This is What 36 looks like

Today is my Life Day.

36 years on this earth.

432 months lived.

1877.14 weeks gone by.

315,360 hours spent.

18,921,600 minutes breathed.

1,135,296,000 seconds felt.

This is what 36 looks like for me.

_O9A0988_O9A0965_O9A1057

I was born with a spark, that lead my way. I had a creative flair that sometimes made it hard for me to focus on one thing. I wanted to try it all, and I wanted to see how well I could do things. I was outgoing, had little boundaries, and not an ounce of patience.

These past 36 years have brought me many great things, but also many great struggles. I made choices that at the time I thought were good, but turned out to shape my life very different from what was true and authentic to me. I pushed through as many do, head down, one day at a time. And even though my children brought me so much joy, I lost my spark.

For a very long time.

I listened to the people that treated me like I didn’t matter. I listened to the people telling me I needed to just choose the be happy and appreciate all that was given to me. I listened to the people that never gave me the benefit of the doubt. I listened to the people that abused me and made me feel like I was never good enough.

Until I stopped listening.

And now, today as I turn 36, I can tell you my spark has started again. Thanks to some amazing friends, partner, family and my own strength, I can look back and see how much I’ve healed, and how much I continue to heal. This road isn’t quite over, but there is a light at the end of it.

_O9A1149

So let me tell you some lessons I’ve learned along the way. In no particular order, but all just as important.

