The Artistry of a Woman

She is strong and fierce

She knows the power of her mind and the gentleness of her touch

She recognizes her insecurities and wrestles with her vulnerability

She stands up for the respect that she deserves

And does not lower her voice to coddle a man’s pride

She understands the aspects of society that try to undermine

The beauty and artistry of a woman

It cannot be fabricated

It cannot be replaced

A woman that knows her worth

Has the power of the world behind her

Finding Myself

I start therapy on Friday. I’m very excited, actually. I feel like the stigma against mental health is kind of diminishing and more and more people are trying their hand at therapy. In all reality, everyone just wants to feel better. I’ve always wanted to talk to someone about all of the feelings I have, but I’ve never been so lost that I felt that there was no other option.

That is how I feel now.

I am on an unexpected, anxiety-ridden rollercoaster of emotions right now. I have hit rock bottom and I scheduled the appointment without even hesitating. I need this.  

Yes, I am a daughter and a friend and a mother and a partner… but who am I when it’s not based upon a relationship with someone else?

Who am I?

I want to strip down and view myself in a completely vulnerable and open way. I want to look at why I do the things that I do. I want to find the meaning of all the pent-up emotions that never address. Why haven’t I addressed them? Am I a complete narcissist and have no clue? What can I do to make sure that I am focusing some of my energy on ME? What in my life has happened that has changed the way I form relationships with others? What can I do to improve the way I carry myself around those that love me? 

There is so much that I want answers on.

So much to discover.

So much to solve.

I am so ready.

23 Years of Adventure

Today I am celebrating twenty-three years of life. Twenty-three years of love. Twenty-three years of adventure.

I heard my birth story from my aunt and grandmother a bunch of times growing up. I think mainly because, as they tell it, it was a wild day! My mother was in labor prematurely and it was sometime in the morning when my aunt and grandma took my mother in to the hospital. I don’t know exactly how many weeks early I was born, but they had to life flight my mom from our local hospital to the hospital at the capitol, Springfield. My aunt and grandma tell the story that they actually raced down the interstate to beat the helicopter. They both swear they were in the hospital parking lot when the helicopter landed.

Sometime just after lunch I was born via emergency c-section. My back was actually up against my mother’s abdomen when they cut her open to deliver me, so I have a large scar across my back from where they cut me when performing the c-section. I was so small I wore doll clothes because preemie clothes were too big. I’ve been told it’s a miracle I survived.

But here I am. Flourishing in the sunlight, and dreaming of tomorrow. I have been blessed many times in this life. I do my best to slow down, breathe it in, and enjoy the things that bring me joy. In honor of today, I have made a list of a few of the things that bring me JOY!

  1. My beautiful daughter, Della Rae. Her spunky attitude and playful heart brings an overwhelming sense of pride every time I look at her.
  2. My handsome fiancé. Dylan’s passion for music and sly rhetoric reminds me that the simplest things in life are the most important. Our love is truly an adventure and I cannot wait to marry him in just over one year!
  3. The adrenaline rush that comes when you start to run.
  4. Sunrises.
  5. My family.
  6. Pumpkins patches and autumn weather.
  7. Hugs.
  8. Hearing “I love you”
  9. Good hair days.
  10. Singing in the shower and on road trips.
  11. The way my keyboard sounds when I type really fast at work.
  12. My daughter’s laugh.
  13. Hiking and camping.
  14. Pay day!
  15. Sunday morning snuggles in bed with Della Rae and Dylan
  16. Softball and basketball and football and hockey and any sport, really.
  17. Blogging and the friends I’ve made through WordPress.
  18. Mexican food and margaritas.
  19. Friends.
  20. Watching Grey’s Anatomy.

Some are silly, some are very common. But all bring me joy and make me enjoy the life that I am living. Today I am celebrating twenty-three years of life. A good life.

