CHANGE STARTS WITH ME

I could go on some rant about my beliefs on gun control but honest to God-will that change your mind on anything? Nope. They are MY values. And Im sure you all know how I feel. If you’re over a certain age and grew up in the South its generally true that God and guns were a part of your upbringing. Kinda weird if you ask me but ok. I definitely do NOT have answers to the awful things happening now. Definitely don’t. So this wont be “that” kind of blog because how unbelievably disrespectful is it to scream about MY rights and MY beliefs when there are parents burying babies today. When your first thought is YOU after someone’s tragic death….theres a problem.

There’s some things I know….compromise no longer exists and that makes me very sad. Very sad. Although my daughter assures me her generation will do better. And I believe her. I truly do. Hypocrisy is at an all time high- and people don’t even realize how hypocritical they are being sometimes. Science is amazing. Try it. Its a field of study that has nothing to do with opinions or “your way”. It just IS. Its science. And its amazing. Name calling is sad. And immature. And we all need to stop it. Im sad. And tired of it all. And so glad I live where I live. I think because Colorado is so conducive to outdoor activities that we don’t spend our entire days in front of a computer yelling at people afar who don’t agree with us. Id much rather be outside climbing a rock or a mountain than yelling at Tim from 2nd grade that’s a racist. Time will take care of Tim. And the outside will take care of me.
I spent 8 hours outside yesterday climbing rocks. It was one of my better days. My physical body is healing and I felt good. My heart needed the mountain air. My climbing is becoming more technical and thought out and a little less “cuss and scream to the top in a panic”. Progress people. Garden of the Gods is a very public place and FULL of tourists constantly. So you REALLY have to stay in your bubble so as not to let the crowds’ words and noises interfere with your concentration. At one point I stopped mid climb to rest a second  and I couldn’t help but hear a kid in the large crowd ask his Dad as he watched me “Is she going to die, Daddy?” His Dad replied that I had the right safety equipment and helmet and ropes and people with knowledge around so I would be fine. And I thought “but I am going to die.” We all are, you know. And we don’t get to know when…most of us. Or how.
And you could spend your day in front of a computer name calling and screaming about YOUR rights and YOUR beliefs and how everyone should think YOUR way. Or you could walk away from the computer and go outside. And climb a rock. Or go for a walk. Or dance in your living room. Or say something KIND on Facebook. Or do a good deed today. I am completely guilty of getting wrapped up in Facebook debates. I admit it. But there is NOTHING you will ever say that will change the basic core values I hold. I cannot even tell you how many times I see people post “facts” and “stats” that are anything but.
My parents taught me to stand up for what I KNOW to be wrong. So I will never stop doing that. I will never stop fighting for what I know in my heart is the right thing to do. And I look at my daughter who is fiercely smart and KNOW that her generation will do better. Be better. I have to know that.
I will continue to support organizations that fight for things I believe in. That take action against injustice. But what I CANNOT do is partake in FB arguments or mindless name calling. I whole heartedly support your right to do so, though. I do believe my energy is better spent LIVING, LOVING, and helping people get physically and mentally healthy.
I hung on that rock yesterday and teared up. Some fear, some happiness, some sadness. I told Dude I wanted to come down and the crux was too hard to pass. He knew enough not speak (LOL). I hung there, regrouped, and decided “fuck it Im going all the way”. There’s some kids that will NEVER get to climb a rock. I made it over the hard part and to the top. But I definitely thought about quitting.  There’s ONE THING we all have in common. We are ALL going to die. No matter what security measures you take, what kind of healthy life you live, what helmet you wear, or what knowledgable people you surround yourself with. You cannot stop death. But what you CAN do…is LIVE every second of every day as beautifully and lovingly as you can. Are the words coming out of your mouth supportive and loving and helping someone? I need to check myself. Re center. And know that my purpose is to help others. Not berate them. Or their beliefs. If every word that came out of my mouth was the last that person would hear…..is it WHAT I wanted to say?
So I will climb rocks until I can’t. I will write. I will build a home and take care of my land and love my kids and love my life and my friends. I will explore every inch of the planet I can. I will do scary, hard things. I will pet alpacas and snow shoe and travel and laugh and cry and play very loud music and not have to justify any of it to anyone. Life is very short in the grand scheme of things. The Earth is 4.54 BILLION years old. You get about 80 of those years. Whatcha going to do with them?
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AND ALWAYS ONE MORE TIME

Valentine’s Day is kinda dumb. It sucks for some people. For those in relationships they feel some unneeded pressure to buy some extravagent gift for their significant other or make reservations at some fancy restaurant and get dressed up and go eat food with fancy creams. I’ve never really been big on fancy restaurants or big diamonds. In fact- my perfect date for ANY day on the calendar includes hiking shoes, hot dogs, staring at the stars and some damn good music playing. Just not one of “those girls” in that way I guess. Dont get me wrong- I like flowers and crap….but I’d rather be at a football game than a restaurant. I’d rather be on a mountain making out than a hotel or restaurant. I’d rather be in a t-shirt and jeans and a ball cap than a ball gown.

But any Holiday- as cheesy as it may be- that celebrates LOVE….cant be all that bad.

