Waiting For the Other Shoe to Drop

Your day is going along a little too well and you don’t trust it. You just know something bad is going to happen. And then the shit hits the fan. Right on cue. 🙄 I refer to this as the fuckening. Some people call this “waiting for the other shoe to drop.” It can be disheartening to feel like we can’t catch a break.

I will be the first to admit that I expect a fuckening WAY too often. If I have been out of the hospital for a while, I start to worry about how I am likely to end up back in the hospital at an inopportune time. If we have plumped up our savings, I wonder if we’ll have an unexpected large expense that will reduce our nest egg. If we have a car or home repair to make, I expect something else to break needing repair or replacement, If I am flying on an airplane and I pee right before boarding the plane,I just know that I am going to have to pee again when the drink cart is blocking the way to the toilet.

Life changes constantly and there is a rhythmic dance between joy and pain. In one moment our situations can shift so drastically that we feel like we’re falling ass over teakettle. Expecting that every day will be wonderful and flawless is both naive and unrealistic. But anxiously awaiting some sort of tragedy is not beneficial to our wellbeing either.

Waiting for the other shoe to drop is this tricky way of depriving ourselves from feeling good now because we are nervously anticipating something bad will happen in the future. It’s almost as if we are inviting something negative into our life to neutralize the positive feelings. Life will bring cycles of suffering and beauty, pain and happiness, crisis and comfort. We do our best while riding these waves of feelings, trying not to get stuck in a pattern of overwhelming stress.

So can we avoid the chaos? Noop. Not a chance in hell. But here are some techniques to help quiet the nagging voices that suggest disappointment is lurking around the corner.

Realize that worrying is pointless

We need to accept that we can’t possibly prepare for all potential situations. There are umpteen thirty-leven possible challenges that could happen in life at any given moment and there is no way to anticipate all of them. Don’t waste your time worrying about “What ifs.” Time is nonrefundable. Use it with intention.

Stop downplaying yo’ self

When you downplay your own accomplishments and abilities, you are perpetuating the belief that something negative is going to happen. You don’t want to brush off your victories as “being lucky” or “they’re no big deal” when you put in the hard work. Instead of worrying about whether or not you are good enough, start trusting in yourself and believe that you have what it takes.

Focus on the present

The beauty of being present is that, by definition, you can’t be anywhere else. When you choose to be in the moment, thoughts about possible bad things happening in the future may enter your mind, but you can kick their asses to the curb.

Be Logical

Sometimes our thoughts can run away from us, going full steam down a hill that we know isn’t logical or helpful. Learning to accept that sometimes life is uncomfortable can reduce the fear of the unknown.

Our lives are in flux and it is inevitable that something unfortunate will happen at some point. We don’t know when or where, but worrying about things won’t make them go right.

Purgatory of Indecision

Sometimes in life there is a pivotal moment when you know that you just can’t keep going on the way you’ve been living. Something’s got to give and you have two options: shit or get off the pot. Choosing between making a change or staying where you are can feel daunting, so you find yourself trapped between the two, in a purgatory of indecision.

The prospect of change requires us to take an honest look at ourselves and do things we might be afraid to do. We have to take a leap into uncharted waters, unsure if we’ll sink or swim. This can easily entice us to stay in our comfort zone. But if we can’t bring ourselves to change, we risk living a life of misery, dysfunction, or regret. You may feel like you can’t stay where you are, but you’re too afraid to move forward. You remain stuck in this purgatory of indecision.

As a teenage girl and into my twenties, my plan was to become a pharmacist. I loved math and science, I wanted to help people, and it would be a secure, stable career. I started working as a pharmacy technician a few months after graduating from high school and continued this while going to college. After I completed all the prerequisite courses, I applied to a few pharmacy schools. Imagine my surprise and utter disappointment when I read rejection letter after rejection letter. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t accepted. I had excellent grades, a good PCAT score, and pharmacy experience. It seemed unfair. I felt ashamed and embarrassed. Why wasn’t I good enough to be accepted? How could I have failed? What in the hell am I going to do with my life now? I had busted my hump for years to meet my goal of becoming a pharmacist and now it was being flushed down the shitter.

