If You Want To Be Successful 8-14-19

If you want to be a successful painter, you will at first fail on numerous canvases. And if you want to be a successful mathematician, you will at first fail in solving the equations. If you want to be a successful writer, your manuscripts will be rejected endlessly until one of them isn’t. But there will never come a point when you stop failing, because that’s what creativity is about. What works can only be known against the backdrop of what doesn’t—and if you’re too afraid to ever risk establishing that backdrop, personally and professionally, then you’ll never know what success is like. In the Hebrew Bible, we have the beautiful images in Jeremiah, for example, in the potter’s house where he comes to understand that even as Israel screws everything up over and over again, God—like a potter with clay in hand—is patient and allows the remodeling to take place, allows us to try again, to become the beautiful creation intended from the beginning. If we cannot live because we fear failure, then we cannot be good Christians because it is a faith predicated on being often diametrically opposed to worldly success. If you want to be successful, you need to learn to fail well.

—from the book God Is Not Fair, and Other Reasons for Gratitude by Daniel P. Horan, OFM

Relapse 4-11-19

March 4th for the past 17 years has been my sobriety anniversary. Every year I celebrate another year of sobriety. This year I didn’t have that opportunity.

Many of you look up to me for being strong. I often hear I’m an inspiration. I’m extremely embarrassed but today I have to be honest with myself and all of you.

Up until last July I have faced my challenges. Often times white knuckling life and often times on my knees praying for god to grant me the strength to get through another day. Last July I had my breaking point. I gave up on myself, god and life in general. I don’t feel the need to share the personal details of what happened but I will say for me it was the last straw. I picked up a bottle. In the beginning my drinking was occasional but by December my drinking had become my only way of coping with the many challenges that life continues to throw my way. What can I say? I relapsed.

Last fall, I somehow managed to get myself in therapy as well as seeing a psychiatrist. It’s no secret. I am battling chronic PTSD. I also succumbed to agreeing to anti depressants. Still I kept drinking. I wasn’t going out or anything like that. In fact, I have to find the humor in the fact that I spent my evenings like a hermit isolated in my room, watching Hallmark, CNN and even Dr Pimple Popper while drinking a glass, or shall I say, a bottle of wine. I am so embarrassed.

Through the grace of God I recognized my downfall. I picked myself up and got my ass to AA. I was not only honest with myself, but honest with the people I love. I didn’t sugar coat it. I owned it. I have owned it ever since.

Today I’m 30 days sober. It sucks to start all over again after 16 1/2 years but I’m sharing because like anyone in sobriety I’m only human. I’m also sharing because I want everyone including myself to recognize relapse happens. The important thing is to recognize it, own it and start doing the work. I am attending AA four nights per week, celebrate recovery one night per week, I see a therapist and a psychiatrist. I also have a life coach.

I owe myself an apology for letting myself down but more importantly I owe the people I love an apology for letting them down too.

Sobriety is hard work. Especially when life throws you a curve ball. Or in my case one curveball after the next. However sobriety is possible if you want it. I want it! I’ll do anything to stay this way including being honest. I’m not always perfect. But who is? One thing about me that those who know me is if I did it, I’ll admit it. Relapse….I did it and I admit it. I recognize it and I’m doing something about it. Thirty days may not seem like a lot after 16 1/2 years but I did it once and I’ll do it again. Thirty days is only the beginning.

With that said I hope that my honesty helps someone struggling today.

Being A Silver Girl 9-26-18

This past May I posted this song on my blog. Not for any reason other than I think the song is beautiful. I love the lyrics. As I listened to the lyrics this morning while I was at the gym, I began to ponder the lyrics. Like many women, Silver Girl is a woman caught up in a high tech world. While some of us can not relate to the high tech world, I think as women we can all relate to the fact that we are all caught up in an “all man’s world”.

Like Silver Girl, some of us have the Midas Touch. Some of us are Lady Luck. Some of us are Golden Girls. Some of us are girlie girls. Some of us have a million bucks and some of us look like we have a million bucks. At times, many of us are actresses putting on a performance as we face challenges every day. I can certainly relate to being an actress. Often times people think they know everything about me but they don’t. I don’t think anyone truly knows what’s in my soul. They don’t know my fears, my insecurities, my pain or even my joy. All I know, I’m just me. Right or indifferent….I am who I am. I’m just me.

