Learn to love the crazy


There’s so many mixed messages out there about love: Love yourself more, share your love more. Don’t love any less than 100%, you deserve a perfect love. Leave if you aren’t getting what you need from your relationship, relationships take a lot of work so don’t give it up. Do what’s right for yourself, don’t be selfish. Don’t be so picky, don’t settle for less. Find a soul that matches yours, love is chemical. If the feelings are mutual, the effort is mutual. Men are from Mars, Women is from Venus… and on and on and on.  Ugh. 

All of its right and all of its wrong. Everyone is different. There’s no one size fits all to how find love. There’s no true 36 questions for finding The One.  But I’ll share my mind on the matter and let you in on my personal philosophy:

Love like crazy. Love is crazy. Love makes you crazy.  Learn to love the crazy.  

That may be the greatest thing I’ve realized recently.  Love is never as I expect it to be, it’s always changing, never the same from day to day, hurts more than child labor, puts my head in the clouds, gives me bliss out of this world, and at times it’s even better than I ever could’ve imagined. 

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Love= Being Vulnerable

I’m vulnerable and I loathe it.  But I love it more.

Let me share a favorite love story with you:

I fell in love.

I felt loved back, he definitely loved me and he said so, often.  He showed me by acting like it too.  After a while I got to a point where I was wondering if we were officially a couple. (The dreaded exclusive).  I finally forced the conversation with him about what direction our relationship was headed.  He wasn’t having anything to do with a commitment!  Even worse, he told me he was still in love with someone else!!  I was mortified.  It didn’t occur to me that he could feel like that about anyone else when he made me feel like the only person in the whole world.  At the same time, I knew it.  His words confirmed what my instincts knew already.  But my heart ached.  I was literally crushed.  It was the first time that I voiced my love out loud in years.  I felt like I had failed in earning love back.

A few days later, I woke up and realized that I did something incredibly hard for most of us to do.  I took the risk to tell him everything I felt.  I was so proud of myself.  It didn’t matter anymore that he didn’t feel the exact same about me that I felt about him.  I had told him and that is ALL I can do.  I was still hurting but I respected myself for taking the leap forward in my life, for breaking through on a new skill.  I was true to myself.  I knew I couldn’t sit back and wait for others to make progress in my life anymore.  I learned that not everyone needs to like me the same way I like them.  Or love me the way I love them.  And it’s okay for me to be the one who loves more.  In the days that followed I developed true empathy.  A little for him, those are hard confrontations to converse about, but mostly for me.  I learned to be okay not being bulletproof.  I was okay with failing.  It’s going to happen over and over.  Everyday.

Today, he is one of my dearest friends.  It turns out that our love for each other was supposed to be just what it is now.  And it’s wonderful.  What was seen as devastating and heartbreaking became a lifelong friendship of the best kind.

I spent too many years of my life not telling people how I felt.  When I was released from that stage of my life, I told everyone how much I loved them.  Or sometimes how little I loved them.  I have zero shame in telling now.  It’s how I feel.  I get to own that feeling.  However, new experiences creep up on me, then shyness and fear set in, walls go up, and I have to learn to be vulnerable all over again with the new person.  It’s hard work.  I imagine when I have a relationship where I risk it ending by voicing my true feelings, it’ll always be difficult.  While it devours me in the moment to say the word “love”, it always feels better on the other side no matter what the outcome.

Is there someone out there that needs to know that you love them?  You should tell them.  Right now.  The world sometimes sees vulnerability as a weakness.  I only see it as a strength.  And while I fail at it all the time, it is exactly what makes me feel the most alive.

Ferris Bueller, you’re my hero

If you did know me when I was in middle school, you definitely knew what my favorite movie was:  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It’s no exaggeration that I could quote every line of the entire movie. That’s what happens when you see something over 100 times within a year or so. (It’s still my all time favorite. And I’d like to formally thank John Hughes).

