Soul Revival Tip #2: Laughter

One day, my husband and I had a disagreement. It was safe to say we were not each other’s favorite people at the moment. I was home and upset. I decided I needed to get my mind off of the issue. I wanted to shake off those negative emotions. So I decided to watch a stand up comedy.

As I watched, I laughed and laughed until my belly hurt and I thought I was going to piss myself. I had a moment of awareness in that instant. I scanned my emotional self and realized that although the problem with my husband and I had not been resolved, I felt better. My mood lifted and I felt lighter. I felt more at peace and joyful.

I came to the conclusion that the laughter that was induced by the comedy I was watching was responsible for this. I felt happier from laughing. Intrigued, I decided to perform sort of an experiment.

I played the stand up from the beginning when my husband arrived from work. I knew he was not going to sit down, let alone with me, and watch the film willingly. I raised the volume loud enough so that it could be heard from the other rooms while simultaneously keeping the neighbors from losing their hearing.

I could tell he was still pissed off at me. I greeted him hesitantly and let him be, giving him time to cool off. I noticed as the film played that although he was not watching it, it caught his attention and he was listening.

I watched his stiff, rigid body soften before my eyes. He gradually began to unwind. His breathing slowed. He would turn to the screen periodically and eventually, sat right next to me to watch.

As the film went on, he watched and listened intensely, even allowing a chuckle to escape his lips from time to time. Before I knew it, he was not angry anymore. He turned to me and I’m pretty sure said “Okay, what do you want to eat?” kindly. We made up after that.

Laughter, although induced by the film, made us feel better. It lifted our spirits. It took our minds off of the issue at hand. It calmed us and brought us to a more rational, relaxed state. That tranquility provided us with the clarity we needed in order to realize that our dispute was not a big deal. Not only were we able to carry on with the evening, but we were both in better places mentally and emotionally.

There are many studies that show laughter has the capability to trigger endorphins (the “happy” hormone), relax the body, stop distressing emotions, help you reenergize, calm stress hormones, as well as ease anxiety.

As for physical benefits, laughter can bring down blood pressure, burn calories, raise the production of immune cells and infection fighting antibodies (improving resistance to disease), renew the lungs, as well as relaxing the muscles relieving tension.

Laughter is so powerful that different establishments have been created in order to receive those benefits. There are laughter clubs, which is defined as a group of people gathering to practice laughter. There is laughter yoga, which is basically yoga and a laughter club combined. There is even laughter therapy, where patients in the hospital are presented with humorous activities to revitalize their bodies and spirits. Some medical professionals also make the effort to make their patients laugh because they know that it will improve the patient’s well-being.

So the next time you’re not feeling so hot, laugh. Find reasons to laugh. Watch a stand up comedy like I did that evening. Watch a funny video on YouTube or play your favorite comedic film. Call or hang out with a funny friend. Go to a comedy club. Play with your pet, tickle your kids (don’t kill them in the process). Your mental, physical and spiritual self will thank you for it later.

Age Becomes Her: My New And Improved Skin Care Routine

“There’s something about turning 30 that just changes your skin. Everything starts to go downhill and you start noticing all sorts of new stuff going on” said a friend of mine once. I hadn’t hit that milestone in life yet and my skin was pretty much the same as always, so I didn’t think much of what she said.

Now, at 31 years old, I know what the fuck she’s talking about.

A little history about my skin:

For the most part, I had no complaints. My skin was more combination/oily like. It was clear and glowy. I’m not going to lie, I was kind of blessed for a while. Growing up, I had no skin care routine. I was not kind to my skin at all and would wash my face with whatever bar of soap was laying around in the soap dish (I know some of you are either cringing right now or strangling me in your head). After washing, I didn’t use a moisturizer. My face wouldn’t feel tight, dry or uncomfortable either. I would go on my merry way without a care in the world.

In my mid twenties, I started using black african soap and coconut oil to moisturize. That worked for me for quite sometime.

Not anymore.

After turning 30, I started noticing some changes in my skin. It was much, much drier than ever. The skin around my jaw was becoming rough from the cold weather. My face looked sort of gray. It was rough, tight, dull and lifeless. I also always looked very tired. I had very dark circles around my eyes. I started seeing these tiny, little dark spots appearing on my cheeks and the sides of my face. I had a red spot between my left eye and nose. It was like a blotch with a bump on it. It wasn’t a pimple, it didn’t feel like irritation, it wasn’t painful or itchy. It was just THERE and did not go away.

