Broken. Nearly Shattered.

What an absolutely insane past 8 months I have had. Around 8 months ago my life completely changed. I guess I can’t really do this blog without touching on the ending of my relationship. The future I imagined myself having walked out the door on a Monday in November. I can honestly say it was one of the worst days of my life that I can remember. I can’t begin to explain the way I felt that day or the days surrounding it. Having the person you care about more than anything, who you felt loved you as unconditionally as you did them, tell you that they want something different for their life than what you were offering is a really difficult pill to swallow. Everything I thought that I knew about life or about myself was broken in the time it took to hear those words. I was numb. I was frozen. I idly stood by and watched my ‘happily ever after’ walk out the door. I didn’t put up a fight. I didn’t argue. Thats a funny thing about love. Even in my darkest of moments I still loved him enough to let him go.  I didn’t want him to stay with me and be unhappy. I didn’t want him to feel that his dreams couldn’t be a reality because I was interested in a ‘settled down’ lifestyle.  I still wanted/want what I’ve always wanted for him…to be truly happy. It still hurts to this day. I still cry when think about it or write blogs like this, but it is something I really have to continue to release in order to grow from.

Thank Buddha for his teachings and my willingness to live by them because I feel it has helped me to handle my situation better than I could have otherwise. I don’t hold any grudges. He and I still talk almost daily and remain friends. I still love him but it gets easier.

Fast forward to where I am today. I have sold the house that we used to live in. It was the first home I have purchased but honestly, without him being there it felt less like a home and more like a building. A building very far from where I work. I close on the sale of the home this Friday and it will help me get myself back to being financially stable and mostly debt free. The house was a good house..a great investment and full of a lot of really happy memories but it was also a constant reminder of things that didn’t work. I felt alone there. I felt sad. I didn’t feel like I was growing anything more than more depressed.

Thanks to my incredible family we were able to whip the house into shape and sell it within two days of listing. My family is such a godsend. I really lucked out when they were handing out parents. Not only did they help with the house but they have been so helpful in getting me into a new apartment, closer to work in a beautiful neighborhood that I’ve actually loved for many years. I truly believe it’s kismet that I’m here. For the entirety of living at the house I had a canvas on the wall of a photograph I had taken in this very neighborhood where I’m now living. Its beautiful here. It’s peaceful and quiet and filled with nature. It’s exactly what I need right now during this transformative period of my life.

Which brings me to the future. Where do I go from here? Who is single, independent Mindy? How can I build my confidence in doing things on my own? Will I be in this area after a year? I have no answers for any of these questions. If I have learned anything over the last 8 months it is that the future is never certain.  My plan is to just take each day as it is handed to me. My plan is to fill each day with intention. I want to be more present. I want to write more blogs. I want to get back on track with a healthier lifestyle. I want to read more books and be on facebook less. I want to learn how to cross stitch. I want to cook more often. I want to focus on experiencing my amazing friends and family without a cell phone attached to my hand. So welcome to my new journey my friends… I hope to update more frequently…maybe even with some “Mindy Gets Healthy Version 5837584920” posts as well lol

namaste. ❤

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Oh… Trump.

I’m not much of a political person but I couldn’t sit idly by this campaign season.

I’m very afraid for the state of this country with the way this election is headed and the reactions of many of our citizens. I’m but one voice in the masses of American citizens but with that voice I can still attempt to be heard.

For FB

I’ve created these Anti-Trump Removable Bumper Stickers and Car Magnets so that I can express everywhere I go my displeasure in this election. I figure if I have to be an audience member at the circus that is the GOP then I may as well try to capitalize on it. That’s the American Dream for you! ha!

Stickers and Magnets are 8″ w x 6″ h.

Magnets – $12.50 each (includes shipping within US)
REMOVABLE Bumper Stickers – $5.50 (includes shipping within US)

Payment is accepted via Paypal. Once I receive an order I will send you an invoice. Item prints after payment received and should ship to you within 7 days (or less). Please contact me with any questions/orders!

Lets stand up against the insanity!

Do Something.

Are you happy ? I mean… if you are being honest with yourself… truly happy? If so, fantastic! But if not, then welcome to the club. This post isn’t going to be all doom and gloom… most of us have the same general desire and that is to find true happiness. But what is true happiness really? It probably has a different meaning to each and every one of us. As a kid I used to think true happiness would be making a million dollars, traveling the world and hoarding a thousand pets that I could hug and squeeze and kiss all over. As I grew into a teenager my idea of true happiness was finding a stud and making him love me forever, a simple creative career would suffice and living on the beach was the way to go. Now halfway through my 30s my idea of happiness has changed yet again. I’d still like to have a million dollars and travel the world, but one four-legged furry at a time is more than enough. I’ve found the stud that will love me forever, have a ‘creative’ career and live within close proximity to multiple beaches. I should be an overflowing cup of joy juice… right? Then why do I feel so blah all the time?

