Tuesday, April 10, 2012

When Life Happens...aka Epic Failure and Coming to Terms with Guilt

Take a good long look at the date on my last post. Yup, you read it correctly. That does, in fact, say 'June 6, 2011.' I wanted to devote a year of my life to being happy, and I made it 8, (that's right, EIGHT!), fucking posts. *le sigh*

I haven't written a word on this blog in 10 months. 10 months that I went about my life, accepting changes (We moved!), understanding hardships (loss of loved-ones and ended friendships), dealing with sadness (Yes, D is deploying again), hurt, anger, shame...and the fun stuff too (don't worry kids, life isn't always as tough as it seems). The level of change and the crazy range of emotions of these past 10 months has been anything but ordinary. Maybe there IS something to be said for the in ordinary in the ordinary, or however you want to put it.

You want to hear the really crazy part though (Of course you do! That's why you read other people's blogs right? To make sure you're not the only messed up one out there?). Well, get ready to feel validated, the craziest part of the whole ENTIRE time that I was away is this: I FELT GUILTY! Seriously... I felt guilty almost every single day! Knowing that I was supposed to be on this magical journey of epic happiness enlightenment, and I didn't even have the time to do it. I mean, how dare I let real life get in the way of my happiness?!?!

"How dare I let real life get in the way of my happiness" <--- Just repeat that a few times and get used to how ridiculous it sounds. Wait for it, it will come to you...

I feel like a teacher writing on the chalkboard, "Now class, who can name all of the errors in this sentence?"

!. Happiness and Real Life HAVE to co-exist. It's impossible to be happy only away from your real life, and if you do find happiness, how the heck are you supposed to make it mesh with doing dishes, bathing kids, watching TV, and all those other things that just have to get done everyday.

Moral: You have to learn to be happy in everyday life, or you will wind up being miserable.

2. "How did 'I' let..." Really? How did 'I' let real life get in my way? As if we can control every single thing that makes up our 'real lives.' I'm not saying we don't control some aspects, that would be dumb on my part. But honestly, some things just do happen, and we can't control them.

Moral: Not only can we not control everything in our lives, but we have to learn how to be OK with not being able to control them.

3. This one is the one that hurts my heart the most. I said 'MY happiness.' Not the happiness of my children and family unit, or my husband and our marriage. Nope, I said my happiness. Happiness is for me, and it's mine, and I want it now, dammit. Wow! That sounds super wonderful and loving, right? I was so worried about all of the things that we had going on, not because of what could happen or how it could affect our lives, but because it was interfering with MY happiness. I feel so ashamed with myself. Even just reading that right now makes me sick with myself. What a yucky heart to say that. No wonder I need some happiness...

Moral: Personal happiness IS important, but not at the expense of those you hold dearest (whether it's family, close friends, spouse, partner, kids, etc).

Oh, and let's step back and talk about this guilt thing too. I felt guilty for not following The Happiness Project, but I also felt a lot of guilt because I wasn't blogging about it. Take a moment to laugh at my expense, it's cool, I'm laughing too. Here I am, wanting to find real and true happiness, for myself (and now that I know better, for my family too), and I'm freaking out because I haven't blogged about it. As if you guys would be lost without my kick-ass blog about being super amazing full of win...and tiger's blood... ;)

Seriously though, how narcissistic can I be? Maybe I should spend a little less time dusting my shoulders off and get over myself...

Who's keeping a running list of lovely attributes? Controlling - Check, Narcissistic - Check, Selfish - Check, Self-loathing - Double Check.... Insert another *sigh* here...

I don't know. Maybe the one good thing I have going for me is that I know that this list is NOT who I want to be, and I'm willing to change. Also, I've accepted failure and know how to dust off and move on (Extra points for referencing a previous point, woot).

I feel like a high school kid trying to get back with an ex... But, I want to keep pushing forward with my own happiness project, and I'd love to have you all along for the journey, if you'll have me?

Flaws, guilt, and all...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Don't Think too Hard...

