Hidden Scars and Untold Truths

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I have scars that are hidden to the naked eye. I hide secrets beneath my smile. Not many know my truth, hell I’m still trying to love and accept all that make me, me to include my painful past.

Truth is, I’m not perfect. I’ve spent the majority of my life fronting like I had nothing to hide, as I buried painful memories deep inside my brain. The problem with trauma is it never goes away.

It alters our every decision and if not dealt with, seeps into every relationship we have. I’ve been harboring this pain and trauma since I was a teenager and it’s completely altered my ability to choose a proper man. I spent the majority of my 20’s trying to fix others, when the one who needed healing was myself.

I ran from my past, drowning them out with flings and alcohol until I had my children. When I had my kids, I chose men who needed healing themselves. Not only was I trying to raise my kids, but I held onto this fantasy of fixing men and somehow having the perfect family I had envisioned.

After my divorce I went through an extremely traumatic period in my life in the military and naturally I fell into the arms of a man who was broken himself. Together we made a perfect mess of things and I had my daughter. I was so caught up with the idea of love, I ignored the red flags.

I failed myself by not doing the work within because it was painful and easier to avoid by throwing myself into yet another unhealthy and toxic relationship. When he left me for his past, it was God protecting me from falling into the vicious cycle that had held me captive for a decade. I had work to do and it didn’t involve a man to play house with, my heart had had enough heartbreak.

I didn’t need to fall in love, hell I didn’t even know what that meant anymore. I needed to heal myself and all the trauma I had buried deep within. My whole life I’ve had a love hate relationship with God but lately I’ve found myself praying harder than ever before.

Maybe it was the pandemic, or the loss of control I felt I lost in life but July 20, 2020 truly changed my life. It took coming out of surgery and a conversation with God that I realized my job here on this earth wasn’t quite done. I wanted to go, the bright light was so peaceful and it felt a whole lot easier than dealing with the bullshit here on earth.

I knew my life had a purpose however, I have two small children that depend on me. I had inner work to do, because my purpose had not yet been fulfilled. The pandemic put a damper on my spirits, my failed relationships made me feel as if I failed my kids.

When in reality, the pandemic made me get real with myself. There is love on the other side of heartbreak. The only way to get there is through self-love.

I never took time to find myself as a young mother in my early 20s. Now that I am approaching 30, it’s time. Time I do what sets my soul on fire, because god damn it I’m worth it.

I chose to pursue cosmetology school not because I gave up on journalism, but because it’s part of my self-love journey. I refuse to apologize to anyone for the choices I’ve made, because I’m not longer living for the acceptance and approval of others. I live for myself because I have goals and dreams that are mine and mine alone.

I protect my energy and refuse to let anyone in that wants to shit on my dreams. I protect my energy and refuse to let anyone in that is toxic and has ulterior motives. I can see through people’s bullshit a mile away because I took the time to study others.

Problem is I would ignore the red flags and give others the benefit of the doubt because I was too insecure to be alone. Now I crave alone time. I don’t have time for bullshit and I’d rather not absorb someone’s toxic energy.

I chose to stop making excuses for my life and I refuse to surround myself by those who settle for less than they deserve. I refuse to surround myself by men who are consumed by their past and haven’t done the internal work to level up. I refuse to hold onto friends who make me feel insecure about not having a man when I’m growing and healing from within.

I refuse to surround myself by friends who only use me to feel better about their own pathetic lives. I don’t need a man to degrade me just to say I have one. I don’t need friends who petty me.

I choose to surround myself by positive people who are on the same journey I am, intent on leveling up. I don’t need anyone and that alone is powerful. I’ve pulled myself out of some shit that would kill most.

I did that alone, on my own. It didn’t involve a man. It took strength and commitment to myself, and that’s the only relationship I’m committed to right now. My scars are healing and my self-discovery journey is just beginning.