It seems lately I’ve been letting things that I enjoy and that comfort me fall to the wayside. Bless my fiance’s heart for keeping the majority of our home clean but I tend to have no motivation to keep my areas (bathroom, bedroom, car, etc.) tidy which  ultimately ends up causing me stress and discomfort. I normally would enjoy spending time getting ready to go places but these days it seems I spend little to no time getting ready to face the world… which then makes me feel insecure about my appearance (stress/anxiety). I enjoy testing my body’s abilities and the way that healthy eating makes me feel in comparison to eating unhealthily… yet I willingly indulge in sugar-laden beverages, greasy burgers/pizza, etc. knowing that it’s going to make me feel lethargic and ill afterwards. Why do I do these things to myself?

As I consider these few things that I know contribute to my discontentment I know that there is always the possibility that I’m suffering from a form of depression. I’ve never struggled with severe depression myself, though have been close to others who have so I’ve learned a great deal about it and how it effects your entire life. I understand that suffering from depression doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m sad. I’m not sad, not in the least… I’m just very under-motivated.

At any rate, I’m not in the business of self diagnosis but I am in the business of self healing, soul searching and self reflection. I’m a firm believer in putting the words in your head out into the universe and repeating them to yourself ad nauseum until you actually believe them. As a wonderful Buddhist nun taught us about happiness, “fake it until you make it” if you will. I’ve devised a plan for myself. I’m going to make a point of everyday doing at least one thing to improve my life. No matter how large or small of a thing, the effort will be made. Today, I’m going to clean my bathroom for the first time in months. The bathroom is the first place that I see in the mornings and it ultimately sets the tone for the day… a clean/tidy bathroom will at least get me started on the right foot.

Here’s to baby steps to self-improvement… happy weekend everyone!

The Girl in the “Popples” Panties

I can pinpoint the exact moment when I began to feel uncomfortable in my own skin. It was in the first grade during PE. Back then, thankfully, the teachers selected your teams rather than the other kids deciding who they “liked” the best. At that time, I wasn’t really what most people would have considered to be ‘chubby’, though I did have a round face that adults loved to pinch. It was during this fateful PE class that one of my classmates, one of the popular boys, would refer to me as Ms. Piggy. Now, don’t get me wrong, these days I love that sassy, frog-loving swine… but all that my first grade brain registered was “piggy”.

By 5th grade, however, I had “blossomed”. I could definitely see the differences in my body versus the other girls my age. While the other girls still had slender athletic bodies I was starting to get rounder and squishier. My mother, bless her heart, would tell me that I was just developing more quickly and that I had a cute figure. I certainly didn’t feel that way.

Though I was struggling with my body image, I always managed to have a strong circle of friends. I wouldn’t say that I was popular by any means in school but most everyone either knew me or knew of me. I wasn’t the girl that everyone wanted to invite to their birthday party, but I also wasn’t the girl who received negative ratings in the many “Slam Books” that were spread around. (Incase you don’t know what a “Slam Book” was, it was an awful notebook that listed the names of your classmates. You would then rate each of the classmates on a scale of 1-10 on how attractive they were or if you liked them. There were an unfortunate few who were brutally rated by their peers, I can only imagine how that would have felt.) I was just there.

As puberty began to hit most of my girlfriends and I in 7th grade, boys were becoming much more interesting and interested… well, in some of us. We all had our crushes as most young adults do. I sat by and watched as friend after friend began having their first “boyfriend”, their first kiss, their first “date”. As it became clear that no boys were going to be interested in me, I began to devote my crush energy to unobtainable boys; my older brother’s friends, out of state boys and anyone I could convince myself  (and others) had my affection. I made it to only one middle school dance, and that was accompanied by a group of girlfriends. The idea of going dateless to a dance even in middle school was far too uncomfortable and embarrassing to me.

The summer before high school a couple of my closest friends and I went to Adventure Island, a water park here in Tampa Bay. I had purchased a new swimsuit for the occasion… one that looking back I can say was probably better suited for an adult woman with a nice figure rather than a squishy teenage girl. It was a one piece bathing suit though looked like a bikini with the stomach area being a black see-through mesh and I thought it looked pretty decent. We were all having a great time and then I heard it. It came from another girl… one who was quite a bit older than me, I’m guessing in her late teens-early 20s, and who looked great in her 2-Piece. “She should NOT be wearing that!” I didn’t need to acknowledge her to know she was referring to me. I don’t think any of my friends heard the remark so I quietly filed it away in my memory banks, put on a smile and vowed never to wear that swimsuit again. And I didn’t.

