Sunday, November 3, 2013

Step Outside Of Your Box

Get there.

Diwali in India.

Performance I watched.

This too.

Salma, me and Parul...which one of these things is not like the other?

Just cuz I think it's funny.

This too.

I've never had trouble stepping or thinking outside of the box...I excel at that shit! I do however have a huge problem getting outside of the box I have created for myself. This blog isn't about doing things differently from everybody else, it about doing things that are different for you.

Last week a client and friend invited me to celebrate Diwali which is a festival of lights in India that is similar to our New Year's celebration except there is no meat or booze. When she first invited me, my immediate reaction was HELL no! Not because it sounded like a bad time, but because that would be a huge leap out of the tiny box I live in.

My life consists of working, working out and eating and thinking about working out and eating. After that, I go home, hang out with my cats and go to bed and do it again the next day. Somehow I am always surrounded by some controversy or rumors...if they only knew what my life was really like...the gossip mongers would be soooo disappointed. I am completely happy with my life over all. Some people love to go out and drink and be social and fill every waking moment with stuff and that's great if that's what makes them happy. I prefer a more streamlined approach. I only want a couple things on my plate and I want to give them my full attention. I get overwhelmed very easily and my shyness and social anxiety keep me tucked very carefully inside my cozy little box. I have no doubt that I have missed out on some amazing opportunities and experiences.On the flip side, I have missed a few things that turned out not to be so great. So maybe I'm breaking even??? Probably not.

I asked my friend if I would be sitting with her or a table full of strangers. She assured me that she wouldn't leave my side, so I said I would go. As the day went on, I started to get nervous about it. After all, everything I knew about India, I learned from movies like Slum Dog Millionaire and let's face it...that movie didn't exactly paint a pretty picture. But I started to relax because I would trust her with my life. I knew she wouldn't set me up for failure.

So the day came and all the sudden it hit me...."What the Hell am I gonna wear?" I knew all the women would be in beautiful colorful Saris. I'm rarely in what people call "regular" clothes. Since my work and play are in the same place...the gym, all I have is workout clothes, so I had a major clothes crisis. That shit never happens to me. I normally go to my closet, grab the first thing I see and throw it on. Not this day. After reaching an almost complete mental breakdown, I slapped on some black and headed out the door.

I knew the event was sold out and she was already inside. As I walked up, I sent her a text asking her if I would need a ticket. She said I would be fine, just come in. So I walked in an immediately the guy (who was not Indian) at the door was like "Do you have a ticket?" Meanwhile there were people going around both sides of me without being stopped. Clearly I didn't look like everybody else and it was the one and only time I was made to feel uncomfortable and judged the entire night and it was from an employee at the event.  He was looking at me and I knew he was thinking something like "There is a vampire trying to get in. If I remember correctly, you have to invite them in...I wonder if anybody has a wood stake or some garlic?" She came out and scoffed at him and said "Here's two tickets!"

So we went inside the auditorium to watch a show which consisted of performances of people from age 3-60. It was about two and a half hours long. Before each performance, they would tell a story that made us understand the cultural significance. I was really blown away. It's not that it was the best show I had ever seen, but because of the cultural aspect. I found it fascinating how they had managed to hang on to their heritage and roots and preserve their culture in America without it feeling like it wasn't inclusive of America. I came from a culture of TV trays with dinner on them in front of the television every night and then football on the weekends. Sure we had our holidays and what not, but it was nothing like this. And I'm not putting my own culture down, I love's just different.

Once the show ended, we headed to the banquet room to eat. This was the moment I was excited about and most nervous about. I'm a huge fan of Indian food. The fact that the entire meal was vegetarian was really exciting. That never happens at big events. I normally just skip whatever meat is being served and load up on carbs. This would also be the time that I would be forced to be somewhat social and talk to strangers. I have to say that there wasn't one moment that I was made to feel uncomfortable. Everybody I met looked me in the eye with a warm genuine smile and shook my hand. Everybody was very concerned if I liked the food...well no was AMAZING! The whole experience was perfect in every way.

As I drove home, I thought about how my fear of the unknown could have kept me from having that experience. That would have been a tragedy. Then my mind went to New Year's resolutions. My resolution will be to step outside of my box and take a chance on the unknown. I'm fully aware that every step won't be amazing...but even if there is just one great step, it is worth the risk.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

401k? No thanks....Prison is my retirement plan.


I'm sure they all look like this.


Self explanatory.

As most of you know, I'm a personal trainer. As I approach 40, I'm starting to think about what I'm going to do when my body will no longer allow me to workout for a living. There isn't a retirement plan at my gym, so I figure I got 3 options...

1. Meet a sugar mama
2. Walmart greeter
3. Prison

1.... Well, let's just say, I'm not gonna hold my breath.
2....I don't think I want to discuss my tattoos with every customer for the rest of my life and let's face it....nobody wants to see some old crusty tattooed lesbian with a bitchy resting face the moment they walk through the door....The Walmart experience is bad enough!
3....So prison it is!

Think about it. I can workout all day, maybe start tattooing again on the side so I can buy some Twinkies and toilet paper....and there are plenty of chicks! I mean they may only be "Gay for the stay" .... But that's cool.

And then I think about what crime I would commit. I certainly don't want to hurt anybody and I want the option to get out in like 10 years so I can go out to eat a few times.....and then when I'm bored, broke or homeless, I can commit another crime and head back to my bunk. I guess I could do something like write bad checks. Do a little shopping....maybe take a little vacay perhaps??? Ohhhh the possibilities!

Prison has always been my retirement plan, but after watching Orange Is The New Black, it sounds even better....Just call me Poussey!

Yes... It's probably a good thing that I never reproduced.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Who says drug busts can't be a fun???

Helen, Ga

You can buy these there.

What I bought instead.

If you know this reference, you are old. If you don't know it, you are young or sheltered.
 "Aloha, Mr. Hand."

So before I was the PILLAR <insert sarcasm> of health and fitness I am today, I was a tattoo artist that was slightly less than healthy...slightly :) As I stated in my prior blog "Drugs are bad Mkay?" I dabbled in some drugs back in the day.This is a little story about a drug bust I was involved in around the year 2001...can't really remember the exact date...probably because I was indeed smoking the dope back then. Now, I'm sure most drug busts are like a total bummer...but not this one.

One day I was hanging out at the tattoo shop with my girlfriend at the time who was also a tattoo artist, the body piercer and her girlfriend, and the owner of the shop. We were all sitting around talking about what we were going to do Mother's day weekend. Since all of our mom's lived far away, we decided to go to Helen, Ga for the weekend...I have no idea why. For those of you not familiar with Helen, it is basically a recreation of an alpine village complete with cobblestone alleys and old world towers. There are also a bunch of trails and rivers and what not to hang out on or hike. If you are in search of a new pair of Dutch wooden clogs or a new beer stein, then this is the place for you. Bikers and tourist fuckin' LOVE it!

So we decide to head up there, spend the night and then hangout down by the river the next day. Unfortunately for me, my wisdom teeth were breaking through my gum meat and literally crumbling as they came out. I had an appointment the following week to get them yanked, but too little too late... I was completely miserable the entire trip. I held a giant baggie filled with ibuprofen close to my heart and was poppin' those bitches like every 30 minutes. Everybody on the trip smoked weed. I'm pretty sure there was a giant cloud of smoke billowing from the pickup truck getting everybody behind us wasted all the way there.

