my own friend

my own friend

The majority of my life I wasn’t my own friend. 

Growing up I was always my own worst critic. I would find reasons to justify that I would never good enough.

I went through a period of my life where I was never going to be small enough. Going down in weight from 120, 110, 105, 100, 90, and then 80 lbs eating about 200 calories a day to become small enough realizing that going down this road was only going to kill me. Though I could control my weight that wasn’t the thing that would make me like myself. No matter what size I was, I still didn’t like myself or acknowledge who I was as a person. I still was not my own friend. 

I found a love for lifting weights. Though it was slightly less damaging physically, my mindset was still I am not good enough and never will be. After a few years I decided to go after a goal that had been stirring in my heart. I wanted to compete in bodybuilding. I created a plan, got some good people around me, and went after my goal. My first prep for a show was on the outside, a “success” whatever that means. I made it through. I hit my weight. But my mind was all messed up. I created an even more messed up relationship with food. Though on the outside I can make it look like I am more than fine, that I have everything under control when in reality, I hated myself and what I had become, where and who I was. What to do? Prepare for another bodybuilding show. 

Though my second show I started realizing that I needed to start journaling. I just started journaling my thoughts. The words that would come through my head. I started becoming more aware of my self talk because it was really bad, hurtful, and mean. I really wanted to stop binge eating especially as this habit had came through my first show and stayed with me after. I knew it was a mental thing. I was weak mentally. I started reading a lot more mental strengthening books. Finding out how other people handled binge eating, what they did, how they overcame it, what was it? 

I journaled my whole life on and off. It evolved over the years from a more prayer focused journaling to a more reflective self journaling. Becoming more aware of the inner chatter and then having the power and courage to stand up to the voices of criticism, guilt, and shame. I learned to give myself a lot of grace. When I would mess up with and overeat way too much, I would say out loud to myself, “it’s okay, Ashley, I forgive you” over and over again till I believed it and started crying. 

Competing in bodybuilding was a gift to me in that it gave me some awareness to work with. The physical part is simple. The mental part is what can either make you or break you. I became very obsessed with learning about the mind and the brain. I read a few books on neuroplasticity and the ability to change your life through your thoughts. That led me to some amazing people who have impacted my life greatly. Who shared parts of their lives with me and I’m very grateful I was open to learning about their habits. I grew up religious with a lot of rules. It was through re-gaining my curiosity and just allowing myself to ask questions that I learned about meditation and how big and great God, the universe, all of it really are. 

Through learning and experiencing meditation practices for myself, I’ve learned the great power of self love and self acceptance. I am still growing in love for myself as it’s a constant unraveling of habits where I can feel as if I’m not good enough, don’t know enough, etc. I am so thankful that through my curiosity I allowed myself the freedom to experience self love through meditation. Learning to become my friend when I need it, my cheerleader when I need it, my own mother when I need it, my support system when I need it. 

I am a better person when I practice self journaling and meditation. I feel myself growing and evolving. It’s not always an easy process of reprogramming your ways of being but that is when it’s crucial to be your own friend. To tell yourself, it’s ok to make mistakes while learning. To have a heart filled with grace and love is how we grow. That is something I want to share with the people I know and love.

Shit Not Going My Way

Shit Not Going My Way

Today’s message is all about how much time we spend in the turmoil of frustration.

Context: a part of my Organizational Consulting business is when I am organizing, clients will have me sell some of their items. then I take a portion of the commission.

A couple of weeks ago I had scheduled an entire day to drive over an hour and sell a bunch of items. And then… I had a couple of buyers not show up.

I sat in my car and just was beyond myself in anger and frustration. I was so annoyed with how few people are their word and disrespect others. I couldn’t get the feeling to pass and I still had more to do that day.

I told myself that I needed to drop the feeling and even though I said this to myself. I didn’t actually drop it. I was still harboring my annoyance. I had to pick up one more item and was meeting another buyer in a city closer to my/their home.

I get to the meeting location. I confirm with this individual no less than 6 times that they understand and know where the meeting spot is. They let me know they were running late from work and would arrive 20 mins after our agreed upon time.

I figure no big deal I am parked outside of the 2 stores I needed to go into after the meet up and now I could use this downtime to complete those two tasks.

