I'm Every Woman

 and every woman should, by the time she is 30...

1. experience having lived paycheck to paycheck.  It makes you wiser. It makes you appreciate more. Learn how to coupon and budget. Then make sure you never have to live that way again, even if you budget and coupon for the rest of your life so that can be the case. It may take a while but you will be better for it.

2. have a scar with a great story behind it, physical or emotional, that she isn't afraid to share.

3. know how to get lost in her own city, literally. Take some back roads and trust that eventually you will get where you need to be. In the end, you will have learned a new way to get somewhere, finding some hidden treasures along the way. There is more than one way to every destination.

4. know how to eat alone. There is nothing wrong with going to eat and having a drink by yourself. Take a book or a magazine. Play a game on your phone. Times have changed and being by yourself is nothing to be ashamed of.

5. have a cute pair of running shoes, even if she doesn't run - it's the facade.

6. have an excellent black skirt, likewise a great pair of black pants, and of course a good bra.

7. own a movie she can watch repeatedly just to feel good and laugh.

8. know a go-to recipe for when company is coming or if she needs to take a meal to someone.

9. have a few recipes she can make in 20 minutes in a pinch, when there is not much in her pantry.

10. have black and white family photos. If you don't, you'll wish you did one day. Nothing lasts forever.

11. know how to cherish and nurture a friendship, but also know when to walk away. Some friendships only serve a purpose for a period of time, it doesn't mean they were any less important than the ones that remain. Hold on to the remaining friends you have. Everyone needs a couple of people who knew them when they were young.

12. not allow herself to be taken advantage of - by anyone, be it a co-worker, friend, spouse, boyfriend, etc.

13. give of herself without letting go of herself.

14. never forget where she came from.

15. love with her heart without losing her head.

16. use her head without losing her heart.

17. stand strong and stand up for what she believes in and knows is right. Less and less people do this now. It's easier to go with the majority. Don't. Don't lose yourself.

18. remain creative and young at heart. Remember what it was like to be a child and if you are fortunate enough to have children, let them be children.

19. have some good lipgloss and mascara on hand.

20. have a pair of jumper cables in her trunk.

21. have driven her car until there was absolutely 0 miles of gas left and still made it to the pump at least once.

22. know how to change a flat tire, or at least know who to call when it happens (trust me on this one).

23. own a great hairdryer and flatiron.

24. have an overnight bag or light suitcase that can be ready in a moments notice.

25. use sunscreen. Your dermatologist, children, and even yourself will thank you.

26. not take a single moment for granted, whether it's getting ice cream with friends or dinner with family, or even just hanging out and spending time together. Life is short. We never know how old we will be when we learn that lesson. Cherish it.

27. have a bottle of wine in the fridge, because ya never know!

28. know the number to a great chinese delivery place (for the Friday nights when she's had enough).

29. have at least one stamp in her passport, or at least have her passport ready to go.

30. have mistakes that she can leave behind but that have made her better in the long run. We flounder and fail. The key is not only in knowing where we we want to go in our next thirty years, but also in remembering that it is only a plan. Things change. People change. All any of us can hope for is to live in the moment, learn from the past, make the future fun, and appreciate everything along the way. Get busy!


Even the Best Fall Down Sometimes


I bit it and hit it hard. 

I had been out of school for a week. I think I had been in denial. The last days of school I really held in my emotions. I had been sick and was on round two of antibiotics. 

Down for the count. The win goes to Sydney. Z-pack, you're worthless. 

14 days later, I was back in the ring. My eyes were as red as could be. No, not allergies. I was balling, but it was not even as I said goodbye to my students from this current year. I made the rounds to my students from last year and said goodbye. I took a picture with each of them. Pictures don't lie. Maybe Photoshop does, but I wanted the real, raw memories. I wanted to see my love for these kids and the sadness I had when I had to say goodbye yet again, because of no contract for the fall. Same story, different summer. But this summer would be different. I was determined to enjoy it.  

What is Calling You?

Finally, my "Summertime Friend," Tara, was done with school as well. We decided to have some fun. That night was truly the most fun I had had in a very long time. I was relaxed and laughing my entire way through the night. 

Until I realized I was tired. So we began to walk back to her place. It was cool out. She began to run. I began to mock her. 

Ka-BOOM. It hurt like crap. Right in the middle of an Atlanta sidewalk all jagged and messed up. I had a feeling it would hurt even worse the next day. But me? I was laughing hysterically, like one of those hyenas from The Lion King or the way my niece used to laugh when she was first learning how (ironically, I was running like my niece did when she first learned how when I fell, no wonder it's cuter when you're 13 months old). 

Then I stood up. 

There was blood, and a lot of it. 

I looked around. 

My arm. There was literally a hole in my arm. 


I was sober. No more laughing, no more running, and no more numbed pain (maybe a tad). "We have got to get to an ER." 

We walked even faster to the car all the while holding my arm up in the air and holding it together with my other hand. "I NEED a towel!" Tara handed me a stack of napkins. Gree-eeat. Thank goodness Anthony ran to get a towel, unfortunately he chose red. 

Red + Blood = NO. 

We walked into the ER. Holding my arm. Blood dripping. The lady said, just as calmly as someone who works at McDonald's, "May I take your order?", only the words were just as calmly and routinely spoken, "sign in and have a seat." My face said, "Are you for real? I don't see anyone else out here bleeding and I have a hole in my apendage." But I sat. 

*note, the towel is just red in nature, but you can see blood

I tried to smile through it. I even sang, "Ya got blood on your face, ya been disgraced..."
But I knew it was bad. 

The nurse called me back. Alone. Just some triage to get cleaned up a tad so the doctor could see me. "Have you been drinking a little bit tonight?" Well, I'm very sober now. "Cause you're a little emotional" Oh really, that's nice of you to notice that the first time I have shed three tears the entire night is while I am alone and you are the first deemed medical professional looking at my arm as I ask, "Do you see bone?" I'm emotional am I? How nice of you to point out. 

still haven't been seen by a doctor

Back in the waiting area and clearly, a complete basket case - I got called back to a room, my parents arrived, my mom watched intently, and she let me squeeze her hand like crazy as they injected pain meds with a 5 inch needle (that didn't completely work at first and I "felt" I needed more - as I said "I FEEL that!") and stitched me up. One stitch internally, and 5 externally, then taken for an X-ray (thank goodness nothing was broken). I continued to bleed. We waited to be certain it would clot. At 4 a.m. we finally left. That was only the beginning of a long recovery.

the palm of my hand finally beginning to heal after over 2 weeks

5 days after the sutures were removed (2 weeks out); the beginning of an infection

3 weeks out; after a round of antibiotics for infection

My mom reminds me there is always plastic surgery. <3 her. 

Lessons Learned: 
Most falls, be it children or adults, happen when wearing flip-flops. 
Flip Flop are dangerous. 
Do not pick any scabs.
Mederma, Bactroban, antibiotics, and pain medications are wonderful.
Cetaphil makes an antibacterial soap. 
BE your OWN advocate.
We all stumble.
We all fall - be it literally or figuratively.
It hurts, whether it leaves a scar physically or emotionally.
Sometimes with a great story.
In the end, it's not whether we get knocked down, but rather in whether we get back up  again.

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