Look At Me.

For most of my life I wanted to be invisible. It was hard to do because I wasn’t exactly a muted dresser, but I didn’t want to be noticed.

I was happy to blend in, fade into the background, be a wallflower. I was one of the last ones picked. I haven’t dated a lot. I don’t get a lot of praise. I don’t have a lot of friends. People don’t approach me. I’m quiet, fairly introverted, and sometimes shy. I am a middle child.

Most of my 20s was spent in eating disorder hell, and with that, of course, I wanted to disappear. The thinner I got, though, the more attention I drew to myself which in turn caused me to get worse in an effort to not be seen. It was a vicious cycle.

Even in the last few years of recovery I have been happier to go unnoticed, left to my own, and simply part of the scenery. But I am seeing now how that really isn’t helping me to advance to where and who I want to be.

I am very vocal about wanting to help lead others to being their best selves. Be it through fitness, proper nutrition, or other means of self care, it is what ignites me. It is on my mind constantly and is something I am actively working toward making my full time gig.

But how can I possibly make this into a reality if I am hiding away, if no one can see the passion burning inside of me, if I don’t fully share not only that part of myself but myself as a whole?

Baring one’s soul is serious business.

After all, the world is waiting to judge. To someone you will either be too much or not enough.

But to the right person you will be just right.

You will be what and who they need at the right moment.

In order to do that, though, I must be open. Wide open. I have to be willing to be vulnerable, not care about other people’s judgment, and maintain focus on what is real and what matters.

I also have to let go of fears – and boy, do I have a lot of those. Nothing can grow from fear except more fear.

Each day on my Goals list I write down one more step which will thrust me out of my comfort zone and eventually land me in the lap of confidence and success. Every step helps to distance me from the crowd, to pack away the insecurities that have never served me, and to finally close the chapter on who I never wanted to be but from which I am grateful to have learned.

I am ready to move on from the frightened girl I used to be. I am ready to spread my wings, and I am so ready to fly.

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The Changing of the Seasons.

People come in seasons. I do believe this.

Some people come into your life. and they stay a while. A long while. Some stay forever. Some only a few years, some days, and some a fleeting moment.

Interactions are meant to bring about change, emotions, challenges, and opportunities. Depending upon your view they can be a blessing or a curse. But all human interaction is meaningful no matter how big or small, good or bad, the impact is.

And so it is; I have shed numerous friendships of old and new over the last year. I don’t feel an aching sadness but only gratitude for having encountered these people. Every single person has helped to shape me into the woman I am today.

As I move forward I will take a little piece of each person and each experience with me for they are a part of me now.

I don’t mourn what has passed. I celebrate the gift each has given me.

Paying Attention.

Something hit me while I was getting ready for work early one Saturday morning.

I had woken up a bit earlier than my 515am alarm. I laid in bed for a bit waiting for some hint of the sun to make its way in through the gap between the curtain and the wall. I was taking in the quiet sounds of the house, all the kiddos resting, the soft whirring of the fan. I felt ready to start my day.

I got up with ease and a pep in my step. I took my time, making sure I started my day on a calm and peaceful note. That’s when I had this revelation. Continue reading

The Parenthood Trap: Losing Your Identity

Whether you plan parenthood or not, it’s understood that a part of you will either take a backseat or will cease to exist once your child enters the world. Caring for your little one(s) means there is a shift in priorities, a shift in scheduling, and an important addition to your existence in this world.

My entrance into parenthood was unexpected and unconventional. Simply because my “child” is actually my niece, and my mom and I are raising her. I stepped up to the plate due to certain circumstances, and it was a hard adjustment for me to make. I never wanted children. I still don’t want children of my own. But my little one and I have forged an incredible bond over the last few years. While I may not be her birth mother, the role of mother has been thrust to the forefront of my being.

This new and important role has caused a major shift in the direction of my life. There is no more coming and going as I please. There is no more sleeping in. There is no more peeing or showering in peace. A little life depends on me for basic needs, guidance, and an immense amount of love and attention.

The freedom I once knew and loved has now become a distant memory, one I had taken for granted while it was abundantly available to me.

Since Reilly started kindergarten and I had begun a journey of seeking more meaning in life, everything has changed. My focus has now shifted to accommodate her needs and her schedule while also trying to carve out a path for my own life. This has affected both my work and social lives, and quite frankly, I’m overwhelmed.

I’m working two jobs (one I like, one I don’t) that flow with Reilly’s schedule. Unfortunately this leaves little time and energy for myself. The plans I had for myself after the new year have blown away like dust in the wind. The spark that had ignited to follow my passion has suddenly died out. I’ve lost myself in the identity of being ‘mom’ — or Kiki in my case. Every decision I make has to involve someone other than myself.

And now I feel as though I am on the verge of cracking. Reilly has gotten so used to my presence that she gets upset when I leave to do something for myself. So guilt sets in, and little by little these things I enjoyed went from being placed on the back burner to being taken off the stove completely.

As parents, how do we avoid that? How do we not get entirely wrapped up in being Mom/Dad/Caregiver? How do we see that as one part of who we are but not the whole?

I think it’s important to give ourselves permission to be who we are, who we were before the kid(s) came along. I may not be able to freely doing the things I want to do, like going to the gym at 5am or meeting someone for dinner after work, but that doesn’t mean I can’t schedule them in as I would anything else that is important to me. It’s necessary. I need to be able to do things as my own person outside of being a parent.

And I have to learn that it’s ok to ask for help. And it’s ok to ask for someone else to take the reigns for a little bit. Losing myself in this role is not only unhealthy for me but it’s unhealthy for Reilly. How can I be the best ‘mom’ and teach Reilly the importance of reaching for the stars and living life to the fullest if I am not leading by example? How will resigning myself to this role, and only this role, only going through the motions of life to get by, benefit her? Where is the lesson in that?

For me, scheduling what I enjoy – the gym, running, yoga, quiet time – is imperative to my sanity and also to my role as a caregiver. I can’t lose who I am, my authentic self, and my dreams and expect to be looked up to by someone who is dependent on me for guidance. I can’t expect to instill certain qualities and a sense of self love if I am not owning them myself.

The hardest part for me now is climbing back into the driver’s seat of my life and making these changes. Taking back some of my time, making myself a priority, is going to require some big adjustments. But it has to happen. Not just for me, but for Reilly.

Being Kiki while also being Kris, blending my two worlds, is going to be challenging. It’s going to require sacrifice and maybe a few tears. In the end though it’s all going to be worth it. Returning back to myself is going to be worth it.