I dedicate every day to myself, giving myself the love and respect I deserve. The same love and respect that I would give to men, just for them to throw it back in my face. I want a life of peace, happiness and abundance.

I won’t stop until I achieve it, because I’m worth it. I work hard to give my kids the life they deserve. I’m done putting myself and my needs last.

So no, I’m not trying to fall in love with anyone but myself right now. For that I go about unapologetically, as I heal my scars and stand in my truth. Truth be told, I am all I need.

I’m not swearing off all men or relationships, but I’m not settling for less than I deserve. I’m taking this time to figure out who I am and what I deserve. Having the ability to fall in love with yourself is one of the greatest gifts anyone could have.

By falling in love with yourself, you don’t need to depend on anyone for your happiness. I refuse to have a co-dependent relationship, feeling as if I need a man to complete me. I am complete and one day the right man will compliment my life.

Until then, I plan to level up, in all aspects of my life.

Stay tuned.

My Gallbladder Removal Story

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I have been living with gallstone pain since June 5th, requiring surgery. Before I get into my surgery experience, let’s get into what led up to my gallstones. I was going through a time in my life where I consumed pizza every weekend. I went from plant based, to a vegetarian addicted to cheese. I consumed food that was addictive and made me feel good, but wasn’t good for me.

It correlated with the place I was at in my life. The relationships with people I had that also made me feel good, yet were toxic. After doing the external work and clearing the negative energy, it was time to focus within. I had become toxic to myself and forgotten how to love myself. I have a tattoo on the inside of my wrist to remind myself of that exact thing.

It reads, “always remember to love and respect yourself,” it’s something I struggle with daily. I enjoy helping others, motivating them to be the best version of themselves, yet I had forgotten what that had meant for me. Which led to my decision of beauty school. The decision to attend Hoss Less Academy was one I made in a commitment to love and respect myself. I feel most beautiful when I leave a salon, I wanted to recreate that same feeling for others.

Making others feel beautiful, communicating and building relationships are building blocks to what makes me the best version of myself. I want to be of service to others and in turn build myself up while giving that gift to someone else. Taking an LOA (leave of absence) after the first three weeks at HLA was a difficult decision, but I knew it was wiser than working in pain. I had acquired so many gallstones, the only choice was surgery. My surgery was scheduled for July 20, 2020.

On the day of surgery I checked in at 6:00 a.m. and prepared for my 8:00 a.m. operation. I had performed the COVID-19 test three days prior and received a negative, but had to retest due to an elevated temperature of 100.2. My temperature fluctuates with my hormones and lucky for me, “Aunt Flow” decided to make her grand entrance on the morning of my surgery. They didn’t want to take any chances and performed a rapid COVID-19 test, pushing back my surgery start time by two hours. Results were negative and I proceeded into surgery under general anesthesia at 10:00 a.m.

The RN had administered the antibiotic Clindamycin, due to my Amoxicillin allergy. Turns out I was allergic to Clindamycin too and was administered Benadryl. My back and hairline became extremely itchy so they stopped the antibiotic and proceed to wheel me into surgery. Once there, I was moved to another bed with the railings removed and the surgery team had a “timeout” to discuss my procedure. I was placed under general anesthesia and the next thing I remember are drifting off to dream land.

I had the most vivid dream of being at Lake Tahoe with my kids. It was so beautiful and peaceful as I walked into the water. As I went in, deeper and deeper, I saw a bright light. The light was guiding me further into the lake. As peaceful as it felt, I also felt an urge to head back to shore to be with my kids.

I was being pulled in two directions, all the while going in and out of consciousness as I lie on the surgery table. When I came to consciousness, I would picture my children and go over reasons for living in my head. When I lost consciousness, I was headed back into the lake. When I tried waking up, I remember the surgical staff panicking at my dropping heart rate, as they tried to wake me after surgery. I felt as if there was a heavy weight on my chest and my eyes were too heavy to open. My breathing felt labored as I drifted in and out of consciousness.

