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A Heartfelt Thank You

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Have you ever felt like just sitting down to thank somebody?

I mean sure – I thanked the bagging guy today at the grocery store for dealing with me while I slipped over patches of ice to lock my son’s car seat in while he held two carts of frozen junk food with a short sleeve shirt on…

That’s not what I mean.

Saying thank you to my husband, or my children, or my family really is not appropriate – they understand that what they do for me, nobody else can do. There’s a love and inspiration there that cannot be described, understood, or for that matter, appreciated in the form of verbal words on a blog.

Allow me to take time out to give my heartfelt, genuine, thank you – to a specific person that I feel deserves credit where credit is due.

(Fun Fact #2,164 about Jenn: I invest in the concept of the paranormal. I believe in ghosts, spirits, the after life. I’ve read books, taken classes, done investigations, dealt with my own hauntings, own my own equipment…)

Sidebar: Skeptics laughing, feel free to continue to. Or you can simply press skip in your reader, either way, blah.

For all of those who are believers (AWESOME SAUCE) – you get me, I know. But becoming a parent also brought another level of belief into this spiritual resolution, afterlife, concept of apparitions, EVPs … (I could go on – if you do not understand my terminology I apologize. I know, I know. It’s like reading “stereo instructions”.)

When I became a parent – I looked into the eyes of these little beings and realized I had just given life.

When you give life – you automatically become the person or force that has subjected that little soul someday – to death.

Now, now. I am not being morbid. Think about it. I have 3 amazing, wonderful children. Each of them when they were born immediately had my heart and every bit of love I could have ever dreamed of mustering for a human being – wrapped into each of their sweet, tiny, quivering lips. They reach for me – a simple “mama…” “I want a juice box…” “I love you…” or in the case of my 1 year old … a bellowing “WAHHHHHHHHH” when the bottle falls with such force under the bouncy chair that milk goes splattering into his deep blue eyes.

These cherished moments in the mind of any parent are ones you cannot describe to those who do not have children.

“You had to be there” really fits in here.

But I realized once they took their first breaths – that someday, they will take their last.

Knowing that I accomplished such a huge step as a human – I mean, I MADE HUMANS – in the bottom of the deep depths of my often overthinking heart – I remember – someday, they will no longer be alive. That the life I provided to them – will no longer exist.

Unless -if you’re a believer like me – you choose to believe that it will continue to exist past the ability of their living bodies.

I choose to support this notion.

This belief comforts me. It brings me hope. It makes the joy on their little faces when I say “yes, you can have chocolate” feel much more like a happy moment instead of “someday – I may never see them again.”

Yes, I will.

This brings me to my point. There’s a group of people who dedicate their lives to investigating, , and I guess I could use the word PROVING – that this concept actually exists. Okay I take that back – there’s MANY groups. However, one in particular has a way of taking evidence, proof, undeniable, concrete “You just CANNOT SAY IT ISN’T REAL” type of study and brings it to the forefront of public attention. This group spends many hours, upon hours, upon hours – doing what some think is simply for entertainment – but I take it as a sincere path they are meant to be on that they intend to share with all of us. It just happens to be on television where we can see it.

Thank you – from the bottom of my heart-  to Zak Bagans, Nick Groff, and Aaron Goodwin (as well as the others involved with Ghost Adventures). If you have not watched their original documentary – well, then you are probably a boring person.

(I’M KIDDING! Stop glaring! Get Netflix and watch!)

If you happen to tune in like me to the Travel Channel every Saturday for new lockdowns, well then hey – let’s wave our lassos together – yee haw for meeting other fans of the show.

This thank you, however, is deeper. I’ve always wanted to believe that the after life existed. Since I was a child and have had my own dealings with the paranormal, supernatural, whatever term you wish to use – I have wanted to be more involved in understanding its realm of possibilities. But now – my own children in my arms – I cannot bear the thought that the moment any of us take our last breaths as a living human – that we simply see black. That we will never see each other again.

