PERFECTION DECEPTION

This post has been a long time comin. But pretty much my middle name is ‘better late than never’ these days…. For your enjoyment, I have included some photos that are far from glorifying. They are completely unedited and horrible quality. You are welcome.

I have a very adorable friend who sometimes babysits the kids for me while I am at work and she said something to me a couple of months ago that was very… er…. striking. One of those things that kind of stung because I feel like I have possibly been portraying myself incorrectly, or misunderstood, or what have you. We were talkin the basics of life and she was just kind of asking how I was doing. I should add that this particular friend actually cares to hear my answers when she asks typical life questions. I have been ridin the struggle bus for quite some time now, mostly in regards to my job and trying to find balance, and I kind of just told her straight up that ‘things are sucky right now’. That is the PG version.

Deadwood. Oops. Hot mess.

Deadwood. Oops. Hot mess.

She got this super surprised look on her face and said ‘oh really? I just figured things were going really well because of your Instagram and some of the things you post on there’. She went on to elaborate that because I post a lot of “inspirational” content that I must be in a wholeheartedly peaceful place…..




whoa.




nope.




oh ya know. just working nonstop, trying to keep up on the laundry, raise two kids, and drink plenty of water.

oh ya know. just working nonstop, trying to keep up on the laundry, raise two kids, and drink plenty of water.

I can say I am honestly ashamed of the fact that I have at any point in time portrayed that I am living in a fantasy land of rainbows, unicorns, and perpetual organization. I tend to post more encouraging content because I DESIRE that feeling, not necessarily because everything is perfect. I enjoy reading poetry and passing ‘killer words’ on to my readers because sometimes that is what keeps me going day to day; a hope that tomorrow will be different, better, and I will continue to grow. I am really beginning to hate social media because of this comparison game we all tend to play. Although it has led me to all kinds of neat opportunities, it also improperly depicts what one’s life might truly be like. Let’s face it: LIFE. IS. FUCKING. HARD. (pardon the French. Why is it the French? and not some other language?). For all of us. At some point or another. Nobody really knows what war anyone else is fighting, no matter how beautiful their IG feed, or how many ‘followers’ you have, bla bla bla. And yes, I have contemplated deleting it all….. but…..

family photo. feelin kinda cute. might elbow my mom in the throat in a second. idk.

family photo. feelin kinda cute. might elbow my mom in the throat in a second. idk.

I have met some of THE MOST amazing, authentic, creative, beautiful souls through social media and have networked with a great group out in the real world because of it. These people in turn have encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and pursue more of the life that I love. They have also taught me that I have a lot to offer, just as I am, not like anyone else that might have all their squares in a matching color palette.

grrr.

grrr.

So. I will keep on keepin on. But I hope I am always being as honest as I can be. Just know that regardless if I post some horribly cheesy, insanely motivational quote that I am still dealing with anxiety, single motherhood, lack of satisfaction in my ‘real’ job, picking the mold off the bread because I forgot to buy more, personal relationship flaws, etc, etc etc. You get the point. It’s kind of like the book ‘Everybody Poops’. Except it’s ‘Everyone Gets Drunk and Poops Their Pants At their 8-Year-Old Daugher’s Piano Recital’. 

look up this author… some of the titles are freaking hilarious.

look up this author… some of the titles are freaking hilarious.

That’s a real book (and probably thing). So please please remember this when you hear the subconscious nagging you about anyone else’s ‘perfect’ life…. everyone poops.

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THIS ONE TIME. IN MALIBU.

This one time in Malibu, I fed a giraffe named Stanley from my mouth and we almost kissed…..

