The Best Unexpected

Inspiration, laughter, and a tiny cheese obsession.

Joy brings more Joy!

September 6, 2014
christina

joyquotes I have always been amazed at how beautifully life can change when you least expect it.  Less than a month ago I was feeling lost, and then amazingly things tied together….. with a ring and the return of my best friend.

Mike surprised me with a proposal, and in that moment my world slowed down.  The peace and joy that poured out me was something I have never felt.  I get to spend the rest of my life with the man who has loved me through great loss, and never stopped making me laugh.  Gratitude doesn’t even cut it.

But, on top of that, this change…this joy….brought me back to my best friend.  The excitement of planning bonded us instantly and made me feel as if any distance we have had was gone.  The connection that we had for 25 years rushed back within a phone call and a question “will you be my maid of honor”.  We have worked on invitations together, laughed about our future, and felt a kinship that had been paused by her cancer.  Now, the conversations revolve around celebration.  That, for me, has been the greatest gift of all.

Since then, it has been amazing to see the overwhelming happiness that my friends have surrounded me with.  And guess what comes when good things are flowing….opportunities, productivity, and love.  A whole lot of stinking love!  My work has picked up, and the doubts that were pinning me down to the ground have started to subside.  I see hope. So much hope.

Joy brings joy.  I feel it in my bones that by creating my future with Mike, I am moving toward my best possible self.  I say this in hopes that someone can read this and feel that hope.  Feel that joy, and know that great things can come even when you don’t see a path forward.   It happened for me in an instant, and I said YES to Mike, and to life.

Fight the Fear

August 11, 2014
christina

cherylstrayedquotes

I wanted to continue on my last post, and expand on the word “fear” which can be misconstrued as something depressing or sad.  It is the opposite actually.  For me, allowing myself to be honest about my hesitations and admitting to being scared is healing.  I don’t see fear as something to hide from anymore.  I see it as a chance for me to grow. A chance for me to move forward.  That doesn’t mean that there aren’t moments of overwhelm or grief.  It doesn’t mean that there aren’t days that I question everything and want the bumpy ride of life to stop. Seriously, just STOP!  But, the ride…that scary, messy, heartbreaking ride of growing up allows me to have a choice. I get to choose how I move forward.  I can focus on what is distressing me and learn from it, or I can retreat and stay planted firmly in the past.  I choose to acknowledge that I am scared shitless of change.  How freeing is it to say that?!  Say it with me now…. “I have some fears, but I will acknowledge them, learn from them, and grow from them”.

If you ask most people, they will say that the thought of change is frightening.  That big, fat scary beast that lurks under your bed and changes your stable path in an instant.   It can come in the form of an illness, a divorce, a career change, or simply a change of heart.  When Mike read my post, he simply said “You are maturing and becoming a stronger woman, you shouldn’t be afraid of that.  Our lives will always change, and we have to try to live in this moment now.”  How right he is.  How simple and true.  I have always been the planner, and the cruise director of my future…. until life decided that I needed to grow up.  I have always hit roadblocks, and bobbed and weaved from my illnesses.  But, I look back now and realise that I never allowed myself to grow from those setbacks.  I just picked myself up, dusted myself off, and kept trucking along the same path.  What would have happened had I allowed myself to CHANGE.  What could have happened had I taken those setbacks and LEARNED from them.  I may have been resilient, but I sure was stubborn!  I stood firmly in my patterns of “who I was”, and never allowed myself to discover who I could be.  I was like a stubborn teenager, thinking I had all the answers when in fact I was blocking out all potential for growth.

You now see why admitting to myself that I am scared is not something I am ashamed of, because for the first time I am wanting and willing to allow myself to fight the fear and move forward.   I am trying to figure out who I am, without all my preconceived notions of the past.  And yes, it is frightening.  And yes, I am totally ok with that.

What if?