There’s all kinds of love. The love you have for your parents is probably the first you feel. And then there’s the first love. So much I could say about that….but we all know what it is. And there’s really nothing ever again just like it. There’s the love that breaks your heart in half and leaves it never ever the same. There’s the love for your children. There’s the love for your grandchildren. There’s the love you have for your best friends…thats a doozy! There’s the love you find (eventually) for yourself. I think perhaps that might be the most important love you ever have.
 I’d say I learned recently that loving myself was ok. More than ok. Im not SUPER traditional but I truly admire those couples that have been together for 50 years and are each others’ only loves. How wonderful and sweet and amazing. I can be sad that I wont have that 50th Anniversary. Or- I can look back and be so unbelievable grateful that I knew some GREAT loves that were incredibly special in my life. For the time that they occupied in my heart- I am thankful. I learned a lot from each one.
I have a pretty amazing Dude in my life now. He wrote me the most amazing card with beautiful WORDS….my favorite thing. He is almost 52. I am 45. That ship where you’re 23 and fall in love with your college sweetheart and get married and never separate and live happily ever after until your 95 in a rocking chair together……has long passed for both of us. We’ve both had some loves. And some relationships. And some lessons. But the coolest fucking thing happens when you start dating at our age. All the bullshit, the games, the jealousy, the silliness, the expectations of perfection….they are just gone. We’ve lived enough to know perfect doesn’t exist. And laughter is absolutely the most important thing there is. We don’t have time for the B.S. anymore. We know how fleeting time it. Besides- we are too busy climbing rocks, backpacking across Wyoming, camping in fields to watch an eclipse, snow shoeing,  ice climbing, and planning our next adventure to have time for nonsense. Life is short- get after it, man. How lucky I am to have someone next to me who “gets me”. Fate knew….
And for those without a “significant other” today. Screw it. Take a hot bath, put on a ton of makeup. Drink some wine. Go out with your girlfriends. Stay in and watch Netflix. Cuddle with your dog. Be grateful you don’t have to share a sink with someone (sorry Dave). Eat ice cream out of a bucket. Watch “Magic Mike”. And know that there aint no one ever that will love you the way you should love yourself. There’s people surrounded by people who feel completely alone. And there’s people alone who aren’t the least bit lonely. You do you.
You can’t fall in love too fast or too slow or too soon or too late or too old or with the wrong person. You just fall when you fall. Let it happen. Never ever be afraid to give love one more chance….and ALWAYS one more chance.
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MORE THAN STRINGS & A PIECE OF WOOD

The day I closed on my land was my Grandad’s Birthday. He passed a few years ago from Parkinson’s Disease. I loved him. I miss him. He taught me to fish. He taught me about Jesus. He was the most unbelievably patient, loving, kind man I ever knew. People may think Im so far from my Southern Baptist, “conservative” Texas upbringing. But Im not, really. Its the base of who I am. What I am.

My Grandad was more Christian than any person Ive ever known in my life. Gentle, kind, giving, loving, forgiving. I wish I could be half the person he was. He was a simple man from Arkansas who left home at 15. He never graduated high school. He married my Granny who was the love of his life and raised 3 children. My Mom the oldest. He worked HARD to provide. He loved Jesus. He’d give the shirt off of his back to ANYONE who asked. He wouldn’t question their need, their reasons, their job history, their drug use, their motives. He’d just give. Then give some more. Happily and lovingly and Jesus-like.
He loved his grandchildren so much. Sooooo much. There’s nothing like the love of a grandparent.
Sometimes with today’s current conversation I grow weary of the hearts of others and of myself. Not sure how we got to the point of speaking so unkindly about each other. I’ve certainly been guilty of that. I am ashamed of that. I “walked away” from Christianity and all religion because I didn’t want to be associated with the ugliness and bigotry of it. I think I forgot the beautiful parts of it. The “Grandad” parts of it. Shame on me for that. I like God. I don’t do religion. But I stood on that piece of land Saturday on my Grandad’s birthday, knowing my Grandmother got me there and had a feeling things could change. And I don’t mean just in the world…I mean in me.
And isn’t that where it should begin, anyway.
I love you Grandad. I value the lessons you taught me. I miss your sweet laugh and peaceful demeanor and kindness and your boat and swimming at the lake house and your unending patience. You were more “God-like” than anyone knew, I think. More than I knew. I wish I’d seen it more. I wish Id’ve appreciated it more when you were on Earth.
It might’ve taken 45 years and some change for your lessons to resonate…but I see them now. I love you. Hope the ponds are stocked where you are. I think I get it now.
   “The best thing you’ll ever own is a piece of land”
            ‘A Bible and a 44″

