yellow and pink tulip field selective focus photography
Mental Health

How to handle being alone on a holiday

Hi all,

Today is Easter and I’m alone. My boo thang had to be in a different state for work so I’m rocking the holiday by myself. It took me a bit to be fine saying that but here I am being a grown ass woman letting you know I’m ok with being alone on a holiday. That was not always the case.

Would I rather have a huge Easter dinner and dress up in cute outfits and be around friends and family and eat chocolate bunnies ears first? HELL YES I would. Sometimes things just don’t pan out the way you would like them too.

Over the course of my career I’ve had to work many holidays. For some reason I always felt that was easier than being alone at home. Something to keep my mind busy and just almost think that it’s just another day and no big deal. But when you are alone and you have the day off it is a bit harder to take. I would always hate the dreaded questions ” What are you doing for Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years?” Sometimes I would just make things up instead of having to hear myself say nothing. A quick going to see family or my friend invited me over to her house would stop follow up questions.

At my very worst mental state I would dread holidays. I would get so depressed. I would see all the fun activities and events and even though I could have dragged my ass out to them I was having a pity party of 1 at home. I longed for the set dinner tables, the traditional food and the fun and festive atmosphere of people around me.

Now it seems I’m a bit older and wiser and on the right about of meds (hahaha) I can totally do a holiday alone and be fine. Do I still prefer the social part yes but here are a few things I have done over the years to enjoy the days a bit more.

  1. Volunteer

Just because it is a holiday doesn’t mean shelters, services and people in need take the day off. If you find yourself alone and are wanting to get out of the house try and find an organization that could use you for the day. Over the years I have served dinners at homeless shelters, brought Easter baskets to a women’s shelter for their kids, walked dogs at an animal shelter and delivered boxes of food for the elderly that may be alone as well but needed a bit of holiday cheer. You are helping others but are also helping yourself if your struggling mentally with your own holiday sadness. Here is a website you can go to to check on volunteer opportunities in your area. Just type in your city and zip code and you will all things locally.

https://www.volunteermatch.org/

2. Find a local fun run or 5K

Try and look to see if your area has a fun holiday event you can take part in. There is always a fun run or 5K around somewhere. They tend to be holiday themed with fun costumes and festive atmosphere. They always say if your feeling down a good walk or exercise to get the blood pumping can do wonders to boot a mood. You may not know all the people around you but just being in a fun environment will do wonders plus a little exercise couldn’t hurt.

3. Cook your favorite holiday meal

Just because you are by yourself doesn’t mean you can’t have a feast of your favorite holiday traditions. I am the absolute worst cook but even if I can’t make things myself I will go buy at least a few things. Just because you are alone doesn’t mean you can’t have a large amount of pie:)

4. Make the day a ME day

Places may be closed but you can plan ahead and have yourself a little spa day at a day spa or a DIY day at home. The 4th of July for me is my worst holiday. I am embarrassed to admit but I am terrified of fireworks. I’m like a dog and all I want to do is crawl under the bed and hide. So my new and fantastic tradition I do every year is check myself into a really expensive hotel and do a spa day and eat room service and watch horrible reality TV shows all weekend. When the fireworks start at nighttime I’m already a bottle of wine in and I’ll fall asleep around 8. That’s my thing but you could totally pick and start new traditions for yourself.

5. Try not to stress about it

I type this with it being easier said than done. All I’m trying to say with this one is try not to dwell too much on things that your not doing. If your missing some traditions and it makes you sad do a few to keep you in the spirit. Don’t feel forced to do them if it’s just going to make you miss anything. Start your own traditions. Do your own thing and if you want to wear bunny ears just for your dog that’s fine. You do you! The day is just another day and tomorrow will also be another day.

For those of you celebrating with friends and family today enjoy! To those of you like me that are alone today I urge you to pick one thing that makes you happy and go do it, or eat it or just take a nap. It’s your day to do whatever you want. ENJOY IT!

XOXO,

Amy

Author Stories, Therapy

Do you lie to your therapist?

My guess is if you you have ever been in the chair staring across the room at them with the notepad and pen in hand you have TOTALLY lied to them. Right? RIGHT? Or is it just me?

I’ll be the first to admit it that it usually takes me like 6 sessions before I go all in. The very first appointment it’s usually like a get to know you on the surface level. Hi My name is Amy and I’m having a few issues and thought it’s best to maybe come and talk to someone. I have dogs, I work here and I like doing this stuff. Totally like a dating app bio. Putting your best out there first so your not coming off too crazy right?

