Hello Adventures: How I Saved 2,000 Dollars Without Even Thinking About It!

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3 Ways to Get A Head Start on Your Summer!

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Part I: No Hair, Don't Care

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"She's Not Your Child!"

 

Today is Mother's Day...and I'm writing.

 

I wanted to write yesterday, but I thought, I don't want to be a Debbie Downer on Mother's Day Weekend. You know, now is the time that people are posting pictures with their mothers on Facebook and social media. The pictures are either happy ones or sad ones where they are grieving their mother.

 

It  made me think about my thought's and feelings about mother's day. How just a week ago, a person shared with my daughter, "She's not your mother." I wish I could say this was the first time I've heard such talk like this, but it isn't. The first time was in a dream before marrying my husband....the kids said in the dream, You're not my mother. The next time was from my husband's ex-wife (this has been going on for years) and now this latest time was from a family member of my adopted children.

 

It had me thinking about this unspoken duty to be kind  and nice to people who purposefully try to hurt you or even worse manipulate your children. Welp, enough is enough.

 

Let me say this and set the record straight once and for all.

 

Mothers are not just people who have physically birthed children.

 

Here are the various definitions of the word, mother:

: to give birth to (a child) : to be or act as mother to (someone) : to care for or protect (someone) like a mother:   a term of address for a female parent or a woman having or regarded as having the status, function, or authority of a female parent.  a term of familiar address for an old or elderly woman.

 

Again, mothers are not just people who have physically birthed children. So people when you decide to say, "she's not your mother," to women who have laid down their lives to improve the lives of their children, HAVE SEVERAL SEATS.

 

I was a mother long before birthing a child as I parented five children before birthing my own. I'm in a super blended family (inherited 3, adopted 2, birthed 1)....and though I know step- parents get a bad rap...I mean we even have the story of Cinderella and wicked step mother.... there are PLENTY of parents who love all of their children (biological and non-biological) and are doing the work. There are people all across the land parenting and mothering children that they didn't birth.

 

I refuse to believe that mothering is just limited to a biological connection. I will no longer tolerate being subjected to this false thinking or this social construct.

 

I, as a mother in a blended family, am not less than because I didn't birth all of my children. We are not  invisible. We are mother's too.

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How Could  You Have Such A Bad Child?!

You see this smile? It's a ray of sunshine and its the smile of my 13 year old son, Ed, whom we adopted some years ago (I'll tell you all about that family saga that led to us adopting two children during our 2nd year of marriage another time). 

 

Now, when we welcomed Ed into our family, he had already been diagnosed with Autism. For those of you unfamiliar with Autism, or autism spectrum disorder here's what it is in a nutshell:

 

Autism or Autism Spectrum disorder refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences.

 

As a social worker, I had some knowledge of autism, but not enough to prepare me for all the different things that come with  parenting a child with autism. 

 

 

 The stares. The questions. The  people who avoid interaction with your child or gawk at him from a distance. The people who act like he has some sort of contagious disease that if their child played with them, then they'd catch it too. The people who look at you, like something must be wrong with you for you to have had a child like that.

 

I'll never forget the time in children's church, where they were like "Oh he has Autism?  I just thought he was a "bad" kid." Now  normally, I'm pretty cool, but you mess with my husband, my kids, or immediate family ...and YOU WILL SEE ANOTHER SIDE. 

 

But this is the parenting life and I haven't even included some of the fears I have for Ed, like him being taken advantage of or him being misunderstood or someone hurting him because he hasn't mastered appropriate societal physical boundaries. I often have conversations with my husband, like if something happens to us, what's going to happen to Ed. These are real issues and sometimes you think you're the only person who experiences these multitude  of feelings, but after a recent response from a fb post I know that I'm not.  So many people commented, left messages, about how they have been affected by autism. Now, I knew some of my friends had children with autism, but this went way beyond my imagination.

 

Though we all have our experiences of being affected by Autism, the are not all the same, but I think I speak for everyone when I say that I wish people would take the time to understand the uniqueness of  children with special needs. Practice and give looks of compassion for all of humanity.