I am so very blessed. Here is to a life full of love and adventure!! 🎉🎁🎊

To all the MOMS on World Mental Health Day 🌱

Since the birth of our children, nearly every decision we make will bring us a sense of guilt. Put your baby to bed too early and you feel guilty for not enjoying your time with your baby while they are little. Keep your baby up too late, and you feel guilty that they aren’t getting enough rest. I have struggled with this immensely in the short stint of my experience with motherhood, and I know from many conversations I’ve had with other mothers of children of all ages, it is something that is never going to go away – as much as we wish it would. As mothers, we are under constant scrutiny and watchful eyes from everyone around us. We are criticized on how we feed our child, rather than the fact that the child is being fed at all. We feel the heat of dirty looks in the supermarket when we have a wailing child that we can’t quiet.  We take showers and look down at a body that looked very different just a few short months ago. We smile when you happily say hello to our children, but still feel the pain when you don’t acknowledge our presence with an equal amount of excitement. Do you care about me? Or do you only care about me enough to scrutinize who you think I am as a mother?

Well I will tell you who I am as a mother.

I am now devoted to life of selflessness. I have ran to the bathroom, cried out in overwhelming frustration, wiped my eyes, and returned back to my family with no one even noticing the crack of defeat I have hidden from my face. I have spent late nights worrying, planning, anticipating, and preparing. I love selflessly and whole-heartedly.

On my toughest days, I close my eyes and face the sky waiting for nature to give me strength… She always does.

I am persistent and I am determined. Even though there are times I feel like I might break under all of the pressure, the sun falls and rises, and so do I.

I am passionate. Passionate about my child. Passionate to build up the family that I have created. Passionate about the joys life has so graciously given me.

I am forgiving. I am consistent. I am fierce. I am patient.

Through the guilt that I so often face, I have come to understand that there are so many things that make me the best mother in my child’s world. Forget the pain you feel when you choose to do something that is in the best interest of you. We deserve some of our free will to be made solely in regards to our own wellness.

Because it’s hard being a selfless, persistent, determined, passionate, forgiving, consistent, and fierce MOM.

Gun Violence & A Parent’s Love

With the tragic and horrifying mass shootings that took place in the United States this week, everyone has been in an uproar about gun control. I get it. Let’s do something. But I think the one of the reasons we have such an awful gun violence issue in the United States is something that gun control simply cannot fix. None of what I want to talk about today has anything to do with gun control or taking away anyone’s right to bear arms. 

It’s easy to argue that the person pulling the trigger is responsible for the damage they cause, because that is the normal conclusion to come to when you hear of someone committing such a heinous act. And I would totally agree with that statement; however, there is another side to this that I feel is worth at least considering.

We have a gun problem. But more importantly, we have a HOME problem.

Since when did we become a nation filled with careless parents? Since when did we allow our nation’s children to be so disrespectful, lazy, and so careless about life? Since when is nearly 60,000 kids locked up in jails across America something that we are okay with?* Since when?

I know that most of America’s mass shooters haven’t necessarily been teenagers, but according to an article in The Washington Post, they are getting younger. Since the shooting in Charleston, more than half of shooters were under the age of 30. You may be quick to imply that it’s the younger generations’ fault that all of this is going on since they are the ones pulling the triggers. True. Ehh, kind of. 

What if I told you that children are have higher self esteem, communicate better, improved academic performance, and are less likely to have psychological and behavioral issues when they are exposed to love and affection at home? In 2010, researchers at Duke University Medical School found that children with loving and conscientious mothers grew up to be more resilient and happier adults. The study followed 500 children from infancy to their mid-30’s.**

I know with 100% certainty that I don’t have to fill this post with a ton of statistics, links to articles, and sparkly, mind-boggling information. You have the ability to google any topic you choose, so I urge you to go read up on just how important we are as parents in shaping loving, gentle, and soulful children.

It is absolutely critical that we show our children love and affection, and that has absolutely nothing to do with guns. Life can be busy and adulthood is overwhelming at times, but we cannot forget that we are raising tomorrow’s generation. Let’s raise a generation that is loving and passionate and gentle and open to talking about mental illness. Let’s love our children fiercely and show them that they have caring people that they can rely on – no matter what.Let’s raise a generation that knows that pulling the trigger of a gun is rarely a necessity.

