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IF YOU’RE NEW TO BOX OF KNOTS…Welcome Friend!
A little about me…my blog, business, photos and posts all reflect some type of event in my life or thought changing idea I feel compelled to share with the world. I like to find ways to connect with popular culture (POP-Culture) and do my ‘research’ to connect the dots as to why we are the way we are. And by “we”, I’m talkin MILLENIALS..yea YOU. (shit I’m a millenial too so don’t worry, I’m talking to my higher self also.)
something you’ll notice me talk about often is perspective and culture.
(long post alert but I promise it’s worth your 5-minutes)
While recovering from my spinal fusion I couldn’t bend, twist, shower, brush my hair, wipe my own ass or even shave my vagina without the 100% hands on effort of my husband. To be honest, it was quite humiliating but also humbled me in ways only extreme experiences could.
I was bed-ridden for months to the point where we had even done our homework to create a vibe and energy in my bedroom that felt healing and welcoming to me. We built a DIY padded headboard, shopped some new IKEA nightstands with matching lamps and bought all the Scentsy to make my space smell like it felt. Long story short- it works…and while on that healing journey I watched a whole lot of movies and documentaries.
GETTING OUT OF THE HOUSE IN YOUR HEAD
When you’re healing in bed (bed-ridden) it can be really isolating and lonely even with the nicest most talkative nurse. Sometimes the only place to go is within and thats what I found myself doing. I’d watch films and put my highest self in that characters shoes and go for the ride. I’d have an experience outside of my body because my body was stuck. And I discovered that healing was in the getting back up part. No matter what film I watched there was always the mentality to “live in the solution”, “keep going”, “never-give-up”.
One film that really stuck out to me on my journey through motherhood and finding my highest self was the movie BIRDBOX. I was never the “watch scary movies” type of girl and that movie was definitely on the scare-radar. So I avoided it at all costs. Until one day everyone and their mom was talking about it and to me seeing a wave of pop-culture on social media is a sign from my spirit guides saying “hey- look at this”. Doesn’t mean be consumed by it like a Bachelorette/Kardashian kind of addiction but more of a — theres a hidden lesson tucked in here kind of teaser and you should dig around kind of “can’t avoid this”. And if I avoid it…my guides will continue to remind me by showing me numbers like 11:11 or meeting someone that reminds me of someone. Small signs that are telling me to face whatever fear it is I’m avoiding.
Before I continue..I wrote this post last year.
The funny thing- I wrote this post one year ago and hesitated to post it all year long because I was still trying to understand this concept entirely myself. I did, however, see my ‘angel signs’ pop up surrounding this topic this week so I felt like now is a better time if ever to share my thoughts on this film and how it helped to shift my perspective.
MOTHERHOOD IS HARD
(and sometimes really sucks. period. and sometimes its great. and sometimes theres no way to explain it other than a thing you do everyday because your intuition tells you to.)
I think we can all agree- Motherhood is hard no matter who you are. There are peaks and valleys and most of us drag our shit through it all, disheveled and a hot mess- but we make it, mascara and chapstick… or not.
Recently I have been doing a lot of self reflecting and until this film, I was living what I call the “motherhood” life…
What exactly is “the motherhood life”?
I’d say it’s not being myself or doing what makes me happy– more so doing what makes everyone else around me happy and making sure my kids are alive and fed…motherhood.
YOU ARE NOT THE LOYAL DOG AT THE DOOR SO STOP ACTING LIKE ONE
It all came down to a realization for me from an event that merged into a convo with my now husband (then boyfriend) about 9 years ago.
If I could explain it in any visual- it would be a memory I have from a conversation about how I felt like the dog at the door thats so happy to see their owner but the owner is just too tired and to busy to have a dog. That is a convo in our relationship we have to keep tabs on to make sure we’re always accounting for the other’s perspective.
He is + always has been in the military during our relationship and that job (along with many others) can do some real ware and tare on your relationships and mental health if you don’t mind-it. “IT” being everything involved in your life the minute you enter the front doors of your home.
I used to get so upset with him- and then myself.
Mad at him for not bringing me home some flowers when I’ve texted him that I had a bad day and then mad at myself for previously telling him that I hated getting spontaneous flowers. When I really just mean that financially, we can’t afford “that” type of love language…but how do you even say that?
Here are some scenario’s I used vs. what I could have said to get the end result I was actually hoping deep down. (after all- how is he supposed to know if I don’t tell him?)
WHY ITS IMPORTANT TO HAVE REAL CONVOS
|What I said:||“Flowers are such a waste of money I hate them”|
|What I meant:||“Our finances are a bit strapped right now and we could probably use that money and do xyz…”|
|What I really want:||“Omg babe! I was having such a shitty day but these flowers totally changed my mood”|
The difference between the different conversations above is perspective. Each statement stands from a different pair of shoes- a different frame of mind for a hopeful outcome.
If I had to give you a visual- you know how when you get home from a long day your dog is at the door before you even park the car and can’t wait to lick your sweaty feet you’ve been working hard all day on.
