“Tough Exterior. But really how tough are you?”

“Tough Exterior. But really how tough are you?”


I guess I’m just in the mood to write lately, to be honest it saves me from myself.


Marcia Hahn was kind enough to provide photos of myself and the other female trainers at Hahn, a few weeks back. The woman that took them was different than anyone I’ve ever worked with, shawnna Jones is her name. She is very unique, and marches to the beat of her own drum. I liked her from the moment I met her.


However she pulled a different side of me out. I’m a very smiley person, I smile always, when I’m sad, happy, mad whatever I smile. She asked me not to in a few of these photos. This picture of me, (which I have zoomed in on because it’s a large photo of a group. My apologies if it’s taking anything from the quality of her work, which is amazing.) accurately describes how I feel some times, not happy. Which is normal. For every one. My choice for my self and the way I live is to not express that side of me, not because I’m hiding anything but because I was so sad and so mad for so long. I don’t want to be that way anymore. However, it is inevitable some days and ultimately is part of who I am. The good. The bad. The indifferent. All make up who we are.


It is no secret I struggle with anxiety, adhd and have an eating disorder as well as battled depression. Which brings me to this day. And this current mood I’m in, that Shawnna happened to capture a few weeks back.


I often wonder if those who have never struggled with mental issues truly understand how terrifying it is to be lost in your own head. So often you only see what’s on the outside, the smiling and strong person. Which I and many others are. However it’s not easy. Because of people who have abused the system and taken advantage of the medication that I and others truly need to make it through the day we are often profiled by the people who are set in place to help us.


It happens to me a lot, on paper I’m a single mother with no insurance who has prescriptions for “uppers (adhd control)and downers(anti-anxiety)” their words not mine, most times I come as soon as you open,to pick up my medication with my kid in tow, cash in my hand and looking like I’ve been up all night. I see you looking at me and judging me.


What you don’t know is, I’m a mess because I’ve been in a gym training people or myself since 4am, my kid is with me because I occasionally pick him up from school early to spend one on one time with him I sometimes don’t get in the evening, and I have cash because I once lost everything and only had $70 dollars to my name and money means nothing to me but you can bet your ass if I can’t hold on my hand I don’t believe it’s there.


It’s not because I’m the type of person you’re profiling me as. I can’t explain to you how it feels when you ask for help, and your honest about things, like your medication being stolen from you because you’re to trusting around people— and you’re not sure what you should do but you know that with out it you’re going to lose your shit. You’re following all the correct steps and still being treated like you’re less than someone and not worthy of being respected. It’s sad.


Do not get me wrong, some of my closest friends are in the medical field, and doctors and pharmacists—I call them often and get their feed back on general situations. That maybe it’s me being to sensitive. But I’m not. This is a real problem. I know that because they are always honest and by book to help me understand— but they are also always very respectful.


I think often times in life, we look at people and we think we know. But we don’t. We don’t know how hard they are fighting to force that smile, how much they repeatedly choose happiness and humor to help them cope with things they can’t control. Often times we judge people and we profile them. I’ve done it. And so have you. We have to stop.


We have to starting giving people chances, we have to start seeing good in people, we have to stop assuming every one has bad intentions, we have to start being more patient with people who have mental struggles. We have to realize that we all have days where we feel like I look in this picture, pissed off and over it. And that’s okay. What’s not okay is taking it out on others. Especially people who are seeking your help. Your bad days aren’t a pass for you to jump all over the girl, who you assume is just getting a fix because she looks wore out and ran down in the pharmacy line. Maybe she’s a depressed mom. Or running herself into the ground just trying to feel normal. Your irritation in life is not because of the man who looks like he needs a shower and should be buying soap but is buying cigarettes, so why are you being mean to him and judging him.


All I’m saying is this picture right here proves that we all have pissed off days. Days we want to be rude and judge everyone. That doesn’t make it right. What do you want to be known for? Being mean and judgmental? Or being kind and helpful.


I can promise you from experience, its not easy struggling with your mental health. But it also shouldn’t be this hard. And what makes it hard is people, judging and mean people. Stop that. It’s not nice.


#HeresOneForTheCrazies

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Pack of Gum.

Something random and kind of funny about me— gum. I always have it. Always. It helps me with my anxiety and my adhd. When I have gum in my mouth I have something to focus on. You’ll almost never see me with out it. 

I noticed today, as I frantically searched for it in my purse, like I always do— I’m always stressed out when I’m looking for it, always!