Before I jump into the activities described in 'The Happiness Project' by Gretchen Rubin, I wanted to take the time to answer the questions that she hinted at in the excerpt from the 'Note to the Reader' section that I posted in yesterday's blog entry.

I want to see where I 'stand' so to speak, at the beginning of my own happiness project (without knowing the coming activities and information from the book to sway my answers), and see how I will measure these answers to ones from later on in the month, as well as the year.

*Disclaimer: I am a Christian. I'm not perfect - in fact, I am a sinner, and I understand that. My relationship with Jesus IS part of my life, and a lot of my happiness project *could* revolve around my walk with Christ and my personal religious beliefs. I will never (nor have I ever) 'push' my beliefs on any one of you. I don't believe that that is what God is asking of His followers, and I personally just think that forcing religion on others is gross. I also think it's one of the main factors in people choosing NOT to follow certain religions. So while I will never push my religion on anyone, I will also not stop posting about it, as it is a part of who I am. So if you are fine with reading about my beliefs as they pertain to my journey, then I welcome you and I encourage you to follow along. However, if you are uncomfortable, or just not interested in seeing posts that involve religion, then this blog may not be for you - NOT that I wish you to leave - I just wanted to be respectful enough to everyone to warn you all in advance*

First part: 'Identify what brings you joy, satisfaction, and engagement.'

JOY: This is where my religious beliefs come into play. As a Christian, I do not look at 'joy' as an emotion, feeling, or state of mind, etc. Joy, to me, is something that I have, no matter what the circumstances of my life may be. I have been blessed with 'joy' because I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and thus, have been filled with the Holy Spirit. I know that no matter how many times I fail in my life, that I will be forgiven. I also know that I am saved, and that when my time on this earth ends, my eternal life in Heaven will begin. The presence of the Holy Spirit, accompanied by this knowledge is the 'joy' in a Christian's life.

SATISFACTION: The three main things in my life (at this point), that provide satisfaction are: My marriage, raising my children, and my business. (Although, as I stated in an earlier blog, these are not the only things in my life that I want to be known for, or gain satisfaction from).

I find satisfaction in marriage for the obvious reasons, like being in love with my husband. But I also enjoy the partnership it brings. My husband is my best friend, my advocate, and the person that I will experience the rest of my life with. Marriage is also a LOT of work, no matter how much you love each other. Having to engage myself and devote myself wholeheartedly to marriage brings me great satisfaction.

I find satisfaction in my children everyday! Parenting is one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it is also one of the most rewarding things I will ever do. Not only am I responsible for the health, welfare, growth, development, and every other thing that parents do for their children - as a Christian parent, I am also responsible for raising my children for the glory of God's kingdom.

I find satisfaction in my job in ways that I never even imagined. I have pretty much taught myself the ways of owning and running a business, doing countless hours of researching, reading book after book on everything from starting a business to the legal aspects, to marketing your brand. I also had to teach myself market specific details like FDA guidelines, formulating, studying all manner of ingredients including how they work and what they are used for, etc. I have worked incredibly hard on my business, and I think that my products, customer service, and number of loyal customers can attest to that. Knowing that I have built a brand and a business from the ground up, is not only satisfying, it is extremely empowering.

ENGAGEMENT: (Using the meanings, 'things that I am interested in, things that hold my attention'). Obviously, I am extremely interested in cosmetics and business, as I have my own cosmetics company. I am also addicted to reading. I very much enjoy being able to sit down with a good book and just lose myself in the story.

Second Part: Identify what brings you guilt, anger, boredom, and remorse.

GUILT: Honestly, what doesn't make me feel guilty? I feel guilty because I smoke, but I don't want to die and leave my husband or my children all alone. I feel guilty because we live out of state, so our children don't get to see their extended family very often. I feel guilty for being on the computer all day, even though I use it to work, go to school, and communicate with family and friends from back home. I feel guilty because I haven't gone to bed at the same time as my husband in maybe a year, because I stay up all night packaging orders. I feel guilty because I buy tons of makeup and beauty products, but then don't even use half of it. There are so many little things that I feel some type of guilt about...

