In personal development on
Thursday, October 5, 2017

7 Ways to Pull Yourself Together When Life Doesn’t Want to Cooperate

Pull Yourself Together - the accidental heroine

7 Ways to Pull Yourself Together When Life Doesn’t Want to Cooperate

We all have those days that are just ugly (see also: challenging, ridiculous, tumultuous, gut-wrenching, and mother-effing overwhelming). Yeah, ugly pretty much sums it up.

I don’t like ugly.

Sometimes the most we can hope to accomplish is just figuring out how to pull ourselves together enough to successfully pseudo-function. So, really, what are we supposed to do?

First, give yourself permission to prioritize your emotions. You have the power to decide which emotions you are capable of currently facing. It’s not about stuffing down your emotions as to avoid them; if the emotion wants to linger, then it will still be there when you finally get to it. If you decide that you are not ready to face an emotion and it dissolves into nothing without you having to address it, then good riddance.

You are in charge of what you think about, what you face, what you deal with;
your emotions do not have the right to overrule this authority.

 

Then, make a list. You need to have an action plan in place for this type of emotional assault. A reference page if you will. These are the actual tasks in their actual order from a list I made when my daughter’s father and I separated. Because of my absolute Type A personality, I created Pinterest boards for each one and kept them up. I’m not even going to attempt to rationalize it.

1. Take care of yourself.

You might want to start with brushing your hair. I’m not kidding. It’s hard to get it together with crazy Flock of Seagulls bangs (bonus points to you if you get that reference!). Soak in a bubble bath (use those Lush bath bombs you know you’ve been hoarding). Play some music — my favorite playlists on Spotify are the Big Little Lies soundtrack and the “Suits” soundtrack; these are in constant rotation. Sit in silence if that’s your thing. Your goal is to clear your brain of the all.the.stuff. Pinterest boards: I [heart] this health tip, I [heart] these words

2. Clean something.

Seriously. Mind-numbing tasks like cleaning the base-boards or scrubbing the kitchen sink are my go-tos when I’m stressed. Vacuuming is a close second — plus the sound of the vacuum cleaner drowns out the noise in my brain. Sometimes a clean house is the only thing I actually have together. You can probably measure how stressful my week has been if I start to mention how much I’m enjoying my super-clean wood blinds (a chore I avoid at all costs!). Pinterest board: I [heart] this cleaning tip

3. Cook something.

I’m an advocate for eating your feelings. I know that health is important, but so is sanity. And if a lemon cupcake covered in buttercream frosting is going to bring out some long dormant feelings of happiness, then I say to eat the damn cupcake. Or, be good to yourself and eat a salad. It really doesn’t matter that much. All you’re trying to do is keep the crazy at bay. If a bowlful of Jelly Bellys works, then go for it (but under no circumstances should you ever eat the black licorice ones — licorice jelly beans are hysteria-inducing orbs of displeasure; these are definitely best avoided!). Pinterest boards: I [heart] sandwiches, I [heart] saladsI [heart] snacks + treats 

4. Organize something.

Your makeup, medicine cabinet, nail polishes, spices, cutting boards, that catch-all place under the kitchen sink — one or all of them — probably need your attention. And (to paraphrase Elle Woods) organized people are happy people…happy people have their shit together. Pinterest boards: I [heart] a new closet, I [heart] garage organization

5. Get out of the house.

Put on a ball cap (to cover your aforementioned crazy bangs) and take a walk around the block. Go for a drive, and grab a Starbucks (put on a bra first; the drive-thru girls are kinda judgey…just saying). Forgo the bra, head to the backyard, and pull some weeds (or be like me and spend your time cleaning up after your damn dog that likes to dig holes near the A/C unit – fun times!). Go to the gym, and walk the treadmill. Where you go is not nearly as important as the fact that you need a change of scenery. Get one. Pinterest boards: I [heart] a road tripI [might] workout

6. Go shopping.

You definitely don’t need my permission, but hello, you earned it; therefore, you get to spend it. Most of my shopping takes place at Target, Sephora, or T.J. Maxx. If my sanity cannot be obtained at one of these three stores, then I know I’m probably in need of real professional help — from Nordstrom’s. Pinterest boards: I [heart] clothes, I [heart] pretty things, I [have] to buy this

7. If all else fails, make a good, strong drink.

I’m not one to recommend drinking yourself into oblivion (because getting your shit together should not have to include a breathalyzer, an overnight stint in county, and/or a walk of shame), but I am not at all adverse to the calming effects of a perfect Mojito or an icy glass of Moscato. Whatever you do, make it a strong one. Make it count. Pinterest board: I [heart] a good beverage

I’d love to know how you are keeping/pulling yourself together. What are you doing to keep yourself sane when life has clearly edged toward ever-loving crazy?