FOR MADDIE & ANDY: GROWN UP

There are so very very very many things I don’t know. The older you get the more you realize you don’t know a lot. There’s also some things I DO know. And I can tell you them. But truthfully you will not believe them all now. You have to live a life, go through some shit, get old and see some things to find your own truths. So I share these with you. But I know you….YOU will know your truths when you know them.
THINGS I KNOW-
I know I love you two more than anything on this planet. The love a mother has for her children is immeasurable. I know I’ll love you no matter what. There is absolutely nothing you can ever do to change that. I know Im far from perfect. I know things are never as important as experiences. I know love sometimes ISN’T enough to fix everything. Pain is a part of life. You cannot avoid it. Period. Accept that it will come. Soak it in, cry, move forward. Dogs are God’s way of apologizing for shitty people. Always try to have a dog. When you have to choose between new carpet and a vacation….go on the vacation. I know june bugs taste like crap. Dont eat them.
Grandparents are the most precious gift. I was lucky enough to have all 4 of mine well into my 30s. I am sorry you haven’t. Cherish the ones you still have. When they tell a story….LISTEN. Brussel sprouts are not necessary to live. You do not have to try them. You do not have to eat them. Ever. Dont make your kids. Dont be in such a hurry. All the things you are rushing towards will be there when you get there. And if they are not….they were not meant for you. Black coffee is for rockstars. I am no rockstar. I prefer cream. But if you can do strong coffee- you are a rockstar! Go outside. Outside is infinitely better than inside. Always. Beaches cleanse your soul. So do mountains. Find them. Often.
Good friends are rare. If you are lucky you find a few. HOLD on to them. Trust me- you will need them.  Music is LIFE. Play a lot of it. All the time. All the music. Not just the style or genre you like. Listen to it all and don’t be a music snob. Justin Bieber can speak to you just as well as Bob Dylan. Dont let a jackass tell you differently. That boy/girl across the street that you think doesn’t love you as much as you love him/her…….he does. He does. Let that be enough. The knowing. When you get the chance to see elephants- SEE them.
Eat ramen noodles in college. And malt o meal. Pay your rent on time. Dont make your bed everyday. Write. Write it all down. You’ll be glad someday. If you’re scared to do something- do it anyway. Except ice climbing- DONT DO THAT!
Forgive. A lot. Then forgive some more. Forgive yourself. Forgive the ones who hurt you. Forgive your past. FORGIVE. Then forgive again even when you don’t want to. Trust me. The peace it will bring will grow your heart. Family is a word that can mean anything. Friends can be family. Two Dads. Two Moms. One Mom. One Dad. Divorced. Blended. SOCIETY doesn’t define what family is to you. Religion doesn’t either. Love is love. Period. Anyone who tries to tell you how to live your life or who to love is inconsequential. You do YOU.
I know heartbreak hurts. A lot. I know the plans we make for our lives don’t always work out. I know sunshine equals happiness. I know trails less traveled are better. I know religion is not for me. Maybe it will be for you. YOU decide that. The God thing had me all twisted up for years. Im glad I let all of that go. There are some very opinionated people. Im one of them. People always think “their way” is the right way. They are WRONG. I know now- YOUR way is the right way. Put junior mints on your popcorn. Dont eat popcorn plain- its boring. Take a lot of walks. They help. With EVERYTHING surprisingly. Buy the nice shoes. Buy cheaper clothes if you need to but ALWAYS buy the shoes. ALWAYS. Give stuff to people. Share. When you are fortunate to have…GIVE. Then give some more. Until it feels uncomfortable. Then keep giving.
LISTEN. Dont listen to argue your point….just LISTEN. Know that life is VERY VERY gray. There’s a few things that are black and white. Dont hurt others. Dont steal. Dont be mean. Otherwise…..theres a lot of gray. Dont look in mirrors so much. They don’t show you your insides so they are kind of pointless. Dont wash your hair everyday. Its a waste of time. Wear a cute hat. Go to concerts. Live music is church!
When your Grandmother talks to you about a farm she lost as a kid. When she tells you stories about her family and picking cotton and loving the land and her history…LISTEN. So that MANY years later when she passes away and leaves you a little bit of money….you ‘ll know EXACTLY what to do with it. There is a piece of land. That barring no issues I will own by this Friday. When I sign that paperwork you should know what it means. It means I have a home to pass on to you. It means a girl from Dallas who some thought was a dingy blonde cheerleader owns some Earth. On a mountain. It means I can take care of me. It means SHE gets her land back. It means a lot more than I can put into words.
Dance when you can. Even if there’s no music. Save your pennies. They add up. God likes you. Trust me. Just the way you are. If you don’t believe in all of that its really ok. I promise. Love big! Love hard. Trust more. I have issues with trust and it sucks. Just trust.  And if you get hurt….you get hurt. The big ball keeps rotating. Life does not revolve around you. The universe is not rotating to please you. Grab every chance and opportunity you are given. Wait tables- it grows character. Mow a lawn…at least once. Fresh cut grass is pretty fucking cool. Use your “nice” dishes”. Camp. Sleep outside. Stand on the side of the Grand Canyon. Go white water rafting. Say yes to the date – even if you’re not in love with his/her looks. Looks are awesome. A beautiful soul is even better. Trust me on this one. Love each other. Be honest. Be fair.
I loved my Nanny with all my heart and there is no way Ill ever be able to express my gratitude to her for what she gave me. This land can continue to give. To you. To YOUR kids. To THEIR kids. My Dad would be beside himself with how cool it is that Im buying land with money his Mother left me. I talked yesterday of how he’d visit me on his motorcycle if he was here. And we’d ride through those curvy mountain roads. He’d love it. Colorado…finally. And the irony of all of that is that if my Dad was still alive….I wouldn’t have the money to buy the land. I’d trade all the money, all the land, all the plans, all of it….just to have them here. So everyday I will wake up there and see the sunrise, watch the sunset, have friends over, sit on the porch and enjoy the mountains…they will be with me. Dear M & A, ……when in doubt…..HEAD WEST. I’ll always be there.
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FALLING

I don’t think I ever thought I’d write a blog about actually falling on a blog with “Falling” in the title. I fell a lot this past year. I fell a lot. But damn if Im not still standing.