Remember this movie?  Anyone? Anyone?  If you forgot, pause here and go watch it on Netflix.  You won’t regret it.  These were kids who figured out how to work the system. Even as a pre-teen I recognized these special gifts and I sometimes think this was the key to my happiness.  Here’s what I noticed.

1-He was kind to everyone

What advantage does this give him? Every advantage. Besides the old saying that it’s the golden rule, being kind provided him opportunities that never would have appeared if he hadn’t been friends, or at least friendly with so many people. People cared about him because he cared about them. “Ferris Bueller? You know him?” “Yeah he’s getting me outta summer school”. They exchanged favors. And although nobody knows if he really just passed out at 31 Flavors or was dying of disease, if they had known what was really happening in downtown Chicago, I’m quite certain no one would’ve ratted him out.

2-He was oblivious to challenges.

Nothing was impossible. “The question isn’t “what are we going to do,” the question is “what aren’t we going to do?” “You can never go too far”. “The bold survive”.  Why would getting Sloan out of school be a problem?  The Sausage King of Chicago doesn’t hesitate or backdown to get what he wants.  It doesn’t even occur to him that he had obstacles.  

3-He’s an amazing best friend.  

He encourages Cameron to get up and out of the house.  He helps through what is clearly depression and pushes him to stand up for himself. “Cameron: I am not going to sit on my @$& as the events that affect me unfold to determine the course of my life. I’m going to take a stand. I’m going to defend it. Right or wrong, I’m going to defend it.”

4-He always looked on the bright side.

He got a computer instead of a car so what do he do? He learned how to hack.  Hacking back then was equally easier and harder than it is now.  He changed how many times he was absent…from the comfort of his own home.  And while he didn’t own a car, I’m sure he never had a problem getting rides.   

5-He believed in himself and put himself first.  

But in a good way. “Not that I condone fascism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism’s in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, “I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.”  We all should take care of ourselves first.  That way it’s actually easier to take care of others.

I love this movie.  So much.  Ferris Bueller, you’re still my hero. 

You’re still here? It’s Over. Go Home. Go.

Sixth Grade Picture Day-I didn’t care

For those of you who didn’t know me when I was 12,  let me paint the picture. I’ll need to start by doing a quick rewind to when I was 11. I had knocked out my front tooth when I slipped at a water park and the dentist tried shoving the tooth back into the empty gap in my gums to see if the root would reattach. By sixth grade the tooth in question turned gray and died despite having nine root canals.  I had to have the tooth pulled. So in an attempt to avoid a bridge and keep real teeth my orthodontist decided to shift all my teeth forward with braces and then do bonding on the original teeth instead of having a bridge. By the time yearbook photos came around I was a 12-year-old without a front tooth and braces. Take a moment to envision this…

In addition to this lovely image, I had decided the evening before picture day to cut myself some bangs. My friend and I stood in front of her bathroom mirror, wet our hair and proceeded to give ourselves a trim. Did you know that if your hair is wet and you pull it down to your eyebrows, when it dries it’ll be shorter than what is considered to be okay for bangs, and then if you add curly hair into that mix-you’ve got a front fringe of hair that looks slightly like a mullet but not quite as cool?  

To top it off, oh yes, there’s more, I decided to wear a yellow V-neck sweater with a black dickie for pictures.  If you can not recall what a dickie is it’s because you were born too late to enjoy this fashion trend of the 90’s. It’s a fake turtleneck. Not to be confused with a mock, or shorter turtleneck, it’s fake in the way that it doesn’t have what would it require to have to be considered clothing.  It doesn’t have sleeves or even sides to go under your arms. It’s simply a square piece of material with a hole cut in the middle to squeeze your fuzzy newly cut bangs through.  It is only enough material to cover a bust. Go ahead and google it if you need to. It is an amusing thing to discover that they are still sold. Now I should reiterate here that I was wearing a black dickie under a yellow sweater.  You could see this anomaly of a black shadow outlining my bust clearly. 

This photo is classic. I love it. It’s so horrendous. I was the ugliest person in the history of ever that year. But I didn’t care. 

