Fearless Friday: Bring Your Own Sunshine

11217953_969581050172_5123551283742165226_n“Oh my god! I love your sunglasses and your phone!” A little girl the age of five came running up to me in the doctor’s office waiting room. “You’re so beautiful!” She excitedly remarked. She gave me a hug and I complimented her on her tie-dyed mermaid dress. She was glowing with pride.

Her parents were behind her, smiling watching the interaction. I smiled at them and commented on how that was the sunshine I needed this morning! “Keep on shining that sunshine, lady! Don’t dim that light for anyone,” I said as I shot her parents a smile. I thanked her and her parents before they left the waiting room.

Just before she radiated her positivity, I was texting my best friend Rachel with  tears in my eyes, “I’m not okay.”

That morning I had woken up in a panic at 2 am, cried myself to sleep, woke up at 6 am and again had a panic attack before heading to my Dr. appointment. I was overwhelmed with stress from work, house work, and adulting, feeling hopeless and helpless, with a bum knee as icing on that shit-cake.

Shortly, after texting Rachel my SOS, I texted her how this little girl brightened my morning. Rachel texted back “the universe knew you needed that!” Indeed, she was right.

That little girl embodied everything I’m working on becoming. She brought the sunshine to that waiting room, radiating positivity no matter who she interacted with. A quote I saved put it best: “Influence the energy in the room!” This little girl definitely turned my bad morning into a brighter one.

So how can I start brining my own sunshine? First thing I’m working on, undoing all of the negative stories I tell myself that originate from previous traumatic events and social conditioning. There was a certain time in my childhood when I knew who I was and I unapologetically acted and expressed my authentic self. Second, I’m identifying my triggers so I can lessen their impact on staying present and positive, ensuring I can hold space for others. Third, I’m working on my self confidence. When I’m more confident I enjoy interacting and conversing with other people. When I’m more self-confident I can give authentically of myself without feeling depleted.

I’m pretty sure this little girl and her parents could tell I wasn’t having a good morning and she put it upon her toddler self to do something about. Her positivity, her sunshine was infectious and for that I was greatly appreciative.




Monday Motivation: Leaving; It’s Not Failing, It’s Knowing Your Worth


Today’s post transports me back to a time when I was still living in Philadelphia, working in Camden, New Jersey as a special education teacher, hating my life, feeling stuck. I worked a job that had little regard for a work-life balance, working ten hour days, 50 hour work weeks and bi-weekly Saturday schools. I’d come home with little to no energy to take on any personal projects of my own. My. Soul. Felt. Empty.

It was a time when I was searching for something, anything, as a sign for what was next. I got that sign in the form of the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It was the second and third pages of the Introduction that became my “sign”. Here Paulo writes about a personal calling  (what you were put on earth to do, igniting enthusiasm within you) and the obstacles that one has to face in order to achieve it.  But what really stood out to me was this:

“Intense, unexpected suffering passes more quickly than suffering that is apparently bearable; the later goes on for years and, without our noticing, eats away at our soul, until, one day, we are no longer able to free ourselves from the bitterness…”

Upon reading this, I wept uncontrollably. I was living the bearable suffering, too scared to chase my personal calling. I felt my soul being eaten away by my job and by my place in the world. Bitterness had started to creep in.

I read that on a Sunday. By Thursday of that same week, I walked into my job and resigned. It was such a quick decision I hadn’t even called my mom for fear of her talking me out of it. After I had given my letter of resignation, I called her to state my plan.

My plan: I move home for two months, backpack Australia for a few months and then head off to Colorado to start a new life. As much as I was adamant about this plan (deep down I knew it needed to be done), somehow I felt like a failure. Maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a special ed teacher? Maybe I wasn’t good enough to be successful at that school? Maybe I wasn’t good enough to continue with the life I was living?

NOPE. N-O, shit naw. Wanna know what ACTUALLY happened?


I was worthy of so much more than what I was getting out of my job and my life back in Philadelphia. That was no longer my path and I sensed it. Kudos to me, because as Paulo stated in his introduction some people never figure it out.  And I’m so very thankful for the friends, family and my therapist at the time who helped me to remember my worth.