 

At the end of the day, I want people to know that any person who has autism or seems different from the "norm," is a human being who deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.....not just a "bad child." How do we do this? By sharing our experiences with autism to bring about awareness.

 

April is Autism Awareness month!

 

And I'm here to celebrate my 13 year old son, ED, as well as all my friends and family affected by Autism. Though every day isn't a walk in the park, I celebrate his uniqueness and the joy he brings to our family. He is beautiful & unique, and a beautiful weirdo.

 

I'd like for others to honor those affected with autism as the beautifully unique people that they are and so I've partnered with some organizations in facilitating a 5k walk for autism and raising money for F.A.C.E (Facing Autism with Children Everywhere). You can also DONATE too. Join us, spread the word, and lend your support! We also have Special EDition Beautiful Weirdo for Autism Shirts available for men, women, & youth. A portion of the special edition shirts for autism will benefit F.A.C.E too!

 

 

 

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Add Some Colors to Your In-box

Hello Adventures: How I Saved 2,000 Dollars Without Even Thinking About It!

September's here! Seasons are changing and my b-day month is here:). Since it's my b-day month I decided to start it off with a bang:)...I did something I've always wanted to do. I did an underwater photo shoot. Why?! Because it's an adventure I've always wanted to do. Now this adventure didn't just come about, this is something I'd been thinking about for the last couple of years, but for some reason I was either out of town or wasn't prepared financially to jump on the adventure when it was offered. Have you ever wanted to go on an adventure been invited somewhere....but you just didn't have the funs? Please tell me I'm not the only one! 

Photography by Derrel Todd of Footprintfotos  Make-up by Kiersten Lynn
Photography by Derrel Todd of Footprintfotos Make-up by Kiersten Lynn
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3 Ways to Get A Head Start on Your Summer!

June is here...can you believe it?! Only 15 more days until Summer. This year is going by so fast and I tell you, you don't want to be caught with the "where did my summer go?" look as you scramble to make the best of the last two days of summer. So how do you escape this?

 

1. Don't wait until summer starts to start planning for the Summer. Start your plan today.

Summer is peeking around the corner like, " Yoo hoo...I see you," and we all know that as soon as summer starts, within a blink of an eye, it's over. So...

 

2. Create a list of at least 10 things that you want to do/accomplish this summer.

One of the ways that I make the most of my summer is to create a list of of at least 10 things I want to do this summer. The list could include things as simple as go to the beach, go on a winery tour, ride a train to random place, travel to NY, read 10 books, play kick ball, go on a hike or adventure alone (for those who have children...a day alone is liquid gold lol), make a candle, get a new tattoo, vacation get away, etc. I've been making these list for years and I've noticed that I accomplish all or minus two goals on my list. It's something about writing something down and declaring what you'd like to do. It gets your spidy senses heightened and you're more hypersensitive to events and activities around your goals.....and you're more likely to accomplish what you write down.

 

3.  Pencil in the dates for your adventures on your calendar  

Taking it a step further, after you write your "great 10" summer adventure list put perspective dates on a calendar:). This helps you with being aware of how much time you have and  helps you keep control of your summer. I don't know about you, but I don't like feeling like my summer days are running aways from me.

 

Now that you've got a plan...there's nothing left but to do it. I'm a firm believer in making the most out of the time we have. Let's Get it. Let me know know what's on your "great 10" summer list and how you'll be making the most out of your summer! We all can learn and  get some ideas for our lists. 

 

Here's my list....what's yours?

 

 

 

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Part I: No Hair, Don't Care

Hair

Vs.

No Hair


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How Could  You Have Such A Bad Child?!

You see this smile? It's a ray of sunshine and its the smile of my 13 year old son, Ed, whom we adopted some years ago (I'll tell you all about that family saga that led to us adopting two children during our 2nd year of marriage another time). 

 

Now, when we welcomed Ed into our family, he had already been diagnosed with Autism. For those of you unfamiliar with Autism, or autism spectrum disorder here's what it is in a nutshell:

 

Autism or Autism Spectrum disorder refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences.

 

As a social worker, I had some knowledge of autism, but not enough to prepare me for all the different things that come with  parenting a child with autism. 

