Category Archives: Personal stories

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Dance First, Think Later

“Dance First. Think Later”

   A friend of mine gave me a book by Kathryn & Ross Petras with the above title for my 53rd birthday.  The question that opens to the reader is “How should one live life?” Could you answer that question in one sentence or two?

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The introduction goes on to say that most of us are obsessed with the “practical” advice about money or success or getting ahead.  With that, we lose sight of the big picture.  What is the big picture to you?

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So to start off 2018 and to finally create a post that is long overdue,  we thought  we would write about what  we have learned and are still learning as I, Melissa,  head into my 54th year and Teresa heads into her  55th year  on this Earth.  Perhaps some of what we say will resonate with you, or perhaps you will roll your eyes, perhaps it will stir up your thoughts, but, hopefully, there will be a few words to inspire you to live life with a smile, kindness in your soul, and love in your heart.

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MELISSA:

14718721_10208453081179474_2778579780983718564_n    You have to respect yourself, love yourself, and be proud of yourself before anyone else can truly respect, love, and be proud of you. Most of my life I spent worrying what others thought of me, if my thighs were too wide, and if I was smart enough.  I used up a tremendous amount of energy worrying and looking down that I lost sight of what was right in front of me.  I passed incredible moments and meeting inspirational people because I forgot to look up and be in that moment.

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    99% of those who have been mean and hurtful to me are fighting insecurities and painful thoughts themselves. So, I need to take a step back and either let it go, discuss it with them, or take a step back  and focus better on what they are possibly struggling with in their lives.  (The other 1% is just mean – and that’s their problem.)

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Laugh more. Find a funny movie or show, funny book, a comedian who makes you belly laugh and watch one of their shows, recall a time when you laughed so hard you almost peed yourself. Better yet, find someone in your life who makes you laugh and spend more time with them.  My husband, Tim, is my personal comedian.  Also, I love Tig Notaro, Brian Regan, The Big Bang Theory.  In fact, I watch an episode of Big Bang Theory just about every night so that I have a smile on my face as I fall asleep.

Thank you for always making me laugh when I have lost my smile

Thank you for always making me laugh when I have lost my smile.

 I need to ease up on myself. Spreading my time and energy until it is so thin that I can’t be my best for anyone is counterproductive.  Learning to say no has been one of the most difficult lessons for me.  The guilt I put on myself when I couldn’t help someone was so toxic that I actually became ill.  So, I had to pull back and take a long deep breath.  I am still working on this one.

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    Having a few sincere, loyal, and understanding friends is so much better than having a crowd full of superficial, only for the moment, because they need something “friends”. Those who nourish your goals and dreams are the ones you should surround yourself with in life.  They are the ones who inspire you and who are there through the best and worst of times.   Both Teresa and I are learning how to weed out those who try to take the air out of our lives.

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Cherish sincere friendships

Don’t let fear get in the way. I’ve missed out on doing many things in my life because I was afraid to try. I also had the state of mind that I must be incredibly successful at whatever I did, so I was afraid of failure.  ( I shake a fist at myself!) I should have just enjoyed the process so that I could say, “At least I tried.” Now I have regrets.  But now I have learned and I am enjoying trying new things. ( It also helps that I have encouraging friends!)

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TERESA:

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So here I find myself well into my 54th year. My question that I often ask is, “Where did all of the time go?”

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I mean wasn’t I just twenty-something with the metabolism that allowed me to eat anything my heart desired, never to gain an ounce?

Now fat bulges have appeared on my hips and I ask WTH is this?!  I can’t lose an ounce if my life depended on it and my stomach, once taut, has been replaced by a menopausal paunch!

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And my ass, I can’t even talk about what has happened to that! It used to sit somewhere high just below my lower back, but now, you can find it resting above the back of my knees.

I know, I know, this is a tad exaggerated, but that’s how it feels to me.

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But here’s the thing: Even though time has sped by at  rocket speed, and my body isn’t what it once was, I have learned what is most important to me.