Two years after moving home for two months, backpacking Australia for four months and then moving to Colorado I can tell you I am that much closer to realizing my personal calling. I still have a few hurdles to jump, some decisions to make but I know it’ll be worth it AND that I AM WORTH IT.

So if you are living your life thinking that this current path just doesn’t feel right, but you think you’d be a failure for quitting, please know, please deeply understand and feel that you aren’t a failure. You’re coming to realize your worth. You’re starting to understand your path, your next steps in your journey, following your own personal legend.

Coelho ends the introduction of The Alchemist with this:

“But if you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become and instrument of God, you help the soul of the world, and you understand why you are here.”


Help the world by following your personal calling, by knowing your worth, by knowing when to walk away.



Wednesday Wisdom: The Case for a Safe Space

Celebrating my big purchase with my mom and dear friends, one year ago today at Shugas in Colorado Springs. 

It was one year ago today I dropped my life savings into purchasing a pair of house keys worth about a quarter of a million dollars. For a commitment-phobe like me, a house meant more than just owning a home. First off, I did it on my own (All the women, who are independent, throw your hands up at me!) Secondly, I was ten years old when my parents’ divorce rocked my world, and I hadn’t felt like I had a place to call home. Yes, I had a structural roof over my head, but I no longer had a warm, safe, inviting physical space and I no longer had the cohesive family unit to go with it.

After my parents divorce, I hating spending time at my house. Luckily I had one friend whom her house became my second home, and I spent lots of time with her intact, albeit dysfunctional, (written with love) family.  Holidays became dates I yearned to escape as I still continue to travel during most family holidays to avoid confronting painful reminders of my broken childhood home.

But buying my house became a symbol of taking back control of my security, ensuring I had a safe space, physically, mentally and emotionally. What I didn’t know was that my emotional healing would be accelerated after buying my home.

Two months after purchasing my house, I decided to try a more intense form of therapy called psychosomatic trauma release. I discovered it after discussing it, with my massage therapist, an experience I had while meditating, attempting a full body scan.

“I didn’t have monkey brain (layman’s terms: my mind consistently ruminating on thoughts throughout the meditation). But I couldn’t feel my chest or the lower half of my body while doing the body scan.”

“Maybe your body is holding onto something you haven’t fully processed yet,” my massage therapist mentioned, speaking about my childhood experiences. She referred me to my current therapist and the rest was history.

Jumping into therapy required diving head first into traumatic scenarios that I hadn’t revisited since childhood, most memories repressed along with trapped emotions. After revisiting those traumatic experiences and creating new storylines attached to healing and growth, my general anxiety melted away, my emotional triggers now have less of an impact and I can finally feel my legs, hips and chest.

Having my safe space to take refuge post-therapy was vital to my healing process. In fact I argue without my house I would have been less than willing to explore the deepest, darkest depths of my own personal psychology.

Human developmental psychology supports having a sense of personal safety in order to achieve self actualization or a person’s full potential. Abraham Maslow, the originator of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, theorized that humans must reach a level where their personal safety is met, (i.e. shelter, job security, health, and safe environments). Maslow claimed that if a person did not feel safe in a particular environment, they will continue to seek safety before they attempt to meet any higher level of survival (love and belonging, esteem (accomplishments), and self actualization.

My own healing has taught me the value of a safe space, and my willingness to offer it to others. I intend for my home to be a warm, inviting, safe space for anyone who enters, and  I’ve even adopted the safe space mindset to employ in my classroom for my students. But safety doesn’t only come in the form of a physical space. It can be as simple as being someone’s safe space to vent, a non-judgmental friend whom you can share some deeply personal information or the occasional SOS text, “I’m not okay.”  Being that’s safe person can be instrumental in someone’s personal healing process.

I’m grateful for the handful of friends who are my safe space when I need them, and I hope to think I reciprocate in kind. If you want to see someone transform their life, to reach their fullest potential, provide them with a safe space, physically, mentally and emotionally. A year ago I unknowingly took back control over my safety by purchasing my house. Although it cost me a quarter of a million dollars, it’s value, to me personally, was and continues to be priceless!