Feel however you want about me, but feel it for yourself.

So, if you’re sitting at someone’s house and you’ve got that pit in your stomach because you just don’t feel accepted, or welcome…trust me girl, grab your cute little striped hey dudes you left by the door, and get the heck out off there now. Yes, I know they just poured you a margarita, with salt on the rim, but hear me when I say, that vulnerable moment you’ll have which prompts you to share “anything” on drink two… it’s already shared with someone who isn’t even there. That’s why there is a pit in your stomach to begin with. Good friends, and kind people; pits don’t accompany them. Growth, sunlight, warmth and happiness surround them, those are your people.

Your opinion of me should come from your interaction with me, not someone else’s opinion of me, stories of me, or even their interaction with me. Just yours.

Have you heard the saying, “Jealousy is the fun they think you’re having?” well I think we should add a saying onto that for assumptions. Maybe something like, “Assumptions are what other people make for you when you’re too lazy to think for yourself” no, that is a little too harsh. Here’s the thing, I have no inclination to think I will be liked by everyone and even more so, I have zero desire to be. We can be perfectly likable, good people and still be disliked by someone.

This past week I was talking to a friend who was hurt and I told her, “you can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there will always be someone who hates peaches” a quote I have always loved by Dita Von Teese, and then I added, “and don’t be surprised when it’s a peach itself.” She of course looked at me like I was crazy because what do peaches have to do with anything, but I explained sometimes the very reason we are canceled out has nothing at all to do with ourselves, it is simply the reflection someone else sees of themselves in us.

I wish I could tell you why people want to know about someone and go to every other person but that person. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out actually, it is because some people wish you well, but not that well. Moreover, they have no real interest in getting to know you, the actual person, they just want to know about you and any dirt that can be dug up – because they are bored, broken and hurting.

I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve had someone smile to my face at the local wal-mart and then they’re trash-talking me on the way home. I hope you read that with a southern drawl, because it plays out in my head as such. There is comedian, what is her name? Leanne something, deep southern drawl, Leanne Morgan. If you know who she is, re-read the first two sentences again in her voice. That’s just how I meant it. (If you don’t know of her, you’ll want to google her, because she is hilarious! A bless-your-heart southern twang full of sass and gettin’ on.)

While it should be mentioned that you’re better off without these people, it is quite possible you’ll learn they same way I usually do. All heart, all in, and an unanswered text message later that says nothing, but ends a friendship. Why is it that people do that anyhow? Just respond to the text people, just say it, “I don’t like you”, ” I think you’re a jerk”, “you hurt my feelings” whatever the heck it is, just say it and then stop responding. Passive agressive texting is not it chief. Nothing irritates me more than no response or a lie. Ohhh the lies…

Someone lied to me this week actually, and it was one of those obvious lies, and by text even. On my phone, when I text, it shows if the person I am texting begins typing. I asked a question. She begins to type. Then it stops, and no response. It does that again for about five or so minutes until a response comes through with some cockamamey bullpucky that just made me want to call her out. But, did I? Nope! Why not? Because what is the point when I already know the answer. She lied. End of story. Maybe forty has made me less amicable with phony anything. I mean, I am running out of day light, years and life – I don’t have time for people who aren’t adding to my life, encouraging me and my dreams, supporting my family and building me up, not breaking me down.

So, if you’re sitting at someone’s house and you’ve got that pit in your stomach because you just don’t feel accepted, or welcome…trust me girl, grab your cute little striped hey dudes you left by the door, and get the heck out off there now. Yes, I know they just poured you a margarita, with salt on the rim, but hear me when I say, that vulnerable moment you’ll have which prompts you to share “anything” on drink two… it’s already shared with someone who isn’t even there. That’s why there is a pit in your stomach to begin with. Good friends, and kind people; pits don’t accompany them. Growth, sunlight, warmth and happiness surround them, those are your people.