That’s my love language- that attraction and love drug vibe. And when I don’t feel it- internally it feels like I’m the dog at the door wagging my tail and just wanting to hear one “you’re such a good girl” after doing the dishes and then maybe a little pat on the belly- or even better a shoulder massage. But for real tho…
NEW HAPPINESS VS. THE OLD
Here we are 10 years into our future and I’m challenging my own thoughts about what will make me happy today vs. me many years ago.
Honestly, the repetition of the motherhood lifestyle I had grown accustomed to got me thinking – “What happens to a human if + when they loose themselves?” and no matter which perspective I looked at it from, I believed that more than likely loosing myself meant walking in front of trash trucks and veering off roads….like in the film BIRDBOX.
That’s just not me.
I was a part time ride-share driver about to loose my license any day from a list of unreasonable tickets I got in the bay area and I had found myself at the wheel (many times) in total frustration over something where I get to a literal boiling point.
Have you ever been there? If not- here’s a descriptive for visual interpretation…
Cheeks red, blood boiling and arms locked on the steering wheel. Eyes welled up with tears you can’t keep back, making it hard to see. Foot on the gas. At any given moment, everyones life in that space can be changed…that’s what my most manic depression and anxiety felt like.
I realized in that manic moment I had a choice.
Everyday we have a choice to steer straight or forever change our path; each choice with its own growth and consequences. After all- lessons are the true consequence of our epic failures. Every single day we have a personal choice to live and tell our story or crash and end it all .
That simple line between the two is all I needed. That’s what you call perspective.
That hairline of perspective makes all the difference when you’re thinking you’re at the end of your rope. At that point is when you tie a knot and hang the fuck on.
LETS HIT PLAY…
Spoiler alert! If you haven’t seen the Netflix Original, BIRDBOX, you’ll either want to stop here and go watch it or continue on to where I totally spoil the movie for you. (heads up)
THE NETFLIX ORIGINAL FILM: BIRDBOX
This is not a film review buy the way- this is simply my take on how this film helped me remove the own blindfold from my eyes.
At this point I will assume if you continue reading on then you have seen the movie. I also want to note that these images were screen-captured from the original Netflix film, Birdbox and do not belong to me.
WHAT HAPPENS FIRST
Let’s skip all the fluff and get right to it- I want to cut to a point in the film that totally got me. A point in the movie that everything went from “we’ll get through this” to “we’re fucked”.
Sandra Bullock and her sisters character in the film are trying to make their way out of the city- her sister at the wheel.
As an iPhone rings in the back seat -Sandra’s character reaches to the rear seat in search of the ringing phone, her sister see’s “something” and screams…
“What the fuck was that?!?”.
Her eyes well up with tears and her arms lock on the wheel.
She’s going for it…
A CHANGE IN THE AIR
That is the moment that gives me goosebumps. The moment in that film where the energy flows from “lets do this” to “I can’t do this anymore”.
If you’re a mom, you may have reached that point once (or fifty times) before. And if you haven’t, then consider yourself to be one of the lucky ones because feeling that low-low is not something to boast about. Only the strong survive and that brings me back to the movie.
If I can pull anything from this scene, the fact that she keeps going even though she has no idea what is happening captivates me and I want to dig into that a bit. Because if you’ve seen the movie, then you know that Sandra’s character is pregnant. That mother instinct is so strong guys I just have to shine a light on it real quick.
Her sisters arms lock and she turns the wheel weaving in and out of traffic dodging cars and pedestrians until she finally side swipes a parked car that throws their car into a barrel roll and lands onto its roof.
It quiets down for a brief moment before her sister climbs out of the car, takes one look back at Sandra Bullock’s character and then takes two steps forward in front of a trash truck.
And just like that, she’s gone. Her story ends.
Despite just having seen her sister leap to her death, she climbs out of the car and keeps going. She never looks back.
This fraction of a second of the film is important.
What I want to shine a light on is that brief moment between “let’s do this” and “I can’t do this anymore”.
If you noticed…it shifts from a “we” to “me”.
WHAT MOTIVATES ME
For me, my motivator is my kids- I know there is so much left to show them and I want to be the one to hold their hand through it all. My tribe is what makes me feel like “me” and I always have the end goal in mind to get my family back together one day.
I have my mom, my kids, my husband, my siblings. I have people within arms reach that will catch me and I know because I’ve fallen many times before.
You see, I have my own secrets and demons but instead of letting it consume me- I use it.
My name is Angela and I am an addict. I am addicted to feeling good. No hangovers, no withdrawals, no breakups or heart aches. No yelling or screaming. I seek to feel good all the time at all costs.
WHAT HAPPENED TO ME
When I was 16 I had a spinal cord injury from a sports related accident. At that age most girls were planning their sweet sixteen, but I was planning my physical therapy and psychiatry appointments.
When I was 25 I woke up from an 8-hour spinal fusion that consumed me. It put my life on pause and caused me to face every facet of my life I had avoided for over a decade.