We finally arrive in Helen and decide to do a little shopping. Now this was the period of my life when I was a full freak. I think I had green dreadlocks at the time, big Frankenstein shoes, a bunch of metal in my face, tattoos a blazin' etc. And everybody I was with was equally freaky. I'm sure the tourists thought the circus had just arrived in town. I'm sure we could have made a few bucks if we had thrown out a hat on the side walk and danced a little jig. Anyways, we are walking around this store, and this guy comes up to us and asks us if we want to shop in the back room. Without hesitation, we were like "sure do." So he takes us back to this room that is essentially a head shop with a a few sex toys included. I can't imagine why he thought we might be into this sorta thing, but he was RIGHT! So everybody bought a couple things. I bought a bitchin' corn cob pipe cuz I'm classy as fuck! So we head back to some cheap roach motel and break in our new stuff for the rest of the night.

The next day, we get up and head down to the river. Now it's kinda a rainy day and I'm pretty sure all we had with us was like a bag of Cheetos, a six pack of beer and some weed. No blankets, chairs, ponchos...nothing. We probably spent an hour trying to get a fire started with wet wood, but somehow managed to make it happen. So we are all sitting there, smoking dope and I'm like "Dude, I can't believe nobody brought marshmallows." So I look over and see some other people down river. And the ONLY thing that will get me to approach a stranger clearly is food, so I talk one of the other girls into going over there with me to try to score some marshmallows. Looking back, I'm certain we would have scared the shit out of our neighbors. I'm sure they would have thought they were suddenly a part of the Blair Witch Project.

So my friend and I start to walk away from our site when we hear "HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!" I turn around and see all these cops literally tumbling down a hill to get to us down by the river. My first instinct was to laugh because most of them ate shit on their way down and I was super stoned, but the humor of the situation quickly left as I imagined myself sitting in jail. One of the cops said "We have been sitting up there for quite a while watching you. We saw all of you smoke a pipe except YOU," and he pointed at me. He said "What's wrong with you?" I said "What can I say officer, I'm straight edge." He was like "I'm sure you are." So they started searching us and the truck we were in. They found several bags of weed, pipes and various other things. My girlfriend apparently was holding most of the contraband because every time a cop would hold something up and ask who's it was, she'd be like "That's mine." The only thing they took from me was my giant bag of ibuprofen, which I begged them not to take. But the cop said "I ain't never seen ibuprofen that looked like this before," and he snatched that shit right out of my hands.

As the search continued, the piercer and her girlfriend were kinda giggling to each other. We were like, what are you laughing about? And they said, "I wonder if they are gonna find our vibrator?" Which caused us all to bust out laughing. So the cops were like, "What's so funny?" And we said, "We are just curious if you are gonna find their vibrator?" Two of the cops turned bright red and the other one was like "What is that?" At that point we were rollin' on the ground we were laughing so hard. They never did find it because it was stashed in a little compartment under the seat. But just for fun, the girl who owned the truck, popped that seat up and whipped it out for them anyway to give that sweet young cop and education.

Next, one of the cops started to get our info. He rolled up to my girlfriend and was said "Sex....female,, eyes...brown, with a littttttttle bit of red." Once again, we all cracked up. Finally after he wrote up a ticket for everybody except me. Then he said they needed to get a picture of us. So we all hop into the back of the pickup truck for the photo. You would have thought we were at a beach party or some festive event. We were all fixing our hair, leaning in with our thumbs up and we had the biggest smiles imaginable. If only we had smart phones and instagram at that time...I would pay top dollar to get a copy of that picture. I'm pretty sure we made him take a couple because somebody blinked and we couldn't manage to get our squinty eyes open. I'm certain that photo is mounted on a cork board in some police station somewhere. I think the bust ended with us giving the cops a high five and possibly a hug.

So the cops leave and I'm like "Man, I'm never smoking weed again." And my girlfriend was like, "That's too bad cuz I threw some weed over my shoulder when I saw them coming down the hill." I said "Well maybe just one more time to calm my nerves :) " They had taken all our smoking devices with us, so I can't remember exactly how we smoked the moment they drove away. We either rolled up some leaves or fashioned a bong out of a Mountain Dew can. As any good pot head knows...where there is weed, there is a way!

All the girls had to go to court and since they were on federal land or some shit like that, all they got was like a $300 ticket. So every year, when Mother's day rolls around, I think about two things, my mom and the funnest drug bust ever. Say no to drugs.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam

A few months back I was going through some difficult things and was really down on myself. I was at work and was exhausted from getting up at 4:15 am training and teaching all day on top of my personal drama. When your career is based on motivating people to exercise, you really can't have a bad day. You have to do your best to fake it. Something I have never been very good at. I wear my heart on my sleeve at all times. I consider the majority of my clients friends, and the moment they walk up to me, they know if something is wrong. Around 5:30 pm that day I was training my last client and we were chatting about what was going on. He said to me, "You know what I like most about you? You are authentic." I had never really thought about it...but that one moment completely turned my day around. I don't think anybody could have given me a bigger compliment. On that day, if I would have made a pro and con list of things about myself, the con list would have been very long and the pro list very short. But if someone put a gun to my head and said I could only put one thing on the pro list...AUTHENTIC would be it.

We all want to be liked and feel like we belong. Our society is made up of a million little subgroups...some good and some...not so much. Some like the Peace Corps make the world a better place. Then there are groups like the KKK that own their hate and then those who claim to be good, but preach hate if you don't follow their rules. (Fill in your own example :) ) There is upper, middle and lower class. Preppys, jocks, gamers and goths. Some people are being themselves and fit perfectly into the group and others are doing their best to change to be a part of it. I have never fit too neatly into any one group. I never understood why you would want to limit yourself by trying to fit perfectly in some little tiny box. I prefer to dabble. Why not take the best things from a bunch of different worlds and own that shit! 

True things about me that you may or may not know....I cry...a lot. Movies, commercials, stories I hear, stories I tell, weddings, a dead squirrel on the side of the road...bottom line...I'm a big fucking baby and proud of it! I'm SUPER emotional...don't let the lack of expression and dead eyes fool ya. I enjoy the color pink. I love me some Oprah. I love to cook and grow herbs. I paint my toe nails. I like musicals and chick flicks like Steel Magnolias and Beaches. I don't like to touch most people, but if you are my old lady, I want to touch you all the time. I save all my touching for the one I love. (Get your mind out of the gutter.) I mean I like to get my cuddle on...spooning rules! I love ALL animals and especially kittens. The list goes on and on. People that don't know me might not guess these things based on my outside appearance and the way I move through the world...but it's all true.

If I love you as a human being...I will tell you. If I don't like you as a human being, I will not acknowledge you. I was not given the ability to bullshit. There have been many moments in my life like school, the Army, my career and MANY relationships where I wish I had that ability. Life would have been a whole lot easier and I probably would be much more successful if I was good at politics and playing the game. But I'm not. I'm fully aware that that inability will no doubt hold me back in life to a certain degree and I think I'm okay with that.

If you don't like me...I GET it. I really do. I'm an acquired taste. You don't have to pretend. Show it. I may not like you either, but I will respect you for your honesty. We can agree to disagree and be passing ships in the night. Don't smile to my face and then stab me in the back. Who's got time for that shit? I'll sniff your ass out, I promise and then I will not only dislike you, but I won't respect you either and to me, that is so much worse. 

People play games all the time, some without even knowing it. You know like when you first meet somebody and you REALLY like them and all you want to do is be in their world in some way at all times. But something stops you. You went on one date and instead of texting them on the way home like you want to, you wait two days because you don't want to seem too needy. Or you don't contact them at all because you want them to do it. Or maybe you pretend to like football to get the guy, but you truly hate it. Maybe you give the illusion of wealth but are really broke as fuck and all your credit cards are maxed. (I think I just saw your car get repo'd) The truth comes out eventually. The bait and switch never works out. Why not just show them who you are from jump and then you don't have to spend the entire relationship pretending to be something you are not. 