High school is awkward for a lot of people. Everyone is growing and changing by that point. As a freshman you are thrown into the mix with peers who are close to being adults. There are high school dances, boyfriends/girlfriends, football games, proms and scantily clad cheerleaders… all of which can either make the high school experience a great time or an incredible esteem damaging time. My social calendar didn’t improve much as I entered into high school. There were no boyfriends to be had, I never attended even one football game, no homecomings or proms and I wished to look as cute in a cheerleader uniform as many of my friends did. I tried out for color guard and didn’t make it. I still had an amazing group of friends but often I’d find myself becoming a little more withdrawn at school whenever they weren’t around to lift me up, to make me feel important. I did notice that though I didn’t seem to be turning any high school aged  boys’ heads, I was getting a lot of attention from much older adult men. I even found myself dating someone 13 years my senior before graduating. I tried to convince myself that the high school boys were just that, boys, and that I was doing well by having “men” interested in me but I was never fully able to.

It’s been 16 years since my high school graduation. There have been many ups and downs in regards to how I feel about myself physically (more downs than I would say ups). Fortunately after high school I was no longer like kryptonite to men… I’ve been in my share of long term relationships and dated a bit as well.  I have been on about every diet known to man, I’ve even tried seeing a doctor and getting B12 shots. One thing remains constant and that is that I’m almost never comfortable with my appearance. I’ve never felt confident being naked or even in a swimsuit. I don’t know the feeling of appreciating my curves. I feel the need to apologize to anyone who has to look at me. I don’t really know what it feels like to feel ‘pretty’. My poor fiance has to hear about how horrible I feel and has to see me cry more often than he ever should.

Please don’t take this post to be my saying that I don’t like myself as a person. I am not an unhappy person. Quite the opposite, really. I have spent a lot of my life, especially since I hit the milestone age of 30, focusing on emotionally and mentally getting myself in a state I feel completely comfortable with. The problem I have is that I have spent so much energy learning to be kind, compassionate and accepting of others that I have forgotten to learn how to be the same toward myself. Brian, my fiance, asked me recently after showing me some old photos of myself if I believed I looked good in the photos. I said that I did. He then asked me if I remembered how I felt about myself when those pictures were taken… the answer… I felt EXACTLY the same then as I do now. I felt exactly the same in highschool, in middle school and even back in elementary school… which teaches me that the problem is not my body it’s in my mind.

It’s time for me to start putting energy into learning to accept and forgive myself. This body is going to be with me for the rest of my life, though it may change in size, shape and color… it is still mine and I need to appreciate it. In some ways I feel this will be one of the most difficult lessons I’ve ever set out to learn.  I’m afraid of failing… but in the words of the late Maya Angelou, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” And that is exactly what I intend to do.

Real Women Have Curves (and other ridiculii)

As human beings we are predisposed to be opinionated; to be judgmental. When we see something that doesn’t fit in with our opinion of ‘right’ we tend to believe the other person must be in the ‘wrong’.  I don’t believe there are many of us who could actually say that we do not think or have thought this way at some point in our lives. Afterall, we all have life experience… and our opinions on how life should be lived “correctly” are based solely on our own personal experiences. The fact that we can recognize this thought pattern however, can be enough to change our perspectives.

In many cases we do not voice our opinions/judgments of others. The thoughts stay lodged in our brains; filed away on some imaginary tally sheet for future reference. With the popularity of social media sites, however, our thoughts are being heard like never before.

Every day we are bombarded with posts and news about our peers, celebrities, politicians, etc. Most if not all of the posts are written with the opinion of the author being the deciding factor in whether or not the information will be positive or negative with very little focus on the facts.  We as a society have gotten to a point where we even search for our own motivation and validations within judgmental memes and photos. How many times have you seen a post with the line: “A real man [fill in the blank with whatever the author is or prefers]”, A real woman has [fill in blank with whatever the author is or prefers]”?  I was always under the impression that the X and Y chromosomes decided whether you were a “real” man or woman (and with today’s technological advances, even that is no longer true), not our peers.