I come out of errands and now it is 25-30 minutes later and they are no where to be found.

I message and they said they were looking for the location.

I sent them the address.

Another 10 minutes pass. I now have been waiting for them for 40 minutes.

At this point I did something I have never done before.

I yelled. I yelled at another human. I yelled at this human to insert the damn address into their GPS instead of just driving around looking for the location they picked out. There were a lot of other choice words.

I didn’t just want to drive away because then I would have been stuck with this object in my car or apartment for an extended amount of time.

Finally after an hour and 5 minutes they show.

They gave me an additional 15% because of my hassle and I was FUMING at this point.

I decide to go do some retail therapy. I had a gift card for REI. This way I could still comply with my No Clothes Shopping 1 Year and possibly pick out something nice.

I drove over to REI happily and walked around. I found the below sweater on the sale rounder. Perfect wool sweater for cold weather and specifically snowboarding.

I delightfully walked to the desk and handed them my gift card. The woman kind of stared at me and let me know that they had switched to a new computer system that morning and all gift cards no longer worked. She assured me she would be able to get the money off and onto the new cards but she would need to call the headquarters. This entire process would be 20-25 minutes to complete.

I kind of just closed my eyes and sighed and knew it was the epic ended to my day.

I complied and asked if there was anything I could do to make the process go faster. I asked if I could continue to browse while she worked through her process. I stayed calm and knew I just needed to surrender to my day and whatever the universe had planned for me. I had been fighting time and people and systems for 9+ hours.

I delightfully wandered REI.

My patience and being in a place of peace paid off. When I was called back to the front, the manager was so thankful for my patience and even temper they awarded me an additional 20% off of the sweater.

I had not cleared the frustration out of my space. Once I actually surrendered to just standing in the situation of where I was at, the universe said “Yes.” Frustration is an internal feeling and even when shit is not going your way the frustration is not felt by anyone else besides you. At this point, I could have done anything else besides be annoyed.

It is all choice. How many days are you spending like this?

Frustration or peace, it’s all your choice of how you’re willing to spend your time.

No Clothes Shopping for 1 Year

No Clothes Shopping for 1 Year

When I consolidated my student loans with Lendkey in 2018, I decided to take on an extra $100 per month to pay the loans off in 5 years instead of 7 years. (Click here for blog about refinancing). I had to figure out where I was going to get the extra money each month in my budget.

I decided to take on the challenge of not buying clothes for an entire year. I “NEEDED” nothing, just a lot of wants.

On Black Friday of 2018 I bought some socks and essentials and a few things for in the gym and started the 1 year of no clothes.

Guidelines:
  1. I can buy clothes from a second hand store with a maximum $10 per item limit.
  2. I can accept clothes from other people as gifts.
  3. If I am given a gift card, I can use it to buy something new, BUT I am not allowed to ask for gift cards.
So far what I have learned:
  • I have had so many WANTS over the past 7 months.
  • I regularly add things to my cart and then put them back.
  • I avoid shopping with friends and ask them to do activities instead.
  • I have manifested more clothes in the past 7 months than I could have purchased. The wants did not go away and I didn’t judged how I acquired the clothes. So many people have given me things, it is crazy. I love watching how the universe is providing me the things I want. My style has completely evolved to include more colors, more freedom and great fitting items.
Manifestations:
  • My glamorous grandma passed away and we were the same size. My grandpa let me pick out items I wanted to wear to continue her legend. Shoes, leather pants, fur vests, etc.
  • I went to dinner with a group of friends and someone had bags of clothes they were trying to get rid of. A few dresses and tops!
  • Clients were downsizing their closets and offered to me that I could take anything I wanted before taking the rest to be donated. Dresses, pants, tops!
  • Someone gave me a few gift cards.
  • A girlfriend found a shirt that made her think of me and it fits perfect!

Someone gave me this shirt, I couldn’t have found something to match these shorts so perfectly.

I am having so much fun with this, that I may just keep going. I have a few things that I know I would buy on Black Friday and now I am working on manifesting exactly what I want that day including the price I want to pay. Let the games begin!

Karma

Karma

Karma is the manifestation in your external world of who you are internally. Karma and integrity are closely related. Karma is defined as the sum of a person’s actions in all forms of existence deciding their fate in future existences. *

Your mind creates the cause and the reality we live out is the effect.

