Evil Joy Speaks

Spawning the next generation of evil genius, one misadventure at a time

Spread a Little Cheer

I’ve been less than my best self the last few months. Frequently I’ve been told my name – my given name that is – Joy – is appropriate for the energy I put into the world. There has been less joy and more sadness in this Joy than in many years. And then … then I realized something more was going on. 

I’ve never been shy about writing about mental health. I’m published in a book about my struggles with Postpartum Depression. I started writing for public consumption in the middle of dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Mental health awareness is important to me. Being open about mental health makes many uncomfortable. I choose to operate from the perspective of if one person who needs to hear
“you’re not alone” reads this and feels even the smallest twinge of peace, it’s worth any pushback I get.  

A few weeks ago I recognized that my reactions and emotions were a tad – well – more than a tad – out of my norm. Consistently and intensely outside of how I typically react, even when stressed. This behavior had been occurring every day for weeks. I know myself well enough to accept that I do react, I wear my heart on my sleeve and my emotions on my face. I also know how and when to grab those emotions and display or outwardly experience them at acceptable times. And when to keep them to myself as is appropriate for an adult. 
 
I wasn’t being myself. 

So I called my doctor. I’m working with someone. I hope to find my smile sooner than later and am already doing better than I was. Dealing with chronic headaches and migraines makes me more sensitive to the stressors in my life and environment. Perfume makes me cringe but lately has sent me into full-blown migraine status. I live in my sunglasses inside and out because it makes my head hurt just a little less some days.

Today I hope to spread a little cheer. I’m feeling hopeful and a bit more like myself. I know brighter days are coming. In this season of busy and crazy schedules, hectic evenings with kids needing to be in different places at the same time, and prepping for/recovering from holiday plans – just remember to breath. 

Take a step back if you need to. See the bigger pictures.

And spread a little cheer. It’ll go a long ways. 

If you need help, seek it. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24/7. Call 1-800-273-8255 to speak with someone. 

The Power of Words

This morning I woke up to a text message from a new friend. I purposely do not look at any devices when I wake up for at least 20 minutes (especially on Sundays – my day off). I get up, stretch a bit, make my bed…do my morning routine. Get some coffee and then check email. I noticed a text waiting for me. This young woman sent me a message late last night and because of her words I started my day with increased gratitude.

The Power of Words

I learned a phrase from another new friend a couple of months ago. “Flip the script.” That has become my go-to phrase in any situation when negativity appears or become the predominant emotion in a discussion. While situations arise where uncomfortable or unfavorable topics must be addressed, the manner in which we deal with those topics is completely within our control. We can face a stressful situation with anxiety and tension. We can let the negative emotion carry into the next activity of the day. Or…we can find the solution. We can tackle the problem and leave with an action plan and inspiration to complete any task.

The Power of Words

I’m constantly saying, “I’ll find the happy in any situation given enough time.” It may take me time – a lot of time. Eventually, I’ll find a silver lining, a glimmer of hope, a potential positive, or at least a lesson learned. I want my children to learn to look for the positive – to see me modeling positivity. They deserve to hear the spin of happy in any situation we may face.  Sometimes days exists where everything that could go wrong does. There isn’t always a positive find for the events of that day but maybe those events led to deeper discussions, a closer connection, or thoughtful planning to make the next day better.

The Power of Words

This morning my friend had no way of knowing I’ve been struggling. The past few days have been filled with headaches more insane than my normal headaches and migraines, family events where you have to be on regardless of how you feel, and anxiety over upcoming plans. She had no idea her words would make me pause, think about what I could have possibly said to cause her to send such a kind text, and make me focus on channeling positivity into my words today. Her words were POWERFUL.

Think about what you say. A random comment may bounce off one person but impact another. Why not take a moment and say thank you, share a compliment, or simply listen to what someone else is saying – HEARING their words? Kindness is free and we need to share with one another. Words, spoken and heard, are a great place to start.

What are you going to do with your words this week?

“I’m Terrified” Doesn’t Mean “I Can’t”

I have said the words, “I’m terrified,” multiple times in the past month. Those words have passed my lips in regards to getting on a plane and flying off to work with people I’ve never met, walking to my car in the dark after an uncomfortable, unwanted encounter, worrying about my kids and their futures, and even to my boss.

And you know what?  I am. I am scared. SOMETIMES.

Does that mean I can’t overcome? Does that mean I’m destined to fail?

HELL NO.

What my words meant in those moments:

  • I trust you enough to be authentic.
  • I trust you enough to be real.
  • I trust you enough to not judge me.
  • I trust you enough to be me.

I quickly realized the limits, times, and places of those words matter greatly. My truthfulness isn’t always perceived in the manner I intend and I’m more aware of the power of particular words. Being open and direct is my tendency – if there’s an elephant in the room – I meet it head-on. Tough conversations only get harder when left to fester.

