New Year….Beautiful Day

My awesomely fierce friend Joy Tanksley shared this on my Facebook wall, so I’d thought I’d share. Seems appropriate, no?

We can do this y’all. Let’s make it a beautiful day in spite of what may lie ahead of us. Be encouraged. You are loved.

Self Love Saturday: Thank you, 2011. You’ve Taught Me Well

Well…here we are. My last post and last Self-Love Saturday of the year.

I woke up at 3:00 this morning because it felt like my heart was going to explode from all the gratitude that’s currently surging through it. A couple of months ago, I wrote a SLS post about focusing on the good things, and that’s exactly what I had been doing before I went to sleep last night: meditating on all the good and all I’ve learned in 2011. I said yesterday that it was a painful year, but I’ve come out of the pain a more wholehearted person than I was before encountering it. I’ve learned an incredible amount about myself, motherhood, blogging, faith, and just people in general.

I think it’s only fitting that I spend the last day of the year and my last Self-Love Saturday celebrating the good and allowing this surge of gratitude I feel just take over. Resolutions, goals, and aspirations for the New Year can only be built upon the foundation we’ve laid during the previous one…and I’d like to think that I’m going into 2012 with a strong one!

SO. What brings about this swell of gratitude?  Well in 2011 I….

  •  graduated with an Associates in Liberal Arts & Communications in May
  •  received treatment for my PPD & Anxiety
  •  was accepted to a 4 year University (in 2010 I was rejected from 2)
  •  found Postpartum Progress
  •  found an overwhelmingly amazing community of women & bloggers I consider my friends (Hello #PPDChat Army & Band Back Together!)
  •  accepted WordPress’ “Post a Day” Challenge-I didn’t write every single day all the time, but I came pretty close!
  • MOVED OUT OF NEW JERSEY!
  • survived my first semester at PBU
  • accomplished 4 things off of my Life List
  • Saw my cousin perform a tribute to Prince in NYC
  • was introduced to Brene Brown’s work, the concepts of owning your story, and wholehearted living
  • was diagnosed with rapid cycling  Bipolar Disorder II….which led me down the right path to effective treatment and medications. I’m not as close to managing it as I’d like, but I’m FAR better than I was just 6 months ago.
  • finally found a psychiatrist and therapists who I love and work well with
  • received my first kiss from Alex
  • laugh more
  • cry less
  • am able to actually play with my boys instead of being afraid or unable to be around them
  • established a solid support group of friends online & “in real life”
  • started Dance Party Fridays and the journey toward self-acceptance & healthy body image
  • Fell in love with YOGA!
  • Learned that I adore all things colorfully bright & bold
  • bought my ticket to my FIRST EVER blogging conference, BlogHer12 in NYC. (CAN’T WAIT!!!!)
  • found out that I’m more of a science geek than I thought (Thank you Dr. Gossard!)
  • started painting
  • Fell in love with pastels & sketching
  • Signed up for NaNoWriMo and OWNED IT….knocking out 50,000 words of my first book 🙂
  • talked with Katherine Stone, Karen Walrond, and Joy Tanksley- 3 women I admire immensely!
  • had my “busiest” blogging day ever: August 26, 2011 with 145 views!
  • was recognized as one of the top 20 Writers on Postpartum Depression by Postpartum Progress & community
  • was nominated for WeGoHealth’s “Best Kept Secret Health Activist” Award! (EEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG! OMG! OMG! I’m so honored-I don’t even care if I win, seriously..such a great list of nominees!)

and that’s just scratching surface! So many good and wonderful things have happened in spite of the difficult places I found myself in, and if I had been in those difficult places, I wouldn’t have met all of you!

Seriously. Every single one of you who take the time to read about my life here on ‘Confessions has made an impact on my life this year, and I’m just thankful and appreciative that you stop by here. All of your comments have helped me get through the hard stuff, and it means the world to me.  Life gets busy, trust me, I know…so the fact that you take the time to read and comment is incredible to me.

