Tag Archives: happy

Codependent Turned Soul Dependent: My Honest Journey

Growing up, I didn’t receive a lot of validation.  Oh, I longed for it, but it was seldom given.  It turns out, invalidation is one of the most important ingredients to the recipe for being codependent.

Codependency, in my case, rooted in my childhood from a few other things too.  Namely, a lack of nurturing, fear of parental anger toward each other and myself, emotional and “acceptable” physical abuse in the form of heavy-handed spankings and slaps across the face that sent me sailing across the room, and having an alcoholic father and a codependent mother who was also a child of an alcoholic father. Cycles do tend to repeat. There was a great deal of emotional trauma in my childhood, and only in the last couple of years, have I begun to understand the connection between those early years and my lifetime quest to find self love.

I did a really great job of covering up my inner conflicts for most of my life.  I married my high school sweetheart at age 23, made a successful career for myself, and had four beautiful children for which I found my purpose.  Raising my children was the most fulfilling thing I had ever known, and their unconditional love seemed to complete me.  Before I knew it, I was an over-achieving, perfectionist, super mom.  I was running my own business, working late at night to keep up on the bookwork, nursing my babies, running myself ragged keeping up on laundry, cooking, cleaning, raising a large garden, canning vegetables, anticipating every need for my workaholic husband, and the list goes on and on.  My need to please and prove was keeping everyone happy…everyone, that is, except for me.

The problem was, I was doing all these things hoping for validation and not necessarily doing them because they brought me joy.  Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t trade one single day of motherhood, and many of those things are non-negotiable.  Our children deserve to be loved and nurtured and well cared for.  My kids did and still do bring me more joy than I can ever explain.  Compounding the problem, though, was that no one was really validating me for any of these things anyway.  I didn’t realize back then that my own validation was all that I needed.   Instead of feeling fulfilled, I started pushing down disappointment and sadness, and, without knowing it, resentment and anger started to build.

I’ve since learned a lot about codependency, and one of my favorite teachers on this subject is Lisa A. Romano.  Lisa says, “Emotions are meant to flow.  When pushed down, we begin to rot from the inside out.”  I was a master at pushing the feelings down, and finally, all that rotting garbage began to fester.  It wasn’t pretty.  I first identified it as a midlife crisis.  Six years later, I now see it as a spiritual awakening, and as my other great inspiration, Brene Brown, describes it, my soul was breaking out of my body.  Oddly enough, that probably sounds a little more eloquent than rotten garbage oozing out of the trash can of my soul, but for those that witnessed it, they’d probably describe the latter.

It all started to rear its ugly head when my oldest two children were leaving the nest.  I didn’t understand what was happening right away, and I did everything I could to research it and try to fix it.  After all, I was great at fixing things, or so I thought.  It didn’t go quite as smoothly as I’d have hoped.  My marriage fell apart, and all of my repressed feelings started to come out sideways.  I went through a period of self destruction and tried to escape my reality and pain in a myriad of unhealthy ways.  I eventually hit my rock bottom and figured out I had to look within.  No one else was going to save me.

Fast forward, I’m finally recovering, but it is not without a lot of hard lessons and a whole lot of what I call tender loving soul care.  Coincidentally, that is the term I coined to describe my own blog.

As a new guest blogger for The Working Single Mom, I can’t squeeze my entire detailed journey into one article, but I hope that I am able to continue to tell you about my path to healing and inspire you to find some self love too.  As a mother, there is also room for personal happiness and fulfillment, creative living, and finding your other passions and purposes.  We are allowed to have more than one.

The key to my recovery has been facing my feelings, looking at deep wounds and sitting with that pain, a whole lot of inner child work, learning about my codependency, and working diligently to heal all of these areas.  I’ve learned a lot about self care and have started practicing mindfulness and meditation, yoga, and journaling.  I’ve worked with three online counselors at different phases of my healing journey. I have started writing as a hobby and a passion, have discovered a love of nature photography as a form of meditation and gratitude, and started antiquing with a dear friend as a fun hobby and a small business venture.  Not only that, I’ve learned to set boundaries in my life and surround myself with positive, healthy people.   And even though it still takes a conscious effort not to want to be validated for all of my progress and success, for cooking great dinners, and wearing my 50-year-old heart on my sleeve, I know I am healing, and I am finding joy in wholehearted living.