  • At some point, everyone should live on their own. It can be quite wonderful, your own space, sleeping sideways on your bed, silence, space to live in your own feelings and thoughts, and an independence that everyone should feel.
  • Dogs really are great companions. They are always happy to see you, and are perfect at snuggling up for a movie.
  • True friends run towards your fires, always. Not just when it is convenient for them. Get rid of the ones that don’t.
  • It’s ok to not be ok.
  • Encourage your children to travel, find themselves and be independent before worrying about settling down with someone.
  • When you share a bathroom with four children, locks are non existent and sometimes the tub has to be used as well to pee in.
  • Don’t ever think another person “completes you” or that you are “one”. You complete you, and you are one all on your own. Another person should just be an added bonus.
  • Women, you can and should leave a toxic and/or abusive relationship. You will be ok. Your kids will be ok. Trust me. Let me repeat that, you can and should leave a toxic and/or abusive relationship. You will survive. There is never a good enough excuse to stay.
  • Your children really do grow up too fast. It’s impossible to cherish every moment, but take a moment as much as you can to understand how blessed you are and how fleeting time is.
  • It is possible to survive on very little food during your week alone so that you can afford more for your kids.
  • You will always have mommy guilt, no matter what. Try to be kind to yourself.
  • The numbers on the toaster represent minutes.
  • There really are men out there that treat you like a queen. Don’t settle, ever.
  • Your children want your time, not things.
  • It is almost impossible to keep potted plants alive.
  • Stop buying spinach that sits in your fridge, goes bad, and then you have to throw it out.
  • Read as many books as possible. Read to your children, listen to your children read.
  • Your children will ask you how babies are made at the most awkward times.
  • Kindness is always the way.
  • Find your talent, and use it to give back/do good.
  • Aging is just a number. It means absolutely nothing.
  • Your body can actually survive for quite a long time without vegetables, but it is not recommended.
  • There is no family out there without their drama.
  • You actually pay more for jeans that have rips in them.
  • Meditate each day and take time to focus on your goals.
  • There is more to life then just getting by.
  • Some bowling lanes are warped from use, try not to use them it adds frustration.
  • Dance with your children. It doesn’t matter if you are not good at it, just dance.
  • Don’t make fun of your kids, you can so quickly break their soul when you do this.
  • Find yourself a guy that makes a big deal out of your birthday, not one that usually forgets it.
  • There is a thrill and huge sense of accomplishment as a woman when you can fix a clogged toilet or drain, flat tire, sliding door off the hinge, or broken furniture all by yourself.
  • When I’m trying to take self timed photos of myself, I am too busy to remember to smile and tend to purse my lips in almost every photo!
  • Make sure you love your tattoos, it hurts like hell to remove them.
  • If people believe lies that are being told about you without asking your side of the story, let them be, they aren’t worth your time anyways.
  • If you allow your children to take food to their room, at some point you will end up with a rotten smell filling the hallway, or maggots.
  • Everyone should do Yoga.
  • Never let someone silence your voice. Speak up.
  • If you own a business or are in the process of starting one, do something small every day for it.
  • The sun really is not your friend. If you spend your summers burnt, then make sure to be ok with embracing wrinkles and sun spots.
  • A rebound relationship hardly ever works out.
  • Sleeping with ear plugs might change your entire life.
  • If you have no patience, the universe will continually bring lessons into your life on patience.
  • Sometimes city hall is the best way to go.
  • It is important to always have a toque around in case you pushed the no hair wash a day too long and don’t have time to shower.
  • Bras are over rated.
  • Your children love looking at photos. Print them. Put them in an album. Frame them on your walls.
  • If someone is focused on money and having the best of everything, they are really lacking in their life. The big house, fancy car and toys don’t bring happiness.
  • Karma really is a thing.
  • Rash decisions will come back to bite you.
  • Be open to trying something new, you might be pleasantly surprised.
  • Tupawear drawers never stay clean.
  • There are many forms of abuse. Even though you are married, he does not own you or your body. You can say no. If he still takes after you say no, it is NOT OK.
  • It’s ok to love off the shoulder sweaters. Wear them without care, but remember when you bend forward there is a very large gap in the front.
  • Balayage is beautiful, but it will ruin your hair if not done properly,  and will then take years to grow out and get healthy hair again.
  • Starting and running your own business means you will always be hustling. But it can be the most rewarding experience to know that everything you accomplish is because of pure strength, talent, and not giving up.
  • If you are an emotional shopper, it is best to stay out of stores while going through a divorce.
  • You never miss your mom any less. Actually there are times each year you miss her more and would give anything to have her there with you. That feeling never changes.
  • Losing babies to miscarriage never leaves your soul.
  • It is best to just focus on your own life, it really doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing or accomplishing. And remember, you have no clue what it is like behind closed doors.
  • There are certain colors you just can’t wear. I love photographing mustard yellow on people, but if I wear it I am asked if I’m feeling ok.
  • Acne comes back in your thirtys thanks to hormones. Good luck.
  • What you see on Social Media is very rarely the entire picture, or truth.
  • Happiness is ALWAYS more important than stuff. You are not more successful because you have a big house and fancy car.
  • Throw out the ‘stuff’. Minimalism is the way to go.
  • Wear underwear under a dress on a windy day.
  • Your children prefer to see you happy and will notice it, and feel better if you are happy.
  • Find someone that really makes you laugh. This is one of the biggest things I  have learned actually. Being with someone that can get the real belly laughs, the constant chuckles and brings a smile easily to your face is worth everything.
  • Doing your laundry, leaving it in a pile on your bed and then starting to wear the clothes again because you don’t get around to hanging them up is normal.
  • If a woman starts posting inspirational quotes and is “revamping” herself, you might want to reach out and see if she is ok.
  • So many people are not in happy or healthy relationships.
  • Everyone should see a chiropractor.
  • When you have boys, there is a good chance you will either fall into the toilet late at night, or sit on pee, all the time.
  • If your rice crispies squares go stale, just put them in the microwave for a few seconds and they are just like new.
  • Avocado goes over ripe really fast. Like, they might be green at the store but by the time you get home they will be brown and mushy.
  • If your kids spill something on the carpet, they will do everything they can to hide it.
  • Your ex will tell everyone that you take all his money.  Some people will believe these lies, they aren’t your people. Try not to worry about the lies your ex tells. It really doesn’t matter.
  • Your children watch everything you do. EVERYTHING. Then they mimic you.
  • If you drop your contact lens on the floor of a plane and find it three hours later, you can actually put it back into solution and wear it again….although probably not recommended. (oops)
  • Make yourself todo lists, on paper so you can get the satisfaction of crossing off the things you accomplish. This is a very motivational thing. You will be surprised with how much you get done.
  • Your life is not over after divorce, actually it gets better.
  • Put your phone away as often as you can and be in the moment. Talk to people.
  • Do kind acts for others. Seeing them smile or knowing you helped someone is such a gratifying experience.
  • No matter how many times you tell your kids not to eat their boogers, they will still eat their boogers. It’s best not to watch.
  • Don’t try to talk/fight in the heat of the moment. You will say things you can never take back. Take the time to settle down so you can calmly talk through your problem.
  • Your kids will act like human radars and constantly tell you how fast (or slow) you are driving. They will also get great joy out of telling everyone that their mom drives like a race car driver.
  • You are never too old to start again
  • And one of the most important, it really doesn’t matter what others think of you or your situation. Because they really don’t care if you succeed or fail. Everyone is only worried about themselves and living their own life. So live yours however it makes you happy. Live yours so unabashedly for yourself that you fill your corners to the brim and joy spills out onto others.