Look, I’m proud to be a Christian woman, I liken myself to being unpolished and unrefined – but still a dang good Christian. (I have a post coming up about this, so you’ll want to check back on that one!) To me, that does not mean we have to be fake. I can love you with the love of Jesus and not want to spend time with you. The difference is that when I don’t spend time with you that includes time speaking about you, at all. My face can’t even hide being fake anyhow, the thoughts I think, are written in bold face print all my face for all to see. I kind-of love that about myself to be honest, it holds me accountable.

I will smile, wave, say hello and pray for you even if I do not care to interact with you. Even better, if I happen to not like you it will only be because of something that involves you and I personally. Either you did something to me, or I see something in you that reflects something that needs healing in me. Either way it doesn’t involve anyone else and that should be a two-way street.

Our small valley, oh my goodness gracious and all that is holy, it can be rough at times. The things I learn about myself are shocking even to me, I have a much more fascinating life according to my adoring haters. Do you know that another child isn’t allowed to like my child, because of their mom’s friend has an issue. Yes, this person, myself and my child have never had a falling out, we visit in public, but because her friend doesn’t like us – neither can her child. True story. Some people allow others to decide for them.

I also have a friend or aquaintance really who ran one of those free internet background checks on myself and handful of other friends, and then soon after, the invites stopped. There is nothing of interest in my background, aside from divorces or maybe our financial business but everything online is factual, right?

My favorite though happened recently when I was explaining where I lived to someone, and was cut off only to be told, “I know where you live actually”, and then whispered, “you rent, right?” I’m still kind of buzzing on this one, because one hand, so trivial and obnoxious. Yet, on the other hand, the whispering…that got me. I don’t care how this person “found out” where we live, or that we rent even… but the whispering. That said a lot.

Renting to me is not shameful, and given that it was “whispered” this person already assumed it shouldn’t be shared – but if they had known me at all – they would know I am an open book. In fact almost every detail of my life is online, in one blog or another on this site. You don’t even have to run a background check, research my address or ask someone else – you can read it all here or just for grins and giggles, prepare yourself for this, you could just ask me. Crazy, right?!

I’m different than most, if you want to know anything about me I will tell you. Every shameful detail of my past, every dark moment, every mistake – I am an open book and I will sit with you face to face and lay it all bare. I’m not concerned about you judging me, your opinions of me or why it is that you even want to know about these things. I will even be okay with you feeling some type of way about me after and us going our separate ways. That would actually make me respect you. What concerns me though, since I am being totally blunt and forthright is why you need to know?

What is it about highlighting, digging up or sharing peoples past hurts, failures and mistakes that makes you feel better about your life? Because, that. That is where the issue lays. Not with me or anyone else, not whether you like me or them, it’s and issue inside yourself that stops you from liking yourself and anyone else. Someone somewhere at some point lied to you and told you that you were unworthy, unlovable, unimportant and unwanted. Someone hurt you, let you down and now to feel above it all, you do so by standing on top of the people you kick while they’re down. People just like you.

I don’t have to know you to know that you are loved, valued and important to atleast one person, God, and most likely more than him. I don’t ever have to speak to you to know that you were given a voice to speak life over people not cut them down with your words. I don’t even have to see you, to know that you have beauty and kindess and love inside you – it is just hidden behind the mud and the muck of whatever hell you keep shoving deeper inside yourself.

Hate doesn’t feel good, spite doesn’t taste good and ill will weakens your soul. It is not what you were made to feel, to distribute or to know. It was not what you were made of even, because you were made from love, to love others. So, whatever it is, maybe it’s time to start digging up your own “stuff” and shaking off your own skeletons in the closet and doing some healing, some forgiving and some loving. The key is you have to start with yourself first, or else it won’t stick and you’ll be right back to the person I’ll pray for, but would never sit and have a margarita with.

And, I really like margaritas and kind people who just want to love me for me, and ask questions about who I am because they genuinely want to get to know me and ask for the same in return.

Divorce: the scapegoat for the absent parent.

Because here is the thing, right now you are letting them down, not your ex. In a matter of years that will fly by like seconds, there will be weddings, children and life events – and it will be you let down when the invites are no longer extended. It will be you alone without a choice because you chose anything and everything except your children. All you have to do is show up. It really is that easy.

Just show up. It is actually that easy.