ANGER: I'm angry that my house is never spotless, that my children misbehave, that we never have enough money. I'm angry that my husband works long hours and has to be away from home for weeks, months, even over a year at a time. I'm angry that I live so far away from my family, so I miss out on all of the traditions and even day to day things that I had while growing up. Hell, I'm even angry that I let so many things make me angry...

BOREDOM: I honestly think that I might have ADHD (although I have never been tested for it, nor am I qualified to diagnose myself lol). But seriously, I get bored so easily. My current snooze inducer? My college algebra class. Not only do I totally suck at math, but it's also really boring. Which totally sucks, because I need to study a LOT in order to pass this class, but reading chapters on algebra makes me literally want to pull my hair out!

REMORSE: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines 'Remorse' as "a gnawing distress arising from a sense of guilt for past wrongs"

If you had asked me a few years ago if I was remorseful about anything, I would have told you 'yes' a million times over. However, once I truly learned to let go and trust in God's forgiveness and in the compassion and mercy of others, I developed a sense of peace in my life (this also relates to joy). I can genuinely say that at this point in my life, I have no remorse. NOT because I have no past wrongs, but because I no longer have GUILT over those past wrongs.

Thinking about these short, specific questions, was actually really hard. I also found the 'good' things to be a lot more challenging to answer than the 'bad' ones, which I find really disappointing, but I'm not surprised. It is very easy to describe the bad things about one's self or one's life, but the 'good' parts don't stay in the front of our thoughts. This is something that I am hoping to change during my happiness project.

(ps...the really cute happy/sad photo in this post is not mine. It is property of it's owner, and I claim no ownership of said photo)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Rest Stop: What the Hell is a Happiness Project?

The book that my happiness project is based on is:

"The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun"
- by Gretchen Rubin

*If you are interested in this book, or have a copy and would like to use yours to follow along, please do!

I first want to share with you some small excerpts from the 'A Note To The Reader' section of the book.

'A "happiness project" is an approach to changing your life. First is the preparation stage, when you identify what brings you joy, satisfaction, and engagement, and also what brings you guilt, anger, boredom, and remorse. Second is the making of resolutions, when you identify the concrete actions that will boost your happiness. Then comes the interesting part: keeping your resolutions...Whenever you read this, and wherever you are, you are in the right place to begin.'

- The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin, from 'A Note To The Reader'

I felt that this was an important part of the book to share with you guys, because it describes exactly what a happiness project is, in Gretchen Rubin's own words.

Throughout this blog, I will be posting various excerpts from Gretchen Rubin's book. These may or may not be the same pieces of information that you would consider valuable (this is where having your own copy could greatly benefit you). However, the excerpts I post will be the passages that stand out to me the most, or provide the most information that I found/find useful on my own happiness journey.

For more information on starting your own happiness project, you can check out the official website here: The Happiness Project Toolbox

*I have also started a group for people to get together and discuss their own journeys towards happiness, whether it be a 'happiness project' or any other thing they may be doing to enrich their life. If you are interested in finding out more about happiness projects, or just want to join and follow along, you can request to join here: KIMBERLY'S GROUP

Saturday, June 4, 2011

...And She Lived Happily Ever After...(picture heavy)


...I was pregnant at 19 years old and gave bitrh to my son one month after my 20th birthday. That's also the month that I realized that I was now damaged goods. I knew that the 'baggage' I would bring into any future relationships would be more than just broken hearts or bad memories, it would be actual baggage... In my case, a diaper bag. From that day forward, I was a package deal.

Don't get me wrong - I was never mad or upset, and I never blamed my child for me feeling like I would never be able to find someone. I just genuinely felt that no one would want a girlfriend with a kid. And honestly, at that point, I wasn't even interested in dating.

