Sunflowers

I was feeling a little bummed out the other night. Violet is on vacation with her dad, and I miss her.  I wanted to take her and L to the magical sunflower field in the next town over and take their picture.  By the time Violet is home from her vacay–the magic will be gone.   

So then I thought I’d just take L.  And then I thought–how can I take pictures of such a little dude next to such big flowers.  

Then I thought I’d just take myself.  (And my camera) I packed it in the car before work and had plans to stop on my way home.  And then I didn’t.  I don’t know why…I just felt sad about going alone.  

Last night I was changing L’s diaper butt and I looked out the window.  It was a gorgeous evening.  Without much thought I scooped him up, grabbed my camera and went to the field.  

It’s like a 3 mile dive at the most.  The first mile I was thinking “how’s this going to work?”.  The next mile I’m like, “maybe I’ll just selfie–it’ll be fine”.  In the homestretch I was just excited to see the sunflowers up close, (and the bees too!).  



When I started to take L out of his Shark Stroller, a girl asked if I would like her to take our picture.  So yeah, that’s pretty amazing.  She took some pictures of my Duke and me, and my soul felt happy.  


(Photo taken by a super sweet girl named Marlee Snyder.  Thanks, lady!)

So here is my point.  Sometimes life gets you down.  Adulting is hard.  I hate going 8 hours without my Violet–let alone a whole week.  Sometimes L would rather kick me in the throat than sleep.  Maybe you feel the dark cloud of depression telling you to skip the Sunflower field this year since nothing matters anyway and it didn’t all work how exactly how you pictured it.  

Don’t let that shit rule your life.  You matter, and your thoughts and opinions matter too.  If all you can feel is the weight of the world–go find something beautiful.  Drink it in.  Appreciate that one thing, even if it’s only for a hot second. 

 There is beauty all around us.  It’s in the smile you give to the old man walking down the street.  It’s in the summer sunset. It’s in the thunder rolling through the sky.  It’s in your children laughing.  It’s in the Sunflower field.  


PS:  little dudes and big flowers are perfectly acceptable to photograph.  

PSS:  If you’re in a dark place with no beauty or magic–call me.  I can’t promise that I’ll know what to say, or that I’ll be able to relate.  I can promise to listen.  And to help you curl up in a blanket and hide for a little bit, if that is what you need.  I’ve been through some shit, too.  I don’t want you to go through your shit alone.  

Love, Light and Peace to you all. ❤️

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Memories

I told the story of “Hall Ball”. Half of the dormitory floor was boys and the other half was girls. The boy half was, of course, rowdy. Mostly freshman and sophomore boys who didn’t have mommy around anymore to keep them in check. They were constantly giving me a hard time as I was their resident advisor (read authority) and therefore the enemy. Hall Ball was a full contact sport they had invented. It was a mixture of football, basketball, rugby, wrestling and soccer…if you can imagine that. They were inventive, if nothing else. The problem: every week the exit signs got broken. The building director, of course, saw this as my problem, since these shenanigans would occur on my floor. So….I tried my very best to instill the fear of God into those boys. I found all the crazy I could find inside (that wasn’t hard, I was college Tori) and read them whatever riot act I thought would work. They laughed at me. I went home 100% sure that I would come back from the weekend to a broken exit sign.

I was wrong. Apparently they weren’t entirely careless and barbaric. They were so excited to show me just how clever they could be with this very effective exit sign protector that worked wonders.

As I wrapped up the story of Hall Ball someone said “You have happy memories, Tori”.
“Yes, I do” I answered.

My memories are happy because I choose for them to be happy.

Two summers ago on a super hot day in July I put Violet in her tutu bathing suit. We went out into the small and narrow backyard at Suzy’s old house, which is where we were living. She sat in the little wading pool and smiled while she splashed. We soaked up the Vitamin D. I forced myself to push all of the negative out of my mind and just enjoy my baby. That is a beautiful memory from the darkest summer of my life.