A good portion of this year I’ve spent in reflection analyzing my thoughts, feelings, and actions as a parent. I’ve made many mistakes throughout the past 18 years, many. It took accountability and required the swallowing of my pride to not only be aware, but to apologize for the ways my choices affected others and even my own children.

I remember sitting with them both and defending their father on something because he had every right for how he felt and his distaste and disapproval for my choices. The words flew out of my mouth without even realizing. It was as if I was in the movie Liar, Liar with Jim Carey. Audibly I heard the words that had remained safely tucked away in the corner of my mind for a day I was strong enough to admit my faults. Today was that day apparently. I remember saying, “your father was right and what I did was wrong. At the time I couldn’t see how unhealthy my actions were and how they would affect you both, but he did. And I need to apologize to you both right now” and I did. I remember explaining that the way he felt about me was understandable, however, his hatred for me, being transferred to them, was where the issue was laying unfairly.

When you become divorced, you no longer have a spouse, however, your children are still your children. That relationship, bond, expectation, role, and responsibility didn’t just end when you signed your divorce papers. What your spouse did to you, whatever they put you through must have a line drawn with your children.

Using my fingers on one hand, I can tell you how many events, games, or school activities I’ve missed in the 14 years being divorced and it is less than five. On that same hand, I can tell you how many times my children questioned my attendance, my involvement, or whether I would see them during any moment in their life. And, how many times they questioned their importance or my love for them, all which are zero.

They’ve never waited for a call to see if I could make a game or a call saying that I wouldn’t. They’ve never sat at an event looking into the crowd and not seen me there beaming with pride. They’ve not looked at me with that “did you see that play” seeking acknowledgement, only to see me exiting the stadium. They’ve never sat at school waiting to see if I would attend a conference, an exhibit, or an award being received. They’ve not had me not pick them up when they are sick, comfort them when they are hurting or protect them when scared. I’ve always been there. A constant. I’m not saying this to toot my horn, I’m saying this because I divorced their father, not them. My responsibility to them as their mother never ended.

Parenting time is bologna, it is not about the parent; It is about the child. If more parents made this time about the child, I guarantee you the children would benefit. Sports, school events, doctor appointments, emergencies, holidays – that is a lot to navigate between two homes. If you try to add two calendars to that, and what works for who, it is pure chaos. I’ve never understood why parents don’t view their time with a child no different from being married. If during your marriage you would attend whatever it is, then you should be there. Unless you did something awful to the child, you have open access. That means you can and should attend anything that supports your child, whether your ex spouse likes it.

I would like to think if I did not have full custody that I would not have just slipped into a role of a “sometimes, if it works out, I may make it” type of parent. In fact, I’m certain I would attend everything I could, and everything I should. Making certain my children know they’re loved, supported, celebrated and the center of my entire universe. If their father didn’t like it, or his spouse didn’t like it, too damn bad. I’m not there for them, I’m showing up for my children.

To this day, with two 14-year-old boys and my 17-year-old daughter, I get sick if I miss something important. It feels as if I am letting them down. I would never make them miss something important to visit with me, I would attend the something important with them. We schedule our lives around our children, not our children around our lives. How do you get back that time, that optional involvement and those moments that build and fill a child’s heart with love and worth? Do you realize that 18 years flies by in what feels like minutes? And, you waste that when all you have to do is just show up!

Sometimes life happens, you’re required to work late, or maybe your work refuses to let you off to attend a recital or game. I get that; I do. That is not what I am referring to. I’m referring to the parents who choose to not attend, the parents who have the schedule, and still don’t come.The parents who have the finances for trips, outings, events but not for gas to drive to an away game, or even 15 miles down the road. The parents who attend a function that self-serves instead of giving of their self, and of their time. The parents who manipulate, are dishonest and deceitfully make the choice to honestly just fail as parents. All to blame it on the ex-wife or ex-husband. And, for what? What purpose do those lies serve?

Because here is the thing, right now you are letting them down, not your ex. In a matter of years that will fly by like seconds, there will be weddings, children and life events – and it will be you let down when the invites are no longer extended. It will be you alone without a choice because you chose anything and everything except your children. All you have to do is show up. It really is that easy.