I’d also noticed very few but new wrinkles making an appearance. Nothing crazy, but they did catch me off guard. I started developing faint laugh lines. I also had a bit on my forehead and a small one in between my eyebrows, probably from scrunching them together any time I was presented with stupidity (Go scrunch your eyebrows in the mirror right now, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about).

My skin is sensitive now. Anytime I washed or even wet it, I’d break out into hives all over my cheeks. I’ve gotten back into makeup as a hobby and washing my face started to become a task I’d approach with dread from the discomfort I’d experience. I needed to come to terms with it. My skin had changed, and if I wanted to see improvement, my skincare routine would have to change as well.

Black african soap worked well for me in the past. When I’d done my research before, I’d read that it was suitable for all sorts of skin types and treated all sorts of skin issues. I started to feel like it was now making my face feel very dry because it was stripping too much of its moisture. Besides being uncomfortable, dry skin is also breeding grounds for wrinkles and aging. I don’t need help with the natural, inevitable process, no thank you!

I love coconut oil and used it as a facial moisturizer for years. It always left my face feeling so soft and gave it a healthy appearance. Now.. not so much. I’d read in the past that although some swear by it, many others claimed they experienced severe, even cystic acne from using it. There are many natural oils that can be used on the face and on the comedogenic scale (rates how likely a substance is to clog your pores and create acne) and from 0-5, coconut oil has a rating of 4. Yep. Yikes! A 0-2 rating is typically considered safe, so you’re taking a gamble and playing with fire using a substance with a higher rating.

Now, if you love coconut oil, find that it works for you and has been for quite some time, do not panic. It does work well for some, but is mostly recommended for the body and hair or for people who are not acne prone, at your own risk. If you’ve been using it on your face and there hasn’t been an issue, by all means proceed. Just keep this information in mind.

I decided to start looking into different face washes and facial moisturizers to suit my new facial skin needs. I needed something that did the job but because I’m a stay at home mom, affordable.

I ventured the beauty supply store, looking for anything that looked promising when I came across Aveeno. I perked up. Aveeno has a reputation for producing gentle and effective products, so that in itself interested me.

I read all the labels and decided on two products. The Ultra Calming hydrating gel cleanser, which claimed to be fragrance free, non comedogenic, hypoallergenic and non drying while having the capability of hydrating and cleansing the skin of any dirt, oil, pollutants and makeup without disrupting the skin’s moisture barrier. The cleanser retailed at $8.99. I also grabbed the Positively Radiant Sheer daily moisturizer with SPF 30 with total soy complex. If you’re looking for something preventative for signs of aging and wrinkles, you NEED something with an SPF to protect you from sun damage, STAT! This product promised to even your skin’s tone and texture, improve the look of brown spots, reduce blotchiness and discoloration, while revealing more radiant skin in as little as 4 weeks. Like the cleanser, this product was also non comedogenic, hypoallergenic, as well as oil free. The moisturizer was $19.99, not super cheap but less expensive than something you might consider buying at Sephora.

I’m a sucker for natural remedies, so I started looking into other oils I could use on my face that were non comedogenic and could treat my problem areas as well. I came across sweet almond oil. Almond oil has a rating of 2 on the comedogenic scale (safe) and is suitable for those with dry, sensitive and acne prone skin. Almond oil is jammed packed with vitamins A and E, monosaturated fatty acids, protein, potassium and zinc. This oil has the capability of keeping your skin cells in good shape, shielding your skin from sun damage, preventing and diminishing wrinkles, holding moisture and repairing irritated skin, minimizing acne and lightening dark circles. Woooo!! That was a mouthful. I was impressed by all of this information. This oil seemed to target all of the issues I’d been experiencing. I went to GNC and picked up a bottle. It was about 15 bucks, but it’s a 16 oz bottle of oil. Believe me when I say a bit goes a long way. This stuff is going to last you forever!

I’ve been using all three of these products for the past 2 weeks and I’ve got to be honest, I already see a difference.