Life in sixth grade was a continuous disaster. I cut my middle finger off when it was slammed in the gym door at school. They stitched it back on with fingers crossed (pun intended) that it wouldn’t die like my tooth.  I had to learn to write left-handed and keep my middle finger, in a splint, raised above my heart for six weeks to help circulation. This gave me permission to set my elbow on my desk and flip the bird in class for 7 hours a day.  I didn’t have any classes with one of my best friends. My mother was dating a creep and eventually married him.  We had new step-siblings.  We moved ….again. My brother stole my bike for drug money. My father was basically absent and that year he sent me the exact same thing for Christmas as he did for my birthday. 

When you’re 12, these are defining moments in your life. 

Life was crazy. But I loved it. And this is the part I can’t figure out: I was confident and had no reason to be. Isn’t that the coolest? A slightly mulleted, toothless, dickey wearing, bird flipping 12 year old with family issues was generally happy.   I was lucky.  I had self-esteem.  I look back and wonder why it was possible.  Massive dorkiness combined with the outside appearance of a mutant.

So why am I writing this post?  To embarrass myself?  That hardly needs to be done in a written statement. I happily oblige to do that at any point in time. The reason is because I have spent a lot of time in my adult years with middle school girls from having my own daughters and their friends to coaching different things. I see my own girls accept the pressures that they have to be perfect from social media.  High self-esteem is something that has been taken away from the youth who now not only feel they have to compete with those they know in real life but with their social media icons.  The standard of normal jumped into hyper mode and is now an edited perfection that is impossible to reach.  The pressure is mounting that to be special you have to be someone you’re not.  To be special, girls need to know that they need to be themselves.  Average should be the new special.  

I wish I could have that kind of inner love for myself now that I did when I was in middle school and stop letting other people’s opinions of me effect my self-confidence.  I wish my kids had my 12 year old kind of self-esteem.  I wish all middle school girls could love themselves like that.  And especially all those darling girls I know from coaching.   

So why did I manage to survive middle school without suffering?  I said it before-I didn’t care.  I didn’t care about what people thought of me.  I did what I wanted, when I wanted.  I cussed a lot, had spitting contests with the boys during lunch, played bloody-Mary, ate so many cherries I was sick for days. We went toilet papering 14 days in a row (but often went back the next day to help them clean it up as this was my strategy to see the boy as often as possible.  (It worked)).  We played night games late into the night and took over entire neighborhoods.  I wore clothes that didn’t match and shoes with holes.  I made weekly long-distance prank phone calls to Tucker T. Fuddrucker.  I cut my own hair and flipped the bird for 6 solid weeks with a smile on my face.  I told my friends if they had stuff in their teeth, if they smelled bad, or if their hair looked funny.  I was blatant and direct with everybody.  (Luckily, my parents had instilled in me some sense of respect for adults because I could mind my manners when needed).  I could speak my mind or hold my tongue but the choice was mine.  In my own little world-I ruled.

I wish everyone would stop caring so much about things that don’t matter and choose the things that are important to give their time and energy.  I wish they would embrace their curly hair, love their crooked teeth, wear their favorite shoes until they fall off, join coding club if they want to even if their friends say it’s nerdy.  I wish they’d stop caring what their  friends think and instead do what they love because they love it. I wish they’d start thinking for themselves and outside of what social media tells them to think.  There’s love and freedom in being yourself.  It’s the only true way to develop your self-esteem.

Road Trip *aka I ran away.


This past week I had a few crucial decisions to make and instead of hanging around to face the problem, I ran away from them.  This is a direct contradiction to my only 13 day old resolution to Face My Fears.  But I don’t want to call it a failure because ….running away was exactly what I needed.   My problems aren’t solved but my head is clearer and my stomach is untangled from the tight knots that were collecting there.

