Hey look at me with a blog and stuff! I don’t really buy into New Years resolutions, but I do believe in fresh starts and the beginning of a new year is a great place for a fresh start. I promised myself that this year I would start writing again. There was a time that now seems like forever ago when I wrote, I even was published a few times. So what better time than frigid January to start new?
I feel new after all. In many ways, I am new. Over the course of the last year and a half I started quite a journey. Like most people, my past is littered with painful events. From the time I was a 5 years old, I saw myself as a victim. A victim of divorce, a victim of circumstance, a victim of crimes (sexual and otherwise). I was an angry teenager who turned into a destructive young person who turned into a bitter adult. Along the way, tragedies just kept plaguing me.
My question was always “Why me”? Why can’t I be successful? Why can’t I have love? Why can’t I be the pretty one? Why can’t I be happy? Why does bad shit always happen to me? Whaa whaa whaa. I could go into all the gory details, but who gives a shit? Nobody. Nobody gives a shit because everybody has had their own fair share of bad shit!
I moved to Nashville seven years ago in an attempt to start new. It’s been quite a ride but there was still this thing that held me down. I put up what I thought was a pretty good front on the outside, but this nagging thing inside me kept telling me that I wasn’t legit. My career grew, I made some acquaintances , but still, I couldn’t seem to get a grip financially or emotionally. There was a complete disconnect between what I tried to be outwardly and who I was inwardly. Inside, I felt like a fraud. I found flaws in all of my work and I focused on those. I felt ugly and there wasn’t shit all to do about that except keep shoving mashed potatoes down my throat and continue to watch my ass grow. I was broke so I never bothered to save, just spent what came in like I was never going to have another opportunity to make a purchase again. And all the while, there was that “poor fucking me” voice in my head, telling me how I wish I was as lucky as everybody else.
Then something amazing happened. I found gratitude. Yeah, I know, its cheesy and you can’t scroll 10 seconds on Facebook without seeing a link to some guru hippie shit about the positive, life changing effects of gratitude. But you know what? As corny as it sounds, its absolutely the truth.
I read some self-help books. Most of them just affirmed the same thing over and over again. Be grateful for what you have and the rest will fall into place. And then there was one more book. Now, hang in here with me because I might loose you on this one, but it is called “A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life” and it’s by former Real Housewives of New York star, Bethenny Frankel.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. A reality star? Really Stacie? I’m telling you yes, a trash TV reality star. But here is the thing. This particular Real Housewife wasn’t a housewife at all. She didn’t have a lot of money, she didn’t have a mansion, she didn’t run in the social circles of the other women, she wasn’t even married. What she did have was a balls of steel. She convinced the producers of the show to cast her in spite of not being one of “those” women. Then she proceeded to run around the show during season one ordering up a cocktail called a “Skinny Girl Margarita” at every bar or restaurant she showed up at. It created a buzz and by season two, she was running around trying to sell the idea of bottling the drink. By season three she was in a pink car, wrapped in a “Skinny Girl” logo and trying to get anyone to buy what she was selling. Then something crazy happened. She sold that brand to Jim Beam for 100 million dollars…. 100 MILLION DOLLARS!
Now that trash TV reality star is still the controlling partner on her Skinny Girl brand which also now includes dietary supplements, shapewear, a daytime talk show, several top selling books and a whole slew of business endeavors. Shitty TV? sure, but that right there is one smart lady.
What I loved about her book was that it wasn’t about being peppy or positive all the time. It wasn’t cookie cutter advice for how to be happy. It was honest, sometimes awkward and some of it had zero to do with my life but there were chapters that smacked me in the gut. 1.) Break the Chain, 2.) Find Your Truth, 3.) Act on It, 4.) Everything’s Your Business, 5.) All Roads Lead to Rome, 6.) Go For Yours, 7.) Separate From the Pack, 8.) Own It, 9.) Come Together, 10.) Celebrate.
After a year and a half, I’m finally at the chapter 10 place in my life; “Celebrate”. And I do. I celebrate every second of this crazy adventure that is my life. My mantra has become “I am a blessed and lucky bitch!” and I believe it. Even better, the Universe and everybody else believes it too! And they should, because it is true!
Don’t get me wrong. Bad shit still happens, some of it is really fucking bad. But here’s the thing. I don’t focus on that part. It’s not that I sweep it under the rug and wander around looking at life through rose colored glasses while everything crumbles around me. That’s not realistic. Instead, I just handle it; I “girl up” and take care of business. Whatever it is, money, death, heartbreak, car wrecks or frozen pipes. I just face it, cry about it for a minute and then deal with it and get on with life. Instead of focusing on the drama of it all, I try to focus on the positives of the experience. It’s the hardest part, but eventually it just becomes second nature.
You would be amazed at how much good stuff there is in life’s tragedies. I recently had a situation with a close friend where some shit went down. I cried about it and it hurt. But it gave me the opportunity to really look at the relationship and make changes in it. Changes that will make both of us happier and maybe even help us become better people. Ooooh change… scary word hu? Nope. Change is inevitable and the harder you fight it, the harder its going to make every moment of your life. We are fluid beings, on a fluid planet, living a fluid life. Let go and move. Change is awesome!
Wrecked car? Eh. Whatever. It still gets me from point A to point B and now it has a little history. Plus, I got a check right when I needed it most and it turned out to be one of the most fun days I shared with my mom in months. See what I mean? I’m a blessed and lucky bitch! That little fender bender went in my memory jar as one of my most awesome moments of 2013!
