A Day In My Life/A Story Of Hope

A Day In My Life and A Story Of Hope…

Hope, it’s such a nice word but I have to tell you, I haven’t always been the biggest fan of hope. In fact, it pissed me off for the majority of my life. How many times did I hope things would get better just to have them stay the same. I can’t tell you how many times I hoped someone would come along and make my life better and they never showed up. I had hope that my sister would get better but instead she passed away. I told myself at a very young age not to have too much hope, that with hope came disappointment. I thought this way for decades BUT the best thing I ever did for myself was to learn how to have hope.

But why and I talking about this now you ask.

Well, lately I feel like my light is starting to dim, my hope is fading and I am finding it harder and harder to get in front of millions of people daily and tell them to be positive. To stand there and email and tell them that individuality matters. Smile and say that there is always a bright spot in every dark cloud.

Point blank – It’s hard to sit there and be happy when the world is burning around you.

So yesterday I finally had enough of this and I had to remind myself not to give up hope. I had to give myself a hard reset and look back at my own life. I made myself look back at all the years that I had no hope and remind myself of all the negative things that came without hope. I had to remind myself that without hope we cannot make a better tomorrow. I remember that without hope I never would have had the courage to get sober and without sobriety I wouldn’t have anything that I have today. I couldn’t let my hope slip away from me.

Let’s flash back to yesterday….

Yesterday I had to go to Los Angeles for an event. Now, I live in Temecula and LA is about two hours away and I didn’t want to go by myself. So I asked Brandon (my youngest son) if he would go with me and he said yes (which for him was a huge deal because he doesn’t care for large crowds and he is also sober), But he said yes and I couldn’t have been happier and away we went. Sooooo what’s the big deal you ask? Well, the big deal is if you flash back to 8 years ago, Brandon would not even talk to me. I was up to my ears in addiction and he had his own to deal with. I had no relationship with either of my son and I had no hope that I ever would. Then you fast forward to us yesterday and everything was completely different. We had a great roadtrip. We talked, we laughed and he was an excellent plus one. It was a really good day with Brandon.

But where does the hope come into this you ask?

Hope is what gave me the courage to get sober. It was the hope of rebuilding a relationship with my sons to be exact. I replaced the fear of never having a relationship with my sons to the hope of having one. If I had not allowed myself to hope, yesterday would not have happened, I would not be here and my life would not be what it is today. It was that moment of clarity for just that brief second that allowed my mind to say “what it”. What if the thing I fear most is keeping me from the one thing I want most. It was just that split second where I said to myself “Well, you will never know if you don’t try”. So try I did.

The point of this whole story and the point of telling you about yesterday is that life right now, for me, feels like it’s getting harder to hope. Looking back at the last few years and we have been through a pandemic, we have a war going on, there’s global warming, I live in a Country divided and unleashed gun violence. I am literally scared to pick up my phone in the morning because I don’t know what is next. I’m getting to the point of I just don’t want to hear anymore.

This fear is making it hard to have any hope.

I find myself having flash backs to my childhood where I would hope there wouldn’t be fighting that night only have my parents fight. I wake up hoping that no one got shot overnight only to read about more gun violence and more mothers losing their children. I hope for rain in my drought stricken state and we get a heatwave.

I hope and shit happens.

But it wasn’t until yesterday when I was driving to LA with Brandon did I put two and two together. I realized somewhere driving down the 15 that I was slipping back into my dark spot where I was scared to hope. I instantly broke out in a cold sweet because that was a feeling that I had locked away years ago. It was also somewhere on the 60 that I also realized how important it was to stop doing that. I realized how important it was to have hope and that I couldn’t give up on the one thing that saved me. Hope, the one thing that gave me my life back and gave me my children back. I could not lose my hope again. Period and end of story.

So I decided to keep hoping for the best.

I to remind myself and remember that my strength isn’t based in anger. No, I tried that route and I failed miserably at the “Oh I’m so tough because I’m always angry” bullshit. I’ve had too many years of anger based fear years and I don’t want any more. I told myself that I have found more strength in positivity and hope then I ever did in fear and anger. It was somewhere on the 10 that I switched the narrative in my head around and boy did it feel good. I started to fell like my old/new self. The self where I have the strength to reach out to people around the world and tell them they have a voice. That their imperfections are what makes them perfect. Remind people to stop listening to society and start listening to themselves. I remember that we need to lift each other up during these difficult times and not tear each other down.

I remembered who I wanted to be.

Does this mean that I’m going to go out and hug the first stranger who doesn’t have the same beliefs as me? No, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is, in a world full of hate, I’m not going to play anymore. You have your beliefs and I’ll have mine. You vote for who you want and I’ll vote for who I want. I will support companies who share my beliefs and boycott those who don’t. But the one thing I will not do is hate the other person. I don’t have time for hate and hate is not doing me any good. I’m no longer going to carry fear and hatred with me because I have hope for humanity.

I mean, if we all give up hope, then we are really fucked.