It was a last minute decision to go.  The thought occurred to me on Thursday morning knowing it was an unlikely scenario though.  Who leaves with no where to go?   I decided late Thursday after having dinner with friends that I’d just do it.  Friday came, work was done, it was getting dark outside and I hadn’t even packed.  I didn’t have a place to stay or a true destination for the night but I had to get away. The gnawing in my gut from decision making was cutting through me.  I knew I’d end up Saturday in the Pheonix area, it’s somewhere I’d been wanting to do for a while and cancelled going twice last year, I just didn’t have any plans to get there.  Usually I’d have mapped out a route and decided all the plans ahead of time.  Planning is one of my favorite things but this trip I found myself on the road at 7pm and nothing ahead of me.  When I got tired of driving, I got on Priceline and booked the closest hotel.  It wasn’t until Saturday afternoon when the rain was pouring and my hiking goals were squashed that my heart slowed down a bit and I just enjoyed the scenery.

I ended up Friday night in Kingman, Arizona.  Saturday morning I woke up to rain so I had to cancel my Grand Canyon viewing and instead drove up highway 66 for awhile and then turned south on the Joshua Tree National Forest Highway to go to Scottsdale.  When I got there in the mid-afternoon I explored Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesan West.  The view was stunning from there and the rain was refreshing.  Then I found a room nearby and also enjoyed a boba.  That night a good friend noticed where I was from my Instagram post and told me she was in Pheonix too.  She was running the Rock and Roll Marathon and the finish line was 6 miles from where I was staying.  I got up in the morning and met her there.  We enjoyed the finish line festivities, had lunch and I headed home feeling a 1000 times better than when I left.


My problems were not resolved.  My life still has issues I’m currently trying to figure out.  But I was reminded why the best place for me work out any troubles are outside.  And what I discovered was the fear of the unknown was much more healing than I could’ve imagined.

My biggest fear

My 2017’s list of resolutions means I get to grow and change and explore.  This is the reason most people make lists for themselves.  We all want to improve.  Two years ago the most important thing I did for myself was that I took ownership in all my feelings.  If I felt mad, I’d ask myself, “What about this actually irritated you?” or “Why does it matter, how will it affect you?”  If I felt sad, I’d ask myself, “What it was that made me feel this way and how could I change or prevent it in the future?”.  Or even questions to myself like, “Is it okay to feel like this, even briefly, to learn something?” (I know what YOU are thinking right now,  this is too deep.  BUT those questions are helpful when you’re an over-thinker).  Typically, I’m in great control of my feelings and emotions.  I get angry sometimes, but it passes quickly.  I learned at a young age that anger doesn’t serve me any valid purpose beyond what it was exactly that upset me and how I can move on.  I never liked that feeling of contention that settles in your stomach when you are angry at someone, something, or most importantly, yourself.  I never enjoyed that loss of control feeling from overexcitement, sadness, and even bliss.  I avoided it as much as possible to prevent myself from an emotional upheaval.  It’s time to change that.

Last week I had two quiet hours with my friend.  We discussed lots of things like the past and the future and our children and our hopes and our plans.  I had a small issue (and by small, the kind that brings me to tears and I never talk about because, well….. I avoid it) and needed to sort some things out in my head.  One of the only true disadvantages of being single is making every decision on your own.  I have no one to always bounce options or ideas off of and so my friend got to be my sounding board for the night.  To tease you just a little, my problem involved running away from something because it was causing emotions.  The easy way out would be to ignore and forget and remove myself from the problem.  But in reality, I was the problem.  My feelings were just too big for me to acknowledge.  Running was the easiest thing to do to avoid being hurt.  I knew that if I ran, I wouldn’t learn anything. I wouldn’t experience any growth.

