Some people are experts at painting the perfect picture. Whether it is a pitch for a product, a job that promises the world you’ve always wanted to live in, or a relationship with what seems to be your true prince charming. However, we must listen to our inner intuition when the painting starts to collect a lot of holes. Much like the paintings in a museum, they become a lot less valuable with tears and holes, and are usually rejected for long-term use. Now some people are excellent at trying to repaint the picture to cover up the holes, however, the holes still remain, thus the picture still holding no true value. So when your inner intuition starts pointing out the holes, it’s imperative that we listen. Because no matter how many times the painting is repainted, the holes make it worthless giving you two options…1. Try to ignore the holes and continue to believe the painting still holds value until everything crashes in front of us when it’s time to cash it in, or 2. Walk away.
If you choose the second option, then know there’s no need to beat yourself up. You should be proud that you listened to your inner intuition, and can now find a picture with the true value it should that is worth your time and effort. If you choose the first option, there’s no need to beat yourself up. Just know that you will be paying way more than the painted picture will ever be worth, and will never find true happiness with it or yourself and it will hurt more the longer you try to convince yourself there are no holes in the actual painting.
Someone recently told me that if there’s no true value in the reward, you will have no desire to work towards achieving it. This is very true, which is why it was so easy to walk away from the current picture that had nothing but holes in it to begin with. I just wanted it to be whole to help make my dreams a reality. However, I have to take the time to be proud of myself, because three years earlier I would have still been making myself sick trying to convince myself that I had to keep the repainted picture in order to survive. This time, although my future is still not set in stone, I am happier for knowing that whatever comes next is worth more than a picture full of holes no matter how good someone can paint it. For we are true Storm Chasers! And we never fully invest in a painting that doesn’t have a true value of anything less than ourselves!
I know, I know. I have failed us both. I let life get in the way of making time to write, and I have been regretting it the entire time. So despite still having to take one more class due to Park’s error, I was determined to take myself on Chasing Stormi Adventure as a graduation gift to myself. As you already know, I am not a fan of heights. However, the hidden Kansas City gem of Go Ape Adventures seemed like the perfect challenge to get me back on track.
Described best as a 2-3 hour exhilarating outdoor activity through the forest canopy of Swope Park, this high-ropes course included suspended obstacle courses with zip lines and all! I invited my partner in crime, Kisha, knowing a few things. This girl is up for any adventure, is in ridiculous shape (which I was not), and would be the perfect support system to keep me going. Besides, if I fell at any moment she would have to report it, mostly because I would be her ride home….ha!
So here I was, in no athletic shape whatsoever, about to take on the added challenge of being suspended in the trees with no net below. Oh wait, you also get to hook yourself up to each line before working your way across with no assistance. As Kisha was so kind to point out, “If you fall and die then it’s on you.” I said she was going to be a great support system, right?
This was the same girl that insisted we take the extreme course option whenever there was a choice, gracefully made it through like a ballerina showing no real struggle, and politely shook all of the ropes before it was my turn while laughing because she knew she was pushing my comfort level, but I still loved her anyway as she shouted, “Go big or go home!” because I knew she was right. Now before you get the wrong idea, I should also tell you that she spent a majority of the course telling me how proud of me she was, and dusted off as much of the forest off my back that she could from my poor zip line landings. Yes, this girl is my Storm Chasing Sister, and I will be forever in the debt of the Universal Intelligence that put her in my path.
During our 1 hour and 42 minute adventure, (I told you she was quick) I came to realize that following things:
I dare you to check out this hidden gem of KC. I dare you to push yourself to strategically get from one tree to another with simply ropes and possibly boards. I dare you to practice your company team building! I dare you to land perfectly from the freaking zip lines like Kisha could! I dare you to challenge yourself, so that if nothing else you can celebrate each little victory and see how far YOU have come.
No offense, but it is quite saddening that in an age with such advancement “being single on V-Day” is still considered the end of the world to most people, and I am not talking about all actual single people either. Is the world not negative and frustrating enough right now? Are you still missing the fact that you are worth so much more than nothing when you carry the label of being “single”?
Yesterday was International Day of Self Love. Yes, it’s a real holiday. You can check it out on Google. I’m not making this up! It just happens to get foreshadowed due to Valentine’s Day being the very next day. Much like those that have birthdays to celebrate around other massively commercialized holidays such as Christmas and New Year’s I suppose.
