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Ashlea – Girl Gang Member

This is my final Girl Gang Member post about my best friends. So, lastly, but only in writing this blogpost, and certainly not least in any way whatsoever, here is my Ashlea. Oh, wow! Where to begin with this one? We met when her oldest and my youngest daughters were in 4 year old kindergarten together and we haven’t missed a beat since. She is . . . Fierce – furiously eager or intense. She can flash those piercing eyes in your direction, head cocked to the side with a slight smile dancing in the corner of her mouth. You can’t help but want to know what she is thinking and then you must go do it with her! It’s always an adventure. Brave – possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance. Hmm . . . this badass BFF of mine has been through mud pits, sprayed in the face with venom, and hung out to dry in the middle of a desert. But NO MATTER WHAT – she always comes out the other side of whatever it is still with that “pretty girl swag”. (go look that definition up) Vivacious –  lively; animated; spirited. We were once known as the Dynamic Duo. She is my partner in crime. She is wild, fun and up for just about anything. What haven’t we shared? She is a survivor. Just like me, she has been through more shit than you would find in a pasture of a million cows that were all just given enemas. How’s that for a visual? We’ll be in our eighties and still crazy – TOGETHER! She would probably describe herself as this “Flawed and fabulous because perfect doesn’t exist and normal is boring.” And this is just one of the many reasons I LOVE ME SOME ASHLEA GRAVES!!! We ain’t afraid to get our hands dirty in this crazy thing called life! So, for today here is the good . . . I am BLESSED to call her my friend, my sister and to have her be part of my inner circle – my Girl Gang. I love you, Ashlea! Much Peace and Love Y’all! I hope y’all have a great weekend. PS – yes this is an old pic below. Most of our pics I can’t show to the public! (wink, wink)

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New Year, New You – Wait . . . what’s wrong with the old me?

Happy New Year! Right? That’s what we are supposed to say, and I do think we generally mean it. I don’t really want others to have a bad year and speaking of bad years – I have had a lot of them. Half of 2016 and most of 2017 seemed like I was thrown out of a plane, on numerous occasions, with no parachute (I guess my anxiety was keeping me in the air like a little cloud of chaos), only to fall in a desolate land where bombs are continuously dropped on my head! Yep, that sounds about right. It took a toll on me mentally, emotionally, and physically – even socially and spiritually. I know I don’t like to show it on the outside to most people which leaves my poor family and few, very close friends to have to deal with it. However, some may argue I do wear my heart on my sleeve and my emotions are usually on display (here’s to you sweet friend, Susie R.). But I’m talking about the deep, dark, black hole. Maybe that’s another story for another time . . .

My point in all this is to show others how to Look for the good . . . in every situation. That is why I have promised to always give you the good . . . at the end of every blogpost. So, here I am circling back around – thank you, ADHD – to share with you just how perfectly imperfect I am. I have been depressed and anxiety runs through my veins like my blood – continuously. The very things I enjoy, such as writing, have been difficult to do lately. We don’t like to talk about these things, but I feel like me sharing my “bag of Skittles” life will hopefully help keep someone else from drowning.

So, for today, here is the good . . . I am forgiving myself for not being perfect. After all, there is no such thing as perfect. Forgiving myself for not keeping up with my blog as often as I would like because my mind won’t let me. Forgiving myself for not eating as healthy as I should and for not exercising. I am going to learn to love myself. I have a serious physical self-esteem problem. Those of you that know me have heard about it ad nauseum. Instead of worrying so much about my legs having cellulite – I am going to be thankful I can use my legs. I have a daughter who can’t. I am going to love my curves instead of wishing I were skinny. I am going to celebrate the good things about myself and work on the things I can, but again forgive myself when I JUST CAN’T ________ (fill in the blank). I am going to learn that what others think of me isn’t necessarily the truth and even if it is what’s wrong with that? I know someone out there loves my colorful mouth, outrageously, silly personality, fiery attitude, chaotic, ADHD mind and animated existence. THIS IS ME – PERFECTLY IMPERFECT! Much Peace and Love Y’all!

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Positive Purposeful Post

F.E.A.R. – has two meanings – Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise   The choice is yours.