I’m comfortable enough in my own skin to admit when I am uncomfortable, anxious, or scared. With that comfort comes the freedom to express the inverse – pure happiness, excitement, and contentment. Sometimes being frank makes other uncomfortable. I’ve learned I can’t control or change what others feel – those feelings belong to that person. What I can do is proceed forward.

A lot of changes have occurred in the past months. Many more are coming. Life marches on. We can be dragged with on the journey or we jump in and skip along – possibly and hopefully affecting our path in amazing ways.

Sometimes the first step is terrifying. But it’s worth it. It’s okay to be terrified.

Just don’t ever let it stop you.

 

Me – Hauling a 45lb bag and a computer bag around Philly. Rather than sitting at the airport for 4 hours, I went and explored. Take that step – DO IT.

Lost and Found

They’re not worth a lot of money. To others, these aren’t important. Both lost and found today…these rings are precious to me.

My wedding and anniversary bands. I took them off during a class at the gym. The metal was cutting into my finger and it hurt. So I simply took them off without thought, tossed them onto my warmup shirt I’d earlier removed, and kept on keeping on in class. Class ended. I grabbed my shirt, assumed I had my rings, and quickly moved on with my day.

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Real Authentic Women – A Reality Moms Retreat

I was part of something last week. It was Real – We were Authentic – We are Women.  Reality Moms hosted the Real Authentic Women (RAW) Retreat and I was fortunate enough to participate in this amazing event.

Every ‘real mom’ should run from the real world sometimes and that’s what I did. I hopped on a plane, not really sure of what I was doing, flew halfway across the country and put my trust in women I’d only met online.  (One woman I’d met in person before. Our friendship is now firmly cemented into a lifelong one.) We talked about hard stuff, laughed every second we could, and opened up with one another in unique ways.

From the second I walked into the door, I was given permission to be me. If I needed a break, I took one. I didn’t have to explain why I don’t like to touch people, why I wear sunglasses all the time, or why I drink copious amounts of water. No one cared that I woke up before dawn, made coffee, and then disappeared to run alone. Each woman in attendance had the same expectations. We were to just…be. Be ourselves. Own our issues, explore the whys, sit with the questions and thoughts we experienced, and acknowledge the positive attributes each of us possesses.

It’s funny. I didn’t realize I was living my life asking permission to be myself – not all the time – but definitely sometimes. Clarity is refreshing…and hard. FInding my path through the hard to the real was a struggle and one I needed to allow myself to experience. I owned what I offer to the world. I’m supportive. I’m strong. I’m real.

I learned about writing, creating pitches, hashtagging, and how to be vulnerable. I learned how to combine the technical aspects with the personal, and to recognize just how linked both pieces truly are in my writing.

As women, it’s easy to deflect compliments and achievements. We need to stop that noise and OWN IT. Let’s show the next generation of women they can be strong, they can own their accomplishments, and stand tall. By taking the time to work on myself, I can help my girls be their more.

I ran away from the real world by leaving home, running on a beach, and learning to hug a few more people. I ran away to find myself. And came back a better me.

 

Thanks to Reality Moms, Joey Fortman, and the other program participants – aka my friends. This was an experience I’ll never forget. And one I hope to repeat in the future.

Check out Reality Moms on Facebook, Instagram, and, Twitter.

The Tuckerton Seaport Experience

Last week I had the opportunity to visit The Tuckerton Seaport located in Tuckerton, New Jersey. The history and the way in which that history is delivered is incredible. I’ve already informed my family we will make the trek there one day sooner than later. I visited this gem with a group of women from around the country, and beyond as part of Reality Moms.

As a midwesterner, I’ve visited historic villages. But this was the first historic seaport village I’d experienced. From the Makers to the food, I was immersed in the history of The Tuckerton Seaport. The first Maker we met was a talented blacksmith. I think we entertained him as he taught us. We questioned everything from the temperature of the fire to the number of heats required to make a horseshoe. I learned a lot while not even realizing I was being educated!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we walked to the Jay C. Parker Decoy House I innocently remarked, “Are those real or decoys?” not realizing our destination. Needless to say, the decoys were lifelike and handcrafted with skill. We were able to watch as a piece of wood took the shape of a waterfowl. This Maker learned his craft at The Tuckerton Seaport and now shares his expertise with those visiting.

Being able to touch and feel made The Tuckerton Seaport come alive. We made flatties with another Maker. I tried to make mine look similar to his….but there’s a reason I write, not paint. In this same room, boat making classes take place. You can make an ACTUAL BOAT.

Plans for future experiences are in the works including glass making and a new water ferry service! The ferry will operate between the seaport and LBI!! It looks to be exciting and I’ll be reserving my tickets for our return visit.