However, don’t fret that you didn’t get to celebrate, because whether you are single or not, Valentine’s Day is your day to continue on celebrating! Why? Because it is a day of celebrating LOVE! And who better to love and celebrate you than YOU! For you are a Storm Chaser, with a minimum bid of $1 million of self-worth.
Now, I realize that maybe this is a new concept for you. Maybe you have gotten sucked into the constant negativity of the world. Maybe you are not sure how one would celebrate their awesomeness on a day that focuses on couples only. Here is a list of 10 things to help you out a bit.
People will always judge others. They will always have something to say even if they have no clue what they are talking about. So why not determine what they talk about?
This life is about choices. You have the choice to considered this a day of sorrow and doom, and allow yourself to get sucked into the overwhelming negativity that this world has to offer. Or you can make a change for the better, and consider this day to be what it truly is supposed to be about. Love. Even if the only one you have to celebrate this holiday is you. The choice is yours Storm Chaser. What will it be?...
When I first read this, I knew I had to try it immediately! What a great way to start a new year off right! This is definitely NOT an activity to surpass! I reached out to Jenny to see if I could share it with my readers as well, because it's an experience not to be missed by my Storm Chasers. So here you go. Some of the best advice to get your 2018 started off right!
Things are intense astrologically, and you may have heard that Mercury is Retrograde, which scares the crap out of some people. It can cause technology issues and communications between people can seem upside down. Misunderstandings can happen. It is so big for some people, they won’t even sign a contact during that time. It’s over on the 23rd so you are good heading into 2018. The holiday season can be a joyful and happy time or an overwhelming and chaotic for others. This year has been intense with the politics, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and the #metoo movement. But all that aside, I want you to have the best 2018 ever and one way to use Mercury during it’s retrograde period is to clean up loose ends, finish projects, and you can look back on the past to see what you need to heal. Get your journal out. Try this out if you want to change or want some area of your life to change. Do this exercise even if you don’t believe astrology has any effect on your life, because any personal development, self-help, or work you do on yourself is ALWAYS a good idea.
Write a love letter to:
1. Your 2017 Self so far.
2. 2017 itself.
3. Right now.
4. Your 2018 Self.
5. 2018 itself.
It’s all energy. You will gain a-ha’s, awareness, intuition, and many gifts by tapping into both the past and the future while staying aligned and present in the NOW.
Do not fret and make this complicated. Just journal a flow from 2–3 sentences all the way to a page long for each one. Everyone is different.
For the past, the point is to see what you need to let go of, release, and forgive so you do not bring any shame, blame, guilt, fear, doubt, or limiting beliefs forward into the future. See the positive of your year and have gratitude for the lessons learned and the love and joy had.
Right now even if you are stressed, take a deep breath and write: “Dear Now, Thank you for my breath. I am happy to be alive in this body…” List even gratitude, appreciation, like, love, enjoyment of right now in your life.
Into the future, bless it, send love & light, prayers, good wishes, high vibes, goals, intentions, things you are excited about. Think about a clean slate on which to create. Instead of a “bucket” list, think “Bliss” list. What would bring you bliss?
What experiences would you like to have? Even ask: “How much fun can I have in 2018? What would bring me joy that I have not even thought of? How magical can my life feel? How many miracles can I see manifested easily in my life?”
Have fun with this. Play. This is self-care just like bubble baths are. Very important to nourish your body, mind, and soul. Mindset work and centered energy will make next year different. Look within. There is so much there.
Have a wonderful and magical 2018!
Wishing you a fired-up life,
Jenny G. Perry
Goddess Life Coach
Because Today I have Purpose.
Because Today I have Goals.
Because Today I have a Destiny to Fill
That makes my Soul whole.
Because I am a #StormChaser.
Because the Future was Shown to Me,
And I am More than Ready to Accept it.
Because I am Here to Help You #SurviveOurStorms.
Because Today I Cannot be Beat Down.
Because Today, I put my Tennis Shoes on.
Because Today, I’m Ready to Run.
Are You Ready?...
If Not, Do Not Worry.
I've got you.
I’m strong because I am a Storm Chaser.
I choose to love and appreciate myself and others for their awesomeness.
I choose not to give up.
I have days when I am weak and I may not even be able to put my running shoes on, but I refuse to stay weak and do nothing forever.
Life is meant to be lived.