The best thing you can do for yourself and all the people around you is be true to who you are. You may not win any popularity contests, but you will sleep better at night knowing that every word you spoke that day and every action was authentic. The people that will surround you will be all killer and no filler!

Monday, September 30, 2013

You gotta know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em....the gamble of life.

Kenny knew what he was talkin' bout!


 noun \ˈkər-ij, ˈkə-rij\
: the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous

Life really is one giant gamble. You must always consider the risk to reward ratio before you make any decision. Is the risk worth the reward? There are consequences for every decision we make...sometimes good, sometimes bad, but like the gotta play to win.

Sometimes you choose to play it safe, but somebody plays for you. I know more couples that are unhappy than happy. Some stay in bad marriages because they made a vow,  for the kids, for financial reasons and status or maybe because somewhere along the way, they decided it was just easier to stay in it, than to go through the process.

For some, it's a classic case of they'd rather be together for the wrong reasons, than be alone for the right ones. They think, this might be the best they can get or deserve, and they settle. To me, it takes a great act of courage to walk away from a bad or toxic situation. There is nothing wrong with having standards for your life and happiness. Just because you make the decision to "hang in there," doesn't guarantee that the other person will. How much of your life are you willing to risk on that gamble? Chances are, if you are unhappy, so is the other person. Eventually somebody is going to break. Hopefully... for both of your sake, somebody will have the strength to do something about it. That doesn't necessarily mean walk away. That could mean recognizing a great flaw in yourself that is ruining the relationship. At this point, you must take ownership of that flaw, put your pride aside and apologize, and then take immediate action to correct it. If you truly love somebody and want to salvage the relationship, there is no other answer. Hopefully you do this before the damage is so great, it can never be repaired. If you can never admit you have done something wrong, then you will never take the steps to fix it.

Sometimes hindsight is a mother fucker ain't it? There are times that you walk away from a situation and then realize how good you really had it. Or maybe the fear of the unknown kept you from your chance at happiness, and now that opportunity is gone. Our friends and family have a lot to say about how we live. Sometimes we ask for their opinion, and sometimes we get it whether we want it or not. We need to be mindful when giving advice to the people we care about. Is that advice what is best for you or what is best for that person? Are you more concerned about being judged for your association to that person or are you truly worried about the judgement placed on them? Is it more convenient for you socially at a tailgate or party for them to stay in their shitty marriage? God forbid their overall happiness interferes with your social agenda. I mean...what will the neighbors think? It seems like everyday I come into contact with more people that are worried about what all the insignificant people around them think, than what the people who truly matter and love them think. They are willing to sacrifice their personal happiness, to make everybody else happy. More times than not...that sacrifice isn't returned. When was the last time somebody sacrificed their own happiness for yours?

The gamble of life doesn't just apply to romantic relationships. It applies to friendships, jobs, goals...the list goes on and on. I recently had to make the decision to "throw in the towel" as far as my own fitness goals are concerned. Which for some people, isn't a big deal. But when fitness is your work and your play, it is. For a long time, I stretched myself way too thin. I wanted to be the best at everything. What I ended up being was mediocre at everything. So I decided that I would pick one goal and focus on it so I could be really great at that one thing. I chose running. For the past couple of years, my main concern was running as fast as I possibly could. I wasn't concerned about being strong, flexible, building muscle or anything except...getting faster. I was blinded by my own obsession. Eventually, because I neglected all those other areas, my body started to breakdown. I have had one injury after another which in turn has caused nothing but weight gain, depression, and slowing down to the point of coming to a complete standstill. Just a week or so ago, the only time I was not in pain, was when I was laying down hopped up on drugs. Just like the loss of a life or a relationship...I had to go through the stages of grief for my dream. There is a pretty little picture above breaking down those stages. I had to make the decision to give up that goal and start a new one. And for a stubborn bitch like me...that was a hard pill to swallow.

I know some of you are rolling your little eyes at this because it is not something that is important to you. But it is important to me. Just insert what IS important to you into the model and keep moving. Maybe you have worked really hard for a promotion at work and they gave it to somebody else. Or maybe you had an opportunity for a better job, but chose to stay out of loyalty only to be laid off or fired. Maybe you worked your entire life to pay off your house and the moment you did, a hurricane took it away. Maybe you had your life savings in the stock market and it crashed. Maybe you stayed in your shitty marriage only to have the other person choose to trade you in for a younger hotter model.

We all reach these crossroads where we have to choose to gamble on a better life, or stick it out and hope for the best. I think a balance of persevering and gambling is ideal. At some point you have to stick it out and fight for the things that are worth fighting for. The grass is not always greener. Sometimes you got to get dirty and stay in the battle to win the war. But you also have to be willing to take chances and accept that you may very well fall flat on your face and fail miserably.

The worst thing you can do is nothing.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

When the walls come crumbling down...

This has been one hell of a year for me. There have been a couple highs, but even more lows. Some days it seems like the hits will never stop coming. You get knocked down and as you get to your knees and you are about to rise to your feet, BAM!....something hits you again. You get to the point where you are lying on your back trying to decide if it's even worth it to attempt to get back up. You think, why bother? I'm only gonna get knocked down again. I might as well stay here for a while. That my friends is what they call "hitting rock bottom." Pretty sure I was there last week. All I wanted to do was shut down and crawl into a hole some where for a while. It was a pitiful place to be. So I started thinking, how did I get there? How do we all get there at some point in our lives?

I kind of think building your life is similar to building a house. When you are born, you start with nothing but a big hole in the ground where your house will hopefully stand one day. Your parents, family, friends, teachers and the people around you are the mortar of your foundation. Your experiences lets say through high school are the bricks. There are a few lucky souls out there that have for the most part, perfect lives. They have loving and supportive parents and people around them. They grow up with money and good looks and for the most part have the american dream. A Norman Rockwell life. They go to a good school, get a good job, meet the person of their dreams, get married, have kids and retire with a big chunk of change in the bank. They finish their life sitting on a beach somewhere watching the sun go down. If their life were a house, it would have a sturdy foundation with strong walls and bullet proof glass for windows. The roof just rests on their perfect little house with ease and is surrounded by strong healthy trees that would never fall on it. I personally haven't met anybody like that, but I've seen it in the movies.

For most of us, there are some really strong areas in our foundation and then there are a few areas with loose mortar and some crumbling or even missing bricks. Maybe your parents didn't know how to show love, or you were molested by a teacher or relative, or you lost a parent at a young age, or you were bullied in school. Maybe you grew up poor or somebody broke your heart, or you hurt somebody and can't live with the guilt. These are just a few experiences that may have damaged or broke your bricks. Hopefully you get therapy or you meet meet someone or read a book or you have an amazing experience that repairs some of your bricks before you attempt to build the walls that will sit on them.

Some people are giant houses that are made of many walls, a giant roof and acres of beautiful land. Some people are small simple houses that have 4 walls and a roof and not much land to speak of. Is being the giant house better than being the small one? Absolutely not.

So what are your walls made of? Your walls are built on what is important to you. It's different for everybody. Some people are just looking for a basic house. One wall is their relationship, maybe another wall is their job, another is family and finally the fourth wall might be their friendships. Someone who has a larger house might have a few more walls that might be children or their faith or prosperity or fame or a perfect body or a perfect face or maybe one wall may be a goal they have set for themselves. Most people at the end of the day want happiness. Happiness is the roof that sits on everybody's house.

So you start building your house. Some walls are built on a solid part of your foundation. They go up with ease and there is no chance that the foundation beneath them will crumble. And then you attempt to build a wall on a fragile or weak part of your foundation. It's up for a little while and it appears to be strong and then the bricks below it crumble and that wall comes a tumbling down. That wall never had a chance.

