Heart to Heart

I have been blessed, and I have been cursed. Life is a double edged sword.

In my life I have had the amazing experience of a strong, loyal and fiercely connected family. It has been a blessing unlike anything I could ever put into words.

But it’s also a curse to love so many people.

When you are capable of deep empathy, the more people you love, the more joy and pain you are destined to feel. I am not angry over my aunts death anymore, but I feel like I walk around with a whole in my heart and soul.

My family is my heart. My family is my world. When they leave this life, they take a piece of my heart with them because we are connected heart to heart.

I have experienced exponential loss in my 33 years, but they all hurt in a different way. I lost my cheerleader in Aunt Joanne. I lost my night owl who would comfort me when I couldn’t sleep in a 3 hour conversation about life and nothing specific.

I wouldn’t have been any better off if she died from any other cause besides the Coronavirus, but I would have had the chance to hug her and let myself be hugged by her one more time. The simple comforts of a hug can change a lot about how you experience the loss of someone you love.

Life doesn’t feel the same at all without her, but I know where she is and how much the Lord must enjoy her. I know we enjoyed her so much.

Rest In Peace. You gave me so many reasons to believe in me. 🙏 I love you

Deafening Defeat…

My anger quelled today. I realized a number of things that were flawed in my thought process about my aunt dying at the hands of the pandemic.

The magic that I believed in was tested and I feel like I partially failed at that test. Here’s what I learned.

Anger is Part of the Normal Grieving Process

My anger was bad, but it was part of my personal grieving process. Had I acknowledged that fact, I would have come out of it a lot faster.

When you lose someone you deem special, and they go so fast that you feel like you barely even had a moment to digest what was happening before the outcome, it is frustrating. I will always miss her laughter as well as the fun conversations we would have. This is hard to accept because I really enjoy her jovial personality and all the amazing times I have had with her. Knowing it won’t happen again, gives me a loss of control which is frustrating and enraging to me.

You Can Have Trust or Control…

I did a bible study a few weeks ago that had never left me. The Bible study devotional said:

“Nothing is going to happen without me being forewarned and prepared to face it.

The problem, however, is that trust and control do not coexist. You can have control or you can have trust, but you can’t have both.”

YouVersion Bible App

Reading this really opened my eyes to some truth I never realized. I have spent my life thinking I was trusting when truly I was forcing myself to be controlling of each situation in hopes I could navigate the outcome somehow. I am now making a conscious effort to be more trusting.

I have to tell you, choosing to trust is a more beautiful way to live. Living with trust over control is also one of the most challenging things I have ever had to do. I didn’t realize how much effort it is to change an adherent quality of myself until I started making an effort.

With all that being said, by honoring my journey to choosing trust over control, I have quelled the anger of my aunts passing by remembering that I have to trust that this was meant to happen.

Additionally, a conversation with my aunt B. opened my eyes to how being inquisitiveness doesn’t always serve us. Sometimes you have to accept the intricacies of human existence as it is because you cannot change the past. Why question what happened when it all worked out as it should? (But I suck at this because I need answers when frankly there aren’t always answers readily available.)

Love is The Beginning & Love is the End

The last thing that helped stop the angry and frustrated thinking was remembering that I loved aunt Joanne. I loved her like a mother figure, like someone who believed in me with fierce loyalty no matter what I did. I never felt as if I deserved that level of faith, but if she was capable of that for me, don’t I owe her my loving support in her departure?

Love begot the world, and love will be there in the end. She was loved and maybe she didn’t hear it enough, but at the end, we made sure she knew how loved she truly was. We comforted her with our voices while she laid in a coma, telling her how much she meant to us. I will never be able to thank God enough for that.

The pandemic is terrible. Many people are dying alone. It’s enraging and devastating, but please try to take a moment to pray that God is opening his gates to all these souls, even if they haven’t had the chance to come to Him before dying.

I could never believe anyone is unworthy of the love of our Lord, no matter what the Bible or religious leaders teach. The Jesus I have come to know is so full of love that there is no way he would leave even the worst of us to burn in some hell fire. That love from Jesus makes the anger within me feel less severe.

I didn’t intend on turning this post into a religious one, but when death, grief and loss are involved, it’s hard not to share faith and belief.

Today I am grateful I found a way to let go of my pain and anger. The feelings are still raw and the wounds deep, but I know that I can’t be angry forever. Thank you all for not judging me as I ranted about my disgust and rage yesterday. I am only imperfectly human and the shock crippled me.

Rest In Peace my sweet Aunt Joanne. You are loved everywhere you go and missed deeply. Your loss is not what I would have ever wanted, but I’m eternally grateful to have had you in my life, to have had your love, and your faith in me. Rest easy my angel. 🙏

Rae’s Confession: The Book Almost Didn’t Happen?

