meditating, and not focused enough on fixing the issue at hand.  I had a lot of issues that I needed to face, but didn’t until I had already made mistakes, burned bridges that I still wish I hadn’t, and until I was able to see and think clearly.  Not all doctors are bad, but the norm these days seem to be solving side effects with medications, which forms more side effects that are treated with more medications.  The cycle is vicious, and it’s hard to escape. But that’s a story for another time.

I tried, many times, to get off of the medications.  I would be successful for a couple weeks, maybe a month or two, and then would relapse, hard.  And those withdrawals from the meds, in those first few days after not taking those magically evil pills, they were almost worse than the relapse.  Some days, I couldn’t stand, hell, I couldn’t even lay down, without feeling the world spin.  The pain, the nausea, the misfiring in my brain because I didn’t have those extra chemicals running through my body, it was killer.  I felt alone, and afraid, a common theme when dealing with this stuff.  And the relapses, they got worse every time.  I think at some point, my brain, my body, it had no idea how to function without added chemicals.

I pushed through though, always finding a small relief in the brief months that the medications would work.  I would add more and more until I was taking seven different types a day just to function.  But those last couple years, when I was well out of my childhood years, married and supposed to be living a sane adult life, the side effects really took a toll.  I gained weight fast, especially when my husband left for basic training.  My anxiety was crippling, I hated leaving the house, but the withdrawals from the clonapin or xanax never felt worth it.  I had a seizure, I was constantly sick, and I developed a twitch that only .5% of patients would get.  At some point, I was just tired.  Sick and fucking tired, of being sick, of not being able to just get better because if it wasn’t my mental stability, it was my physical health.  I was done.  So incredibly done.

The withdrawal from all seven of those pills was pretty grueling, but I had enough experience in it that I knew what I needed.  I needed at least three days of posting up on a couch so I could battle the headaches and the dizziness and the sickness.  And I needed something to keep me busy because the chemicals would leave me, and I would be left in shock.  And I needed a backup plan in case it all went down hill.  It never occurred to me how sad it was that I had developed that kind of program for withdrawals since I was a kid.

But, I got through it.  And I promised myself, if I could just make it a month without the medications, I would be proud.  I wanted so badly to just be better, because my quality of life wasn’t just ruining me, it was hurting my husband as well.  I had to man up, grow up, and take this medication free life by the horns.  I did, it wasn’t easy, but I did.  I found myself wishing I had a xanax or my anti-psychs just to make it through the day, but I never took them, reminding myself of how bad it was.

In that time of heeling, repairing years of destruction done, I had a lot of time to think and I realized a lot.

I realized that I couldn’t remember a lot of things I did in those ten years.  I remembered the highs, the mental highs, the memory highs, but when I was low, when the meds weren’t working or I was withdrawing or on a new one, it was all too fuzzy to remember.

I realized that I spent a lot of time feeling sick when that wasn’t normal.

I realized that had I been stronger, sooner, I could have improved my life.

But most of all, I realized that medications aren’t for kids, not the ones that aren’t needed.

Because as a kid, I had no idea the ramifications.  I had no idea what was normal, what wasn’t normal, what this all meant for me.  As a kid, I had no idea that I was going to have a different childhood.  I had a family, with a roof over my head, a pool in my backyard, food to eat, a dog to play with, a Step Dad to watch DVD’s with, but that along with those things came so much more.  It meant medications, dosing, gauging my moods, gauging my side effects, plans to help myself when shit hit the fan.  It meant growing up in one way, while missing my childhood in others.  It meant trying to fit in with the other kids in school, while battling depression, medications, doctors.  It meant feeling alone because I was sure no one understood.  It meant having to try and understand things that a child shouldn’t have to, like looking out for signs of crashing, or maintaining suicidal thoughts.  And it meant keeping quiet about the way these medications hurt me, because I didn’t know any better, because I was embarrassed, because I was tired of being a burden, because I thought that was what my life was supposed to be.