The next few sessions I ease into what is going on with me but not the ugly crying on the bathroom floor type stuff. It’s weird how I don’t go all in when it’s clear I’m there for help. They ask how I’m doing. I dance around and say I’m fine just sad or “off”. They dig deeper. I give a little but then it’s time to go:) Success in not having to get to the ugly stuff.

By the time the 6th session is happening I’m a freaking mess and then spill it and it’s not pretty. I’m crying, UGLY crying and they are totally going to have to restock the tissues because I’m USING THEM ALL!!

For me when I was in my abusive relationship we moved every 6 months or so. I would have to sneak around to get to my therapy sessions. During that time I would always have to start over with someone new and the cat and mouse game would start all over. My issue was I was still in protective mode and I wanted to feel better but I was scared to give up too much info for fear I would get him in trouble. Like the secret would get out. I would talk about me being depressed. How I lost interest in things I once loved. Moving all the time was hard. All the things but being abused. I would talk about it without talking about it. I always wondered if they knew or if they were going to let me bring it out on my own in my own time. Did they notice my bruises that I was trying to hide?

When I was finally out of my relationship it still took me that long to finally get comfortable with opening up about the abuse. There were some very ugly things that I knew I had to talk about but even the thought of retelling it made me want to throw up. I think I actually had to get up in the middle of a session once to do just that. YUCK!

So why do we feel we have to lie or sugarcoat to our therapists? Are we scared? Too much pain? Embarrassed? I’m sure it could be all three or at least one of them…so how do we get more comfortable with it all? We are paying big bucks for it after all.

After doing a little research I found Time magazine did a little study and found a whopping 93% of us have lied in our therapy sessions. Most of the reasons why is what I listed above.

Regardless of what your in therapy for most of us may find it weird to have someone attentive to your thoughts and feelings. They listen and don’t interrupt and when they start asking questions our defenses go up and lying seems like a way to protect ourselves.

Here are a few things to remember and help you feel comfortable while talking about uncomfortable things.

1. Remember they are there to help you feel better. You took the first step to call to make the appointment. Ease into it like I have done but you and the therapist will become partners in your recovery so you do your part so they can do theirs.

2. I usually wear comfy clothes to my appointments. I tend to bring my legs under my body and if I’m going to be sitting that way I sure as hell better not be in skinny jeans. The more comfortable you are personally, the more you will be in a comfy headspace to open up.

3. Bring a water bottle. If your a cryer like me you need to stay hydrated. I tend to get wicked headaches when I cry so stay hydrated and maybe have some Advil handy too!

4. Just always remember these guys have heard way more crazy stories that you could ever tell. As sad as that sounds you are doing a hell of a good job just for walking in the door. They are there for you. They know the best ways to maneuver around your issues. It took me a bit to understand I could not fix it on my own. Had to bring in the pinch hitter.

5. Just breathe. Keep an open mind. Speak your truth at the pace your comfortable with and know you are strong and going to come out a bit better than the day before. You got this!!

What’s the biggest lie you told your therapist?

I swear she HAD to know I was full of it but I told mine once that the reason why my eyes are puffy is because I have extreme allergies and it kept me up all night. Ugh so lame. Meanwhile I was on my bathroom floor crying all night but of course the allergy lie felt easier to say.

Any tips you have that makes therapy a bit easier I’d love yo hear them.

Til next time

XOXO,

Amy

Domestic Violence

5 high profile celebrities that have experienced domestic violence Pt 2

Hey all,

On Tuesday I started my list of 5 high profile celebrities that have gone down the road many woman have. It does not discriminate nor does money or fame fix the emotional toll it can bring. We talked about Rihanna and the legend Tina Turner. If you want to catch up you can read it here…

Let get on with the list.

3. Madonna

So this one is a bit of a roller coaster so buckle in here we go..

Madonna called Sean Penn her soulmate when they were married in the 80’s. They were married 6 months after meeting and everything moved quick. Her soulmate quickly became jealous and controlling. There are two huge rumors that have been following the pair around and it’s a bit confusing.

In 1987 he allegedly hit her in the back of the head with a baseball bat where she had to be hospitalized. Constant cheating allegations with co workers is to blame. She quickly filed for divorce since during this exact time he was also facing jail time for an assault on a film extra. But she quickly retracted the divorce and they were back together.