“For many years, these worries ran the show. My team of inner critics ruled my life and kept me from writing this book for you.”

– Amber Rae “Choose Wonder Over Worry”

About “Confession: I Was Dying with my Gifts Still Inside”

Procrastination. The not-so-gentle nudge of the what-if’s. The thoughts of the world not accepting your words, therefore rejecting your biggest dream.

Does it sound familiar?

All these things that many of us experience everyday lay the ground work for this short chapter with Rae’s confession of how she almost didn’t create this life changing book.

This chapter really encouraged me because it showed me that someone with an incredibly huge gift for writing suffered from the same fears I have day after day as I try to aim for my dreams. No one is safe from the inner critic, but it isn’t about the critic, it’s about how you man handle the critic and push forward to be what you are meant to be regardless.

“The reason why rejection hurts..”

This chapter unlocks the fear of rejection that the author experienced because of being in her own way. This is a common fear of great people with great ideas.

As a child, my mom was constantly saying to me, “you don’t need approval from the world to be yourself,” or “stop sabotaging yourself before you have a chance to try.” My mom is a pusher. She never allowed me or my siblings to give up or stop trying to achieve our goals, because against all odds, she never stopped striving for her own. If you stated a goal to her, she pushed until you attained said goal.

As a kid, I hated when my mom did that. I actually thought it was super annoying and unhelpful. As an adult, she instilled this desire within me to meet my goals and be my own motivator in attaining them or evolving the goals.

When I became an unmovable ball of fear, suffering from anxiety and panic attacks, all her lessons felt lost inside my mind. I allowed myself to get in my own way. The worst part is that I didn’t notice I was doing this to myself. That is why this chapter brought me to a deeper understanding that even though I deeply needed this book, the author feared I wouldn’t think she was worthy being the authority of the words within it.

I’m glad she choose wonder, pushed past her anxiety, and created this book that changed my life in many wonderful ways.

If you haven’t had the chance to read it yet, I highly encourage you to check it out.

I think that books that focus on anxiety and panic miss the important things that are happening behind the anxiety and panic. “Choose Wonder Over Worry,” hits every scenario till you figure out where you are struggling and why. It doesn’t take a doctor to unlock the healing power within ourselves, it only takes a will within us to recognize our difficulties and remedy them.

Another interesting part of this chapter is when Rae brings up the topic of comparison. She mentions how her friends are creating their books and bringing them into the world while she is still stuck in a loop of personal criticism.

I’d watch with envy as friends brought their books into the world. I’d be happy for them, of course. And, my soul would ache watching someone else accomplishing a dream that’s still swirling around inside of me.

– Amber Rae “Choose Wonder Over Worry”

In my own life, I have always wondered how some people are able to do these incredibly cool things while I sit back and wish I could do it. I compare myself to them and suddenly I feel completely insecure about who I am versus who they are. When you truly break it down, you can compare all you want, but there is no comparison. We are all completely different, we all have 50 ways to say the same thing, but we are not always understood the same way.

For example, I used to do computer sales for a big office supply company. If one of my coworkers was working with a customer and the sale wasn’t going well, they would come find me or another coworker to help. This is because the whole point was to achieve the goal of a sale. There was no personal commissions, so the only important thing was to make sure the customer left with a computer and protection plan. Even though my coworkers all said the same thing, why is it that only one of us achieved the sale?

The simple answer is the way the information was presented. If sales person A didn’t have the tone of voice, the demeanor, or the right arrangement of words that catered to the customer, they weren’t going to buy.

It’s not a comparison, it’s the way it is! We might really like someone but they just don’t mesh well with our own comfort seeking needs. We might really enjoy talking to someone but perhaps we won’t buy from them because we don’t feel that the person is making a strong case. The main thing is that we all have a way of expression that works with some and not with others. Another great example is multi-level marketing, where some do amazing and others are lucky to make one sale.

Comparing won’t change the outcome. What you do is just a small part of the whole picture and this chapter really unlocks that within me.

Next chapter is “The Choice: Moving From Worry to Wonder.” Get the book and lets keep analyzing. 😁

How To Love Someone Unconditionally

I have heard the advice on the topic of lasting love from happily married couples repeating itself in my mind.

The secret to lasting love is learning to love someone unconditionally.

Sounds so easy right? Unfortunately, I have never had a basic knowledge for what it means or what it takes to love someone unconditionally (besides my parents, family, and children). I have had a great example, but no personal experience. Therefore in this post I want to share what I learned on my quest to understanding unconditional love, what it means to me, and how I plan to implement it in my life with a lover, and with myself. My blog posts on understanding love will likely turn into a series due to the complexity of the emotion.