One of the pharmacy schools I had applied to sent my information to the University of Maryland Department of Medical and Research Technology, so they sent me information about their program. When I read through it and saw Blood Banking as a specialty, I had that “Aha!” moment. I had a special interest in Blood Banking after I needed a blood transfusion during surgery to straighten my curved spine in 2004.

I was still working as a pharmacy tech after getting rejected by multiple pharmacy schools and saw the direction the pharmacy profession was going in. I didn’t like that insurance companies dictated so much of patient care. They’ll cover one type of insulin but not another similar insulin. They won’t pay for this asthma medication but they’ll pay for an alternative. And they change their mind every year on what list of medications they choose to cover. I don’t believe an insurance company knows better than a patient’s doctor what medication works best for the patient.

So what do I do now? Do I keep trying to apply to other pharmacy schools or pivot and apply to med tech school? I decided to get off the pot and apply to med tech school. It provided the same reasons I wanted to become a pharmacist. I loved math and science, I wanted to help people, and it would be a secure, stable career. Plus, I had this personal connection with Blood Banking after my blood transfusions. I was both excited and relieved when I was accepted into the program and worked as a Blood Banker for 11 years after graduation.

The purgatory of indecision is an awful place to be. It is fraught with doubt, shame, anger, and overwhelming amounts of fear. Despite that, sometimes it still isn’t enough to push us in a particular direction. Our fear acts as a dysfunctional voice that eventually grows louder and can become the only one that you hear. Fear, along with self-doubt, whispers “you’re not good enough” or “you can’t do anything right.” It may even convince you that you’re inadequate, unlovable, or a failure. It can feel like there is a constant tug of war going on inside of you.

If we choose to not listen to that dysfunctional voice, then we can subdue it. When it says we aren’t good enough, we can choose to believe that we are enough. When the voice tells us we can’t do anything right, we can choose to know that we are doing the best we can and that is always right. When that pesky voice taunts us with feelings of inadequacy or failure, we can choose to have trust in our own potential. And when the dysfunctional voice tries to convince us that we are unlovable, we can decide that we are worthy of love.

We don’t have to remain stuck in unsatisfying situations. And we don’t need to make big changes all at once in order to live fulfilling lives. Change can be scary and uncomfortable as fuck. But small shifts can lead to huge transformation over time. The way out of the purgatory of indecision is to simply get started and to keep on going.

The Struggle Is Real

Life is made up of ebbs and flows. Although at times it can feel more like a clogged up shitty toilet or a tsunami. We can spend an insane amount of time comparing our lives to others. We look at those who appear to have it all together and wonder if they know what it’s like to struggle. We might be envious of their seemingly sweet trouble free life. It can feel like we are banished to a dark abyss while everyone else happily goes about their lives. We may question if we did something wrong to warrant this “punishment.” It’s easy to ask yourself “Why me?”

After my first anaphylactic reaction in July 2018, I believed I was going back to work. But as the weeks turned into months, it became clear that I was not going to be able to return to work. No work place could guarantee an environment free of mercaptobenzothiazole. Because that shit is EVERYWHERE. I can’t be in contact with common things like rubber bands, tape, or adhesive labels because they contain this chemical that I am highly allergic to. In November 2018 I had another anaphylactic reaction after using a pen that used to have a rubber band around it. Not currently on it. USED TO BE ON IT. That’s how sensitive my body is to this chemical. Fucking crazy! I continued to be hospitalized every few months for anaphylactic reactions, severe asthma, and/or hereditary angioedema flares. In 2019 I spent 22 days total in the hospital over 6 admissions. In 2020 I spent 30 days total in the hospital over 6 admissions. So far in 2021 I have spent 10 days in the hospital over 2 admissions. Many of these days were spent on the ventilator in the ICU. It’s a very weird and unsettling feeling to wake up after being sedated on a ventilator not knowing what day it is or how much time has passed.

It was a tough pill to swallow realizing I wouldn’t be able to return to work. I didn’t expect to become disabled at age 37. I had always been this determined, independent, and sassy lady who could multitask like nobody’s business. Now my world was flipped upside down and I struggled at first with how to fill my time and feel productive. To this day I still battle with feeling like I am not as productive as I used to be or even would like to be. I equated productivity with physical activity. But I have learned that productivity can be mental and not solely physical. While most of my time each day revolves around my medical care, I find ways to feel productive by learning French and Russian, growing and maintaining our orchids and house plants, and writing my blog.