The lake seemed so peaceful but I know if I kept myself in that state and went towards the light I probably wouldn’t be here today. I pictured my kids and literally had to tell myself I had too much to live for, that they needed me and I needed to wake up and stay up. This continued for an hour and a half when I was finally conscious and awake enough to speak to the doctor. When I was able to keep my eyes open and have a conversation with my doctor he seemed concerned about the effects the anesthesia had on me and wanted to ensure I had someone with me overnight. I called my close friend of three years from college and she agreed to come over.

We made a slumber party of it and I don’t know if it was the Norco or the pandemic limiting human interaction, but I was ecstatic to have a friend by my side. We stayed up all night talking and laughing, listening to podcasts like little teenage girls even though we are both almost thirty. My kids were with their dad and I just took the night to focus on recovery. I iced my four incision sites, and stayed on a liquid diet with the addition of saltine crackers. It is now day two of recovery and I can honestly say that the love and support I received from my amazing hospital staff, friends and family have helped me pull through.

As a single mom, I am always taking care of everyone else. The problem with being the strong one all the time is no one ever expects you to need help. My greatest fear in life is getting so caught up in taking care of everyone else that I lose myself. I don’t like to burden people with my problems so I don’t typically ask for help. Putting our pride aside and asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.

I often find that I shrink myself in the shadow of others instead of standing tall and embracing myself, flaws and all. By shrinking myself, I projected into the universe that I didn’t deserve love. My self-esteem became so low that I lacked confidence in anyone giving a damn about me at all, making surgery and recovery hell as a single mom. When in reality the truth was I had poured so much love into everyone else that I had love and support in my corner, I just had to ask for help. So here I am on day two of recovery, thankful for all the check-ins, texts and phone calls.

We all go through low points in life, making us feel weak. Sometimes it’s in the form of surgery, forcing us to recover physically, and sometimes it’s a mental block causing a low point. No matter the case, we can’t let our low points over power our high points. No matter what you are recovering from right now, be it mental, physical, or emotional, it’s important to remember that healing takes time. We all get stronger with time, if we take the proper time to heal.

The Invisible War and Abuse of Power

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We have an issue in America and it’s one of power. It’s not a race or political issue, it’s a human issue ruled by power. As an Air Force veteran, the circumstances surrounding Vanessa Guillen’s death made my stomach churn, yet I was not surprised by the circumstances surrounding her death.

Sexual assault, harassment and retaliation are all extremely common in the military and often swept under the rug. The military has a reputation to protect so any instance of such crime must be handled and kept quiet at the lowest level. Unfortunately for Guillen, it was handled in the form of murder and dismembering of her body.

A movement started across the internet with the #iamvannessaguillen where women everywhere began coming out about the injustice they faced in the military. I too am Vanessa Guillen. I served seven years in the Air Force and reported two sexual assaults.

Every day I feared for my life. I was stalked and became paranoid, feeling I had no one in my corner. When you are a victim of sexual assault the military treats you like an outcast for tarnishing their reputation.

I have panic attacks, nightmares, night sweats and PTSD flashbacks. I don’t go anywhere alone at night and stopped trusting people, losing faith in humanity. It altered my relationships and my ability to interact with others socially, losing a part of my soul to the invisible war I fought.

The life of the accused seemed more precious than mine, for they did everything in their power to sweep it under the rug and making me sign a non disclosure agreement. What I wanted was justice, to end the cycle of toxic military culture that circulated within the military. I never got that, instead I got out out with anxiety related to PTSD.

I now realize there is power in using my voice. Even though I suffered after reporting the abuse, I spoke up. I was retaliated against, stalked, harassed and threatened but I didn’t give up. I fought not only for myself but for all the women who were too afraid to speak up.

Abuse doesn’t end until the victim speaks up. What happened to me doesn’t make me weak, it made me stronger. I was strong because I had to be, not just for myself but for the millions of other women that were victims of sexual harassment and assault.