The Definitions in Simple English

When I start researching a topic, the first step I take is to define the variables, then I research what each variable means and what it represents. I am a programmer so that is the process I take in writing code or understanding life. The variables in this post are the words, “unconditional” and “love”.

I need to understand what they mean on their own, as separate entities. The thing I love, and loath, about the English language are the varying degrees of uncertainty in defining things. Every definition leaves so much room for interpretation.

I’m going to start with unconditional.

According to the dictionary, unconditional is:

not subject to any conditions, absolute.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/unconditional

The thesaurus offers similes that include:

decisive, definite, explicit, full, genuine, outright, thorough, unequivocal, unlimited, unqualified, and unrestricted (among many more).

https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/unconditional

What I got from this is that unconditional is essentially a sure thing, unbreakable, and completely unlimited.

Now for defining love, which is not as easy. Love has so many thousands of definitions, depending on context, which makes it harder to define. Let me start with the dictionary. According to the dictionary, love means:

a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/love

Due to my religious beliefs, here’s what the Bible says about Love:

“There are three things that amaze me—no, four things that I don’t understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman.”

Proverbs 30:18-19

“Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.”

Ruth 1:16-17

“Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’ … So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.”

Genesis 2:18–25

Let’s examine briefly, the difference between being in love with someone and loving someone wholly.

Love or In Love?

On my quest to understanding unconditional love, I learned of the differences between being in love and loving someone. I didn’t know there was a difference and more so, I had no idea that there was actually more to “love” then just the electricity of a connection or the building of a relationship.

Being “in love” is a like a cosmic explosion. It comes on passionately, madly even, and consumes your thoughts, revs up your emotions, and develops strong surface level feelings that are fleeting. To be in love is what many define as having acute feelings. These feelings aren’t lasting, but they have the capacity to turn into something great if both parties work at it and except each other at face value.

Being in love with someone can fade over time. With this in mind, when you’re in love with someone, this spike of intense feelings and emotions can be fleeting. In other words, you can go from intensely adoring someone and being hopelessly in love with him or her to having these emotions diminish as time passes on and the novelty has worn off. In fact, being in love with someone isn’t a guarantee that you’ll feel this same way forever.

https://www.mydomaine.com/whats-the-difference-between-being-in-love-and-love-3976739

Loving someone is sustainable. To love someone, you are pledging to weather the storms together. Loving someone is what is needed to have a partner for life. Loving someone is unconditional, and leads to the creation of strong families. To love someone, you risk the arguments about real life topics to see reveal if you have a lasting connection. Loving someone is unconditional.

Loving someone on the other hand, goes beyond the physical presence. You desire to see them grow, you see past their flaws, you see opportunities of building into each other and together; you motivate, encourage and inspire one another. You do not have to second-guess or ask before you step in to do so. Loving someone requires 100 percent commitment on your part. The concept of true love is hard to comprehend by some. Hence, they get the wrong impression when dating someone who completely gets it. They cannot seem to understand why they deserve the love you are giving. This may make the relationship feel like it is one-sided.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/falling-in-love-vs-loving-someone_b_57709758e4b0fa01a14049fa

Now that I know what love and unconditional mean by definition of the English language, and what it means to be in love or love someone, I’m going to deduce my understanding and make some assumptions.

Simple Addition & Subtraction

Unconditional says definitively that it is absolute. It is forever and has no conditions that must be met. Unconditional is unrestricted, unlimited, undisputed by rules and “should be’s”.

Then love is affection, tenderness and warmth that deeply connects two people. Love is a union of a relationship. Love is the simplest of thing, but yet the most important emotional need of all humans. Many emotions seem to stem from love and therefore love is the goal in emotional contentment. This goes for all relationships in life.

My way of defining unconditional love is that it is an affection that is given unselfishly, without burden, and represents loyalty, compassion, trust, communication and the promise of always being there. Unconditional love is the kind of love that can withstand any storm knowing it can’t shake or rattle the connection or the desire to be connected to each other. Unconditional love is loving someone wholeheartedly and excepting that the person is imperfectly human.

Love is not just a word. Love is truly hard to understand and when we experience deep feelings that we know will flee, we know we have fallen in love and what we do next determines if the love is forever or not.

Now that I know the secret to lasting love, I want to know how to ensure it doesn’t disappear or fade with time. My next post on this topic will focus on how to keep love alive. I want to know how to keep choosing love or walking away when life gets hard. Love, in my experience, is very fragile. If you don’t find new ways to love before you walk, it will disconnect you from the person you love. The results are miserable, depression-driven heartache.

I would love to hear what you think about the topic of unconditional love. Share what you have learned or links that you found helpful. I love learning about emotions and how I can be my best version always.