Yesterday, I took my two daughters to a Broadway show called Bandstand.  That in itself, was a new and enjoyable experience for the three of us.  There was a great line in the play, and it resonated with me.  It went like this, “Don’t sing because you want the lead. Sing because you need to sing.”

If you decide to read what I write, that makes me happy.  I hope that I can inspire others, however, I am not writing to gain praise and validation.  I’m writing because I need to write.  It helps me to heal, validate my own experiences, and most importantly, it feeds my soul.

If you were to sit down and think about what makes you happy, I can bet that many of you do not know the answer. When we are raising kids, we sometimes get lost in the shuffle.  A mother’s identity is usually just that; a mother.  I can tell you there is more, and it is not selfish to find what stirs your soul.  In fact, if you are taking care of your own needs, you will be better able to love and care for your children.

I write because I need to write.

I ask you now, not what you have to do, but what is it that you need to do?  Deep down, you know the answer.  Just listen and let that answer lead you. Your soul is begging you to ask the question.

Blanche Bouvier

http://tenderlovingsoulcare.com/

Sometimes You Just Have To Make Joy

Joy or no joy, happy or unhappy…that choice is yours and yours alone.  Contrary to what you believe, things and people and circumstances can’t make you ‘happy’ or ‘unhappy’, only YOU can do that.

Granted being happy for no reason or being joyful no matter what takes skill and determination, however it CAN be accomplished.  You can be happy and joyful no matter what, whether you are shoveling crap out of the cat’s litter box or dancing at a ball with a gorgeous partner…the choice is yours and yours alone.

To be happy and joyful no matter what requires you to develop the skill of making something up out of nothing, generating pure unabashed enthusiasm for no reason what-so-ever.  This CAN be done and I know this because I was trained to do it…when I was about 14 or 15 I wanted to go to the mall with my friends and my Mom wanted me to first help her wrap some presents.  Being a cooperative teenager (NOT) I did not wish to wrap the presents first, I wanted to go to the mall…

My Mom said that if I could wrap the presents with her displaying an attitude of joy and enthusiasm, I could then go to the mall, mind you now the wrapping of the actual presents could have taken about 30 minutes if I had been more willing…instead it took all night…

I said that I would wrap the presents, however I was angry and sullen and if you know my Mom that was just plain unacceptable…we had a swinging door from our kitchen into her office and she said “go into the kitchen and come back through that door with enthusiasm”….so the sullen, angry teenager went through the door stomping her feet and came back through with some pathetic version of “happy” to wrap gifts….Mom said, “NO PASS” —do it again.

Keep in mind now my Mom is a Prosperity Teacher and a Results Coach so my whole life was a classroom and this incident was no different…back I went madder than ever through the damn door…back again I came, madder…”NO PASS, do it again”…

Back I went, complaining that I WASN’T happy, so how could I generate ‘happiness and enthusiasm”, my Mom “just MAKE IT UP, do it again”…

Back I came crying about how MEAN she was and how none of my friends mothers did this crazy stuff, blah, blah, blah….”NO PASS, do it again”

This went on for several hours, back and forth through that silly, damn door and then FINALLY I got it…I had to just CHOOSE IT, I had to MAKE IT UP OUT OF NOTHING.  Was there a “reason” to be happy?  NO!  Was there evidence to support my enthusiasm???  NO!  Did that matter??? NO!

I just had to generate something out of nothing to get the damn job done and in that moment I mastered it, I got it and I came flying through that door the happiest son of a gun you ever saw!  Mom said “PASS!!!!!”

That was one of the defining moments of my life and one of my greatest lessons, my Mother knew what she was doing, she still does…she was and continues to train me for excellence, she trained me that day that it doesn’t matter what is happening all around you, you CAN CHOOSE to be joyful, happy and enthusiastic no matter what.  That choice is yours and you simply make it up.  You can do this whether you are sitting in traffic, waiting tables, cleaning toilets, parenting kids or sitting in the sun on a tropical island.

Life brings to you what you bring to it, if you bring complaining and despair then life will bring you more of that…if you bring happiness and enthusiasm then life will multiply that for you.

So today….run through that swinging door with CRAZY JOY AND ENTHUSIASM just because you can…I dare you!