You want to end gun violence? 

Quit teaching hate from within the walls of your own home. 

Stop whatever you’re doing that you think is more important (it’s not) and go love on your kids.

 

 

 

* – https://www.aclu.org/issues/juvenile-justice/youth-incarceration/americas-addiction-juvenile-incarceration-state-state

** – https://www.mother.ly/child/how-a-parents-affection-shapes-a-childs-happiness-for-life

Photos from Washington Post.

Good News … Finally!

Life has been absolutely CRAZYYYY lately… Is anyone else ready for fall, too? I haven’t had much time to put into my writing because I feel like I’m so busy I can’t even breathe sometimes. Everyone tells you it’s hard being a mom, but you can’t really prepare yourself for something like motherhood. I think what I miss the most about my life before my baby is that I had unlimited time to spend on myself. Not that I ever really did all that much, but the option was always there to pamper myself if I wanted to. My life has changed now to the point where I can’t even take a shower at a relaxing pace because I’m constantly worrying about what is going on outside of the bathroom…

However,

I do have some life updates that I feel like are worth sharing. I know we all get into slumps, and hopefully if you find yourself in one now, this will give you comfort that there is always light at the end of the tunnel!

I got a promotion at work! I’ve been working at my current company for almost a year now. I was hired on last August for a part-time position. Five months later, I took a leave for the birth of my daughter. Two short months after that, I returned back to work. Not long after my return, my manager asked me if I would be willing to work full-time hours. Since I was in a part-time position, I would still be ineligible for employee benefits, vacation and sick days, holiday pay, and performance-based bonuses. So, in short, I was working full-time hours, but not getting all of the benefits that the rest of the full-time staff was entitled to. To be frank, I was getting screwed!!

A full-time position opened up within my department, so I thought, ‘What the heck, I’ll just throw my name in the hat!’ My boss told me I’d still have to go through the entire hiring process of a three-person panel interview and online testing. Sooo, we scheduled the interview and testing. I walked out of it all totally disappointed and so sure they wouldn’t give me the job. I had envisioned the scenario over and over in my head and I felt like I had let myself down. It didn’t go at all like I thought it would. But of course, it’s human nature to be harder on yourself than what was reality. I was offered the job!!

I am now going to get good health insurance for myself and my daughter, a $2.50 raise, holiday pay, bonuses, etc. After some long, hard months, things have finally turned around.

I’m also officially enrolled at my university again to get a degree in Business Management. I start on August 26th. I’m suuuper excited to get back to learning and furthering my education. It’s going to be tough, but there is no one more determined than I!

How is your guys’ summer going? Our county fair started last night, which means FAIR FOOD, DEMOLITION DERBIES, AND VISITS TO THE BEER TENT! Can’t wait to hear from all of you! Sorry it’s been so long!

Story time!

Sorry to disappoint, but this isn’t a fictional story… I haven’t had much time to put into my writing lately, but I wanted to give you guys a quick glimpse into what I’ve been up to lately!

1. I have a baaaad rash of POISON SUMAC. 🌿😭 A few friends and I thought it would be fun to go creek swimming, but to get to the water we had to walk through some high weeds and grass. We must’ve walked through a patch of poison sumac because OH MY GOSH my legs are broken out and itch soo bad! It has spread on both legs, both feet, up onto my hips, and on my bum! I’ve never had poison ivy, so when my fiancé broke out I didn’t think I would too! Turns out, I did and I have GOT to get to the doc because I can’t take this anymore!

2. We had nearly $500 stolen out of our house this past week. It puts a huge strain on paying the bills this month. We don’t know who did it or what to do now that the cash is gone. VERY frustrating!

3. I have a job interview for a full time position at my current workplace! After the awful poison sumac and stolen cash, this news was a light in a dark tunnel! If I get this job I will make $3 more an hour and be offered great medical benefits. Fingers crossed I get this job!!! 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼

4. Babies grow SO FAST. My daughter Della turned SIX months old on the 5th!! She is the best part of my day and it’s so fun watching her grow!!!