Have you ever notice how happy people are happy no matter what the circumstances are? They are choosing to be happy, they are choosing to notice the light and positivity in the situation. They are wearing a cute outfit, they land the big business deal and someone surprises them with a free coffee. The sum of this person’s actions and thought are on the rise. Their future existence is on the upward trends.

You may have also noticed the opposite. When you wake up and it is raining, you trip on dog and bruise your hand on the door frame, you hit every red light and every co-worker is in a bad mood. You are becoming increasingly aware of the negatives available and the sum grows.

You manifest more of your internal state until you are willing to see/identify and really spend time with that state. You can literally “shake it off” and choose something different. Jump around, go on a walk, take a shower, do what you need to do to change your state and you physical being so your internal state can resonate and be in a different space to create positivity.

Integrity is the agreement to live exactly what you say you are. A bank robber has not moral problems with being a bank robber because they are in integrity with the lifestyle the have chosen. They live by the laws they have agreed to. They go into this lifestyle understanding the potential outcomes but live in agreement with their own internal Karma

Where resistance or breakdowns shows up is when you not living in integrity. There is a misalignment with what you say you want and who you are being.

There is no beginning or end to how the universe works but the more you put out there the more it is going to come back. Your experience of the world and the things that happen to you are the external results of what is happening on the inside. How you speak to yourself, the stories you live and the habits you are letting control your life.

Karma is neither good or bad, it is the sum of your experience to create the future experiences.

Choose wisely.

Shake it off.

Believe in what you want so much that there is not option to not live in alignment with that dream.

It just is.

*https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/karma

Ready for the real reflection?

Ready for the real reflection?

All relationships are a mirror.

You may not be ready for it and when the relationship is going sour, it can be hard but you need to take a deep dive inside during these hard times so both people in the relationship can rise.

The universe will provide you each person who you need at exactly the right time in order for you to peel away a layer and understand more about yourself. You just have to be ready and willing to stare that mirror in the face until you can figure out what it is reflecting back on you.

You. You. You.

It all rolls back to you. Instead of point the finger at the other person, I recommend that you first need to start by pointing it at yourself. If you actually take this look inside you will see how or the ways you changed yourself during that relationship. What “little things” did that person do to you or what are the things that just drove you crazy? What were you not able to communicate? What were you not able to hear in what they were saying. What filter are you seeing them through. What blinders have you put on.

Examples:

When he/she said they want you to be honest no matter what, and then you just omitted some of the details, then you did not hear what they said.

I am not condoning violence or verbal abuse or any bad situations.

I want everyone to take a dive inside and REALLY look at yourself. How are you hearing people and what of your personal issues are you filtering conversations through?

Sometimes mirrors show up that you may not be ready for. If you are not ready to look yourself in the mirror in a pit-fall of a relationship, you will create the same issue inside a different one. (Sound familiar? “I just cant seem to meet a nice guy/girl?” “I only date bad guys/girls.” ) Sometimes when you wake up and realize it was you… then you can see people and old relationships through a whole new lens and possibility.

This work is hard. This work is meaningful but this hard, meaningful work on yourself will allow your relationships and your communication to soar.

There is so much opportunity if you are willing to be vulnerable and listen to your own stories you are see people live into. It takes two to tango and 50% of that relationship is you vs. 100% of what is being done “to you”.

Watch your patterns and see them and when someone asks you about them instead of becoming defensive really look at why things are stressing you out. It is an internal reflection that is there for you to choose.

I recently went through this with a partner. They wouldn’t respond to my calls or my messages. I had a bit of a melt down but then choose to look inside to see what was wrong with me. I couldn’t understand what I had done wrong to change them and push them away. After a few days, I was able to finally see later that the way I was acting was also pushing them away. When I go up into my head instead of just sharing with them I create the push away.

By me not sharing that they had not called me babe I was creating an emotional barrier of “I guess I am not good enough.” By sharing this vulnerability and need I opened myself up and shared how it affected me and then was able to get into their shoes and really support them through their own struggles. By sharing where my brain goes and telling them I was not feeling “good enough” we broke down a mirror and we are able to see eachother again.

The reason you see it in someone else is because you can see it inside yourself.

