Nontoxinista

Two Footprints, Your Footprints in the Sand

By April 24, 2017 Uncategorized
footprints

I’ll never forget the day I found out my dad had cancer.  It was spring break, and I was sitting up in my bedroom at my parent’s house working on a twenty page research paper.  I was five pages in, and was actually really enjoying writing it… And it was good.  Not to toot my own horn, but it was A work.

It was my mother’s birthday, and my father had an appointment for his stomach because he was losing weight and was having trouble holding down any food.  He had been struggling for a while, but had done a really good job of hiding that he was sick.  You see, my father only had half a stomach because of a previous illness.  He knew something was wrong, and feared he was going to need a colostomy bag.  Never in a million years did any of us think he was going to get the diagnosis that he did.

My bedroom window was open, and I heard the car as it pulled into the driveway.  I immediately stopped typing and headed downstairs to see how my dad’s appointment went.  I walked into the kitchen from the hallway just as my father emerged through the backdoor.  I immediately knew that something was wrong.  He looked at me with tears in his eyes, then without saying anything, he quickly walked into our dining room, clearly avoiding me.  As my mother walked into the kitchen I anxiously asked, “How’d it go?”  She paused for a second, and then in one sentence my world came crashing down.  “Daddy has stomach cancer.”

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I actually managed to finish that research paper… It was a few days late, and the last fifteen pages were terrible, but it got done.  Besides those first five pages, it was C work.  At best.  But my professor still gave me an A.  And she gave me an A on every other assignment after that one, even though I didn’t deserve it.  She knew I was an A student doing C work.  She also knew that my father was terminally ill.  Up to that point I had actually thought she was kind of a bitch.  Her class was tough and she was the opposite of approachable.  But after spring break she looked at me differently.  I knew that she could see my broken heart… As much as I tried to hold myself together, she saw right through it.  And she helped me out.  Because sometimes life sucks.

My father died on August 10, 2001.  He battled his cancer with courage and grace.  He always held onto his sense of humor, and did his best to make what were his darkest days easier for those around him.  It didn’t really feel like it back then, but now I can honestly say he’s my hero.  And I miss him like crazy.  I miss his big sparkly eyes and the way he snorted when he laughed.  I miss hearing him use copious amounts of curse words when he would talk on the phone with his friends.  And I miss his cooking.  Dinner was always so yummy.  I even miss how loudly he would snore when he fell asleep on the couch.  I miss everything about him.  He was a good father and a great man.

After he died, my friends and family tried to help lift me up.  But I was numb.  I was in shock.  It didn’t seem real… For months, it didn’t seem real.  I tried my best to act normal, but some days just getting out of bed felt like an impossible task.  I retreated inside myself, and stayed there.  Alone.  I was impossible to reach.  Difficult to help.  Despondent.  And depressed.  At my lowest of lows, I found myself at school, surrounded by people, yet completely by myself.  On one particularly difficult day I was desperate to get away.   I was drowning in my sorrows and feeling completely misunderstood.  I just needed to go home.  I needed my mom.  And my closest family and friends.  But I had $5.00 in the bank and an empty tank of gas.  I was stuck.

So I asked for help.  I made a tear-filled phone call to my friend, Lois, late at night.  We had had a long history of both helping and hurting each other.  But really, when push came to shove, both Lois and I have always known we can count on each other.  We had rescued one another before.  Shared beds, clothes, cars… I mean, I wouldn’t be surprised if we shared our toothbrushes.  And on the night I called her, in an instant she was on her way.  She drove an hour and a half to come pick me up.  She helped me pack up my stuff.  And she was ready to fiercely defend my honor to those who no longer understood me.  Then she drove me an hour and a half back home.  She listened to me cry the whole way, and just let me be sad.  I’m not actually sure what I would’ve done if she hadn’t answered my call that night.  She saved me.  And I am eternally grateful.