A piece of me was lost in the military, a piece that I will never be able to get back. It was replaced with strength and resilience, for I learned the importance of fighting against injustice. We as people are constantly at odds with each other and the main derivative?

Power, it’s what allows injustice to continue when the culture is toxic. The military culture is toxic, the political climate is toxic, the police force is toxic. Why?

Because we have yet to create change through social justice. What does it take? Protests, reforms, removing abusers from positions of power?

All of the above. It starts with us. We must use our voice and speak up about injustice or it will keep happening.

This is not a political, race, gender or socioeconomic status issue. This is a human issue. As humans we need to find it in our hearts to open our eyes to the atrocities across the world and be the change.

Enough is enough. We get one life in this world and everyone deserves a fighting chance. It’s time to cut the bullshit because it’s 2020.

Let’s start with holding people accountable for their actions, removing abusive people from positions of power and demanding change.

My First Haircut in Cosmetology School

cosmetology, hair

Before I get into my first week of cosmetology school, let me give you some background on why I chose to attend after pursuing a bachelors in journalism. I am graduating this fall  with my bachelors in journalism from Sac State and will finish while attending a trade school.

It took the pandemic for me to realize who I was and what I truly enjoyed, journalism and hair. I made the leap to attend Hoss Lee Academy because I plan to combine the two. ¬†Beauty editing and writing is a thing, so is owning your own salon and marketing yourself something I’m also highly considering after putting in the work to obtain my license in cosmetology.

Self esteem and confidence never came easy for me and that’s something I am learning to achieve through cosmetology school in order to apply it on the floor for my clients. Beauty might seems vain to some but it’s only because they are completely missing the point. Having the ability to make someone feel beautiful is a skill that has the ability to change people’s lives in a positive way.

You have to be strong in your mind, body and soul in order to become a cosmetologist. My instructor is amazing and gives us little pep talks along the way about not absorbing negative energy and dropping it all at the door before heading to the floor to work. In order to grow, we must be willing to learn.

There is a lot of technique, precision and skill, not to mention geometry, biology and chemistry that goes into cosmetology. My first haircut was a lot more difficult than it looked. I’ll be honest, I never realized haircutting involved making angles in people’s heads, finding guidelines and positioning your hand and body in ways you wouldn’t normally.

Our first cut was a square cut, this consisted of creating a T-part. Once we had our hair sectioned we created a guideline starting at the back. From there we worked our way from the bottom, up using our guide for reference.

The goal upon finishing was to have a square shape when looking under the doll head, maintaining and even cut following the guideline. It got a little tricky towards the front maintaining the guideline but overall I felt the whole experience went well. My instructor guided us throughout the process and told gave us a progress report so we knew where to improve next time.

Certain face shapes are better for certain cuts. Some people have square, oval, rectangle, round, diamond and triangle face shapes. A square haircut is all one length ,whereas a concave haircut is shorter in the back and longer in the front. Layers can be added for movement but isn’t ideal for those with fine hair.

The first week consisted of book work and hands on training where we got straight into haircutting. It was nerve wracking and exciting all at the same time. Our program is currently hybrid so we get to do our hands on training with the instructor and then follow along virtually as she instructs us on new hair techniques.

My advice to those on the fence about learning a new skill? Go for it, that degree is great to fall back on but so are practical skills. If this pandemic has taught me anything, it’s to listen to my inner voice, because that’s your intuition guiding you to make a decision.

 

 

 

 

I See You, Do You?

self love, Strong Women, toxic relationships, Uncategorized

Are you happy in that relationship you’re going so hard for? I see you. The emptiness in your eyes as he scrolls his phone and you calm the kids in the grocery store.

I see you. The woman who’s man moves back so she can pay. The woman who’s eager to be heard only to be met with a blank stare.

The woman who just endured being snapped at for trying to create a nice family outing. I see you. The woman who was crying at the coffee shop after discovering her boyfriend had cheated on her.