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I went to a wedding this past weekend and had a blast with some of my favorite people in the world. Most of which I haven’t seen in years. High school is never an easy time, particularly if you’ve always embraced your inner dork, like me. I remember the hard parts of high school, but my *memories* are of bowling, taking pictures of Porsches, getting carnations on Valentines day and visits in college from the friends who will always be friends, even if we don’t see each other for a decade.

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We had a purple notebook in middle school. Boy would I LOVE to find one of those. We just wrote notes back and forth until the notebook was full and then we’d get a new one and start all over. We’d write about crushes, sports, our dreams of getting married and having kids. We worked on projects together, went trick or treating together, rang in the new year together. And life happens and high school happens and things happen. And then things like Facebook happen and it’s given all of us a chance to see how it’s all worked out and be friends on a different level. I don’t remember why we went our separate ways, but I do know that this chick is a kick as mommy in a loving marriage. She’s been through some sad times and some amazing times, and I’m pretty sure her dreams came true. Pretty awesome.

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I moved off campus with a whole group of awesome ladies. We had all kinds of fun. From just sitting on the porch, to old school Wednesdays at the Pub. We even partied with Chunk from the Goonies *see photo*. These memories are some of my favorite, even though I haven’t talked to most of the 259 ladies since graduation. The details of that story belong in a whole separate blog post about growing up and making mistakes and finding who you are and then seeing things in hindsight and dealing with the disappointment in yourself. Non-the-less…the memories are amazing and funny and everything I’d ever hoped they’d be. I’ll always love these girls.

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We were the “Spirit Queens”. We planned pep rallies, and dated football players. We went to senior week together, and since we were so innocent back then we watched “Who’s Line is it Anyway?” and had Old Time Photos taken while our classmates got trashed. She went one way and I went another. Then I realized that my way was the wrong way and found her. I’m so thankful for all of my memories of this beautiful lady because she is proof that everything happens for a reason. I get to watch her family grow and hold on to the truth that there is true happiness out there, even after heartbreak.

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We shared a short, Italian Best Friend. While she learned lessons of her own with a man who was all wrong for her we had no choice but to spend lots of time together. “Had no choice” is the wrong way to put it, because I cherish every single second of that time. Memories of this amazing man are all that my short Italian Best Friend and I have left. Along with the hundreds of others who were touched by him. Maybe he learned all of the lessons he was supposed to learn, maybe he will come back in another life and so will we and we we will be together then. Maybe he is in heaven waiting for us. Whatever helps each of us get to the place where we can deal with permanent loss. What I do know: he deserves a smile on my face when I think of him. He deserves for us to tell stories of him and laugh more than we cry…*we deserve that too*. The happy memories in the midst of the sad.

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We all had a blast that night. It was a true girls night out and I was truly happy then. I was in love and getting married. Every thing that has happened since then has been instrumental in shaping the woman I’ve become, so even though this memory references my biggest lapse of judgement in myself and in another…I will always remember it fondly.

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The moral of my happy memories? I could find something negative or sad or horrible or embarrassing or disappointing about each of these memories. I’d have to think long and hard for some of them…and it’s just right below the surface for others. Every day when you wake up you decide what kind of day you have. You decide how the actions of others will affect you. You decide to hold on to the positive or the negative in the memories that you make. So yes: I have Happy Memories. And no: it isn’t because I’ve had an easy life. I am exactly who I’ve decided to be, and that is a Happy Girl.

It’s advice time!

Here’s that blog post where I give you all advice. Which is funny, because obviously I’m perfect at life (please read sarcasm). I’ve just noticed so many of the beautiful ladies in my life struggling. It makes me sad.

Goals are great things to have. Goals stop being great when you settle for an awful life in order to achieve those goals. Now don’t get all crazy on me (those of you who knew my life before the past year and a half). I’m not saying my entire existence was awful. I’m saying that I cheated myself out of what I truly deserve and I let the closest person to me treat me like the crud on the ground he walked on…and that sucks.

So what do you do when you realize that your dreams really haven’t come true? Here’s my short list.