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It’s funny, I actually haven’t seen Lois in ages.  And we don’t speak often.  But I can say with 100% certainty that if I ever needed her help, she’d be there.  And the same goes for me.  But this post isn’t really about Lois.  It’s about having the courage to ask for and accept help.  It’s about knowing that there are so many people who are ready and willing to do whatever they can to lift you up when you’re feeling low.  And knowing that it doesn’t make you weak.  It makes you strong.

You know, it seems like when times get tough, we all wear this mask that looks something like courage.  But real courage is when you take that mask off, and show people what’s really happening inside of you.  I wish I knew that sixteen years ago.  At my deepest, darkest moments I had no choice but to ask for help.  But on all the other days I wore a mask.  Just like everyone else does.  I wish I hadn’t done that.  It probably would’ve spared me a lot of hurt.  And I probably would’ve healed a lot faster.  It’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from the loss of my dad… Asking for help.  And knowing that letting others carry me isn’t weak.  It’s human.

Sia~Footprints

 

~Namaste~

Becky

 

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I See Your True Colors

By April 20, 2017 Uncategorized
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You know it’s okay to show people what’s happening inside of you, right?  Most of us are really bad at it, and good at the opposite… Hiding.  Right?  We push our emotions down and away.  Deep inside of us where no one can see or know about them.  We’ve mastered the art of acting like we’re fine, even when we’re not.  We should stop doing that.  Our young children even do it.  Sometimes I witness it happening with my daughter and it literally tears me up inside.

As I arrived at work yesterday, Ceci skittered off down the sidewalk in front of me and ran into the lobby a couple hundred feet ahead of me.  I didn’t worry about it, as she’s quite at home at my work, and knows not to take off.  When I entered the lobby she was there, waiting for me, sitting on a bench.  I showed the person at the front desk my membership card then walked towards the elevator with Ceci by my side.  I glanced over at her and noticed that the look on her face wasn’t happy.  Something was wrong.  Right as I turned to ask her what was going on, she stopped, collapsed to the floor, and began to cry.  I squatted down, hugged her and asked what was going on.  “I don’t want to talk about it,” was all I was able to get out of her.  So I just sat and hugged her until she was ready to get up and move on.  She was still upset as we finally made our way upstairs.  She didn’t want to play with the other kids, and politely asked if she could hang out by herself on a bean bag with an iPad.  I said yes then left her to go teach my classes.

A short while later, the supervisor working the front desk informed me that Ceci had told her she needed to talk to me… That she had done something bad and was feeling upset about it.  I sat down next to her and asked what was going on.  I could see on her face that she was trying like hell to hold herself together.  She asked me not to get mad, so I pinky promised I wouldn’t, then she began her confession… When we had walked in the building, Ceci decided to stand off to the side of the front desk.  Another woman with a similar build as mine had walked in ahead of me.  Ceci, thinking this other woman was me, jumped out at her and grabbed her membership card out of her hand.  Ceci had wanted to be the one to go up to the desk to check in, but the way she was attempting to achieve that goal was fresh.  The other woman, understandably startled, turned to Ceci and yelled, “No!” at her.  Ceci was absolutely mortified.  I can just picture the look she must have had on her face, the lump in her throat, and the feeling she had in her belly.  She felt terrible about what she had done, and was incredibly concerned about what this other woman thought of her.  I took a moment to explain to Ceci that it was just a misunderstanding, and that she didn’t need to feel badly about it.  I wasn’t upset with her, and I was certain that the other person had already forgotten all about it.  I could tell Ceci didn’t really believe me, and that she was still really upset, but she got herself up and went off to play with the other kids.

Later that day I decided to revisit the conversation to see how Ceci was feeling about it.  And there was that look… The one I imagined on her face when she got scolded by a stranger.  Those negative emotions were still sitting inside of her.  Lingering.  She had tears in her eyes as she said to me, “Mama, can we just not talk about it?  It makes me feel like I need to cry, and I really don’t want to.”  So I let it be.  But now I’m sitting here thinking about how those emotions are stuck inside of her.  And how often that happens.  And how the cumulative effect of holding in her feelings will impact her life.