Life is meant to be “uncomfortable.”
My fire to conquer my personal storms and help others love themselves gives me the strength to keep going.
I am strong because I have people who love and support me.
I’m strong because I am a fighter, and being super stubborn doesn’t hurt either. HA!
I am strong because I have a destiny that needs to be fulfilled.
I am strong because others need me, and I know my worth and what I deserve.
Fear can paralyze.
Fear can make you sick.
Fear can hold you in the past.
Fear can keep you comfortable.
But fear can also be…
An opportunity to grow.
An opportunity to tie your shoe laces.
An opportunity to run.
How will Fear control you today Storm Chaser?....
From the second we open our eyes to start our day, we have a choice.
A choice to get caught up in the stresses and negativity of life,
Or to be positive and make someone smile.
I don’t always make the right choice personally.
But today, I chose to smile and inspire.
And sing. And dance. And laugh. And play.
Because I am a Storm Chaser and this is what I was born for.
What do you choose to do today?...
When I first saw the Insane Inflatable Race in 2015, I signed up immediately. I knew it would be the perfect adventure for Chasing Stormi to tackle. I ended up having the summer flu that day, and missed the entire race.
It showed up on Facebook for the second time in 2016. I signed up again. In January, I fell down a flight of stairs, ended up in a boot, and had no option of getting in shape for the race. I began to think this race was cursed for me. I was frustrated. However, the boot finally came off, and I had a month to do what I could to prepare to be “insane.”
I went to 9Round Lenexa for help. Their whole workout concept had me hooked after my first free workout. Not only was I getting my butt kicked thoroughly, but I was having the time of my life doing it! I highly recommend you check them out.
My friend, James, and my favorite 13 year old, Breonna, were determined to keep me on track. They signed up for team Chasing Stormi so we could all be “insane” together. Breonna also went to 9Round with me. Mama Bear made us team shirts. I focused on not getting hurt before the race. James talked smack to make us all laugh.
Race day came. We were dressed and ready to tackle this storm! We got our numbers, I layered up in sunscreen, and my shoes were good to go. James and Breonna teased who would finish first. My main goal was to finish without passing out before I reached the finish line. We noticed that the obstacles were spread out and not one large obstacle. This turned out to be a good thing.
The horn blew, and we were off! Breonna took the lead. I was impressed at my ability to quickly climb the top of the first inflatable mountain. I knew I had 9Round to thank! James, being the awesome person he is, slowed down to keep me company at my slower pace. “No man left behind!” he said. “Oh I am not getting left anywhere,” I responded. I was finishing this thing no matter what!
Despite his entertainment of hiding to jump out and scare me, and pushing whatever obstacle he could in my path to slow me down, we still managed to catch up to Breonna all the same. She, too, slowed down so we could finish together. We may have been slower than some, but we were having the best time being “insane.”
The obstacles are no joke. They were spaced out so you could walk and collect your energy in between. I am pretty sure that my previous dancer grace had taken a vacation that day. However, I did not skip a single obstacle, no matter how many times I fell down, or how long it took me to complete it. James and Breonna cheered me on the whole way. James ran around to take pictures of me finishing, showing others of my accomplishment. Breonna cheered us both on all of the way to the very end. I was proud of my team. I was proud of myself. Just more proof that being “insane” is not a bad thing. This is a good thing since I earned that label very early in life….Ha!
Today, my fire gained fuel. I sat, with great pride and love, in the living room of the original Storm Chaser. I starred, in awe, at the beautiful face that held ornery eyes that would never age. Meet Nana. A woman that has greatly shaped me into the Storm Chaser I am today. She is the original.
A personal storm came out of nowhere when I was least expecting it. Right after graduation, I received a letter that would shatter the world as I knew it. A letter that stated I owed Park University over $1,000, and I was not allowed to get my grads or return to school until the balance was paid in full. I fell to the floor and cried. I was currently unemployed, and $1,000 plus dollars refused to fall from the sky all summer despite how hard I tried.
I have tried everything all summer long. Friends and family are trying to help, however, every time the money starts to collect “life happens.” My chest would ache where my heart seemed to no longer be located. I finally know what I want to be when I grow up! And now, I am at a standstill until life finally decides to give me a break.