First off, Aveeno is the s*!#. The cleanser is amazing. I honestly did not know what to expect. I never bought moisturizing products in the past because they left me feeling dirty or greasy, but not this. I was also skeptical because gentle face washes tend to be a bit TOO mild and won’t wash makeup off your face efficiently. Not this stuff. This stuff is a dream. It got rid of every trace. All of it!!! It leaves your face feeling smooth, clean and soft. The pores on my nose even looked smaller. No more dryness. No more tightness. No irritation and hives. I am able to wash my face without looking like The Thing anymore. I genuinely appreciate that.

The moisturizer is amazing as well. My skin is starting to look like it’s lit from with in, like a jack o lantern (in a good way). My skin is soft, and this moisturizer absorbs quickly. I can apply it, wait five minutes and then put on my makeup with no problem. No greasiness, no oily, shiny t-zone, no residue. My complexion straight up just LOOKS nicer.

The sweet almond oil is to die for. It’s so lightweight and absorbs into the skin quickly as well. I don’t generally use oil on my body after a shower because I don’t like to wait around for it to penetrate into my skin. It can take forever. For the sake of trying it out, I used almond oil on my entire body after a shower and was able to get dressed after five minutes without worrying about staining my clothes. I mix a drop or so in my facial moisturizer and I’ve been using it around my eyes, wrinkles and the red spot I mentioned earlier. Not even kidding, I’ve noticed my eye area has brightened a bit. The wrinkles are still there but are definitely less prominent because the oil has plumped the skin up, making them less defined. That red spot? Straight up 90 percent gone. Yep. It shrunk down so much, it’s barely visible. I just noticed this morning and was shocked. That’s actually what compelled me to blog about it today. I couldn’t believe it and couldn’t wait to share.

I’ve been wearing more makeup lately to look more lively and awake but I’m so impressed with the changes I’m seeing within the past two weeks, I don’t feel I need to cover as much anymore. I am looking forward to seeing the progression as time goes on.

I am not sponsored by Aveeno (It would be nice though Aveeno!!!), I am just super excited and I figured I’d share my experience with you guys. If you’re experiencing similar issues with your skin, consider trying some of the products I’ve discussed yourself. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised!!

Soul Revival Tip #1: Audiobooks

I’ve always loved to read but recently, I’ve become obsessed with audiobooks. My favorite books tend to be self help/self improvement related. I find that listening to a soothing voice teaching you how to care for yourself in a time of emotional and psychological need can be powerful and incredibly impactful. It feels like someone is sitting right next to me, comforting me in my time of need.

Best of all, it’s available at all times. This means you can receive a boost of love and encouragement anytime you need it. This could be in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep. It could be on the train or your drive in to work as you mentally prepare for the next shift. It could even be when you’re going through a very difficult phase in life.

Audiobooks have been life changing for me. I do see a therapist once a week but sometimes it’s not enough. Sure, talking to other people can help. However, realistically we will not always have someone else around to help us. Therefore, we need to master the art of helping ourselves.

Telling other people your struggles can be a huge help but I’m sure you’ve also experienced times where it has backfired. Sometimes, you are met with judgement and criticism. Other times, you’ve just been given bad advice. There might have even been occasions where you find out someone told another person about your issues without your consent. You leave the situation feeling worse than you did before you told anyone. Who needs that?

I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t rely on anyone else as a source of support. If it’s a safe and confidential source, sure. I am saying that it’s absolutely necessary to learn how to help yourself alone. Even if you have the greatest support system, talking to someone else may not always be an option and you have to be prepared for moments like that. You are your own responsibility, and it’s ultimately up to you to take care of yourself.

Audiobooks are an awesome form of self care. I recommend that everyone try listening to one at some point, you may be surprised at how much better you feel afterwards. I get my books using the app. Audible. I love a lot of Louise Hay’s books. She was a world renowned author and metaphysical teacher. Her self esteem affirmations helped me learn to embrace and accept myself for who I am. In “How To Love Yourself”, Louise discusses her 10 tips towards achieving self love and self acceptance. I found this to be very eye opening and learned some life long lessons from it. “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz is one of my favorites and a very popular and well known book. Ruiz shares 4 powerful beliefs to adopt to transform your life for the better. I own the paperback, but decided to buy it in audiobook form. I actually prefer the audiobook and have bookmarked my favorite parts to listen to whenever I need an extra boost of love and encouragement.