The body that appears saggy to me in the mirror is the same body that gave life to two very amazing human beings who I am tremendously proud of today.  The body that is no longer a twenty-something year old’s is the body which pulled me through some rough illnesses.  It held me up when I needed to be strong.

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Each part that doesn’t look the same as in years past has a story attached to it. Some that make me smile or bring a laugh. Some that even make me blush and there are some that bring tears to my eyes. But each one is reflected back from the mirror showing me my life and reminding me how strong I have become in this fifty-something body.

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I have learned that even my past insecurities have led me to this point in my life where I finally feel free.  Each panic stricken step brought me closer to the more confident woman I see now.

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I am happy in my fifty-something years just to love and be loved by my amazing husband, my children, and the friends who have become like family to me. To not be a mean girl and to not let mean people affect how I see myself is something I am proud to have learned to do.   I have so much more fun with this freedom from within.

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How should one live life? Give in and be happy.  Life is so short. Enjoy every minute of it before it’s gone.  Be kind and be free.

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True Friends Feed The Soul

The Cambridge Dictionary states the meaning of a friend as: person you know well and like a lot, but who is usually not a member of your family

That seems so vague to me, plus there are family members that I DO consider my friends. So Blah on that definition. 

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The Webster Dictionary States the meaning of a friend is: one attached to another by affection or esteem;one that is not hostile

Hmm, again too generic for me plus not sure about the word esteem being used to describe a friend.  I know it means a higher form of respect, which is a must in my friendships, but for me it conjures up a vision of someone being better than another. 

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The Urban Dictionary definition of a true friend : A true friend is someone who has touched your heart and will stay there. Someone you care for, who cares for you. Someone you can do the stupidest things around and always be forgiven. Someone you’ll instantly remember in ten years because they are in your heart and not just your mind. They have the ability to change you, even if they don’t. They will be etched in your memories forever.

I like this one more, but let’s add honesty, sincerety, loyalty and encouragement (not just with the stupid things). 

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But what constitutes a friend in your eyes? What constitutes a true friend?

Aristotle described a true friend as a “single soul dwelling in two bodies”.  It’s like having “another self” according to him. HMMMM…sounds so narcissistic.

For me the definition of friendship has changed from my teens/twenties to now my fifties.  Perhaps it’s because I don’t have the patience anymore for the cliques, for the phoniness, for the “what can I get out of you” friends.

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I have learned in my mature age that I shouldn’t expect much from the people in my life. That’s not fair to them.  I shouldn’t expect someone else to be responsible for my own happiness and well-being. That’s not their job.

First, I must be a friend to myself. I have to respect myself, be honest with myself, and honor my own words with my actions.  Once I can do that, then I have the right to ask the same of those who I call friends.

These are the following attributes I see a true friend possessing.   I am not saying what I believe is the absolute meaning, but I think I am pretty close to sharing the same beliefs (and hopes) for what constitutes a true friend for most people.

  •  A  real friend has common interests, but supports you in the ones you don’t have in common:  The fake friend will make fun of you or discourage you from pursuing activities they don’t care to partake in. A real friend will encourage you to go for it! They give you permission to be yourself and love you for it.
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  • A real friend will have your back: They will support you and stand by you no matter what, but will be honest with you when they see you going down the wrong path or making an unwise decision. They will defend you around others speaking negatively about you and tell you to your face when you are being a bitch.  I have a friend I have known since the eighth grade who I have the utmost trust in. She was never shy about telling me an outfit looked bad on me (or slutty), always told me when it looked good, and said to my face what others might have said behind my back.