Why $1,000 plus dollars? This is the really awesome part. When financial aid got split between two schools, I spent all semester talking to both Park and JCCC to make sure that everything was going like it should since I had never split between schools before. I was assured it was. The bill is for taking an extra class. My Park advisor enrolled me in an extra class that was not covered by financial aid, because she saw the amount going towards JCCC thinking it was still available for use. Now I am stuck with a very heavy bill.
Time is against me. Since May 25th, the storm came and swallowed my heart and soul whole. I haven’t felt this terrible since I was told I would never dance again. Something that had been a major part of my identity for the majority of my life was ripped away from me. Suddenly, I had become lost beyond words. All because of a single turn and a knee cap that wanted to go its own way. It was happening again. I was lost. Until two days ago.
The shell is different, but this sassy Storm Chaser arrived on Friday for the first time since I graduated. “Hello old friend,” I said smiling in the mirror. I am not sure why she is back right now when there are no answers or solutions in sight just yet, but I welcome her all the same. My shoes are still laced. I am still chasing the same storm. However, now I have heart and soul again and it feels so much better. I may or may not be able to return this Fall, but the fire has returned to fight the storm a lot better. We will see what the future holds. But today, this sassy Storm Chaser is here to rule, and hopefully is here to stay.
She laced up.
She faced the storm head on.
She conquered her struggles.
She stopped to enjoy the rain, then began to chase once more.
For she is a Storm Chaser, unstoppable and beautiful.
She is amazing beyond words, because she is You.
The storm is here.
The rain plummets the ground, and the sky erupts with light and sound. Life has you feeling like you're ready to drown.
Do you go hide under the covers until it is all done? Or do you grab your shoes, lace them up, and get ready to run?...
You are many things Storm Chaser….
You are NOT the following….
Stop focusing on what you are NOT, and focus on what you are meant to be. The positive force that comes to remove all negativity. A Storm Chaser. The best thing anyone could possibly want to be! Are your shoes laced up?....Because it is time to run once more. Let’s do this!
When you take medications that you can't live without, and it causes you to forever gain weight, it's a miracle if you can lose any weight at all. Although I am terrible and cheat more than I should, I have managed to lose 20 lbs. Good days or bad days, my laces are tied. I WILL keep chasing this storm to healthiness no matter how slow I run. For I am a Storm Chaser, and that's how we roll!
There are many things to celebrate tomorrow. It is the celebration of our great nation, and the freedom that we earned. It is a time to spend with family and friends, while enjoying the act of blowing things up. It is also a great day to celebrate YOUR freedom and independence. So go on girl! Go celebrate YOU!
Storms come in various degrees. Some storms are exciting. Some storms are annoying more than anything else. Other storms bring you to your knees. How are you supposed to get off your knees?
I realize this is easier said than done. Personally, I’m still repeating Step 5 at the moment. I know things are not easy right now. My own brain is protesting against me, making my body weak and unsteady to move. However, I am a Storm Chaser.
If life were meant to be easy, then I would never be satisfied. Boredom is not my style. Some days I am only able to get my shoes on with nothing more. Other days I am able to stand, and even breathe. Lately, I feel like I have not been able to get a foot slid before me in order to redo my laces.
There’s nothing wrong with being weak. There is nothing wrong with admitting it either. There also is nothing wrong with asking for help. However, no storm ever defines you. It only strengthens you, even if it doesn’t feel like in in the moment.
You are not only an amazing human being, but you are not alone. We are meant to struggle, because we are strong enough to handle it while helping others. So here goes….sliding one foot in front to tie my shoe laces again….
I have never really understood why we had to fit our lives into a box. The box I am speaking about is the check box on forms; race, color, gender, marital status. Ah yes, that glorious “marital status” section of all forms. The box where you declare if you are: Single/Married/Widowed/Divorced.
Divorced- a term to state “freedom” for some, “fail” for others. No matter if you chose to get divorced, or if it was chosen for you, someone is typically hurt in the process. So why should I have to be reminded of a bad couple of marriages, because you refuse to let me label myself as “single” instead?
Well guess what?.... I’m doing it anyway. That is the label I earned when the papers were finalized. You do not get to determine if I am labeled as walking away from a bad marriage (or two). Only I get to decide what happens to me after my marriages. I became Single.
Single to determine my own future. Single to put myself first. Single to love myself without anyone else’s approval. Single to try new things. Single to get uncomfortable and meet new people. Single to open my heart back up and see what the world has to hold. Single to be a Storm Chaser and conquer any storm.