The Fragile State of Frustration

In life, I have made these choices that I knew would probably end up bad at the time I made them, but I forged forward ignoring the clear signs. Maybe my hope in humanity is much greater than it should be, but I can’t stop believing that people are more good than bad.

I was taught by my amazing parents to treat others the way you want to be treated. I struggled for a long time with this lesson, and I even lied to myself that I was doing it, when I wasn’t in many cases. I know lately, I have been making an amazing effort to be good to those who are good to me and that is a beautiful transformation.

The Frustration About My Recent Choices

Lately, I have made an insane amount of good and bad choices in regards to my happiness and who I surround myself with.

The best choice I have made lately is my choice in a lover. My sweet, handsome spark of goodness who makes everything positive, even when it seems impossible.

The worst choices I have made, as of recently, was letting an old friend tear me apart again, believing she was actually a good person who was capable of love and compassion. Then I made the bad choice of believing (and having faith) that my ex was capable of being a decent human being when clearly he isn’t, and never will be. Both of these people do not have boundaries and would benefit from learning how to give as much as they take, and now I know that they are not good for me. It hurts a lot to let them both go again, but at least I stayed true, and authentic to myself throughout the situations that were meant to destroy my self confidence. I gave them both a chance in hopes that there was more to the story then the pain and destruction they continuously bring into my life.

I’m moving forward now

Someone once said to me:

When someone shows you who they really are, believe them.

From now on, I am no longer going to waste my time, energy and loyalty on people who don’t wish to exchange energy in a healthy way. I have an amazing amount of love in my life because I surround myself with good, decent, positive people who do not believe in harming me for fun or shoving their feelings down my throat as though I have no feelings to feel myself.

I want to blame my need to salvage bad relationships and selfish people from their personal torments on my own empathy, but truly I just care so much and have so much compassion for others that I give my heart and soul to everything and, sometimes, I never get the same respect in return.

In fact, I got told that I am abusive, and narcissistic because I wrote an honest post about my own feelings on a situation that hurt me. The post, entitled, “Speaking to the Wall with Thorns,” was my lament for how I felt after being hurt by someone for the millionth time. It was a healing post for me.

Although I never mentioned any names in my post, it was stated that the person who was the subject of the post was hurt by it. Due to this fact, it gave this person the right to emotionally abuse me even when I stopped fighting and defending myself through a text message war that came out of nowhere.

No!

Abuse is when you continue to come at someone with physically, emotionally, and mentally damaging intentions because you either derive joy from hurting someone else or you feel that you’re feelings or thoughts are more valid then the other persons.

I am not that kind of person. I don’t derive pleasure from hurting others nor do I want to invalidate another persons feelings to justify my own. I don’t need someone to validate my feelings and I don’t need to righteously justify myself in anyway. My intentions are always to love and appreciate others. I may have a hard time sometimes, but I always pull through to love and appreciate others.

The Good Choices Shine Brightest

When I finally reached my limit of drama with my recent choices, I had a momentary break down this morning. I looked up and my best choice was meeting my teary eyed glance with sympathy. He cared about my hurt, my pain, and it wasn’t a half hearted care, it was a truly devoted, truly sincere care for my wellbeing. He looked at me like he would do anything to see me smile through the pain he witnessed me experiencing these past few days.

That amazing choice in my seemingly messy, and chaotic life is a great man. I feel sometimes that I don’t deserve him at all! He is a truly awesome person who will do whatever he can to make me smile through the pain or hold me while I cry it out.

He saw me down and gave me chocolate ♥️🙏

In return, I feel the same way! I never want to see him in pain and I am beyond grateful to have his loving embrace when the overwhelming burden of over-loving and over-caring for ungrateful and harmful people is too great for me. This is an exchange of good energy with someone capable of giving and receiving energy in a healthy way.

Note to Self From The Pain to The Gain

Note to self moving forward from this horrible storm in my life right now, I am worthy of respect and love from those who I invite into my life. I will not ever be held down by my past or treated unkindly to justify someone else’s feelings or stressors. Compassion and ability to care for someone even when you don’t always agree, is a must in my choice of who will stay in my life from this moment on.

I try to remember, we are all stressed and we all have feelings, but no ones feelings and stressors are more important or more valid than another person’s feelings or stressors.

Literally, No one is more important than another.

It does not make me narcissistic or selfish if I miss a message, or don’t always have time to listen one time to someone I care for (especially when it is rare that I can’t find time for everyone I love). If I am working a million hours to care for two special needs kids, or have a lot on my plate in general, I don’t need to justify that to someone who’s intentions are to harm me regardless. In addition, every single person has narcissistic traits, but if you believe someone is narcissistic because they are doing the best they can to get by, then is it really worth it to try to hurt them? No!

No more!