If you find yourself out there feeling like you are getting weighed down with everything going on, my suggestion would be to just take a moment and breathe. Go outside and let the air hit your face, go for a walk and clear your mind. If you feel hopeless, figure out what you can do to give yourself some hope back. Sometimes we forget that small actions can have large impacts and those small actions will just make you feel better.

So I will continue to hope for the best, I will continue to not use single use plastics, I will continue to be thankful for everything that I have and I will continue to counteract as much negativity with positivity as this small 57 year old, gray haired woman can do.

Until next time…. x

When Is It Time To Let Go?

I was walking around my house this morning just kinda looking around and enjoying the moment and it was in this moment that I realized that I was still holding on to every memory of Liberty that I could. I had her chewed up toys, her food and water station and all of her dog beds (yes she had more than one). I realized in that moment that I was holding on to these things because I wasn’t ready to physically let go of her memories. I also knew at that moment that while I wanted to hold on to these memories, these things weren’t helping me remember her, they were keeping me in a very sad place. BUT was it time to let them go? I stood there for a moment because I didn’t have the answer. I didn’t know what to do and I kept asking myself…

When is it time to let go?

I recently lost my beloved best friend and fur baby Liberty and it knocked me on my ass. Yes, I knew she was old and yes I knew she wouldn’t live forever but I still wasn’t ready for the day that I had to say “goodbye”. I personally don’t think we are ever truly ready to say goodbye to someone we love, but that’s just my opinion.

Me and My Liberty

I was standing there thinking to myself that I should be an expert by this by now. I have lived through the loss of my sister, my dad and my mom. You would think I would have had this answer down pat by now. But clearly I did not because I was still vacuuming around empty dog beds and there was still a bowl of dry dog food what wasn’t going anywhere on it’s own.

As I stood there I thought about how I had rented a storage unit after my Mom passed away to store all of my parents furniture (trust me this was not cheap and I did this for over 5 years). During those 5 years I kept telling myself that I was doing this because my boys would want that furniture for when they had a place of their own. When that didn’t happen I told myself that they would want it when they get a larger place to live and would need more furniture. When that didn’t happen I finally just told myself that I was holding on to everything because I wasn’t ready to physically let go of their items. I mean at least at that point I was being honest with myself.

So month after month I paid the storage fees and month after month I kept everything. It wasn’t until I quit my corporate job did I finally let go of their items. Trust me it wasn’t by choice, it was by necessity. I just couldn’t afford the monthly payment any more. I do I have to tell you, while we were loading up the uHaul it felt right and I knew it was time. It was probably the right time years ago but I told myself it was the right time for me that moment and I took that as a small victory. We loaded up the uHaul and donated everything to Goodwill. You are probably thinking that this is the end of this part of the story and you would be wrong.

My Sister and Me

Now being that I me – I went to Goodwill and sat on the couch and cried every chance I got. I can only imagine what people thought when they walked by but I just didn’t care. What I cared about was I knew that one day I would walk into the store they would be gone so I was going to sit there while I could. We did have a close call one time when a man and woman walked by and started talking about the couches. Now to give you an idea of what I was sitting on, my parents had bought the couches during the height of the Southwest phase. So the couches were salmon, cream and green with a desert theme. I know they were old dated but so what, my parents were dated. Anyway, I was sitting there and the husband mentions the couches and then looks at this wife. I instantly knew that there could be trouble. So I sat there with my eyes closed and kept repeating in my head “please don’t say anything mean, please don’t say anything mean, oh please don’t say anything mean”. Because yes, I would have taken that as a direct insult to my parents and their outdated taste. So I slowly open my eyes and wait for her to open her mouth. I gotta tell you, it was close. She didn’t like the couches (okay I could live with that), but she didn’t mock them either (I was thankful for that). She had have a bit of a smirk on her face but all those years of sobriety and all those years of learning to let my anger go really paid off at the moment and let that smirk go. I knew at that moment that I had to leave the store and get a grip. I knew I had to let the couches go and couldn’t fight people at Goodwill. Those couches were not my parents.

My Mom and Dad

So as I stood there looking at Liberty’s toys and beds I knew it was time to let her things go. I knew that the only thing that those items were doing was keeping me locked in the pain of loosing her. I knew this and yet I still don’t want to let them go. But I did. I packed up her beds and donated them to an animal rescue. I threw away her chewed up toys and bowls. I packed everything else up and put away for a new dog one day and I let them go. I let the physical items go.

I personally don’t think that there is a right time on when it’s time to let go. I think each person needs to determine what works best for them and go with that. My only suggestion from the bottom of my heart is this. If you are holding onto physical items from someone you have lost and those items bring you joy, hold on to them and hold them close to your heart. If you are holding onto items and it’s making you sad or bringing you pain, it might be time to let go. Hurting ourselves because we miss someone we love doesn’t bring them back. My mom always use to say “Dying is easy, being left behind is tough”. Damn she was right I this one.

I know in my heart that Liberty will always be in my heart and that’s where she continue to live. I don’t need those physical daily reminders to remember her because I will never forget her.

Until next time.