It wasn’t all the medications, I know that.  A lot of it was the disorder, but the medications, the switching, the increasing doses, the chemicals in my body from such a young age, that crippled me in a lot of ways I didn’t realize until I was done.  And sometimes, I have a hard time looking people in the eye from my past, talking to certain people, knowing that in my illness induced mind, I hurt them, that when I was struggling with these medications and was too overwhelmed to function, I hurt them.  I want to be able to take it back, to apologize, but using these things as an excuse for my actions seems…wrong somehow.
And I have a hard time seeing these articles where they’re prescribing heavy medications to get kids to sit still, to behave better, to be different, because I know the path they’re going to go down.  And I know the way it’s going to hurt.  I know the way it’s going to feel as if you’re yelling, screaming, as loud as you can to tell someone, anyone that these things are hurting you, but nothing comes out, you’re silent, and no improvements come.  I hope that in this extremely personal post that someone can read it and think twice about medications, or relate in some way.  I know that some medications are necessary, and I fully support those, but some need to be thought about twice, three times, maybe more.  Because unless you’re the one taking them, unless you’ve been there, you’re going to have no idea what it feels like.  It’s not talked about nearly enough.  That needs to change, and that starts here.

I’m now twenty-five years old.  I’m coming up on three years un-medicated.  And I’m seeing things so clearly.  Instead of medication being the first step, there needs to be more people teaching coping mechanisms, ways to think positively and healthily, ways to fix your issues or make them easier to handle.  That’s what’s important, that’s what made my quality of life improve in wa way I never imagined. If i hadn’t changed or gotten off of the medications, I wouldn’t have had the life everyone told me I would never have.  It was hard, and sometimes i wanted to give up, but it was worth it.

Feel free to share your stories, or to ask questions, I want nothing more than to help make a change.

A Reminder.

Everyday cannot be perfect. You cannot be perfect. And that’s okay because

There is no such thing as perfect.

There is no such thing as truly normal.

There’s this thing that all people do; they try to fit themselves into this tiny, perfectly shaped box when, by nature, human beings are too unique to do so. We all try to fit into this mold of perfect and normal when those two words are nearly impossible to define. My sense of perfect, my idea of normal, will not be the same as most people. And most people’s normal, their idea of perfect, will not match mine. That’s just it. That’s how it goes.
I spend so much of my time trying so hard to be perfect. Trying to paint this picture of what I want to be, but sometimes missing the mark.
I try to be the perfect mom. The one who never loses patience, or the one who never feels overwhelmed. Or even the one who can some how manage to keep the house clean, despite the fact that I have a twin-ado that strikes everyday, multiple times a day.
And I try to be the perfect wife. The wife who has it all together. The one who can keep the house spotless and have food made without burning it on the new (and in my opinion, evil and useless) flat top electric stove. The wife who never carries attitude in her tone for no reason other than because the day has been stressful and overwhelming and is taking it out on the wrong person.
And I try so hard to be the perfect version of who I want to be. The one who doesn’t have slip ups, every once in awhile, in the mental health department. The woman who takes on the world and handles it with ease. The one who tackles writing books, taking care of tiny humans, cooking, cleaning, and spending quality time with her husband, with her family, without dropping the ball on one of those on her list. The woman who takes the extra time to do her hair and makeup just to give herself a little confidence booster. The one who never makes a mistake. The woman who plans on going to school, until she’s in her thirties, with no sense of fear that she might fail despite every time she’s tried to follow her dream, where school is involved, she has fallen straight on her face.
I write that and I’m reading the words and laughing at myself. In my mind, it seems so black and white. Be perfect. Do everything right. When its not how life works. And that’s okay.
As much as I try to fit myself into this box of what my definition of perfect is for myself, for my life, I see that it is impossible.
It’s impossible because perfect does not exist. It’s impossible because in life, there are bound to be bumps in the road. It’s impossible because those expectations are just ridiculous.
I need to remember that just because I want to be able to achieve all of these things for myself, doesn’t mean that when I don’t, that I’m failing because in reality, it just makes me human.
I need to remember to take pride in what I do accomplish every. Single. Day.
Like being able to make my kids laugh so hard they snort, making me laugh so hard my face hurts.
Or being able to provide a healthy and stable home life, filled with smiles, laughter, support, and tons of cuddles because they deserve it.
Or the fact that in less than a year I’ve written two full books and I’m now working on the third. And not only that, these books are being published. I followed a dream I never had the balls to follow before.
And being able to say that I have the most solid and stable marriage with the most love and happiness I could ever imagine. And we achieved this by being the most Unconventional couple around , treating each other with nothing but respect, and being able to talk things out before the turn into an argument. Because I married my best friend, and that’s the truth.
And the not so little fact that I changed my entire life in what seemed like an overnight event and I work hard at it every single day. Some days are harder than others, but I still fight and I fight hard for this life.
Sometimes I need to take a step back and see this. Because I am human. I am not perfect. And most days, I take pride in what I do. But there are other days where I sit and think about every flaw, every tiny detail that I don’t like, and feel as if I’m not good enough. But its times like those, like tonight, where a good cold slap of reality is needed.
So here it is.
I am not perfect.
I am not normal.
But here’s what I am…
I am loved.
I am happy.
I am living a life I never thought I would be able to have.
I am a good mother.
I am a good wife.
I am alive.
I am breathing.
And I am flawed but those flaws are what make me, me.
Flaws are beautiful anyway.
So remember this on the days where you feel run down, incompetent, not pretty enough, not smart enough, or on the days where too many bad things have happened and you just can’t manage to sift through the gloom to see the light. Because you are worth it.