I spent the first 11 months of my son's life just trying to survive, in a sense. I was learning how to be a good mother and my family was always only a phone call away if I needed them. I got a small apartment the next town over from my parents, and only a 20 minute drive from both of my grandmothers and one of my aunts. I was going to class and finishing my assignments on time. I was working two jobs, but I was paying our bills and still able to find time to spend with my baby. I rarely went out alone with my friends, they would either come to my house or we would go someplace 'child-friendly' like out to eat. For a young single mother, I was doing really well. My family and friends were very supportive and my family helped with bills and childcare when I needed it. My parents even bought me a car so that I could make it to school and work.

I spent a lot of nights thinking about our futures. I didn't want to be 'alone' and I didn't want my son to grow up without a father (out of respect for my child and for private things surrounding that whole period of my life, I will not be discussing where the sperm donor was and why he was not involved). I did want to be with someone, but I did not want to date anyone. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I felt that if I was going to be with someone, it was going to be for the long hall. My son had NEVER seen me kiss or hold hands with a man and a man had never been in our home, I also never wanted any person I would date to meet my child until we were very official (ie, maybe going to marry). I did not want to, nor was I going to be, one of those people who had men coming into and out of their child's life.

"Oh, Kimberly, please get to the part where you meet your handsome prince and ride off into the sunset to drink champagne and live happily ever after!" - Grab your popcorn dolls, we're getting there...

During that 11th month, my friend invited me to 'go out' with her and some friends from her job (she was a lifeguard at a local college's natatorium). I also use the term 'go out' loosely, because she really wanted me to go and evaluate the new guy she was seeing. I am an amazing friend, so of course I said I would go - I mean, I would get the chance to go out AND I would get to judge a guy? Who would pass that up?

I didn't know her friends, I really didn't care what they thought of me, and honestly, I was exhausted. In short, it means that I went, but I had no makeup on, my hair was a frizzy mess and I think that my khakis might have had spit up on them. So of course there was gonna be a hot guy there...

I happened to sit between my friend and this hot guy during the movie. Did I mention that we went to see 'The Passion of the Christ?' Well we did...and it's a long movie...and this guy was staring at me the whole time. And I cried a little... After the movie, a few of us decided to grab some food at the Steak N Shake, and this guy came along with us. We got to talking and ended up spending like 4 hours at Steak N Shake, milking our food just to have an excuse to stay longer. I finally had to excuse myself to leave so I could pick up my son, and he asked if he could call me. I told him that if he was that serious about wanting to call me, then he would have no problem asking my friend (the one that invited me) for my phone number.

I did get a call from him, in fact I got a call from him the next day, wanting to know if I wanted to go out with him that night...I turned him down (just to see how he'd react). And surprise, he called again the next day. I had turned him down and he still called again, and it wasn't even weird or creepy (for some odd reason), I was actually kind of flattered. I agreed to go out with him that night *IF* it was a double date with the same friend and her new boyfriend. Oh, and again, he had to be the one to do it. Well, he obviously called them and set it up, because we did go out that night. My parents had my son for the entire night (with the expectation that I would be at church the next morning to pick him up. But still, I was really excited not to have a 'curfew.'

It was such a great night. We went downtown and grabbed some dinner at an amazing restaurant, I even paid the tab so that he wouldn't expect ay *dessert* later. After dinner we walked around downtown. Then we all headed back to my apartment (in my car) to watch '28 Days Later.' I'm not sure if we were all too tired, or had too much to drink, but all 4 of us fell asleep during that movie. We also didn't wake up until 20 minutes before I had to pick up my son, who happened to be at a church 25 minutes away. I shook my friends awake, changed my clothes like a flash, and shoved the other 3 in the car. Forgetting by the way, that a guy I had just been on a date with, was about to go with me to pick up my child.

*To this day, I believe with all of my heart that God caused us to wake up so late on that Sunday. If we had gotten up on time, and I had sent that boy home, who knows what would have happened.*

We arrived at church in the nick of time and we all went inside together. My parents knew my friend, so we just introduced them to the guys. My dad wandered off to talk to friends, my date excused himself to the bathroom, and I stood there with my friends, my mom, and my smiling baby. I told my mom that I felt like such a horrible mother, that someone I went on a date with was about to see my baby, and what should I do. She told me that honestly, he was so young, and that one time probably wouldn't matter...That I should just see what happens. I calmed down, and my 3 friends and I decided to go get a bite to eat, before heading back to my house (to pick up vehicles).

