Forgiving Yourself Is As Important As Forgiving Others

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Growing up with parents coming from two different religious backgrounds has so many pluses. One is it has made me more open to others’ viewpoints. At the same time, I don’t feel aligned with any religion really. I do find both Jewish and Christian traditions interesting and meaningful. So, I am spiritual but I’m not religious.

But for the first year ever, I thought about what Yom Kippur really means. Asking for forgiveness for sins and forgiveness of others. Supposedly, it’s the time of year where G-d decides your fate and therefore, you’ve got to make amends, and fast.

I thought about who I would apologize to, however anyone I may have wronged I’ve certainly apologized to. And if there’s anyone out there I offended, well, I am truly sorry!

But I think the person I am most sorry to is myself. For being so hard on myself.
The way I’ve talked to myself and about myself.
The way I’ve judged myself and compared myself.
The way I’ve doubted myself and criticized myself.
The way I talk to myself is most often, much harder than how I’ve talked to anyone else!
It is like I’m in some competition where the goals to be fabulous are so high and not obtainable that I beat myself to death for not being enough.
But if there is one thing I am, it is tenacious and persistent. I try so hard to be my best self. To be better. To do better. Be a better mom. Person. Partner. Friend. Worker. Etc.

Here is what I don’t do: give myself a break. Be kind to myself. Compliment myself. Believe in myself.

So here is a huge apology to myself for being so bad to myself at times.

Lovingly,

Laura

A Single Mom Birthday

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When you’re a single mom and it’s your birthday, it’s pretty much like every other day. Chores. Cleaning. School responsibilities. Figuring out all 3 meals and snacks. Usually, making most, all or planning out all of those said meals. Virtual school. The same old same old.

Your kids don’t always remember it’s your birthday. Mine didn’t. She thought my birthday was next week. It’s not. It was this past Friday. I think I’ll cut her slack since she’s 9 and we’re living in a pandemic without a real sense of a calendar or time as hard as I try to have a schedule. It was truly the first year though, that it didn’t even feel like my birthday. It didn’t feel celebratory. I did see friends over the weekend, but I don’t know. Between virtual school and the responsibility of working from home and everything else, this year has felt so depressing and isolating. I really don’t know if I will make it through 2020.

In the Dark,

Laura

Under the Knife: Dealing With Medical Anxiety

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As a kid, I had no fear of doctors or dentists. I had Lymes Disease as a teen, and I barely fussed when they came to my house to put in a PICC line. My dad on the other hand, almost fainted.
When I had to go for an MRI to check for a potential brain tumor, I thought it was too enclosed, but I dealt with it and wasn’t nervous about the tests.
Boy, have times changed me!

i’m not exactly sure when it happened, but I would say my anxiety towards medicine, doctors and being sick really started when I was pregnant and had Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Things started happening to me that I had never experienced. I’ve never been in a hospital so much in my life until that time. A few years prior, someone in my family had gotten really sick. A few years prior to even that, another family member had quite a few major surgeries and Cancer. I think as we get older, it’s more likely that we will deal with illness and health issues. My experience with Lymes taught me that I had some drug allergies, but I rarely complained. I got blood work constantly and I wasn’t anxious, but did want to get better.

Now as an adult and single mom, I’ve learned I have many allergies to medications and I really get anxious when it comes to medical situations. I think getting a divorce and becoming a single parent through the years also heightened my level of anxiety: I must be ok so I can be here for my daughter.

I’ve learned a few things though to help manage these fears, and it’s a work in progress always:

1. Don’t Google Your Symptoms.

2. Meditation Helps You Manage Anxiety.


3. Taking Charge of Your Health Through Diet and Exercise Helps.

4. Find a Friend Who Understands Your Anxiety as a Support.

5. Don’t Google Your Symptoms.

Those five things definitely help me! Not to mention realizing I can only control so much. Diet, exercise, fresh air, supplements, and rest are also key tools to keep me in as control of my health as possible.

So, today when I learned I might need to have something cut open on me— nothing major— I felt anxious. But not like I normally would. Sure, my stomach is grumbly. Sure, I’m worrying about it a bit more than I’d like, but it’s not overtaking me. I am doing what I can to avoid having to do that, and in the meantime, I have as much of a plan as I can. I called a supportive person and that helped also.

The moral of this anxious story? When it comes to anxiety, it’s important to understand what may have triggered your anxiety or reasons for having it. For me, a rough pregnancy and becoming a single parent definitely contributed to my anxious feelings over medical situations. Knowing this and realizing that I tend to worry over these things has allowed me to help take control over my fears and refocus in a more positive way.

Breathe in and Breathe Out,

Laura

What If Nothing Is Really Worth It?