I was addicted to pain medication. I was exposed.
What I realized was the separation between people that get to that point of “I just can’t go anymore” and the ones that pull through.
Was it a matter of keeping the blindfold on? Or taking it off?
REGARDLESS, LIFE IS HARD
I think we can all agree on one thing, life is fucking hard and as one of my friends always says “only the strong will survive” and that is the part I tend to stand in the way of…you know…when you go from strong to weak.
If you were strong once can’t you be strong again? That’s the idea…
So, what’s the deal with this birdbox + blindfold thing?…lets zoom in on that for a sec…
In the film, what makes you kill yourself is a type of demonic energy that consumes you and leads you to go and kill yourself. You can’t see a physical shape but you can sense a definite darkness that raises the hairs on your neck.
AVOIDING THE ENEMY
To avoid being consumed by this demonic energy that ultimately leads you to suicide- you must shield your vision from seeing the darkness by relying on your intuition.
Queue blindfold and song birds…
The blindfold to shield your vision and the birds to warn you of the enemy.
If I had to draw parallels (and I will) from the two I’d say that the birds are your intuition and the blindfold is your faith. The two go hand in hand whether you are religious, spiritual or an atheist. Deep down inside is a faith that your intuition feeds into and the blindfold is what keeps your belief alive.
Everyone is a little naive.
THE CHANGE IN THE PATH
There is a pivotal moment in the film where Sandra hears something on the radio. They tell her that they’ve created a safe camp down the river. They tell her to listen for the birds and advise her that she will get to a peak in the rapids where one person will have to sacrifice their blindfold and look.
She loads her tribe in a small boat and heads down the river…remember, one person must look…
I can tell you- my freaking heart was racing at this moment.
I know that feeling of being in control without any actual control- it’s a mind game you have to see your way out of.
You can give into the negative voices in your ear trying to steer you in the wrong direction or you can pull your blindfold on tight and go with the ebb and flow of life.
She could have made someone take off their blindfold- shit she could have taken off her own blindfold, but she trusted her intuition and spoke louder than the voices in her ear.
Despite what you’ve been through, what path you’ve had to carve out for your tribe or what demons whisper rotten nothings in your ear- trust your gut. Know that your gut is your song birds warding off the evil that seeks to destroy what you see to be beautiful.
At the end of that rapid is a garden full of butterflies + songbirds. (And if you’re afraid of the two- then cotton candy and unicorns…)
Don’t follow the light; be the light that your children will follow.
Challenge + constantly think for yourself by deciding what is more important…knowing which berry is delicious or knowing which berry is poisonous..which mushroom will taste good and which mushroom will take you on a trip of your life.
Perspective is everything.
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For the past year I’ve been avoiding a really important conversation with my internet friends. The conversation about what the fuck has been going on with me…the dynamic in my family, my marriage… What has been going on with the moves, the traumas I keep referring to…all the things. It’s about time I stop running from all these traumatic experiences and start facing them head on so I’ve decided to do it with you guys on my blog 🙂 because…why not…
I have really come to believe that I can reach a lot more people by sharing my real-time experience than I ever could recording it and spending countless hours editing and posting. I want to be authentic with you guys and being bipolar makes it hard to turn on the switch that gets me to open up. I have to be in “that mood”. For example…even writing this post right now. It’s 11:45 pm on a Saturday night and literally everyone is in bed accept me. I couldn’t sleep even if i tried to because the loads of anxiety from not talking about whats in my head and on my heart would keep me up all night.
I’ve decided I’ll be putting myself through a “public therapy process” where I utilize my Life Book and the tools I’ve learned over the last two decades to help build a solid and supportive community that cultivates genuine relationships though the internet.
I feel the pull to document the process of creating this book. Blogging about my personal life so that users can use my story as a testimony and case study as they process their layouts and work through their personal growth.
An important aspect of documenting the process is making sure that I write when it’s fresh on my mind. When the tears are full in my eyes. When I can feel the emotional work being done through every keyboard tap. Times like now are the ones I want to look back and see how far I’ve come.
THIS TIME LAST YEAR...
Last year I wrote this post that you can read after this one lol….[ A “letter to my husband”] that was not really a letter to him, but more so a letter to myself working through my intentions. It was me saying “we’re gonna do this”.
Do you guys ever do that? Write a letter that you never give someone? I’ve been doing it since I was a kid 🙂
Anyway, I set out to plan a day date with my husband doing things that would give us an opportunity to talk, smile and flirt..because none of that had happened in a really long time. People would say shit like “you guys just need to make time for each other” so this was my attempt. What I didn’t realize was that even if we carved out special time, that time spent together could be miserable. And you either get that or you don’t. It is possible to love the shit out of someone but have nothing to “chat” about when you’re in each others company….we just hadn’t learned as a couple how to navigate that stage and we both took everything so personal.
So back to that day date…sorry I go off on tangents pretty frequently.
The only problem with taking off to San Francisco for the day was that we didn’t have a babysitter for Charly Rae so our options were pretty slim… We could cancel the entire day date or we could take her with us.