I see you. The woman who just discovered the man she had been seeing was married but he promised he would get a divorce. The woman who fell pregnant by a man who doesn’t have the same intentions of sticking around and helping her raise the child together.

I see you. The woman who is going through a nasty child custody battle following a divorce and is unsure how to go at it alone. The woman who is afraid of being replaced as a mother and not being able to make ends meet for her child.

I see you. The woman who is being emotionally abused telling her she is nothing for not having a job, when she is the only one who stays home to take care of the kids. The woman who has endured years of physical violence and stayed for fear of what would happen to her children if she left.

I see you. The woman who finally decided enough was enough and took matters into her own hands, creating the life she envisioned. The woman who knew her worth and stopped settling for less than she deserved.

I see you. The woman who decide to stop letting society dictate her life and live in unhappiness because it was in fact not better for her. The woman who realized her power and decided to go after that job, follow her passion and do what made them happy for once.

I see you because I am you. I’ve been there. The reality is, you are not less for wanting more for yourself. You don’t need a man, despite the doubts society may cast on you.

You are enough, no matter your situation. The challenge is owning the power of that divine feminine energy and holding yourself to the standards you’ve set for yourself. Being single creates a new set of challenges, we have to re-learn who we are without that person.

It’s liberating knowing you can chase those dreams you never thought possible, without someone holding you back. That relationship that held you back? It wasn’t healthy.

You needed to let it go to find yourself, without that toxic negative energy pulling you down and holding you back. Women are like roses and roses are pretty but fragile. While fragile they have thorns that make them tough against predators.

Too often women fall back into that fragile state, feeling like they need a man to depend on. The reality is society has made women feel as if they need to be rescued to give men a sense of purpose. Men need a good conquest and it doesn’t matter if it’s at the expense of women.

A good woman if often taken advantage of because a man knows she is fragile and naive. All he has to do is tell her what she wants to hear and she melts like putty in his hands. I’m sorry but no, it’s 2020.

If a man’s actions don’t match his words, I don’t care how much history you have with him, it’s time to cut your losses. You can’t get back your youth. You don’t want to be 45, regretting the fact that you’ve spent over 20 years chasing a man who doesn’t value and appreciate you.

Women are vibrant, smart, beautiful souls and if a man thinks all he has to do is sweet talk his way into a woman’s life, he’s an idiot. A man needs to level up and if he can’t, it’s time to remove yourself from the equation. In order to level up you must be willing to cut all things from your life that are pulling you down, all things toxic.

If someone lies, cheats, steals and can’t be trusted, why are you with them? Because of your history? That’s not love, it’s a history of shit.

As women it’s our jobs to elevate our lives and lead by example. We need to start lifting each other up and stop enabling bad relationships because society deems them normal. Many women stay in unhealthy relationships because they fear the stigma of leaving.

What about the stigma of staying? You want to die unhappy? Because I don’t.

I want my kids to grow up knowing they can be strong smart individuals capable of achieving happiness all on their own.

Only then will you know happiness. Only then will you know joy. When you’ve created it inside of you.

Healing From Within

GI struggles, healing

My journey to self love started with healing from within. I’ve had abdominal pain and gastrointestinal struggles for as long as I can remember. Three years ago today I gave up meat, a decision prompted by how it made me feel physically and ethically.

I made lifestyle changes to include limiting my caffeine and alcohol intake, working out and getting a decent night’s sleep. For the past few months, I’d say since the pandemic started, I let myself go. Pizza became an every weekend thing.

I was bloated and miserable but took it with a grain of salt because I had no idea how to take care of myself during a pandemic. Three weeks ago I began experiencing intense abdominal pain and loose stools. I figured it was due to getting older, perhaps IBS due to anxiety and stress.

Last weekend I went to the emergency room following abdominal pain and blood after a bowl movement. They tested me for COVID-19 and it was negative. The doctor ordered a CT scan and found gallstones.