In personal development on
Thursday, September 21, 2017

10 Behaviors to Avoid Once You’ve Been Betrayed

What to do when you've been betrayed - the accidental heroine

10 Behaviors to Avoid Once You’ve Been Betrayed

Let’s say that this has happened to you. Let’s say that you’ve finally reached that point.

That point where you’ve raised your hand into a salute right about eye brow height and declared, “I have had it up to here. Things are about to change.”

Good.

It’s time to admit it: you’ve been betrayed.

I know that you’d like to break things or hit walls or set fire to his clothes and his expensive car in the driveway of his beautiful house (a la Bernadette from “Waiting to Exhale”).

I’d totally help; I really would. But I’m not down for us to share a prison cell.

So this is where we’re at right now.

Let me be the sage one that’s been here a time or two before; let me give you some advice.

What to do when you've been betrayed - the accidental heroine

1. Do not apologize for his* betrayal; it’s not your fault.

It’s not up to you to seek forgiveness. You had nothing to do with it. You can not try to speak on his behalf. You can not let him off the hook. He needs to own this.

2. Do not think that you could have done anything to prevent his betrayal; you do not control anyone else’s actions apart from your own.

He made the decision that he made for whatever reason he made it. You could not have been a better friend/wife/sister/mother/daughter, more encouraging, or more entreating. Your actions do not have any bearing on his. He alone is responsible for his decision.

3. Do not gloss over his betrayal; you must honor yourself and acknowledge the truth.

You are not allowed to let yourself think “the word betrayal seems like a bit much” or “it’s not really that bad” or “I’m sure he didn’t mean it like that.” It’s not too much. It really is that bad. And yes, oh yes he did.

4. Do not call his betrayal a mistake; it was a choice he made to betray you.

You can not say things like “well, maybe he didn’t know better” or “maybe he wasn’t raised the way I was” or “maybe he just needed more time.” You can not excuse his behavior as a product of bad upbringing. You can not make his betrayal akin to having bad manners. He didn’t burp at the dinner table; he betrayed you.

5. Do not try to understand why he betrayed you; you are not entitled to his why. 

You can not force him to explain himself. He owes you nothing in the way of an explanation. It shouldn’t matter anyway. An explanation will not change what he has done. And it certainly won’t make you feel better.

6. Do not utter the phrase “if we could just go back in time”; you already know that you can’t.

Stop allowing yourself access to the word “if”. There is not one single what if? that could make what he has done any more stomachable. Stop torturing yourself with scenarios that conclude in different outcomes. You already know the outcome. You already know the conclusion.

7. Do not think “someday he’s going to regret this”; he most likely never will.

You can not think for one second that he has your self-awareness and compassion and humanity. Clearly, he does not. You can not allow yourself to hope that he will develop an iota of guilt over what he’s done, what he’s allowed to happen. He will not. He would not be able to live with himself if he did.

8. Do not think that he’s ever going to give you an apology; you need to learn to move on without one.

An apology is reserved for hurting your daughter’s feelings or missing your best friend’s baby shower or bumping your grandma’s shoulder as you savagely reach across her for the last piece of cake. This is not a bruised shoulder; this is a betrayal. In order for him to ever muster up an apology, he would have to begin to feel regret. We’ve already established that he won’t.

9. Do not think that his betrayal has anything to do with your worth and value; your worth and value have not changed.

Period.

10. Do not let his betrayal consume you; you will get passed this.

You are allowed to cry. You are allowed to eat your feelings. You are allowed to drag your body to exhaustion on the treadmill. You are not allowed to stop and stay in this pain and hold on to it for fear that if you let go of it then no one will see that it was important in the first place. You are not allowed to be the keeper of the flame of the pain. You must let it go. You just have to.

What to do when you've been betrayed - the accidental heroine

I know you still have so much you want to say to him. So do it. Text him. Leave a voicemail. Write it down. Send it to him if you must. Do what you have to do.

I’m going to make you a simple promise: it gets better. It honestly does.

What do you do when you’ve been betrayed?

 

 

*I used the masculine pronoun just for emphasis not for blame or as an indication that men are always the betrayers. Seriously. You use the pronoun you see fit.

In personal development on
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

9 Ways to Give Yourself a (Much-Needed) Break

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9 Ways to Give Yourself a (Much-Needed) Break

It’s no secret, but I don’t always have my shit together.

You don’t seem as shocked as I expected you to be…

Anyway.

Sometimes, I don’t want to keep up on my lesson planning and grading and documenting and data analyzing.

Sometimes, I don’t want to meal prep on Sunday so I can have lunches I actually like to eat during the week.

Sometimes, I don’t want to cook myself dinner.

Sometimes, I get stressed out by all the details and responsibilities and to-dos and deadlines. Sometimes, I’m just tired.