It is this crew that has put so much heart, soul, time, and persistence into proving the existence of life after death – that has helped me cope as a parent with the idea of someday ever losing my babies that I gave life to – because the evidence they have provided is clear – some of it, to me, indisputable – that we will continue to move on in spirit past our human shells of skin and bone.

To the GAC: you have put so much effort into this. You have put your health at risk. You have taken time, energy, faith, passion – and used it as a device in bringing forth how the paranormal really does co-exist in the human world, and how there is life beyond what we know here and now. Thank you. In tears I say this – because it is with this belief that I can put my little ones to bed at night and know, no matter what, no matter who goes, and when – that I am not responsible for providing life merely to someday, provide death.

I am responsible for providing life – to someday provide a road to another one, where we will come together again, and never be apart.

Quite a feat, GAC. I felt it was worthy of saying thank you.

Although I feel I could say a million more things in adoration instead – I will leave it at that.

From this mother’s loving heart: really. Thank you.

You are appreciated. I hope someday you read from my own words how you have touched my life – and that you will continue to touch that of others that you continue to stun and awe with the beauty of the evidence you present.

I was already a believer.

You just made me more of one.

Much love.

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Somebody Saved Me Today: But Who?

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I was driving innocently today. I had just dropped off my two oldest children in Stafford, VA to go back with their father. I was in my Prius compact car, enjoying the winter wind through my window, while listening to Zak Bagans’ song “In My Dungeon”…

Sidebar (see brilliance below):

I noticed out of the corner of my right eye – an 18 wheeler on the exit ramp coming onto Interstate 95 South.

Have you ever been to Virginia? On Interstate 95? Wacko drivers. Avoid it. 

Still enthralled in listening to my favorite song of my very brilliant idol I noticed something was off.

This 18 wheeler had nothing on the back of his bed. His bed was high. He was coming off of the exit ramp at a good 50 MPH. I was in the middle lane. It struck me then like something out of an 80’s sitcom when the answer to the question just suddenly appears within such a short time span. He was not stopping.

This truck continued to swerve and he was coming into my lane.

“He doesn’t see me. Oh my God. He doesn’t see me.”

Prius owners unite: we understand we blow the concept of the “blind spot”.

I was clutching the wheel in a panic. There was nowhere to go.

But wait. There was.

Before I could blink and say “I love cats” – I was underneath the bed of his truck. My compact Prius wedged between his bed and tires.

I began to beep. Scream.

What good will this do me NOW?

Ever seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation?

It can really happen. My life began to flash before my eyes. I could see my children’s faces, hear their laughs. I saw bright lights around. I could hear my husband’s voice “You’re my everything”…

Oh my God. I’m dying.

This was it. I was about to see the pearly gates of Heaven – witness the miracles that so exist from those who speak of near death experiences. For us Ghost Adventures fans, I was about to become one. This was my day. February 17, 2014. Age 34. She loved coffee, scary movies, her husband, her children, football, beer and nachos. I could see my obituary.

I had one out. While saying a Hail Mary – praying like I had always been taught in my Catholic church that I hadn’t visited in years after many thoughts of wondering about my faith – I was praying like I never had before.

Dear God: please, I am going to swerve to the third lane, I cannot see out my side view mirror. Please, don’t let there be a car. Help me.  I cannot leave my babies. I cannot leave my husband, my family, my kitty cat Macy. Please.

I gave myself an ultimatum. I kept my hands gripped to the wheel and I swerved.

Today my friends, I witnessed a miracle.

As it turns out an angel in a gold Honda Civic had stopped traffic in the third lane. He had seen my plight. He had stopped them 1/4 of a mile back to allow me time to swerve back in the lane without hitting anybody. My car went off the road – and then something took control of my hands. Instead of hitting the guard rail – I went back onto the road, and stayed in the third lane. I did not overcorrect. I did not hit anybody. My car had not a scratch.