Why is it we as a society feel the need to be “right” and deem others “wrong”? The only logical explanation that I can see is that as a whole we are a society of insecurity. It is a hard truth to swallow, but isn’t all logical explanation? Think about it. It is important to us to feel that the way that we choose to live our lives is the “right” way. It’s important to feel that the values we hold dearly are also held dear by our peers. It is important to feel as though we are accepted by others. We are constantly looking to prove ourselves to everyone else and if it takes showing others that you are ‘better’ than someone else than so be it. At least you aren’t the butt in this joke, right? Survival of the fittest? What happened to United We Stand, Divided We Fall?

As we struggle to constantly prove ourselves to everyone we fail to remember that the most important person that needs to accept us as we are… is us. Once we accept ourselves for who we truly are, the good, the bad and the sometimes ugly, it’s possible that we won’t feel the need to make judgments of others for how they live their lives.

It takes less than a second to realize when you are making a harsh judgement of someone else but to reframe the thought takes much more effort. The next time you find yourself thinking negatively of someone for their appearance, financial situation or shortcomings try to stop the thought. Remind yourself that you may or may not know this person’s entire story. Try to put yourselves in their shoes. How would you feel if you were on the other end of the thought? Ask yourself why you are concerned with another person’s life choices. Is it because you actually admire a trait they have that you do not? Understand that your negative opinion of this person does not benefit you in any way… the little jolt of self esteem when you determine you are worth more than another human will be very brief. Consider the fact that every one of us in the entire world has a few things in common. The hierarchy of human life only exists because we allow it and we don’t strive to improve it.

Opinions will never cease… but judgments can. The more often we are able to catch ourselves in a judgmental thought and evaluate it, the less frequent they will become. I challenge everyone to try it (myself included). Let’s try to love ourselves and understand one another rather than prove our dominance. How much better could everyone’s lives be without seeing/hearing/feeling the negative thoughts on a daily basis?

All That She Is…

It’s LJ Idol competition time again! I took a ‘bye’ last week due to time constraints but I’m back! (I’m allowed 2  more byes during the course of the competition). This week’s topic is “Build A Better Mousetrap”. My fiance gave me a great idea of how to use the idea of a mousetrap and change it into something much less literal. So this week I’ll once again be reaching into my past with the paranormal and my favorite ‘haunted’ hotel 🙂 What souls might be ‘trapped’ there? Read on to find out!!

She’s a beautiful thing, really. A timeless masterpiece. I cannot look at her without having to catch my breath. Sure, she’s starting to show her age, her exterior beginning to fade and crumble… she is afterall 117 years old. But, she’s beautiful.

The first time I stood outside of the Belleview Biltmore Hotel in Belleair, FL I could feel the energy pouring from her. I entered the doors to the sound of a grand piano playing and the excited chatter of well-dressed tourists. As I roamed the halls, passing the bustling ice cream shoppe, the numerous ballrooms and large staircases I felt as if I had been transported to another era. The Biltmore, though catering to all of the modern amenities that we are used to, remained an elegant slice of history that refused to be forgotten. I was in love.

I was there that night for the first of many ‘ghost tours’ I would go on. Unlike many ghost tours, this was not just a history lesson or led by someone dressed up in a silly period costume. This tour was put on by a group of paranormal investigators out of Orlando, FL that frequently did tours and investigations of reported haunted locations within central Florida. The group shared photos that members of their tours had taken and let us know of some of the more allegedly active places within the hotel. (On that first tour I took an odd photograph that I’ll place at the end of this entry. I won’t say what I find odd about it… you can judge for yourself.)

After a few months of regularly attending tours the group was offering an overnight investigation. This was the night that I’d affirm my beliefs that the Biltmore hotel had not only captured my heart but also trapped something within it’s walls that many could not see.

My aunt Martha attended the investigation with me along with a group of about 10 other people. We entered onto the 4th floor of the hotel that was closed off to the public. Behind the locked doors, in pitch blackness, laid the skeletal remains of a once booming hotel. The floors were bare of carpet, in many places the wood planks were broken or missing. Dust lined all of the walls, toilets and sinks were filled with rust and the doors to the rooms were removed from their hinges. It could have been the atmosphere, or something unseen, but the feeling of suppression in the air was stifling.

Walking down the silent hallways with only the light of our flashlights to lead the way we went into each room. Snapping photos and carrying voice recorders… all hopeful that we’d find some sort of evidence of a spiritual realm. After about a half hour of exploring the west wing of the fourth floor it didn’t seem there would be much activity. We reconvened in the center of the hallway for an EVP session before heading to the east wing. As we stood in a circle, our backs to the gaping doorways of the empty rooms we began to ask questions.