I will not have friends or people in my life who want to be passive-aggressive, or flat out aggressive, and hurt me even when I say, “I’m sorry,” for something I don’t fully believe I should be sorry for.

The sad reality I am beginning to see is that there are people who don’t want an apology. Sorry is just the beginning of your efforts to make them happy, then they want your undivided attention whenever they ask for it, and all of your time should be theirs if they ask for it also. This kind of relationship or friendship is too much of a burden for me. I don’t need this drama in my life. I choose to send these people away with love and leave it alone.

I am happy with who I have become and I had a momentary breakdown when I looked at my recent choices and realized that these two people have made me question if I really changed or not. If someone makes me question my kindness, my unconditional love for others, or my sanity, they aren’t good for me.

It’s hard for me to accept defeat, but I am not going to fight for someone else’s respect, love or loyalty anymore.

You showed me who you are, and I choose to believe you and send you away with love and hope you find happiness in this life. ♥️🙏

Becoming my own Best Friend!

I found this quote on Facebook and felt that it was worthy of sharing.

Learn to be your own best friend, because there’s going to be days when no-one is going to be there for you but yourself!!!

Though I made it through the worst of my most recent storm, I still have to remember to care for myself wholeheartedly because bipolar disorder doesn’t have a known cure. One of the main reasons I lose my balance in life is because I constantly become dependent on people to be there or create my happiness, thinking I know them well enough to trust they will. When they leave for any reason, I find myself shocked and disappointed and blaming myself for the whole situation.

The abuse of blaming one’s self for someone else’s poor choices is a form of self abuse that I am starting to realize is within my own control to begin healing. I never would have been abusing myself had I realized I was taking responsibility for someone else’s feelings. Their feelings may be in correlation to my actions, but it if I can’t see their side of a situation, I am better off walking away.

Truly, and sincerely, this quotes advice is one I myself need to work on being better at. Self care is my top priority these days because a lot of people have come and gone in my life over the years. Some departures were for the best, some for reasons beyond my control, and even some that were my own doing. I have had to remind myself that people leaving isn’t part of the bipolar thing, that’s part of a flaw in social skills and coping skills. It may even be a consequence of realizing that you don’t mesh with everyone.

Finding love for myself these past few months has taught me that I am worthy of being loved in a healthy way, but also it has reminded me of how to keep my needs for the right type of love I believe I deserve in my view at all times. I also remind myself on the lonely days that something great is coming and I need to be patient while it makes its way to me. I usually try to rush things in hopes that my misguided hopeless romantic side will be trustworthy. Clearly that hasn’t ever worked for me.

There is no rush on great things, especially because what isn’t meant for me is not for me to keep, and I’m just trying to be okay with the timing happening without my controlling it anymore.

I learned the life lesson that life is messy for everyone, and even thought it appears messier with bipolar, truthfully, I have many friends and family members who do not have bipolar but go through similar stuff and struggle to figure it out.

Bipolar disorder is just a condition of the lack of control over our thinking processes, intense empathy for others and little for ourselves, and the ability to be kicked down emotionally with very little force. The funny thing is, you can change all of these inconvenient traits of bipolar if you want to (and I am seeing that now in my own life), and you can learn to love and value yourself enough to not “need” anyone to make it better.

Bipolar disorder doesn’t mean I am mentally unhealthy. Furthermore, I don’t have to follow the old patterns I think might work better this time (which is the exact definition of insanity), but rather I can try a new way and go against my knee jerk response. Being bipolar is one piece of the total puzzle, because if you find a way to be brave and to be courageous in solving your own issues before saddling someone else with them, no one will ever think you have bipolar.

So if you love to paint, sing, make ice cream, bake cookies, create crafts, or whatever you love to do, do it and take note on how you are able to be there for yourself. This is called being your own best friend…

And it’s a beautiful thing!

Have a blessed day friends.

I’m Thankful for…

Today is a holiday I used to believe to be a waste of time. I used to say selfish things like:

What do I have to be thankful for living with bipolar disorder?

Or

Should I be thankful I didn’t commit suicide this year?

It used to be an unhealthy day for me, one where I couldn’t see the people, places or things in my life that were worth being thankful for. Rather, I saw only the bleak light of surviving another year.

Truth bomb right here!

This year, I felt as though the holidays were going to destroy me. With the break up of my 5 year relationship, the 2 suicide attempts, the messy career moves I made that nearly put me over the edge, and the horrible people I allowed into my life under false pretenses, I was uncertain that I would be thankful for anything again this year.

Fortunately, I am.

I am thankful for bipolar disorder and my ability to be more open about my life with bipolar.

There are moments when being myself feels impossible but impossible means I’m possible!

I am thankful for my children and my family who have had my back through the darkest of times.