I fell out of a marriage. I fell onto a beach in Punta Cana. I fell on a trail on my 121 mile hiking journey. I fell into a little inheritance from my Nanny that has changed the direction of my life. I fell in rank in my Beachbody gig. I fell into a rental home that symbolizes a lot. I fell in love. I fell out of a cheer coach job I loved. And last Wednesday I fell while rock climbing.
It was what you call a pendulum swing fall. Its just like what it sounds like. I fell but my belayer was not directly below me. He was quite a ways off to my left. So I swung. Like a pendulum. For what felt like 487 miles but Im guessing it was 20 feet. I rolled and bounced off of the face of the rock. The back of my head (helmet) hit the rock a few times. If I hadn’t been wearing the helmet I’d have a nasty bump, possibly a concussion now. As if on auto pilot I straightened my body out once I had my bearings and yelled up to the Dude (who was on top of the rock above me) “Ok what do I do?” I could tell he was a little concerned as to whether I’d continue climbing or say “bring me the fuck down now.” All of this was happening at Garden of the Gods with about 498 million visitors watching me. OK maybe 30 but same thing.
I’d like to say its a common fall. This particular route is prone to falls at this point. Its not the easiest climb. And for CLIMBERS what happened was common, not a big deal, a simple pendulum swing. For me- it was anything but. It scared the ever-loving shit out of me. Once I righted myself I climbed the route. All the way to the top. I knew that if I didn’t I might not climb again for awhile. I knew if I thought too much I’d stop and not be able to finish. So I climbed on. And didn’t say much about it that night.
Two days later I woke up stiff and sore and a little shaky. We were climbing that day. At a place known for tough climbs. I was so tense my neck hurt like Id been stabbed. My shoulders were sore, my head hurt, and I was scared. Not in an outward way. No one really knew. But my insides and my body were in FLIGHT mode. I climbed anyway.
I woke up yesterday so physically spent it felt like I’d been in a car wreck. And I cried and cried and cried. Its funny. When you hang around climbers you begin to think this is a normal sport. That its something everyone does all the time. That climbing 100 feet in the air and hanging by a rope over rock is routine behavior. It is NOT. 1% of the population climbs. There is nothing “normal” about this sport. Its fucking scary as fuck. Its dangerous if you aren’t careful. Its mental for sure. And physical and emotional and frustrating and can get in your head. Its also amazing and cathartic and satisfying and the scenery is unknown to anyone else and its beautiful and every time I touch an anchor I tear up.
Of course that fall was no big deal to some seasoned rock climbers. They’ve been climbing for 6, 7, 8 or more years. I’ve been climbing 6 months. I felt so ashamed of how scared and shaken I was by this event. For a day. Now I don’t. It is NOT normal to be 50 feet up on a rock swinging by a rope and banging into the side of it. Its not. And its ok for me to be spent- emotionally and physically. And its ok that it scared the fuck out of me. Its ok that I cried. And honestly- it would be ok if I chose to NEVER ever climb again……but I wont.
When my marriage ended I thought Id never give love another chance. When I fell on that 121 mile hike I wanted to quit. When I had the opportunity to move up to a mountain I almost chickened out…..because its hard. Its all hard and scary and exhausting and falling hurts. Falling hurts a lot. It hurts your body and soul and heart.
But I’ve chosen to love again. Ive chosen to chase a dream into the mountains. Ive chosen to keep hiking. Ive chosen to keep climbing. Because getting to the end of your life scar-less, with no bruises or bumps, no wrinkles, no pain….also means getting to the end of your life with no life. And that is not ok. Always give love one more chance….and always one more. Keep hiking, keep climbing, keep falling…..and keep getting up. Because it aint at all about the fall….and it feels good to know that.
Thank you 2017.
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YOUR AGE SPOTS ARE SHOWING- THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT! I fucking love 45. (And Barbie’s a Bitch)