Neither did I.

It’s like an umpire yelling when a man on 3rd steals home base:

YOU’RE SAFE!

I immediately began to sob. Still shaking I called my husband to hear his voice. I called my mother to hear hers.

Now home and on my couch with a cold beer I wonder:

What was it that saved me today?

Somebody knew it was not my time – and they made sure of it.

Could it have been my love of the song I was listening to keeping me calm?

Could it have been the thought of my husband, children, and family?

Could it have been that amazing, thoughtful gold Honda Civic?

Or was it something deeper?

I should have died today. I saw the lights, I heard the sounds, there was really no way to avoid it.

Yet I did.

A guardian angel, perhaps. A keeper of my soul.

Regardless, I’m home. I’m home where I’m obviously meant to be now.

To February 17, 2014: today was not my time. Someday it will be – but it was not today.

To the driver of the Mack Truck: learn to pay attention. You could have killed this mother of 3. And knowing me, and my love of the paranormal and Ghost Adventures, I would have haunted the living crap out of you.

Life is good.

The new trend: Complaining about Complaining

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A note to readers:  I have been out sick for a while and am finally getting better, enough at least to be able to post again and update my blog. Not only did I get strep throat, I came down with a terribly painful case of Colitis.

Wait. Maybe I should not have revealed that last detail: Colitis. It seems that each and every time somebody complains about something, reaches out for support, says something happy on social media: all Hell seems to break loose.

Allow me to explain. I’ve noticed while being sick in bed for the past two weeks and observing the news, blogs, articles that there appears to be a trend in social networking and blogging as well as article writing – to target a specific brand of people.

Exhibit A: a recent article from Cosmopolitan about what engaged people do on Facebook that is annoying.

Exhibit B: A recently pressed article about the 8 reasons someone won’t be friends on Facebook with you in 2014 (see #6)

Exhibit C: An article written with regards to looking down on mothers who have husbands and children.

Allow me to retort. I wonder where all the negativity comes from that drives people to write such judgmental posts. I believe it is quite apparent that I am brutally honest. I have no filter. When I feel like talking – I talk. I do not care about the subject, and I certainly do not sift through my words to make sure they do not sound negative. I keep it real.

People constantly complain about complaining are beginning to become the bane of my social media existence. Granted, I am now issuing a complaint myself.  It is officially defined as “Facebitching”:

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Sometimes there are posts that are happy. My feed is full of Facebook announcements of engagement, new babies, wedding dates. I see continuous love for a spouse to another simply posting “I love you” on their partners page. I find these things beautiful and fun to watch. I post my own. It is no secret that my battle with addiction was fought publicly on Facebook. There is not a day goes by where I say something negative because I have the freedom to do so – and because I find so much support in others who suffer the same things and offer their shoulder and ears to me for venting.

These are the people I appreciate. It has become apparent recently that the concept of social media is continuously on a down spiral over those who feel compelled to say “stop posting happy things” “do not make up your own hashtags” “you’re a stay at home mother and you have kids, your life must not be fulfilling…”

I’m joining the group now of people who complain about complaining on social media – but my complaint is for the people taking other people’s exciting moments, difficult times, jobs, choices they’ve made and making rude, bitter, snide judgements just because you do not fit the same mold. You could be single, you may have chosen to not have children, you may have a job and it annoys the bejesus out of you because some mothers do not have jobs and choose to stay home with their kids.

Sidebar: parenting is a job.

Have you ever stopped for a second and just simply given somebody a congratulations? If you can’t bring yourself to do it and it drives you insane when people post on Facebook (for that matter, I could say I just had the best chocolate ice cream – all of a sudden it’s people complaining about the so called Food Porn posts) – try the hide button. On Twitter, there is an unfollow button.