What reflections are you ready to see? What ones are you working on? Which ones keep showing up?

And so it is.

Don’t Should On Me

Don’t Should On Me

definition: should

SHo͝od,SHəd/

verb

1 1.
used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions.

Don’t should on me.

This is my life and this is my experience and I get to be the one who decides who, what, and where things happen. When someone is trying to force me to do something they they are judging where I am currently.

“You should not go to that bank.”

“You should not drink so much coffee.”

And worse yet, we do this to ourselves! I dare you to take note of your inner dialog. Dive in and really listen to the number of times that you say should to yourself in one day.

“I should go to the gym.

I should have gotten up at the first alarm.

I should get off the couch.”

Just, STOP.

Accept where you are, stop the shoulding and do something about it. There is and there is not. If you stop the judgment, the “ought to be” and just live in the moment you are free.

If you look at the definition of should you can see that it has a negative connotation and immediately causes you to put up a barrier. There’s no reason and there so many other ways to communicate with individuals and then with yourself. Be kind to yourself, know that exactly where you are today is exactly where you’re supposed to be. The things you are experiencing today are the things that you manifested and it is your time. You can’t go back so spending your time, mental space and energy in the past is just a waste.

When you stop “shoulding” on the people around you you set them free to live their best lives. You can recommend and ask “can I share with you what I would do?” This gives them the authorization to say yes or no, instead of spewing your own “shoulds” on them.

By removing should from your vocabulary, you have the freedom to live your life. You’ve removed any judgment or criticism of the past, and today. This is giving you the permission to just live and love.

I dare the next time someone says should, that you say don’t “should on me”. Watch their face and watch them analyzing.

Go live your best life.

And so it is.

Fear of Failure = Sabotage

Fear of Failure = Sabotage

It is amazing what fear does inside your head and how you act it out unconsciously to “keep you safe”.

I designed a meditation about fear to work through the “reasons” for why I have been sabotaging my own success in the arena of my body transformation.

I have come to a point along my transformation where people are starting to notice and comment about the changes. This is an uncomfortable feeling because it is uncharted territory. I know how to be mediocrely fit, super strong, kinda fluffy and “thick”. This fit girl is new and weird because I don’t know how to be her. I only have history to relate to and in the past when I was smaller I was sick, accomplishing weight loss through unhealthily doing cardio and eating erratically.

A few weeks ago my coach said to me, “You are going to be in the 160s in no time.” My mind freaked out. I don’t know how to be in the 160s. I have never even thought that was a possibility. I know how to do 170s pretty unsuccessfully but the 160s, NOPE. I am really good at 180 or more. This new territory is uncomfortable and my ego craved to go backwards into the comfortable. I began sabotaging my success. I know how to over eat. I was with family and friends which became the perfect outlet. “Because” they were all eating I didn’t want to be difficult I just did what I always do… eat all the food and not be accountable to it.

My craving and desire to be in control and to be comfortable was “fed” by doing things that I knew how to do.

  • I know how to be 180
  • I know how to eat all the food
  • I know how to feed the feelings instead of feel them.

Most of this was all happening unconsciously. I knew that I was eating, I knew I was not tracking it and I knew that it was not going to get me to my goal but WHY?

My need for security and control were so strong that I was willing to compromise everything, (Progress, integrity, possibility).

  1. A feeling is only a feeling. It is not what is actually happening.
  2. We assign meaning or a story to that feeling.
  3. We act as if the meanings and stories are actually happening to us.

In my case:

  1. I have been feeling uncomfortable in this new uncharted territory.
  2. The meaning I have assigned to these feelings: I will fail because it is what happened in the past. My friends and family will not accept this new me. I don’t deserve this success.
  3. The actions I have taken to get away from the uncomfortable and insecure feelings were to do everything that IS comfortable. Doing what is comfortable, eating and following and old success pattern satiated the need for security.

If there is no such thing as feelings then there is no such thing as security, and there is no such thing as uncomfortable.

I declare to be the cause in my life instead of creating because(s). Instead of getting stuck in the “what if” I am going to jump into the unreasonable.

Reason = Because

Action = [be]ing the cause

And so it is.

After intimacy, he changed.

After intimacy, he changed.

While helping people I hear this all to often.