Choose your kids. Show up. The end.

It is okay to love God.

WE ARE ASLEEP people. We are not even showing up to the battle because we are sleeping right through it. We will complain about a waitress who didn’t serve well, an employee who doesn’t show up or doesn’t work hard, yet we aren’t serving, we aren’t showing up or working hard either! We break down the people who are busy building a better life, a better world, better children, better environment – because we’re not up to par. We need to up our game. It is okay to LOVE GOD.

okay that may be taking it to far – but it got your attention didn’t it. I wish I could apologize to every person I thought was annoying, trying to save me. Because, I get it now.

Do you remember the first time you fell in love? Everything felt new, exciting and as if you had this renewed sense of purpose. Any topic could be related to this new love in some way or another. You would think about this person non-stop all day long, and you would find creative ways to say their name just because you loved the way it sounded.

You were kinder, gentler, slow to anger because you were truly happy from the inside out and as cliché as it sounded, you felt complete. This is how I feel about God right now, but instead of sharing with the whole world excitedly, I was quiet at first, and walking on egg shells even.

When I first started talking about God, I caught myself whispering. I prepared myself for people to think that I had either lost my mind, or was about to. I’ve become overly conscious of offending someone, and preparing for the death of dearly loved friendships. Why do you ask? Because God is controversial, because sin is universal, and nothing divides people more than church and state.

The offenses run rampant and the offended are looking for someone to blame for their transgressions, anger, heartbreak and their loss. And, God is usually the one taking the fall. In our society today one breath out of context can be held against you, and the world wants inclusion while excluding one thing, God.

No one is unfamiliar with the amount of (removal) of God in our society today. Teachers teach evolution and can’t speak on religion or beliefs. Court rooms don’t all use the bible anymore. Classrooms rarely say the national anthem before the day starts, praying in public is more offensive than breastfeeding used to be. And, breastfeeding is beautiful!

We condemn, we separate and the world acts on how they “feel” and assume that is enough. Someone saying “Have a blessed day, God Bless you, or Merry Christmas” at work or in public, is risking their livelihood, but to the brave ones, they know their livelihood is in Jesus’ hands.

Who is the one person who has never let you down, never left your side, never not loved or accepted you? For me that only qualifies as one person. God. He is always where I left him, when I walked away. He is always forgiving and loving, and while his lessons may be hard, and his timeline askew from mine, everything in my life has connected as it should.

WE ARE ASLEEP people. We are not even showing up to the battle because we are sleeping right through it. We will complain about a waitress who didn’t serve well, an employee who doesn’t show up or doesn’t work hard, yet we aren’t serving, we aren’t showing up or working hard either! We break down the people who are busy building a better life, a better world, better children, better environment – because we’re not up to par. We need to up our game. It is okay to LOVE GOD.

I allowed Satan to make me think my sins, failures and brokenness prevented me from being whole again. And, let me tell you, the second God forgave all my sins, and I accepted that forgiveness, I became whole again. God uses broken people, because they are loud, unafraid warriors who are used to going against the crowd, used to walking alone and making their own path and there is nothing stronger than a broken person being made whole again, by God. A unafraid, exuberant baby Christian.

I’ve been cracked wide open to show that inside the center of every living being is raw and unedited goodness. All those days I spent in shame over what I had done in my past, but had already asked God for forgiveness years ago, was because I allowed the negativity and judgment of people to take over. When I realized God already knew, god had already forgiven me, it clicked that what you think of me, doesn’t matter.

It has no effect on my walk with Jesus, or the validity in the goodness of my heart. Your need to condemn me, that is something you must address personally. There is a reason you feel the need to point out the failures and judge others, and it is not because you are a Christian and God tells you to, because we know that is false. True and good Christians do not get even and they do not keep score. They simply love.

When you honor God during times of trouble, you shame satan back to hell. That’s what we need to do every day. Did the Tenboom Family stop hiding Jews in their watch repair shop from the Nazi’s, to keep themselves safe? No. Did Jesus drop the cross, run and hide away so that people would stop being offended by his message? Nope. Did Martin Luther King Jr turn off his microphone during his speech, so he wasn’t too loud for the people in the back? Not one bit.