All things considered, like- my anxiety levels, the tension around my husband, I felt like he didn’t sense any of it and thought it was a good idea to take her with us…so we took her with us. An instant regret for me.
The day instantly shifted for me on the car drive there. My anxiety was at its peak and in that moment I felt the dread of the date come over me because I knew it was no longer about us. That conversation was never going to happen.
When I look back and read that post, at first I was embarrassed because I felt like a young fool- saying shit about us forgetting how to be friends and if only we could get on that same chapter we could figure it out. Little did I know, our issues had nothing to do with our compatibility or our love for each other. Our real problem was that we sucked hard at life. Don’t get me wrong, we are both pretty book smart and street smart but when it comes to “adulting”…like paying the bills on time and getting gas before the light turns on, we have always been a little shitty at that. (one of my core limiting beliefs)
To make a really long story short, one unspoken issue lead to another…and before we knew it we were both pointing fingers at each other in total blame and shame while also both standing there guilty.
The overall vibe of our family felt really broken and unmotivated so we began to discuss what it would look like if we lived apart. If we “took a break”.
In the beginning we were both really taken back and offended by the idea. What in the world does taking a break even look like? Is it a straight up hall-pass? Is it a time to be alone? Or the complete opposite…a time to endulge in intense therapy and group counseling practices?
Whatever the right answer, it didn’t matter because we were a few short weeks away from a really long deployment. The longest and most distant deployment by-far.
We got in a verbal argument- I feel like we usually don’t remember what it’s about but the only reason I remember what it was about was because it had everything to do with Box of Knots, believe it or not. And just so that I never forget how far we’ve come, I did want to write about it really quickly, because there was a time where all of this almost went entirely in the trash can. #truestory
It’s been a year since I wrote that post and a whole lot of destruction, fighting, anger, backlash, loneliness and healing has happened. It’s been one of those experiences I could have never guessed so I wanted to write about what the last year has been like, so I can measure in the future how far we’ve come.
The post I wrote mirrored my fear that I had to talk to my spouse. It was almost as traumatizing as asking my dad something as a kid I knew he could possibly shoot down.
I realized that I had projected my dad onto my spouse, and it put me in a hard place to communicate openly.
“You’re acting just like my dad does” became a usual phrase I didn’t hesitate to spew out but would instantly regret.
Has that ever happened to you? You almost see something coming out of your mouth before you hear it? And then instantly wish you could suck those words back up as quickly as you said them…that was totally me. And I absolutely hated that about myself.
LONG STORY SHORT...
We never had that time alone together. We never had those extremely necessary conversations. We never asked each other the hard questions for goal setting, we just focused on the seemingly hard questions that would slowly break apart the other.
I had the idea in my head that maybe it was the kids that “was the problem” and maybe we needed to approach it entirely different than we had been all along.
It wasn’t the kids. It wasn’t the location we needed to speak in. It was us.
We were the problem.
Learning that was a really humbling experience because I feel like once you learn that the problem is you then you’re able to surface the willpower to finally ask those hard questions.
We asked each other the real important questions. The ones that really mattered and theres one thing that we didn’t do. We didn’t run. We didn’t assume that turning our backs would make the problem go away because we were both realistic about discovering each others expectations.
YOUR STORY WON'T LOOK LIKE ANYONE ELSES'
When asking all the hard questions I can’t stress how important it is to be realistic and live in a realistic headspace. When you look at the way the world is and how quickly couples jump to divorce theres one thing that really pops in my head of why it could possibly fail…and that answer for me was because people don’t see the pretty picture they “signed up for” and they give up and move on.
If you’re my kinda people- our stories will always stick out. We will always be out of the norm and try just because…
So what we decided to do was to separate during deployment. It’s probably been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but I also moved away to another state with my family. I put some physical distance between us and moved to a city we could afford, because stress and money was one of our marital issues along with lists of other trauma rooted issues.
Although it’s been a year since I set out to have “that talk” with him, I can say that the talk did happen last month in the most organic way possible and it really showed me a reflection of how the universe was working for me.
He called one day for what I thought was a convo to talk to the kids (we were getting a divorce at that time) I just remember him being really kind, almost overtly to the point where he could sense that I was unsure of his insincerity. He waited for the perfect pause and was the first to say “I miss you”…and to be honest guys…my strong and resilient self broke into tears.
It was one of those things I needed to hear at that moment, on that day when my heart was ready for his apology. When I could feel the sincerity over the phone and it was the first spark in what will be a new adventure for us because we’re not picking back up where we left off..we’re starting off fresh and new with each other and I think that will be best for us both in the growth and bond stages. We are both really looking forward to seeing what being a family looks like for us now- 6 months after I’ve poured my heart and soul into blooming into the person I am today.
We’re in that final count-down sage of the last few weeks so I’ll be sharing lots of feels and vibes along the way. I know that my life is not perfect and if even one person can relate, then I know I’m serving even a tiny bit of my purpose.