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It wasn’t until recently that I came to the realization that there’s a lot of old emotions hiding inside of me.  Hiding inside of all of us.  And unless we address them, they just sit there, and prevent us from getting to wherever it is that we’re trying to go.  Ya know?  No?  Yeah, me neither.  I have no clue where I’m going, or what I’m trying to say.  I’m totally lost. Ha!  But I know I want to get there… Wherever ‘there’ is.  Except ‘there’ is actually ‘here.’  Right?  Under all the stuff that’s preventing us from being the best versions of ourselves.  It’s already inside of us.  It just gets all fucked up by all the hurts we experience in life.  Some of which… Actually, probably most of which we can’t even remember.

If you look at a person though, and I mean really look at them, you can see it all.  It’s right there for everyone to see…  In our eyes.  The gateway to our hearts.  Right?  Maybe that’s why we’re all so bad at holding eye contact with each other.  Because it can be too hard to see all the hurt that so many of us are holding inside.  And the thing is, until it all comes pouring out, and I mean literally pouring out, in the form of tears, you won’t become the version of you that your soul intends.  We all just need to fucking cry.

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I mean, I cry all the time.  Shit, I just cried listening to the song I picked to go along with this post.  I’m a hot fucking mess.  I’ve put in some serious time over the last two years releasing the sadness and hurts inside of me.  Yoga everyday.  Guided meditations at bedtime.  Energy clearing.  Shielding.  Grounding.  A whole bunch of shit that us energy weirdos do.  And I still have more stuff inside of me that needs to come out.  And I’m pretty sure the reason why is that even though I’m addressing it, I’m still hiding it.  Ya know?  I cry in bed, in my car, and in the shower.  I show no one.  No one.  Well until now, I guess.  Fuck it.  I think true healing happens when you can fearlessly show the world all of who you are.  We all have so many emotions stuck inside.  And they’re all beautiful.  Even the ones that don’t feel so good.  They’re part of what makes being a human so special.  And besides, if you can find the courage to show people your true colors, you get to come out the other side lighter and happier.  Healed.

True Colors~Justin Timberlake & Anna Kendrick

~Namaste~

Becky

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It’s A Revolution

By April 20, 2017 Uncategorized
me

Sometimes I feel like I’m so fucking close to that place… The place I’m supposed to be.  Whatever it is that my soul had intended for me before I came into this life.  I feel so close.  And it’s amazing.  I have these moments where I’m out of this world happy for no reason.  Or actually, for every reason.  It’s hard to explain.  Like today, as I was driving home from work, out of nowhere I was high on life.  Nothing happened to make me feel that way.  I wasn’t thinking about anything in particular.  It’s just this flowing feeling that sort of takes over.  Almost a buzzing… Like that awesome feeling you get right before you sneeze, but exponentially better.  And I can’t help but smile.  I rolled down my window and smelled the air.  Looked at the sky.  The trees.  The flowers.  The rabbit that ran across the road in front of me.  And my daughter sleeping in the back seat from my rear view mirror.  Then I offered my gratitude to the Universe.  I love those moments.  I think it’s called “oneness.”  Or at least it’s how I think oneness would feel.  Like an effortless love of everything… Including myself.

But those moments don’t last.  They come and visit me briefly then move on.  And I return to my former self.  A version of me that’s struggling just like everyone else.  But I’m one of the lucky ones.  I get glimpses of what life is supposed to feel like.  Most don’t, or at least not yet.  Most of you probably have no idea what I’m even talking about.  Yeah, yeah… I’m crazy.  I’m okay with that.  I’ll be the crazy one that talks about ascension.  No big deal.