My doctor called today and explained in detail the results of my CT scan and referred me to a GI specialist. She ordered more labs to rule out IBS and celiac disease. She ordered an MRI to rule out cysts and tumors that may accompany the gallstones as a possible cause for the dilation of my bile duct.

My appendix wasn’t visible on the CT scan, meaning there is a possibility I could have appendicitis. The thought of having my appendix and gallbladder removed is extremely daunting because it’s a surgery requiring recovery and I have small kids who depend on me. I don’t like the idea of asking for help and I’ve never had to rely on anyone for help.

That’s the power of being strong and independent. You realize you don’t need anyone, the setback being sometimes you do, sometimes you have to ask for help and that’s ok. We are human and as much as I want to believe I’m Wonder Woman, I don’t have super human strength to heal myself and go through life with ease.

Life is messy, it’s reckless. Sometimes we get little wakeup calls along the way reminding us that we are human and we have to embrace it, not fear it. We have to accept that we are human, flawed with perfect imperfections.

I had neglected myself, putting my health and wellbeing last on the to do list. I became hyper focussed on my kids and their wellbeing, finishing college, and trying to survive the pandemic that hit us all unexpectedly. We all need to take time to check in with ourselves.

How are you holding up? Have things been going haywire lately? Maybe it’s time to go within, because the truth is if we aren’t right within, we won’t be able to move forward in life.

I’m taking this time to focus on healing all parts of my life, but it starts within. Your health is something money can’t buy. You are given one life and one body, so you better take care of it.

Divine Timing

divine timing, Life Journey, Life Path, Uncategorized

Let’s talk about divine timing, shall we?

Remember when you were little and you told yourself by a certain age you would be doing X, Y and Z? You might have had visions of the college education, a good job and a family to raise. Maybe kids weren’t part of your vision but instead you saw yourself as a CEO, lawyer or doctor.

Fast forward thirty years and reflect back on that time when you were young.

Are you where you thought you’d be? Most answer no, because life isn’t that predictable. If it were, it wouldn’t be worth living.

Maybe you had the kids you always wanted but the family part never came together, that’s ok. Maybe college never happened for you at 18-years-old and instead you chose the military, that’s ok. Maybe you waited to get that college education and were one of the oldest in your graduating class, that’s ok.

Speaking from experience, there is no wrong or right way to live your life.

I know because I’ve lived it. I have the children I envisioned and am focussed on my goals as a single mom. After separating from the military, I was the oldest one in my college classes, but I had more life experience.

Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned because it’s setting us up for something better. I gained my strength from being a single mother and it’s allowed me to open my heart up to self-love. College has taught me that there is no substitution for life experiences and so much more to learn.

No matter what stage of life you are in or at what age, you have the ability to turn it around. The answers lie within and the key is to stop comparing your journey to others. Your journey is uniquely yours.

Real life can’t be replicated behind a computer screen. There is so much more depth, pain and scars behind people who use social media as a facade. This is not their journey, it’s yours so stop comparing yourself.

If you choose to stay single and focus on what sets your soul on fire, there’s nothing wrong with that. It takes a strong individual to go within and discover what and who they want to become without the need to be validated by others. True power is when you stop verbalizing your goals and show them what you’re made of.

A lot of people will clap for you at the finish line but were never around during the journey. Why is it easier to cast doubt and negativity on someone then show support when we need it? In this case the only person’s validation you need is your own.

Our time is limited on this earth, so why spend it trying to please others? What about what you want? You ultimately have to live with your decisions.

You might hit some bumps along the road, experiencing minor setbacks, but you keep going. You keep going because if you don’t, that’s when you fail. Failure is when you don’t bother trying for fear of failing.

It doesn’t matter what stage of life you’re at. If you want something, go for it because it might be the only opportunity you have. When your heart is pushing you to pursue something, that’s your intuition begging you to listen.