Maybe your house is made of mostly strong walls and a couple of weak ones and then one day, something out of your control happens like a tornado or a hurricane and it levels your house. When one wall comes down, it damages the roof a little and it takes a piece of happiness with it. If too many walls come down at the same time, the roof collapses and all that is left is sadness...aka...rock bottom.

Enough of the analogies for now. I think you get the point. So how did I hit rock bottom?

I had a series of mishaps. Some were my fault, some where not. Everything seemed to be going pretty well personally and professionally. My body felt strong and life for the first time seemed to be going as planned. Then bit by bit, things started to fall apart. I had to make some hard decisions that would ultimately change the course of my life. Everything I had mapped out would go away and I would essentially be starting over...again. There were some decisions that were made for me. I didn't get a vote. Those things left me feeling heartbroken and alone. So I poured myself into my work, friendships and my personal fitness goals because those were things I had left.

Chances are if you know me or know of know that fitness is VERY important to me. It is my work and my play. I set high goals for myself and it is very important to me that I achieve them. When my personal life falls apart, I always have my fitness goals to cling to.Without a goal, I feel lost. It is like my security blanket. It is my distraction from the rest of my life that gets me through the bad times. About 12 weeks ago, I tore my calf muscle running. I was on my way to the gym to teach a cycle class. I had only allowed enough time to get to the gym on time at my normal pace. So I was forced to continue to run on it to get to my class on time. My adrenaline got me to the gym and through my class, but the damage I had done to my body was pretty severe. That injury combined with some issues in my personal life sent me into a depression.

Some people self medicate with alcohol or drugs. I self medicate with food. The time spent in the gym was now spent eating. Which in that moment felt great...the aftermath...not so much. When you are a personal trainer and fitness instructor, there is even more pressure to look healthy and fit and practice what you preach. How can I expect my clients and students to listen to me, when I can't even listen to myself? So now on top of the failures in my personal life and my injuries, now the one thing I have left with the exception of a few good friends was my career...and now I would fail at that too because I thought no one would want me as a trainer anymore.

So I continued to work out and do what I could with my injures and vowed to try to eat better. My calf healed and things were starting to look up for one whole week. Things were good in my personal life, I had dropped a few pounds and I was able to get one solid run in pain free. Then BAM! I managed to hurt my back, my personal life was in the shitter again and back to the drive thru I went. It was an all you can eat buffet all day, everyday once again. I would go to work and try to fake my way through the day. My back pain was unbearable. It hurt to sit or stand. The only time I was even remotely comfortable was lying down. Advice and pain pills were coming at me from every direction. Everybody around me was scrambling to fix me both physically and emotionally. Finally, I just shut down. If I wasn't working, I was laying in bed feeling sorry for myself and hiding from the world. The majority of the walls I had built had crumbled under my brittle foundation. The walls I had left could no longer hold the roof and it collapsed on top of me.

FINALLY...the fog started to lift. I had some really good conversations with my friends and clients. I really do have some amazing friends. I try my hardest when I'm upset to push them away, but they keep on coming...or at the very least, they wait until I'm ready to come back to them and they welcome me with open and loving arms. I heard myself talking to my clients...doing my best to motivate them and fix them, when at the end of the day, they were the ones who fixed me. The great part about it, is they have no idea. I know that many of them read this blog and I want them to know that I appreciate them and that they help me as much...if not more than I help them. I went to a chiropractor and he snapped my shit back into place. I followed it with a massage and it appears that my back is on the mend. Some areas of my personal life even seemed to get better. I feel my walls going back up. I know that I have to find a way to fix the holes and cracks in my foundation or they will all come down again.

There is that old saying..."If you do what you have always done, you'll get what you have always gotten."

The older I get, the more I believe it...I feel a change a comin'.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

My Descent From the Cross...

Yesterday was a CRAZY day! One person tried to knock me down, but many more held me up to the point where I never even got close to hitting the ground. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your support...It means the world to me. Who knew this little blog could cause such a commotion ??? All I know is normally when I post something about 100-150 people read it within the first 2 days. In the past 2 days, there have been 631 page views! I guess there really is no such thing as bad publicity!

After being accused of putting myself on a cross and told basically, that I'm a shitty human being, I took some time to think about it and assess myself and the reason I continue to write this blog. There was a brief moment yesterday when I thought maybe I should just shut the Hell up! Who am I to give anybody advice on how to live? I'm just some middle aged freak with a big old pile of mistakes under my belt.

It started off with some funny stories and has evolved into something so much more. For me it has become therapeutic and I feel as if I'm almost writing a self help book for myself and others. In the very beginning of this blog, I stated that everybody has had bad shit in their life and I'm not writing this for pity or to make people feel sorry for me, it's just my story. I tell my story and try to find the humor and the lesson in it to let others know that they are not alone and that there are people out there that understand and can relate and maybe there is something we can learn from it. That maybe something good can come from something bad.

The truth is there is nobody out there can be more critical of me than myself. (I'm pretty sure that is grammatically incorrect...but fuck get the point!) I have stated several times that I am not perfect...not even close! I have made a ton of mistakes and bad decisions and I'm sure I ain't done yet! I have never looked in the mirror and liked what I have seen... my eyes and mind go directly to my flaws. I ALWAYS feel like I could have done better in almost every situation when it comes to my job, my relationships, cooking dinner, cleaning the name it. I constantly beat myself up. And I don't think that I'm alone.

There is a super fine line between confidence and vanity...that line is almost non-existent. Generally speaking, I'm drawn to people with low self esteem. I love to build people up and put them on a pedestal. If they put themselves up there, I almost feel like it is my duty to knock them off. That is absolutely one of my many flaws and one of the things I'm working on. But there is definitely something to be said for people that are great and have no idea...probably the thing I'm most attracted to in a person. Being humble is down right sexy!

There are many people out there that are really good at giving advice to others, but don't or can't always follow it when it comes to themselves. I would be one of those people. All day at work I preach about exercise and nutrition, all the do's and don'ts etc. I know exactly how to tell people how to get the body of their dreams and then on my way home from the gym, I'll swing by McDonald's for a chocolate dipped cone. After that I will probably beat myself up for my failure and then eat an entire box of Girl Scout cookies to help with the's a vicious cycle. I go to bed vowing that tomorrow will be different...tomorrow I will be perfect!  And then I think...well, it's only 10:00 pm...there are still 2 more hours left for diet failure....better go eat ALL that ice cream so I won't be tempted tomorrow...because tomorrow and every day after that, I'll be perfect, so it's ok to fail for just two more hours. Who's with me?

Working people out is probably the smallest part of my job. I feel like I'm giving and receiving therapy all day long. As many of you know, the root of many of our eating issues is something emotional. That's part of my problem for sure but my main issue is I FUCKING LOVE FOOD!

My clients help me with emotional baggage just as much as I help them. There are days when I feel like I should be paying them instead of the other way around. We talk about everything including our personal relationships, family, animals and jobs. Many of my clients are my friends outside of the gym and some I only see inside of the gym. I'm like their hairdresser...I get all the dirt because I don't know anybody they know and they feel safe telling me because our lives don't intersect in any other way. Those are the people that have encouraged me to write this blog and possibly a book one day.

I think generally speaking, I give good sound advice. I write this blog to remind myself how to be the person I want to be...not necessarily the person I am right now...but it's the goal.