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The other weekend, I found myself in the woods with someone I’ll call a friend as there is no real word to describe him. It was a beautiful day and a nice hike together.
Of course, I had a great and special time. It was a beautiful evening and late afternoon. But a few times as I walked an occasional muddy path, I thought back to a really horrible memory for me. At 14, I was basically taken advantage of by a 22 year old male. Thirty years later, I can still envision myself lying in the leaves that late summer evening. I can remember wanting it to stop.

This wasn’t the “Me Too” days. This was the “It’s My Fault” decade, where women and girls and men and boys alike all remained silent about these things.
I shook the memories off, and was able to fully enjoy the time with my friend who is at times, very creative and thoughtful with plans. This was a surprise trip and a thoughtful one at that. I wanted to go back with my friend and expressed it right away. We were hiking or walking mostly on a flat path amongst a garden and the woods. It was really special. It gave the woods a better definition for me— superseding those bad memories which have left a mark on my mind that will never go away. No one tells you that. That the memories never leave but the power they once had does— if you work on it.


Lately, I have felt a struggle to stay on an enlightened and positive path. I have made huge progress and gotten so far and I’m proud of that, but I keep falling and stumbling anyway, without fail. Perhaps it’s the isolation of COVID, or maybe it’s being a single parent for a long almost seven years, but I wonder if I have anything to offer. If anything I’m writing resonates or clicks within others. I wonder if I’m really connecting with people. I see myself hitting roadblocks and nothing I do seems to get me past them, despite the fact that I work very hard. If you know me, you know I’m a dedicated friend and partner and parent. That when I commit to something, anything— I really commit to it. That’s why I drive almost an hour to train weekly. Because I’m committed.

But I have to wonder if all my hard work is really getting me anywhere and if my writing really natters anymore. If I matter anymore. Maybe it’s best I just go dark and stop writing. Maybe I’m not really offering anything to anyone.
In the small of my mind where it is quiet and dim, I feel a real loss and feel directionless and hopeless at times.

Everyone feels stuck. Everyone feels darkness and hard times. The question I’m wondering is when it ends? And when does someone’s years of dedication and hard work really pay off? When do things pay off for me?

Maybe though me writing is not adding up to anything. Maybe there is nothing left to say because, nothing has changed for me. To develop, I need new experiences and I feel I’m not finding them. I feel defeated.

Peace and love is solely underestimated. To me, it’s the only things worth living for. Without peace of mind and love, life is worthless. Money can only carry someone so far.

love,

Laura

When a Night Out Isn’t Just a Night Out: Life During COVID-19

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It’s amazing how quickly we adapt to a new way of living. I almost can’t remember a time before this pandemic. As an extrovert, being isolated or relatively isolated has been challenging. I really enjoy working from home as I am very organized and good at time management, so it works for me, but I miss seeing my friends. I miss having normalcy for my daughter especially, as well.

But it’s almost as if this is the way it’s been for a year or more— not just five months.
Wearing a mask that matches your outfit sort of makes sense now. I haven’t really had a use for masks other than the quick trip to the drive thru or at the beach boardwalk, but I started to realize that if I’m going to need masks, I might as well make them cute.

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Tonight was the first night in a long time that I got to enjoy dinner out. It wasn’t crowded, I was masked and I felt comfortable. I was worried it would be too mobbed but since it was a weekday evening, I made out well.

I came home happy. It had been such a long time since I got to enjoy a meal and socialize. I realize that this pandemic has been harder on me than I thought. A lot harder. The isolation has been intense. I miss my family and sadly, I can’t see them as my parents are high-risk. Worse, someone I love has dementia, and I could be missing out on the last precious moments of this person’s cognizance thanks to COVID-19.

This is how it is though— for now. I decided to stop looking to the future and instead, focus on the day. Yes, much like the alcoholic’s anonymous credo, (and nope, I’m not a drinker and never was—- I’m a two drink date!) I’ve decided to focus on one day at a time. And for today, it felt a bit like old times, albeit in a very pretty tie-dye mask. I’m willing to bet Barbie would wear my very outfit and mask.

Hugs to All Of You Alone and Lonely,

Laura

A Prayer For The Hopeless

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As I lay down to sleep, I don’t.

Sleep that is.

Some days, like this one, the pain is unbearable. I pray the Lord— the universe— the spirit— my soul to take and heal.

Although I believe it is not possible.

I’m grieving a great many things. The loss of someone who once was so much to me but is unhealthy and unable to be the same person to me or the people who love her. The loss of another person who didn’t live up to the contract he signed to our child. The loss of someone who was supposed to be working for my best interest. The loss of someone else who did not support me or care about me or want to be there. Abandonment a better word.

If I die before I wake Lord, take away the COVID. Life is so difficult for everyone. Seeing my child be isolated and seeing others so isolated. Being isolated myself. Being unable to see my elderly parents regularly. The constant arguing between people. Who is right and who is wrong. What is right? What is wrong?

Nothing feels safe or secure. It feels like I can rely on no one. No one and nothing is reliable besides myself. Forget my mortality it is also my sanity I question lasting.