We must have been a sight, 4 young adults and 1 baby walking into a semi-fancy restaurant in jeans on a Sunday afternoon. We sat at a 4 person table, with a high-chair placed at the end. I sat on the inside, across from my friend's date, she and my date sat on the outside next to the high-chair. Yes, I know, at this point he has not only met my baby, but now he is sitting next to him at lunch.

Let's take a moment and discuss all of the wonderful things that happened during lunch shall we...

My baby screamed
My baby threw food everywhere
My baby spit up all over the table
...and my friend
...and my date
My baby screamed more
My baby choked on a lemon that my friend gave him, which caused him to
...spit up more
...and then vomit
...on my date
...My baby shit through his diaper and through his pants
...onto the highchair
...and the floor
...and my date's pant leg
...and his shoe
...My baby knocked my friend's plate of food onto the floor
...and my date's plate

Do I need to continue?

We cleaned up, got in the car, and headed for my house...

My date did not say one word to me, just stared out the window...

I knew at that moment, that I would never see him again and that this would be my last date for a long, long time...

When we got back to my house, my friend could tell that I was a little upset, so she and her date took the baby to his room so she could put him down for a nap. My date and I sat on the couch in silence. Finally he looked at me and said, "Your son is perfect. He is the most beautiful baby I have ever seen and his laugh makes my heart happy in a way I have never known before. If I was ever lucky enough to have been his dad, there is no way that I could ever have left him."

I myself, was silent at this point. This was what I had been wanting to hear from someone for so long, but it hurt me in a way that I didn't understand. I wanted this guy to be with me forever...So I kicked him out...and told him that I never wanted to see or hear from him again...

But he didn't go...He stayed and tried to talk to me, to reason with me, to get me to go out with him again. And for the next 3 hours we fought and screamed and I said the most hateful things to him...and all he did was keep asking me for a chance...

HOW DARE HE! How dare this man come into my life, and be perfect and amazing and gorgeous, and want to be with me, and say beautiful things to me and adore my son.


Late that night, he left...

I didn't see or hear from him on Monday, and it honestly hurt. It hurt with a fire I had never felt before, blazing through me, and I knew that I had blown it, and I cried...

On Tuesday my girlfriend came back over because she knew I was still upset. I hadn't heard from the guy and I didn't want to be alone. My son was in bed for the night, so we were cleaning up my bedroom and talking. And then the phone rang and it was HIM! As stupid as it sounds, at that moment, his voice was the most beautiful sound in the world. He asked if he could come over to talk and I said yes. It was an hour and a half drive from his parents house to mine, but he made it in 50 minutes. I was nervous the entire time.

He walked in the door and held my face in his hands and said, "Just listen." He told me that he had spent the entire previous day talking to his parents about me, and about the baby. He wanted to know their opinions on dating a girl with a child, and what they thought would be the best thing for him to do. They said that he should not even date me, unless he felt he could be in it for the long haul. That if he wasn't serious about being with US, and he wasn't ready to commit to maybe having a family, instead of just a 'girlfriend,' then he should just walk away. And then he shook his head at me and gave me a teary smile, and walked out my front door, taking with him what little of my shattered heart I had left. I wanted to collapse. At that moment, I knew in my heart, that no one could ever love us, and that we would always be alone...

And then that bastard walked back in my house with a duffel bag full of stuff, he just looked at me and said, "I'm in this for the long haul if you are." I wanted to punch him in the face for scaring the shit out of me. But I also knew that one day, I was gonna marry that man. He moved in with us that day. We married a little over 4 months later and had a child together 6 months after that (yes, I am aware of the math).


Let's look at this time frame again shall we?