I am a very open minded person. I read others posts and ideas. I read through the complaints about happy people being the disgrace of social media – then their posts and articles change to – oh there’s a negative post -let me proceed to complain about the details they give of their life. A person decides to post on their social media account that they’re sad, please pray. Yet no details are explained. These are the ones where I reach out and say I hope you feel better, or I’m thinking of you. I do not persist to ask the reasons because maybe they are choosing to say it’s not really other’s business.

Unfortunately there’s a stigma on social media where you pretty much cannot do anything right. A person posts they’re happy: someone gets pissed off “shut up, we don’t need you to post to your spouse that you love them on Facebook, go tell them in person.” (I’m rolling my eyes) – or then theres complaints of those who say they’re sad and do not give details. When they finally do give details, people are annoyed that the details were too much information “please do not post every detail of your sickness, no one needs to read that.”

WHY are you on social networking then? I’m still lost trying to figure out where the disconnect is between those who are on the internet for freedom of expression and those who are on social networking to stalk others posts and find a reason to complain about it (usually their posts consist of “i have to work today and it’s snowing”. ) Okay – I find your posts boring, so? I prefer to read when people reach out, talk about their happiness, post photos of pregnant bellies and their children playing in the snow. A few posts down there’s always someone lashing out at somebody else for being so open “geez get a room you make me want to vomit from all of your happiness” “I’m tired of people complaining that their kids are sick, so what, there’s worse problems in the world”.

Of course there are. However, there’s where I fall in: I decided to become the type that is transparent and I am now reaching out to those who complain about EVERY SINGLE DETAIL of complaining. For all of the articles on social media that post the rules, or what not to do’s, here’s MY list of rules. I hate making rules. Here’s a few insights from a transparent poster who does give details (and by the way I’m a stay at home mother).

1. Stop complaining about complaining about complaining. If you do not enjoy social networking and seeing a diversity of personalities who express themselves differently – then stop reading. Press hide.

2. Stop complaining about Bit Strip comics in your Facebook feeds. Do not like them? Turn off the funny creativity then.

3. Stop making engaged, married, or pregnant people seem like the enemy because they are hitting life milestones they are excited about and they want to share it with others. Show some compassion – I mean really complaining about that shows jealousy and bitterness on your part, at least in my opinion.

4. Stop insulting mothers who are on Facebook complaining about their child peeing the bed, or projectile vomiting at the local restaurant. I find the people who hate these posts are not parents so they clearly have no idea what that is like. Stop judging.

5. Stop making rules on Facebook and Twitter. I can use hashtags if I want, talk about what I want, and give the details that I want. It’s social media –  it’s a way of connecting with people.

6. Accept a diversity of personalities that exist beyond yours. Please do not post on how people should act on social media – stop stalking posts and go do something more productive.

7. STOP MAKING RULES. I myself am making rules – but these are MY rules that I hope EVERYONE would at least TRY to understand – but to be honest, there really isn’t a written rule that says somebody cannot express happiness, show a picture of an engagement ring, talk about their day with the kids and the million diapers changed or how the child accidentally pooped in the ball pit at Chick Fil A.

If you cannot take heat – get out of the kitchen. Get off your computer and find another life skill more fulfilling than bashing those who use social media as a way of documenting their lives and finding peace in the support they receive from others. Allow social networking to be just that- social networking.

I am in no way judging you. I am merely ANNOYED with you – just like you’ve complained pretty much every two seconds about being ANNOYED with me for SIMPLY BEING ME!

Always be yourself. Follow your own guidelines. Do not filter because you are afraid of the naysayers who have decided to take it upon themselves to insult every single solitary detail of any given post. If it can’t be happy, or sad, if it can’t be about a medical problem, or a picture of food, or a dirty baby eating his first solid foods meal: then what is it?

Boring and a total defeat of the purpose of self expression. I’m sure you claim your posts are about self expression that you cannot stand people complaining – but you yourself are complaining.