My reason for being alive comes from the children I created. Born out of love and loved through and through.

I am thankful for my beauty, and my heart that is always full because of family and friends.

When I asked myself, “when did I feel most alive?” My answer was, “when I smiled casually for myself and no one else.”

I am thankful for my will power to survive the darkness even when I thought it would eat me alive or I wouldn’t survive the emotional pain.

I named this graphic “The pieces of my broken heart 💔 “

I am thankful for Bali and all the amazing people that brought healing, love and kindness into my life without expecting anything more than honesty from me.

My adventurous Brother from another mother Jim!

And my brother from another mother Dan, the bloody Englishman who loves to complain in a funny way, but he is an awesome friend!

Finding a family on the other side of the world was a blessing I could never thank the Lord enough for. Thank you to my friends and chosen family in Bali.

My home is on a stage with the ones I love surrounding me. My heart is where I feel alive and loved and blessed.

I am thankful for my breakup from a toxic relationship that brought the worst out of two good people. The change was hard to accept but I am beginning to realize that he was a part of my journey to healing myself and he will always be in my life because of our child.

He had my heart, but then my heart decided that love wasn’t enough. He gave me my sweet little boy, but he also gave me a lot of pain. Thankful for him but definitely thankful for the lessons he taught me. He will find his happiness and I will find mine. ♥️

I am thankful for the difficult lessons I learned in life and in my career, the exciting opportunities I have barely tapped into, and even the frustration with websites that have had issues or were more work than I realized.

My time in Los Vegas at the Reign Beauty Conference for MaskCara Beauty. Check out my website nikimaria.maskcarabeauty.com

I am thankful that the truth always wins and that eventually the harsh truth, whether we like it or not, can save us from making mistakes or not learning from our mistakes.

The truth will always win my friends. Trust until you have a reason not to!

I am thankful for the home I live in and the amazing neighbors and friends I have been blessed with.

Remember to always take the positive with the negative and make something great. #sortasweetsortasavage

I am thankful for the food I am able to buy and the bills I am able to pay.

I am thankful for my Lord for protecting me through the dark times, even when I didn’t think He was there.

I am thankful for myself. For the strength I earned through picking myself up from every disaster and finding new reasons to be balanced.

Rocking the sick look to remind myself that I am still beautiful and worthy of love!

Lastly, I am thankful for my three close friends that all make me feel loved and cared for regardless of my choices or mistakes.

The loving motherly friend who always checks in on me. My Heather! ♥️

The super sweet, super loving Mallori who has my back ride or die style! ♥️

My Andrea who turns the negatives into positives and always shows me how much she cares! ♥️

Lastly, I am thankful for my parents who always worked hard to care for me and give me every opportunity, and every experience I needed, to be the best version of myself. They also combined all their best qualities in creating me.

Mom and dad

There are always things to be thankful for, and I guess this year, rather than believing that my “issues” are not worthy of being thankful for, I choose to be grateful and thankful for them. After all, I wouldn’t be me without them.

This Instagram profile is awesome! Follow @2minds_allign

While this has been a tough year to go through, I struggled a lot and I felt a lot of loss, I realized that today I have more reasons to be thankful than ungrateful. I always have in fact, and it took some reminding to myself that I am stronger and braver than I ever believed.

Being brave was the hardest thing I ever had to do!

I can and did overcome the hard times and learned from those hard times, that I can walk away even if it hurts, I can say goodbye without coming undone completely, and I can live with bipolar disorder without medication because I will not let my brains chemical imbalance live my life for me. I feel blessed to have found my balance during the hardest of hard times, that I have found strength when I wanted to be weak, that I found hope when a situations seemed hopeless, and that I found joy when I felt joyless.

Embrace your beauty and know you are loved by someone or many!

I can only hope that at this time of year, when giving thanks is the theme of the season, that you all will find your reasons why being alive, and being grateful as well as thankful are the true healing sources of living a life with a brain disorder or mental illness. The goal is to create the life worth living by pushing yourself past what you may think is holding you back, and finding joy on the other side of the heartache and suffering.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! May you find one or many reasons to be thankful for the little or big blessings in your life. I encourage you to embrace your journey today and to find new meanings for the dark or less favorable realities of your life.

This picture I took when I was sinking inside myself, lost in a loveless relationship, feeling manic and not sleeping or eating well. I was sick, scared, taking substances to cope and not facing my demons. I was lost and not trying to be found. Circa 2016

Even if you feel that getting out of bed seems impossible, you will get through the storm with determination and patience if you believe, have faith, be kind, and let go of the things that are done.

Xoxo 💋 Niki

My Real Life …. Huge Joke

I’m home. I missed being home because of the familiar faces and my children. But I am miserable.