Now I understand some people really don’t care for self help/self improvement books. That’s okay too. Fiction based audiobooks/books are an effective coping mechanism as well. Reading gets your mind off of whatever it is you’re stressing. It’s entertaining, increases your vocabulary, strengthens your imagination and is a healthy distraction. Your brain gets to take a well deserved BREAK. We ALL need that, whether it is you’re depressed or not. Coping skills are not only for those who are struggling with mental illness. Coping skills are healthy hobbies and habits to integrate into your life, for the rest of your life. The more you have in your life, the better.

Nothing that I ever suggest on my blog will ever substitute receiving professional help. If you feel there is something seriously wrong and you have it in your power, please seek professional help. However, the tips I share may help you endure life’s struggles and get through them in a healthy, safe and non destructive way. In therapy, that is what you are taught. Granted, the therapist helps you work through your problems objectively, but ultimately, they will teach or recommend different coping skills for you to use when you’re feeling angry, depressed, anxious, etc…

I know there are a lot of you that may be struggling mentally, emotionally and psychologically. I know how it feels to deal with that pain alone, to feel misunderstood or the fear that you will be looked upon as crazy. You’re not crazy. You’re just struggling. Believe it or not, those are temporary feelings. You just need to learn how to ride them out in the safest way possible. That’s where me and my soul revival tips come in. I’m sharing some of the stuff I know has saved me, and I really hope can do the same for you.

Memories Of A Broken Child

This pain… it destroys people.

You live with that shit every single day of your life.

When you wash the dishes, feed your child, while you’re taking a walk…. that moment where your mind dazes off…

The memories… they come flooding back.

Permeating your brain. It’s still there. Like a dirty stain you scrub away at furiously. It’s not going anywhere. It’s still alive. It follows you everywhere. Even when you’re all grown up, it interferes with every part of your life. As a parent, spouse, sibling, friend… it’s shaped every part of you. Every day you fight against it. It’s a battle that never ends. You hate it.

So, what exactly does it take to break a human being?

Being thrown against exercise equipment because you wouldn’t eat a bowl of rice when you were in kindergarten. Being beat by a plastic hanger and having it broken across your back in the first grade. Being called disgusting for observing your own naked body in the mirror in third grade. Being called a bitch in fifth grade. Passionately singing only to have her laugh at you. Being humiliated on a daily basis. Being ridiculed and mocked. Being made to cry to then be called “too sensitive”, “dramatic” and “crazy”. Feeling self conscious constantly. Having your legs, teeth, hair made fun of. Being told you needed braces because “You were so ugly”. Being denied privacy. Being called stupid regularly.

Being told to never marry because “No man is ever going to take that”. Watching her beat her mother. Watching her beat her daughters. Watching her beat her husband. Being in last place because her dysfunctional spouse always came first. Never being considered. Never having a say.

Being threatened when no one was around. Being punched in the face by her. Being punched in the stomach and whipped by his belt when you hadn’t seen him in a year. Being expected to respect and obey when you hadn’t seen him in five years. Him never calling you on your birthday. His absence when you graduated middle school. His absence when you went to prom. His absence when you graduated high school. His absence the majority of the time you’ve existed.

Being accused of things you’ve never done. Having to walk on eggshells because you didn’t want to make her mad. Hearing her walk into a room and feeling every hair on your body stand up. Your stomach would drop. Your breathing would stop. Crippled with fear. Frozen in place because you are in the living and breathing presence of Satan.

Being taught that your sexuality is something to be ashamed of. Being called a whore before having sex was even a thought. Shaving your privates for the first time and being called a whore again when she found out. Ironically, while still being a virgin. Attempting to kill yourself at the age of fifteen to escape the pain. Her admitting she wants you to be miserable because that’s how she feels.

Reaching out for help and being ignored. No one wanting to hear your side. Having people agree and acknowledge the abuse, yet turning a blind eye while it’s occurring. Her denial.

Running away from home, sleeping on other people’s couches. Being the butt of every joke. Being called fat behind your back by him. Her telling you he did, because if it didn’t hurt you, it never happened. Lies being spread about you. Her gossiping about you, turning everyone you love against you.