“Is there anyone here with us?”

“Why do you stay here?” 

We began to hear random noises from down the hallway. A knock here, a scratch there… it seemed there was movement happening all around us. Members of our group began to say that they were feeling the temperature drop. That’s when I had my first experienced of being ‘touched’. I clearly remember the pressure against the back of my thigh. It happened very quickly. I assumed my aunt was trying to quietly get my attention but as I turned to her, her arms were crossed and she was looking toward the end of the hallway. I turned to look behind me and noticed I was standing directly in front of an open doorway. Moments later, a self-proclaimed medium in our group said “There are children here.” She claimed that there were small children walking around us and she began talking to them. As I began to think about the positioning of where I had felt the pressing on my leg and the size of the area I became very convinced that I may have been touched by the energy of a small child. In my mind I could easily envision a child standing behind me and peering out from behind my legs to view what was happening in the center of the circle. It certainly could be my imagination running away with me, but for me, it was and is still reality.

The night continued on with many more interesting experiences though none directly affecting me.  The ‘medium’ in our group claimed to channel the disembodied spirit of a widow who committed suicide upon hearing her new husband had been killed in an accident. I am quite skeptical when it comes to ‘psychics’ or ‘mediums’, but it is hard to deny that a person who begins sobbing uncontrollably is feeling an overwhelming emotion. To experience someone feeling this emotion in total darkness, in an empty shell of hotel hallway, the sound of her waling bouncing off the walls can be unsettling to say the least. Another group of people investigating the hotel were investigating the tunnels that run below the hotel and heard a very loud scream which they were able to capture on a recording. There were stories from some of the investigators of being pushed as well.

By all accounts, if you believe in the supernatural, it would seem that there are many souls that still reside at the Belleview Biltmore Hotel, whether by choice or by entrapment. The most unsettling part of this tale for me however, is the current state of the hotel. The hotel has been closed since 2009. Developers say that it will cost millions to repair and preserve the historic icon. Many developers want to demolish the building and build homes on the land.  This hasn’t sat well with the community nor those of us who love her and numerous groups have fought the developers on every level. I pray these groups continue the fight and that I, one day, will be able to enjoy her and all that she houses again.

Photo of a hallway from my first tour (this hallway was not closed off to the public, tho under renovation.) This is an enlarged image so it is a bit grainy, but I have not added any filters. Also, I am not referring to any orbs in the photo… I do not feel orbs are very often proof of anything other than dust, moisture in the air, or bugs.
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Random photos from The Belleview Biltmore Hotel:
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My So-Called Dating Life… The Biggest Jayus of All

I’ve entered myself into a writing competition on Live Journal called LJ Idol. (I’m not sure why… I feel many people in the competition are FAR better writers than myself. I just have a lot of thoughts to put on paper, but don’t actually have the technical skills to go much farther than that. :-D) At any rate, it seemed like fun and it gives me writing prompts even when I’m no longer involved in the competition.

Below is my first entry. Our writing prompt was the word “jayus” which means a joke so UN-funny that you can’t help but laugh.

Also, be on the lookout for the link to vote! I’ll update it as soon as I have it. I’m going to need all of the help I can get 😀

—-

My So-Called Dating Life… The Biggest Jayus of All

The “single life” has never really suited me. I didn’t date much during high school for a plethora of reasons, though most of them centered on my fear of rejection. Why I lived with such a fear of being embarrassed or betrayed is beyond me but it still plagues me to this day.I managed to have 3 consecutive long term “relationships” (one even lasted for 6 years!) after high school. There was never time for ‘dating’ in between the relationships as it would seem I would end up in a relationship with the first person I’d meet after a breakup. That all ended around the age of 28.

After a breakup that left me completely lost I found myself single for close to 2 years. It became clear that I wasn’t just going to slip, trip and fall into a new relationship this time. I found myself surfing the internet dating pool in search of the next “Mr. Right”. Some could muse that this was my first mistake.

I must have gone on 100 first dates that failed for one reason or another. From the guy who found it hilarious that he punched an ex-girlfriend during a dream, to the guy who was a middle school English teacher and not only allowed his students to curse at him but also confided in me that he accidentally shat himself one day, to the guy who was sure that we were soul mates.

In this technological age where everyone’s every thought is posted on a social media website, I even posted a list of “ideal traits” that I would not compromise on. Of course the first man that I meet who seems to have potential reads my list and is offended because some of my list of ‘demands’ didn’t match up with him. Of course, they didn’t.

I started to wonder if this was the universe’s ultimate jayus. I had no choice but to laugh.