Those moments though… They change me.  Ever so slightly.  Each time I get a glimpse of true, unconditional self love, a tiny piece of it stays with me.  And you know what one of the best things about self love is?  It makes it easier to love others.  All others… Like, literally everyone. Weird right?  And in those moments, everything makes sense.  There’s no room for fear, or hate, or intolerance.  Because everything is just as it’s supposed to be.  As fucked up as that may sound, everything is just as it should be.  Life is crazy, man!  It’s a fucking trip, right?  I mean,  this is where you live:

universe

You’re a human being living on a spinning ball that’s revolving around a star.  Whaaaaaat??!  Puts things in perspective, eh?  I think we all need to lighten up a little bit… Stop taking shit so seriously.  Besides, if you believe that emotions are contagious, which by the way I do, than being all doom and gloom is counterproductive.  Right?  If you want to be surrounded by peace, and love, and light, then you have to be peaceful, loving, and full of light.  Let it shine out of you, to lift others up.  Ya know?  It’s so fucking simple, yet simultaneously seemingly impossible.  But we all hold that knowing inside of us.  And we’ve all experienced it’s power.  Most of us just haven’t identified it for what it is.

Just take a second and think about those moments…  The ones where people use terms like, “We were vibing,” or, “The room felt electric.”  That shit is real.  What you’re feeling and absorbing is other people’s happiness.  Feels good, right?  Maybe you felt it at your graduation, or at a concert, or some other type of celebration… But we’ve all felt it before.  We’ve also all experienced the opposite.  When tragedy strikes, or loved ones are lost, our sadness, grief, fear, and anger impact those around us as well.  When you think about the power of our collective emotions it’s pretty amazing.  We totally have a choice which direction this world will go.  And we’re living in the craziest of times.  But some of us…  A lot of us… are choosing love.  It’s a revolution of sorts.  A contagion.  But a good kind… Besides, aren’t you guys exhausted by all the negativity?  I mean, I get it.  I do!  The world is kind of a scary place these days.  But, honestly… It’s fucking tiring.  Y’all are inadvertently dragging each other down when we need to be lifting each other up.  The answer is inside of you.  Just love yourself.  That’s all.  No big deal, right?  You can totally do it.  I can too.  I have faith in us.

Now grab your glow sticks.  Let’s jam.

Diplo~Revolution

 

~Namaste~

Becky

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Forever Young

By April 8, 2017 Uncategorized
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When I think back on my childhood, I feel pretty blessed.  I grew up in a nice home with a loving family.  I had all I needed and most of what I wanted.  And I was generally very healthy and happy.  I really am lucky.  I have so many wonderful memories of being a little girl… Glimpses of my past that are so vivid it’s like they were just yesterday.

I can remember the exact smell of the air as I would ride my bike up and down our road…  The way the bike would rumble a little on the bumpy terrain…  My arms outstretched, completely enjoying the moment.  As I rode up my street I had to pedal, as there was a slight incline, but on the way back down I could just coast.  During this particular memory I’m singing a song from ‘The Little Mermaid’ at the top of my lungs.  Without a care in the world.

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I also remember countless hours playing with my siblings in the woods behind our house.  I loved taking my dog for long walks.  And moments of solitude, just sitting on a big rock, deep in the woods, all by myself.  I’d pick at the ground with sticks or rocks while making up poetry and reciting it out loud to myself.  I played with the ants, and danced to music that only existed in my mind.

Childhood is such a blessing.  It really is.  I can sit and watch my children now, and see myself in them.  Especially Ceci.  She reminds me so much of me.  A deep thinker and feeler… and one hell of a rockstar!  Who cares if there’s no music?  This little one has no problem dancing to the beat of her own drum… In public… In an Elsa costume.  I just love her!

I had that same badass attitude as a kid.  I had real hopes of becoming a pop star.  It obviously didn’t pan out, because… well… I can’t sing.  I have, however, perfected the craft of lip syncing.

 

Back when I was in elementary school I had a huge crush on a boy who was not the least bit interested in me.  Being that I was like eight, it didn’t really bother me that much, but I had this really ridiculous fantasy about winning over his heart.