I don’t know why, I can’t explain it, I wish I could understand how I am capable of being my truest self in Bali, then coming home and forgetting who I am. I was so Happy and so alive, feeling healthy and wonderful in Bali to coming home and feeling like my true self took a hike and left a shell of that girl in its place.

I know I am jet lagged, which is why I am trying so hard to be patient, but it seems to me that this isn’t much different than before I left. I just genuinely hate myself here in my real life. My real life is currently a mix of heartache, pain, sadness from missing my children, worthlessness from being a shitty mom to a shitty daughter, shitty human, shitty friend. I feel like I’m two feet tall with no strength.

I didn’t have the urge to be depressed or manic while I was away, now I have this strong desire to lay in my bed and forget the world exists. I am so tired of fighting this emptiness. I am literally exhausted from not being able to see myself being happy here no matter how hard I fucking try.

If it is true that everywhere you go there you are, then why? Why was I happy and now I can’t see one happy thing here? I got home and all the air was sucked out of the sky and given to more important people than me.

I wish I could make sense of this, but I don’t have any answers. I just feel like my family is happier when I’m not here, most likely everyone is. I am too much for them, too much of a stressor, too much of a mess, too loud, I shine too brightly that it’s annoying. I can’t seem to find the energy to pick myself up in this world I live in. I feel depleted all the time. Exhausted and sad and pathetic, and it all started with the shitty stuff my ex has put me through!

Yes I am aware of how pathetic it is to love someone who doesn’t love you, how pathetic it is to have your family helping to care for you because you are not working enough to do it yourself. I know it’s pathetic that I can’t drive! I’m just pathetic. The sooner I accept it the better.

Today, it was suggested I have Stockholm syndrome. I am so tired of everything having to have a meaning. Maybe it’s nothing more than being totally done with life here! Maybe I’m just broken hearted. Maybe I just loved him! Maybe I just feel sad because I’m heartbroken. Maybe I need to lay in bed and let the exhaustion figure itself out. Medication won’t fix it, therapy won’t fix it, working is scaring me because driving is still scaring the shit out of me! I truly feel like I’m locked in a cage.

Maybe I’m unfixable. Maybe that’s just what it is and I’m never going to be enough for the people that support me! Maybe it’s just the way it is because I’m not perfect and I won’t make the logical decisions they know I need to, but logic means losing the last chance I have for a true family. That hurts more than anything he could do or say to me.

Of course my logical brain knows that he is no good for me, in fact he is terrible to me, and I should run away. Of course my logical brain knows I am better than the drama. Unfortunately, the logical brain isn’t in control right now, and most of the time when it comes to love my logical brain is no where to be found.

I am praying I find things to make me happy here in my shitty life. If not then I am heading back to despair which I won’t live with anymore.

Hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have, Hope is a dangerous thing for a woman with my past.

– Lana Del Ray

It Hurts So Good …

Today, I had a hunch. Something has been off lately with my ex. In fact I kept avoiding the inevitable because I thought I would be devastated if I knew the truth.

It felt like my intuition was trying to tell me something. It was a question I knew the answer to but I didn’t want confirmation yet, especially when I was hurting so much before. Now I’m glad to have the truth, which he fucking sucks at to begin with and probably didn’t give me the full truth.

My ex has been talking to other girls. “But not dating, sleeping with anyone or anything super serious!” As he says. 😁

Right 👌 well not my circus not my monkeys anymore! 😁

Truth is, we both have been moving on in small ways, but I couldn’t let go, so the decent guys I met I pretty much denied out of loyalty to my ex and our history. All while he was actually looking for another one to take care of him. See I can detach from the people I talk to, he is the type to build a strong intellectual bond first, make them fall for him, then take what he wants and eventually leave them heart broken and scratching their heads. I wasn’t special, I know that now, and I am good because he will never forget me. Just kind of wishing I realized what a hoe he is sooner but oh well. I have G because of that loser, and G is the cutest little guy. Eventually, we will be friends, but not until the red hot flames of disgust go away.

Here’s what happened. While sitting on the 32 hour plane ride home, I decided it was time to confirm what I already knew.

“I have a question?” I asked.

Then I asked him if he was talking to other girls. I know totally not worth the grief for most. For me, I needed to know so I wasn’t making up the story in my head. I already knew he was because that man is not as badass as he portrays himself to be. He needs someone to take care of him. He doesn’t want to be in love, he wants to be worshipped, and have someone be his mommy figure. He isn’t a super awesome catch and I realized I may have never actually loved him, because this should have hurt a ton more than it did, but it just didn’t.

