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.