It’s easy for others to judge your story because they haven’t lived it. They also have no right to judge because they haven’t lived it. They haven’t endured the pain and come out on the other end.

You have to own your power and make decisions for your life, not based on some timeline you had for yourself as a child. You have to own your power because if you don’t, you allow others to control you. You are in control of your life, now own it!

Shut Out The Noise

noise, self love, single mom life, Uncategorized, unsolicited advice

I spent my entire life listening to advice, both solicited and unsolicited. I hyper focussed on whether my actions would be approved and accepted by society. What I failed to listen to however, was myself.

Too often we go through life asking the opinions of others to validate an idea we already have. What we fail to realize is that their response is based on their perception and own experience. Regardless of their intentions, the actions you choose will be the ones you have to live with.

So what do you do? Stay in that toxic relationship because society deems it more acceptable than being a single mother? Avoid pursuing your dreams because it’s not the dream of your parents, friends, or society?

Or do you leave it all behind? The noise, the toxicity, the negativity? I left the military because it had become toxic and chose to pursue a degree in journalism.

The response I got? You will never make it. You are a single mom with two kids, what about stability?

I got my AA in communications as a single mom with a toddler and a newborn. I am now 4 units shy from completing my bachelors in journalism this fall. You know what I realized?

It’s time I pursue what sets my soul on fire. When you let others dictate your life, you also let them dictate your happiness. I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses.

I am uniquely made and have passions and quirks made to propel me into a future that is still to be determined. What I do know though? I’m gonna do it.

If I give it my heart and soul, whatever I choose to pursue, I’ll be successful at. No more negative self talk, no more listening to the noise.

Ain’t no low hanging fruit pipe dreams here. I will set myself up for success because I have goals. Weather or not you choose to support them is your choice. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m not asking for permission.

I no longer care for the advice of others. So I’m gonna do me for a while, focus on crushing my goals and watch it all fall into place. I’m gonna do it for me because I’m worth it.

My whole military career, dating life, and personal life has been consumed by solicited and unsolicited advice. Advice on what to do professionally, who to date and what direction my life should take. It took a pandemic for me to realize I no longer want that for my life.

I don’t enjoy being controlled. I have so many talents, aspirations and goals that I put off because society told me I would fail. Well guess what, I haven’t failed.

I’m learning, growing and stronger mentally and physically then I have ever been because I started to own my power. Being a single mother taught me it’s that much more important to do what makes me happy because that’s what will create success and allow me to raise my children. Is it limiting? Somewhat. But impossible, no.

The pandemic shifted everyone’s perceptions on what is considered essential. Just because hospitals and grocery stores didn’t close doesn’t mean you should aspire to have such a job. Not everyone is cut out to be, or should be a nurse, just like not everyone is good at customer service in a grocery store.

While perceptions have shifted, my mindset hasn’t. I never let go of who I wanted to become despite the military and society trying to mold me into who they wanted me to be. I have a passion for journalism, beauty and all things hair.

I’m proud of that, because these are my strengths. I refuse to live a life where my actions are dictated by others and before you know it I’m 65 about to retire regretting every decision I ever made. When you live for others, you lose yourself.

The pandemic taught me to go within. I’ve had spiritual awakenings pushing me in a different direction and I know it meant something. When your intuition pushes you to do something, you can’t question it because that’s your inner spirit guiding and protecting you.

Which leads me to my next point. You’ve got to prove it to yourself. The only person you need to please is you, because in the end it’s your life and no one else’s.

When all you hear is noise, shut it out and go within. What do you want to do? What passions set your soul on fire?

Stop living for other people and start living for you. When others can’t see your vision, stop trying to make them. Let go and prove it to yourself.

You are your biggest critic. You can choose to live a life filled with love and gratitude or you can live a life full of negativity and toxicity. The choice is yours.

Now ask yourself, what noise do you choose to hear? The outside noise, or the noise within?