*We met on Thursday, February 26th
*We had our first date on Saturday, February 28th
*He met my child on Sunday, February 29th - Yes, 2004 was a leap year (Oh, and when he 'went to the bathroom' at church? I found out later that he really went to ask my father for his permission to date his daughter, and hopefully one day be a father figure to his grandson...*tear*)
*He told his parents he 'met his soul mate' on Monday, March 1st
*He moved in with us on Tuesday, March 2nd
*We got married on July 4th
*We had a child on January 7th

Pretty quick, I know, but it just so worked for us. I won't go into it much deeper, because relationships are a topic from 'The Happiness Project' that I will be working on and writing about later in the year.

However, I will say that since then, we will have been married for 7 years this coming July, we have added 2 more beautiful children to our home, we have moved 4 times, we have been through 3 overseas deployments, 100s of fights, countless hours of laughter, and years worth of all the joy, anger, hope, pain, craziness, and everything else that marriage brings...





Oh...and for the prince's Dustin

Friday, June 3, 2011

Once Upon a Time...there was a beautiful princess...

The year was 1983...

On a cold February morning in Indiana (Valentine's Day, to be exact - Oh, and 3 weeks later than I was due), my mother brought me into this world (and she can take me out of it! <- Who's mom didn't say this little gem to them lol). I entered a family of two young, but very loving, parents, an (almost) 3 year old older brother, and a close-knit and supportive extended family.

My parents named me Kimberly Eileen. My father wanted to name me Krystal, but my mom said "NO!" She thought that 'Kimberly' was such a beautiful name, and it also happened to be the name of all of the popular girls at her school (throwing me a little luck maybe?). They chose 'Eileen' because that is my mom's name, and even though she doesn't really like it, my dad loves it!

I had 10 fingers and 10 toes, and now...I had a name. I was their daughter, and they had all the plans in the world for me - hopes, and dreams, and love.

My parents didn't have a lot of money when my brother and I were young and my father was not home very much because he worked 4 jobs so that we could eat, and have new shoes for school, and warm beds every night... He even took me to Toys R Us all by myself one time, and bought me the Miss America Barbie with the sparkly blue dress and silver sash that I wanted so badly. And at 8 years old with a new doll in one hand and my daddy's hand in the other...God, it was the best day of my life...

*I have to stop here for a second and share something with you. I have said some hateful things in the past about how angry I was that my dad was never around, and how could a father chose work over his children. I always held fast to the idea that I needed to forgive him, but in reality, it was I who needed forgiveness from him. No matter what I did as a teen/young adult, I always held that little piece of anger towards him for not being there...and then I had children of my own, and I understood. I understood being ready to do ANYTHING to care for and protect my children and family. How I would sacrifice EVERYTHING I had to make sure that their lives were the best that I could give them. I could never imagine the pain of not being able to see my children grow up. And I see that same pain every time my husband deploys. I know the hurt and the pain and the tears that come from a father who wants desperately to be with his children, but who chose to do right by them, by providing for them, even if it meant he couldn't be there. I have spoken to to my dad about this many times since then. I know the hurt that I have caused him and the regret he still holds for not being around as much as he wanted to be when we were kids. I genuinely believe that my dad has forgiven me for the things I have said in the past. And I honestly believe that this is one of the main reasons that he is such an amazing, loving, and devoted grandfather to my children.

I was a rotten and ungrateful child, I was a bratty teenager and I was a stubborn and bitchy young adult. I wish more than anything in this world, that I could go back to those days and tell those little girl versions of me to just SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY, that one day they would know with all of their hearts that their father loved them and that everything was going to be OK - My dad and I now have an amazing relationship. I consider him a spiritual leader and often discuss religion or seek guidance from him. We both love to write and we talk about writing pretty often too. My father owns his own company and understands what I am going through with my business, offering encouragement and advice. He also recently graduated from college which was a huge motivation for me - inspiring me to return to school and obtain my Business degree. I am so incredibly proud to be his daughter. He is a good man and a good dad, and I just wish that I had realized that sooner*

*OK Kim, breathe in, resume post*

Growing up with one brother was pretty cool, it means I didn't have to share him AND that I would always be his favorite sister! Of course we fought and got on each other's nerves, but we always had each other's backs. Kind of the "She's my sister so I can be a dick to her, but I swear if you hurt her I will beat the ever living piss out of you" mentality. We definitely got into our fair share of adolescent trouble, but we were always there for each other. I always say that no one will ever know your childhood (or life), like the person who lived it with you. And for me, that person was my one and only brother. I have to honestly say that, to this day, my brother is still one of my best friends - past or present, and Hell, even future! He's also the only person allowed to call me out of the blue at 3am, that I WON'T punch in the face...