2 years later in 1989 is the doozy. Allegedly Sean scaled the side of the home and got into Madonna’s bedroom and told her he basically owned her. She fled but was quickly tied to a chair for 9 hours and beaten and was threatened to have her hair cut off. He must have gotten tired since he had a time out to leave the house to go get booze all the while she was still tied to the chair. Once he returned it started again. He only let her go if she performed a degrading sex act on him. She immediately ran to the Sheriff’s office and they filed a report. Next day she dropped the charges but they

In 2015 Madonna said herself that all the rumor’s were false and he never laid a hand on her. To be honest it is 100% her choice weather to address it or not. It is also her choice if she wanted to press charges. The report was made but if she says no then we need to let that be the story.

4. Robin Givens

Robins Givens married boxing legend Mike Tyson in 1988 but it didn’t last long. 8 months later she filed for divorce citing physical and emotions abuse. Slaps punches from any man could be very painful but what about coming from a professional boxer that can knock someone out in seconds?

When she first came out she received a lot of backlash. Liar, gold-digger, trying to ruin his career. So she retreated and kept it to herself mostly. Even after the divorce was final he still continued to control her wellbeing. He would leave nasty messages on her phone. He let her know that he will not kill her but he will make her life so misrable that she will kill herself.

In 2009 in a surprise joint interview with Oprah Tyson admitted to “socking” Robin but only immediately followed by she hit me too. Her words was it was pure hell. Robin still says she can get triggered by certain things but for the most part is trying to live her best life. She is very involved in helping others with similar stories and even does shifts with the National Domestic Abuse hotline.

5. Whitney Houston

Oh Whitney..

So many thoughts and opinions I have and I’m sure you do too. But at the end of the day we lost a true talent.

Whitney and Bobby Brown were married in 1992. Everyone thought it was a bad idea. He had a past and she was squeaky clean. Love was intense and I really do believe they were infatuated with each other. They loved hard and fought even harder. Drugs, Booze and very strong personalities got the best of them I think. Whitney does admit she hit Bobby as well. She felt the emotional, physical was alot to handle but she did try and stand up for herself. She admits after Bobby spit on her in front of her daughter she hit in in the head with a phone.

In 2003 Bobby was arrested for domestic violence for slapping Whitney. Whitney escorted him to court and supported him throughout the whole process. Charges were dropped.

They divorced in 2007.

We all know the ending of the story. Bobby denies ever hitting Whitney. He says she did the majority of it. Bobby has had other run ins but he is now wanting to build a domestic abuse shelter in honor of his daughter Bobbi Kristina.

Ok folks, there you have it. I decided to highlight these 5 ladies because they each have a unique story. A few common threads though is that they all felt protective of the men in their lives. Some went back, some denied the abuse, others took a stand and spoke about it and is committed to helping others. That’s real life. That is the norm that we see. It does take a while to leave. It hurts when the man you love hurts you. Maybe it was a mistake, maybe it was a pattern. Either way they did understand at some point they saw their self worth.

If you or someone you know needs to talk please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 24/7 these fine folks will be there.

XOXO Amy

Domestic Violence

5 High profile celebrities that have experienced domestic violence Pt 1

Hey All,

We all know that DV can hit anyone. It does not matter if your Rich or Poor, successful or just trying to make it. Everyone one of us has a different story on how we were forcefully made to join this awful club. Some of us left right away. Others took more time to plan to be safe. Some went back and forth on if we should go or not. Regardless on how we made it through or if your still in and working through it we are all the same.

Celebrities are for sure no exception. I’m sure most know the stories of these 5 strong ladies but here is a quick reminder that even at the top of your game you are not alone in this. We are stronger together. And unfortunately as the People Magazine pages say.. “Stars.. They’re just like us”

  1. Rihanna

In 2009, on the eve of the Grammy awards Rihanna and Chris Brown had a moment that would have the world buzzing the very next day. By daylight Chris Brown and Rihanna’s performances were cancelled. One was arrested and the other was black and blue and a photo of Miss Rihanna’s face was ALL OVER the internet.

You can for sure read about it all in detail and see the photo’s with a quick internet search but since it could be a trigger for some I will leave that for someone else to discuss.

What makes this close to home for me and probably many others is that she went back to him. She felt he made a mistake and just needed help and she felt very protective. This is a very common reaction. On average it takes 8 times to leave before it sticks.