So I admit it – I’m complaining about complaining but I’m also taking a stand for people who choose to be transparent and honest with others. I applaud that. While I applaud the efforts of the complainers to at least put time and effort into their thoughts of why they hate hashtags, engagements, childbirth, marriage, posts about sickness: I feel you could at least give it a rest and find the positive in people who are not afraid to share their live stories to connect with others. Maybe their life story isn’t yours but instead of concentrating on telling them how annoying they are – remember, you are annoying too.

Because you can’t just simply sit back, watch, and possibly learn from the diversity of personalities that exist in social media.

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Stop that Wrecking Train

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It takes a lot to bring me out of my hole of sickness. When get sick – I get sick BAD. It’s been one year since I had my last case of any sort of flu or cold (I was pregnant with pneumonia – fun). January 2014 is no different. I am still on the mend and actually at the height of it – I’m feeling terrible. I’m on a lot of medication for the strep throat and for the ears to get them to drain. I am very tired.

Yet still, I felt compelled to come and write my thoughts with regards to an incident two days ago that touched me a little bit too close.

At the beginning of my blog I wrote an open letter to the Famous.

If you have yet to read this lovely masterpiece of my mind’s rantings – it embraces that famous people make mistakes and that I often thank them for what they do and being in the spotlight. Without a person who has overcome difficulties and pursued their dreams – we would not have our much loved entertainers, leaders, writers…. the list goes on. I mentioned in the article that I understood not all famous people were famous for a positive reason … thus the purpose of me coming out of my sick hiding hole to write today.

Dear Justin Bieber:

Here I see a 19 year kid. You are just that – a kid. You may consider yourself an invincible teenager because you are in the limelight. I know you have a plethora of money that goes as far as the ends of the earth. You can buy yourself whatever you want and prance around with your head in the clouds: nothing can stop you. Justin – something CAN stop you. Your money and fame cannot save you from hurting yourself or others by being swallowed by actions of stupidity. I know you will not read this. Odds are this will become lost in a host of tweets and fan mail that you will overlook all the same. I just have a few thoughts for you – wishes perhaps.

You have 7 years until you are 26. Today’s prompt is about the number 26. I want to see you live until the age of 26. You have such a bright future. You are a talented guy – your music often echoes in my head when I’m playing with my own children. My daughter, in her 4 year old high pitched off key yet cute voice, sings “baby … baby … baby …oh” – and it makes me smile. Yet, in this pattern of deadly activity you are showing – I cannot allow my children to idolize, or even listen to, a voice that perpetuates stupidity.

I myself fell into a pattern of addiction and acknowledged what I was going through. I sought the help of family and professionals to guide me through. The first step for you is not to be taking pictures of yourself and posting to Instagram that you are “The King” like Michael Jackson. It is not to tell your fans on Twitter that you appreciate their support and to never change for anybody. You need to let your fans, and the world, know you are learning a lesson. You must let everyone know you understand the fault of your actions and recent patterns and that you are seeking guidance to correct these inner notions that lead you to such abusive tendencies. Your music touches the lives of younger folks – those who claim you have “saved” them. These young minds embed the way you reflect yourself on society into their own brains – has it ever occurred to you that they are watching and learning from the impressions you make each day?

I am a mother, Justin. I am a wife and a friend. I am a daughter. I could never have gotten my pathway to freedom without reaching out to others and admitting I was going down the wrong road. I could not fulfill those roles knowing I was in too deep with the decisions I had made. Please, for everyone, set an example. Become a leader and a voice for those afraid to speak up that they may be falling into the same problems you are clearly showing you have. Your recent dealings that are spotlighted in the headlines show a person lost in the spotlight of famous freedom – unable to see the negative consequences of their actions. It is not too late, Justin. Do not let others who are in the same position, yet not famous, believe those types of actions are okay.

I can see you at 26 – happy. I can see you meeting your fans after a show and speaking with them about how far you’ve come – and signing their CD’s for the new songs you’ve just released that have given them more hope than they had before. Please step up to the plate. You can do this. You can grow and extend from these recent turbulent days. Instead of acting like you cannot fall into the trap of car accidents, overdoses, and addiction – remind the world and your fans that you are a regular human being too. The world is watching you – as a mother, I am watching you. I am praying you will find your own pathway to freedom out of the spotlight and you will seek the assistance of others that can help you through what appears to me as a difficult time for you.