This morning I changed my profile picture on Facebook to me in a dorky Santa sweater while snow shoeing. I happened to look back through my previous profile pictures and something became clear. I’ve come a long long way with self acceptance. And it made me cry. There is no way, on Earth, Id give all that I know now to have my 25 year old body and skin back. And thats a pretty fucking amazing thing to realize.
I am in the fitness business. And lets be honest. There are 20, 30, even 40 year olds in my company that look like they walked off the page of a Barbie magazine. Big perky large breasts, tan, long blonde hair, perfect muscles, no cellulite and the whitest teeth you’ve ever seen. It can be a tad intimidating if you let it. It can be a little hard on the ego to hang around these gods and goddesses. I love my body. But lets be real- my legs are VERY short, I have cellulite, age spots, some flab here and there (its minor) and my ass seems to widen each year. I’ve heard so many comments about my ass its funny. Even funnier- I love my ass. Its mine. Cellulite, wideness, all of it. But we do live in THAT world. The world of physical expectations. The world where you need to be skinny, tall, have perky boobs and great hair and smooth skin to be considered “pretty”. I guess. But as Ive gotten older, these past few years……”pretty” has really come to mean something different.
I am soooooo guilty of objectifying men. I admit it. I love me some Daryl Dixon, Adam Levine, Chris Hemsworth. Pretty stuff is nice to look at. I also love makeup and doing my hair and getting dressed up for some events and looking “pretty”. I admit it all. And its all ok. We see with our eyes first. Our eyes take in symmetry and color and the way something looks. Even with art. I see art with my eyes first. I like the colors or the instant way it makes me feel. Like the strokes of the brush or the scenery or the subject matter. Then….the longer I look….the more beautiful the painting becomes. I start to REALLY see it. The intricate details of the sky, the “off” colors that maybe don’t make so much sense on their own…but as a whole, they make the painting what it is. My cellulite. My wrinkles. My age spots. My wide ass. My streaks of gray. All part of the bigger, beautiful picture.
When I was younger, I only wanted to date VERY attractive boys. I mean who doesn’t? Geez. I honestly never thought Id find myself single at 45 so dating was never on my radar. When I became single again I noticed very attractive men. Of course. But when you step really close and you notice there are NO wrinkles, NO “off” colors, NO crazy past, NO intricate details and NO noticeable brush strokes…..or scars…..it really is just a pretty painting. And thats it. No depth. No history. No character. No feeling. Im in a lucky place in my life. The painting is not only nice to look at…..it has all the “stuff”. The imperfect stuff. That makes you want that painting. 😉
I used to use smoothing filters a lot on social media. I used to post only pictures of me FULL of makeup and looking good. I had never ever considered using a profile picture that didn’t make me look pretty. And this morning, without thought, I posted a cheesy profile pic of me in a Santa sweater. And I have absolutely NO makeup on. None. Zip. And I didn’t “filter” it. I just posted it. And it made me cry for some stupid reason.
I still love to wear too much makeup, get dressed up, wear cute clothes and feel good. There is NOTHING wrong with that. And I wont stop doing that. Because I like it. I just hope to goodness it doesn’t take other girls 45 years to be perfectly ok with who they are…inside and OUT. Because you are, you know? Perfectly perfect….all the shit, all the wrinkles, all the cellulite and age spots and gray hair and all of it. Its perfect. Its beautiful. It is soooooooo much better than Barbie. So much better.
Barbie couldnt fit on her friend’s shoulders in the pool in Punta Cana because of those long ass legs. Barbie would miss the many tiny toe holds you have to use when you have short legs and are rock climbing. And that would mean she misses the experience. Barbie doesn’t have C-Section scars. And THOSE are the best scars ever. I’d still kill to have an elevator in my condo and a pink corvette but other than that….Barbie can keep her shit. Cuz I like mine!
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MY SON IS PERFECT

When Patrick & I went for the 5th sonogram of my pregnancy with Andy I was about 16-17 weeks pregnant. Id lost so many pregnancies that I was considered “higher risk” so I was having more sonograms done than normal. This particular sonogram was to determine if our baby was at risk for Spina Bifida. As that had ben the cause of the loss of our first pregnancy. We’d told the sonographer we really didn’t want to know the sex. We had a healthy 1 year old baby girl at the time and surely didn’t care about the sex. I only wanted healthy. And I completely assumed it would be a girl. I was a girl Mom. Thats all I knew. So when she first placed the scanner on my belly and it just happened to be perfectly placed over the baby’s VERY obvious penis it was clear we were either having a baby with 3 legs or a boy. Even I could tell.