So why in God’s name would I? It’s time to up my game.

The real-talk kind of mom.

I’m not in the parenting business to make friends, and I am okay not doing what other parents do. My children need to know that sometimes the right thing, is not what Susie and everyone else is doing. Sometimes the right thing is the least cool thing to do.

Personally, I envision my children as adults rather regularly, and some of those days are full of confidence and some of those days are frightening! I mean, let’s be honest here. Gage can cook a full meal, yet become annoyed with the task of sweeping the hallway. Cole loves to be in the mix with adults and young children, yet making him go outside and play with friends his own age – can literally open Pandora’s box. And, Gracie, she can basically do anything, and do it well, like really well – but failure, making mistakes, not understanding something, will throw her into a tailspin.

They may be teenagers today, but I’m raising more than that, I’m raising someone’s future spouse, parent, employee, friend etc. And, sometimes I think that our job in preparing them for success in these areas is forgotten.

Uncomfortable or not, I answer their questions.

The first time Gage asked as he giggled from the backseat if I liked hot dogs or tacos when he was younger, or when Gracie asked what rape was, I learned to be prepared to be uncomfortable. Gracie and Gage are two years apart, and their questions kept me (still, actually) on my toes. Some were silly, some were good, some were completely inappropriate, some I didn’t know and had to research, and some were embarrassing to answer, and took an act of god in keeping my composure. But, I did it because if they were comfortable enough to come to me and ask the question, there was a reason they were, and I had better be comfortable enough to answer it, honestly. Trust me, three teenagers keep the questions ever flowing and super awkward.

We talk about everything – ev-er-y-thing!

When Matt and Cole moved in, they didn’t talk about anything, and I do mean anything. The first time Gracie talked about her period, Matt was squirming and unsure if he should run out the door, or throw up. It was hilarious because for us it was second nature. Cole had at one point made a flippant comment about being among the kids in the world with one testicle. Matt laughed it off and told him he had two testicles, and they went on about their day. Literally, went on like nothing. I was in shock, telling him he needed to check, do something, but he swore he was certain he had two testicles. In his defense I remember that Gage had two testicles from changing his diapers, and that super awkward moment when he was two or three years old and called me in during bath time to inquire as to what that dot was between his legs – it was just a mole. It was also the last time I saw that area, thank goodness! But, I could see how seeing it once would make you assume it was still the same.

Now, while Cole is now every bit my son, then the idea of asking him to drop trou so his stepmom could investigate his nether regions was not appealing to either of us and he adamantly refused to let his dad. So… with football coming up and his need for a sports physical – I did what every other mom not wanting to see that region does, I took him to our pediatrician! One uncomfortable appointment with the pediatrician later, led to an even more uncomfortable visit to a urologist, and then a subsequent surgery retrieving an undescended testicle. You want to guess who talks to me about everything now? Yep, you guessed it, Cole! And, Matt too actually.

I think before saying: “You’re only a child, you don’t know.”

In my childhood home you were raised to be seen, not heard, to be pleasant not pretentious and that respect was given, not earned. Like with most traditional norms in your family that you were raised with and despised, you counteract those in your own family life. Some households may see that as not requiring vegetables, I on the other hand require open communication. The words “you’re only a child, you don’t know, or “you are too young to understand” will never leave my mouth. Because, I wasn’t too young to understand a lot of things, and even as a child, your mind still processes feelings, and emotions such as self-worth, love and acceptance.

I’m not their mom, I’m your mom.

What Susie’s parents let her do doesn’t matter to me, aside from possibly encouraging that friendship to continue. I’m not in the parenting business to make friends, and I am okay not doing what other parents do. My children need to know that sometimes the right thing, is not what Susie and everyone else is doing. Sometimes the right thing is the least cool thing to do. It’s not going to a party where everyone will be drinking, or where a parent allows that. Sometimes, it won’t be extending a curfew just because a friends parent did. This is teaching them that it is okay to be and do different, that going with the crowd isn’t always going to be beneficial, and that thinking for their self is more important than what others think of them.