“where is it. I know it’s in here, stop stressing—  if i can’t find it, I have some in my gym bag.”  

Suddenly I found it. I was so excited!!! After digging for what seemed like 19 minutes (less than one in the real world lol) there it was. I flipped the flap back and it was the last piece. You guys! I got so excited about that one piece of gum. Even though I knew I had an entire unopened pack in my gym bag I was still so excited about that last piece of gum. 

I got to thinking about how I’m like that in other aspects of my life— how it excited I get when I make a green light, when a squat rack is open at the gym, when I check the dryer and find dry clothes because I actually remembered to turn it on, the relief I feel when I open the dishwasher and it’s dirty and not full and can fit the shit in the sink. The smallest everyday things that make me so happy and excited.  

It made me realize something, we need to start treating people like they are that last piece of gum and we are just so excited to see them. Sadly as awhole we don’t do that, at all—in fact it’s the exact opposite, while at my favorite place yesterday, Walmart, I noticed that. It was ridiculously busy, every one was in a hurry, every one and I mean every one was rude. It was crazy. So often we treat people as if their presence is an inconvenience to us. Do you know how sad that is? That we can be excited about a piece of gum or to catch a green light, yet we treat other human beings as if they are nothing. Half the time people don’t even smile. It’s sickening and I hate it.

It takes nothing, no effort to smile at someone and be kind to them. and it takes minimal Effort to get as excited to see a person as you do about that last piece of gum. 

I’m just telling you what I know. #TheGoodFight

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“But Mommy, where is your Mommy?”

If you’ve never lived a life where someone of importance is missing, you’ll never understand what I am about to say.  

 

Notice I said missing, I didn’t say dead. I said missing. In my opinion is would be easier to explain if someone were dead verses missing. I don’t mean missing like no one can find them, I mean missing like absent from your life.  

 

My mother has been missing from my life  since I was 7. I’m almost 30 now. She has popped in and out but the only thing I’ve ever known with out a doubt consistently is, she wouldn’t be there for long. Does that mean she doesn’t love me? No. It just means she’s not there.  

It was 8 years in September the last time I saw her face, at my wedding, which she was asked to leave from. After a year of no communication we tried to talk again and it didn’t work. Although my mother doesn’t hate me, she hates herself and takes that anger out on me. Speaking to me and of me in ways I wouldn’t ever think to speak to anyone. I’ve forgiven her but have filed that relationship under dead in my mind—I have let it go as best as I can, I have grieved it and her and try and only let myself think of good things about her. But mostly I just try not to think about it at all— that will come back and bite me one day. I know that but right now I’m doing all I know how to do— moving on. 

I wrote her this letter, one day I may get it to her but probably not— my goal isn’t to make her feel any worse than I know she does. But my heart hurts for my little boy who is asking about her. My heart hurts for me.  

I’m sharing it because I feel it could help those who also have missing loved ones. That are left with no answers and a hole in the their heart they are trying to fill!  Those who are trying to understand but just can’t. 

 

“Mom, 

It’s me shelbie, your daughter. You may find it odd that I’m introducing myself but I feel it’s  necessary, as you don’t know me. You gave me life but you never watched me live. I’d like to think you’re proud of me underneath all of the resentment you have, I would hope you feel pride. There are so many things about my life I want to share with you but there’s only one that stands out. Calvin. That’s my little boy, although you know of him, you don’t know him.   

He is so smart. And so funny. He is learning the placement of people and how they fit in his life—Like me, his family is broken. It’s different for him though, the brokenness  have created pieces that have become the blocks of a wonderful, United foundation, of our family.  

He asks about you a lot. Going down the list he will say

Who’s your sister, mommy? -KK, Jo and Cassie. Right mom? Those are my aunts.  

who’s your brother? That’s my Uncle bud. Right mom?


Your dad is my pawpah mom ,right? And my GG is special to you—right? because she makes my pawpah very happy and she loves us.

But where’s your mommy? How come you don’t have one? Does she live with Jesus way up in the sky.  

________________😩 

 

I avoided that answer as long as I could. Until last week. When I ran into one of my clients with him at Walmart. I call her Mama Bear. As she was walking away I said “bye mama bear” Calvin said, “Mommy!!! Was that your mom! You do have one.”

I said no baby, that’s not mommy’s mom. I quickly changed the subject. But the thought of mama bears face an how much she’s been there for me never left my mind that day. I wished I could have said yes, when he asked that. I made it the whole day with avoiding that queastion and held my shit together long enough to get him to bed. And then I lost it.