Sometimes in the evening, I would play in our sunroom.  There were nine windows, and no curtains.  At night they made for perfect full length mirrors.  I’d put on Mariah Carey’s song, “Someday,” and lip sync like no other.  The boy I was crushing on was in my imaginary audience, and obviously fell madly in love with me because of my incredible singing abilities.  It was a good time.  And I’m sure my neighbors enjoyed the show as well. Ha!

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Admittedly, my dreams of becoming a pop star have not been squelched completely.  At times I’ll still find myself daydreaming about becoming the next winner of ‘The Voice’ or ‘American Idol.’  Taking the world by storm with my amazing vocals.  I wish I was kidding. I’m totally not.

My favorite place to perform is the in front of the bathroom mirror… by myself… with a locked door.  With hairbrush in hand, I get down to whatever jam suits my fancy.  I know.  I’m totally crazy… But you know what?  I have so much fun!  Letting my inner child out brings me a lot of joy.  She’s playful and carefree.  She isn’t worried about our worldly problems.  She feels confident and beautiful.  And… well, she’s me.  Besides if it’s at all possible, I’d prefer to stay forever young.  Wouldn’t you?

Jay Z featuring Hudson~Forever Young

~Namaste~

Becky


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I’m Not Afraid…

By April 1, 2017 Uncategorized
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When you manage a page on Facebook they offer all sorts of really interesting tools.  If I go to my site I can click on a button that says, “Insights.”  On that page I can see all sorts of information about my posts.  It’s only a tiny bit big brother-ish.  But that’s neither here nor there.  Anyway, I’ve come to two conclusions…  Firstly, y’all are as crazy as me.  Secondly, you think I’m a total smoke show.  Ha!  I kid…  For real though.  The realer I get (Is ‘realer’ even a word?), the more clicks my posts get.  Yeehaw!  And apparently you guys enjoy my selfies.  So here you go:

Me

No filter.  No makeup.  Unbrushed hair.  And sweats on the couch.  I ain’t scared.

None of us are perfect.  Yet, simultaneously, we are all perfect.  I’m realizing this more and more each day.  If I truly want to get to a place of self love, I need to do it not despite my flaws, but because of them. Because they help make me, me.  You know?  It wasn’t really until I came to this conclusion that judgement of others started falling away from me.  I very rarely judge others… I didn’t say I never judge others, but it’s not very often.  And when I do, I notice what I’m doing and I don’t like it.  When you start noticing that you don’t enjoy judging others, it’s the first step in self acceptance, as well as acceptance of others…  Because really, they’re kind of one in the same.  Did I just confuse the shit out of you?  Here’s a story to clarify:

So the other day I’m in the family locker room with my two kids.  They are slightly out of control and being mildly obnoxious, but I’m cool as a cucumber.  For whatever reason, I was not at all bothered by their shenanigans.  They’re kids.  It’s a family locker room.  There are times when there’s countless screaming children in that space.  Whatevs.  Right?  But then there’s this other mom.  Her kids, who in my opinion, were behaving much better than mine, were driving her batty.  After a couple failed attempts at taming her kiddos, this mom totally loses her shit.  Yelling, accusing, angry, and honestly, pretty mean.  I glance over at some other moms in the locker room, who give me the eyeball.  You know the one.  It says, “Wow.  What a bitch.”  I return an affirmative glance, confirming my agreement with their judgement, then turn toward the angry mom.  We make eye contact and suddenly, I see myself in her.  I give a sympathetic smile and move on with my kids.  As I walked out of the locker room I found myself feeling guilty for having judged her in the first place.  Who am I to judge?  It’s not like I haven’t lost my cool with my kids, like seventeen million times.