Love you guys! Sending you all the good vibes 🙂
You don’t know it yet, but we’re about to be best friends.
Not because we have something in common, or because we’ve survived some sort of trauma and have come out stronger on the other end for it. We wont be friends because of any of that. Our friendship merely exists on these simple terms…
I’m here if you need me.
On that note- you might hate me already and can’t find out how to X-out or swipe fast enough….
If you’re still here…
then I’m assuming you’re here to be that friend back for me.
The friend that listens.
The friend that doesn’t judge.
The friend that laughs at jokes (and not at people).
The friend that encourages instead of gossips.
The friend that can take some time away without explanation, yet return like nothing ever happened.
If thats you. (also me) then you’re at the right place!
Keep reading friend 🙂
NEW TO BOX OF KNOTS?
If you’re new to my blog, my website, instagram- the whole “box of knots thing”…then you might not know that I’m married and my husband is currently deployed for what will be the longest time apart we’ve ever had- 6 months.
Before he left we decided on civil terms that it would be best if we separated during this deployment (as if the deployment is not enough) and I moved with my mom and the kids to Las Vegas, where we could afford to have a home big enough to house a studio space so I can follow my artsy dreams.
Its been five months since we moved into this house and I don’t know what it is guys- but the air has been funky and I’m at a stage where I feel like I need to document it like I usually do- blog style.
Its been a long time since I’ve gotten back into adding regular content to my website but the more my following increases the more pressured and stressed I feel to make sure I’m double posting my content onto my own site (incase instagram or youtube take a shit) Its important to me to have my separate space where I’m able to make the rules and also provide a space for other creatives to share on my platform.
Since I’m rambling on- let me just go ahead and dive in.
MY THOUGHTS LATELY
I’m not quite sure how to say, express or explain the orchestra of anxiety and emotional sabotage I’ve been stomaching for some time now (emotional sabotage is a thing right?)
I figured I could attempt to write it down and see if other friends can relate. Connecting with my people and being able to vibe on our truths has been the best form of self-care for me lately.
I’ve always felt like my entire marriage I’ve had this role to fill. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Okay, duh…being a spouse is a role but I have always struggled with the intimidation to “be the best” at the whole wife thing. I didn’t realize until I watched my marriage fall apart that we had treated it like a business deal. I had in some sense become an employee to my household and lost touch with my purpose over such a small amount of time.
When my son was born, I was more scared than I had ever been in my life. I squeezed the railing of the hospital bed so tight, pushing as hard as I could, praying through my teeth that this baby make it through the delivery as his heart rate dropped and the umbilical cord wrapped around his purple neck.
Have you ever had a doctor tell you to stop pushing?!? Omg ladies it’s likeeee….trying to keep a turd from coming out when you’ve fully committed. It’s just coming and there is nothing you (or any nurse in Whittier Pres) can do LMAO. Sorry- had to lighten the mood a little with some poop humor. Cause if you can’t laugh about shit- then….you ain’t shit.
Ok soooo…back to the serious part.
I repeated to myself what felt like a million times, “God if you just let him live I swear on his life I will do whatever to fulfill the purpose you have for him”. I said that over-and-over like a mantra in my head until I believed it into existence. “I will do whatever to fulfill the purpose you have for him”….”for him..” And he was here.
At that moment I realized that you could love someone you’ve never met. You could fight for someone you don’t know. You could push yourself to limits you weren’t even aware of.
I forgot to mention that his father was by my side the entire delivery…about 4 feet away from my bedside, on top of the table, on the Skype window that blinked from my duct taped MacBook laptop that I had barely linked to the wifi in time for the delivery.
It was definitely not your average delivery- but one of those classic Ange – “Live in the Solution” moments and it worked for me.
From that moment I knew my new role was mom, and it would be the most important role of my life. What I didn’t know was the way motherhood would change me, how it would bring out both the best and the worst.
Box of Knots was created late one winter night in one of my low-lows. My manic depression wasn’t yet diagnosed but it felt like I was living in a shell of myself. I turned to my blog and would spend hours writing things that I’d never post. To some that might seem like a great waste of time- for me it was healing. It was a process to write down my traumas and diagnose them in a way my words would help you feel the pain vs try to explain what I had experienced. I found a love hate with writing and language and public speaking and manifested an alternative way for that once so-shy girl the chance to say all those things she felt she needed to say.
For almost 6-years now I’ve used Box of Knots to help undiscover who I always was by simply listening to myself. All it took was me seeing me. And to be honest guys- I think thats a huge issue in society period. We don’t see what is really there- we see twisted versions of everything our mind chooses not to deal with.
THE LIFE BOOK
And to make a really long story short- that is why I created the Life Book…I am convinced that there is a way for everyone to deal with their shit and this is my way. I know it’s my purpose to share what I’ve discovered with anyone that has the willpower to show up in my Life Book program.
I’ll be honest- this is the first group that I’m openly working with but it is not the first group I’ve ever worked with. I have experience over the last year working with those who had signed up for the Life Book: Pilot Edition- a very small 35 paged book I launched when I began.