Probably my biggest flaw is that I'm a dirty dirty grudge holder. Forgive and forget is my biggest struggle. I have said "You know what your problem is? You just don't know how to hold a good grudge!" more times than I can count. I'm usually talking to a people pleaser that allows the same people to hurt them over and over. It's generally a person who would rather take somebody back that has hurt them, then know that there is somebody out there that doesn't like them. They are the complete opposite of me. I'm sure there is an ideal middle ground in there somewhere. That is the place that I'm striving to find. I suck at the gray area. I'm one black or white bitch!

 A few months ago, I wrote a bunch of letters to people I had had some sort of falling out with. I wasn't trying to get our relationship back or anything like that. I just didn't want to hold onto that anger or pain anymore. What's done is done and there is no taking it back. Most of them aren't bad people, we just see things differently and are not compatible. I want to learn how to get over things and not let them affect me so much for so long. That is giving other people way to much power over me and my happiness.

So there ya go...I jumped off my cross just for you! I have no doubt that I will be revealing many more flaws and mistakes in the can count on that! My goal moving forward is to practice what I preach and try to get a tiny bit closer to the person I want to be one day at a time. I hope I can help one of you get there too. We may fail today, but there is another chance to get it right tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Re: Loyalty, Love, Lies and Betrayal

This is I dunno...not really a blog...more of a blurb. A letter to somebody...a friend... Who liked my last blog on Loyalty, Love, Lies and Betrayal....seemed like I should share it...

Glad you liked the blog. It's seems as though my people filter is getting stronger in some areas but weaker in the best possible ways. Writing this blog has opened me up to new possibilities and has also made me listen to my own advice. Getting rid of the bad people in my life feels a lot like purging before a move from a big house into a small apartment. You only keep the really important things that matter and get rid of all the filler that just clutters your house and life...feels good and clean. You think about all those old clothes and things you just couldn't stand to part with. And then once they are gone, you realize not a day goes by that you wished you hadn't gotten rid of them...and then you think...why didn't I do that sooner? And then you vow to never let your house get cluttered like that again....and then piece by piece...that unwanted stuff starts creeping back into your house and life. Don't let it happen. Stay strong. Quality over quantity forever!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Love, Loyalty, Lies and Betrayal

my tattoo


I should have leaned into that turn.

The two things that are most important to me are love and loyalty. I have those words tattooed on each side of my neck.The two things I detest most in the world are lies and betrayal. The worst possible scenario is when the two sides collide.

Who doesn't There is no better feeling than when you are in it. Especially that beginning lustful love. When you can think of nothing else but that person. I'm not really a tits and ass kinda girl, but when I'm in love I think about the dip in her collarbone and the lines of her neck and the way her hands move and the way she tilts her head when she talks to me. She is my number one priority. She comes first and then everything else falls behind. When that same feeling is returned...pure bliss. Now this lustful love can't last forever...eventually you have to get some shit done. But it sure is a good time when those butterflies are in flight. Eventually the honeymoon ends and you go back to working towards the future...but now you are a team hopefully moving towards the same goal. If you never have those's probably only gonna taper off from there.

Loyalty is equally important to me. I love a ride or die bitch. My friends and girlfriends don't have to love or hate somebody just because I do. When somebody who does comes along...HOLD ON TO THEM! To know somebody has your back no matter what...THAT kind of loyalty is hard to find these days. A person that will throw a drink in somebody's face just because they hurt you and then turn around and hug that same person because NOW you tell them you are in love with them...THAT is the holy grail of friendship. I'm very lucky to have a handful of people like that in my life and I cherish them. They don't always agree with my decisions and they let me know that, but they still support me no matter what.

I have also thought some people in my past had my back and then they stuck a knife in it. Betrayal is a bitch. Nothing is worse than being vulnerable and letting your walls down only to be attacked. I'm sad to say that every time this happens, my walls get a little higher and a little more difficult for people to knock down and I hate that.

Lies...where do I begin. No matter how large or small...always a bad idea. I'm a horrible liar when it comes to things about myself. I wear my heart on my sleeve. My face tells the story long before my lips do. There have been sad attempts at trying to fake it when I'm upset or lie because I didn't want to get others involved with whatever drama is going on at the time. I always fail miserably. That's usually when I just retreat to my cave to wallow alone. But you know...those true friends always seem to sniff it out and show up on my doorstep at just the right moment.

When it comes to everything else, I try to make good decisions that don't put me in a position to lie. Speaking of which...let's not forget about omissions. Technically not a lie, but equally shitty. I shouldn't have to ask the person I'm with every day...Are you cheating on me? I'd prefer them to just tell me so I can move on with my life. Some truths are hard to hear, but lies and betrayals are always eventually revealed...and that hurts so much more than the truth.

If you tell me a secret and tell me not to tell...being the ride or die bitch that I am...I'll lie my ass off for you because loyalty trumps lying when it comes to friendship and the people I love.

If you ask me a direct question, better be ready for the truth because that is what you are gonna get. If you ask me..."Do these pants make me look fat?"...If they do, I'm not gonna say "Hell ya they do!" I would probably say "That's not my favorite look on you. I liked the other ones better." After all, it's not necessarily what you say, it's how you say it. It's all about the delivery. Lying to somebody to make them feel better in the moment doesn't do anybody any good. A true friend will tell me to take that shit off...immediately! They will say "Dude you got all sorts of shit in your teeth!" Or my favorite..."Your nipples are crooked!" Nothing worse than having one at 9:00 and one at feel me ladies??? Now I will say, one of my favorite things to do... because I'm an asshole... is to tell somebody they have shit in their them root around and try to dig it out and then reassure them that it's gone when it really isn't. I then secretly laugh every time they speak to the waiter or me because let's face it...that shit is FUNNY! You have been warned :)

I have told one great lie in my life and I got away with that shit too. One of the many summers that my brother and I were home alone and grounded, our neighbors for some unknown reason, let us ride their moped around the block. I was probably around 9 and Tad was 11. Definitely too young to be driving...but my brother's power of persuasion has always been strong.

So Tad takes it around the block without incident. I on the other hand was not so lucky. I was cruisin' along...actually...I was practically shitting my pants with fear, but there wasn't a chance in HELL that I was gonna let my brother see me sweat. As I approached a turn, I started to freak out because the moped leaned at corners. So instead of getting my lean on, I chose to brake. Unfortunately I hit the gas instead of the brake and shot straight across the street and jumped a giant pile of chopped up asphalt. Clearly I crashed. I was laying on the ground and I heard... drip...drip...drip. And then I noticed a stream of blood running down the face mask of my helmet. I'm sure I was in shock because I was feeling no pain and my adrenaline was pumping hard. I quickly forgot about the blood squirting out of my head when I noticed that the little round side mirror was broken. It was only then that I started crying. I just knew the neighbor's were gonna tell my mom. I guess I didn't think she would notice my cracked forehead :)

So I stand up and start to try to push the moped back over the mound. Every time I pushed, my right wrist just flopped back and my hand would just fall off the handle bars. You guessed it...snapped that bitch too. Broken.

So my brother eventually finds me and helps me push the moped home. He convinces the neighbor's not to tell our parents, which at the time I thought was nothing short of a miracle. Now looking back, I'm sure they were trying to avoid a lawsuit.

So my brother and I conjured up the great "dancing on the deck" lie of let's say 1984. We had a big deck that was probably about 10 feet high and faced the lake that was attached to the back of the house. Surrounding the deck were giant rocks. For most of the summer, it seemed like we had people over every weekend and the adults would drink and get their grill on while all the kids swam in the lake. So we decided to tell my parents that I was dancing on the deck and fell off and hit the rocks. The crazy shit was they believed us. This is hilarious to me considering I had road rash up the entire right side of my body. Clearly I was traveling at a brisk speed when I hit the ground. That must have been one hell of a moonwalk!