And what the ever loving fuck was I going to do with a boy? Holy shit. I only knew how it felt to have a girl. How would I bathe him? How would I hold him? How would I teach him to pee? I was extremely unequipped to deal with this. About as unequipped as I’d been before I had Maddie. And lo and behold….as biology often does….it all got figured out. I never knew I could love anything or anyone as much as I do my kids. That moment they were born, I was born. My heart grew. My soul was completed. And my girl is amazing. She’s very smart, funny, sarcastic, talented, she cheers, does DECA, does well in school and socially and overall is a pretty amazing person.
Andy was what the PC police would call “a handful”, “hyperactive”, “hard to discipline”, “strong willed”. In other words…he was an asshole. He climbed walls, ran away, escaped his crib at age 11 months, never listened and generally drove us nuts. But that kid loved me. He wouldn’t hug or love on anyone BUT me. He’d drive me crazy all day misbehaving to the point I’d want to lock him in a closet then crawl up in my lap and hug me so tight I thought my heart would burst. There is NOTHING…and I mean NOTHING like the relationship between a mother and son.
Relatives and well meaning people (of an older generation) suggested that he needed to be spanked, corporally punished….you know- beat the shit out of him. Id tried time outs and every other thing in the books to discipline Andy. To no avail. So I listened to those people. I spanked him. Several times as a toddler. And all of these years later I stand here and say UNEQUIVOCALLY, without a doubt, 100%….. I regret that. I should have NEVER EVER laid a hand on that child. He became aggressive when I started physically punishing him and biting other kids and his sister. I pretty quickly realized that hitting someone doesn’t exactly teach them NOT to hit. It had absolutely no positive outcome for us.
As Andy entered school it was a never ending schedule of conferences with teachers and administrators and advisors. It was meetings about behavior and how to get him to do homework. It was special schedules and rewards and consequences and tutors and hours and hours and hours and hours of tears. And frustration and anxiety and feelings of failure as a parent and anger and not understanding what we’d done wrong. What I’d done wrong. And so I listened, again, to the people tell me he needed to be medicated for his severe ADHD. Against what my heart told me to do. I was tired. And I was desperate. And we were all pretty miserable. And the years continued, the grades made no real improvement and the hate for school only grew. On top of that…the medication had some pretty YUCKY consequences. And this kid BEGGED me by 6th grade to stop making him take the meds. He looked me in the eyes and said “please, please do not make me take it anymore.” And I decided something in that moment….I decided my son’s LIFE and happiness and peace FAR outweighed my desire for him to excel in school. For him to get A’s and Bs. For him to “fit the mold”, “follow the crowd”, and ever be a teacher’s ideal student.
Andy is hilarious. And bright. And artistic and talented with complex structures. He’s witty and and has a lot of common sense. He makes me laugh. He apologizes when he hurts my feelings. And those things I know. What I DON’T know…is if the disease his father has is hereditary. No one knows. My kids are acutely aware of the possibility of them having Ataxia. So am I. Every second of every hour of every day. You can’t let that knowledge run your life. You can’t let it keep you from doing things, from moving forward and living your life. But you know what you CAN let it do…..you can let it help you see all of the beautiful things in your kid with ADHD. The coolness in him. The artist in him. The way he sees things differently. It can give you the perspective that he may not excel in a traditional classroom or aim to go to Harvard…..but he’s HERE. In this moment, able to ride his bike and laugh and draw and hug me. And every moment that he can do those things is a moment I am grateful for. My dear friend lost her 11 year old son this year. An hour long argument over getting a B instead of a C in Science seems a little ridiculous in comparison. Perspective.
Would I be happy if he got better grades? Sure. Would I be happy if he was more organized, more driven? Sure. Id certainly be happy getting less emails and calls from the school. But I love that kid more than life itself. I love his blue eyes. I love his crazy hair, his dimples, and his ability to make me laugh. And for all of the people who told me “stop breastfeeding…he needs milk to supplement”, “spank him- he needs discipline”, “put him on meds so he can sit still”…..shame on me for listening. Shame on me for thinking for one hot second you knew what was better for my son than I did. Shame on me.
Being just like everyone else is so fucking boring. So lame. So expected. And so unoriginal. I hope with all my heart he knows that he should embrace all of the things he is. And forget the things he isn’t. That straight A’s don’t make you kind. A teacher’s award doesn’t mean your compassionate. Sitting still for a 90 minute Economics class doesn’t make you any better than anyone else. In fact- it means you miss 90 minutes of doing something more fun. I make no apologies for the way I parent him. And I hope he NEVER makes any apologies for who he is. All I ever wanted for either of my kids was to be healthy, happy and peaceful. Because without those things…..what in the world would all the rest mean anyway?
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THANK YOU DALLAS

When I was 16 I remember driving to downtown Dallas for the first time alone. From the northern suburb of Carrollton (C-Town) where I lived with my family, downtown Dallas seemed a million miles away. I suppose it was. I remember getting turned around and lost and caught up in that tangled web of highway we called the “mixmaster”. Talk about anxiety and panic attack. For those of you under 30, there were no cell phones and no GPS devices in our possession at that time. You 100% relied on your inner compass, an old Atlas your Dad had stashed in your glove box and the Highway Signs. Those were the days. I found my way back home. Eventually. My Dad had always told me “if you get lost look for any highway sign that says NORTH. Head NORTH”. So I did. And made my way back to C-Town via I75 and the scenic farmland of Plano that is now a metropolis of suburbs.

