Archive | June, 2015

So I Got A Tattoo Today

23 Jun


Growing up I was a complete perfectionist. So much so that when I got strep throat I would cry and beg to go to school because I didn’t want to ruin my perfect attendance record. When I got a “B” in handwriting in third grade I was absolutely devastated. In hindsight it was probably pretty generous. My handwriting is terrible. When I got yelled at I beat myself up for days over having been so stupid to get yelled at in the first place. On the outside I was a perfect child, but on the inside I felt like I was drowning.

When I was twelve I was diagnosed with depression. My parents did what any loving parents would do. They took me to a doctor, they got me on the medications he recommended and they loved me as best they knew how. The problem is that when you have depression you don’t feel loved. Everywhere I went I felt like I was being picked apart by strangers. Even worse by my own family. I would sit awake at night wondering when it would ever end.

My parents separated around the time I was diagnosed. Of course this made me think they were separating because I was just too much to handle. My daily meltdowns were draining to all of us. After a meltdown I felt both empty and immensely heavy at the same time. The girl who was once such a control freak that she corrected her teacher when she skipped a lesson for the day was now a girl who had lost control of her entire life.

The therapy was helpless. I was convinced all of the therapists were kooks who needed therapy more than I did (probably true). The medications made me feel like a complete zombie. What is the point of going through life when you feel like a zombie?

My parents eventually got back together and we moved from my childhood home to Littleton, Colorado. I was so excited to start fresh and make new friends. The problem is that I was painfully shy. I wanted friends so badly, but my anxiety and depression were more of a hurdle than I could overcome. I was alone. And sad. And had an internal dialogue on a daily basis that just wasn’t very nice to myself. “No matter how hard you try you will never be enough” it would say. And I believed it.

My parents eventually ended up getting divorced when I was 16. Part of me was relieved, but part of me felt a massive amount of guilt because of it. Before I had been depressed, but still found ways to function. Now I was bitter. Really, really bitter and mad and sad. Something inside me just snapped. That perfectionist girl was a distant memory. I was determined to make my life as much of a mess as I could. I would be the BEST failure anyone had ever seen. It sounds so silly now, but that really was my goal. To be the best failure.

I was successful at it. I was almost proud of myself. I hadn’t been the “best” at anything since I was diagnosed with depression the first time. I drank and stayed out late and made friends with all of the wrong people. There were times I tried to “fix” myself, but the light at the tunnel never came and I kept spiraling downward. Some nights I played depressing music as loud as I could and sat for hours crying and wondering why I even deserved to live. I never wanted to kill myself. I just wanted to feel better.

When I was 18 I found out I was pregnant with my son. Another “mistake” to add to my growing list. Letting everyone down had become my specialty. I mean, I was incredibly good at it.

Just as something in me flipped a switch when I became self destructive, a switch flipped this time too. Only it wasn’t down that self destructive path anymore. My son became my light at the end of the tunnel. He became my “why.” When life felt tough I would remind myself over and over to just keep swimming. To push through the hard times.

I am not perfect. My life hasn’t turned into a beautiful fairy tale. Some days are blissful and some days I feel like I am drowning all over again. When I look into my childrens’ beautiful eyes I see hope. I see proof that my sentence could have been ended, but I chose to keep it going.

One person dies by suicide every 13 minutes. Over 38,000 people in The United States take their lives each year. That is 38,000 people who probably seemed OK on the outside, but were drowning on the inside. 38,000 people who probably wanted to scream as loud as they could for help, but didn’t know how or were too scared to talk to someone.

Millions of people suffer from depression and anxiety and yet mental health still has this stigma around it. Being depressed doesn’t mean you are weak or worthless. Having crippling anxiety doesn’t make your life any less valuable than someone else’s. Lets not make mental health so taboo.

I am proud to say that I have struggled with anxiety and depression, have battled anxiety and depression and have ultimately had the strength to say that my story isn’t over yet. It never ended with my mental health issues. I chose to pause, breathe and keep going.

For more information on how to help someone struggling with suicidal thoughts, depression or anxiety or if you, yourself struggle with these please go to

Your life is worth it! Just keep swimming!

Ten Rules For Working With Your Spouse

22 Jun

When my husband and I told people he was leaving his job to help me with my business full time they looked at us like we both had three eyes. I think part of it was them being worried about a lack of steady income when we had two small children to feed (they were 4 and 5 at the time). I think another reason they were worried is because working with a spouse can be hard. Really hard. He had been helping me with my business for a few years, but only part time. Working together full time requires a lot of work and commitment to both your marriage and your business both. We have learned along the way and I am happy to say we are still as in love as ever. Here are a few of the things we have learned:

1. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. You would be crazy to just assume things are going to fall into place. Before you take the jump you need to sit down and talk about how you both want things to go before you start working together. The last thing you want is to assume you are on the same page with duties just to find out later on that you are reading from entirely different books.

2. Assign tasks. During your sit down write a list of all tasks that need to be done. Do your very best to assign tasks to each partner. The goal is to make both people happy and give each person things to be in charge of.