My hope is to continue to show up for those like the Life Book has shown up for me so I can be a living example of all the ways the Life Book can be helpful regardless of your career, health or destiny.
I am really looking forward to this journey with you guys!
If you’ve already signed up, thank you so much for the support! If you missed the cutoff, no worries friend, I’ll be announcing preorders soon!
- wooden spatula
- blue play-dough
- white play-dough
- red pipe cleaners
- hot glue gun
- popsicle sticks
- googly eyes
- white paint (if your spatula is wood)
I see you sitting there with your phone in one hand, baby balanced in the other off the tip of your hip, yet you never loose your shit.
I see you fucking with your makeup at drop off in the rear view mirror because you’ve just now realized you forgot to brush your teeth but somehow managed to make sure everyone else brushed theirs. (They did right?)
I see you cursing yourself at the checkout because you forgot ALL the grocery bags inside the car- but to run to the car with the kids, come back and load up is more of a hassle so you swallow that change you’ve just wasted on bags to be greeted by them when you load up. I see you mama.
What I don’t see is someone loving on you back. Someone filling up your cup the way you do, making sure you ate your cup of veggies a day and took some time to do some self care and self love.
THOSE are the moments we need more of and I feel like it can be one of the taboo things to talk about sometimes but I’m here to talk about it on my blog and my new Youtube channel, Knotty Family TV .
Sticking to societies schedule is fucking hard and it takes a smart and strong person to see that there is growth in the structure, but also know that with every big task, comes a learning process you only reach after climbing the hill (and the hill ain’t easy.)
During that time on your journey you are exposed and vulnerable, but the good thing, you have all the space to fuck up, because you will. Not once, not even three times. But you will fuck up in your life multiple times a day, for the rest of your life in the smallest (and sometimes biggest) ways possible to just be ready for it.
You can choose to focus on “the shit”. Or you can take the deepest breathe you’ve ever taken and exhale the negative out of your life one deep breathe at a time.
Its as simple as that. And with each exhale comes relief. And with each inhale comes growth. It is a process though, so it takes time and consistency to reach a comfortable point in your life.
I am deeply rooted in the growth phase of my life right now and want to make sure that I share little snippets of what it has meant for me to grow as a person, a mother, a daughter and a partner.
Sometimes that simply means to slow the fuck down. Stop what I’m doing, grab my babies and squeeze them until that love is felt so deep they don’t want you to let go. When you can get one of those hugs out of your kids, thats when you know, that they know, that mama is finally happy.
If you can take one small thing, phrase, word- whatever from this post it would be something my coach recently said on one of her instagram Live videos but she said this…
“If you focus on the shit in your life, that shit is going to grow”.
And its as simple as that guys. We have the power to choose the outcome of our life based on the hard work that you put into it. I did the ride-and-grind thing here in the Bay Area for 1 full year driving for ride-share companies that did a great job helping me feel like I was contributing to my family but I was essentially making myself so unavailable to my own children by trying to “provide” on societies terms.
And that’s where I ‘ve really fed into the mom guilt, marriage issues and tried to avoid all the shame attached to hard working mothers that we don’t deserve in the first place.
So that’s where this new plan came into place and the reason why we are really moving to Las Vegas and how that idea even came into the picture- it was something as simple as a realization. I had finally realized, if I was willing to sacrifice anything for my husbands career, why wouldn’t I make the same sacrifice for my children and I to have a happy and enjoyable life where I can actually be home with them?
There will and is always the most fulfilling part of that choice to choose to slow down but I do catch myself from time to time missing the struggle bus in the morning and not being able to catch up- and that’s the part that bothers me most.
I hope to keep these thought drops ‘sweet’, kinda-short and interesting so I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into what I’ve got going on this week.
P.S. keep an eye out for Knotty Fam on youtube coming super soon!
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Living on the Edge
I thought I heard someone coming down the hallway until I paused and realized it was my own heart beat pounding inside my chest. With every thump I perceived the image of what my brain believed before my body could understand no one is walking down that hallway. It’s just me.
That part about humans intrigues me- it always has. The fact that we can be so mechanical and symptomatic, yet we don’t always read the signs right away or even right at all.
It sparked something inside me and gave me a new perspective I want to share with my readers.
Our bodies belong to us, yet can sometimes feel like a dungeon or small hell hole because there is no magic switch to change bodies or transform you into a superhuman.
The only way I could possibly understand what is going on inside is by pausing, and jumping on a deep breathe (inside my mind) that I follow down my throat, deep in my lungs and into my bloodstream.
I imagine passing by each organ, gently vibrating on the ones that need love and tend to the others like a garden, rinsing and watering toxins with each breathe.
This is how I cleanse my body from the inside out- with my imagination…you know that thing we used to use on the daily when we were kids…that thing can be more powerful than you could ever imagine.
Getting back in tune with my imagination is something I had to relearn during my spinal fusion surgery recovery and I want to share a story with you guys about how I got to that point of mental, emotional + physical healing by digging deep within.