So, if you are expecting me to check the box labeled “Divorced,” you will forever be waiting. I am Single; and I am LOVING IT!
Being single is not always easy. Many times we lose our way. We let life defeat us. We lose confidence. We forget that we are Storm Chasers, and all that we are truly capable of. However, my BFF Storm Chaser is here to save us all!
It is hard when life wins to the point that you can’t feel good about yourself. For me, it is much needed medication that causes massive weight gain. It is hard to stay inspired to change for the better when you know you are just going to lose the battle anyway.
Surviving a marriage that took away everything that I used to be, I was lost. I was a size 16. I hated clothes shopping. It was a depressing chore. Sometimes it still is. I get sick more often than not. My body is not in shape to fight what is thrown my way, and my heart and head had gotten to the point where it quite frankly doesn’t care.
It was time to put my running shoes back on and chase this storm. It was time to no longer let it win.
It has been over two years since my adventures began. I started to struggle to get through them simply because my body wasn’t able to.
My BFF felt the exact same. We had forgotten our capabilities. We had let the struggle of life win. We wanted to get healthy, and feel good about ourselves. We wanted to beat this storm. So we decided to do just that.
I have not exactly been too successful yet. First I fell down a flight of stairs that put my ankle in a boot. This did nothing but discourage me. My BFF encouraged me to hold on. We would get there.
It took FOREVER to get the dang thing off! However, I wanted her to begin, even if it meant I would be behind. She put on her running shoes, and made the storm calm without much fighting at all.
As you can see, she was struggling just like me. However, her determination was even stronger than what I desired to accomplish. She posted her journey on Facebook in order to remind us all…Storm chasing isn’t always easy, but we are capable of #SurvivingOurStorms.
One of the things I love the most about this woman is her character. She is encouraging, sweet, patience, loving, and more! Even on her worst days, she was cheering me on as if I was more of a priority than her. That’s probably why she’s my BFF.
Yes, she’s just as smoking hot as ever, but it’s not about getting skinny. That’s just a bonus. The fire that resides in her is so inspiring; you can’t help but want to be just like her. Her determination puts you in constant awe. Her support makes your heart want to burst from the love for her.
We share our struggles now that I am a member of 9Round. I have let depression win occasionally, and she has helped me get through it to get my butt back into class. Although I can’t seem to beat the habit of sneaking ice cream, she still cheers me on and lectures me to stay on point.
My progress is slower. Probably from the ice cream, but we’re not going to talk about that…ha! However, I now fit into my size 14 skinny jeans. A feeling of accomplishment that is overwhelming has emerged. It’s not about losing weight. That is just an added bonus. The first time I went, I could not even make it to round 4 without quitting. I quickly made it through 9 every time! Some days I am less successful. Sometimes I have to take fewer breaks. Sometimes I feel like I will never get finished.
Then I think of my BFF. Successful with her determination to find herself, and I push myself to get through each round no matter what! Even though 9Round is my favorite exercise program EVER, I still have a habit of letting depression win. I have a habit of not pushing myself through that front door, knowing that I cannot use any of my excuses to avoid feeling better.
However, my BFF always comes to the rescue with encouraging words, and the ability to always be there for me.
There are other Storm Chasers that are determined to keep me on track. Even my favorite 13 year old takes the ice cream away when she’s with me, and gives me something healthy instead. Another friend is nothing but supportive, and I can’t help but love his determination for my success. They make sure that healthy choices are made even when we eat out. I get lectured and pushed to get my dang feet through that front door. They workout with me, and help me stay on track. They know how much I desire to be healthy, ice cream monster or not!
Surviving storms is not always easy. However, you would be surprised how much support is out there for you when you need it most. Even though I struggle a lot these days, I am always here to struggle and survive with you. It’s time to put those running shoes on. It’s time to remember how good it feels to be Storm Chasers!
Uber. A way to ride around town when you don’t have a car, have had too much to drink, or simply cannot drive yourself. It is also a way for drivers to earn some extra cash on their own terms. However, do you know who your Uber Driver is?
A concept that was spoke about often, but never tried. In a time when extra cash was needed to help pay for school, I decided to see what the craze was all about.
After a very vigorous background check, and more hoops to jump through than any previous job I have had, I was given the forms and stickers to get on the road. Although I knew how thorough they had been with me, are they thorough at all about who gets in your car?