August 9, 2014
christina

image

So here is the truth. I am scared. Confused and utterly scared. I am at such a crossroads in my life where everything I knew to be true in my past has changed.  Ironically, I used to be completely sure of my future, yet completely unaware of who I was. I was insecure and quite embarrassingly a needy mess. There, I said it. I have no shame in remembering the scared girl I used to be, because I have moved past her now.  I was confident that I would be a mother, and  that I would grow old with my best friend. Yet, I no longer know if either of those are possiblities. My future is now a blank page, and I have no idea how to write the next chapter. I am a different person now. My joy is quieter now. I find my peace and my laughter with Mike. I am happy to burrow in my home. I want selfishly to live my days exploring everything with him. Love has changed every part of my being, but has also thrown me for the world’s biggest loop.

This year and my subsequent heath issues has left me with so many questions, and so many fears.  Although we fixed the immediate problem,  the harsh truth is that I will always be someone who walks the uphill battle of trying to stay well. My stomach has been my worst enemy since I was a little girl, and to this day burns like fire, and doubles me over at the first sign of stress.  All I can think of now is “how selfish would I be to raise a child when I constantly fight to stay well”.  I don’t want that burden placed on Mike. I look at Mike and the person I have become because of his love and support, and I want to write stories of our adventures,  and not our struggles.  My life with Mike is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I am home when I am standing by his side.  What if stubbornly sticking to my past ideals of motherhood hurt everything we have built? I look around desperately for a family life or marriage that I can aspire to. Yet, my friends who have babies are struggling and exhausted.  I see marriages crumbling, and couples raging war on eachother or treating their partners with indifference. I can not find anything to hold on to that affirms a happy family life.

How do I write my own story? How do I take the love and joy that I have with my partner, and create a completely different book?

What happens now that everything I used to hold true is changing? Friendships have broken my heart, business deals have fallen through, and I am fighting to be a woman I can be proud of. I am terrified.  I used to be so sure of myself. I was so god dammed cockey.  I look back and have no idea who that girl was.

So, I venture off and grasp to create my own future. I have no idea what I am doing.  I used to have my best friend as my guiding post and north star,  and her cancer has taken her away, traveling down her own path…and she doesn’t want anyone beside her.  Not even me. Her future has irrevocably changed too….

I have to try to paint a future without the two things I always thought were a given. Me being a mom, and my best friend being there beside me.

I am grieving over the future I thought I was going to have.

All I can do now is fight to live in the moments of joy.  I choose everyday to focus on the things I am grateful for. I choose to find laughter. I choose to TRY. It is not always an easy task.  But, I have love. Great love.  I have a future with a man who will walk beside me.  I need to make peace with the unknown, and say goodbye to the future I thought I wanted. I need to stop being so damned frightened.

I focus on my new story, and hope it will be as beautiful as the previous one I had invisioned.

Try by Colbie Caillat

July 29, 2014
christina

This song and video have been in my heart today.  As someone who works in the film and beauty industry, I have to fight to remind myself that the standards of beauty in the media do not define me.  It is so easy to fall into the rabbit hole of self doubt, self sabotage and criticism.  Who among us hasn’t felt defeated when the extra 10 pounds won’t come off, or you get that dreaded pimple.  It is heartbreaking to feel that you are good enough.  I struggled with it for years.  My insecurities started to hurt my relationships, and my confidence.  How could I be comfortable in front of a camera if I felt like a troll? How could I be romantic with my Mike if I couldn’t feel sexy? So, last year I decided to do something drastic…I threw out my scale, and took down my full length mirrors.  It may sound crazy, but it worked.  I stopped judging myself.  I stopped spending time picking apart my body, or hating my outfits.  It is still a journey.  The work of self acceptance will be a long road.  But, we all need to try to love ourselves more.  It is a battle, I know.  Be strong…. and TRY.

Colbie Caillat- Try

Put your make-up on
Get your nails done
Curl your hair
Run the extra mile
Keep it slim so they like you, do they like you?