What have you guys been up to? Sorry I’ve been a bit absent, but I’d love to chat!! Drop a comment!

In the Morning

I wake up in the morning

Feeling like an absolute star

I’m motivated to start the day

And conquer all that lies before me

But then I get out of bed

And start thinking about

All the ways I’ve let myself down

Too clingy

Too chubby

Too shy

Too busy

Too self-conscious

I look in the mirror and 

Run my fingers through my

Wavy long hair

I like the way it falls against my back

And frames my face

I layer on mascara and

Study the freckles

That cover my nose and cheeks

Maybe I am beautiful

Then I begin to realize 

I’m not as bad as I think I am

I don’t give myself enough credit

For I have strength in so many ways

I am fierce

I am determined

I am smart

I am reliable

And I am out of bed today

And that is a feat

That not all can achieve

 

Excuses & Friendships

Maintaining friendships after parenthood is hard. Most parents will agree.

But I always kind of had a hard time keeping up with others even before I had a baby. I have always been more introverted, and I can’t really think of a time in my life where I truly felt like I had a “best friend.” Sure, I had people I trusted, hung out with, and considered more than a simple acquaintance, but I never really felt a connection deep enough to where I felt totally comfortable and completely understood.

A short time ago, I had an old high school friend message me and ask how the baby and I were. I hadn’t heard from this friend in quite a while. I will admit, I was being petty about her not coming to visit me like I feel a good friend should. After all, she lives a county away from me. When she messaged me, I was busy doing whatever thing I had on my list of things to do as a working mom, so I gave her a simple: “We’re good.”

I didn’t mean anything negative by it. I was just … BUSY! So she ended up getting upset about how she tries to keep up with me now that I have a baby and that all I do is shut her out. I can see where she is coming from. In all honesty, I will probably always be the type to keep my distance when it comes to outsiders. I like friendship and I do believe that healthy relationships are important, I just no longer have the time to put a bunch of effort into people that aren’t making an actual, solid attempt to see me. You can make every excuse under the sun as to why you don’t go visit someone, but when it comes down to it… it just shows that you don’t actually care that much. And I told her just that.

How much you care is how much you try.

On the other hand, I had a friend that actually put in a great deal of effort to see me and meet my daughter for the first time. When I first got out of high school, I headed straight to Eastern Illinois University. There I met a girl named Tiffany. Now, we both only went to school there for one semester, but we were thick as thieves. We would run out to my car and smoke cigarettes, go to the frat houses, and hang out in our dorm rooms. All college fun… but that was four years ago. We never lost touch. 

Tiffany and I while in college

Tiffany and I this past weekend

I actually met up with Tiff in Chicago about a year ago, and then this past weekend she made the four hour trek to come visit me and meet my daughter.

I’d say that is a helluva lot more effort than most people give.

And we had only seen one another one time in the last four years.

My point of this isn’t to bitch about the people that aren’t putting effort into relationships.

My point is… The people that care, will show up.

It doesn’t matter if you only knew them for a total of four months.

It doesn’t matter if you haven’t seen them in years.

And it doesn’t matter how far away they are.

If they care, they will show up.

 

“Sometimes you gotta take a break from all the noise to appreciate the silence.”

I’ve hit a wall with my writing. It seems that I’ve ran out of all inspiration that is required to create a “good post.” So that led me to come to the conclusion that I am going to take a break on my blog. Sad face.

I just want to make sure that I gather some quality ideas and meaningful words so I’m not just pumping out average, boring posts just to fill my wall. I did not start this page with the intention of only focusing on follows or likes. I started this blog so that I could share my story and provide words of encouragement and advice to those that have been through similar situations.

For now, I want to focus on me. 

But have no fear… I will continue to read and interact with what everyone else is writing. Maybe I can find some inspiration from one of you.

ALSO, Mathew S. and I have been working on a cool fiction collaboration that we will hopefully be publishing sometime in the near future.

Have a great week – I can’t wait to share with you all again sometime soon!!

Xoxoxo

-Chrissy