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It’s true. That happened. And it was glorious. It didn’t start that way. And it certainly didn’t end that way. But what DID happen, I am soooooo thankful for. I know I have talked about my goon Kayla before. We friends fo life. We have lived in different parts of the country for the past 10-15 years. Just writing that makes me cringe a little and I actually had to do the math on my fingers to make sure I wasn’t making myself sound older than I really am. But nope. Truth. In the past we catch up every now and again. An occasional birthday card, a beer when we are both in the Billings area, etc. Last May, my little squirrel turned the big 3-0 and her Madre wanted to do something really special for her. This included those near and dear meeting somewhere, as we are all quite dispersed. After much talking to Mama Lisa, we decided to meet in Malibu to take a wine safari. Kayla had approached me about this idea before and at first I thought she was joking, but as it turns out, these things truly exist (in California, everything is real). I met Kayla, and a couple of NEW friends, which those of you who know me, know my extroverted freakish self was ecstatic about - Jess and Holly, in Malibu for a long weekend of mayhem, sparkles, and champagne.

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My Uber driver nodded off to sleep the entire one and a half hour drive from LAX to Malibu. He spoke barely any English, so I valiantly tried to make conversation so as to not die in my first ten minutes in California. By the way, Uber is HORRIBLE in the Malibu area. Sometimes we waited for hours. Sometimes they never showed up, plain and simple. Other times, they take naps while cruisin around. You just never know.

That California trip was one of the most life changing experiences for me, for many reasons. First and foremost, we stayed at the Four Seasons. Ya know, where they put little mints on your pillows and make little towel swans for you? Oh. And as it turns out. If you pick up all the treats in the fridge, there are censors installed that automatically charge your room. Luckily, we convinced the eternally patient front desk staff that we are hillbilly Montanans and had never seen such a thing and had definitely not consumed anything so they subsequently removed the charges.

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Second, who doesn’t want to go tour around a winery filled with exotic animals? If you are against that, please go away. I do not need that kind of negativity in my life. Haha, then I think to myself there is probably a group of people who would be all arguing about the animals in captivity bla bla bla. Let me explain, though, that all of the wild beasts at Malibu Wine Safaris were either movie stars or rescues that were unable to be released into the wild. Also let me explain that since the horrid fires in California this past year, the facility was absolutely devastated, but none of the animals harmed. But that is kind of all I know since this post is about my time with my childhood and forever BFF and not about forest fires. Back to the safari. Whoa. I digress. Don’t even know where I was. So we were late to the safari (Uber). But super gorgeous, hiked a couple miles (which they did not serve us wine during the actual hike, much to our dismay), wine after, lots of socializing, returned to hotel. This was the day I nearly made out with a giraffe. Stanley loves romaine lettuce and my mouth tasted like dust and pesticides for about three days. By the way, Stanley is the giraffe from the Hangover movies. So yeah, I pretty much made out with a movie star. Be jealous. 

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Next, we raged in our five star hotel room to emo rock in our underwear (please don’t picture it because I have had two kids and it’s not good). If I remember correctly, Kayla even had us smear some black eyeliner on our eyes like the ‘kids used to do’. Singing so loudly that eventually a hotel staff member had to come ring the door bell (yes the door bell) to please ask us to quiet it down because there had been complaints. Regarding the door bell, it took us a while to even figure out where the noise was coming from. We ordered dirty martinis. Which are really gross. But I think we might have finished them the next morning. 

I don’t remember all of the details. At some point we practiced applying lip gloss with fake squirrel fingers. It is that Kylie Jenner stuff that doesn’t come off your lips too, unless you have a secret stash of paint thinner. When I actually write out all of this, it sounds much stranger than it did in my head. Oops. And the grand finale. The three remaining troops grab our luggage, check out of paradise, and drag our carry-ons around Hollywood Boulevard. Eventually to the Museum of Death. Jess had to make a hasty exit, due to risk of vomit city. What a strange place. I still do not have words for what I saw there….. just google it I guess.

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Basically after that, we got drunk with some British people in the airport, talked about the royal wedding, I got lost at LAX, had to exit the whole airport and go through security a second time, just to almost miss my flight home.