XXOO,

~N.

Love Loudly

Love Loudly…

I think we all have moments that serve as epiphanies. Game changers. Sometimes they come at the happiest moments sometimes they don’t.

Those moments that make you take a step back.

This past weekend I attended the funeral for the mother of one of my oldest friends.

The love in that room was bursting.

To the gills.

So much so, they had to put more chairs in the cathedral.

The constant message was love.

Letting people know you love them.

Showing them.

Telling them.

Being there for them.

Always.

150%

Loving them for all that they are.

This should be a given, but I think sometimes we take things for granted. We take people for granted. We assume people know. Or we are afraid to share how we feel. We are scared to show the love we feel or ask for the love we need.

The sad reality is life really is too short.

My friend’s Mom had cancer – for three years, and she didn’t change how she loved or how she lived during that time.

She made sure everyone in her life knew always.

Every story I heard said so.

 

I struggle with that sometimes.

Telling people I love them.

My daughter I tell her more than she probably wants to hear.

My friends… I love yous are said instead of goodbyes.

My family little gestures and notes.

But I still struggle.

I want to do better for the people in my life. I don’t want them to doubt how I feel no matter how scary it is to say it out loud.

Because the lesson I learned in one of the saddest moments is tomorrow is not promised- you need to love loudly.

I have joked 48 is my year of no filter and  no resolutions.

Let’s add loving loudly.

 

Much love to you Mommas.

Always

<3 Caprise

My Friend Bill

I would like to tell you about my friend Bill. You may know him. He’s made a few movies. Big sports buff. Very quirky and he got his start on one of my favorite television shows.

When things in my life were feeling their lowest I started looking for positive outlets.

Me being me I needed them. It couldn’t be a glass of wine that would easily turn into a bottle. It couldn’t be a beautiful pastry my sweet tooth doesn’t ever seem to know when to stop.

It couldn’t be a trip to Target because it would mean a cart full of things I have no budget for.

It couldn’t be a night out because it can’t.

So…

I listen to music.

I read.

Watch movies, but I will be honest I am also easily distracted. 

I began digging deeper.

Looking for those things that would fill the gaps but wouldn’t lend themselves to my somewhat self destructive old habits.

Dear friends, I’ve sugar coated them. My bad habits.

Maybe a blog for another day.

Around this same time I watched the Razor’s Edge and Stripes. Two decidedly different movies from Bill Murray.

I mentioned to a friend how amazing I thought Bill Murray was. He suggested I read The Tao of Bill Murray.

My new friendship was born. Bill just doesn’t know it.

I also started digging into some amazing quotes from his.

As silly as it sounds these quotes have me some perspective I needed.

Here’s one:

“Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes the reason is that you’re stupid and make bad decisions.”

Welp… lol, yes.

But this one, this is the stuff.

“Don’t think about your errors or failures, otherwise you’ll never do a thing.”

That is exactly what started happening. I got so bogged down by all of the things that went wrong, I either didn’t do anything or did WAY too much.

I always looked for the other ball to drop. The bad.

I keep saying this but not only is 48 my year of no filter it’s also the year I work hard at happy. The year maybe I can give that happy to other people too.  As it has been to me in so many ways. One in particular a picture of one of my Chewbaccas with the man himself. It’s my screensaver and it makes me smile.

There are still going to be bad days, but to paraphrase my friend Bill… maybe it will be a day that a slice of pizza and cold beer can make feel better.

Much love Mommas

<3 Caprise

You Do Not Always Need To Hold It Together

You do not always need to hold it together….

Some of us know the hit song “Homecoming queen” by Kelsea Ballerini. 

”Hey homecoming queen – 

what if I told you the world wouldn’t end. 

If you started showing what’s under your skin? 

What if you let em all in on the lie? 

Even the homecoming queen cries

Yeah, What if I told you the sky wouldn’t fall?

If you lost your composure, said hell with it all”.

 

This song just gets to me every time.  Why do we always have to hold it together?

Growing up I learned to keep my emotions together.  I did not show much sadness or tears. Through my marriage it continued. It was all about holding it together even when I felt like a mess inside. It’s this feeling that you always have to be perfect..or act a certain way. I hid my feelings for years, thinking is this how I’m going to live the rest of my life. I still have a hard time showing my true emotion to my parents.. it’s a hard thing to overcome. 