I know some people might be wishing for some juicy drama here, but honestly, I lived a really normal childhood. My father didn't drink. I was never molested, abused, or neglected. My parents never divorced. I might not have had everything I wanted, but I always had what I needed. I grew up in a Christian home and was baptised at a young age. I excelled in school. I had a lot of friends - I've even had the same best friend since middle school. I was involved in church and school activities. I played softball. I sang in the choir. I was in color guard, and the French Club, and the editor of my high school's literature magazine.

I had hopes, and dreams, and loves of my own...

At 18 years old, I held the world in my hands, and honestly, I wanted it all. Fresh out of high school, my plan was to go to college and obtain a degree in Journalism. I was going to be a foreign war correspondent. I didn't want to stay in my hometown. I didn't want to get married right away. And I sure as heck didn't want any children until I was 30, at least...

I had my life planned out and I knew exactly who I wanted to be... THIS was going to be my future, I just knew it, because at 18 I thought I knew everything...

But life, or maybe God, had other plans for me. Plans that didn't involve going away to school and living in a dorm with my crazy friends. Plans that didn't include a Sorority house. Plans that meant that I would never, could never, do something as dangerous with my life as a foreign war correspondent. No... these plans revolved around morning sickness and back pain. About the shame of being a teenager with a round belly - unmarried, scared, and alone...

Plans for my life that I swore never wanted, melted away with the birth of a wide eyed and moppy headed little boy. Plans to travel the world, turned into walks to the park. Plans to stay up late to study, turned into all nighters with a screaming infant who had GERD (a type of acid reflux).

I was child myself, but here I was living a 'grown up' life. I still went to school, choosing a local college instead of out-of-state, I worked a full-time job as well as a part-time job, just to make those ends meet. I had this tiny little person who never knew about my plans, and looking into his sparkling brown eyes, I'm not much sure I cared... We were in love - Desperately dependant and whole-heartedly devoted to each other. We might have been alone in the world, but dammit, we were never lonely...

Rest Stop, Next Exit...

This is kind of just a mini-post to ease us all into the next two days of blogging.

At this point, I was hoping to be done 'writing about myself,' so to speak, and start moving on to some of the points that Gretchen Rubin makes in her book, 'The Happiness Project.'

However, after writing my post yesterday, I really felt that I needed to touch on my background a little bit. Honestly, I'm not really sure if you guys will get anything out of the next two posts, but this is something that I just really feel that I needed to do for myself.

So without further ado....

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Kimberly Who?

I guess in order for you to understand my happiness project, it would help to know who I am. The only problem is...I'm not really sure if I know who I am.

Don't get me wrong, I mean, I can tell you what I do... I can tell you how I spend my days, I can tell you how long I have been married, my philosophies on child-rearing, why I hate my Algebra class... Hell, I can even tell you how to make a great finishing powder. But that's just what I do, It's not who I am. At least, it's not who I want to be... I don't want to be defined as just a wife, or a mother, or a student, or a business owner... As much as I LOVE those parts of my life - I just don't want that to be all there is of me... It's one thing to know your place in society, but I want to really know who I am on a deeper level.

*So I did a little experiment, I asked a few people what they would tell someone who has never met me, about me in order for that person to know "who I am."

This is the exact same phrase I used with everyone I presented this question to:

"If you were to describe me to someone who had never met me, in order for them to know or understand who I am, what would you tell them?"