 

 

 The stares. The questions. The  people who avoid interaction with your child or gawk at him from a distance. The people who act like he has some sort of contagious disease that if their child played with them, then they'd catch it too. The people who look at you, like something must be wrong with you for you to have had a child like that.

 

I'll never forget the time in children's church, where they were like "Oh he has Autism?  I just thought he was a "bad" kid." Now  normally, I'm pretty cool, but you mess with my husband, my kids, or immediate family ...and YOU WILL SEE ANOTHER SIDE. 

 

But this is the parenting life and I haven't even included some of the fears I have for Ed, like him being taken advantage of or him being misunderstood or someone hurting him because he hasn't mastered appropriate societal physical boundaries. I often have conversations with my husband, like if something happens to us, what's going to happen to Ed. These are real issues and sometimes you think you're the only person who experiences these multitude  of feelings, but after a recent response from a fb post I know that I'm not.  So many people commented, left messages, about how they have been affected by autism. Now, I knew some of my friends had children with autism, but this went way beyond my imagination.

 

Though we all have our experiences of being affected by Autism, the are not all the same, but I think I speak for everyone when I say that I wish people would take the time to understand the uniqueness of  children with special needs. Practice and give looks of compassion for all of humanity.

 

At the end of the day, I want people to know that any person who has autism or seems different from the "norm," is a human being who deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.....not just a "bad child." How do we do this? By sharing our experiences with autism to bring about awareness.

 

April is Autism Awareness month!

 

And I'm here to celebrate my 13 year old son, ED, as well as all my friends and family affected by Autism. Though every day isn't a walk in the park, I celebrate his uniqueness and the joy he brings to our family. He is beautiful & unique, and a beautiful weirdo.

 

I'd like for others to honor those affected with autism as the beautifully unique people that they are and so I've partnered with some organizations in facilitating a 5k walk for autism and raising money for F.A.C.E (Facing Autism with Children Everywhere). You can also DONATE too. Join us, spread the word, and lend your support! We also have Special EDition Beautiful Weirdo for Autism Shirts available for men, women, & youth. A portion of the special edition shirts for autism will benefit F.A.C.E too!

 

 

 

The Story of Being  Cold as Balls...

The last couple of days....

have been cold. Freezing. Hail. Ice. High Winds, Etc. The weather man had predicted a snow storm and of course everyone was in a tizzy and rushed to the supermarket to stock up on food....like it's the last Armageddon. 

 

I always say, I must be in the wrong profession because the weather man continues to get paid even when said snow storms and predictions don't come true. Rain or Shine...Snow or Not....they are still collecting coin.

 

Well there was snow. There was hail.  There was ice. But all those inches of snow. Nope.  School closures, yes.  Even the cancellation of gym classes....which got me bummed.  That Tuesday morning, I was looking forward to teaching my normal 9:45 am Zumba class....but I got the call that all gym classes were cancelled. Fooey! Safety first though...

 

So I asked myself...do I need to teach the class at the gym...can I teach it from home? And so I did. I couldn't stop the class from being cancelled but I could create my own party:)

 

Instead of moping around, I made an announcement to my fb and fitness enthusiasts like look....I'mma live stream doing zumba from my home....and you know what, people logged on an partied with me.... we had a #snowfit party AND they want me to do it again:)  It was blast.

 

I realized that there are things that I just won't be able to control...but if I choose to think outside the box then I can adjust some things to reach my destination.

 

After all, that's what life is about.  Life's about being flexible and adjusting to the things that come our way.....especially the things that are beyond our control.

 

Feel free to like me on Facebook ...so i can keep you in the loop for the next live workout:)  and share the video with friends:)

 

 

#snowfit Workout



Beyoncé Taught Me...