Her telling you to abort your child. Her competition against you. Her telling you your engagement ring is too small and that she wanted one bigger than yours. Her plans to get married a month before your set wedding date. Her getting drunk at your wedding. Her starting a fight outside of your wedding. Her hypocrisy.

Being diagnosed with a life threatening disease and not a phone call from her, let alone a visit. Her feigning concern to anyone who will listen. The false report she made to CPS about you. Having to record phone conversations with her to protect yourself and prevent lying.

Being robbed of your identity.

What happens when the people who are supposed to guide, love and protect you, are the ones you need protection from?

This. This is the end result.

I don’t miss you. Thankfully, I no longer need you.

I’ve gotten better. I’ve gotten stronger.

All I have left are these memories that haunt me.

I’d give anything to forget.

I’d give anything to be free.

Fighting The Good Fight

So, I’ve been silent for a bit. I mentioned that in my last blog post. There has been a lot going on here at home. Things have been a struggle, I have been struggling.

Being the mother of an autistic child is difficult beyond anyone’s understanding, besides a person in the same boat. That’s that all children on the spectrum are different from one another.

We started potty training Ethan. Me and two of his teachers camped out in the bathroom for three days. It was exhausting. Days after, he had a week off. Whole days with Ethan are tough. They are intense.

He requires a lot of attention. I am still changing diapers, still dressing him from head to toe. He has many needs. He needs to be watched vigilantly. I’ve seen him move our 50 inch television by himself. Let’s keep in mind, he’s only six years old. He’s broken his dresser which was nailed to the wall in his room, causing for the tv to come crashing down to the floor. I’ve found nails randomly in his mouth.

It’s traumatizing. I feel like I cannot keep him out my sight because he might hurt himself. There are nights where he will wake up as early as 3-4am, banging things, jumping on his bed, dropping things on the floor because he enjoys the clattering sound that’s made.

The stress from this has triggered my anxiety, a depressive episode, it’s robbed me of my ability to sleep restfully for an entire night. I wake up and lie in bed thinking about how the morning will go, creating fear and worry. Becoming apprehensive that things will be completely chaotic when it’s time to get ready for school. They usually are, my anxiety comes from not being in complete control over a situation that simply can’t.

There are things that I no longer enjoy that I used to. I used to sing regularly, I used to read tarot, I used to write frequently and now cursed with writer’s block. I always had something to say and here I find myself quiet. Just trying to stay afloat. Just trying to get through each day, day by day. That’s become my new hobby.

It’s hard. I cry a lot. It’s overwhelming. I try to keep in mind that this moment wont last forever yet it’s hard to imagine that when I feel the way I do. It’s easy to feel like a bad parent when parenting makes you break down. I’ve had moments where I feel like a weakling for not being able to handle what’s been given to me as I’m constantly struggling. It’s easy to feel like you’re not doing enough. Like you aren’t enough. Like everything you do is wrong.

So, that’s where I’ve been. I’m still in therapy. I’m still working through these issues and it’s helped immensely. I’m sharing because I know there are moms who feel the same way I do. Know that you’re far from alone. You’re not a bad person, you’re not a bad parent. If you were, you wouldn’t be concerned about being one. Hang in there.

I’m Not Dead, I Promise

So… it’s been a while. I’m still here though. I haven’t abandoned you guys. I actually love writing and this blog. My brain has been pretty fuzzy lately and I’m not quite sure why. I’ve got a case of classic writer’s block

I’ve been in a very introverted place lately. I’ve been doing a lot of self reflection. Which is good, that’s what’s required for evolution.

I’m a passionate writer and I always am flattered and appreciative of the people who do stop and read my work. It’s important for me to let you know what is going on and to be honest. Just in my own little bubble… for now.

I’ll be back from my hiatus better than ever I’m sure, either offending you or making you chuckle. Much love to you all and again, thank you for reading.

Autism Is A Gift?

Before I start, I need to state how hard this was to write. I cried all through out. I share this because I know I am not alone and I would love to meet others struggling with the same. If this offends you… I can’t help what I feel and I won’t apologize for it. I refuse to suppress anymore.

My husband and I decided to have our child. It was a mutual decision. One that made sense to me at the time. I wanted the experience of motherhood earlier in life. I was with someone who I knew would be an amazing parent. It felt perfect.