***this was written on a smart phone so I apologize for any stupid autocorrect mistakes. It happens.

You are not your illness

Reflection
I want to start off by saying, I don’t normally talk a lot about this topic in detail anymore, anymore being the key word.  However, when I was on Time Hop yesterday, a post from four years ago inspired a not so awesome trip down memory lane.  How, you might ask? Well, let me explain.  And bare with me because it’ll be a long post, ten years worth of information kind of long.
I am bipolar.  Or, I was bipolar.  Actually, I prefer that I have no labels because in truth, I don’t know how I should refer to myself in regards to my “mental status”.  I was told once you are diagnosed with something as “severe” as bipolar, it’s not something that goes away, kind of like an addict is always recovering and never recovered.  Why I’m afraid to fully say I am not bipolar is probably something along the lines of superstition or a fear of being jinxed despite how silly that may sound.  I’m sure this isn’t making much sense right now, but don’t worry, it will.
I’ve always been an anxious kid.  I mean seriously, I was afraid of the world.  I was always that one child that went to sleepovers only to call my parents at midnight, crying, and begging to come home.  It wasn’t the boogie man or chuckie that filled me with fear causing me to be anxious all the time, it was just me, my chemical imbalance.

When I was 13 my school suggested that I get seen for ADD. My grades had dropped to a ridiculous low, and by that I mean I had a 0.67 GPA in 7th grade.  I’ll be honest, I don’t remember feeling any different or realizing that there was this trigger that sent me flying into the depths of bad grades and a bleak future.  Honestly, I just felt normal.  Until I went to a child psychiatrist and suddenly the words normal were thrown out the window.  I wasn’t normal.  I remember the exact words she said in regards to what she thought my diagnosis was.  She said I was “severely depressed.” To this day, I still remember being confused.  I was 13, the idea of depression didn’t make that much of an impact.  Sure, I understood the general definition of it, but I had no idea what the true picture of depression was.  How in the hell had I become depressed when I wasn’t even old enough to live life or experience the shitty part of living to become depressed? The rest of that appointment was a blur.  I remember my mom crying, my doctor explaining the pros and cons of medications, and me just sitting there kind of numb.
Medication ended up being the course of action for me, and at the time it made the most sense.  I obviously wasn’t functioning normally and maybe it could get me in a place where I could be a normal kid with decent grades and a life lived without anxiety.  But, I don’t think my family or I ever expected that one appointment to snow ball into a 10 year stint with what I like to call the Mental Illness Game.
Over the years, I struggled to maintain my normalcy as a teenager, going through the fun part of growing into a young woman, and maintaining the stableness of the rest of my fellow peers.  You have to understand something.  At this point in time, mental illness wasn’t what it is today.  There wasn’t as much awareness and acceptance over it.  I’m not saying that it wasn’t seen or that people weren’t diagnosed but it was definitely more taboo when I first got started out into this world.  So, as you can imagine, it was hard for me to connect with other people when the only thing I could think of is; Am I acting okay? Are they looking at me weird? Can they tell something is wrong with me? What if I tell them? Because I really want to talk to someone, anyone that isn’t just a doctor.  Will anyone ever love me despite my giant flaws? I hit a point about a year or so after my first appointment where the mix of meds wasn’t working, in a way the chemicals clashed and it sent me crashing into oblivion.  I was in eight grade and I had to stay in the counselors office because I felt too dark, too much like if I was alone I would just fade into the black.  At this point, I was no longer just severely depressed, I had ADD, a touch of ADHD, depression, anxiety, insomnia, AND a phobia of being in public, or so that’s what I was told.  It seemed as if the longer I went to the doctors, the more fucked up I was, the more diagnosis I gained, and the more medication I was given.