Get your sexy on
Don’t be shy, girl
Take it off
This is what you want, to belong, so they like you
Do you like you?

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to, give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try
You don’t have to try

Get your shopping on, at the mall, max your credit cards
You don’t have to choose, buy it all, so they like you
Do they like you?

Wait a second,
Why, should you care, what they think of you
When you’re all alone, by yourself, do you like you?
Do you like you?

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to, give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try
You don’t have to try

Take your make-up off
Let your hair down
Take a breath
Look into the mirror, at yourself
Don’t you like you?
Cause I like you Continue Reading

It is not about the weight….

July 22, 2014
christina

selfconfidence

For the past few months I have transformed.  Shedding my skin in tiny, cleansing ways.  At first, it was about losing weight, and fitting into a pair of jeans that didn’t have elastic on the waist (yes, I owned those. Don’t judge!).  But, for the past month my transformation has become more than just my jean size.  I have started to care for myself again.  I have been able to look in the mirror and smirk back at my reflection.  When someone has said I look good, I have said “thank you” instead of making a crack about my appearance.  I have finally began to enjoy all my wobbly bits and jiggly parts…because they are apart of me.  Because hating my body, and hiding myself under baggy clothes was exhausting.  There is such a tremendous amount of joy that comes with being comfortable in your own skin.  What a profound lesson….I have begun to love myself.  Who knew?! When I mentioned to my best friend that I wore a bikini the other week and was looking forward to the beach this summer, she seemed shocked and huffed “but you never do that. you hate that”.  She was right, the thought of being in front of others in a bikini or shorts used to terrify me.   So, you may ask, what has changed?  Well, here is the answer…I no longer base my self-acceptance on anyone else.  After so much loss, I refuse to lose any more memories or potential adventures because I am afraid of a strangers glare or condemnation.  One of my current mantras is: “Not my circus. Not my monkeys”.  Meaning, the craziness and mindless judgements of the crowd is not my problem.

This past week I got to enjoy the company of women who adored themselves, and joyfully embraced their muffin tops, and mommy bodies.  It was an amazing.  They were more focused on being good mothers, and honoring their friendships, rather than berating themselves over the extra 10 pounds or lack of perfect wardrobe. I had the honor of sitting with one of my closest friends, and basked in the glow of her newfound mommydom.  She shared with me how she too is transitioning and realised that she is a bit “hippie”.  She has never been more beautiful to me.  Her complete contentment with her choices, and her path was…for lack of a better word….completely awesome.  Then, there was another mother who laughed about her muffin top, and calmly stated that she “had better things to do than worry about my belly.  My husband thinks I am hot, so who else am I worried about”.  What a blazingly good statement!  And why has it taken me 36 years to love my belly? Well, ok… I may not completely love my belly….but I am trying.  We need to start treating eachother with respect, and stop the self hatred.  Maybe if we started telling ourselves “I am beautiful, I am funny, and freaking fantastic”  instead of “I am fat, I am lazy, and I am miserable” than things would change.  I know things have changed for me.  I may not look the best in shorts, but I am happy to stop hiding under my extra large sundresses.

So, this summer I will be at the beach in a bathing suit with my belly and my fair skin on full display…. and I can guarantee you I will be having a blast.   Continue Reading

“We are all wonderful, beautiful wrecks. That’s what connects us-that we’re all broken, all beautifully imperfect”.

Growing up and Moving Forward

July 11, 2014
christina

timetogrowquote

 

Here is the rub…no matter how much you love someone, you can not force them to try. You can not force them to move forward toward healing or helping themselves.  It the most blindingly frustrating thing.  So frustrating that it hurts.  Standing by the sidelines and watching someone continue to hurt themselves emotionally, spiritually, or even physically is a drain on your soul. You want to force them to care; to take their vitamins, drink green juices, practice the downward dog, go to therapy, and be willing to move forward with their life.  You want to get down on your hands and knees and plead.  Plead that they will stop.  Stop being indignant, depressed, reactive, angry, and stubborn.  You want to plead with them to try.  No more excuses. Get their ass up and do something!  Anything……please.