3. Be prepared to revise tasks as needed. Over time you will figure out that there are some tasks one person enjoys more and some they are just better at. It is important to create a balance between what each partner enjoys doing and what they are better at doing. You are running a business. In a dream world you would love every minute task, but you live in reality. What if neither of you enjoy the accounting aspect? Well, either you need to outsource that task or one of you needs to suck it up and get it done.

4. Keep a schedule. This is important whether you work for yourself or with your spouse. When you work from home it is easy to get lost on Facebook or wake up at noon. Try to create a basic schedule and stick to it. It helps each partner to see what the other is doing and eliminates a bit of work at home anxiety.

5. Keep work at work. Go back to your schedule. It should have a “closing time” somewhere on it or you will work 24 hours a day. When 5 o’clock rolls around we are no longer coworkers. We are a married couple. The work stuff gets put away and we spend our time trying our best to talk about anything BUT work. Easier said than done, but we still make a big effort to keep those two worlds separate.

6. Understand that your feelings will get hurt. I remember a time where my husband misplaced an item that we needed to ship. I probably wasn’t as nice and understanding as I could have been. It can be tough to be the boss when your employee sleeps next to you each night. You have to have the understanding that one spouse is likely the “boss” and you have to be OK with it. Don’t let your feelings get hurt. And if you are the boss don’t take those work resentments home with you at the end of the day.

7. Have some alone time. It can be really hard spending 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with someone. I love my husband to death, but sometimes I just want to be by myself. We have to consciously schedule alone time or time out with friends and family. A couple of nights a week I will watch junk TV while he is in another room playing his video games.

8. Think about the financial impact. This is a more boring rule, but still important. Before you take the plunge you need to speak with an accountant and/or tax adviser to discuss the financial structure of your business. Sole proprietorship? Corporation? LLC? Do you each get a paycheck? Is the business in both of your names? etc. All of these questions are ones that need to be answered before you go into business together.

9. Ignore the negative Nancys. Lets face it. People will tell you how STUPID you are for working together. They will tell you it will ruin your marriage. They will tell you it will NEVER work. Ignore them! Only you and your spouse know what is best for you. Let the haters hate.

10. If it isn’t working then change. Working together isn’t for everyone. If you get six months in and want to kill one another then change your plans. Your marriage should always be your number one priority. Either you need to change the structure of your work from home plans or you just need to stop working together. Don’t go through life hating each other just because you are stubborn and want to prove people wrong.

Ten Quotes That Inspire Me

17 Jun

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Confessions of a Dance Mom

16 Jun

When I had kids I had dreams of them following in my footsteps. I thought they would for sure be soccer players. I couldn’t really imagine them doing any other extracurricular activity. After all, genetics are supposed to play a big role in that kind of thing, right?

To my surprise my son came up to me at four years of age and told me he had decided what activity he wanted to do. Proudly I imagined smelly soccer bags, tournaments, baking in the sun, freezing in the snow and screaming from the sidelines. I imagined making friends with all of the other soccer moms and bonding over stained socks and soccer balls in the house constantly.

Life always has a way of doing the exact opposite of what you want it to do. He proudly said he was going to be a dancer. Yep! A dancer. I had always vowed to support my kids in whatever activity they wanted to do so the next week we were signing him up for his very first dance class. The studio was thrilled to have a new little boy there. As for me, well, I was lost. No, not because he was a BOY who wanted to *ghasp* DANCE. I was lost in the fact that I am about as far from a dancer or a typical dance mom as you can get. Frills and tap shoes and coordination have just never been in my DNA.

I secretly wondered if this was just a phase he was in. Maybe when he started school he would decide boys don’t do dance and that he wanted to be more like the other boys. Yeah…right. My son was never meant to be like anyone else.

I remember his very first recital. He was cool as a cucumber and I was a wreck. Hundreds of people would see him on stage, he would see them and he would panic and run off stage as I was trapped in the audience and unable to help him get through being so mortified. Of course I ended up worrying for nothing. He thrived on stage. He loved it.

Three seasons later Nikkos loves dance more than ever. The stage is his home. This past year he was on a competitive team and it was a blessing to watch him grow so much as a dancer and as a person. Dance has taught my rambunctious child to slow down. It has taught him discipline. It has taught him to ignore the haters. As the big bad mama bear all I wanted to do was throttle the little boy who made fun of Nikkos for being a dancer. Nikkos shrugged it off with the grace only a dancer can have.

This past year our daughter has decided that she wants to follow in her big brother’s footsteps. She wants to be a dancer, too. In her case I was secretly hoping she wanted to do soccer because I wanted her to have her own thing and not just be my son’s little sister to everyone. After their dress rehearsal I knew soccer would become a distant memory. She was hooked.

Gone are the dreams of smelly cleats and soccer bags. Our house is now full of smelly tap shoes and garment bags full of costumes instead. And as much as that isn’t my world I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Go Big or Go Home

15 Jun

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