You can reflect to the world that your career and copious amounts of cash make you happy and you are not the troubled young man I see. But I doubt this is true. I see a tortured soul who is afraid to speak up for fear others will lose respect – or stop buying your music. You are more likely to gain respect by being a voice. You will stop making music eventually if these patterns continue. You will be lost forever with the other souls in the arms of the angels that never sought help. In the face of the eyes of the world you could lose your battle that could have been won – and those who have always followed you and considered you their “savior” – will only find devastation and questions that could never be answered because you could not simply grow up and show yourself as an actual human.

Everybody makes mistakes. No one is immune from the consequences.

I’m praying for you, Justin.

5 Tidbits of Wisdom for Every Teenager

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Everyone repeat after me ….

“all I really need to know I learned in …”

Okay, no. One of my least favorite quotes. I did not learn everything at one point in time – I did not learn the “most important” “wisest” things at any particular place in my lifetime  – and it especially wasn’t in Kindergarten. I say that now at age 34.

I learn as I go, we’ve established that. I am not going to continue to teach the brave readers of my blog about what it takes to learn a new life lesson and how to incorporate it into your lives (okay, I’m completely bluffing here, there will be many posts in the future, I suppose, as I continue to investigate myself and the ideas flow – that’s why I love writing – there’s no limitation on subject).

I would like to, however, take this moment to flash back in time – my daily prompt wants a current event. I get my news from The Huffington Post. Fortunately yesterday – even one of my tweets was featured in their article on Divorce (go me, I got into an article on The Huffington Post: WINNING! See #12 – that is my tweet!)

It asked me to take the third article down and make a blog about it entitled “Current Event”.

For all intense and purposes, I would rather not speak about the Pope and Abortion.

I bring in honesty here – we all know I pride myself on this quality – but I am not going to talk about this particular current event, nor do I really feel like writing about current events today. I admit total writer’s block there (smack, how could you?)

Instead – I’m twisting this idea – instead of the currency of thought provocation – I would like to jump into the time machine of memory and go back to my teenage self. I have been thinking of this on a constant basis because I know how much I learned back then that I continue to instill in myself. I have a message for teenagers today and it is simple.

Tidbits of Wisdom (take it or leave it, but I am intelligent and wise, and I promise you – these are heartfelt, genuine, and educational):

a) Don’t cheat. It’s not worth it. You will not learn anything from it – and odds are, if you do cheat, you will continue to cheat on something in your adult years as you continue to learn what a huge responsibility adulthood is. Exhibit A: I’m cheating on this post. It’s supposed to be about a current event. Clearly it’s not – unless I say I’m talking to current teenagers today (that counts right? See I made the effort)!

b) Sleep more: stop worrying about how you look less. I used to get up at 4 AM to shower, do my hair, get my make up on right – maybe I could have impressed my crush that day if my foundation wasn’t so cracked or my mascara was not running or the eye liner was a STRAIGHT line. (Lay off the morning caffeine, it causes the shakes).  I found that the harder I tried to look great, the worse I felt during the day when all that effort after the timed mile run, or sitting in the hot lunch room, made it all worthless anyway.

c) You are beautiful: repeat this to yourself daily. I used to wake up scared out of my wits to go to school because I was so worried about how I looked (see part B above) – I would walk in and creep to my locker, pack in my books, and find myself hiding behind the hood of my jacket or the back of my Algebra book – I kept comparing myself. School is about learning, educating, becoming: it is not a beauty pageant and if others make you feel like it is: scoff it off. I never learned to do this and still suffer with my outer image after I allowed my young, budding mind, to truly believe that my looks mattered more than everything else. I know that part C is extremely difficult. We live in a world of mass media, supermodels, air brushed magazine covers. Trust me, I understand. I used to hide them under my bed and look at those supermodels and do my best attempts to come out looking like one of them –  Instead of having other goals like, oh say getting up my grade point average. I was too busy concentrating on trying to turn heads like the Cindy Crawford, or say the people I had contact with everyday: cheerleaders, the prom queen (I was neither): mistakes, my friends, mistakes.