It became daunting, you know, being young and worrying so much about whether I took my pills so I could handle the next panic attack, or is the medication working or am I building up a tolerance again? Am I loosing too much weight again? Will my next panic attack be in front of people or will I be completely alone and terrified? Did I cut the blue pill in half and the yellow pill in a quarter or did I mix it up again? God, even thinking back on it I feel overwhelmed.
And if I was overwhelmed only two years into the medication game I was destroyed by the time I got to high school. You can imagine how that went for me.  Mean people tend to notice abnormalities like a shark can smell blood in the water.  I wasn’t popular to say the least, but it wasn’t because I was ugly or a slut (despite being told such) or because I was poor or rich, it had everything to do with me being a little different and not conforming to the norm.  (And now I sound like a hippie. Stick it to the man!) Anyways, I dressed like I felt, like a damn emo kid.  And I stood up for the kids getting made fun of because truthfully I didn’t care what happened to me, I couldn’t stand to see others get beaten down for being different.  I got a lot of shit for it, but why did it matter, I was already fucked up in the head, or so that’s how I saw it at the time.
I stopped hiding my mental illness when I was a freshman.  I was open about it, and I’m embarrassed to admit this but I was a little too open about it.  I went as far as to not cover the cuts covering my arms.  God I was ridiculous.  But, I felt okay about it because I fell into a group of people that may not have been on heavy meds like I was, but they understood me.  They were depressed and anxious and they were there for me when I had my panic attacks and freak outs and when I was crying for no reason.  And from that point on, I stopped hiding.  I couldn’t give a damn whether or not people had an opinion over it, it was my reality and I was refusing to hide from it anymore.  I was going to embrace it regardless of what that meant.
Fast forward a few years.  I thought at some point, and I’m sure the rest of my family did too, that this would all kind of clear up once I was done with puberty.  And in reality, it probably should have, but that’s not how it works, not when you’re so far in the mental illness game that you know nothing but what your diagnosis is.
I graduated high school, and I seemed to be getting better in school, although still on medications.  Throughout my high school career, I was on and off of them, but never without medications for longer than a few months.  Things seemed to be going great, until I graduated and I had NO idea what I was doing, where I was going, and what my purpose was.  I spent my time focused in the wrong areas of life, like my dating life and friends and my social life.  I’m sure everyone does that a time or two in life, but what happened next screwed me.
I’m going to go ahead and say this now, I am not going to rehash all these horrid details of the next part of my life.  I probably should, to further make my point (that I have yet to reach) but it doesn’t do me or anyone else any good to bring these things up.  So let’s just say that I met some bad people, became dependent, lost myself, and became blissfully unaware to how unhealthy my relationships were and how unstable I was.  I didn’t know it then, but I had become the most unstable I had ever, or will ever be.

I was manic.

God, was I manic.

And I was obsessed with the people around me further dragging me into the rabbit hole of a life going nowhere.  My main focus was these people and my mental illness.  My days were spent hyper focused on their lives and how I could involve myself more within this group and how they loved me regardless of my flaws.  They needed me regardless.  They needed and loved me regardless of my crazy side, they accepted me, and I needed that.  But, that need, that obsessive desire to be with these people came to bite me in the ass in the worst of ways, even if I didn’t know it at the time.
When all was said and done and things started to die down with these friends of mine, I felt sick, crazy, numb, and just gone.  Long gone was the girl that I struggled to become, the one who would eventually find her way, the one who would become close with her family again, the one that would be normal at some point or another,  and in it’s place was a girl who had done too many bad things and had officially let her mental unstableness run her life.

I was completely empty.

Hollow.

Unwell.