As women we are all different but one thing for sure, like Silver Girl, often times we look back at the hard times and recognize how far we’ve come. It’s mind blowing. Personally as I look back at all the trials and challenges I’ve faced it is very mind blowing for me. I don’t always want to remember but I do. One thing I know, despite everything I’ve been through, I’m still here. I’m still standing. I have some regrets but I keep getting up.

Like Silver Girl, I feel alone sometimes. I am confident I’m not the only woman in the world to feel lonely. I’m insane beyond my years from all my experiences and like Silver Girl despite it all, I will forever be an adventurer. I’m sure many women reading today can relate.

I’d like to imagine myself dressed in all silver. Successful, strong and wealthy. I don’t know Silver Girl but somehow I feel like her when I listen to this song.

Today I dedicate this song to all the Silver Girls out there. We stand strong. We stand together and we stand in all Silver as Silver Girls. Women with a force to be reckoned with. Women in an all mans world surviving and winning every day.

Life Is A Struggle Sometimes 9-9-18

I’m on my walk this morning. I love taking walks especially outdoors. I love the freedom and the peace that only nature can provide. I pray while I walk. I talk to god, I even yell at him while having a complete bitch fit. I’ve been known to call god the “F” word during my rants among other profanity. I’m not going to pretend I’m a saint by any means.

Being outside alone on my walk is about the only time I can think or vent when I have to. I have no idea if God can hear me. At times I wonder if he even exists but nevertheless, after I’ve made a complete spectacle of myself alone in the wilderness I put my headset on and listen to music. Today’s playlist includes “Little Guitars” by Van Halen. This señorita loves this song! Lol.

These past couple of months have been so draining. I have been so depressed. In July I found out the man I’ve been dating was cheating on me. That was a real blow. Somehow I didn’t see that coming. I battle PTSD and anxiety. This blow only intensified those battles. In addition, I’ve found myself feeling overwhelmed with family obligations. One being my mother. That woman drives me insane. She demands so much of me. I’m a people pleaser so I spend my days pleasing everyone, including my mother while failing to please myself.

I’m struggling with insecurities about where I am in life. Last week I drove to Spokane to file bankruptcy. I have to admit, succumbing to accepting I could not dig myself out of the financial hole I’ve found myself in thanks to being sick was another blow. I feel like an absolute failure. I’m better than this or so I keep telling myself. I just can’t seem to find my purpose anymore. Ironically, I drove to my appointment with a ziploc bag full of change to give to any homeless person that might tug on my heart strings. I actually thought to myself “really Velma?! You’re filing bankruptcy but you’re giving away change?! What’s wrong with you?!! ” To add fuel to the Fire September 14th is the anniversary date of the day my life changed forever. It’s the day my dad passed away. I’ve been on an uncontrollable spiral of destruction ever since. I hate September. More importantly, after seven years I’m still heartbroken. I’d give anything to have one more day with my dad. One more phone call. One more joke. He always made me laugh. Losing a parent really sucks!! This is one of the last fun memories I had with my dad, uncle and cousin. We look like thugs but we were all together.

I thought I would share today not for any reason other than it’s my way of saying I get it. I know life can be a struggle sometimes. Some of you might be in the thick of a challenge right now. I post positive affirmations every day on Facebook, Instagram and even on my blog but I want you to know that I struggle every day too. My challenges may not be your challenges but they are challenges nonetheless. I’m sure some days you wonder if god exists. I do too. Everyone does. We are all human. All I know is we can’t give up. None of us can. We have to keep fighting and keep moving forward. Eventually good days come and we look back and realize how far we’ve come. Trust me. I speak the truth because I’ve been there. Have a great day!! 🌹

Find Your Way Back 7-19-18

As a teenager I was a big fan of Jefferson Starship. I used to love the band. “Find Your Way Back” was certainly a favorite.