As much as I truly hope he gets it this time with some stupid girl who believes he’s redeemable, he won’t because even the most effed up girls can only take that shit for so long. I did 5 1/2 years of that nonsense and honestly I feel like a Warrior Princess, I am kind or relieved to be moving forward finally. His whole life is surrounded by unhealthy coping skills and messy connections.

At first I felt like telling him off and crying (the shock was a bit hard to swallow), now I feel like I can breath for the first time in a long time. I don’t want it anymore. Especially once it’s been tampered with, I’m done! I will never trust him again so I now know what I have got to do. Besides he was honest but probably not completely truthful, I know I wouldn’t be if I was him. I have a tendency to be crazy. (Sorry not sorry, I love hard).

Anyways, I decided that my focus is going to be on my career and my kids. I will find what I need in a king when the time is right. I don’t want to rush and end up in a dog-shit relationship again with a guy who can make me feel special for a while then leave me broken when he decides to fuck with my money, my children, my family, me and my heart. Ugh no thank you. I just had to pull myself back up and this time I am keeping it together for good. Not just for me, but for my kids and all the people I am going to help with what I learned in Bali and what I believe I can and will do.

Let me share one thing I learned with y’all, never ever ever disrespect yourself by being with someone, or giving someone your heart, who can’t ever give a crap about you. When I say can’t, I mean my ex wasn’t capable of actually love. He can’t love anyone besides himself because it’s all he knows and he won’t fix it.

I have never felt so many negative vibes and so much disrespect in my life as I did from him. I actually told myself I would be open to being with him again if we could make it work after Bali, then I learned he had been talking to other girls, and I said to myself, “thank God! I am so grateful he was honest but I feel like I just shed 500lbs of emotional baggage and bullshit.”

Eventually I will let the dating posts begin!! I haven’t really done that in long time, I don’t know how funny or messy it’ll be yet. I’m sure this’ll be a fun journey when the time is right, but first, career and stabilizing my kids lives.

My priorities are my love for myself and my children so I never get ripped apart by another bag of shit again. This is a commitment to being truly happy and alive the way I deserve after being used. Finding myself and believing in me again was step one, now step two is getting into a routine. Fuck, it’s gonna be nice to love myself all the time! Plus nothing matters more my friends.

😉🙏♥️

Self Love Time! Xo Niki

Loved & Loving

Today, I did a reiki session. I have to say, reiki is a new favorite for me because it truly opened my eyes. Let me tell you what happened.

At first I was kissing a man. I didn’t understand who he was, why he was there or whether I knew him or not. He was just there with me, holding me with his love. After he kissed me, I laid down on his legs, the room was dark, his energy was bright and beautiful in the room but i couldn’t see him.

After I blinked, I was talking to what I believe to be my Lord. I can’t remember everything he said, but I got a message from Him. The message was in response to a question I had in my heart about this experience. I couldn’t see Him, I don’t know what I was seeing actually, I just heard His words. I also don’t remember anything else He said to me, except this.

Is what Anissa doing actually going to work for me?

I asked Him. He responded,

She believes, so it will.

The moment he said it, the image changed and I was seeing flashes in green fields. Little dancing lights here and there, like old memories being reborn with new life. Then the dancing lights and green fields turned into black bird looking figures that came closer and closer and then turned bright white. There were about 8 to 10 of these and I felt myself leaving my body and coming back. It was an odd sensation and after waking Anissa told me I had twitched a lot.

Then I was back to being kissed by the man who loved me. I couldn’t see him, I just felt the love he had for me was so strong it was like he was a part of me. I felt so drawn to him. He was my destiny, my truest love. I don’t know who he is, or if I have met him yet, but he was there giving me what I had been longing for.

I have always had trouble with love because I had such a great example of what love should be from my parents, but I missed the most important part of what love actually is.

Love takes work.

I forgot that love takes work! The most important work we do on our journey to connection with intimacy in another person.

My parents made it look easy because they were so in love. They were strong for each other and accepted each other’s short comings. But that wasn’t always as easy as I thought it was or what I was sure I was seeing. They had moments, even if I didn’t see them, that they had to fight and struggle and work hard to find balance. Balance isn’t naturally won, it takes work!

You know how every time we struggle personally, we come back stronger with new knowledge? In a way, pain helps us to feel more capable of standing up because we suffered and survived. Well every time a relationship struggles, if two people hold on tight, they come back stronger together with new knowledge and they get closer and stronger together. I want to have that with someone someday.

I will wait till the universe provides that person for me. The man who will hold me the way I am meant to be held, never stop me from being happy and doing what I feel is right, the man that will give me hope in my heart, the man that will bring me strength when I am unable to find it within myself, and the man who will love me through my storms and my sunshine. My best friend is out there, I know that now. No more giving up on love when it gets hard, I will fall in love with the right one someday and I will remember that it will be hard, but worth it. ♥️