Photo Courtesy of Beyonce's Website:)
Photo Courtesy of Beyonce's Website:)
A month or so Beyoncé dropped the news that she was
expecting ........TWINS! It seemed the world was stunned as anything Beyoncé does seems to be a world phenomenon. Beyoncé  is a trendsetter so although women have been having babies and twins for centuries, I now expect a surge in the births of multiples and several copycat maternity shoots.  That's just how it goes.  I'm used to it & I'm prepared for it.
.
.
.
.
Now, what I wasn't prepared for was the backlash Beyoncé received from her maternity photoshoot. People made fun of the photoshoot's artistic direction and were unimpressed.
They didn't hold back their thoughts, AT ALL....
Yikes, tell us how you really feel.
After seeing people's responses my thought was geez, doesn't matter what she does, there will always be something.
Beyonce's Superbowl Announcment
Beyonce's Superbowl Announcment

 

 

I remember when she announced her first pregnancy after her performance at the Super Bowl. Of course the audience loved it, but not too soon after,  the rumor mill was relentless in saying that she was not physically pregnant...and so on and so on.

 

There were clips on youTube showing her stomach collapsing when she sat down for an interview. 

 

Then there were the conspiracy theories..... she got a surrogate and so much more.  

 

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Beyonce's Website:)
Photo Courtesy of Beyonce's Website:)

Now, she's bare belly and sharing more of this twin pregnancy experience and IT STILL ISN'T ENOUGH.

 

 

Beyoncé taught me that you can go out of your way to try and convince people of your truth....and it won't even matter.

 

People are going to believe and

run with what they want to to believe. PERIOD.

 

Your truth is yours and no one else's so....

 

DON'T

 

WASTE

 

YOUR ENERGY

 

TRYING

 

TO CONVINCE

 

PEOPLE

 

OTHERWISE! 

 

Thanks Beyoncé. 

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Silver Linings in Mistakes

I'm a serial crafter who finds joy in creating things. Everyone knows this, so it's no surprise when I get tagged in different craft projects.

 

Recently, I was tagged in what is the new crochet crave, the messy bun hat. Though I had looked into  creating this before, the pattern that was sent was the only one that resonated within me. Plus, I already had the yarn needed ... so it was meant to be, right?!

 

Wrong. So wrong. My attempt went horribly wrong. Turned out I used the wrong stitch. Instead of using the single crochet that the pattern required, I went to using my favorite, double crochet.     My brain was on autopilot. I realized this half way thru, but decided to keep it moving.  

The result ... uhh not the messy bun crochet hat.

 

I decided to make something of it and closed the hole in the top to make a hat. ... turns out my husband loved the idea and wanted the hat.... with my label on it. Presto... here ya go hubby. He wears it all the time now.

So after my first attempt was an epic  fail ...I decided to try it again. 

 

But before doing it. I refreshed my memory on the different stitches having noted that it's easy to fall back into familiar and or favorite routines (Message!), especially when you aren't paying attention.  I reread the pattern and voila ... better results.

 

I learned a lot from this experience as I'm of the thought that tangible decisions give insight to our internal decisions.

 

  • I learned that trying something outside of your comfort zone takes focus or you could slowly find yourself back in an old pattern.  

 

  • It takes courage to stop and admit your mistakes and even more courage and boldness  to start over & try again.

 

  • One more thing, even though I didn't enjoy not nailing the messy bun hat on the first try, something good can still come from a mis- take if we are open to see it! It can benefit someone else or it may be preparation for something later in life. 

 

 

Valentines Day 2017.....

 

And I'm still reaping the benefit from my Mis--- Take:)

 

 

There's a silver lining in every mis- take, when we choose to see it:


Joy, Harry Potter, & Dementors

When I was in grad school at the University of Pittsburgh, I worked as an intern for a welfare to work program. During my internship, I was tasked with facilitating a workshop on Joy for all the participants. As much as I thought the workshop was for them, the information and knowledge I gained from preparing for the workshop, was as much for me, as it was for them. In fact, I didn't realize it until now, but the mission of the pursuance of joy has stuck with me throughout my development.

 

But, it just hit me this morning, the importance of joy...

 

I mean, it hit me like of ton of bricks.

 

And it all came after this question, "How is it that you do so much?"

 

I get asked this question a lot....and honestly, the last time I was asked, I really didn't know how to effectively answer it. My answer last week was, "Ummm, having a supportive husband." Though that was partly true it wasn't my YES answer (you know when it's a yes....its a confident sure yes...). Not having the answer to that question has nagged at me for the last couple of days.