The reason I haven’t written much is because my heart and mind have been focused elsewhere.  I have watched a few of the people I love take nose dives into a space where I can’t reach them.  I know that I can’t help, because I too, have been in that black hole before.  I know that nobody could have helped me during my grief, and I now see how much it must have hurt those around me.  The truth is that you can’t force anyone to care.  They have to find that within themselves.  You can give advice, and plead for them to be open… but you can bet that same advice will fall upon deaf, or defensive ears.  Sometimes, your pleads for them to change will only sound like pompous berating.  When the person you love is hurting, the last thing they want to talk about is yoga or therapy.

What happens when this intersects with your own personal moments of trying to heal? Do you have to crawl back into the darkness?  This year I have grown significantly, and find peace in working to get healthier (both physically, and mentally).  Yet, I have had a hard time sharing these moments with the people closest to me.  I have been silent about my accomplishments, and they are just that….accomplishments.  It took every ounce of courage inside me to shed my old habits and skin.  To let go of the bad eating, the negative self talk, the fear of abandonment, and the grief that had surrounded me like a warm blanket.  I know how much easier it is to give in, and say “I can’t do anything about it. You don’t understand”.  Defensive tactics at best.  I work on trying to heal those old wounds every day.  Getting my 36-year-old self to an exercise class is reason for a parade! Learning to practice gratitude and patience, even when my go-to response is an anxiety attack….I think that deserves a happy dance!  Everyday I choose happiness and my health is an accomplishment.  It is a choice.  It is a choice I am making to survive.

But, how do you continue to love friends and family, as they stay stagnant and you are desperate to move forward?  Trying to break patterns, and find new ways to communicate is the only way.  It hurts.  It takes time, and is not guaranteed.  These are my struggles my friends.  How do you take care of yourself without causing a great divide between those closest to you?   Continue Reading

Learning Patience

June 12, 2014
christina

yourgiftquote

For the past two weeks I have helped take care of my father as he recovers from knee replacement surgery (yes, the Farrell clan has had a crazy, surgery filled year!). During the time, life and business was put on the back burner, and my usual frantic “check off the to-do list” self was forced to take a breather. I had hoped to hit the ground running after my own recovery….but, life always has other plans.

I have realised that sometimes my biggest mistake is tackling  too many things at once, and then feeling defeated if I don’t accomplish everything in the time frame I allotted myself.  This new obsession with making every day a race of rapid productivity is exhausting.  The thing that I have fought with the most is the feeling that days are wasted if I am not accomplishing every little damn thing on my list.  Well hooey!  Why can’t I be proud of myself if I am able to check off one or two things on the list?!

The thing I have tried to practice these past few weeks is patience. With myself. With my family. With my career.  It will all fall into place….somehow.  It always does.  Last week I was able to listen to a conversation with Marlo Thomas, and her advice has repeated in my head all week.  Let me share some of these amazing morsels of wisdom:

“Everyday do one small thing to get you closer to your dream. Dream big but start small to avoid burnout”

“I take my confidence from working with what I have right now, not what I used to have”

“Put those words into your vocabulary….I need, I want, I love it, I insist. You have every right to your dream”

So, this week I have tried to focus on the tiny accomplishments.  Emails answered? Check!  Dishes done? Check! Articles finished? Check!

I am trying not to gloss over the little things that create the day. In truth, we should be proud of the little everyday accomplishments, as they are just as important as the big shiny goals.  Dreams and goals take time.  The tortoise wins the race, right?   So, this week let’s try to be patient with ourselves. Let’s try to give cheers for the baby steps and tiny victories. They are what create the journey.

Continue Reading