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  • A true friend will be there when you fail and remind you of who you are and bring you up by tapping into your inner strength and beauty. They will rekindle your confidence. A true friend will SINCERELY celebrate when you succeed; screaming to the world how proud they are of you. 636038072493527809-2040273140_dear-friend-you-keep-on-going-even-when-the-going-is-tough-and-painful-and-truly-hard-im-proud-of-you-and-im-in-your-corner-cheering-you-on-ba888
  • True friends laugh with you and sometimes even at you.  It’s great having friends you can be obnoxious to just for the sake of being silly, having innocent fun, or, for some, it’s their way of being affectionate. You just have to know the difference between mean, jealous insults and silly teasing.  Go with your gut on this one.  It’s their way of keeping us humble! 11407173_855608074523729_3403646365806545116_n a7d0e4c3aa8a4f6721a07d76945e93c8
  • Real friends also cry with you. Those who won’t leave you when things get dark and painful are true friends. They are there when their love and support is all that can get you through rough times.“If one day you feel like crying… call me I don’t promise that I will make you laugh but I can cry with you. If one day you want to run away Don’t be afraid to call me. I don’t promise to ask you to stop, but I can run with you. If one day you don’t want to listen to anyone call me I promise to be there for you but I also promise to remain quiet but… If one day you call and there is no answer… come fast to see me.. Perhaps I need you.” ~ Robert J. Lavery
  • True friends don’t have an ulterior motive for being in your life. This one has become a HUGE one for me as an adult. This is a tricky one in the beginning to notice, so go with your instinct. Are they your friend because you are popular or know famous people? Take note of what they talk about when they are with you and that might give you a clue. Are they your friend because you have more money than they do? Again, take notice of when they want to hang with you and what they talk about. Are you just a convenience: giving them rides when needed; advancing their business endeavors because of your popularity; only call when they need something? Do they give back to you? Unfortunately, I have had enough experience with this that I feel as if I am becoming a professional at detecting phoniness.  Hopefully, you are just good friends and the “benefits” happen naturally!

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The following ones below might not be that big of a deal to you, but for me they can give  a clear insight of who a person truly is inside: 

  •   A true friend knows better than to post an unflattering picture of you online. When in doubt they ask first before posting! This might sound superficial, but think about it.  A person who throws a fit about a bad picture of them being posted online, yet doesn’t think twice about posting an awkward photo of you, is someone who is either self-absorbed, jealous of you, or doesn’t think about others’ feelings.  You might not put this one on your list, but for me it’s about the actions, not just the words. when-its-an-ugly-pic-of-u-but-ur-friend-2141644
  • There is no “keeping track” of who paid for what when, who did what for whom or who asked the other to do something last time. This goes back to:  are they friends for ulterior motives or does it all just come naturally?

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  • Your real friends are secure enough to allow you to be friends with others; to spend one on one time with other friends; and to make new friends.
  • The smallest gestures show you how much they care: Making sure you get home safely; waiting with you as you tie your shoes for the upteenth time; going with you to the bathroom for the hundreth time; helping to clean up your house after a party; they drop everything to come over and hang with you when you are having a bad day. I could go on, but I think you get it.

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Reading all this makes it seem like quite a task to be a true friend, but really it isn’t if it’s meant to be a real friendship.  Making the time, putting in the energy, laughing, crying, talking about bathroom issues, supporting each other, embracing each other’s quirks, forgiving easily, being comfortable with dressing like a slob around each other, not caring if the house is a mess when they arrive, and just basically wanting to make each other better people.

I have had two people in the past couple years say to me that they are too old to make anymore friends.  That seems so final and sad. If I were to follow that I would never have met some of the truest friends I have today. This once VERY shy person now thrives on meeting new personalities and learning from their experiences.

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I am blessed to have TRUE friends who have all of these qualities. Some I haven’t seen in a while, but I know they are there for me at the a drop of a hat and I for them.  Some I am lucky to see often.  But mostly, I am grateful for when they call me their real friend. I don’t take these people for granted. I cherish them and embrace how they have contributed to making me a better person and my life a more enriched one.

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Oh, and of course, this!

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Melissa’s Story

A DIFFERENT TYPE OF BLOG POST

Teresa and I decided that along with our social events and get together with friends, we would add some personal stories to our blog. It’s easy to assume from our writing about galas, birthday parties, fundraisers, and other social gatherings there is a superficial air about us all. There isn’t.  We don’t take what we are blessed with lightly. We don’t take our family and friends for granted. When we are out we actually discuss sensitive topics that are heartfelt and painful.