When expecting a baby, we tend to wonder what the child will be like. We imagine pigtailed princesses, tomboys, tiny all star athletes and the semblance of yourself somewhere in this little being.

None of us realize that having a child does not guarantee that he or she will be healthy or even disabled. It isn’t in our wildest dreams. Actually, it’s something that’s tucked away somewhere so far beyond your conscience, you might even feel it’s impossible. At least that’s what the experience was like for me.

I gave birth to a son. Ethan. His name brings a smile to my face. I fell in love with everything about him, from head to toe. I loved everything about being his mother. It brought me joy and pride to watch him grow. It created a curiosity in me that resembled a hunger. Who was he? Would he love video games and baseball like his dad? Would he hate small talk and crave discussions of our existence and conspiracy theories like his mom?

Ethan was 6 months old when his pediatrician told me he wasn’t hitting his milestones. She recommended that we contact early intervention to have him evaluated for any sort of delays or disabilities. I declined. I was told by every mother I knew, that all children grew at their own pace. That’s what was happening here. That was all.

Ethan learned to sit and crawl later than was expected. He took his first steps when he was a year and a half. Still, I believed this was normal. What kept me up at night was that he wasn’t talking. No phrases. Nada. I would attempt to play with him at home or I’d take him to the park. He no longer made eye contact with me. He no longer smiled or interacted with me. He didn’t respond to his name, to my voice. I was a ghost. It hurt. God did it hurt.

I told myself I’d contact early intervention if he turned two years old and was not speaking. I found myself making that phone call shortly after his second birthday after seeing no signs of improvement. The process went rather smoothly and Ethan was to be evaluated by a psychologist.

The psychologist was scheduled to visit with us at our home. She turned to me in under five minutes of her visit and told me my son was severely autistic. I felt like I’d received a hard punch to the stomach. Autism. My son? I didn’t know anything about it. It didn’t run in my family. It didn’t run in my husband’s family.

All these thoughts and fears ran through my mind. That’s it, his life is over. He’ll never lead a normal life. He won’t grow to become a man who will get married, go to college, have the ability to support himself.

In that moment, I wanted to die. I’d recently found out I had a life threatening Illness that I didn’t know I’d survive from. Hearing this broke what was left of me. I was doomed. My son, who hadn’t even begun to live his life, was doomed. I cried and cried until I thought my body had run dry. But…I couldn’t allow my emotions to paralyze me. I folded away that pain and put it away. What was the next step? What could we do right NOW to help him?

Ethan went on to receive at home, multiple hour long therapy sessions with ABA therapists, speech therapists, OT specialists, and PT specialists 5 times a week. Any service he qualified for, we made sure he got.

He began attending a center based therapy daycare, where he received all of services. He rode his first school bus at the age of 2. Once Ethan aged out of the first location, we worked closely with a social worker and with her help, got him into the best preschool that provided the services that Ethan required.

Through out this process, I didn’t allow myself to fear. I didn’t allow myself to cry. I didn’t allow myself to be human. I struggle with anxiety, which usually has a lot to do with panicking over the future. I couldn’t even feel that. I couldn’t help the diagnosis, but I could help how much I did to help my son. So I immersed myself in that.

I was sick and Ethan needed me, so I became a stay at home mother. It wasn’t where I ever saw myself in life, but my body needed to heal, and even if it didn’t, my son needed me. I would have never forgiven myself if I hadn’t done everything humanly possible to help my son progress. In my eyes, who my son would become in the future would be a result of the parenting he received. If that meant I needed to be home for him to receive his services and for me to learn teaching/therapeutic tactics to help him as well, that’s where the fuck I was going to be.

So, this is my life. I’m a stay at home mom to an autistic child. He is six years old now. He loves cars, anything Minion related, counts, sings, requests things (food especially). All on his own terms, of course. His room becomes a jungle gym during sleeping hours. He doesn’t eat anything unless it’s crunchy. He is unable to dress himself. He needs help with most basic things, including using the bathroom. I currently change his diapers.

It took me a long time to muster up the courage to talk about this. Why? I didn’t want people looking at my son with pity. I didn’t want people finding out about his diagnosis and automatically viewing him as the poster child for autism, without even getting to know him. I didn’t want unsolicited advice from inexperienced parents who hadn’t even heard of autism. I didn’t want my parenting bashed. I didn’t want to be incriminated by other autism mothers for not pretending this was a breeze or being unhappy. For not using the correct terminology. I didn’t want to hear the asininity that comes from crude people who glamorize having a disabled child, like my strife was invalid and an exaggeration.