And so incredibly lost.
I went to yet another doctor only to discover my new diagnosis; I was bipolar.  Just like my dad (that’s a story for another time), just like the people you hear so much about and are warned to stay away from, just like the people who end up in the hospital.  At that point, my step sister invited me to live with her and move close to 2,000 miles away from home, to help her nanny in exchange for me getting away from that and to get my head on straight.  For awhile it worked, I was in school, I loved interacting with my nieces and my sister, I was starting to become happy.  But that only emotion only ever lasted a few months for me no matter what my situation was.  There would always be a down fall, and that down fall was always hard.  After about a year or so I had to move home.  I was at the point where I called my mom to tell her how bad it was.  I couldn’t tell you exactly what I told her, and in truth, I don’t want to know, but it was enough that when she heard me crying hysterically, rambling on about the extreme emotions I was feeling, trying to make sense of the impossibly fast racing thoughts in my head, she told me it was time to come home.  There was no arguing.  There was no question.  It was time to come home, it was time to get well.
It took awhile, but things eventually turned around for me because really when you hit rock bottom all you can do is go up, right? I met my husband a few months after returning home.  Yes, for those of you who didn’t know, I met my husband when I was sick.  And for those of you who know K, this may come as a surprise.  He’s the “no bullshit, no drama” type so how he saw past all of my crap and stuck around, I’ll never know, but I do know that I am eternally grateful that he did.
We had a fast romance, only after two weeks of dating we got engaged.  I know, I know, insane, but it worked for us.  Before we had a chance to get married I got bad again and ended up in the mental hospital.  I checked myself in.  I knew myself well enough to know that I didn’t trust the alone time I had.  I couldn’t get a job because I couldn’t handle turning an application without panicking, and I couldn’t be left alone for fear I would harm myself.  It sucked.  I sucked.  And I was sucking the life out of myself and those around me.
And this is where the whole Time Hop thing comes into play.  Four years ago I was released from the hospital.  When I read that I thought to myself, “Holy shit, had it really been four years? It feels like it was a decade ago.” And that’s when I realized that I haven’t been mentally stable for all that long, it just feels like it.
After the hospital and another year or so of therapy upon therapy, upon medications and more medications, we moved to our new home, a few states away from our families and friends.  I had been getting sick for the last couple years, all of which could be blamed on the medicine I had been taking.  Side effects, especially the rare ones became frequent.  I had a seizure once, extreme weight gain, a twitch that only .5% of people taking this certain medication actually got, and I was constantly feeling sick, rundown, heavy.  I think I finally had enough, because one day I woke up and I felt gross, mentally, physically, and I was done.

I was just done.

I decided to start weaning myself off of medications.  It was not something most people supported, especially not my doctors, but I was determined to just try it.  If I made it a week, or two weeks, hell even just a month, I would have been proud because I tried.  I never expected to succeed, and I never thought my life would actually change, but it did.
I took my last set of meds in the end of 2012 or the start of 2013 I can’t remember exactly.  Crazy, right? It’s now 2015 and I haven’t had a single relapse of mental stability.  That’s saying something because between then and now, I’ve gone through a twin pregnancy (double the hormones), given birth with no pain meds to my beautiful babies, and have busted my ass to be the best stay at home mom I could be.