To all the bloggers I’ve met this year: you are the most beautiful & strong women I’ve ever met in my 29 years. Thank you for embracing me, laughing with me, sending me hugs over WiFi, dancing with me, and sharing writing space with me! Thank you Jaime & Susan for gracing ‘Confessions with your awesome insight and writing skills by guest posting (and for “hanging out” with me on Google +!)….and thank you Kim, Lauren, & Katherine for walking with me during some of my darkest moments and helping me fight.

To my ex: We aren’t together and as hard as that has been to accept before, I do now and I know it’s for the best. We are both healthier for it. Thank you for continuing to be a friend to me, in a capacity that is healthiest for you.

So…there you have it folks. Thank you 2011. You’ve taught me well and I am grateful for what you brought my way these 12 months. I’m happy to say I feel strong enough to embrace what’s on the horizon in 2012…I have a feeling it’s going to be good, y’all. So take some time and think about the good things today…and spend the last day of the year being kind to yourself…

WE MADE IT!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

you know you want to….go ahead….Dance with me!

Dance Party Friday: GET FREE Edition

When it comes to writing and blogging, inspiration can come at any moment, in any form. For this particular post, my inspiration came while watching Brennan rock out with his new favorite Christmas gift: a Paper Jamz guitar.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Paper Jams instruments come loaded with 2-3 songs your kiddos can rock out to. It must have been fate that chose me to pick the one I did, because guess what? It happened to have one of my favorite songs from junior high on it. It wasn’t until I was watching Brennan try out his new shredding skills though, that I actually realized the song was on there.

Before I knew it, I was up on my feet, hairbrush in hand, rocking out; Bren on his Paper Jamz, me on my fierce air Les Paul, fingers and afro flying at a furious pace…something like that Tom Cruise/Risky Business scene…

(don’t worry, I had sweatpants on)

As I slid onto the floor to finish with rockstar flair (and a serious case of rug burn) it hit me: It’s time to get free.

I don’t know about you, but 2011 was like living in Dante’s Inferno-every month depression, anxiety, BP, motherhood, relationship & health issues, and just life in general seemed to have me in a different circle of hell. I’d say that it’s a year I’d love to have erased from my memory, but there were some really incredible things and an enormous amount of growth that came from the pain and hell I went through this year. So I guess, if you look take the positive approach, I wouldn’t be where I am right now, at this moment, had it not been for everything I encountered in 2011.

I started off this year asking God to help me get rid of all the ashes in my life so I can make room for some beauty. (Isaiah 61:3 for you Bible Geeks) Had I known my ash pile was the size of Mt. Everest, I probably wouldn’t have had the balls to make such a request. But I didn’t, and so I did, and thus I spent 2011 gathering up enough dynamite to blow my mountain of ashes to smithereens. It seemed the more issues and tangles I tried to unravel, the more I tried to understand what was going on with me, the bigger the mountain became…

But here I am, at the end of the year, realizing that I’m not the same person I was back in January. Back in January, I was buried under the rubble and ashes of things I didn’t understand, issues from childhood that kept me tangled and trapped, suffocating from the demands of motherhood, and being swallowed alive by an illness raging out of control. Today, on December 30th, I’m standing next to this mountain of ashes, no longer trapped by the tangles of abuse or expectations & opinions of others, far more self-aware, finding my motherly stride again, and learning how to manage an illness that finally has a name and the proper treatment plan.

2011 has been the most definitive year of my life and I can honestly say I’m standing here at the end of it feeling the freest I’ve ever felt in my life. Free to live, free to love, free to be exactly who I am without bowing to the pressure to be defined by circumstances, illness, or anyone’s opinion about how I should be living my life in the midst of either.

So going into 2012, I thought it would be fitting to rock out to “Get Free,” by The Vines and tear down the things I’m getting free from. I don’t feel like every year is going to be different and a thousand times better than the last, but something in my gut is telling me 2012 is going to be for me…and for you. So if you’ve been through hell this year, take some time to find a way to destroy those things that beat you up all year.

Get free and live free in 2012. And dance your a– off along the way 🙂