My life is truly like a roller coaster ride. One moment things are going well, my health improves a bit, and there’s a glimmer of hope that there will be some normalcy as I coast along the track. The next moment, all hell breaks loose and I’m zooming down the roller coaster track screaming my guts out. I don’t have a clue what will be thrown my way, but I know I will accept life as it comes. I don’t try to understand everything, because sometimes things are not meant to be understood, just accepted.

It’s easy to become so absorbed in our own anguish that we fail to recognize others are also going through hardships. Focusing on our struggles is like a vortex that isolates us and makes us feel awful. We don’t need to offer advice or solutions to those who are struggling. But we can flash them a toothy grin 😁 or simply be there to spread some extra love. I try to be more cognizant of other people’s experiences of trauma and grief. It’s a good reminder that while things in life might have been different, it doesn’t necessarily mean they would have been better. We all experience suffering and heartbreak. No one in the world is immune from getting hit with some kind of pain, despite how happy and chipper they may appear on the outside.

There is another side to everyone’s life that you may never actually see. So if you catch yourself scrolling through social media and wondering why your life isn’t going as smoothly as someone else’s, remember that there are people looking at your life wishing they had something about yours.

Tell That To Your Face

“How are you?” “I’m fine.” We say it all the time. It’s short and sweet. Like strawberry shortcake. But far too often it’s not true. It’s written all over our faces that we’re not actually fine. I don’t know about you, but my face ALWAYS gives away that I am not okay even if I say I am.

So why do we say “I’m fine” if we don’t really mean it? We want others to think everything is working out great for us because we’re afraid of the shame, embarrassment, and judgment that might come if people knew that we don’t have our shit together.

We’re hoping to convince ourselves and others that everything really is okay. But pretending that we don’t have any problems, difficult emotions, or conflicts is a façade. It seems easier to simply avoid certain problems, traumatic memories, and difficult feelings. However, avoidance isn’t a good long-term strategy for our well being. Often, the longer we try to ignore things, the bigger the problems become. So, why do we deny our problems or pretend to be okay when we’re not?

We pretend to be fine in order to avoid conflict. We fear that by sharing our true feelings or opinions, someone might get upset with us. This can create anxiety or at least feel uncomfortable. We use “I’m fine” to shield ourselves from painful emotions. Many of us grew up in households where we weren’t allowed to express our feelings of anger or sadness. We were told “I’ll give you something to cry about,” “suck it up,” or “get over it.” We were punished when we expressed our feelings or our feelings were ignored. As a result, we learned to suppress our emotions.

We also deny our problems and feelings because sometimes they’re overwhelming. We don’t always know how to articulate what we feel or how to solve our problems, so we try to ignore them. We don’t want to be difficult or to be a burden to others because we fear that might push people away. It feels safer to pretend we’re fine and to be a dependable coworker, cheerful friend, or a laid-back partner who doesn’t complain.

I’d rather be honest and authentic and disappoint some people than to exhaust myself trying to keep up the façade of perfection.” -Crystal Paine

If you’ve ever felt like you had to hold it together in order to put up a front for others, just know there is freedom in expressing your true feelings. Many people put on a proverbial mask to avoid showing their vulnerability and potentially making others feel uncomfortable. If you’re not accustomed to opening your heart to people, start by sharing one thing you’re thinking or feeling but may be tempted to keep inside. Opening up to others will allow you to be yourself, and from there you’ll see who’s willing to accept what you have to say without judgment. You can also offer support to others and let them know you’re happy to listen with an open ear. Giving people room to share pieces of themselves lets them know you’re there for them and they can be honest with you.

Many times when we avoid sharing our feelings with others, it’s because we haven’t processed our emotions. Give yourself permission to feel whatever you feel, without judgment, and learn to recognize when you’re lying to yourself. Stop telling yourself you’re “fine” when you’re not. Keep it real. You’re not going to be honest with others if you’re not being honest with yourself.