 

 

My Mom and Dad were both born in Dallas. My maternal grandmother and my paternal grandmother were born in Dallas (one in the city and one quite rurally). My Mom’s GREAT grandfather worked for the railroad near Grapevine and my family has been in that area for 5 generations. Or more. I grew up with sweet tea and church on Sundays and new Easter shoes and Cowboys’ games and it was pretty awesome. Dallas means a lot to me. As I grew up and met people in college from other cities and eventually married and moved around….I got to see many cities, meet many people from many backgrounds, most had never even been to Dallas. Its funny- when you’re a kid your entire world consists of about 20 square acres. Back then it did, anyway. I though Dallas was the world! Guess what? Not everybody loves the Dallas Cowboys! ;)-

 

 

I understand why. If you weren’t born there, imerssed in America’s Team, taught to watch Staubach’s every move, knew Landry’s hat backwards and forwards…..then I’m sure Cowboy’s football isn’t all that important to you. It was and IS to me. Dallas is a city of juxtaposition. There are extremely poor people in urban housing that should be condemned. There are very wealthy people in mansions that rival Beverly Hills. There are taco trucks serving the most amazing tacos by people who actually KNOW how to make tacos parked in sketchy neighborhoods. And there are 5 Star restaurants where a tie is required and reservations take months to get. There are black people and hispanic people and Asian people and there’s a lot of concrete. There’s some beautiful art and amazing history. There’s the Oil Barrons’ Ball and Gay Pride Parade. (Guess which one I like better) 😉 There’s a moment in history frozen here at the 6th Street Museum that we’d rather not have had happened….but we accept it, and honor it. There’s amazing music venues and ranches and restaurants and architecture and sports. There’s stadiums that seat a bazillion people and back country hole in the wall dance halls that no one knows about.

 

 

I was born and raised in Dallas. So were my siblings and my parents. It is my home. It will always be my home. My Mom is moving away from Dallas soon. Then I will have  only my brother there. And that kind of hit me. For the better part of 45 years my entire immediate family lived in the Dallas area. It was one stop shopping. I could fly in and see everyone once I moved to Colorado.  I think in my heart I assumed it would always be that way. The truth is…things have changed a lot in 45 years. People used to work for the same company all their lives and families stayed within neighborhoods of each other. We don’t do that so much anymore. With technology and the ease of flying and the ability to move ANYWHERE…..we have. And progress is good I suppose. Moving to Colorado was one of the best decision I ever made. My soul is happy here.

 

 

But there’s a little part of me that is sad. I have friends in Dallas. They are more than enough reason to visit. My Dad and grandparents are buried there. But it seems to just get further away as time passes.  And though I am ELATED to build my home here in the mountains, happier than Ive been in a very long time, excited for things to come….a part of my heart stays in Dallas. Always has. Always will. I love that city for what it gave me, what it made me, what it taught me. I think when I drove away at 18 to college is when I knew you can never really go HOME again. Its never the same. It can’t be.

 

 

There’s some stereotypes of Texans. Of Dallas-ites. Some may be true. Some make me cringe. Ive never seen as many cows and horses or owned a pair of boots until I moved to Colorado- figure that out! But I am unapologetically proud to be a native Texan, a native Dallas-ite. To have grown up in such a place. A vibrant city full of culture surrounded by country.

 

 

I get a little homesick around the Holidays. But Ive come to realize its not about a location. Its about the people I miss. I miss my Dad. More than I can express. I miss my grandparents- all 3 of them. I miss my sister, my brother and my Mom. And I know geography has scattered some of us and thats how it goes I suppose. Funny thing about time…you can’t stop it. We grow, we flourish, we move, we find our own way. But at the root of how we got there was a sharp turn on I35 going South where a billboard with a REAL waterfall and a beer slogan let you know that you were home.

 

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MOTIVATION IS A FUCKING MYTH

As an online fitness coach I’ve heard the phrase “I wish I had your motivation” about 1,000 times. It always makes me giggle a little. Trust me…you do NOT wish you had my level of motivation. On a scale of 1-10 I’d say I consistently sit at a 3 on the motivation scale. It’s the truth. When you see pictures of me scaling rocks, climbing mountains, doing “Insane” workouts, working for abs, and hiking LONG trails…..it has almost NOTHING to do with motivation. There are only 2 things that get me moving- that make me push harder physically, that send me spider-manning up rock walls…..FOMO and what I like to call “The Stephen Hawking Effect”.
I know- weird. But here’s the deal…..
FOMO is, as we know, Fear Of Missing Out. I have it. I have a fear everyday that someone, somewhere is doing something fun that Im missing out on. That there’s a trail someone is on and they see a bear, a new rock formation and ascent to above 10,000 feet to take amazing pictures. And Im not in those pictures. There’s a group of women who climb Pikes Peak in under 7 hours and camp and climb back down. I want to hang with them. There’s a rock formation that Im perfectly capable of climbing but its over 14,000 feet in elevation and because I’m not in good enough shape I miss the climb. There’s a bull riding competition for women over 50 and because I didn’t train my core just a little bit more, I lose my balance, fall off the bull and lose the competition. All of THAT pushes me. I watched an incredible film last week on extreme rock climbing and the running joke throughout was “If Ryan calls you- don’t pick up the phone”. Its in reference to how extreme “Ryan’s” climbs are and how he expects his fellow climbers to walk through extreme conditions to get to these crazy climbs.  If I relax my fitness regimen and let my health slip, my core be less strong, my balance be untrained, my flexibility decrease……then when “Ryan” calls…I may hesitate to go. And I DONT want to hesitate. When someone asks me to do something fun, extreme, physically challenging…..I want to say YES without hesitation because I know Im physically ready for it. And THAT keeps me working out.
The second reason I workout and do all the scary things is what I call “The Stephen Hawking Effect”. Its very very very very simple.
 An estimated 48.9 million people in America are disabled. I am not. I am able. 
 