 

_O9A1230

_O9A1196

Oh, and get yourself infront of the camera every once in awhile, it’s important to document yourself. You matter. You’re beautiful and deserve to have photographs to be remembered, at every stage of your life.

_O9A1180

Happy 12th

_O9A7656

_O9A7664

Happy life day, my beautiful soul. 12 years ago you gave me the best gift, becoming a mom. And in these past 12 years you have filled my heart and life with so much love, happiness and strength.

You are a smart and quiet boy, that is kind (except when wrestling with your siblings) and sweet to others. You have been so strong these past two years with everything we are going through, offering me hugs and back rubs when you think I am extra sad.

I love you more then everything my child. I look forward to many more birthdays with you…many more years filled with your smile and light.

P.S I’m glad that you don’t think you are too old yet for night time snuggles, as I cherish that time with you, even though you fart way too much and make my room stink!

Love,

Mom xox

Self Portrait # 11

IMG_0080.jpg

11 years a mom.

This boy. Eleven years have gone by since he made me the most terrified I’ve ever been in my life. I held him in my arms and realized, for the rest of my life, this little human would be mine. Somehow, I was supposed to feed him, love him, and keep him alive and out of danger. Some days, I couldn’t even do that for myself. What had I gotten myself into?

His first year was spend with him literally wrapped to me. If I released him from my grip, his lungs would fill and horrible screams would fill the air. So many nights were spent sitting in a rocking chair, singing to this crying creature snuggled into my chest. I don’t know how I survived sometimes. I made so many mistakes with him, but somehow, he has turned out the way he has.

Besides the odd headlock and punches thrown at his siblings, this is a good kid. He is kind, and sweet, and sensitive. He is smart, and helpful and great with younger kids. He is a joy. A beautiful soul. Unfortunately he inherited his mommas dance moves, but he makes up for that flaw in so many ways.

This boy makes me proud. This boy makes the hard days a little easier. This boy looked at me with a smile on his face, and told me he was thankful that I was happy again. That I was smiling, and singing, and dancing again. This boy stole my heart eleven years ago. He makes me a better person every day.

I love you, sweet boy of mine. Happy Life Day Eli.

Self Portrait #5

This is me.

I took this photo on my birthday, and what better way to document it then in my birthday suit. Thirty four years in the making:

  • I snort when I laugh really hard
  • I will break out in dance almost anywhere
  • I can’t sing, but I love to give car concerts
  • I am very stubborn and always willing to argue my point with you
  • Giving to others and making them feel loved/special makes me feel very happy
  • I adore my small tribe and would give the shirt off my back for them
  • My dad calls me a Jack of all Trades because I am always wanting to try and learn new things
  • My mom called me a wild child, hard to tame
  • I hate feet….people touching me with their feet makes me cringe
  • Don’t mess with my kids/nieces/nephew because the momma/auntie bear comes out and it’s not good
  • I have a moms voice that will scare a grown man into doing what I say
  • Chocolate is my favorite and I HATE sharing it with anyone, including my kids
  • I am impulsive, and sometimes regret my words and actions, but it’s too late
  • The ocean calls to me
  • I’m an empath, so feel too much, and am affected by other peoples energies
  • I love comfy clothes, better then anything else
  • I believe animals have souls
  • I care less and less what people think of me
  • I prefer to cut toxic people out of my life then keep them around and be fake
  • I wear my heart on my sleeve, and it often hurts me, but I prefer to see the best in people
  • Unicorn is my spirit animal
  • I usually prefer to stay in and read then go out and be social
  • I can trip over air and fall up the stairs like a pro
  • I am not a very good cook because I don’t like food…..vegetables are disgusting and should be banned
  • I’m finally realizing self love is important

This is me. I won’t apologize for any of it. Instead I’m learning to embrace it.

Happy Life day to me. May 34 teach me even more lessons then 33.