We tend to beat ourselves up when we do not respond, act, speak, or think how others believe we should. We put pressure on ourselves to meet everyone else’s expectations without truly acknowledging our own needs. It’s a heavy burden to hide behind a mask and pretend that everything is hunky-dory. There’s power in being vulnerable and sharing your authentic self with others. You don’t have to hide, pretend, or feel bad about not always being positive. You’re not weak, you’re human, and you never have to apologize for that.

Rare Disease Day

Many of you know that I live with 2 rare conditions: Hereditary angioedema and Mast cell disease. They aren’t pretty and they aren’t flattering. But they are real.

I haven’t wanted to take or show many pictures of myself because of how different I look. I don’t recognize myself and sometimes I feel embarrassed by my appearance. I was afraid of being judged by others the way I have been judging myself.

But since today is Rare Disease Day and it’s about spreading awareness, I am sharing some unpretty, unflattering, but real pictures of me living with these conditions.

Hereditary angioedema of my tongue
Hereditary angioedema of my belly
Treatment I have to inject myself any time I have swelling
Intubated/on the ventilator in November 2019 due to throat swelling
Swollen face and cataracts from prednisone. This was right after cataract surgery earlier this month.

Toxic Expectations

We often make challenging times so much harder by expecting a lot from ourselves, pushing ourselves, and beating ourselves up when we fall short of meeting our own or others’ expectations. We expect ourselves to be happy, productive, confident, or there for other people. We expect ourselves to always be at the top of our game even if we put ourselves at the bottom of our priority list.

But we can’t possibly be all of these things all of the time because we’re not perfect, we’re human. And being human means there are times we are messy, inconsistent, and unreasonable. Some days I have my shit together and other days I’m glued to the couch in my pajamas covered with nacho cheese Doritos dust.

Many problems we face in life are tied to expectations of ourselves, of others, of situations, and of the world. We may expect ourselves to be perfect, successful, and to feel happy with our lives. We may expect others to think and act like we do. We may expect life to always go as planned and the world to be uncompromisingly fair.

Holding onto expectations can create a lot of negative consequences. It can eat us up, from the inside out. It can lead us to feel frustrated, angry, and resentful. We may blame others and ourselves for the way things are. Or perhaps we feel so hurt that we retreat into a shell in order to try to protect ourselves. We can become indifferent, uninspired, and unhappy. To avoid these festering emotions we have to look for ways to let go of our unreasonably high expectations. Letting go of anything can be hard. We grow attached to objects, habits, people, and behaviors. But it can be possible if we practice self-awareness, work at letting go, and have patience with ourselves when things get tough.

Over the years, my expectations have created a lot of stress. I recognize that I have the same expectations of others as I have of myself. This often leads to a lot of frustration on my part. I will constantly question, “If I can do this, why can’t you?” It could be a coworker not working as quickly or efficiently as me. It could be a driver not giving me “a wave” after I made room for them to merge in front of me. It could even be people not flushing their nasty dook in a public toilet.

I have learned that not everyone thinks and acts in the same way I do. People have different tendencies which allows them to meet internal and external expectations differently. Although why everyone can’t flush the damn toilet after dropping a deuce is beyond me. Anyhoodles, emotions don’t always make perfect sense, so I’m trying to be mindful of when my expectations of others are unreasonable.


Experiences like these, and how I react to them, have made me take a look inward. Why did I feel the way I did? Is it all ego, or is there a deeper issue? If there is something deeper, what can I do to address it instead of stewing in my feelings? What good would it do for my relationships if I voiced my frustrations? Can I do better?

We all have our strengths and we all have things we need to work on. Without beating ourselves up, we need to ask some tough questions of ourselves at times. If we want to avoid negative reactions in the future and get better at handling expectations and emotions, we also need to have an understanding of them.

I’ve realized my ego is often at play in scenarios where my expectations aren’t met. Sometimes I feel slighted because I can take things personally. But often, when people fail to meet my expectations, it has little to do with me and everything to do with their own circumstances. I shouldn’t vilify them for not being who I want or expect them to be. We are all a little weird and wonderful in our own way.

Letting Go

Expectations are a natural part of life. Not all are necessarily negative, but they often need balancing. If our expectations are destructive, we must learn to let them go. This doesn’t happen overnight. It will take some time to instill new habits.