 

“He was amazing and sweet and we had some great dates and then we got intimate and he changed. His communication change, he drifted away. I am anxious that I ruined things.”

Everyone gets nervous.

This is my pep-talk to anyone that may be experiencing this type of anxiety.

 

Know that everything you have, and everything you have to offer is AMAZING! You are more than sex! If that’s all he was trying to go after then you deserve better. You need to know that you’re worth amazing. You are worth your wildest dreams and then more!

 

If he wants to walk away form AMAZING, let him walk.

 

State what happened. ” We were dating and then we got initiate. After getting intimate he no longer talks to me the say way.” This is exactly what happened. The story you are telling yourself is where you are driving yourself crazy. Nothing in what happened did he say that you are not worth his love, or that he is not interested. Your anxiety is rising from the “meaning” you are assigning to what happened.

 

After those great dates and good conversation you have things to add or delete from “your list“. You can add that you loved the way he talked to you, greeted you and made you smile. You deserve that all the time not just before getting intimate.

 

Set yourself up as an expectation for dates to rise to.

“How do you do that?”

 

State exactly what you expect, and don’t always give in. Don’t always be available. Live your life and fit them in when you can.

 

If you get too annoyed and he is starting to trail off, just cut it off and move on. He is not worth “wondering” if he can’t understand your worth. State exactly what your expectations were and are.

 

Example:

“I love the way you talked to me in the beginning. Because you gave me that, it became a standard and an expectation. You proved to me that you’re capable of it. After we became intimate you decided to back off and I’m on not OK with that. I want more that you currently are giving me. I am going to back off and wish you luck. I hope you find what you’re looking for but I am going to look for someone that can rise to my standards.”

 

You are not accusing him of anything, you are not assuming anything. You are simply stating the truth and sharing that your current needs and expectations are not being met. What happened and not the story.

And so it is.

 

 

Featured photo: I worked with this beautiful, strong, independent woman, Teral when I lived in Milwaukee. She is someone that always creates her own path, her own style and lives the life she wants to live. No matter what gets thrown at her she comes out stronger, more creative and presents herself with an positive outlook. She

Teral is the owner of Salvage Apparel and Neck Ties & High Heels in Milwaukee, WI. She has taken second hand shopping to a whole new level by creating unique, bold and strong sense of personal style for her customers.  

Check out Salvage Apparel today!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/SalvageApparel

https://www.facebook.com/SALVAGEapparel/?pnref=lhc

https://www.facebook.com/necktiesandhighheels/

 

the narcissistic psychopath charmed me

the narcissistic psychopath charmed me

When I met “charming” I thought he was going to be the last first date and I was willing to say it because I was head over heels. He did a fantastic job of charming me from the moment I first saw him. He scooped me up and rescued me from a previous relationship and I can never repay him for what that means to me now.

This was definitely one of my very favorite first dates. When I saw him walk into the restaurant, I immediately knew that I was going to spend some time with this tall, gorgeous, muscular, edgy man. He walked right up to me, hugged me, and grabbed my hand and we didn’t let go. We had chemistry. We had things in common that I never thought I would find in another human. It is hard to find those compatibility markers.

He charmed me. I was so charmed I didn’t see or acknowledge when things had taken a turn.

The story of how it ended:

I had offered many times to help him while he was starting a business to watch his dog or his daughter. He forgot to tell me that he wanted to take his daughter out of town for her birthday and then blamed me for not listening. I am type A, I write everything down so I can plan ahead and know what is going on. It is kind of a joke with my friends because I can tell you what’s going on six weeks from today.

This argument took place early on that Thusday. I was simply trying to help him make a plan to celebrate her birthday. Later in the afternoon he asked me if I would come to his house that evening to stay with him ( he lived about 1.25 hours from me) and then take his dog home with me for the weekend. He needed someone to take care of him so he could drive to another state to pick up a trailer for his new business. I clearly stated that I could do that but I would have to leave at 4:30am the next morning in order to get to work on time. He expressed his concern about me having to do this early morning drive but I let him know that it was important to me that I help especially because he asked.

When I was leaving to head to his house he said that he was going to run to his moms and pick up some things that he left there. I got to his house at about 7:30pm and let him know that I let myself in. There I sat, alone.