From that point until the day I left for the Army and college I would hear my mom warning people..."Be careful...Nicole fell off the deck and cracked her skull and broke her wrist dancing." I would just smile and nod and be like "Yep...stupid me :)"

I was home from college at Christmas one year, and she started to tell the story. I finally decided it was safe to come clean. She couldn't ground me anymore and at this point, I'd thought she'd laugh. And she did.

I don't have time for lies or liars...especially from the people who claim to love me. Once the trust is broken, it's gone forever. Telling the truth at times can be difficult but in the end, it is better for everyone involved. They say the truth will set you free and they are right. Be true.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Drugs are bad mkay? I smoked but I didn't inhale :)

Got it ???

This could happen to you! You have been warned.

Couch similar to the one I sat on for three months.

If I ever play...and then win the Lotto. The first thing I'm buyin' is a Popemobile.

Sweet tattoo I did on my own hand. And no...that picture is not out of focus. It just looks that bad. Say NO to drugs people!

It may come as quite a shock to you, but I may or may not have experimented with some drugs over the years. I know that doesn't surprise anyone. The reality is that my experience has been pretty limited in my 40 years of life...that probably shocks you more than anything...and I understand that. The truth is, I never did much of anything until after I graduated from college and moved to Athens. I was pretty much straight edge in high school with the exception of the time my parents got me and my best friend drunk on shit like black berry brandy and peppermint schnapps just to watch us puke my junior year...and we did puke...a lot. I actually thought about becoming a DEA agent for a while because I was so anti-drug after watching my brother and others around me end up in the gutter. I joined the Army at 17 and got out the same week I graduated from college. I was randomly drug tested that entire time, so I never did more than have a drink here and there during that time. I was in a band that toured Europe which included going to Amsterdam every time and I never smoked once. I'm probably the only one in the band that remembers anything from those trips. Speaking of trips...and Amsterdam...reminds me of a little story....that has nothing to do with this topic...but I'm gonna tell you anyway.

So we had played a show in Amsterdam at a club called the Melkweg and we were heading to a after party in our honor. So we stayed in our stage clothes, which for me included thigh high platform boots, a corset and they gave me a bottle of Jaigermeister to carry because I was the only one in the band that wouldn't drink it...Well there may have been a few times, but I don't know if I have the courage to tell you what happened when I did :) Maybe if a drink a shot or two, I'll blog about it one day. Anyways, we were all bad ass and shit marching through the streets when all of the sudden my feet flew up over my head and I ate shit. I looked behind me to see what I slipped on and there was a fucking banana peel on the ground. It was straight out of a cartoon. I was waiting for the Road Runner to fly by and an Acme anvil to drop on my head next. I'm pretty sure one of my band mates wet his pants laughing at me as he pulled me up. The important thing is I managed to save the bottle of Jager, but not my bloody bloody elbows. I have never felt COOLER in my entire life. No drugs required...just pure grace and elegance.

Moving on...where was I? Oh ya drugs...

So I moved to Athens in 1998 to become a tattoo artist. Needless to say, my first year of tattooing was not my finest. I had a really hard time sleeping because I'd lay in bed thinking about the tattoos I had done that day and the ones I'd be doing the next day. You'd be amazed at what people will do if it's free. I'd be like "Hey, you want a free tattoo? I've only done 2 and they looked like shit and yours probably will too, but it's free...And one day when I'm better, I might be able to fix it or cover it up...maybe" And 99% of the time they would say "Hell Ya! Put it on me!" So after about a year without sleep and trying various sleeping meds, somebody I tattooed with said " just need to smoke some weed." And one day I did. And I tell you what...slept like a mother fuckin' baby that night. Not a care in the world. Shortly after, I was in a relationship with another tattoo artist who was a total pot head and I smoked quite a bit of weed during that time.

Then there was the only carefree moment of my entire life. For the most part I have always been super responsible and goal oriented. I have never gone off the rails too bad except for the summer of '99. And let me tell you ...THAT was a good time. I'm not promoting drug use and for the most part, I think drugs are a really bad idea unless they are relieving pain or helping somebody to cope with an illness. And the bottom line is, I'm way too cheap to be a drug addict. I would never pay for that shit. I rather get a new pair of shoes to be honest. And I'm pretty sure I didn't spend a dime on drugs at that point because I was a body piercer and a tattoo apprentice and couldn't afford to eat let alone buy drugs. But I managed to get high with a little help from my friends that summer. That was the year of ecstasy in Athens. I sat on a couch in a second floor apartment on Clayton St. for about 3 months looking out the window and watching all the crackheads dance. Someone would roll by and drop a pill in my mouth every once in a while and I just hung out. People that know me, know that I have stranger danger...I don't talk to them. I'm not a hugger and not really into space invaders...I would prefer to live in a bubble if it were possible. If I could travel in a Popemobile instead of walking down the street, I'd do that shit in a minute! Ecstasy took all that crap away. It was such a relief to want to talk to strangers and hug it out for absolutely no reason at all. Everybody was happy and having a good time. I wasn't worried about paying my bills, or the future or anything at all. My biggest concern during that time was hoping a REALLY good song would come on next. I remember people talking about me. They would be like "That girl has been in that same spot on the couch for like a week." And I'd be like..."It's been more like two! Why don't you come sit next to me and I'll tell you about all the things I have seen from here :)" It was like I was part of the couch and there was a constant flow of new people that would come and sit down next to me. It felt good to have the ability to bullshit with a total stranger and love every minute of it. Eventually, I got off that couch and moved on with my life. 

During that time, I also tried cocaine. I honestly don't get that shit at all. I can't believe how much money people spend on that stuff. Sure, I was a little more chatty and definitely had a little more pep in my step but other than that, not really that exciting. I rather spend my $100 on three shots of espresso and you guessed it...a new pair of shoes than buy that crap. I did however manage to leave a permanent reminder of that experience on my body. So... I didn't actually sleep that night...NEWS FLASH! and went to work the next day. I decided it would be a really AWESOME idea to tattoo a stick figure of a happy vampire bat on my hand in my spare time with my spare energy. Most of the time, tattoos on the palm of the hand fall out because the type of skin and the wear and tear that your hands go through. I figured it would be temporary....not so much :) I really drilled that shit in there...that bitch is with me for life. SUPER!

That's pretty much my drug history in a nutshell. With the exception of the the whole reason I sat down to write this blog...It was supposed to be about the Mother's Day Helen, GA Drug Bust of 2000something. Can't remember the exact year. Maybe 2001???? It's hilarious, I assure you, but this shit is already too long. I'm boring myself at this point...but stay tuned...I'll tell ya all about it :)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Do more if you expect more.

I woke up this morning thinking a lot about expectations. For a long time, I have said the "The key to happiness is low expectations." I said it, and I wanted to believe it because that would make life easier, but I don't. Never have, never will. I wasn't raised that way.

My brother Tad and I grew up in the same house, but turned out very differently. He was kinda the bad seed to begin with and then used some bad things that happened to us as an excuse for his bad behavior. If there was a chance to make the wrong decision or take the easy way out no matter what the cost, he took it. Tad was a runaway his entire life until he dropped out of high school at 14. Since then, he has spent his life in and out of rehabs, mental institutions and jail. He is 42 now and not much has changed. He has had a few good years here and there, but always seems to fall off the wagon.

My parents expected the worst out of him but always had a tiny bit of hope that he would get his shit together one day. They took him in over and over and he turned on them every time. I gave up hope years ago I'm sad to say, but I understand my parents love for him. Finally, a couple years ago, Tad attacked my mom while he was living with her in an attempt to get her pain medication. He went to jail and my parents have a lifetime restraining order against him. It's a sad day when you lose all hope. And once it's gone, it's gone forever.