Letting go requires taking a brutally honest look inward and making some tough choices. It also involves facing some of our biggest fears and perceptions. We may realize that we need to stop looking to other people for validation and interpreting every perceived slight as proof of our own unworthiness.

Sometimes our unmet expectations indicate something else that we need to let go of. This could be relationships that are toxic or abusive or a career that is unfulfilling. Some people and things just aren’t meant for us, no matter how much we wish they were. Some jobs and situations won’t work out no matter how much we hoped they would.

Life is not a straight line. It’s full of twists and turns and everyone gets turned around sometimes. Learning to let go of our expectations is hard, but it’s also necessary to maintain healthy relationships, our peace, and our sanity in order to become the best version of ourselves.

Judgy McJudgerson

I am my harshest critic. I’ve held myself to ridiculous standards, pushed myself to be and do more than what’s feasible, and beat myself up over minor mistakes. We judge ourselves while navigating an emotional landmine, all in an attempt to avoid feeling shitty or wrong. So why do we judge ourselves?

1. We have an idea in our heads of who and where we should be in life.

In a world with impossible definitions of success and constant exposure to everyone else’s accomplishments, it’s easy to convince yourself you’re failing or falling behind. You might believe you need to be the best in your career field. Or you feel pressure to be married with 2 kids by a certain age. Perhaps you thought you would be finished with school or run your first marathon by now. Yet we supply an endless feed of social media posts to try and prove we’re living “our best life.” The truth is there is no right time frame for these events. Happiness in life isn’t dependent on achievement, status, or social media posts.

2. We tend to base our self-worth on our successes and failures.

We think we have to prove our value through achievements and worry that our mistakes will define us. I grew up seeking approval and praise when I succeeded. As a child I desperately wanted my parents to recognize when I did something right or good. At the same time I felt ashamed if I fell short of my own or other people’s expectations of me. I thought that if I failed or made a mistake, it was because I couldn’t do anything right.

This thought process creates a cycle that can only be broken when we learn to separate our actions from our identity. It’s a practice, not a one-time shift in thinking. We need to recognize that sometimes people make bad choices or have bad moments, but that doesn’t necessarily make them bad people. Good people still make mistakes because we’re human beings and no one is perfect. We are deserving of understanding, compassion, respect, and empathy.

3. We think we’re not good enough.

Maybe you developed this belief because it seemed nothing you did growing up was right. Perhaps your parents were hard to please or they constantly compared you to someone else. I know many people who have suffered from the emotionally abusive question of “Why can’t you be more like so and so?” Maybe a friend, colleague, or partner directly told you that you’re not good enough.

Some toxic people are so obvious that they can be spotted a mile away. Others are a bit more subtle. But all are destructive. Emotional abuse has become somewhat normalized, because it’s a pattern people repeat based on what they experienced growing up. You don’t have to repeat the patterns of emotional abuse that were shown to you.

4. We have bought into societal stigmas.

We live in a judgmental world and we tend to buy into societal stigmas. As a result, we judge ourselves harshly. Questioning these stigmas can feel like swimming against a current. We need to learn to give less of a flying fuck about what other people think of us and in general.

If you always tell yourself you’re a failure, then you allow your insecurities to hold you back from doing new or challenging things. You get caught up in a vicious cycle of your beliefs influencing your behavior, which then reinforces your beliefs. For example: When I was younger, I feared people wouldn’t like me, so I put up walls and made it hard to get to know me. This felt safe to me because if people didn’t know me, then they couldn’t hurt me. But this meant that I didn’t give anyone a chance to get to know and like me.

Overcoming self-judgment is hard and it’s not something we can do overnight. It may take years to recognize and change our beliefs and patterns. It might even be a process of two steps forward and one step back. But we can remind ourselves that we are enough and that we are doing the best we can.

Self-Care Is Not Selfish

There are a lot of things causing anxiety these days. We live in a complex and stressful world full of uncertainty right now. Will the COVID-19 vaccines provide the immunity needed to help us? Will there be more senseless violence at the Presidential inauguration this week? Our teachers and students are stressed as they navigate the constant changes and challenges of online education. Our healthcare workers (both front line and behind the scenes) are pulled and stretched in every direction trying to help patients. Many people are struggling financially. We’re constantly plugged in to technology and yet are more disconnected from each other than ever before.