Because I was going to have to get up so early the next morning, after 30 minutes of waiting I let him know that I needed to go to bed in about an hour. He was upset, even though I had told him I needed to leave so early the next day and clearly at this point he knew I sleep about 6-8 hours each day.

He finally came home at 8:45pm.

He was physically upset. He was sour faced, raging and tense. I hadn’t seen him in about 5 days but he did not greet me with love after I just driven to see him and waited alone. I didn’t bring up that I was upset about waiting because sometimes you just have to bite your tongue. We got his daughter ready for bed and then all hell broke loose.

He dropped some food and started storming around. Then he realized he forgot some items I needed in his work car and decided it was an appropriate reaction to punch himself in the head repeatedly. He stormed outside to smoke to calm down. When he came inside he got angry with me that I had started to get ready to go to bed. He was upset because I wanted to talk but NEVER stated that’s what he wanted.

We curled up to talk and he disclosed that he hated the distance between us. He talked about how he was concerned that my career may mean that I might never be able to move to the city he lives in. He also started talking about how he felt suicidal because only bad things happen to him. For every up there were 3 downs. He refused to hear me when I talked about all the positives. He also talked about how causing harm to his mother was the only way to end his problems.

I heard him, but I couldn’t believe my ears.

I was physically upset but somehow managed to go to bed and get myself up at 4:30. I pulled myself together, or so I thought. I had his dog with me for the weekend. The whole situation and everything we have discussed, watching him harm himself, and seeing the rage caused me to have my first panic attack. It was a crazy 48 hours of processing. My whole body was saying, “Get yourself out of this!” Then my mind was starting to understand and follow along and then commit.

When he came to get his dog a couple days later, he didn’t understand and refused to understand why I thought he needs professional mental health. He refused to understand that I was his girlfriend and not his therapist and what he was asking me to do was beyond my scope of feeling comfortable. He couldn’t understand when I said, “it’s not normal to talk about suicide or harming someone. It’s not normal to punch yourself in the head”.

Things escalated and I knew that I was unsafe and needed to take care of myself. I had compromised so much of myself through this relationship that no more, my body was shutting down and emotionally I couldn’t take anymore of the heightened craziness.

He walked towards the door and I didn’t stop him. I blocked his number because he would continue to try to guilt me. I want to be very clear that I did not waver in this decision. No communication, no unblocking, no glimmer of hope.

Now I see that I was willing to compromise my standards, myself, and my happiness in order to try to make it work. I am so proud of myself that I ran when I did. I could spend days, weeks and months “shoulding” on myself about how I should have seen the signs. Something within me wasn’t willing to see and that’s OK. Live, grow, and learn.

A big sign I now see and want to share:

When I would display my feelings and tell him what I needed, he would guilt me and show me how that was “actually incorrect” or “selfish”. Any time that I might have left him, he would give in just enough that I would stick around.

This worked over and over but no more.

Things I see/know now:

  • If you feel like you have to hide something from someone, then the relationship is not mutual and it is not a partnership.
  • If at any given point someone makes you feel bad for being yourself, this is not a relationship and this is not a partnership.
  • If you are willing to compromise your greatest dreams and the integrity of who you are because they won’t be happy, this is not a partnership and this is not the relationship for you.
  • If you are afraid of sharing your hopes/wants/goals because of the way someone will respond, this is not a partnership and this is not a relationship.
  • If you stop doing the things that are important to you and that you love to do for someone else, they are not your partner and this is not the relationship for you.
  • If someone blames you for something instead of having an open and honest conversation about feelings that go both ways, this is not a partnership or the relationship for you.

I do have gratitude for him and will add the following things to my list. These are my gifts that he has given me in the experiences I will treasure.

  • The way he looked at me made me feel like I was the only girl in the world.
  • The smile lines.
  • The way he would make me laugh about the weird stuff that I do
  • His love for his children and the way he would glow when a baby was around.
  • How much fun we would have when we would go to the gym together.
  • He was so sexy in a suit.
  • Those green eyes.
  • How he could understood my life living in Tupperware and meal prep.
  • This relationship felt surreal in the beginning and I loved every second of it.
  • Romantic gestures of putting flowers at my door when I would come home from work.
  • He was romantic, spontaneous and full of adventure.

Featured photo: This is a bit of irony. This is a sketch he did of “blind justice”.