 I  called the man you hate, my dad. A man that respects you still to this day. That talks highly of you when he shouldn’t. That has taught me everything.  

I said to him, “tell me what to do dad. Tell me what to say.”

Everyone tells me to tell Calvin you’re dead, mom. He’s 4. He will never know. But I’ll know. And I would never want him to queastion me later in life because I told him a lie because it was easier. 

Mike Brady, that man you disrespect, told me the exact opposite. He told me to tell him how much I love you, and how much I’ve learned from you by watching your mistakes. He told me to tell him you’ve made mistakes but that you’re a good person, but  right now you won’t be able to be around us but that we still love you and that you still love us.  

He didn’t tell me to throw you under the buss, he didn’t tell me to air your laundry and he didn’t tell me to tell my son you are dead. He told me to love you and support you even if you’ve chosen a life style of drugs and absence in my life, you’re still my mom and deserve respect. 

So that’s what I did. His little mind has a hard time processing it but we are getting there. I also thought you should know that although you’re not there and haven’t been, God has helped me cope with losing you, by providing me with a handfull of mama bears.  

Who love me, like you do. But who can also be there for me since you can’t. 

My son also learned the difference in having a mom and having a mama bear. 

and if you ask him, this is what he says.  

“A mom is your mom. Moms love us cause that’s your mom. We all have mommy’s.” 

 

“ a mama bear. A mama bear snuggles you. And tell you she loves you. She’s not your real mom but she’s your mama bear. My mom has a lot of mama bears”

I want you to know it’s not easy not having you. It’s hard and I’m mad at you but I also love you. And I understand. I want you to be grateful to those who have helped me when you couldn't. Dont envy them. Don’t hate them. And don’t feel guilty because although it would be nice to not have to have mama bears in place of a mom, how blessed am I to have that?

one day it will make sense. I promise. On my end. And on yours too. 

love, 

shelbie. ”

 

It’s hard guys, not knowing what to say to our kids. Just remember dishonesty never wins. If you look there are positive things in negative situations. But you have to look. Find them and base your explanation around that.  

Here’s one for the stray cubs ✌🏻 

 2007

2007

Mommy, She Loves Me, Too.

My son Calvin, came home from his dads house today. We do what we normally do on the weekends he comes back on Sundays, we talked to tim for a minute and then we headed right to church. Matt and I made a little small talk with him on the way but we were on a time crunch. A little later in the day after we were home and settled I talked to Calvin, like I always do about what he did with his dad. He brought up his dads girlfriend, who spent time with them over the weekend. He talked about her naturally, as he's been around her for a while now -- I asked what kind of things they did together, already knowing the answer because she had already told me. Yes you read that right, she had already told me. I have met her, a few times actually, and communicate often with her. 

Calvin went on to explain the different things they all did, as a family. I sat and I listened, and felt so warm inside as my little boy explained, with excitement what he did with his family. I love that he knows that we are all one family--I asked him what he liked about her and among many things he said one thing that really stood out to me-- " she loves me too." He said. She has a young son also, and because my son told me what he told me, I know he is receiving from her, the same treatment she shows her own son. My son can feel that--Do you know how much that makes me appreciate and love this woman I barley know? I can't even explain it. 

Im often asked how Tim and I do what we do. Well first of all, it hasn't always been this easy. We have good and bad days. But something both of us, have come to a complete understanding of, is the respect we have and will show for the partners we have chosen will always be a priority for us.

Matt and Tims girlfriend, have so many wonderful qualities that they have brought to our life, we would be foolish to focus on anything but that, in them. They also love our son. They aren't his parents but they do love him. And that matters.     

Maybe it's because I grew up in a divorced family that couldn't even be in the same room hardly, let alone support each other. Or  maybe it's because I've spent so much time looking for the bad in people that I can't bring myself to do it anymore, even when it's the norm to do in certain situations. I'm not sure what it is-- but what I do know is that when I see Tim with his girlfriend and her son and my son, I feel happiness. I feel grateful. I'm so happy Tim is happy with her. And I'm so happy that I am happy with my Matt, as is Tim. What I also know without a doubt is that Calvin has two men in his life that are teaching him to be a good man. Calvin has two women in his life, that show him love and support. My son knows who his mom is, and he knows who his dad is but he also knows he has two other people that he can turn to, that he can depend on, that love him. 