But the reason I am telling you all this is this…

Something happened between Kayla and I that weekend. Something magical. Prior to that, our relationship had been relatively distant. A microcosm of something that had once existed that we were desperately trying to hold together with frayed twine. But after Malibu, it was like we were whole again. We are a different kind of ‘adult’ whole. We both have grown, we have acknowledged it, we call each other out on our shit, and we move on. We check in on each other way more than we used to, still living across the country but believing that a visit is just a few hours away and also believing that we are each willing to make that possible. Because I KNOW and SHE KNOWS that nobody else will smear makeup all over their face as a thirty something mom and jump on the bed and act ridiculous and sing their heart out to our favorite songs like I will. Love you Kayla May. I love growing old with you. Can’t wait to sing with you in Austin. I hear it’s like the music capital of the world or something.

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AGE AS A PRIVILEGE

I complain. A lot. I don’t live every day to the fullest. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to. Or that I don’t have super good intentions. PS - I don’t think it’s possible to live EVERY SINGLE day to the fullest. Eventually you get a sinus infection or something that impedes that ability. Or you know when you stub your pinky toe on the side of a door or the washing machine…. That shit knocks you down for a good hour or two. That being said, I feel like I try. When I say try, I mean I am conscious of the fact that it is something I perpetually need to work on (yet will never be perfect at).

feeling old on the inside, pretending to be young on the outside….

feeling old on the inside, pretending to be young on the outside….

Age is a privilege. I have been stewing over this concept quite a bit over the past few months and it has elicited a wide array of emotions, and basic disappointment in humanity. Truth be told, in the past, I too, have been a victim of the ever persistent quest of looking/becoming/being ‘younger’. I have put chemicals on my face in an effort to get rid of wrinkles, made Botox consultation appointments (which I later canceled), and looked at myself as not measuring up to whatever the standard is that society has set forth. 

Now, disclaimer: no judgement to those of you who do whatever it is to make yourself feel better about yourself. However, I think most of this vanity is instilled in some sort of sickening societal standard that we desperately need to come together to change. I just turned 33. And (I am in no way seeking compliment here, so please spare me) I am aware I look older than that. I FEEL older than 33. I have been through a lot in my short time on this Earth, and that is okay. It’s all okay. I don’t know who or what decided that who or what defined ‘beauty’. But I am pretty bound and determined to start looking at myself and others in a different light. What if we measured beauty and happiness by how we FELT on the inside. I know that sounds cliche. But it’s true. When I think of wellness, I think of happiness. Not of the amount of wrinkles I may have on my forehead (which happens to be a few). And that’s okay.

photo cred: my boo thang, Marc

photo cred: my boo thang, Marc

As a medical professional and science geek, I should know better than to be putting things in or on my body that we really do not know the long term effects of yet. So, I refuse to do that any longer. I will no longer succumb myself to being some sort of guinea pig or lab rat for a strange comparison experiment.

When I was doing my clinical rotation work in my last year of Pharmacy School, I met a patient in oncology who made me so incredible sad, yet so thankful to be alive. She was in her mid 30’s and one random and normal day had been bouncing her baby on her knee when the baby’s head struck her chin and she bit her tongue. She bit it hard enough to wound it to the effect that she did several rounds of antibiotics, yet her tongue wound kept getting worse and worse. Eventually doctors discovered some sort of unusual cancer had developed, whether or not a result of the wound, who knows. But it ended up being stage 4, and she was undergoing the last option treatment when I met her. I guess the reason I tell you this story is, this woman did nothing wrong. In one innocent act, she had everything stripped from her and the thought of her children going on without their mother is heartbreaking to me. Growing older and being with the ones you love is a privilege, not to be taken too lightly. I don’t know about you, but I would choose bouncing my babies with wrinkles as deep as the Grand Canyon, over not at all, till the cows come home.

photo cred: Zack Vowell, Bozeman Mont.

photo cred: Zack Vowell, Bozeman Mont.

I find myself watching what I say on almost a daily basis to try to provide a positive influence for my girls. No matter what my true opinion of myself is, I want them to grow up thinking they can look in the mirror and see confident beauty regardless of what is staring back at them. Wendy Euler’s tag line (@goodbyecroptop) is 50 is the new 50. I love this. Embrace. Age isn’t so much as the visual as the relationships we form, the energy we portray, and our ability to grow and spread positivity to those around us.