Okay so this saying is one that is actually not in my personal LFTG jar but I saw it today and it jumped out at me. Why did it jump out at me? So easy! How can you forget about something that is constantly on your mind? It doesn’t mean you aren’t moving forward. Right now for me it is to decide how I want to move forward. You know how you can speculate on something that happened? Maybe that person is thinking this or saying that, but you don’t really know. You can only go on their past behavior. However, when it is confirmed it is not always a happy moment. We tend to think “Ha, ha! I’m right. I knew I was right.” But when you being right means finding out someone else’s true colors are ugly and dark, it isn’t the greatest feeling. Having said that, as you should know by now, I am not one to run. I always stand up for truth, even if it hurts, and trust me, this truth hurts. For today here is the good . . . Even though my heart is broken I am still strong. I refuse to live in a cluster of lies. I refuse to live as if certain things didn’t really happen. I refuse to sweep the filthy dirt under the flawless rug. The only reason the fabric looks unblemished is because they place pretty furniture on it to cover the stains. They are there though. They are reminders of the choices we have made and the life we have lived. Our experiences both good and bad. They are the marks where we have fallen and smudged our less than perfect spirits. No one is perfect! Not even one! I choose to Face Everything And Rise. I will not be fearful of letting go of something I never had in the first place. Peace and Love Y’all!


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Positive Purposeful Post

So I have a guest writer for today’s Positive Purposeful Post. I am thankful my beautiful daughter, Kloie, pulled this quote from my personal LFTG jar today. I hope you are inspired by her thoughts below. As promised I always show you the good . . . and while it is usually at the end she shows you plenty of good throughout. Enjoy . . .

And if I asked you to name all the things you believe in – how long would it take for you to name yourself?

Recently, as in the past two and a half months, I have started to find myself. For years I thought I had figured out who I was and convinced myself that I was happy with my life. Then I got a glimpse of reality and noticed I wasn’t really happy nor did I approve of myself. I felt the need to wear what everyone else was wearing or put on makeup because all the other girls were doing it. I’ve always been the type of person who doesn’t follow the crowd, even if that means I’m left by myself. But then I began to notice I was trying to copy what other people were doing. This made me feel even worse.  Being at the school I was at, I thought I’d never find my true self.

Then I got accepted into GSSM (The Governor’s School for Science & Math) and my spirit just became brightened again – like I hadn’t seen it since – well, I don’t even know when. I began to feel that this was my time to uncover who I wanted to be as a person and how to be at peace with myself even when today’s society has certain standards many women/girls feel obligated to live up to.

My parents introduced me to Asheville in early Spring. This exposure to “hippie city” brought so much joy to me. I felt like I fit in with the people who lived there. It’s very freeing and has a sweet atmosphere to it. I believe this is what helped me to become the person I am now and am continuing to grow into being. I’m sure my mom has told many people that I’m a hippie which is quite true. I wouldn’t have become a free little thing without the help of my mom and her driving me to Asheville multiple times. Once I experienced how nice it was to simply be a nice person without care for many worldly desires, I was overcome by this feeling of strength and being free. I’ve always been a strong person, but seeing as how freeing I was becoming made me feel stronger like really nothing could tear me down.

I used to be very self-conscious about my weight, my acne, and my personality. I’ve always been a smaller girl, but I gained a few extra pounds my eighth grade and freshman year. Though it wasn’t a big difference, I just felt so gross and sluggish. This made me just hate myself. Then I started getting acne. At first I didn’t care because everyone liked me for me. Then girls started wearing makeup to become “prettier” and they were telling me that I should wear it because I’d be prettier too, especially since it would cover up my acne. As far as my personality, I’ve always been outgoing and not scared to befriend or talk to someone new. However, I started to feel like an outcast when I didn’t want to do the things that my peers were interested in doing. I didn’t know if I was just weird or what. I have now accepted that I’m not just some follower. I am a leader. I am glad I only do the things I feel comfortable doing. I am strong.

Near the end of summer, July 27th to be exact, I got dreadlocks. Me getting dreads helped to shape the hippie lifestyle I’m trying to live. They help me feel rooted to my inner self and connected to the world I love. At GSSM, I’m not judged for my hairstyle like I would be if I still went to my old school. Nor does anyone care that I’m a free spirit. GSSM is so diverse that it brings everyone together and I get to experience all different types of lifestyles, personalities and cultures while becoming who God made me to be. I am not bullied at my new school like I was at previous schools so I’ve gained much more confidence and peace within me. I can now honestly say I love me for me and wish everyone else would do the same for themselves. We humans don’t need all these materials things to make us feel better about ourselves or entertain us. The material kind of happiness is very short and leads to self-destruction, I believe. Everyone should join together and simply love one another because we are all humans. No one is completely the same so there will NEVER be an ideal “perfect” person or body. That means no self-hate is allowed, just loving ourselves exactly how we were born. If I, another random person in this world, can believe in myself and be at peace even with these worldly distractions, so can y’all. Spread love, peace, and happiness! Kloie