I had a couple of close friends pass suddenly in just the last few weeks. Me and death… Oh you wicked son of a bitch! I have suffered at least two catastrophic losses in my life. Like, shake you to the core, change your life forever kind of losses. Didn’t I just say change was good? I did and I stand by it. Those experiences were earth shattering for me. There were times that I thought I would never get out of that darkness. But I am finally at a place years later where I can look back on those people and have nothing but joy in my heart. I am blessed and lucky enough to have known people who touched me that deeply. I am blessed and lucky enough to have known love like that. I’ll take the short time that I had with those people over never having loved them at all.
The people I lost in the last month I will miss but there is something about the coming together of mutual friends and families in love and support of those people that is beautiful to me. My heart breaks for those closest to them, for those people I have absolute empathy and compassion. But through the grief, it gives all of us a chance to celebrate the best qualities in each other. It gives us a chance to remember the “good ol days”, to find joy in the moments we shared with other human beings and it’s an opportunity to remember just how fleeting our time is and to make every second count. “Forget the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff”… Isn’t that what they say?
If you follow me on Facebook, you will know the recent saga of pipe-olypse. During the cold snap, my pipes froze. The plumber came out and told me that because of where and how the pipes were that the only thing to do was wait for them to burst. I told him they weren’t going to because I am a blessed and lucky bitch. He laughed and said “Nobody’s that lucky, these pipes are going to burst”. As he left, I went out to the car to go the store for some supplies and low and behold if the damn battery wasn’t dead.
I tried to find the humor in it on Facebook with the pipe-olypse updates and in response, I got an outpouring of people who wanted to help. People came over with dinner, people ran errands for me, people called and offered to store my gear, let me shower, do dishes, do laundry, come get me, let me spend the night, move stuff… on and on. I had no water or car for a night, I wasn’t in Bosnia or anything. I was so touched and felt so lucky.
I felt so damn lucky that while I planned for the “inevitable”, I also did some preemptive maneuvering. I took up an offer to help me jump start the car. That person said to go to Auto Zone. I did. What I didn’t realize is that Auto Zone isn’t a mechanic shop. It’s like a store with car things you can buy but they don’t actually put that stuff on your car. I was there, the car was once again dead so I bought a battery, buttoned up my coat, borrowed some tools and changed that thing. Holy hell, I wish someone would have been filming it. It cost $100 but I figure that’s a cheap way to learn how to do something I should have learned how to do a long time ago.
In spite of the fact that the plumber said that heaters in an area that open and exposed would do nothing, I put some down there. I stuffed blankets and towels in every opening to try and insulate it as best I could and I hoped for the best. Three days later he came over and turned on the water after preparing for the surge of flooding under the house and guess what? Yep, beautiful flowing water spilled out of my faucets and not one drop dribbled from those exposed pipes. I looked at him and said “Told ya”. He gave me a shirk and a nod. Pipe-olypse is already in my awesome moments of 2014 jar.
Gratitude. I truly believe that is the one thing that changed everything. I feel like my life the last year and a half has been like a metaphor for pipe-olypse. Lots of things could have gone wrong. I could have just left things alone and waited for the big burst. Trust me, an explosion was coming.
But instead of staying frozen and cold, I started looking at myself differently. Not just inwardly, but outwardly too. I took steps to get the weight off. I stopped thinking that hated my mouth and started thinking that I love my big, gorgeous blue eyes. I stopped hating my pointy chin and started loving my cheekbones. I stopped hating my tummy and started loving my long, skinny legs. Turns out that when I look in the mirror now, I don’t see a big fat ugly girl. I see a beautiful, still shrinking girl with great eyes, cheekbones and long, hot legs. Funny, how once I saw that girl, other people did too. Boys flirt, heads turn sometimes, and all kinds of people tell that I am pretty. What is that other saying? “Perception is reality”.
This isn’t a hey look at me and do what I do kind of blog. This is just me hammering out shit that is swirling around in my brain. Everybody is different. It took me 45 years on this planet to figure out what comes totally natural to some people. Some people will never get it and others still will have their own path to happiness. All I know is that all of those things that used to plague me, don’t anymore. At least not like they used to.
Money still is tight, but my relationship with it is different. There too, I find gratitude in what I have. Once I gave up focusing on how little I had and focused instead on what was coming in, everything changed. Unexpected checks come, generous gifts come, work comes, bigger budgets come. There is and will be money in the bank and its all ok! I can look at my work and still find the flaws, but now those flaws just feel like learning curves to make the next one better. I still have days when I feel ugly but never in the way I did two years ago. Now, my gams are smoking no matter what day it is! I’ve opened myself up to people and to friendships and relationships and am so thankful that I did. Those people make my life better everyday. Its scary as fuck, but also exhilarating!
Trust is still a hard thing for me. I find myself sometimes waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for that person to let me down, waiting for their ulterior motives to show themselves. I side eye everyone to an extent. Even those that don’t think they are being side eyed. ~ Especially those that don’t think they are being side eyed. I was chatting with a gentleman just recently who bought me a cocktail at a show. He told me that he wasn’t scared of anyone. I told him that was funny because I was scared of everyone.
See there, It’s not all perfect but I’m working on it. I feel like that is the last piece of the puzzle. Trust… Not surprisingly though, the more I focus on what makes people awesome, the less reasons I have to doubt them. The more I focus on the good things that they bring into my life, the less I worry about if they are going to disappoint me. I am just happy at the moment that they are in my life to begin with and am positive that if for some reason they aren’t a part of my life, whether it be a month from now or twenty years, that I will be grateful for having had that time together in the first place. For today, they are living proof that I am a blessed and lucky bitch!
All in all, it was a great week. the temperature rose, the pipes didn’t burst and the Ice Queen melt-eth!