 

I get asked this question a lot....and honestly, the last time I was asked, I really didn't know how to effectively answer it. My answer last week was, "Ummm, having a supportive husband." Though that was partly true it wasn't my YES answer (you know when it's a yes....its a confident sure yes...). Not having the answer to that question has nagged at me for the last couple of days.

 

 

And then I remembered. JOY.

 

 

I do all that I do because of Joy. Because of what I learned from doing research on JOY when preparing for that workshop a long time ago. I learned then and I know now that joy is strength and the things that bring you joy is the fuel for your engine to propel you thru life. It gets you going....has the ability to keep you going in adverse times. In contrast, the absence of joy can suck the life out of you. I liken it to the scene in Harry Potter where the dementor tries to give him the kiss of death by feeding off of his sadness, despair, fear, joylessness, and lack of memory.

 

  

 

Harry got sucked in and almost taken out, but then he was taught how to survive a dementor's kiss (check out the entire Harry Potter series). But how do you ward off the dementor's kiss...JOY! HAPPINESS!!...

 

REMEMBERING YOUR HAPPIEST AND MOST JOYFUL MEMORY!!

 

 

That's how I do, what I do. Although I take it one step further then Harry. I've taken the time to remember the things that bring me joy and IMPLEMENT them. What I've found in reference to people and joy, is that people forget what things bring them joy. They allow life and adulting to crowd out the things that bring them joy and so when life comes with deadly kisses, they don't have the joy to fight it off....or to endure.

 

I challenge you...to remember...at least one thing that brings you joy and use your joy as a weapon to cut thru this thing we call life.

Tell me, what things bring you joy?

 

 

 

***Beautiful Weirdo Nugget: Don't forget the things that bring you joy as your joy is your strength to ward against the darkness.


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No Matter How Long It Takes...

 

Let me tell you something...

 

I've been working on the same goal for 2 years.

 

 

Since having, my daughter, Royal aka Beanie, 2 years ago, I've been working towards returning to my pre-baby weight of 115 lbs. 

 

Below the picture of my weight is a handwritten picture of 115 lbs that I drew 2 years ago (I draw my goals :) and the moment is here. Wee Hee!

 

But this moment didn't come without scrutiny. People would say and and still say all the time, " You look good, you don't need to lose anymore weight"... and that's cool... but when I have a goal in mind ... my goal isn't for people... it is for me and I seek to accomplish it. For Me.

 

Were there times when I wanted to quit, take a break... yup... did I... yup... but it's a journey and it's about the work you put in! I share this to let you know that anything you put your mind to is possible! As long as you have breath in your body, there's still time:) and if you need one to one individual weight loss therapy your girl is here for you :) wee hee! Learn more about  Beautiful Weirdo Fitness & Weight-loss Counseling

 

**Beautiful Weirdo nugget: As long as you have breath in your body, you have an opportunity to make things happen.

 

Be Beautiful. Be Weird. Be You. ALWAYS.

TC

Tis the Season...to strip down!

The leotard I just threw out some months ago
The leotard I just threw out some months ago

   It's that time a year again where the holiday music is playing in all the stores and your e-mail box is filled with today's hottest deals encouraging you to spend that almighty dollar.  Well while people are getting caught up in the hype of buy, buy, buy, I've been doing some introspection as it concerns letting go.

   It all started  a couple of months a go when my girlfriend, Shelley B, mentioned she was reading a book called, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. She was talking about the difference it was making in her life as it concerns keeping her space tidy and also, clarity in general. This sparked my interest because anyone who knows me, knows how much I detest cleaning up (My husband will tell you). I had a maid when I was single.  My thought was, I work so hard, and the last thing I want to do was to spend my free time doing something I hate doing....cleaning up.  Well I started reading the book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up...and it's a game changer and a must read!

     It takes on a total different approach to tidying up by starting with a premise of what brings you joy (she also has the specific Kondo method that accompanies this principle).  Simple question: Does this item bring you joy? If the answer is no, let it go. Discard. When I read this, it registered in my core and I was shocked at the same time. Like what do you mean by let it go...like give it away....throw it away...but this is the leotard from my bachelorette party (that happened over 5 years ago)?!! LOL! Yes, I still had it like it was a part of some sacred shrine.