There were a lot of factors that went into this though. I was determined to get healthy for once but mostly it was my husband.  Like I said he’s the no nonsense type of guy and he kicked my ass into gear.  The babying me had since passed and it had been time to be blunt, upfront, honest with me.  And the day after he did that everything changed, I changed and I never looked back.  I refused to stay in this mental mindset that I was broken and I refused to continue to dwell on it.  I wanted to be better so I became better.  It took all I had in me, but I did it, I fought it, and I won.
Now, there’s another reason why I thought about writing this down and that’s because last week I started slipping.  Not badly, just enough that I became distant from a lot of things.  I’ve recently been dealing with some mystery health issues that I don’t want to go into detail about but it put me in this weird head space.  I tried pulling out of it, and I thought it was working until today when I realized I was failing.  I was being introverted and mopey and letting my thoughts become negative and it took that Time Hop post and some serious inner monologue to get me back to where I normally am, positive and happy; ready to kick this negativity’s ass.
I’ve come to realize I lot of things about mental illness and the way it works, at least for me.  It’s ridiculously easy to fall into this depression or anxiety or whatever it is that’s plaguing you.  It’s easy as hell.  It’s always going to be there in the back of your mind because, as someone with a mental illness can tell you, it’s something like a habit, something you always go back to when things get rough because it’s familiar and it’s the easy way to deal with things by just not dealing with them, by letting the darkness consume you.  But, let me tell you, that’s not the way life is supposed to be.  You’re supposed to fight tooth and nail for the life you live because if you didn’t what would be the point? I didn’t have a rough life to start out.  I lived in a two story house with a pool and a dog and a loving family.  I had friends.  I had boyfriends and girlfriends and I had a passion for anything artistic.  I just had an imbalance that unfortunately lead to medicating someone who was too young and eventually too weak to fix their shit when it hit the fan.  After I was away from it all, taking the seven different medications a day, going to three different doctors, one for medications, one for regular therapy, one for specialized therapy, I got to see what really happened.
I got sucked in.
I knew nothing else.
I was young and all I knew was what I was being told- I was sick, I was imbalanced, I was broken, and the only way to fix it was to stay involved with it.  I became the victim of my disorder and I adopted that victims mindset, applying it to the rest of my life because that’s what I was taught through seeing countless amounts of doctors and speaking to other people going through the same thing.
Now, I know how this may come off and I apologize in advance if anyone becomes offended but as someone who has been there done that for ten years straight only to come out better let me tell you; YOU ARE NOT YOUR ILLNESS.
I had people tell me that throughout the years but I didn’t listen, I couldn’t, in a way.  I spent the better half of my childhood and the start of my young adult life completely emerged in my illness.  When you’re young and all you know is what you’re being told, and these things you’re being told you don’t quite understand to the fullest extent, things are bound to happen, you are bound to believe something and let it be engrained in you despite your lack of understanding.  And within this world of mental illness it becomes this thing where you’re expected to talk about it all the time.  At every doctors appointment you’re told to explain in grave detail the issues you’re facing, so you spend the first 45 minutes of the appointment pouring your heart out, rehashing every gory detail, only to have the last few minutes to sketch out some small coping plan and to remember to pay attention to your issues, to look for signs of improvement, and to watch for the inevitable sign that you are worsening.  It’s not that’s it’s really the doctors fault, they’re covering their bases and trying to make you more aware but it’s not always helpful, not in the long run.  I can’t tell you how many hours I spent going round and round about shit that happened to me years prior as if they happened an hour before.  And all it did was keep it fresh within my mind twenty. four. seven.  I dreamt about them and I thought about them more than I want to admit.  And how could these issues not be fresh in your mind when you’re also having to remind yourself of the times you have to take your meds, when it’s time to make a new appointment with whatever doctor you need to see to talk about it all, and when it’s time to go get your blood tested to make sure these super awesome meds aren’t poisoning you.  It’s a vicious cycle of hyper focusing on nothing but your issues.  And maybe you resolve one, but when another one comes up it’ll take years to fix it, only to restart the process all over again.
Let me just say, I am not blaming the whole mental health department.  It is my fault, and my fault entirely, that I ended up the way I did. I didn’t pull my head out of my ass quick enough and even when I wanted to change, I decided to listen to others instead of listening to my instinct screaming that I would be okay if I could just fight.   But I am saying that it’s hard to see the reality of things when you are consumed by your illness.  As an adult I didn’t even know how to introduce myself to people or make friends because I was told, by nearly every doctor I came across, that I had to make anyone involved in my life aware of how unstable I could be and how it may be just being my friend.  Or how I needed to explain everything to the person I was dating that way they knew up front and could chose if they thought it was worth spending their life with me.  I was told that I would never have children because I wouldn’t be mental sound enough to be a good mother and that one day I would be so sick I would ultimately end up spending more time in the hospital than out.

How are you suppose to succeed in life when you’re being told that your future isn’t bright, that in fact it will become desolate and that people will only be around if they feel you are worth the effort.  

Or that your illness, something that you didn’t ask for, is the reason that you will not get the life you deserve.  That is not how it should be and had I realized that before, I would have spent more years smiling and laughing and striving for a better life, the life I live right now, instead of fighting myself for stableness.
I don’t know how this post is going to be seen and in reality I guess it doesn’t matter.  I have a very strange outlook on life now and the way I learned to deal with myself within my own mind, after the meds and the doctors were gone, isn’t for everyone because tough love isn’t for everyone, but I know that there are probably people out there struggling and in the same spot I was in two years ago, looking for someone to just understand.  Maybe this post can be something that helps.  I won’t always post these things, and like I said I rarely ever talk about this kind of thing in detail anymore.  There’s usually not a point.  I was sick, I went through ten years of struggle, I stopped, I have a beautiful family, and I’m following my dreams.  The.  End.  But sometimes things need to be said to reach out to those that might need it.  I also had to write this for me, because as I said I was slipping and sometimes a reality check is in order.

And here is my reality check.

I am married to my perfect match.  He’s sarcastic and he’s hilarious.  He’s an asshole but I genuinely love that about him because even though he has this tough exterior when it comes down to it, he cares with his entire heart and he loves our kids more than anything in this world. I’m pretty sure he would and does sacrifice his life for us every single day.