1. Cry a lot. It’s therapeutic. All of that pent up negative energy has to go somewhere. For a very long time I “wasn’t supposed” to cry. It would harbor anger in those around me and I was conditioned to feel like the most annoying piece of shit on the planet for having emotions. I have news for you world. When a person cries….it doesn’t mean that they are crazy. It could mean a whole lot of things, but crazy isn’t one of them. So as soon as I had the chance I cried. A lot. I cried on my jogs. I cried in the car. I cried at night. I cried in the bathroom at work. I cried on the phone with my mom, with my boss, with my BFF in Florida.

2. Stop being a victim. Each story has two sides. Even though I’d assume that my husband told his girlfriend some very terrible and very untrue things about me in order to manipulate an extramarital affair out of her, I married the guy knowing full well that he did all of the yuck to his first wife that he did to me. People show you exactly who they are, almost immediately. I ignored red flag after red flag, and kept pushing forward because my goals were more important to me than logic. I expected a guy to run with four legs, when he only had two. That is nobody’s fault but my own.

3. Remember the dreams that really did come true. I’m more proud of my accomplishments than I’ve ever been before. I’m a college grad–and the bill is almost paid in full. Not too shabby. I have a pretty kick-ass job. My BFF says it’s kind of a big deal, so I’ll go with what she says. I’m a mommy, and my perfect little peanut is full of mommy-loving sass. She is my whole world and I am so blessed with every breath she takes. She’s over two and I’d still like to stay up all night just to watch her sleep. I know pure love, the love of a mother.

4. Face your fears. It’s as simple as that. Big girls and boys have to deal with a little bit of crap here, and some uncomfortable situations there. Trust me when I say that you can deal with much more than you give yourself credit for. It’s okay to have a little help from your friends. By now you should know who they really are.

5. Let go of what you can’t control. It makes no sense to be all worked up about something or someone who will never change. It may be that you can’t stand the thought of doesn’t -deserve-my-respect-baby-daddy’s-girlfriend being around your sweet innocent child. It may be self destructing friends. You only control one person in this life…You. A very smart and intuitive man once told me that drama fills our lives when we welcome it. I choose to no longer welcome drama.

I’ve realized that most women don’t challenge themselves to self discovery unless they are forced to. I’m guilty. All of my awakened girlfriends are so, because they have some shitty story to tell. It’s gotten to the point where I want to run around from church to church on the weekends yelling “Wait! Are you sure? You don’t have to marry him!” like a crazy person. (Disclaimer to all engaged friends….that’s most likely me being jaded….please don’t be offended). I guess all I’m trying to say is this: If I would have taken the time to become ME when it was really time for me to become ME…things would have been very different. Much less painful. I wouldn’t change my past, I don’t think anyone should want that. Each of my experiences helped me to become who I am today and I really love that woman. It’s just frustrating to think of what I had to go through to fall in love with me.

If you are anything like me, you have these big dreams and goals. If you don’t seem to be reaching them in the ridiculously unrealistic timeframe that you’ve set for yourself–or if that whole life of cards comes crashing down around you–I know how you feel. You’re feeling sad, feeling impatient, feeling like a failure–do yourself a favor and re-evaluate. Cry it out. Own it. Be thankful. Be brave. Just breath.

This universe gives each and every one of us the chance to be happy. I don’t have a lot, but I’m so very blessed. It’s because I know exactly what I want, exactly what I need and exactly what I deserve. And I *try* to give everyone around me that same love and respect.

And since its nearly impossible for me to post an entry without mentioning my gorgeous ray of sunshine…

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Just a little selfie she took in between episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. She took a couple hundred in a matter of three minutes, so it was challenging to choose which one to publish.

P.S. I’ve been MIA with my blog for almost two months because crazy single momma life doesn’t usually leave one with much free time. Every day I planned on blogging what’s been funny and what’s been cute…..just as soon as I could take a nap….and then it was the next day. Funny how that happens. I have those stories saved up….stay tuned!!