So how do we help ourselves ride the inevitable storms that come our way? How do we handle daily chaos without feeling overwhelmed? We all know that we should make our health and well-being a priority. But we seem to make excuses as to why we don’t take care of ourselves. So what’s the problem? Lack of money, lack of time, lack of resources, lack of awareness, lack of motivation. We may feel disheartened to “fix” our life because we think there are too many problems to tackle. But we don’t have to completely overhaul our lifestyle in one month, or even one year, to make a difference. We just have to take one step forward right now.

Practicing self-care provides stress management techniques to help us cope with life’s challenges. If you have been following my blog you know that I live with several chronic illnesses. Managing my medical conditions can be quite stressful, especially when I am hospitalized. I recently spent a week in the hospital over the new year due to a severe asthma flare. It sucked ass. None of the hospital doctors could reach my asthma doctor or anyone on her team for treatment recommendations. I had to call every time I needed to go to the bathroom because I was hooked up to the heart monitor and my bed alarm was turned on to prevent me from getting out of bed unattended. I had to call for my insulin with every meal. I had to call for the respiratory therapist even though I had breathing treatments scheduled at regular intervals. I was stressed out because I felt like I had lost my freedom and I thought I could do a better job managing my care at home.

On top of all that, the hospital team wanted to shove a camera down my throat to look at my vocal cords because my voice was intermittently hoarse. I have had this done a few times with my ear, nose, and throat doctor to monitor the size of a large polyp. It always causes swelling in my tongue and throat afterwards due to my hereditary angioedema which requires treatment. I refused to do this scope while I was in the hospital since I just had one done 3 weeks before and the hospital didn’t stock the medication needed to treat my hereditary angioedema. We already knew that my vocal cords don’t close all the way because they have become very thin as a result of all the prednisone I have been on. This gap in my vocal cords is why my voice is intermittently hoarse. SIX different doctors kept pushing me to consent to the scope. I felt bullied but I stood my ground. I was pissed that these doctors wouldn’t listen to me and understand that there was no benefit to shoving a camera down my throat when we already had an explanation for my hoarseness.

So what do I do to calm the fuck down when I feel like a hostage held in the hospital? How can I practice self-care while hospitalized where I have limited resources? I do deep breathing exercises, look at pictures and videos of my kitties on my phone, watch TV shows that make me laugh, and look up corny jokes online. Here’s my favorite joke right now: Is buttcheeks one word? Or should I spread them apart? 🤣😂🍑

Now that I am managing my health at home again, my self-care activities have expanded. I enjoy watching our cats run around the house like wildebeests, listening to my favorite music, pigging out on comfort food, tending to our plants and orchids, and taking long hot showers. There’s nothing more refreshing than washing the hospital stank off!

It’s not selfish to take care of yourself. Don’t put off self-care for later because later will never come. We have to make time now for what’s important and self-care should be a priority. It can help you transition from simply existing to living and experiencing everything this world has to offer. Which would you rather be doing? 

Be Careful What You Say And Do Because It’s Not Always About You

We’ve all said something shitty to someone in the heat of the moment. And afterwards you may have instantly regretted it. Ok I will admit there have been times I didn’t regret it. There have been certain people I loved telling to fuck off. I spewed every hateful expletive I could muster together in one run on sentence. I didn’t regret it. I had no remorse over it. In fact, I found it oh so gratifying. I walked away with a shit eatin’ grin on my face like the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland.

When we judge and criticize others we are usually driven by fear or our ego. But underneath the surface we all have feelings and emotions. This is why becoming more self-aware is so important. Just as when a pebble is thrown into water and causes ripples, our words and actions affect other people, who in turn affect those around them, and so on.

Our ego causes us to put up walls around ourselves. We become closed off to others and afraid to show who we truly are. We fear we will be judged or rejected. When we are open, we are vulnerable and risk being hurt by others. If we are aware that their hurtful words or actions in the moment are unconscious, then we can try to stop our impulsive reactions from taking over.