The other thing that is hard but so common is that Chris Brown is remorseful but in an interview after the incident, His verbiage was she did this and she did that. He acknowledges his wrongs but it was almost like… If she didn’t do this I wouldn’t have done that. Victim blaming at it’s finest. CB was sentenced to 5 years probation, 1 year of domestic violence counseling and 6 months community service.

Both Rihanna and Chris moved on and had successful careers. Chris has had his ups and downs since then. He is now a father and Rihanna is expecting her first child.

2. Tina Turner

Oh miss Tina. We all know the fierce woman we see today but very early on in her career she met a man named Ike and her world changed forever.

Ike saw the talent in her early on and took her in and taught her the business. Soon he began to control every aspect of her life. Her finances, her clothes, her hair, her sound. Beatings and sexual abuse followed.

The band and staff around her all knew but they felt powerless to help. Whenever they did she got it worse. She has been quoted saying that she felt the only way out was death. In 1968 she felt that was the only option and had a scary attempt at her own life.

While driving to a show in Dallas in 1976 she suffered a bad beating in a car and once Ike fell asleep that was her chance and she finally took it. With .36 cents in her pocket she ran into a nearby hotel and decided enough was enough.

Being free is one thing but she had a tough time bouncing back. When a partner controls every aspect of your life you need to start 100% over. Record labels were scared to sign her as a solo artist. Too risky since she bailed on Ike. Little did they know the abuse she suffered.For 6 years she was out of the spotlight. Cleaning houses and singing in small clubs to get by. No one would still touch her as an artist so she decided to tell all. In 1981 she wrote a tell all book and laid it on the line. That book became a movie in 2013 that had a #1 single with the same name. What’s love got to do with it told her story and she was ready to make a new one. We see her now as a strong kick ass woman and a survivor. National treasure type level for sure.

Ike died in 2007. She met an amazing man that loves her and after 24 years she got married again in 2013.

On Sunday I will break down the last 3 wonderful ladies. Madonna, Robin Givens and Whitney Houston.

XOXO

Amy

cars ahead on road
Author Stories, Mental Health

Why I love being in the car alone..

For me and maybe many of you there is just something so damn freeing about being in the car and driving. I feel safe and protected. Just me and the open road. No fighting, no yelling, just some quality me time and it’s fabulous.

Most of you here know my past story about abuse. I was rarely allowed to do things on my own but when I got to get in the car and actually drive to do an errand or go somewhere he didn’t feel like going it was pure bliss. It was just me and my thoughts. I was in control and most of all I was free.

Most trips were small. To and from the grocery store, running to get dog food or going to the doctor. I always wish it was longer trips or I would daydream that I would miss my exit and just keep going. Nowhere to be, but wanted to be far away from where I was.

On the really cold days I would let my car warm up a bit longer just so I could stay in the car longer. On the hotter days I would jump in and let the heat wash over me like a hug and pretend I was on a tropical vacation.

I tried to run errands every chance I could just so I could get that quick little vacation. I craved it somedays. As excited as I was to get into the car the disappointment was just as great when he said he was coming with. I wanted to scream..”GET OUT, THIS IS MY TIME”

I’ve had some of my best thoughts in the car. Mapping out my life goals and how to get to them. Wild and outlandish business ideas were made and then I would laugh and think could I really get away with that?

But I will tell you my most memorable and life changing drive was when I drove from Illinois to Florida in February 2019. That was the day my life changed. I was driving away from the last 6 years of abuse. My freedom ride. I was scared but I could not stop smiling. Comparing myself to what a shelter dog must feel like breaking free from the kennel. Each state line I was giddy because it was one more state in between him and I. As the distance kept getting wider so did my smile.

It took me 3 days to drive. I started scared and alone, not knowing how I was going to make it with just what I had in my car. By the time I hit the half way point I had a plan on next steps once I arrived in Florida. By the 3rd and final day once I saw that Welcome to Florida sign I knew I was going to be ok. That cross country drive was just what I needed. No distractions, just me and my thoughts and nothing but time to get my life back.

That drive will always mean so much to me. Seeing the change in myself mile after mile is something that helps me remember how strong I can be. It shows me on my down times that I CAN do it and I WILL BE OK.

As I write this I am planning a road trip through Utah, Nevada and California. I work in a ski resort town do I am needing some warmer less wet weather:)

Have you all taken any life changing road trips? How has it changed you? I’d love to hear about it.

XOXO,

Amy