When we were growing up, there were very different expectations on us. I was expected to get straight A's, be a star athlete and ALWAYS do the right thing. If I got a parents were very disappointed. If my brother even showed up to school, that was progress. If he managed to get a D- in one class, that was considered success. They expected nothing out of him. If he actually made a good decision or didn't totally fuck something up, he was rewarded. I didn't get a lot of rewards for doing the right thing, it was just expected.

My whole life up until this very moment, I was pissed off about that double standard. It felt so unfair. My brother was 2 years older than me, and I felt like I spent my life making up for his bad behavior. I felt like my parents pushed me to excel to cover up the embarrassment that was Tad. And this may be true. I don't know what their reasons were, and I'm not sure it was a conscious decision on their part. The bottom line this that i'm happy they expected more from me. It made me who I am today.

Some people think I expect too much out of life, friendships and relationships. And maybe I do, but that was instilled in me. I was raised to try my best every time. To do things right every time. When I dust, I pick shit up, I don't just wipe around it. When it comes to my work, I never feel like I know enough or my class was good enough. I always feel like there was something I could have done better. I never want to become complacent with my life or how I treat the people I love. Do I make mistakes and bad decisions? EVERY DAMN DAY! I do my best to recognize those may take a second, a day, or a year, but eventually I will see the error of my ways. I'm not perfect..FAR from it. But I'm trying to get a little better every day.

There have been several people in my life that have said I expect too much from them. I didn't ask for anything more than they wanted from me. They expected a lot from me as well, they just didn't feel like they needed to return it. I have been in relationships where I gave them walls were totally down and they took it for granted. I guess they liked a good challenge. I gave my love away too easily and it wasn't exciting enough for them. Slowly I expected less and less from them until there was nothing left. Of course once I left, NOW they were ready to love me and give me the world. But they were too late. My hope was gone.

I have been on the other side of things as well. There have been people that gave me everything, and I took them for granted. Not intentionally. Looking back I guess it was because deep down in my heart, I knew we weren't meant to be together and I wasn't able to open my heart to them and be vulnerable. In some cases, I knew and didn't have the balls to tell them. I didn't want to break their hearts, but in the end I did anyway. In other cases, I didn't know until later. Some of them were really amazing people and I wanted it to work so badly, I was blinded by the fact that it wouldn't.

Now a days...I'm trying to not make any promises I can't keep. I'm not going to tell somebody something they want to hear, if I have no intentions of following through. What is the point of giving somebody hope, when there is none? It may make them feel better in the moment, but when they realized you were lying, the pain is far more severe.

If you expect less from people, that is exactly what you will get. My brother is the perfect example. Do you want to be the person people expect more from or less? Do more.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Find Your Gift

So in my last blog I said if you sleep eight hours per night and you live to be 90, you will have spent 30 years of your life sleeping. That got me thinking about the other 60 years and how I should be spending that. If you work 40 hrs per week...that comes out to about 22 years spent working. Now I know many of you spend more than 8 hrs at work or maybe you commute, or maybe you are like me and spend a lot of time working at home to prepare for the next day. That's time you aren't getting paid for, but still work. So I'd say for most of can go ahead and round that number back up to 30 years spent working.

Do you love your job or does it just pay the bills? I know a few people that love what they do. And to them, it feels like they have never worked a day in their life. Do they have some headaches due to upper management, co-workers or certain high maintenance customers? Absolutely, and that can make if feel like work for a few moments and that sucks. But for the most part, they are happy going to work.

I know more people that hate going to work. Or maybe they like their work, but hate who they work for. Now don't get me wrong, I understand that there are circumstances such as children, illness, sudden loss of a job, college tuition, mortgages etc. that force us to sometimes do what we have to do to survive. Or maybe having a bunch of stuff is worth doing a job you don't like doing. We all have our priorities and I am by no means judging anybody for that. Happiness means different things to different people. But even if that's the case, maybe you could be actively be seeking a way to make the same amount of money doing something you love in the meantime. Then you will have a bucket of cash and love or at least like going to work...what could be better than that? There is always room for improvement in your life. I love money as much as the next girl and I want more of it all the time, but I have realized that as a trainer, I probably won't have much of it, and that's ok.

So you are probably saying..."Tell me how to do this you wise old bitch...Mrs. Fuckin' Know It ALL!" Look, as each day passes, I realize more and more that I don't know shit! I'm like a sponge. I love to learn new stuff. I love for people to teach me new and better ways to do things. My favorite day is when someone can change my opinion on something. Don't get me wrong...I'm pretty damn stubborn, and you better have a full power point presentation and at least 10-12 references and possibly a piece of cake on hand to change my mind about something important...but it has happened and I cherish that.

In my super smart opinion, the way to find happiness in your career is to figure out what your gift is and then find a way to make a career out of it.

The jury is still out on how we all got here...some believe in creation and some believe in evolution and there are several people out there that don't give a shit. No matter what your opinion is on that subject, the world and human beings in general are pretty amazing things. Take the human body for example. Everything in your body has a purpose. To stay healthy, all those little systems need to be running smoothly in order to keep balance and harmony in your body. When something gets injured or stops working or maybe you are born without it to begin with, that's when chaos ensues and illness mental or physical appears. And then let's think about how the world operates as a whole. At some point we are eating something that probably ate something else that ate something else that maybe grew in the ground and then everything dies. The waste products, like manure and the decomposition of all those organisms fertilize the earth and then add a little water to it and BAM! it all starts again. CLEARLY there is more to it, but I think you get my point. Everything on earth has it's purpose and if we don't fuck with it's habitat too much, we will continue to thrive's not looking too good right now :( Global warming is real and we are using up our resources and polluting the earth more every day. Believe the hype people. Scientists are just talking shit. They have actually research to back it up. Anyways, that's a fight for a different day.

I think we were all born with a few gifts and and a few defects...some more than others. Some people are really book smart, but street stupid. Some people do horrible in school, but are amazing athletes or artists. Some people have a lot of charisma and people skills that make great politicians or sales people. And then there are some built like me that are defective in that area and do not. I have many flaws...navigation appears to be one of my biggest obstacles along with my award winning personality. If it weren't for my Iphone, I'd get lost going home. I have been to the same place ten times and still have to use my navigation to get back there. If there is the slightest option to take a wrong turn, I'm gonna take that shit...every...fucking...time. Count on it. My point is, it takes all kinds to get shit done and keep the universe in balance. If we were all good and bad at the same things, we would never survive. So appreciate people that are different from you. We are all working as a team to get the same job done...survival.

I love art. I'm a pretty creative person, but it's not necessarily my gift. I was an art major in college for a couple years and had the dream of making art for a living. I slowly started to realize that very few make it in the art world. Even people that are amazing are seldom able to survive on their art work alone. And the truth was, I wasn't amazing. Not even close. So I decided to get a degree in advertising and one in art history. I thought advertising would be kinda artistic, but still a real job. Or I thought I could be a museum curator or an art professor with my art history degree. Turns out that for the most part, advertising is essentially a degree in lying and manipulation to get someone to buy your thanks. And who am I kidding...I don't have the balls to stand in front of a classroom and teach. So, the day after I graduated from college, I did the next logical thing. I packed up my shit and moved to Athens to be a tattoo artist.

I was a tattoo artist for 10 years. I wasn't horrible, but I wasn't great. I'd say I was average. I did some tattoos I was really proud of and I also did a couple of turds. Those turds keep me awake to this day. It wasn't from a lack of effort. I drew and painted a lot in the effort to get better at my craft. And I did get better, but never great. It killed me to know that a customer could head down the street and get the same tattoo for the same money and it would probably be better than mine. It ate me up. It weighed heavy on my conscience and my heart.