Meet Aunty Rosa
Today would have been my aunts 50th birthday if she were still here.
If she were here on earth, I think she’d be sitting on a beach somewhere sipping the sweetest + strongest drink she could get her hands on. She probably rub raw baby oil on her tan skin and insist “that’s how us Cali girls get our tans” and would joke about how she is finally over the hill but doesn’t look like it….not to mention it’s a Saturday and weed is legal here ✌? we’d be besties.
But in reality…She wouldn’t slow down, she wouldn’t hit pause, she wouldn’t look in the mirror and look at her life from a different perspective. She dug her heels deep into her beliefs and wasn’t open to changing into what the world wanted her to be. She felt judged and different and wasn’t scared to be on her own. She pushed people away while she pulled other people close. And to those few I am grateful. ? thinking of my aunt today and all her death has taught me.
How perspective has proven to be an essential tool in my arsenal of life-skills. How proud I am to have been her only niece and how scared I was to admit how alike I was to her..how alike I AM. I think that today if she were alive she would be happy and free. She would be schooling me on all the mistakes I have made + show me the way to a happiness beyond myself.
I’m still not even clear honestly on how she passed because some dots just don’t connect for me in the bigger picture but the reality of her being gone keeps my focus on the things I can learn from her vs. all the things in her life I can use against her.
In all honesty…she was a recovering alcoholic battling mental health issues, probably bi-polar disorder, as it runs on the female side of my family (go-figure). She held the role of a single mother, a pariah and dedicated worker. She figured shit out on her own terms unapologetically while never really figuring out anything.
That last part sticks for me…she never figured it out…
What did she miss? What wasn’t she doing that she could have to save herself from the downward spiral she went on? I found myself thinking about that so much that it effected me. It felt like a burden I would carry for the rest of my life. A secret key to her life I could only find if I went on my own healing journey.
That year she died in her smokey one bedroom apartment laying on her back untouched by the fire other than a few singed hairs from the heat. She looked asleep and for whatever reason did not make it out before the smoke got to her.
I remember that morning. I was living on the east coast with my husband working for a small publishing company. I was editing a photo of a bird and I was totally in the zone, totally unaware.
My phone vibrated with a text message from my mom that read something along the lines of “I don’t know what’s going on but aunty rosas apartment is on fire and no one has seen her”.
Guys it felt like my heart exploded in my chest. It seeped into every crevice of my soul and it stayed there. I knew instantly- she had to be in there and there was no possible way she could survive what I was already googling at my fingertips.
I can’t describe how helpless I felt sitting in that New Jersey office staring at the screen that spoke louder to my consciousness and screamed “she’s fucking in there!”. There wasn’t a fire department I didn’t call or a friend I didn’t reach out to. In that moment I had wished I was home. I had wished I could undo my own life just so I could be in California a day or two previous and save her.
How? How can something that happened to someone else make me totally destroy my own existence in a matter of seconds? I couldn’t possibly do anything other than I already had.
You see, we had a falling out and she had cut everyone off from the family and moved a few cities away. Meanwhile, I got pregnant, married my husband and moved away. I started my own life and felt like that drama had no longer applied to me so I reached out to her to mend what was left.
That phone call was all tears. And if you knew my aunt you know she cries when she’s happy. She cried when my cousin got his drivers license, she cried on our graduation and I remember she cried on our first day of college. She cried out of joy which can tell you she was a really emotional person.
I have vivid memories going to the beach on the weekend in her 90s red convertible, top down and us kids in the back with our boogie boards over our heads trying to block the flow of wind while also slightly embarrassed. She’d bump Tupac + Biggie down Beach Blvd already in her bikini down that 25 minute drive.
We’d get to the beach and set up camp near a life guard tower we’d remember because she wasn’t at the beach to play with the kids. She’d set up her chair, slap some fresh baby oil on her already perfectly tanned skin, toss a towel over her face and zone out to TLC as she tapped her red finger nails to “don’t go chasing waterfalls”.
We’d play in the water for hours, always looking up to make sure we hadn’t drifted too far from the life guard tower. Trust me…you didn’t want to be the one that got “lost” or you would hear about it the entire drive back.
Those are my memories of her- at least the good ones. Those are the times I believe she must have been happy. She must have felt the most like herself. Fast forward 15 years, what happened?
I have speculated for the last 3 years that her death was a suicide. Maybe she didn’t want to make it out. Maybe she was done. Maybe she had a really bad fucking day.
That year she died my life changed. I got sick. Then I scheduled my spinal fusion. I found out I was pregnant and then I was given the choice of what to do next…
If there was ever a time in my life to need my aunt, this was it. I had to make a really hard decision that year. To terminate my 4 week pregnancy and have an immediate 3 level spinal fusion with 2 disc implants in my lumbar right where that baby had just been.