This girl is not frail, but she is a girl all the same. I was uneasy about what this “job” had in store for me. I was definitely going to be uncomfortable! So off I went.
The first rider was naturally nerve wracking for me. The second rider was more fun. Then I was hooked. Kansas City is FULL of various characters. This adventure was definitely going to have me meet them all…
Some are from out of town and ask for the best of Kansas City. Some want you to log off and come party with them because they love you that much. Some are quiet and don’t speak at all. Some tell you about their lives without breathing at all. Some require you to put on your super hero cape as you attempt to get them home without valid details. Some, you just hope fall asleep so they don’t throw up in your car.
Others teach me about careers that I never knew existed. Some give me life advice that I use! Some are unhappy and try to make you unhappy as well just to feel better. Others unknowingly learn about the ASL culture, because they happened to ask the question that opens the door.
Some laugh and say you’re amazing for your ability to entertain. Others sing to the radio with you and show you new car dancing moves. Some even give college and career advice. They teach you of what is to come. Yes, Kansas City carries many interesting characters whether residents or simply visitors.
However, do you know your Uber Driver? They are just as fascinating, and they only get rated without their stories being told.
Some are struggling college students trying to make some extra cash. Some are simply trying to make ends meet. Some love it so much it’s their only job they want. Some simply love the extra cash on the schedule they choose to have. Some are bloggers curious to see what the hype is all about. Sometimes your Uber Driver is a little of all of these.
Just like any career, there are people that put a bad taste in your mouth. They ruin your experience, making it hard to do it again. Some are talkers. Some are not. However, many of the drivers are just as fascinating as the characters of Kansas City.
A job that was just to be a quick and easy way to make money, while also being a Chasing Stormi Adventure, became even more than that.
I was reminded of how many characters the world holds. I was reminded of where hidden treasures were in the Kansas City area. I learned that it’s fun to make money playing chauffer. I learned how easy to help make ends meet, simply by swiping the “online” button to the right. I now know the fascination is on both sides. I know that I might learn as much from the driver as I do from my riders. So do you know your Uber Driver? Are you curious to see how much character THEY hold? I dare you to get uncomfortable and find out. You might learn something.
With Cats and Mats being one of the most entertaining experiences, there was no WAY I was going to turn down the chance to do Poses with Pups in the Park! I grabbed my mat and eagerly headed out.
Reality set in as I got close to the park. In my excitement to do yoga with dogs, I forgot a very important factor. I am highly allergic to grass. This was going to be tricky. I was definitely going to end up uncomfortable! However, I was not going to pass this up.
I sat in my car, strategizing, while I waited for everyone else to arrive.
I can do this. I just can’t touch the grass. All I have to do is stay on the mat, right? Well, minus the fact that the grass would blow over the top of the mat. It wouldn’t move off of the mat while we found our Zen either.
I kept my tennis shoes on, put my yoga gloves, and made what adjustments I could. I had to miss out on my favorite part of yoga. I love the unwinding at the very end of the session. Nothing is sweeter than lying on your back, with your eyes closed, feeling the elements, and finding your peace. Unless those particular elements try to take you out….ha!
However, the experience was just as amazing as with the mischievous kittens! If you do yoga at home with furry friends, then you already know what a “special” event this is. You struggle to finally find balance and BAM! Out of nowhere a cold, wet nose and “helping paws” will have you flat on your back, laughing your butt off. Once again, I found myself laughing more than balancing. I was okay with that.
If you are looking to enjoy some fun activities, and make new furry friends, be sure to follow my friend. Cindy Newland owns #intentionallyeat! You will be able to find out first hand when these events take place, while learning great tips for healthy eating!
You cannot mention the word “tattoo” without immediately being emerged into the age old controversy surrounding it. Some believe it is just a sign of rebellion. A way to tarnish the godly temple that you were bestowed at birth in order to “get even”. Others view it as a way to express their individualism. A way to show off things that make them proud to be who they are.
My initial thoughts were pain, permanence, and regret. I spent a lot of years listening to horror stories about people who later regretted their symbols of expression. The agonizing pain that came with the permanent mark was not motivating either. A permanent mark, mind you, that would not be disappearing any time soon.