It’s like the song, what if you started showing what’s under your skin? What if you showed people who you really are.. so many times, I changed myself to fit others.  Or I hide how I felt inside.  

Through my divorce, I would cry in the shower.  We all have that place where we can let it out.   I would put on my favorite music and cry. It was the place I could escape the outside.  And it was the place that my kids would not see me. It’s hard to always put on that happy face.  At times, I would feel so alone. And even though my divorce was my decision, I still felt sad and alone. This is something a lot of people do not understand. I would hide it from most of my friends. The entire divorce process can take so much out of you.  I felt deflated at times, like it was never going to end. Why at age 40 something, do we still feel we need to hide our emotions???

I grew up not being able to communicate emotions and I was married to someone that could not communicate emotions, so this was a challenge.  It’s a lifelong process moving forward. Learning to tell someone that you didn’t have a “good” day instead of just lying through it. I want my kids to see that I’m not always happy.. and that sometimes I have bad days also.  I want to just be honest with them and tell them when I had a bad day at work or when someone treated me poorly.  

The world is not going to end because you can’t hold it together.  It’s ok to break down.. it’s ok that you can’t get your kids to school on time or that they wear their shirt backwards.. it’s ok that you are not perfect. It’s ok that you skip events for school. It’s ok that your kids don’t shower everyday.  Or if you forgot about soccer practice. No one can hold it together all the time.

I want to teach my kids that they don’t need to hold it together. I want them to be able to show emotion. I want them to know that they can get angry and sad and frustrated and let it out. They don’t need to hold it together for me or anyone else.  I want them to be able to just tell me when I’m frustrating them. I want them to be able to communicate how they feel. I notice how my daughter holds it together so many times when she should just be able to let it out. We all have have melt downs and tantrums in life. 

I want my kids to just show emotions and who they are… when they are upset with me I ask them why.  There was a time in my life when I would just blow up and say no to them, but I learned that didn’t help anyone.  I now make them communicate to me why they think I’m wrong.. instead of just stomping to their room mad. I ask them why they are upset with one of their friends and explain it to me.. don’t worry I get plenty of eye rolls and huffing like a teenager, but sometimes I learn that I am overreacting and they are right.  We compromise a lot, but I get them to talk more then I would have in the past. And mostly I want them to learn how to tell other people how they are feeling. I want them to not be perfect and hide their emotions.

Little by little I have learned that I was doing the best I could. And little by little I learned to let more and more of myself out.  I started to show my kids who I really was… that I’m funny and sarcastic, but there are also days that I’m overwhelmed. That I forget things and that sometimes I’m just too tired. Or I just don’t want to do it.  And the more that I do that with everyone the more happier and content I make my life.  

Snarkydivorcedgal

www.snarkydivorcedgal.com/blog

Feel The Sadness Not Fill It

I’m sitting in my backyard reading “It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way” by Lisa Terkeurst for inspiration to my life, to my healing,  to my blog.  She speaks about disappointment and how easy it is to fill the sadness with nonsense.

I have found myself filling my disappointments with shopping.  In hopes that those sassy shoes or that amazing outfit would bring me the happiness I longed for.  Anything to not be IN my sadness.  And they did !!  But only for a little while.  Only temporarily.  Only on the surface.  When the excitement wore off, the sadness  re-emerged it’s ugly head, shouting it’s lies of deception and ridicule.  Reminding me of my faults and disappointments.  And not caring one iota of how it left me feeling.  THAT my friend, is the enemy.

I have learned over the years that the enemy is a liar, looking for the weakest place, in me, to attack.  And the enemy doesn’t come to just harm us and make us feel bad, oh no…..the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy.

As much as we might try to fight off the snearing and sneaky ways…we can somehow be captivated by it.  Wanting to hear what else needs to be said, what other lies exist.  But if we’re not careful the sweet taste of knowing one more crumb, might lure us back in to the sadness we so long to escape.

So you ask, what do we do with the sadness left after disappointment?  I’ve learned to walk through it, to embrace it, learn more about me from it.  Then see where am I REALLY weak and does it matter to me and if it does, what can I do to grow stronger in that area?  If it truly is a lie to keep me tied down, then to find the TRUTH there and proclaim it over and over and over again.  I’ve seen the disappointment turn into a valuable lesson.  Again & Again & Again.