 
Trapped in a wheelchair, born without legs, cannot see mountains, cannot hear wildlife, cannot run, cannot walk, cannot dance….cannot. I imagine that those 48.9 million people would give all that they have to trade places with me. To be able to walk, run, hear, see. What a fucking asshole that CHOOSES to sit. That CHOOSES to not run or smell or hear see. If you CAN….you SHOULD. And that is all there is to that. Or by all means….sit on the couch, watch “Real Housewives”, and bitch about your gut.
 
 
So it aint motivation. It aint some inspirational Tony Robbins quote. It aint a feeling of “wow Im so damn excited to get up and sweat my ass off”. Motivation is dumb. Its non existent for me most of the time. Its a “catch phrase” a “feel good term”, a thing you THINK you’re supposed to feel because its quoted so much. Fuck motivation. Do it because “Ryan” might call someday. Do it because Stephen Hawking can’t. Just do it.
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A HOSPITAL FLOOR & THE BUSINESS OF BUSINESS

Its hard to admit you failed. And Im not sure I really like that word anyway. FAILED. Ive been told to embrace it by the CEO of Beachbody. So many success stories were proceeded by tons of failure. Michael Jordan, Einstein, Steve Jobs….the list is endless. But we, as a society with a short attention span, focus on the million hoops made, the scientific break throughs and the billion dollar company that IS Apple. We don’t really look at or focus on the FAILURES that came before. I went into Beachbody Coaching almost 4 years ago, gung ho, full steam ahead, and became successful and built a team and a paycheck and a few awards and titles and rank advancements later I felt pretty good. And then life happened.

 

I could blame my lack of focus in my business on a divorce, brain rot, moving, illness, spending all of my energy on coaching cheer. I could. It would all be true. 2017 has been extremely difficult for me. EXTREMELY. I don’t recall a time in my life of more stress, sadness, tragedy, anxiety, change and fear. I am a tough cookie. In many ways. In other ways I am human. I am fragile and mortal and sad and stressed and want to curl up and give up. My 20 year marriage ended this year. My grandmother died this year. My dear friend’s son took his life this year. I walked 121 miles this year. In 11 days. My physical body was not 100% this year. My workouts were off. My nutrition has been off. I moved this year. I left a job I love this year. Quitting my position as assistant cheer coach has made me more sad than I expected. I met a Dude this year. That I did NOT want to care for. If timing is everything then fate picked the absolute WORST (or best if you look at it differently) time for a Dude to walk into my life. (Or fall in my lap 😉 ) And sitting in that hospital room alone after they wheeled him away for emergency testing and surgery last week brought back a flood of memories.
I spent so much time crying in hospitals. I lost several pregnancies late. LATE. As in 5 months in late. I spent hours waiting for test results about brain rot in hospitals. So anxious I couldn’t breathe. My daughter was tested for thyroid cancer and I sat in a waiting room wanting to die. And trade places with her. And I sat in a hospital room in Houston last week alone. Its a feeling I wouldn’t wish on anyone. And if my anxiety level was any higher Im pretty sure Id have had a heart attack. I stared at the floor in that room and questioned everything Id ever done. I have made mistakes. Ive hurt others. Ive hurt myself. I question my ability to parent. I question my ability to let others in. To love. And to be successful. I let my team down this year- my Beachbody team. I had JUST ENOUGH energy to end a marriage and move and find the will to put my pants on each day….so my team got nothing from me. And for that I am sad. I have apologized to them. They are some amazing people.
I needed this time, this year, this space, this break….from everything. To try to find me and get mentally healthy. I think my body needed rest. Ive slept a lot lately. Im in the business of making healthy bodies. Of fitness and working out and building muscle. And I think it escaped me that the mind and the soul are just as important as the body. And mine needed rest. And time. Im a few pounds heavier than last year. I don’t have a 6 pack currently. I don’t have the energy I had last year. My fitness is not at its prime. But Im ready for a fresh start. Im ready. And I don’t regret taking the time to get my mind and soul right. I don’t. My body was screaming for rest. And I only get one body.
You don’t wake up one day and its all better. You don’t. I wont wake up January 1st and be “over” all the things that happened in 2017. It doesn’t happen like that. Though I wish it did. Its a process. And Im learning to respect the process. I am ready to be physically FIT again. Im ready to have a FIT business again and do what I do. Im good at it. I love my job. Ive committed to an “INSANE DECEMBER”. Gonna do the hardest Beachbody workout EVER for 30 days—INSANITY MAX 30— and document my journey. Im going to get back to my team. And leading by example. And healthy eating. And reading. And doing the things that fill me up. Its time. Im ready. And I need to be me. I also need to forgive myself for the time off. For the breakdown. For the mistakes. For everything. Truth be told…..I am HAPPY. A happy I never knew I could be. It doesn’t look perfect. But my soul feels good. And I realized the moment I looked down at the floor in that hospital room last week….that I am enough. I am strong. I am worthy. I am capable. And a good cry washes away a lot of shit. 🙂
Its ok to fall down. Its not ok to say there.
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