I can guarantee you, that it won't be perfect and issues will surface, living this co-parent, yet one family, divorced life. That's life. However, how amazing is it, that there are four people who are happy for the first time in a long time, who have decided to see the good in each other, respect each other and provide a life of happiness for the little humans that mean more to us than anything. 

 

Im so grateful for this women in my ex-husbands life, that unknowingly gave my son the security to organically say me " mommy she loves me, too." When I asked him what he liked about her. 

 

Life is never ideal guys, however the good in people is ideal, if you choose to see it.   

 

Im grateful for this person and her silly selfies with my baby, for her constant efforts, for her openness to be friends with the ex-wife, for her respect of me and my friendship with her boyfriend, my ex-husband , for her communication with me, but mostly I'm just grateful for her. ❤️ 

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The Parts of the Story, Most Don't Want You to See.

It is no secret that I am in good shape. My hobby, my job, my life, everything-- now revolves around keeping myself healthy. Not only my physical health but my meantal and emotional. So often when you think of body image and self hate, you think of someone who is over weight. Which I have been, for the first half of my life, that's all I ever knew. However the most recent (last 4 years) struggle I have faced is, being to thin or underweight-- the eating disorder I had for years has caused that issue. Because I torched myself for so long, by starving myself and throwing up everything I ate, I have conditioned myself to unintentionally starve myself when I experience any emotion other than happiness. Sounds crazy right? Unintentionally starving myself. But it happens. Especially when I'm stressed. I will go days without even realizing, I've only nibbled on foods but am still balls to the wall active 🤦🏻‍♀️.

It is odd to me to think back to how I once would uncontrollably over eat to console myself compared to now--I do the exact opposite. Odd it is, but here we are.   

However I will say, I try. I try so hard to beat this sickness I have that I will always have. I'm not proud of it. But I am proud of me. 

In the past week or so I have heard over and over, " you're really skinny right now. More than usual. Are you eating enough" or " you need to eat" or " are you eating" the list goes on.

Im going to be real with you, I know. I know what you are seeing and I know your concerns, and they are correct. I may not see myself the way you see me, skinny(I don't think I'll ever be able to see myself that way but whatever lol) but I can feel it. My bones hurt, I get winded walking, I'm tired but I can't sleep, I'm cold, there are so many signs that I feel, when this happens. I think maybe people forget that, I've been fighting this for years--I know I have an eating disorder. But I'm stronger than it and I beat, most days!

I have "just eat" tattooed on my body. But like everything, sometimes its not that easy. But you know what is easy?! Choosing to not lose the war even if I occasionally lose a battle. Choosing to never stop fighting to be healthy and strong, even when it is hard. Choosing to not be ashamed of my hard days. Choosing everyday to believe that today, I will be better. And guess what? 90% of the time, I am better.

Please remember that you have to be kind to each other and to be kind to yourself. Be open to and learn how to support people how they need it-- telling someone they need to lose weight, when they do, isn't what they need. Telling someone they need to eat, when clearly they do, doesn't make them feel good. The best way to be supportive of someone who struggles with their body is to love them and be willing to take steps with them. Go workout with them, offer to learn to cook something new with them, tell them you're proud of their efforts. Because that's what will lead them  to their success, effort. A lot of effort. The more effort is appreciated, the more it grows.

Love yourself and keep trying. ❤️

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4 Walls.

Have you ever thought about those two words. 4 walls. And how significant they truly are to your life. The day you were born, you were in a room, with 4 walls. You're taken home and given a room, with 4 walls. As you grow into your own you are drawn to those 4 walls, it's your space, your safe zone. Those 4 walls. It's amazing isn't it, having something of your very own. A space between 4 walls. Youthful moments in our lives often provide us with our biggest dreams, only the brave ones act on them, but we all have them. And most times those dreams develop within those 4 walls-- we aren't tainted from the harsh world yet, inside us there's still so much hope, which we often exspress with in those 4 walls. We are who we are in those 4 walls, because that is our space, our safe zone. Our 4 walls. 

The 4 walls remain, but we often change. It's really a shame, because as we grow we are learning pain.  Those same 4 walls that once gave us so much hope, quickly become nothing but a downward slope. 

 

We run to those walls, we hide in those walls so much so, no one can hear our calls. In our minds we are screaming, we are being so clear. Why am I alone? I just want someone near. 

Night after night we search for way, to take a breath to even make it through the day. The more they say, the less I hear. I don't understand why they can't see my fear. 