I actively choose to give them a voice.

You’ve heard the saying “oh no, I’ve done something wrong, my dad is going to kill me if he finds out” and “oh no, I’ve done something wrong, I need to call my dad” well, I could never call my dad – and I refused to let my children down by continuing that as a mother myself. That is a priority in our relationship, confidence in them knowing I’m always a call away, no matter the situation.

We as parents learn something new every day, so how does it make sense to think that while raising our children we aren’t raising ourselves as well? I try to not suppress their voice, in fact I encourage it.

Open dialogue builds confidence. I’ve never been the type of parent who thinks I know more even when I think I may. Giving them the floor so to speak and allowing them to share what is on their mind, in their hearts, in a safe environment – is colossal in developing confidence. This voice will be what protects them, asserts them, what lands that job, what saves a life, what defends themselves or a friend, what talks someone out of a bad situation and most importantly the very voice that empowers and speaks love to themselves throughout their life.

I Pick my battles.

My husband loves many things about me, but this is not one. Picking my battles and saying yes more than no, are two things he and I differ on greatly. He is a “no” first kind of parent – he even said no to the boys to going to youth group once, before he realized what they had asked. We joke that if he were offered a million dollars, he would say no without even thinking because it’s like second nature to him.

I try for the most part to live with a motto of “I say yes, unless there is a reason to say no” and it has worked. This halts a majority of lying, it fosters respect and communication, and it teaches trust. When Cole first came to live with us, I said the words “I can’t stand up for you, if I can’t trust you, and I can’t say yes to you, if you’re showing reasons I should say no” until I was blue in the face and it has changed his ways almost completely. The little things can add up, and the big things can seem so minor when you break them down. So, I’ve learned to pick and choose what battles are necessary and why I am saying no instead yes. If I am saying no just because I can, it is the wrong answer. In my opinion the more we say yes in situations, the more opportunity we have for communication, lessons, mistakes etc.

I don’t hide all my mistakes or hardships.

It is essential that our children know that we make mistakes, that we do not have everything figured out and that sometimes in life things go badly. This is where they see you work through those hard times. Especially if your mistake is with them, they need to see you take responsibility of that, to not let pride keep you from being an example. Taking ownership, compassion and making amends are key factors to healthy relationships. You are who they will mimic when life gets difficult. If all your children ever see is sunshine and roses, what are they going to do when it rains, and that flower dies? They won’t just be ill prepared for the real word, but chances are they’ll feel like their childhood was a lie.

Parents who tell their children, “do as I say, not as I do,” aren’t giving their children enough credit. Children, especially teens still see, still know and still will most likely do as you did because that is natural. You can’t say don’t, then do it, and expect them to simply listen. That is where communication comes in, the “why” before the mistake is sometimes the magical deterrent. Also, personalizing the mistake, showing them that all humans makes mistakes, and that nobody is perfect, helps too. There is great power in saying I did this…, and this happened…, it was bad because…, I wish I hadn’t because it cost this… or caused this…, so when I say don’t – it is because I don’t want that to happen to you. You’ll have much better odds that way, versus just saying “because I said so.”

Religion vs. Relationship with God.

The greatest blessing of my childhood was being taught about God. As you become older and see the bigger picture in life you also see that all the answers you need are in the bible. Being raised catholic left a bad taste in my mouth in that not all things made sense, and being forced to believe what my family believed didn’t feel right, so I made a goal to not force a religion but instead introduce a relationship with God.

Going to church now more regularly, when they are old enough to understand what a relationship with God means is important, it shows that someones struggles may not make sense to us, or be visible to us, but that we still love them without judgment, just as God does us. It shows that we will have difficult times, but we are never alone. They are old enough now to ask questions, to put his scriptures into daily life and to see what true forgiveness means. That God, forgiveness and love all are part of the bigger plan.

Age appropriate responsibility.