And I’m a mom to these two beautiful children who do nothing but try and make me smile and laugh all day.  Take Oliver for example, as I was going through these medical exams, in near tears from being overwhelmed my son reaches over, smiles and shares his toy with me which he never actually does because he hates sharing.  And Emma smiles, gives me a kiss, and does something silly because she hates seeing us do anything but laugh so then Oliver does the same.

I made these kids, something I was told wouldn’t happen and god, they are phenomenal.

Not only do I have them but I have my extended family and friends who are always there for me despite any disagreements or miles put between us.  And I finally followed my dream, I have a book published and I’m writing more which is something I was always passionate about.  This is my reality check because everything I have now is more powerful than the emotions lurking in the shadows of my mind, waiting to suck me in and destroy me.
I promise not every post will be this depressing, I’m actually a funny, sarcastic person, but this was needed, and you know what? I feel renewed.

***For those of you thinking this post sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a post from May on my old blog account.  I thought it might be time to bring this back, to give a little inspiration, to give a little bit of hope.

Vanity

You.  Are.  Beautiful.

I bet when most of you read those words, that little voice of doubt and self consciousness spoke up, nagging at you, telling you the exact opposite.

Don’t be ashamed, it happens to most of us.  I have those days, and in my younger years, I had them every single time I looked into a mirror.  In fact, I had a very toxic outlook on my appearance.  It caused issues with how I saw myself as a whole, and in turn I developed some rather unhealthy habits as far as eating and dieting went.  It was stupid really, I looked just fine, but at that point in time, I thought I was the worst.  It wasn’t until after I had kids that I stopped worrying about it so much.

I didn’t let myself go.  I just became comfortable in my own skin, my very stretch marked skin that is lol.

I spent my days growing up in a very vanity driven area.  Living in the surrounding cities of LA kind of does that to you.  I rarely left the house without my face on or my hair done.  I always wanted to look “on point” even if I was driving to the gas station at 4 am or to Walmart to get some damn milk.  It was ridiculous really.  And if I did end up leaving the house looking less than my version of perfect, I felt so down on myself for it.  I would feel like people were starring in the worst of ways.  I thought maybe they were inspecting me under a microscope, searching for every flaw I had.  It was an unsettling way to feel on a daily basis.  And god, when I gained all my weight, it was even worse.  I was always a very thin person until my early 20’s when my medication count went from one or two pills a day to seven.  I gained at least 50 lbs and I was unhappy to say the least.  Then I lost it all and I was so elated about it.  But, it never felt like it was enough.  I was thin, but I wanted to be thiner.  I was pretty, but I wanted to be super model pretty.  I wanted things that weren’t possible, not really anyways.  I wanted the unrealistic to become real life for me.

I know that in this day and age, everyone has these unrealistic expectations of what people should look like.  Men should look like Channing Tatum, act like a dude out of a Nicholas Sparks book, and make money like Christian Grey.  And women, well, we all need to look as flawless as Barbie, embody seduction like Kim K but still be as innocent as a virgin, and be willing to submit but have a spit-fire take on life too.  And you know what, in theory that’s all fine and dandy, except when it isn’t.  Who wants to be like that? I don’t know about you but that just seems like a whole lot of work that I don’t want to do.  Why would I want to spend/waste my time looking and embodying someone that isn’t me? Isn’t that kind of…pointless? I wasn’t put on this Earth by whatever divine power there is for me to waste my life being someone I’m not.  I spent years doing this, I spent years wearing the six inch heels that I could hardly walk in just to make my legs look longer.  I wore the five pounds of makeup to make me look older, look like I have perfect skin.  I did my hair, frying it in all kinds of ways for what?  So I could walk around feeling uncomfortable when I really just wanted to feel good with my hair up, no make up on, and in a t-shirt and jeans.  I don’t know what happened but suddenly I went from a girl looking to be flawless, to a woman who feels just fine as she is.

I think it happened when my kids were born and all of a sudden my perspective and priorities switched.  I realized that there were bigger things in life than how I looked.  It didn’t happen over night, but it did happen.  And you know what? I’ve never felt better.