As I lay myself down to sleep, I have a child growing at remarkable speeds. I wasn’t supposed to raise her alone. I wasn’t supposed to many things.

How much more I wonder, can I endure? Can we all endure?

Take my soul and heal it. I am not sure how much is left in me and all of us.

Amen,

L

 

 

When The Universe (or Whatever God You Believe in) Places Someone Amazing in Your Path

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I have had some very hard times over the last six years. I have went through things I never thought I could handle. From long-term unemployment to physical abuse to heartache and legal battles, it was a haul.

To say that I have gotten out of the darkness is an understatement and if it’s not clear, I am very proud of how hard I have worked to be where I am today as a devoted working single mother.

But every now and then, we have someone who helps us on our journey– our twisted paths– that helps us even in the darkest of times.

This person for me, is named Rob.

Rob and I have known each other for about 23 years. We met in a gym years ago, and while at first he was just a very funny, eccentric, smart and quirky man of steel, I have learned– albeit I haven’t cracked the Rob code yet– that he is more than that.

More often than not, he has given me a helping hand, smart advice and an ear.

Over this pandemic, I started training with him virtually and to say that I have seen results doesn’t do it justice. I have seen results.  I am a bit timid  and hard on myself, so I won’t post pics, but I have gotten in solid shape.

If you want to train with him and his program, I guarantee you will get results– just show up! I rarely sing anyone’s praises publicly, so if I am telling you he is good, he is good!

On days that I felt overcome with anxiety about living in a state that is full of COVID-19, I showed up to virtual workouts. On days my stomach hurt or my head hurt because I was tired from working, homeschool and being alone/lonely as a single mom, I showed up to virtual workouts. He and his awesome team, have kept me going. He has encouraged me, offered advice, just been a friend, listened and basically been a steady presence throughout this whole scary freaking mess of quarantine.

I am beyond grateful. There were days I literally told myself– “I can’t miss this workout. I don’t want to let myself down. Or Rob.”

Seeing his face on the other side of the computer … just reminded me I am not as terribly alone as I feel.

So, not only has my body gotten an amazing workout, but my mind and heart has felt a bit less alone in all of this.

Some friends are just more amazing than others– and he really has stood by me in a time when quite honestly, I feel terribly alone doing this with my daughter.

Thank you– to someone who showed up when I needed it. Who has been the true meaning of a friend for me in a time when I am vulnerable and anxious and trying to stay positive and zen.

I hope you all have someone who god, the universe or whatever you believe in– places in your life to help you through. We need each other, now more than ever.

Love,

Laura

When You Finally Hit the End of the Road

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Everyone has a threshold of pain, crap, stress, fatigue and nonsense that he or she can take.

I hit mine.

At some point, the pavement ends for all of us. We’ve had our fill and we can’t tolerate or stomach anymore.

You can only be strong for so much, for so long. No one is made of steel. No one is so strong that he or she can’t be weak and succumb to whatever it is that is causing you pain.

Especially when people are pushing you down when you are at your weakest.

I have always had a big heart and tried/try to do the right thing, but apparently news flash, other people don’t.

How many times can one be taken for granted or hurt?

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3 Ways to Deal With Disappointment

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It is really hard when someone or something disappoints us.

When we put our best effort or hopes into anything or anyone, be it a relationship, a new job or a new venture, if it doesn’t work out or things don’t go as planned, it can be difficult to pick up the pieces and start over. Or, forgive and forget and forge ahead. Or even further still, not let the pain get in the way of our own growth.

Everyone feels disappointed now and then. For some of us, disappointment may seem to literally come and come and come– without ceasing to end for a while– but it always does go away.

How we deal with these disappointments are key to how we grow from them.

Here are 3 healthy ways to cope with disappointment:

Take Time Alone to Think

Taking some time on your own to reflect and consider how this disappointment played out is helpful.

Consider:

  • If your expectations were fair
  • If you put your best effort in
  • If there was a way you may have contributed to the situation
  • If there is anything you could do to feel better and heal

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6 Things to Remember That Will Give You Hope In Love & Life

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Sometimes all feels lost, but nothing is ever “all lost.”

There is always a star shining through the darkness. A bit of hope when you feel hopeless.

Hope always exists– if you find it. There is always joy to be found in each day– even when it feels as if life has you in a chokehold.

These X things remind me that there is always something to look forward to, around the bend:

Everything ends eventually

Even a wonderful marriage ends– in death. Even a great friendship ends– the same way.

Everything ends, eventually– good or bad. Remember that the bad times can’t endure forever. Everything shifts and changes. Hold on to your reins and keep riding because eventually, you will have outrode the storm.

Even if you’re single– someone exists for you

There is someone out there for you. Someone who will appreciate and care about you.

You may not know this person yet, but this person exists. All you need is an open heart and mind.

Loneliness is temporary.

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