These are the exact responses I received (no omitting of information/descriptions given):

My husband of 7 years: "Ambitious, with lots of good ideas. Accepting of others and open-minded, while still firm in your beliefs. Friendly, passionate, helping, and headstrong. And you're purdy."

My 6 year old (and only) daughter: "My mom is 'Miss Kim.' She has black hair which is gold on top. She has glasses. She's pretty. She's kind. She's the bestest mommy, and I love my mommy."

My mother: "A very unique individual and very creative. A great sense of style - but it is definitely your own style. Very loving and caring."

A woman I have known for about 2 years (she is a neighbor, a fellow Army wife, and a very close friend IRL): "Fun. Always busy. Sassy, but in a good way."

A woman that I have known for a few months (she is an internet/phone friend - not someone I know IRL. However, I would still consider her a good friend): "An incredibly supportive Military wife. Dedicated to your children. Hard-working and talented, and has a successful MMU (mineral makeup) company. A bit of a spitfire. You're honest, and you love with your whole heart. And you like to curse! But that's funny :)"

A woman that I have known for a few months (she is an internet/phone friend - not someone I know IRL. However, I consider her one of my best friends ever!): "Two words: Grown and Sexy!" - This might not mean a lot to anyone else, but it is a big inside joke for the two of us and I rather enjoy that she used it in this context.

*End Experiment*

Last night when I was thinking about what I would be posting today, I was really nervous about it. I kept going over and over what I would say to you all about myself. I'd love to be able to tell you that I am the perfect candidate for 'Mother of the Year.' Or that I am the ultimate 50's goddess housewife with sparkling floors, spending my days in heels and meeting my husband at the door with a martini in my perfectly manicured hand. I desperately want to tell you that I am always patient and kind and slow to anger... And so many wonderful and beautiful (and mostly bullshit) answers...

This is what I really had to say about myself last night:
I am stubborn. I can be lazy and at times I procrastinate. I am too harsh with my children, often getting upset with them or becoming too strict. I am quick to talk, but slow to listen. I can be uncaring, unloving, and judgemental. I often make snide remarks to husband when I am hurt, just to make him angry. I complain too much, I worry too much, sometimes I can be selfish and ungrateful. I'm fat. I'm not pretty enough. I'm never the best. And yet I still manage to be narcissistic and vain. My house is never, ever completely spotless, and I don't wash my hair everyday. I cuss too much and pray too little. I wait too long to pluck my eyebrows..." And honestly, this list could have gone on and on... One negative thing after another...

*This is where we come back to the beginning of today's post*

I asked my family and my friends to describe me - Just for fun, and for a blog post, and to see what they would say...

They spoke of me with such kindness and sincerity. Listing one good thing about me after another. They were not negative. They were not harsh or mean. Their words made me literally cry from joy. Maybe I am not as imperfect as I think I am Maybe for all of the wrong I feel that I do, maybe I do somethings right as well...

And then a thought occurred to me that I never expected

I speak about myself as if I HATE myself

I say horrible and nasty things to myself on a regular basis. Maybe even the way someone would speak of their worst enemy. I would never say such things to my mom, or my friends. I would never treat another human being this way.. Yet I say them to myself

What a humiliating realization...

I started today's blog and did this experiment to find out if I could get some insight into who I am, based on the opinions of others.

But you know what? It doesn't matter if my husband thinks I'm pretty, or if my friends think I am nice or caring, or even if my children think that I am a good mama. Nothing that anyone can say about me matters, not until I can see it for myself.

*If you only take one thing from this post, I hope it is this:

"Nothing you hear with your ears will EVER rival what you hear with your heart."

If you hold hate in your heart for yourself, all you will see is that hate. All you will see is that negativity. You will never see any of the beauty that you really are. You will never see the amazing and wonderful things that others see in you, until you learn to love yourself. I mean truly, and honestly, love yourself.

Which leads me back to my original question...

Who am I?

Honestly, I'm not really sure yet, I'll have to get back to you on this one...

What I do know is that I am a girl who is learning to fall in love with herself. A girl who is learning to forgive herself...

And I think that is a great place to start...