I hope you do too.

xoxo
Your God Girl,
Tracy

Let Those Grudges Go

Grudges. The old me…circa 2016 and back…100% held grudges. It’s all I knew. Or maybe it was what I was forced to know. What it did was cost me my first marriage, and countless mistakes after that. Then one day my wife (new marriage) told me it, along with my bitterness for life, it was one of the things she hated most about me. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Along with the wondering why she married me to begin with, so many questions flooded my existence. Circumstances had made me that way. The many years of continuous hurt and betrayal from so many people I had given my heart to had turned me into stone. What a reality check and more importantly an awakening.

And so I committed to myself, and those I loved, to change. And I did. I absolutely changed. I let all the negative that had been drowning me go. And slowly I fought my way back. I learned to forgive. And I did it. But along the way of forgiveness, somehow I ended up with a broken heart all over again. Was this how it was supposed to be? Really? I had fought an internal battle to change my hardened heart, all for it to happen all over again?

Over the past two years I have fought through some of the darkest days of my life. Places I never thought I would be, I have been. I don’t think I will ever understand the reason, the why’s or the how’s, nor will I ever run out of tears when my mind wanders back in remembrance. They flow uncontrollably. What I do know is that I have to stop questioning it, and somehow find the strength to leave all of it behind once and for all, let go of the grudges. My life has to have some kind of purpose, and while I may not know what that is right now, I have to believe that one day I will find it. I will not revert back to being bitter. And when it comes to two people; as far as forgiveness goes, it will never work if one person forgives and the other does not. I know what side I was once on, and more importantly I know what side I was on in the end. All that’s left for me is to close the door and never walk through it again.

Keep on keeping on!

Virtual Hugs,

BLag

Know Your Worth

When approaching 51, you end up doing this sort of involuntary assessment of your existence up to this point…it’s not like a planned thing, it just happens…you find yourself thinking through the decades that have passed and you start looking at what you learned.

If you are me you also think you need to share the things you could have done better because perhaps you will keep someone else from making those particular errors.

Here’s one of my biggest “I could have done betters” career wise — not realizing my worth in the workplace and conducting myself accordingly.  Up until about 3 or 4 years ago I undervalued myself and allowed other people to undervalue me as well— I also did a fair amount of enabling people disguised as being a power performer.  I was talking this morning on the FB Live about how we end up just putting our heads down and moving toward the goal without really giving much thought to how we ARE in the process.  What happens in the workplace is the same…we behave in the same way, we take our –badass single parent, we can get anything done– attitude and we apply it everywhere—without much thought to how we are being treated in return.  We may tend to undervalue ourselves in a work environment by doing this…

For me that showed up for years as me doing everything I was asked, pushing through to get the result no matter what, always saying yes, not asking to be compensated for doing many different jobs, trying to please everyone and make everything easier for them…I trusted that people would treat me the way I treated them…often that was not the case.

Looking back on it all now I see that I did a lot of enabling others because I just always made everything OK and handled it…I was so worried about keeping the bills paid and a roof over our heads that I never once stopped to think about if I was being compensated for what I was WORTH.  In hindsight I could have done so so SO much better—if I had understood how much value I contributed I would have understood how to ask for things in relation to that—instead I just took what was offered and kept doing more…

I am so very grateful for all that I learned in these last two decades and for all of the opportunities that were extended to me, I simply wish that I had taken better care of myself in the process and that I had valued myself as much as I should have.  I would like to see you ladies avoid this – value yourselves, ask for what you deserve and don’t be afraid to walk away if something isn’t working—take care of you—you are worth far more than you think.

 

XO, Noelle

 

The Ice Cream Dance

Hey Mommas… you may be reading the title of this blog, The Ice Cream Dance,  and thinking has Caprise been spending too much time in the sun? She’s overheated.

Thankfully I have been fortunate to be safely tucked away in spaces with working A/C as the Midwest (my home) and just like much of you is getting hit with heat. I’m not complaining though. While I live in the land of ice and snow, I love not having to wear shoes or layers.

But…. I am going way off topic here. Kinda of. Maybe not.

We here at Working Single Mom do our best to remind you to take care of yourself.