Oh and the food. OMG the food. We started our day with an amazing breakfast at The Union Market where I had this yummy breakfast and one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had.

After touring for a while, our appetites returned just in time to visit Lady Magpie’s Tea and Curiosities. Locally sourced and handmade, the food didn’t last long….because I ate it all. And the STEAM punk feel of this place was amazing. (Even the bathroom had super cool decor!)

From the visitors center to the miniature golf course I was impressed. If I could sum up my experience at The Tuckerton Seaport it would look like this….

I LOVE THIS PLACE AND CAN’T WAIT TO RETURN.

Make a point of visiting The Tuckerton Seaport. If you’re local to the area – head there immediately! If you’re like me, make it your next destination trip. I know I have.

Check out The Tuckerton Seaport on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

 

 

(Full disclosure – my admission was paid for but all opinions expressed are my own.)

#TuckertonSeaport

#RealityMomsRETREAT

#RealityMoms

Random Acts of Kindness

Performing random acts of kindness is amazing. Whether on the performing or receiving end of said act you end up with a fuller heart, an improved attitude, and hopefully a smile on your face. Something that seems very minor to you may have an unexpected impact upon another’s day.

Today I was fortunate enough to participate in a RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) event with co-workers. The doing was fun. FUN. We were able to do a small thing in an even smaller amount of time that will hopefully affect at least one person in a positive way. It was minutes out of my day. I left tonight with a renewed sense to try harder to be a positive force in the world. I don’t have to find the solution to world peace but I can pay for the person’s coffee behind me or drop a bag of food in the donation bin at the grocery store.

Gathering together with others to do good has many benefits. Not only did we do our random act of kindness, I learned a lot about those around me. Our time was an opportunity to get to know those volunteering in a unique way. Conversations work related, industry related, and TOTALLY unrelated occurred. Learning more about one another teaches us to see the world with a new and different perspective. Having multiple points of view on any topic is never a bad thing.

Sharing, learning, doing. Just think of the massive changes we could put out in the universe if we simply do good. Many small acts when combined can make a huge difference. If we all take a minute here or there to do something selfless, pay it forward, or perform an act of kindness, the positive energy put forward will change the world.

What random act of kindness have you performed or received lately? Did it inspire you to pay it forward? Tell me about it!

 

What I Really Want for Mother’s Day

You know what I want for Mother’s Day? It’s simple really. I don’t need a single thing. There are things I want like all my debt paid off, guaranteed happy futures for my children, snowboarding year round opportunities….

But this Mother’s Day if my family could pick up the house and clean it. And then pretend that every day for the rest of their lives is Mother’s Day.

How hard it is to put a dish away? Or to not step over a pile of laundry? Or to wipe up the jam/mustard/mayo/milk/coffee/water that one spills?

Listen don’t even start with the “one day you’ll wish for the chaos of their messes,” crap. Right now my world is a constant shit show and while it doesn’t bother most – It Pisses Me Off.

(Also I know – First World Problems.)

I make my kids do chores. They bitch and moan the entire time.

Today I left. After asking, demanding, and punishing I was over it all. I decided to go get gas. One of my daughters asked where I was going and I couldn’t say anything nice so I didn’t speak so she asked again. I told her I was going to the gas station. I simply couldn’t deal with it today. I gave myself a time out.

Pick. Up. Your. Own. Shit. And perhaps you could actually help your sibling and put the cup they forgot to tidy in the dishwasher too.

Last week two of the kids were going on and on about how nice and tidy their friends’ homes are when they visit. Then…….one of them said, “I wish our house was like that.”

Are. You. Kidding. Me?????

I bust my ass. As does my husband. I work multiple jobs. My husband does all the shopping and cooking in addition to being the primary “bread winner” for our family.

I’m not asking for them to scrub toilets every day. I just need some help. And I’d love if it didn’t come with whining, eye rolls, or pissy attitudes.

So if you want to let my family know what I want for Mother’s Day, you can tell them that making their beds every day would be amazing. See. I’m not asking for the moon. Just a little help.

And for them to pick up their own damn dishes.

PSA. Mother’s Day is next Sunday. Don’t forget your mama, mama-in-law, or friend that is a special mama in your life. We all need a pat on the back once in a while.

Three Things

How do you think of yourself? What are the first three things that come to mind?

…….

Now. Make yourself think of adjectives that describe you. Three of them. Go.

……

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How Do You Test Your Limits?

Test Your Limits. What does that mean to you? Working out harder than ever before? Eating a spicy dish to see how much you can handle? Pushing publish on that post you’ve written? Quitting one job and finding another? Making a relationship change? Jumping off that ledge and seeing where you land?

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