d) Stop wishing you were an adult: please, please stop wishing you were older. I could write an entire manifesto on this. Enjoy your life. Enjoy the things around you that make being a teenager fun – go out with your friends (to the bowling alley or something, I am not referring to making fake ID’s and going to the local bar – consider this option DISCOURAGED) – nowadays, with shows like 16 and Pregnant or My Teen is Pregnant and So Am I –and  True Life  I know things happen that propel you straight to adulthood from that age of innocence. I am in no way putting any blinders on or attempting to insult any in that situation. Everyone is different – there’s such a diversity of personalities this day and age and with social media and your ability to see pretty much ANYTHING – I get it, adulthood is fascinating. Just please stay young at heart, live it to the fullest – because I am one adult who can tell you that being an adult – it makes you want to go back to those days of being younger. As difficult as my teenage years were, it’s because of those hard times that I wish I could go back an speak all of these things to myself and do it over – so I could have enjoyed it a bit more.

e) As quoted above by the wonderful Robert Frost Life Goes On: Keep this in the back of your mind daily. If you are like I was and sat in the back of the lunch room, feared being bullied again by the “really hot guy who thought he was all that and a Big Mac”, cried many a nights over being rejected, insulted, unaccepted, or that I got a C on a test when I SWEAR on the Bible I studied my patoot off for – Life really does go on. You will learn from it – you will take those lessons with you into the adulthood you’re wishing for and you will look back on it and wonder why you spent so much of your delicate, youthful time really caring all that much about it.

I learned from being bullied. I took many life lessons from being a teenager – dealing with things like acne, bad grades, fear of not being accepted into college, wanting to be asked to prom, needing a date to Homecoming, looking up to the people who were nominated for Prom Queen and Class President.  The only way I was able to get myself to truly understand life’s messages was to accept that I needed to move forward. The really hot guy who bullied me is a nothing now – and I hardly even remember his name. The C I got a test on, ultimately still got me into Virginia Tech.

The biggest tidbit I failed on was part C. Still now, I have yet to truly find my strength to really believe I’m beautiful. I started this blog a week and a day ago. I go back and read my own posts and go – wow – maybe I am. I learn from my own lessons that I preach to others – and I encourage you to do the same because (insert LIGHT BULB DING) beauty is also an inside quality. Become a leader, know yourself, let others judge you if they please. In the end, take those judgements as a compliment that someone was even thinking about you at all (see my mention of the term scoff it off). It is not easy. I know this and that’s why I wrote this. I just wanted, for this particular writing piece, to come back to you, as if I were you, and speak to you directly: I wish somebody had spoken to me before.

No wait – they did. I distinctly remember this conversation with my parents, aunts, friends of the family, neighbors, bus drivers, teachers…

The problem was: I never listened because I had that lovely teenage flair about me that I was never wrong. I couldn’t be wrong. I knew what I was doing at my ripe ol’ age of 15, right?

Take it all in, put it into your memory box, use your knowledge and your wisdom you know now and apply it to yourself in this moment.  Your adulthood will thank you as you are sitting at your table, reading a newspaper, drinking a coffee, watching the morning news and packing up to leave for your job or drop your kids off to the babysitter, whatever it is your adult self will become. You will remember that you enjoyed being a teenager just a tad bit more than others did (I didn’t – that’s why I’m writing this to you) – and you will smile and cherish the memories as you walk off to your car and scoff off the coffee you just spilt on the sidewalk…. because as you will know then, and you should know now …

Life goes on.