That includes finding your happy. I will be honest, there was a time I way over thought that and of course answered it immediately with a “if G is happy I’m happy.”

Well, yes.

But there is also a reason why there are quotes about if Mom isn’t happy no one is happy.

I believe that. I’m not saying hide your sad. Never. If there is anything I’m learning from my quickly maturing daughter G, it helps her to know if I’m stressed or sad. Case in point we had a morning planned and right before we left I got a pretty important email from work. It stressed me out, I told G. Handled it and we moved on with our morning.

She was elated I told her what was up and told me so. A few months ago I would have been a grumpy troll and put a damper on our morning trying to not only deal with the work emergency but hide my stress from G.

She’s 12, while she can’t handle everything she can handle more than I give her credit for.

And yes for the record she is my happy.

So are some other things and I’m going to share them with you. Now here’s the thing. I didn’t not come upon these revelations completely by myself. I of course have Miss G who finds joy in some of the silliest things and I can’t help but smile.

My family has shown me. My friends.

Of course the amazing community here.

Happy doesn’t have to be a big extravaganza. You do have to work at though. You do. I think the fact I’m writing about finding your happy tells all of us that.

Of course there are quotes about that too.

My favorite which I’m sure I’ve shared here… “misery is easy, happiness you have to work at.”

Happy can be rediscovering how great a hot cup of coffee with milk and sugar is after months of having to limit dairy. This getting old business I tell you…

A open window after months of winter.

A sunrise.

A sunset.

Singing Never Surrender by Corey Hart at the top of your lungs. Don’t ask.

A goofy dance only you and your daughter do.

Five bags of Haribo gummy candy for $5.

Your daughter still wanting goodnight hugs after she told she can tuck herself in.

Your dog leaning against you so you’ll pet him.

Tacos.

Reconnecting with an old friend.

An unexpected text.

Pastries of any kind.

That feeling I get when I’m swimming laps.

Sunday afternoon naps.

Guacamole.

Dancing while you’re eating ice cream. AKA the ice cream dance. One of my favorite comedians does this thing where when she’s traveling she eats ice cream, plays music in the background and dances.

Because she’s happy and it makes me happy watching it.

My point is, it’s so easy and I know this in my bones to look around and find a reason not find your happy. It doesn’t have to be a vacation to a beach, although that would be great. It can be simple, but don’t forget yourself.

Ok?

You are important Mommas.

You deserve that unexpected smile and giggle.

You deserve the happy.

You deserve to have an ice cream dance.

I’m sending you an extra smile in case you didn’t get one this week and bonus want picture me eating a taco, dancing horribly with Def Leppard Photograph playing in the background.

Ok that might make you shake your head.

Much love Mommas.

<3 Caprise

Finding Your Escape

Music has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. Growing up, music was essential at every family gathering. Some days all we would listen to was Spanish ballads. Other times, all you could hear was Brian May’s iconic guitar solos coming from the speakers.

I grew up listening to musicians that are mostly unknown to kids my age. Imagine an eight year old, in this day and age, trying to explain to her friends how much she would love to turn back time to get a chance to meet John, Paul, George, or Ringo.

Guess what… I was, and still am, that kid. At first, I fell in love with this music because of its upbeat and fun rhythm. Now that I’m older, I’ve fallen in love with it once more because of the lyrics that always find a way of touching my heart. In some ways, this music seems like the one thing that never ceases to “understand” me.

The most exciting part of my day is putting on my headphones to listen to musical classics. Whether I’m sad, angry, or just bored, these songs always find a way of acting like a kind of “escape” from anything going on in my life.

Over the summer, I have been spending a lot of time with my friends. I noticed that not one of them feels the same way that I do about music. What I did notice was that all of them had their own form of “escape“ (oddly none of these included Freddie Mercury’s vocals). Some use sports as their escape, while others explore more creative escapes like drawing or actually playing music. I find it fascinating that all of us go through similar things in life, yet each of us have a different way of escaping into our own passion. This made me think about how everyone should find something that makes them feel good. Something small that they are excited about doing. Whether it’s drawing a beautiful portrait or just jamming out to your favorite song, try and make time for it.

I also want to let the adults out there know, that although these activities might seem like distractions for your kids, they can be very positive for us.  Go out and find your escape! 

-Dani