Worst of all, I did not want to hear the phrase I loathe the most: Autism is a gift. A gift to whom exactly? When my son is crying out of frustration because he can’t verbalize words he knows and understands, do you think he feels this is a gift? Do you think he feels it’s a gift when I have to change his diaper with cold wipes in the early morning? Don’t you think at this point he feels it’s intrusive? Is it a gift that he has to be held down by five people in order to be examined because he’s scared of being bound down? Is it a gift that we use a high chair and a stroller at the age of 6? Is it a gift when he can’t enjoy a movie at a cinema like the typical child can because this disability doesn’t allow for it? Is it a gift that he has no sense of danger and could kill himself if not consistently monitored?

Saying autism is a gift is dangerous. Its divisive. It doesn’t allow for authenticity. It’s the reason mothers like me isolate themselves from the world. We cannot relate to parents with typical children, and we can’t relate to the hard core, sanctimonious, politically correct autism parents who claim to do it all like it’s effortless. We feel there is no support for us. I don’t want condemnation for not acting and feeling like our world is fantastic. I don’t want criticism for confessing that this isn’t easy and that it’s painful every single day I watch my son struggle.

If we could choose a world where autism did not exist, that’s the world we would pick. That’s the cold honest truth. To hear autism is a gift is like a slap in the face. It undermines the struggle both parent and child experience. It dismisses the agony I STILL hold so heavy in my heart because I am still mourning. I’m in mourning for the child I idealized while I was pregnant. While I love my son, while I would do everything in my power to make sure he’s taken care of, I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone.

What I want the most someday? To sit with my son one day and have a long, in-depth conversation with him. To bond and learn about him. To find out what’s going on in that little head of his. If I never get that, that’s okay as well. I will always love him unconditionally. He’s my breathing, walking and talking heart. I just wish more parents were talking about this. I just wish more parents were honest about how hard this is. We could use the support. I know I could.

Dear Cat Callers,

You are one of the reasons I opt to stay home. I’ve dealt with you since the age of thirteen once my breasts came in. Some of you old enough to be my grandfather, sprinkling me with your filth. 

As I grew older, I became angrier. I’d hear you hiss like a deflating tire. Fury came upon me as my teenaged self turned around and screamed obscenities in defense. You didn’t think I was beautiful after that. You didn’t want my number after I ridiculed and insulted you. Now you’ve decided I’ve got a flat ass and wasn’t “all that” anyways. 

When my sister began to develop, you’d decided that she was your new piece of fresh meat. Attempting to bombard her with your garbage in sheer daylight, I felt red, hot infuriation flood through my veins. Both of us minors, my sister four years younger. I’d run up to you, angrily declining all of your disgusting “compliments” and reciprocating with contempt and disrespect. 

I don’t want to hear you, I don’t want to see you. I am tired to death of life sized, head tilting stares. Glaring from my feet and moving upward, intrusively trailing your eyes along the curves of my body that I’ve grown to be ashamed of. You never really care to look into my eyes though. None of you do. I guess it doesn’t matter what I feel, does it? 

I’m not a person to you, I’ve never been. My sole purpose in your mind is to be nothing more than a visual snack with delusional potential. A toy for perverse use only. 

I don’t leave my house without a pair of headphones. Cranking up the volume to drown out the sounds of cats in heat. Looking forward, pretending not to see the skid row of losers craving attention. Wavering on the sides of the street, lined up like The Walking Dead is holding auditions for zombie extras. 

On that rare day I forget to charge my headphones, I walk briskly down the street looking to make no contact with you. Darting straight towards my destination. Now I’m faced with you and have no choice, I’ve resorted to spitting out a “Thank you” with disgust. 


I’ve watched too much of the news. I’ve seen every episode of Law and Order. I know that sadly, if I reacted to you the way I had so many years ago, I’m putting myself at risk of a potential assault. I think of all the possible ways you are capable of physically hurting me. 

I know how this world works. I know all it takes is one person to become the trigger. Then comes the next bloody headline. I want no parts. So I comply and force myself to choke out a “Thank you”. I pick sexual harassment over a potential assault. This is the choice I make every single day I decide to step out into the world. 