I remember that urge to run right before I jumped out of the plane when I went skydiving.   I didn’t hesitate to get into the plane.  I was calm and relaxed the entire time we were gaining altitude.  But the moment the instructor asked me to step out onto the wing while my feet were still safely planted on the inside of the aircraft I lost it.  I was visibly shaking, the blood rushed from my face and I thought, “How could I have been so stupid?”  then “What is wrong with me?”  I urged myself outside anyway.  The goggles were anti-fog but not anti-tears.  I was crying against my will and the moisture slowly created a film along the edges.  It wasn’t a sobbing but the terror consumed me.  In a total of maybe 10 seconds, from stepping out to jumping off the wing, I pushed past the edge (literally and figuratively) from my biggest fear to one of the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever done.  I was flying without a care in the world.  It was magical.  But if I had let the fear stop me, I couldn’t have experienced the thrill.  That’s not say that the whole jump was perfect.  I landed and vomited twice before I could stand up.  I was still shaking for a while after and I made my friend drive me home.  I suppose it was because I was so worked up with emotion and the fear was so great that my body just reacted that way.  But one thing I knew;  I had done it.

It hurts to even write this, knowing I’m declaring out loud this resolution.  My heart feels squeezed and perhaps I have a punctured lung because my breathing is short and shallow.  My friend told me during our visit, “Just let it be. If it hurts, it hurts.  If it doesn’t, it doesn’t”.  I screamed “NO” at her, but only in my head and then sat quietly for awhile.  I want to feel stuff.  I’ve lived being numb to most things.  I can testify that feelings and emotions are so much better than nothing.  The thing is, I’m scared.  Being brave.  Standing up for myself. Standing up for others.  Doing what I know is right when everyone else thinks it’s wrong.  Chasing my dreams.  Being nice when I am not treated the same.  School. Making mistakes.  Work. Free time. Love.  Being loved is paralyzing.

I’ve got a plan.  I’m going to Face My Fears this year.  I’m going to jump off the wing over and over again.  I’m going to make tons of mistakes doing it and will most likely get hurt a lot.  But for the few times it’ll work out, I know it’ll be worth it.

First Crush versus Last crush.

I remember the first time I blushed. My hands went straight to cheeks and I held them while the blood rushed in and warmed them up. Tommy Shriner had just walked into my backyard. I was four.

We spent that summer being best friends. Chasing snakes. Smelling hydrangeas. Eating popsicles. He made me blush every time I saw him. We were destined to meet. I knew this as a child. It was love at first sight. People often say you never forget your first love. I’d have to agree. Little Tommy Shriner is embedded in my head.

My siblings took to torturing me as soon as they noticed. I couldn’t hide my blushing so I stopped denying it and went all out declaring my adoration. I’d shrug when they teased and eventually I told them all that we’d end up getting married someday.  I claimed to have known him in heaven.  My sister still tells me of the lame jokes I made up with no punch line but that I had crafted his name in it and then I’d laugh hysterically.  I stumbled to speak sometimes around him and became awkwardly timid. Things that are not my natural behavior.

Apparently, not much is changed.  Not too long ago I fell again hard. I froze in place and remember holding my breath after seeing him hoping to stop time until the flushing in my cheeks went away and I cooled down again. That night I slurred my words and stumbled on invisible cracks on the floor. I laughed too loud and couldn’t make any eye contact. I never stopped being awkward for a solid two hours. I left knowing I’d never see or hear from him again.

Having awkward crushes is not cute when you’re not four years old. Meeting and dating someone new is a torture no sibling can rival. But he did call after that first date. I can not figure out why. There I was; insane and scatterbrained, not recognizing myself in this “crush” state. It deluded my judgment. It made me get lost inside my head. I learned the term “ghosting” shortly after I waited for hours for him to return text messages.  And I found myself not answering his calls even if I was doing nothing and the phone was in my hand. I switched from euphoric to feeling diseased within an instant. And then switched back again before I registered the change. It was nauseating. I had informed a few friends that he’d be trouble for me. And he was. I had to admit (at least to myself) that I had feelings. Not just good feelings, but feelings of any kind again. I had shut that kind of stuff down years ago. To stop myself from embarrassment I selected to be distant and then, of course, just run away from the whole situation. He still called. But I hesitated.

Falling for someone can be the greatest feeling. It raises all sorts of chemicals in our brain and gives a legitimate high. Love is a drug.  But like all drugs, the withdrawls can make you mental.

Bring on the mental. It’s worth the high.