I had the friends that loved their self-expression. I heard the ongoing theme, “Once you get one, you won’t stop there!” There have been several personal storms that I have had to chase to get to the other side. Each time my friend, Shannon, would talk about the freedom of expressing oneself after such massive storms. The idea became fascinating quickly. The bravery to follow through seemed to refuse to come at all. I loved my flighty friend. She encouraged me to start stepping outside of my comfort zone early on in our relationship. She also amazingly respected me even if I wasn’t ready.
We had the tattoo conversation more and more as I got older. As a dancer, it was too much of a pain to always try to hide the symbol of self-expression according to my co-workers. I wasn’t a fan of pain regardless, but it was the permanence of picking the wrong symbol to represent your personal awesomeness that I could never seem to get past. And then Chasing Stormi arrived.
Recently, I have had the strong desire to set her free now that all of my finals were done. She hasn’t been able to play much during school, which I guess is why I felt I needed to go extreme. The desire to get that symbol of self-expression grew quickly once more. However, the actual symbol continued to escape me.
One day the vision came as clear as day. Now all I had to do was to suck it up and actually follow through.
On a random afternoon after seeing my mama bear I thought, “Heck. I guess I should at least find out how much it would cost.” However, when I arrived and explained what I wanted the price was good, they were eager to do it then and there, and if I just said the word “yes” I wouldn’t even be able to stop myself. The word fell out of my mouth before I realized it.
The panic attack quickly set in. “What the heck was I thinking?!” Then I thought about all of my tattooed friends. Shame on them for being signs of inspiration dang it! My body shook. I kept forgetting to breathe. “Stop being a wuss and step outside of your comfort zone like you were meant to!” she scolded me. So I laid on the table and sang while the polite young man did his thing. He laughed often as my singing grew louder to get through the pain. When finished he informed me that I did excellent for my first one. I corrected him by stating it would be my ONLY one.
I did it. I faced my fear and I was able to find something that I would NEVER regret being my symbol of self-expression. All of the people that said it wouldn’t hurt obviously were drunk, ha! However, I survived all the same. Some people will judge. Others congratulate. I am actually quite fond of it. So I will stand proudly on the ink side of the controversy. What about you?...
Two messages came through Facebook asking me to contact a couple of friends I haven’t heard from in a while one Saturday night. I acquired these friends during my marriage to the #FallenHero. These friends knew all the original parties well.
First one asked if I heard about the #FallenHero. My automatic response was “What has he done now?...” The response was one I wasn’t expecting.
“I’m sorry,” she said.
“For what? It’s been two years…”
“No honey. He’s dead. They found him. He died of liver failure,” she said quietly on the phone.
The words “Well at least he didn’t shoot himself in the head again” tumbled out of my mouth without a thought. My focus was immediately on his family. They had already lost enough.
“Yes,” she said quietly again. “I’m so sorry.”
“Why are you sorry?” I asked. “It was an end we all knew was coming. It actually came a lot sooner than I had expected.” Why would someone say they felt sorry for me? We weren’t married any more. We hadn’t been in touch since the divorce got finalized. The only thing I knew was that he was literally right across the street in our old townhome without knowledge of me being so near. And the automatic panic attack that appeared at the sight of a bright blue car. Heck, it didn’t even have to be a Focus! This made absolutely no sense.
Don’t get me wrong. I knew the man he was capable of being even if he chose not to be that man for a good portion of our relationship. But I couldn’t quite rap my head around why everyone wanted to send condolences to a dead marriage involving a hero that had fallen long ago.
Although it was nice to hear from this long lost friend, I still couldn’t figure out why people were behaving the way they were. Was I supposed to be feeling different? I called mama bear. My first response after trying to state the obvious to others was that maybe I should reach out to his family. They had already lost one son. It seemed like it was the humane thing to do. Mama bear gave me a second to process it.
“No. I shouldn’t do that.”
“No. You shouldn’t,” she said quietly on the phone. “People disperse their anger to anyone that is easily available whether it is wrong or not. You already had to bear that role multiple times. Do you really want to do it once more?...”
“No,” I said honestly. Still unsure of exactly what I was supposed to do with this information. We talked for what seemed like hours. A normal routine for us. I went through a range of emotions.
He will remain the start of my adjusted sails, but he will never be the one to control this boat. I am glad that no more pain can come from this storm. I also know that it was this storm that could never define me. I just grew that much stronger. Now the winds have died and all is at peace. The sky has cleared for both of us. Today, we are both free.
A girl just trying to find her way, stepping outside of her comfort zone, trying new things, and making new friends along the way!