Hurtful actions and comments stay in our memories for years, so it’s imperative that we bring awareness to ourselves. Everything we do and say to people has an effect on them. Sometimes we know right away. Sometimes we may never know. Often we never realize the full extent of the damage. We need to stop hurting others just because we instinctively allow our ego to take over in a fleeting moment. We can’t take back those words or actions. We can only apologize and make an effort to do better in the future.

When you are personally attacked by someone, you can choose to diminish their comments or actions. You can become aware that they are in pain and that is why they’re behaving this way toward you. Our default response is to get defensive and angry. So you instantly react and shout back at the person for attacking you first. This only leads to escalating hurtful comments without actually resolving the problem. These words then stay with each person and they can carry them inside for a very long time.

It’s very easy to judge and criticize someone when we don’t know what they’re going through. The only way we can know what someone is going through is if they are open and honest with us. We can achieve that through less judgment and criticism so people don’t let fear keep them closed up and guarded.

We are not robots, we are human beings with feelings and emotions. Sometimes we unconsciously let our ego take over us. Don’t beat yourself up over it. We can’t control what we will feel in the moment but we can decide to acknowledge those feelings when they first arise. Judgment and criticism only separate us and prevent us from bonding and sharing with each other.

Next time you find yourself judging someone or criticizing them, stop and think. Become aware. Be conscious to your words and actions to yourself and to others. Be open and honest and expect the same in return. Be the change you want to see in the world.

Dear Amy

No this is not a “Dear John” letter. I am not breaking up with myself. 😄 Recently I read a fellow blogger’s post where she wrote a letter to her future self. I enjoyed reading it so much that I wanted to do the same. Thank you Olivia from olivialucieblake for inspiring me to do this exercise. 😀

Dear Amy,

You have survived so much. Your body has been put through the ringer and yet you have come out the other side. You conquer pain daily and don’t allow it to hold you hostage. You have countless scars and bruises but you still keep fighting and trying for a better quality of life.

You have made huge strides in learning about letting go and patience. Trivial things that used to piss you off don’t matter anymore. Growing orchids has proven to be a great lesson in patience. Watching new buds bloom after finding the right balance of watering, sunlight, and pruning has brought a lot of joy and excitement to your life. Seeing these exquisite flowers in the windowsill every day, especially on days where you don’t feel beautiful, always puts a smile on your face.

And then there’s Prednisone. The one thing you wish you could eliminate from your daily life. What a fucker. It has caused your swollen face, your hair to fall out, purple stretch marks, your belly to feel hard and swollen, your need for daily insulin, and fast growing cataracts in both eyes. Yet you put up with all of it just to be able to breathe. As much as you hate prednisone, you recognize that it’s necessary in order for you to live and breathe. You can power through the daily shots of insulin, cataract surgery, and body changes for the blessing of taking a breath. I hope one day you won’t need as much of this ass hole medication to breathe, but until that day you will have to peacefully coexist.

Sure there are moments where you cry, lose your shit, eat your feelings in junk food, and wish life were different. Who would want this life of hospitalizations every few weeks to months, daily breathing treatments every 3-4 hours even overnight, taking 22 medications every day, daily needles with glucose checks and insulin shots, and giving yourself a home IV treatment as your face, tongue, and throat are swelling? But this is your life. And I accept it. I’m not afraid of it. I don’t hate or resent it. Some people might think I am crazy for saying that. But through every hardship you have endured, it has become clear that you are a tough cookie. Mmmm cookies. Especially with milk. 🤗🍪🥛 Sure you bend, bruise, crack, or shatter at times. But you always bounce back ready to take on the next hurdle. It may not be very graceful or in the time frame you want, but you are still resilient.

My greatest wish is to be able to travel again. I miss seeing and experiencing different parts of the world. I know it would take a huge coordinated effort to safely travel again, but it would be worth it to be able to go to Iceland or relax on a beach in Cancun again. I would also like to go to be able to lay down on massage table long enough to get a massage again, take a yoga class outside, or walk around my favorite parks and gardens without difficulty breathing.

I don’t necessarily want or expect to be “normal.” I wouldn’t even know how to define what normal is. I just want to be me with a better quality of life. I don’t want to remain confined to the inside of my home for the rest of my life simply managing my medical conditions. I don’t expect a miracle to cure me. But I am hoping that with time, the right combination of treatments can be found that will allow me some freedom.