4 walls keep me safe. 4 walls calm my fears. In those 4 walls I can hide, they are always by my side. That's where I've been and thats where I would be, if it wasn't for the day I believed in me.  

He got in that car, he walked down the hall, they led him to a room with 4 little walls. Today is the day, he's standing so tall he's breaking down those 4 walls. 

 

You are making us proud, you are standing you are standing ground, you are showing the world you are not backing down. Sadness is hard, being lost is so scary but there no way in hell you are coming out without clarity. 

 

This one is for you, KB. I love you. 

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brother bear ❤️ 

I Am In A Different Place

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You may think I'm crazy, but I guarantee you I feel more insane than any of you could imagine. I was talking to my friend, Jamie today about how much I struggle with body image disorder. And how REAL it is. All of the time I hear people talking about mental illnesses and how they are in people's head most of the time. It makes me so mad and sad really because it's the furthest thing from the truth-- I know that because I suffer from a very long list, none of which are in my mind and all of which have been diagnosed and have or are being treated. 

Bulimia--which also effects my physical well being. Thank the lord I was able to work myself out of this dark hole. 

Body image disorder-- somedays it consumes my mind other days it's like I've never experienced it. 

Anxiety-- it's going to be fine. 

ADHD- which went undiagnosed for so long and played a huge part in my out of control eating disorder and anxiety. I honestly have no idea I how functioned as long as I did with out help for this.

Thank the lord I'm in a very different place than I once was. That being said I have moments, bad days sometimes even bad weeks. There have been times where I can not for the life of me figure out what's wrong with me. I hate looking in the mirror and struggle to eat and my happiness is lost for a bit. Im so overwhelmed by it I just cry. I have no idea how this happens or why. But it does. And every single time I feel like I'm back at square one, when in fact I don't actually even know where that is, square one. All I know is that's how I feel. All this time and work and I'm back at square one. But here's the thing, there's always a but, or positive as my friends say lol...the difference now is my mindset-- it's completely different than it once was. Now when I get stuck in those moments I work my way out of them. How? In a addition to being okay with and no longer ashamed to ask and receive help from my doctor and medication I also do what I call, fake it until you make it. I pretend to be happy when I'm not. I compliment myself when I all I see is grossness ( I know it's not real and don't think I'm gross but also struggle with remembering that.) I'm nice to people I have hate in my heart for. I stand in front of things I'm scared shitless of. I don't respond to people who say bad things about me, as much as I want to yell at them and reply to their ignorance, I stay quite. And last but not least I stand up every single time I get knocked down.

Having self worth and happiness is a choice. Changing your life is a choice. Choices I have made. That being said, just because I made those choices doesn't mean that's it. That's never it.

Wouldn't it be awesome if we could think

"Okay. Today is the day. New me. New life. I'm so happy everything is perfect and I'm done being negative Nancy, whine about it Wanda, and judgmental Judy. Done done and done. I love life and everyone in it--I'm so happy now. Yay. Go me."

😂😂😂😂😂😑🤦🏻‍♀️

Ya it doesn't work like that. It's so hard somedays. Being nice to yourself and the people around you. But you want to know what's also hard? Being sad. It's actually so much harder to be sad than it is to be happy. The hard part of being happy is the expectation of what being happy supposedly means and what it actually is. Being happy is not about having the perfect life or the perfect body. Or the perfect Facebook post. Being happy is about finding reasons to want to live without being overwhelmed and lost.Being happy is about appreciating yourself and those around you. That's it. No more. No less.

Somedays it will suck. You will have to start over 1,000 times. But trust me when I say if you can find a deeper reason than the number on the scale, the amount friends on your list, the insane idea of what a marriage should be and the entitlement of someone owing you something. The thought you have in your head that everything is someone else's fault. All of that bullshit you keep telling yourself, or I guess that I kept telling myself. If you let that go, then you'll find it. The freedom you're looking for. Of the mental illness and struggles you face.

❤️anyone can do anything!

#STEVIES Journey

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Look at this picture. Now try and tell me that your size, your age, your weight, your build or your fitness level maters! You can't. The only thing that matters is your mindset and choosing to surround your self with people who believe in you.

My Stevie deserves this.

Shout out to these awesome kids he works out and boxes with at Hahn. This right here is an example of breaking the mold of stereo typical kids. Just because you may not look like everyone else does not mean you don't have a place with them. Being a bully is for losers. Building each other up, that's what winners do.