Post the Picture, Wear the Sweatshirt

I never would have thought that the picture I posted the other day on Instagram would garner so many comments and messages. There was no intention behind it other than I I want to be completely myself so that everyone here will feel safe to be completely themselves too. I wanted to share it here as well (in case Instagram ups and disappears one day because I think it is an important message).

I was wicked hesitant to post this photo for all the wrong reasons. I always had in my head that if I bought a sweatshirt or shirt with a food quote or icon on it that people would see it and be like, “Yeah obviously, she loves that. Look at her.” I have battled with myself for years over what my weight is and how I think of myself. I am constantly over analyzing my reflection in the mirror and today I decided to say screw it. Not that I know those thoughts will suddenly stop but I wanted to post this picture. I think it’s fun and I love this sweatshirt.

We all know I’m obsessed with cheese fries but that doesn’t mean I eat them all the time or that I don’t eat healthy. I can post a picture of some cheesy goodness that I shared with a girlfriend while wearing an adorable sweatshirt and if people want to judge, so be it. I was the one with the fries and they weren’t.

Why I Blog

The other day someone asked why I write on here if I get less than 5,000 views a month. After I was taken aback by someone asking me that and assuming information about my analytics (they weren’t wrong hahah), I told them I don’t do this for any reason other than I love writing and flexing creative muscles. I find joy in sitting here and sharing what I find interesting or fun in hopes that some of you find those same things interesting or fun.

I took this at  Create and Cultivate’s  NYC Conference in 2017 and it still rings true.

I took this at Create and Cultivate’s NYC Conference in 2017 and it still rings true.

I would like to think I will have built a community here one day. A place for women to feel safe and heard and are treated kindly. I have big plans and goals that I want to accomplish but all things take time. I am still trying to build trust and a genuine readership that knows they can count on me for honesty and friendship. I also want people to come here and feel inspired to chase their own dreams. I truly believe in collaboration over competition.

So no, this won’t be my longest post but I feel that it is a necessary one. Hopefully, one day, I won’t have to explain myself to others but for now, it was apparently something people wondered. Let’s try to be less judgmental in 2019 and let people chase their dreams, accomplish their goals, and do what they love without asking why.

Band of Dads

I am going to start by saying that the show ‘A Million Little Things’ has been amazing so far. We are only two episodes in and it has been so so great. Episode 2, ‘Band of Dads,’ really got me thinking last night. And for those that came here looking for the reason in posting that Instagram picture last night, it may not be obvious but those two little ones were their with dad and it hit me right in the feels. The moment I captured this picture, she was calling out to him and all I could do was think of the adventures my sister, dad, and I took on the regular. I felt like I was looking back at a movie of my own life. Definitely a special moment for me.

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There were so many times when my mom stepped in to take my dad’s place while my sister and I were growing up. She didn’t need a band of dads however, it was so helpful that there were always those men that my sister and I knew we could count on. Yes our family (uncles and grandfathers were and continue to be more than amazing) but a few other men stood out to me as well while I was digesting the episode.

My Uncle Chuck. Not a real uncle but that is the easiest thing to reference him as. When we were little, my sister, dad, and I were part of a group called Indian Princesses. It was a father-daughter group that would have meetings and go on outings once a month. Skiing, camping, haunted hayrides, bowling, beach houses, the works. Some of my absolute favorite memories from childhood are on those trips. Once my father passed away, my sister and I didn’t think that we would have the option of going. We didn’t want to have to be the girls who brought their mom (although now that seems crazy since Karen rocks) so our Uncle Chuck, who always brought his twin daughters, brought us. He cared for four girls instead of two. He always made sure we were included and could attend each event. He participated in each activity four times instead of two and he cared for us like his own. He is the reason that we got to continue living with the smallest bit of normalcy and that was huge to a ten year old. He doesn’t read this and I don’t think anyone else that knows him, other than my mom, does but he deserves some recognition.

There are two other men that never got to know my dad but were willing to step in even though they didn’t have to. At my high school, there is this thing for seniors at the end of the year called The Last Dance. It is a mother-son/father-daughter dance that used to be (I can’t tell you if it still is) taken seriously. My sister’s best friend lost her father as well so they chose to have their own fun their senior year. When my year rolled around, I knew my mom would take me, no questions. She had to stand up and fight for a ticket which is absurd since it was 2010. Clearly every family is different and a child should be able to bring either parent regardless of the situation but she eventually got her way (per usual hahaha) and got our tickets. I hadn’t told either of my best friends yet but both of them immediately texted me asking if I wanted to go with them and their dads. Abby and Dani’s fathers both offered for me to attend the dance with them so I wouldn’t feel out of place. Instead, my mom came and the six of us had the absolute best time. I still have pictures from that night and I still am so thankful for both of those men to be so considerate to share their special night with me as well if I needed.

I am lucky that growing up, my mom has always stepped in. She filled the shoes of my father very well and I never felt like I was missing out or that I needed my own band of dads per say. It is just nice to know that these men are there in case I did need one to step in.

Even Birds Need Nests

Okay so I wrote this post in May of 2017 after attending the Create and Cultivate conference in New York City.  I am clueless on why I never posted it.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that there is not really a take away for all of you.  (or that I don't think I ever really finished it?) Either way, I think its something that still rings true.  I'll let you read it first and then explain my thoughts.

Gloria Steinem spoke at the conference I attended a few weeks ago and she totally blew my mind. Throughout the day, when speakers were presenting, people were still dilly dallying and talking in the background at different booths. It was irritating but I understood that every speaker was not going to be everyone's cup of tea. I was just hoping that by the time Ms. Steinem took the stage, the other women would quiet down and boy was I pleased because the moment her name was announced, the several hundred women went silent. She has an incredible stage presence that draws you in. We were clinging to every word she said.

I had a few takeaways from her time on stage. A major key was that it is okay to be a "hopeaholic." You can hang on to hope and believe in yourself and others because sometimes, that really is the only way you're going to make it through (whatever it is your stuck in). You have to have hope that the future is brighter and that change will happen if you believe in it. Steinem called herself a hopeaholic and I am pretty sure I am one as well.

Another key that Steinem spoke of really hit home for me. She said "even birds need nests." And boy did I almost cry. For some reason I have been extra emotional lately and her saying that struck that cord in me. You may interpret what she means differently than I did and that is great however, this is what I got out of it; it is okay to go home. Wherever or whomever you call home, it is okay to miss it. Home is the place you feel safe and sheltered and sometimes, that is all you need. You can fly anywhere you want and explore the world but you will always have a place to go back to.

Besides the fact that I am indeed a "hopeaholic," I think I was trying to get at that it's okay to miss home and want to go home.  It is human nature (or bird nature? not sure) to have a home base.  You can be a nomad, a traveler, and explorer, but there is always that place or those people that you will want to go back to.  Even birds need nests.