You’ll never know the anxiety, panic and shame you instill in women all over the world. You make women think twice about something as simple as going to the store. You make women cross the street when she’s reached the middle of the sidewalk to avoid your presence. 

You have the power to ruin the way women and girls view men as a whole, and you do it all too well. You have the power to ruin the way women and girls view themselves.    

Yes, you sitting on the milk crate with the same outfit on for three days straight, bottle poorly costumed in a torn wet paper bag. You are a career dignity butcher. 

You may look bad on paper, but each and every one of you have accomplished to make at least one girl feel like sewage. What an achievement! No please, bask in your triumph. 

Fuck you, 

The Trend That Is Pessimism 

Ever notice how people will complain about their lives while often excluding the good that is also occurring? We cry and moan about all that is wrong, and either turn a blind eye to the good or choose not to talk about it at all. Like a lie of omission, almost like happiness is something to be ashamed of. 

Somehow, at some point, it became really cool to be super apathetic, cynical, and negative. Bitching has literally become the preferred method of bonding amongst peers. 

If you post photos of yourself on social media out of confidence, you’re considered arrogant. This really bothers people. Why? Maybe you love your body and have accepted the skin you’re in. Maybe you’re proud to show that off. Where is the crime in that? 

You talk about that promotion you got, you’re bragging. You probably worked your ass off for that position but may feel reluctant to talk about it to avoid bothering others. Have you ever wondered why it annoys others? Why do we care about what people think enough to bury our happiness and join the pity party? 

You mention how well your relationship is going, you’re full of shit. Why? Why is it so hard to believe that two people may actually be delighted and satisfied with one another? 

Talking about the good in a relationship doesn’t mean it’s perfect. It means you respect your partner enough to work your disagreements out only amongst yourselves. It means you honor the privacy and intimacy of your relationship. It means it’s not anyone else’s business and you don’t owe anyone additional details. 

So, don’t feel pressured into joining the commiseration club. Even if everyone you know is a member. People can’t believe in another person’s capability of bliss because they don’t allow themselves to feel that way. 

You don’t need to be amongst those who pick apart every aspect of their lives and only concentrate rough patches while neglecting every blessing. You also don’t need to be around someone who cannot be happy for your happiness. They don’t love you. Simple as that. Why? Because they don’t love themselves. That energy is cancerous. It will stunt your growth. Run as fast as you can. 

You are responsible for your own happiness. If you’ve found that, good for you. Wear that shit like a badge of honor, even if the glare is too blinding for the energy vamps. 

Is Tarot Evil? 

Ahhh… a question that all tarot readers are presented with. Well, here is where I stand…

I consider myself an agnostic. I believe that there is SOMETHING out there. In my mind, with the experiences I’ve gone through, I feel there has to be a higher power. 

Whether it is She, He or Them, I’m not sure. I will never be sure. I won’t pretend to be sure. An atheist would say there is no proof. There also is no proof that a higher power does not exist either. 

I grew up as a catholic. I went to catholic school for nine years. I completed the sacraments. I learned all about the Bible. I wasn’t given the opportunity to go out into world, to then decide what I believed. The decision was made for me. 

As a woman with her own thoughts and point of view, there is a lot in the Bible that I don’t agree with. There are many things I don’t stand behind. So, it never made sense to me to live my life, under a belief system I didn’t agree with or condone for the sake of family tradition or fitting in. It never felt… right. 

I respect anyone who’s beliefs are different than mine because I believe your relationship with your higher power is personal and for you only. It is not for me to judge. It is the way you choose to live your life, simply put.

 I would just like the same respect in return. Telling someone they are going to burn for the rest of eternity isn’t exactly kind, let alone respectful, regardless of what denomination you subscribe to. 

I believe that whatever is out there, would want to provide guidance for those who ask for it. I believe tarot is a practice to help you get in touch with that higher power/s. Sort of like prayer, a way to communicate. I believe tarot is a tool that helps you tap into that spiritual being we all contain, deep inside. 

So… IS tarot evil? 

I can’t answer that. At the end of the day, it’s all subjective. As adults, it’s up you to decide what you believe. Our beliefs are only glorified but sacred opinions. That answer lies within you. Not me.