Teens right now get drunk to hang out and have fun, have sex to be accepted and do drugs to numb and escape life. I want my kids to see that you can have fun without having a drink. That sex is more than how to “feel” loved and to live a life that never needs to be numbed or escaped. Their life can already be difficult with a variety of outside factors, but adding in these variables, only causes worse situations. There are reasons you get a license at sixteen, it is to get to a job. There is a reason you can’t drink until twenty-one, it allows brain development. And, there is a reason you wait to have sex until you’re married, because it creates an emotional and mental connection, it seals a covenant and promise and because it causes children!

Do I think that my children will wait until they are 21 to have their first drink, or until marriage to have sex? The drinking – no, but will I try and explain the importance of why they should until I am blue in the face? Yes. Teens these days are in a rush for everything which takes away the excitement. If you drive at twelve, what fun is sixteen? If you drink at fourteen, what fun is twenty-one? If you have sex at sixteen, and meet the man/woman of your dreams at nineteen, what are you giving them that is just theirs? With age becomes responsibility and if we rush these, the lessons are nullified in a sense. It is okay to hold hands before you kiss, to practice before you excel and to take small steps before a giant leap.

The High Road is under construction.

You don’t have to be nice to not be a pushover. You can set boundaries and have expectations of how others treat you – that is healthy. And, if they treat you like crap, you can absolutely call them on it, ask for it to change and if it doesn’t, bye! Bye bye, see ya later, ain’t no body got time for that. Zero tolerance, zero time.

Y’all I’m having a real hard time. It’s not just living every day with the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. It’s living every day with kindness and poise on one shoulder and calling everyone out on their bullshit on the other.

You see it, I know you do. But because calling people out aligns itself with judgment and involving ourselves in matters that are none of our business we let it go. And, we let it go. And…we..let..it..fricken..go some more.

But, what about when it is our business? What about when it is personal? You have two choices, either address it, risking making yourself entirely vulnerable or you say nothing, leaving them on their high horse while you take the high road. Well, I’m tired of taking the damn high road! The high road is under construction until further notice.

You don’t have to be nice to not be a pushover. You can set boundaries and have expectations of how others treat you – that is healthy. And, if they treat you like crap, you can absolutely call them on it, ask for it to change and if it doesn’t, bye! Bye bye, see ya later, ain’t no body got time for that. Zero tolerance, zero time.

In my life I’ve lived through some unhealthy situations which created some unhappy and even angry times. If you hurt me, I’d cut you out of my life, no hesitation whatsoever. And, I’d use my tongue of daggers and make sure to hurt you back. It was my way of ensuring that I completely obliterated that burning bridge and noone could cross it ever again. And, basically people thought I was a bitch. I, thought I was a bitch. So…I changed.

With happiness, maturity, and life experience I learned that not every action deserved a reaction. That sometimes, like in my past, hurt people – hurt people. I found myself stepping back and evaluating others actions and offering the benefit of the doubt before the verbal beheading and ostracizing. The feeling was incredibly freeing, and my heart grew in ways I never thought were possible. Patience became a virtue, kindness manifested itself within me and the desire to just let people be themselves took over. Daily I would catch myself questioning ” how does their opinions or actions affect you? Oh, it doesn’t? Then let it go!”

But, eventually this stops working. One day you’ll wake up and find that you’ve taken the high road so many times, that the grooves from your heavy footsteps have broken through the pavement of your soul. And much like highways and back roads with potholes, you have to close down for repair and take the detour.

What is the detour though? Are you gonna take a right on – It’s not worth the argument Drive and take the next left on – Maybe they’re unhappy Lane, and then continue on down to Disillusionment Circle? OR, are you gonna take a left on – Don’t take me for granted Street, merging into – I require better Freeway with a carpool lane!?!

Look, all jokes aside, it’s actually super simple. People do not get to live in your head rent free. People’s opinions of you are none of your business. These things you can control. You’re reactions or lack thereof allows the way people treat you, and it will continue. If you don’t respect yourself enough to say something is not okay, noone else will either. You are what you allow.

Stop allowing others to treat you like garbage. Stop letting them hurt you. Stop letting them manipulate you. Stand up for yourself and if they can’t appreciate and respect you as you deserve, then send them on down the High Road, without telling them it’s currently under construction.