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Photo Credit: Jamison Wexler

Last winter I went on a grocery shopping trip with both of my kids.  I never do that.  Ever.  Grocery shopping with kids is a nightmare.  Grocery shopping alone is a dream come true… Especially at Whole Foods… In the bath and body section.  Right??!  Anyway, so I’m making my way through the store with my kids, and Ceci decides she’s going to become the spawn of Satan.  No joke, she had a meltdown in every single aisle.  She wanted the chocolate cereal.  The cinnamon rolls.  The cookies.  The candy.  The potato chips.  You name it, she had to have it.  I was so fucking irritated.  Throughout the whole trip I managed to keep my cool, but anger was bubbling up inside.  We finally make our way to the front of the store and Ceci notices the advent calendars.  You know, the ones that cost like $30 made with organic, fair trade, dark chocolate.  I’m sorry, but I ain’t paying $30 for a cardboard box filled with 25 bite sized pieces of chocolate, unless that shit is individually wrapped in genuine gold.  Who’s with me?  Ceci adamantly disagreed with my assessment of the price, and when I refused to buy the Godforsaken box of fucking chocolates she went off the handle.  She was no longer my child.  I was waiting for her head to start spinning.

After a battle that felt like it lasted an eternity, I picked her up over my shoulder, and carried her as I pushed the cart with Ryan in it, to the nearest cash register.  I plop her on the floor where she proceeds to act like a lunatic, and quickly unload my cart onto the register.  I apologize profusely to everyone in the area for my daughter’s behavior, ignore her, and wait for my stuff to get rung up.  The cashier, clearly trying to help, turns to Ceci and says, “Do you want some stickers?”  Say whaaaaat?!  Umm, no!  She can’t have fucking stickers!  “Oh, no maam.  She can’t have a sticker,” I say as I quickly pay.  She apologizes and quickly helps to bag my stuff.  At this point I’m sweating, my heart is pounding and I’m ready to get down on the floor and tantrum alongside my maniacal daughter… But I don’t.  I calmly pick her up, sling her over my shoulder and make my way to my car with the help of the bagger, pushing my cart.

Ceci continues flailing, screaming, hitting, and kicking as we make our way to the van.  The bagger waits as I haul Ceci into my van, then thanks me and walks away as I get Ryan and my bags of groceries.  I buckle Ryan up then proceed over to Ceci to buckle her.  She flops on the floor and refuses to get in her seat.  A five minute wrestling match ensues, which I eventually win, but not without a lot of effort and a fair amount of screaming… “Get in your seat.  Get in your seat!  GET IN YOUR FUCKING SEAT!!!”  Yup.  I said it.  Don’t care.  Game over.

As I buckle her up she’s screaming, “I HATE YOU!  You’re a terrible mother.  I hope you DIIIIIIIIIE!!!”

“Stop SCREAMING!!!!!!!!!!!”  I scream at her… Because, you know, screaming at your child to stop screaming is totally effective.  Big sigh.

As I step out of the back of the van, I glance over and see a middle aged man walking towards Whole Foods.  He stares me down with disgust on his face,  rolls his eyes, and shakes his head as he walks past.  “Fuck you, asshole,”  I think to myself as I get in the driver’s seat.  Then I cried.  The whole ride home, I cried.  There’s nothing worse than feeling like a bad parent, coupled with the feeling that others agree with that sentiment.

That was the moment I flashed back to as I walked out of the family locker room.  For a brief moment, I was the asshole walking past my van.  I have no idea what sort of shit that other mom is dealing with in her life.  Or how she was raised.  Or what types of struggles she’s endured in her life.  Know not, judge not.  I just keep telling myself that.  And when I do judge, I ask myself what piece of me I see in the situation I’m judging.

I’m totally unafraid of getting real with all of you.  If you choose to judge me for my mistakes, you’re really just judging a different reflection of yourself.  You’re no more perfect or imperfect than me.  And maybe if I’m not afraid to show my flaws and mistakes, and can love myself because of them, others can start to accept their own flaws and find that place of self love too.

Eminem~Not Afraid

~Namaste~

Becky

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