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THE REFRESH

I guess a lot of flowers go dormant for a time. Im not sure if that is quite what happened to me….

photo cred - ZACK VOWELL, BOZEMAN, MONT. (AWESOME SAUCE)

photo cred - ZACK VOWELL, BOZEMAN, MONT. (AWESOME SAUCE)

But something happened. It would be fair and more accurate to say I gave up for a short period of time. I got overwhelmed. They say that comparison is the thief of joy; and lemme tell ya. TRUTH. This whole hobby of blogging, writing, and the social media aspect that follows is extremely daunting in the realm of comparison. It is not difficult to get caught up in the idea that you aren’t good enough, or that what you are writing isn’t good or captivating enough, or people don’t like this or that or the other. That is what probably initiated my disinterest in the whole kit and caboodle. Once this happened, I found myself finding the most mundane excuses you could ever think of to kind of ‘get out’ of blogging. After all, SOMEONE has to water the succulents once a week. And so. I stopped. I stopped sharing anything and I quit doing something I love. It has been roughly 8 months since my last post. Actually, it’s not even fair to call that ‘mine’. 

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A few weeks ago, the thing happened. I woke up and decided I just didn’t give shit. I decided I didn’t care that all my laundry wasn’t done or that my house is pretty much always a disaster. And honestly, those succulents are more work than they are worth and there is some sort of fungus growing on one of them. I know, if I can’t keep those alive, how do I keep my humans alive? I decided I have a finite amount of days on this planet and I’ll be damned if I am going to spend them trying to live up to whatever expectations anyone else has for me. I am not going to compare myself to anyone else either because, truth be told, I’m an odd duck anyways and it’s not like comparing apples to apples. I like pants with loud prints, and bright colored shoes, and I don’t care if it’s trendy or not. And it probably DOES make my butt look big. But I don’t care. And that’s why I don’t ask anyone.

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I am not solely responsible for this epiphany and it wouldn’t be fair to not give credit where credit is due. For most of these people, I don’t know how to give credit other than their Instagram handle….. Lame maybe. But. shrug. Several of these ladies were at an event called Girl Talk I attended put on by an amazing woman in the Bozeman community - Cass Wendell. Sooooo phenomenal.  

@thewellnessrookie for showing me a sense of community and encouragement that has been looooonnng overdue. Cass, eternally grateful.

@revolutionarylifestyle - self love teacher extraordinaire. I don’t really need to say more. She runs a podcast you should check out though. Super duper thumbs up. 

@goodbyecroptop who, in a recent women’s wellness group event, spoke some extremely wise words on aging and convinced me to embrace growing older and gaining experience as a positive aspect of life. This really struck me to the core. And peeps - she is awesome. I canceled a Botox consult appointment. Legit. 

@nicolewildcollective for being a stellar down to earth yoga lady and exhibiting the possibilities of retraining your body to do incredible things.

@ess_effect for also showing me quality community and lady love. And for putting up with my horrid modeling skillz. (skills with a ‘z’ because it’s THAT bad).

Last, but certainly not least, my main squeeze Cark. (That’s Marc with a C to the layperson). He has taught me something that I am not sure I would have ever learned, which is to be graceful and kind to myself. It is an idea I am still growing accustomed to, but I feel like there is so much progress here. I have learned: it is okay to nap, relax, screw up, apologize, and subsequently be forgiven, and it’s okay to NOT DO ALL THE THINGS AND JUST LIVE AND ENJOY. Attention all type A/overachieving freaks out there. Heed this. You won’t regret it.

It’s likely that all of these people (along with a million unmentioned) have no idea they have even impacted me the way they have. But that is why I feel it’s important to recognize that. To some extent, we are all looking to inspire the uninspired. To change someone. Alter a perception for the better. This project will be taking a slight dogleg left for that reason, as far as content is concerned.

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And another thing. I also don’t care that I have horrible grammar and my sentences are either incomplete or run on for eternity. Just sayin.

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