Saturday, October 24, 2015

Go Jackie, it's your birthday!

Here we are again. Today (October 24th) is my birthday. I'm 33 years YOUNG and so very grateful to be here to celebrate another year on earth. The facebook posts began before midnight. I woke up to 8 birthday texts and at this very moment, 202 people have taken the time to post birthday wishes on my fb wall.
I don't take birthdays lightly. Some years, I lay low and other times, I party like it's....1982? I always spend some time in deep thought about where I've been, where I am, and where I'm headed. In previous years, I've beat myself up for not being where I "should've" been. I made an effort NOT to do that this year. Truth is, I did have plans of things I wanted to accomplish by now but as long as I'm still here, it isn't too late.

As I continued to read the tagged posts and birthday wishes, I became teary eyed. Is this something that happens at 33? I wasn't ready! I can't help but think about my friend, Jennifer who died earlier this year in her early 30's from health problems or my cousin Ashdon who left us at age 14 by suicide. The most recent reminder has been my friend Kiko who committed suicide 8 days ago. At 35, life became more than she could handle. She leaves twin daughters behind.

As a therapist, I deal with suicide more often that I'd ever choose. When I found out about Kiko though, I was shocked, upset, disappointed, and guilty. For a moment, I wondered how I could've failed as a friend AND a therapist and not know she was battling something. I reflected on every conversation, every text, every fb inbox. I combed through every interaction we had trying to find an answer. I know even though there's nothing I can do now to save Kiko I can continue to be who I am and remain passionate about the work that I do to save other women and men like Kiko.

Today, as I celebrate my birthday and smile at every message received, I know I am loved. I never had a doubt but I can't help but think about Kiko. In her moment(s) of hopelessness, despair, depression perhaps, did she know the world was brighter with her here?

Let us continue to speak up and speak out about mental health. If you are dealing with mental health concerns, please tell someone, a friend, a therapist, call the Suicide Hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255 and/or reach out to me via my facebook or email address.

In honor of my birthday, I ask you to donate to the gofundme set up for her here: Kiko.

I need you all to survive and thrive, my friends and readers. Cheers to my 33rd year and beyond.

Big hugs!

And yes that's me in a Mr. T birthday hat! LOL

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Lesson learned

When things happen that I completely don't understand, I remind myself, "One day I'll look back and laugh at this." Perhaps it is a coping skill I've developed sort of like a, "This too shall pass" mentality. As cliché as those sayings are, my track record thus far has proven these statements to be true.

I tell my clients to look for the lesson. Life is a series of events. We always have the option to go through them or grow through them. Anything that has ever happened to you left you with a lesson. I also believe sometimes the lesson isn't discovered for months or years later but it's there. Our lessons may appear in ways we don't see at first. These lessons often come from people we'd never expect.

This past week, I found myself reflecting (again). My son's birthday was on Wednesday. He is now a 6 year old. I looked back not only on how much my life has changed with him but also the lessons I've learned since having him.

Truth is, these six years have flown by. I remember my pregnancy and birth as if it occurred yesterday. I've learned more about myself in the past six years than the twenty six prior ones. In addition to those life changing ones, my son teaches me daily.

Being a parent has been the most interesting ride and I wouldn't change it for the world. I am still learning and joke that I have no idea what I'm doing. When it comes to my son, so far so good. With everything else, I choose to continue to find the lessons, the small and big ones. Every day I am gifted a chance to still be here, I will look for these lessons. Some of these will come in the form of pain, disappointment and anger. Others will come via love, relationships, and pleasure.

The key is finding the lesson no matter the feeling associated with it. This, my friends, is how we grow. Look for lessons in every setting, every moment, and everyone you encounter.

What have you learned? I'd love to hear your life lessons.

Until next time,


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Are you ready?

The weekends fly by. Although I'm grateful for EVERYDAY, I must admit I celebrate Fridays with a little more umph. This umph is typically in the form of a dance which may involve limbs waving in the air like I just don't care.

Ever since I stopped working weekends on someone else's watch, the weekends feel better. I loved the extra money, I mean who wouldn't, but the drain of working 7 days a week can leave you with an overwhelming feeling of defeat. The funny part is, I didn't choose to leave my weekend job, they no longer needed me there. That in itself is surely a blessing in disguise because knowing me, I would've still been there. Tired, drained but happy for a few extra dollars.

Back to Fridays.

I love them because it means the two days coming involve not punching a clock, setting an alarm to wake up, or ironing work clothes. It means I don't have to shower at 6 am or shove oatmeal down my throat.

With these two magical days, I have long to do lists. Most of my tasks are related to my business goals because frankly, during the work week, between work and family life, I don't get as much done as I'd like. Some tasks are simpler than others.

Organize desk. Sure. That's doable.

Print worksheets for a business course. Doable as well.

Finish website, schedule posts, branding, edit bio, email potential referral sources, make videos, take head shots, uhm......something about an S on my chest and saving the world?

Something mysteriously happens between Friday and Monday. I have yet to fully understand this phenomenon.

I blink and it's Monday again. There's no Monday dance. I've barely wiped off the sweat from the Friday one. I'm not ANTI monday, I'm just genuinely concerned that yet another 48 hours slipped by and I didn't accomplish everything I intended to.

This past Monday, I walked into work as I mentally reviewed the past weekend or lack thereof. The receptionist greets me and says, "Hello Miss Jackie, are you ready?"

I'm not one to panic but I had a moment. I quickly scanned my brain trying to think what I forgot to do or what major event was happening on this day and how this would impact my job. I screamed internally but calmly said, "What's happening today?"

She said "It's Monday."

I laughed out loud and exhaled. There was no emergency or pressing issue. There was no report due or auditor waiting. There was no meeting I missed or important call I didn't return.

It was Monday! (maybe I WILL come up with a Monday dance after all)

In that moment, she reminded me, like they say, "You have to stay ready so you never have to GET ready."

So with my long to do lists, I'm breaking them down and getting things done so when someone asks me that again.

The answer is YES!

P.S. Scroll up....that lovely clean desk isn't mine. *adds clean desk to do list again*