    This book is about tidying up, but it also highlights that we are responsible for creating joy in our lives. I started asking myself that question, does this bring me joy and I realized that I was holding on to a lot of things that no longer brought me joy (people included, but that deserves it's own post). The item had served it's purpose, yet I was still holding on to it. Why?!! I firmly believe that the things that we do outwardly are manifestations of either the self-work/inner heart-work that has or hasn't been done. Tidying the Marie Kondo way had me discarding so much stuff and junk that was clogging up energy, physical and mental. Most importantly, it brought me face to face with my fear of letting go and it's root which was rooted in, "what if I never get this again?." It was rooted in the fear of being poor or going without again. I faced it head on and this process is steadily transforming my life, both inward and outward.  I put my hubby on to it, my daughter...and up next is my son's room. I called Green Drop to set an appointment to come get all this stuff. Side bar: Did you know that Green Drop Charitable Donations will come to your door to pick up the stuff you don't want  (for free) AND they also have a free concierge service to help you get everything together....AND it's a tax write off!  Well, the appointment has been scheduled and I'm on a mission and I'm determined to start 2017 surrounded by the things that bring me joy. So while everyone else is decking their halls and singing fa la la la....I'm clearing the halls, creating the space, and energy for all things joyous.  We're stepping into 2017 fearless, clutter free, and surrounded by joy! Are you holding on to things that don't bring you joy?! I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

By the way, this won't be the last post on this....

 

Beautiful Weirdo Nugget:   You are a creator. No matter where you are, you can create an environment that brings you joy. You're responsible for your joy.  Create it.

 

Be Beautiful, Be Weird, Be you....

ALWAYS.

T.C

 

  

 


Going Thru Changes...

 

 

  

A couple of years ago, I wanted to make a change with my look. I had just had my first baby and I wanted something new and fresh. I wanted dark hair with a touch of green...I had found the picture and everything, but  I chickened out and didn't do it. Instead,  I went for something more safe and familiar...something a bit more accepted for a mother of 6  and a working professional & creative...a honey blond....and it was cute (shouts out to Tinea Porter of PRMP Beauty Studio)..but it wasn't what I wanted in my heart. I settled.  There were loud thoughts in my head that stopped me from getting that hairstyle. Thoughts like, are you having a midlife crisis...that's what people are going to think....you're trying to be young...all these thoughts...

The idea of what other people would think, won.

 

.

.

 

FAST FORWARD 2016...

It's November 2016.  Almost 2 years later and my wedding anniversary is coming up. I want change. The image of dark hair, with a little bit of green pops up again. Along with that image are those thoughts....you know you're a therapist right. Who's going to feel comfortable going to a therapist with bits of green in their hair? I was nervous.  Should I, shouldn't I? Will I be taken seriously. I had a moment, and then I came to myself and said, " It's just hair."  Hair doesn't define me (in the words of India Irie, "I'm not my hair"). Hair adds to who I am; it doesn't control who I am.  People can and will make decisions based on my appearance.  The reality is, I can't control what people think of me and at the end of the day people are going to decide what to make of you no matter what you do or don't do, rather your hair is straight, kinky, purple, etc.  More importantly, I realized that no matter if you declare yourself to be a person that fully accepts and enjoys their peculiarities (i.e. a beautiful weirdo), it is a constant battle to accept who you are.  The world is constantly trying to tell you who to be,  what people in certain professions look like, sound like, what "being black, hispanic, white" sound or look like, etc and sometimes we subconsciously apply these rules to our lives. So instead of settling, I was nervous and did it anyway (shouts out to TaShawn Williams, my dedicated weave whisperer).  I raged against those thoughts, with one question?! Who made these rules?! I'm a therapist with bits of green in my hair, making my own rules, living my truth and  continually shedding the truth of others and this society. I won this fight, but in the journey of acceptance, I'm sure there's more to come.  Would love to hear your thoughts on this? What ideas are trying to attach themselves to you and how do you shed them?  

 

Beautiful Weirdo Nugget: Nervousness is okay. Be nervous and do it anyway.

Be Beautiful, Be Weird, Be you....

ALWAYS.

T.C

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