Initially, I thought- God is trying to tell me something I couldn’t understand. I fought with it and struggled to be okay with my choice to choose the quality of my life over the creation of a new one. I went to therapy, I turned to my pain medication to numb pain only my emotions could heal. I got lost in what my life was supposed to look like vs. what is actually was and I had a realization. I am following in her path and I need to make a pivot.
I can‘ tell you the exact moment I had that realization but I know that I have always felt like her daughter in one way or another. A few conversations deep with my therapist gave me the epiphany that maybe she struggled with what I struggle with. Maybe she feels like me on the inside and maybe she didn’t know how to cope with the mountains of emotion + energy she’d absorb over the years.
So I turned inward. Over the last year I would pick a memory of her and dissect it. Try to remember why she ruined Christmas or always had to talk shit out the side of her neck when something didn’t go her way. I tried to have perspective.
I can tell you- it was like all broken pieces of my heart that had melted deep into my soul had started to mend back together. With each scenario I played through, I’d put myself in her shoes and try to understand, “what could she have been feeling or not feeling?”
The only thing I could think of was serenity. She couldn’t get a handle on that part.
You know that prayer mantra- “The Serenity Prayer”…”God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
I wondered if maybe she had given up on all the rest and just focused on the serene part. She threw away her courage to change, she lacked wisdom to accept the differences. She wanted the serenity more than anything and I can totally resonate with that.
I’ve never had this conversation with my spouse, but I wrote it in my Life Book, my second pregnancy and first child loss, I’d name her Serenity and recognize her as a person and not just a moment in my life I had to make a choice or an embryo that got lucky.
The moment I became aware was the moment my eyes opened to all that had fallen into the gray area. I detoxed from my pain meds, I focused on my health and I started to process each emotion on a real level. I’d welcome sadness with a hello and see where it was wanting to go, and then I’d kindly walk it out the same door and name it kindness.
Over a year of repetitive interpretation of what I was feeling, I was able to recognize the sources of my pain and heal them.
The one thing wish, is that I could have been able to teach this imaginative life-skill to my aunt, because I think it could have worked for her.
On another note, what did work for her was reaching out to people that understood her. Tuning out those that wished ill and giving her heart to those that saw the good in her.
I never got to say thank you. But if I could…I would thank her boyfriend at that time. I met him at the funeral with a handshake and sat near him while her children spoke of her and I just starred at him. I never knew him before that day but I knew one thing…he had come back into her life after many years and she had found a piece of herself I hadn’t seen in a long time. I truly feel that those last tears I heard on the phone with her weren’t only because she was so happy to hear my voice. The more I look at it, her heart was full and she had only one way to express that- by truly being overcome and filled to the point of tears and laughter.
I am so fucking grateful to have the wisdom to know the difference and the perspective to share what I’ve learned by walking in someone else’s shoes. Even if its only for a memory.
I found out 2 years after she died that I was pregnant again, unexpectedly in one of the worst years of my marriage. It was the most painful and complicated pregnancy, but the birth came almost as fast as my aunt went. I held her in my arms and cried tears of joy, I remember gasping for air as if she took my breathe away.
I named her Charly Rae.
We went back and forth a lot on the names. My aunts name was Rosemary but Charly Rose sounded more like a porn-star. I settled on Rae as in “a ray of sunshine” and decided to honor the spelling of her name after my aunts boyfriend, Charly. Who I am forever grateful to for coming back into her life and allowing her to die as herself. Helping her feel and process emotions and love that would make her feel the serenity and thrill she had been seeking her whole life as she’d ride on the back of his Harley.
I am grateful that he had the compassion within to reconnect with her and allow her to be herself. I strive for that connection everyday and am trying to merge that into my marriage. Where we see each other for who we were and not what we have become…
I definitely think about her every day. Any time I have a bad thought I think of how her death has effected my family and I go the other way.
I wish she were here to meet my children and I wish we hadn’t been fighting so she could have attended my wedding. But a wish is a wish.
The reality is that I have to and every moment to look forward to and my intention is to fill it with the people and emotions that I love.
Remembering my aunt for all that she was and all that she dreamed of being today.
With all that being said- if you love someone- fucking tell them!
➰ Dear Mr Trump ➰
I wanted to share HOW SAD it has been today reading all my friends posts about the fact that we will not be getting a paycheck and the reality that you don’t see how messed up it is not to pay a branch of the military that guards the coast every single day.
To share a bit of my own story- we are stationed in the most expensive city- the San Francisco Bay Area. Because of this economy, we have not qualified for food stamps or WIC since we moved here- and I can assure you, militarily families need that extra assistance, especially when our spouses are deployed. (you know- those unnecessary port calls…)
My husband deploys in less than a week and will not leave with a dime in the bank (unless change is made) so he can get the supplies he usually takes with him. Not only that- but he won’t be spending his time with me because I will be in my car…driving.
I happen to drive for #uber and have the capability to jump in my car and make quick money- but what about all the thousands of spouses who cannot do this?
This is so UN-American and it has absolutely nothing to do with being democrat or republican Mr. Trump.
Know that we see you and we hear you loud and clear- you. do. not. care.