I do this to myself; this overthinking and over-analyzing is just part of my personality. And it’s exhausting.

But life still expects me to be capable and responsible and get my shit together.

I’ve had to learn that stressing myself into immobility isn’t really effective; this literally accomplishes nothing.

I’ve had to learn to give myself permission to take an effing break.

Take some time to re-calibrate; do whatever you want to do.

  1. Hit snooze, stay in bed, and cuddle with the dogs. My doggos are rescue dogs; they deserve to be over-loved for the rest of their lives. That’s the excuse I tell myself anyway.
  2. Give yourself an extra few minutes to dawdle by using dry shampoo. To protect my color, I try to only wash my hair a few times a week. Honestly, by the time Friday comes, my hair is like 90% Batiste dry shampoo.
  3. Blog. I blog instead of grading papers. Totally acceptable. Technically, grading is a form of writing, and blogging really is writing so, in essence, I’m just reallocating my writing responsibilities.
  4. Grab a sandwich on the way to work. If I’m really just not in the mood to make my salad for lunch, I run to the grocery store and buy a deli sandwich – usually chicken salad. Laziness is no reason to force myself to eat a school lunch. I’m a grown-up for goodness sake.
  5. Go for it; buy the damn candy bar. I do sometimes grab a Twix or Snickers bar. Don’t judge me. I can’t even say that the daughter put it in my cart. It’s me. I bought the candy bar. I just wanted the candy bar, okay?!?
  6. Take a nap. I have no problem taking a nap when I get home from school. Like a Kindergartner. I even change into my pajamas and get my pillow and blanket and lay on the couch with the television on for background noise. Just like nap time back in the day. Honestly, an hour nap makes the rest of my evening not such a “damn, I’m exhausted” struggle.
  7. Binge watch Netflix shows. With no regrets. Which is not the same thing as “Netflix and chill”. Which is what I learned after I told a boy that I was going to “Netflix and chill” when he asked me what I was going to do for the weekend and he went on to explain what “Netflix and chill” actually means. I didn’t mean it that way. Clearly.
  8. Listen to an audio book. Sometimes, my brain likes to try to overwhelm me with thoughts of all the things I’m supposed to accomplish in a day. Sometimes, the only way to get my brain to shut up is to give it something else to listen to instead. The best book I’ve ever listened to is Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (Audible edition) read by the author, Elizabeth Gilbert. Gilbert’s narration is perfection, and I find myself thinking about what she was saying and not about the dreaded data meetings that I have to attend.
  9. Focus on something other than yourself. I focus on my students. High school is still just like high school. And there’s nothing like the teen soap opera of break up and make up to keep me from dwelling on the stresses in my life. It’s easy to get the over myself when my students are making fun of me or laughing at me tripping over air and reacting in slow motion.

Clearly, this is a work in progress, but I’ve finally come to the realization that I’m a grown-ass woman, and I can take a break whenever I feel like it.

So tell me, what do you do to give yourself a break? What do you do to help you get over your damn self and not take yourself so seriously?

 

*Disclaimer: Some of the links are affiliate links, and if you purchase through those links, I will earn a small commission that I will probably spend at Starbucks or Sephora. Just saying. Regardless, I only recommend things I actually buy and really really like.

In life on
Thursday, September 7, 2017

19 Things I Know About Myself

the accidental heroine - the truth

19 Things I Know About Myself

I am completely pro-woman. I was born in the exact right era; I cannot imagine living during a time in which my gender would have ever kept me away from my rights.

I am the mother of an annoying feminist (her words). She’s an old soul.

I’ve been surrounded by teenagers for over 17 years. In high school. I’m the teacher.

I cuss. Unapologetically. For emphasis.

I trip and fall and hysterically laugh and pee my pants doing so. In public. Completely sober.

I’m trying to learn to like wine. I’m not there yet.

I am a homebody – the messy bun and sweatpants kind. Not like a unabomber homebody.

I’ve been married and had a child and two dogs and the big house. I still have the child and three dogs and my own small house.

I firmly believe that dog abuse > child abuse. I cry far too often over the plight of dogs in this world.

Sometimes, I really hate people. For a myriad of reasons.

I am definitely an accidental heroine.

These things I know for certain.

Okay. Here’s the kicker: I don’t know what the heck I’m doing with my life.

I don’t know why I make the decisions I make. Or how they are ultimately going to affect the big picture.

All I really know is that everything works itself out one way or another.

I’m certain that at some point in my life I will have all my shit figured out. Hopefully.

Up to this point, my life has not gone according to plan. At all. And, currently, I’m okay with that.

I’m not an expert by any means. But I am very honest.

I’m probably going through an existential crisis.

I’m right in the middle of trying to understand my place in the world.

This is me just trying to gain a modicum of control in my life. It’s all an illusion.