Let’s be honest here.  I am far from perfect. I’m not just talking mentally, cause let’s face it, I’m one of the most awkward people you’ll meet.  I’m weird, I’m random, I have this issue with rambling, and good lord do I have issues with people touching me or when there are too many emotions in one tiny area.  But, I also have some physical flaws too.  Some that people don’t think I have, just because, from the outside, I seem to have it all…and by that I mean that I’m thin.  But, as everyone must know by now, not everything is as it seems.  I don’t want that to sound like I hate what I’ve got going on, because in truth, I kind of love it in some really odd way.  I have a pretty weird stomach, especially after carrying twins to near full term.  If you’ve ever seen pictures of my pregnant belly then you know exactly what I’m talking about.  If you haven’t, then just picture a giant torpedo trying to escape from my midsection, add in some super shiny skin, and the fact that there was nothing truly round about my belly, and you’ve got a decent image of what I might have looked like.  I’ve got stretch marks, I’ve got a weird caved in belly from my muscles no longer being attached to each other, a hernia, and my boobs that were once pretty damn awesome from breastfeeding are now shrinking.  I’m aware of my flaws, and some days they bother the hell out of me.  Especially when my I’m-growing-my-mistake-of-a-pixie-haircut-out-and-I-look-like-a-mixture-of-Justin-Bieber-and-Mrs-Brady is in full swing.  But, I think somewhere along the way I learned to love me even on the days where I wish I looked a little different.

I hate seeing women and even men, hating the way they look because there is this unrealistic expectation of what we should look like.  Because in reality, everyone is beautiful in their own way.  You could be 900 lbs but if you’re a good person, if you can make someone else laugh, and make an impact in someone’s life then you are beautiful.  It doesn’t take looking like a photoshopped model to be beautiful.  It just takes a little confidence and a good soul.

And I’m sure none of this will make you feel better about yourself, but I wish it would.  I wish there were less people living life feeling terrible about themselves and more people saying “You know what? Fuck what people say.  I am fabulous.” Because you are.

When the kids were born I think I struggled for a month or so.  I was adjusting.  My once flat and smooth stomach was some strange shade of brown from my skin healing, and it was bloated and foreign.  And, I went from being my own person to being a mom with two tiny humans attached to my boobs all day, relying on me to protect them, feed them, love them unconditionally.  And I did all of those things willingly and happily but it became overwhelming to realize that I was their everything and their role model.  And I thought about Emma and how I really hate the idea of her feeling the same way as I did about myself.  I didn’t want her to see me the way I saw myself– gross and ugly and have that be her one prime examples of how a woman should feel about herself.  So, I vowed to try and change that.

I think it really hit home when we decided to take the kids to the lake one day and I was so excited, until I realized I would have to wear a bathing suit.  That thought alone killed me.  And you want to know the first thing I asked my husband when we made these plans? “Do you think the people we’re going with will be offended by me wearing a bikini?” My husband looked at me dumbfounded and asked me what the hell i was talking about.  I said, “You know, because of my stomach.” He didn’t even offer a response, he shook his head at me and walked away.  I got the point.  I was being ridiculous and there were no amount of words that he could utter my way that would make me feel any more stupid as I did right then.  That’s the upside to my husband, a lot of times he lets me figure out my own mistakes on my own.  It made me think though.  And I came to this conclusion:

Who the fuck cared?

I’ll wear a bikini because I want to wear one.

Will people find it gross and weird? I’m sure they will.

Will it impact the way I feel about myself? Maybe.

Should it? No.

Will it impact me forever? Definitely not.

And you want to know why? Because I could look down at my kids and see them smiling at me, weird stomach, stretch marks, naked face and all, and they would still smile at me with all the love in the world.  And because my husband, who honestly saw things in that delivery room that I”m sure is now burned into his brain forever, still found himself attracted to me.  He still loved me.  I had all the love from these three incredible people who saw nothing wrong with me.  They only saw me for the person I am, not what my body looked like.

So what was the problem?

It was then and there that I decided to let it all go.

Fuck it.

Bitch, I’m fabulous.

And I went about my day.  I rocked that bikini with a smile on my face because my kids were happy, my husband was happy, and I was fuckin happy.

I wish everyone that feels bad about themselves could break the chains of self doubt and self criticism because it feels amazing and it opens up opportunities for so much more in life when you feel good about you.

So, I want to say that each and everyone of you….YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, DAMMIT.

Because I said so.  Because I believe it’s true.  And because you deserve to feel it.

It’s just that simple.  You deserve to feel beautiful and desirable and like you are worth all the money in the world, because you are.  If you’re reading this and you’re thinking about how much doubt you have in yourself…stop.  Because you are better than that.  You’re better than these expectations that are thrown in your face.  You are beautiful because you are you.  That’s that.  That’s the end of it.  That’s the truth.  So own who you are.  Be fabulous.  Be brave.  Be you.  It’ll all be worth it in the end.

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