While I was tattooing, A big gym opened up down the street. I joined before it was built and I harassed them daily with phone calls asking them when they were gonna open. When it finally did, I never wanted to leave. I'd be there for hours. My girlfriend at the time would call and bitch at me for being there so long. She would say "It's like a part time fucking job! When are you coming home?" It was like my home away from home...I never wanted to leave. I was a total freak back then...hard to believe....I know. But it's true. I think I had long pink dread locks and a bunch or metal jewelry in my face. I wore dumpy t-shirts and cut off sweatpants. I never talked or looked at anyone, but I took every class I could. You could always find me in the back row in the furthest corner. One day, a manager walked up to me and said, "You should work here. If you are gonna be in the gym this much, you might as well get paid for it." I seriously thought I was getting Punk'd. I looked around for the hidden cameras. I was like, clearly this lady is smoking crack. I thought about it for a few days and ultimately decided to give it a shot. I thought maybe just maybe, it would help me overcome my social anxiety. It would be like tough love for myself.

I started by teaching one cycle class per week. It was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. I didn't sleep the night before my class for the first year. And I was pretty sure I was gonna shit myself during every class. People liked me but had complaints. They would say "We like her music and the workout, but we can't see or hear her." I wore a hat pulled down real low and I never looked up. The only part of my face they could see was my mouth. And I didn't use my mouth much except to mumble go, stop, stand and sit. It was action packed! I hung in there anyway and eventually, I got a little more comfortable. To this day, seven years later, it still stresses me out a little to sit in front of a class, but I do it.

I do it because I love fitness and it doesn't feel like work. I started teaching a few more classes and then became a personal trainer which allowed me to quit tattooing. I can't tell you how much I love my job. The gym is my workplace and my playground. If I'm not working, I'm working out. I come home and spend hours reading articles and watching videos to expand my knowledge as much as possible. My clients are my friends and nothing makes me happier than to see them smile when they get results. Coming up with workouts is easy for me, it's's my gift.

It took me a while to discover my gift, but when it did, my life changed. Will I ever be rich? Probably not...gonna need a sugar mama for that shit. I wanted so badly to be a great tattoo artist, but I just didn't have it. I was born to be a trainer. I'm not saying I'm the best trainer out there, because I'm not. But I'm trying and I'm loving the journey. And I'm happy to say that I'm enjoying my 30 years of work.

So if you are sleeping for 30 years, working a job that you don't like for another 30, and in a relationship that makes you unhappy and leaves you unfulfilled, it might be time to reevaluate some things. When you do the math, that doesn't leave much time for happiness. You deserve more happiness...find it.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Do you believe in fate?

Do you believe in fate? What about predestination? Does everything happen for a reason? A few years ago, I would have said no. I thought everything happened by pure chance...a coincidence. I thought people just said stuff like that to make other people feel better about whatever shit they were going through at the moment. To a certain degree, I still think that is true. I think that people say it out of not knowing what else to say in that moment. It's easy to say to others, but really hard to believe when it is you that is going through something awful.

These days I'm more inclined to believe it. I don't know if I'm just getting soft in my old age or if I'm looking for and excuse or a reason that bad stuff happens. Maybe I just want something good to come out of something bad so I don't feel like my time, energy and life were wasted going through it. I have found that if I wait long enough, I can look back on every bad situation and see that something good and positive came from it.

After posting my blog "When doing the right thing is the wrong thing to do", I received the sweetest text from a co-worker who I now consider my friend. In the blog I was saying that I wished my biological father never did the "right thing" and married my mom because that's not the life he wanted and we all paid the price for it. She said "If your father had left your mom at that time, we wouldn't have you! And you were clearly meant to be here and touch all the lives you have." It's one of the sweetest things anybody has ever said to me. She is right. If my dad would have left my mom instead of marrying her, then I would have never been born. I remember those words coming out of my lips during my angst filled teen years, "I wish I had never been born!" I never meant them. I'm glad I'm here.

Now on to the story....

So after my brother burned the farm house down, we moved around a little bit. Finally we scored a sweet pad in Fox Lake, IL. My mom, brother and I lived in an apartment above a bar called the Gold Nugget...cuz we were classy! I'm gonna talk about my mom a lot in this story and it's not meant to be in a bad way. I have heard her tell this story a million times because its partially the story of how my mom met my stepfather. I'm just putting it on paper.

It's no secret in my family that my mom used to enjoy a cocktail or two...or 10. So the apartment over the bar was PRIME real estate. One night she was at the "Nugget"...that's what the locals called it....and she may or may not have been a little tipsy when she decided to take a trip to the little girls room...aka...the shitter. I'm not sure if it happened on the ascent or descent, but somewhere along the way, the toilet seat broke and she hit the ground. Apparently she fell on her face because she got 2 bitchin' black eyes outta the deal and also managed to break her arm. This unfortunate incident kept her out of work for a few days. So while we were in school one afternoon, she was sitting at the bar. The door opened up and this guy Jim poked his head through the door and asked her and the bartender if they knew of an Ace Hardware near by. He had just bought a house down the street and needed a chainsaw blade. My mom with her 2 black eyes and arm in a sling piped up and started giving him directions. He asked her if she would go with him. She looked at the bartender and he said..."do it." So she hopped off the bar stool and out the door she went.

First of all...I have to question both of their judgement in that moment. Some strange guy walks into a bar looking for a chainsaw blade of all things and my mom thinks its a good idea to go with him. He might as well have added duct tape and a shovel to the list. And why he asked some strange chick who looks like she got beat up by her pimp who is sitting at the bar on like a Tuesday in the middle of the afternoon is just crazy to me...but I guess they both knew something I didn't. Maybe it was love at first sight. Chainsaws and black eyes can be magical.

Anyways, she goes with him to the hardware store and they had a blast. Apparently the dude behind the counter was looking at her all sad eyed thinking she had been abused by Jim. Since their first date went so well, Jim asked her out on another. Eventually he met my brother and I and they became a couple.

Jim had purchased the house to tear it down and build a new one, so he didn't actually live there. He had a house in another town. One night they had heard that there was a big snow storm coming. Jim wanted us all to come and stay with him. At first my mom said no because she wanted to get some unpacking done. Jim persisted and she finally gave in so we spent the night as his house.

The next morning as mom was driving down our street, I started to see a bunch of flashing lights. There were cop cars and fire trucks everywhere. Eventually my eyes turned straight ahead to see that our house had burned to the ground. All that was left was a big pile of smoking ashes. Right at that moment, the owners of the Nugget raced up to our car yelling "Thank God...we thought you were all dead. The furnace blew up in the kids bedroom. The fireman said you would have died instantly."

So if my mom wouldn't have been drunk and fallen off of that toilet seat, which allowed her to be sitting at a bar on a Tuesday afternoon, which then led to her meeting Jim who talked her into staying the night as his place, I'd be dead and this blog would not exist...I know, I know. Life for you all wouldn't be worth living without me and my shitty little blog. You can thank Jim ...aka my dad for saving this blog and my ass once again.

So next time you are going through something terrible...a loss of a relationship, a loved one, a job....whatever it may be, I promise if you sit back and wait someone or something good will come out of it. It may take 10 minutes or 10 years, but eventually something good will present itself. And if it doesn't, maybe that thing taught you something valuable that you would need one day down the road. Maybe somebody came into your life to give you one amazing day that you will never forget. Maybe they are gone now, but that moment will live on in you forever. All of us have gone through some pretty bad stuff. It's what you choose to do with it that matters. It can be a crutch or an excuse for your own bad behavior in the future, or it can help you grow into the amazing person you are capable of being. Be amazing.