This morning on my walk for some reason I thought of this song and listened to it while I was walking. As I listened to the lyrics I found myself relating to some of the words.

Like the song, for me, the past few years (seven to be exact) have certainly been a long road since I packed up and left home looking for a new life only to turn around, leave San Francisco and find my way back home. The place I left in the first place. I can honestly say I’ve carried a heavy load along the way. However, as I pondered where I’ve been, I realized I’m no longer in that space anymore. In fact, those dark days seem like they happened so long ago.

These past several months I finally began to feel the fog lift. Occasionally, I’ve even felt like a turtle poking his head out feeling things out to ensure it was safe to finally come out of my shell and begin moving forward.

I believe we all face trials in our lives. At times those trials bring you to your knees. If you’re not careful, you find yourself stuck in a cesspool of water feeling like you’re drowning. I’m embarrassed to admit, that’s what happened to me. I’ve been drowning for a very long time. Trauma, grief, finances, breakups, lawsuits, cancer, illness…..the list goes on leading to depression, anxiety and yes….PTSD. Through it all, somewhere along the way I realized I’m the same strong woman I always was before everything in my life turned upside down. I’m still funny. I’m still strong. I’m still smart. I’m still that crazy, fabulous me I’ve always been. My circumstances may have changed and maybe I’ve been lost for awhile but I realize I’m still the same “me” I’ve always been. Love me or not, I am who I am and I’m ok with being me. I saw a quote I had posted a few years ago. “Sometimes, in order to be happy in the present moment, you have to be willing to give up all hope for a better past”. Truth!!! I can’t change the past but I can certainly choose to be happy now.

On Saturday, I’ll be on an airplane flying far away from here for the next two weeks in search of finding the peace and healing I need to finally find my way back. I’m so close. I can feel it. It occurred to me this morning that despite all the “rock bottom” moments we experience in our lives, somehow, someway we always find our way back. Of course, when you’re in the thick of the chaos swirling around you it’s hard to grasp the idea that eventually this too shall pass. I can assure you that based on my experience whatever you’re going through right now, trust me, more importantly trust god, and know this too will pass and before you know it, you will find your way back. Until then, don’t get caught up in depression, feeling sorry for yourself and whatever you do….DO NOT spend three years in your bedroom at your moms house watching Hallmark Romance movies like I did. Lol. What a waste of so many precious moments!! My advice is find your happiness in the present. Enjoy the ride. It might take seven years but I guarantee you will find your back. Just ask me.

In the meantime if you can’t find some inspiration or joy today, I’m posting my favorite Jefferson Starship song as a reminder to stay in faith. Today is the first day of finding your way back. My comeback is right around the corner. I believe yours is too!!

The Iwa 5-27-18

There’s a Hawaiian bird called the Iwa. (Pronounced “Eva”) This bird is a very meaningful bird in the Polynesian culture. The Iwa is at times referred to as the “Storm Bird”. The Iwa is 43 inches long. It soars and glides gracefully with a wing span of seven feet. They often travel great distances but rarely soar further than 50 miles from land. This bird has the resilience to withstand storms, even flying for hours and days in its search for food. They are able to travel great distances. They fly offshore even though their feathers are not waterproof. They swoop down in the ocean and snatch their prey using their hook like beaks.

Polynesian fisherman look to these birds while fishing. If the Iwa is flying above them, they know they are in a good fishing area. They also look for the Iwa to find their way back home when they are out at sea.

Often times, like the Iwa, we find ourselves soaring through our own storm. Some of us have the resilience to keep flying and never give up. Others simply throw in the towel and give up. I’m not one of those people. I never give up, even on the days I want to.

There’s a passage in Matthew 6-26. It says:

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they.”

The Iwa doesn’t have waterproof feathers, yet they don’t worry. God always provides. They soar and will fly for days looking for food. If the Iwa doesn’t worry why should we? If God provides for the Iwa, he will certainly provide for you and me.

If you are facing any challenge today, remember the Iwa. Keep flying and never give up.

Today I will soar through all of my trials like the Iwa believing that no matter what, god will always provide.