It’s Like Digging A Hole In Sand

Have you ever gone to the beach and thought to yourself…”Hmmmmm this is a great place to dig a hole?” and you start to dig. At first it seems like a regular ole hole but then things start to change and you quickly realize that it’s not going to be as easy as you first thought it would be. Your new beach hole starts to collapse in on itself. Slowly but surely the top of sand trickles down into your new sand hole. One scoop out, sand pours back in. Another scoop out, more sand in. It’s at that point that you realize that what you thought would be so easy turns out to be much harder than you thought.

That’s what life feels like to me sometimes….like digging a hole in sand.

Why is that? Why do I feel like I can’t get ahead no matter how hard I try? Now, I’m not talking about money, no I’m talking about time. I’m talking about time as a whole and I’m talking about time as in no matter what I am doing I think I should be doing something else.

Let me fill you in a little better on what I’m trying to say here.

brown sands near body of water
Photo by Flo Dahm on Pexels.com

Recently I made a major (and I mean major) change in my life. I decided to quit my corporate job and become a full time social media influencer. Sounds great, right? That’s what I thought and in my head I thought this would the most “stress free” move of my life. In my head I visualized waking up in the mornings to a leisurely cup of coffee, wondering around the house while I decided what TikTok I would make, maybe work on some editing and write a blog of two. In my head I saw myself done at 5:00 to enjoy an evening of relaxation why I ponder my next day. In my head I saw myself successfully digging that hole in the sand.

What my day really looks like is nothing like what I thought it would look like. I’m up by 6:30 and I don’t stop working until I go to bed. Now please do not think for a moment that I am complaining about this because I’m not. I absolutely love my job, love my life and love my decision to quit. What I’m struggling with is the fact that no matter how much I do, I have more to do. What I thought was going to be easy is in fact very hard and the schedule I had given myself was unrealistic. What I am struggling with is time because I never seem to have enough of it. But wait, that’s not all, that would be way too easy. I also struggle with the feeling that no matter what I’m doing, I should be doing something else.

I’m not sure if you have ever felt this way, but I always feel like I should be doing something else. If I’m taking a break and relaxing for a moment, I tell myself I should be working. If I’m working I tell myself I should be relaxing. If I’m out thrifting for my Poshmark, I tell myself that I should be working on my YouTube. If I’m working on my YouTube I think it’s taking too long and should be writing a blog. No matter what I’m doing I feel like I should be doing something else. This way of thinking keeps me constantly digging in the sand because I’m never going to get to the bottom of that hole.

Now here’s where it gets interesting because I’m not sure if you noticed or not but I literally just wrote out the problem. It’s right here in black and white, everything that I feel. Now it’s up to me to come up with a solution. I really don’t want to spend the rest of my life telling myself I should have spent it doing something else.

yellow and white alarm clock
Photo by KoolShooters on Pexels.com

I’ve thought about putting myself on a schedule before but I never followed through with it (at least I’m being truthful….right?) I would tell myself that as a creative person and creative people need to go with the flow. Schedules will do nothing but hinder my creativity and therefore schedules are not for me. We both know this is a load of crap and a schedule will help. I know it will help because I gave myself one. In the short time that I have been on a schedule, I have already seen an improvement. Now when I do a task, let’s say…..write my blog. I know this what I’m supposed to be doing and I don’t think about anything else. Yes, I have more to do but that is scheduled for once this is done. With this scheduleI I’ve been able to write more and stress less. As much as I hate to admit it, this free spirit has given herself a schedule.

Another super important part of this puzzle me is my inner voice. My inner voice is a mean little shrew who likes to make me feel bad no matter what I do and I know it. I know that sounds kinda mean, but I can be very mean to myself. My inner voice is the one who tells me that I should be doing something else no matter what I am doing. My inner voice is the one who tells me that I should work until I go to bed and my inner voice is the one who tells me that a schedule won’t work for me. So yes, I have to keep that inner voice under control and I do that by listening to it.

Now I know you are sitting there thinking to yourself “Why would you listen to what it is saying when it’s not being nice?” and the answer is “I’m listening to what it is saying so I can make sure to stop it once it gets mean.” If I don’t listen to what I’m telling myself it will just fill my head with silent negative thoughts and that is what I don’t want. I want my inner voice to tell me things I can do, positive things, anything but mean negative thoughts. Now if I catch my inner voice telling me that what I’m doing is wrong and I should be doing something else, I will stop and remind myself that I’m on a schedule and this is my scheduled time. With this system my inner shrew voice has no argument. I mean what’s it going to say? There is no arguing with the plain and simple fact that I’m on a schedule.

So if you find yourself digging your own hole in sand, just stop for a moment and ask yourself “why?”. Why are you doing this to yourself? And the more important question is what can you do to change this. What is your inner shrew voice telling you and can you make it stop. There is a solution to every problem and sometimes it’s as easy as telling your head shrew to “pipe down and shut up”. See if you need to give yourself more structure or in some cases less. I’m a big fan of journals and lists. Your writing doesn’t have to be fancy, it just needs to get out of your head and onto the paper. Once it’s there it’s easy for you to see your next step. No matter what changes you need to makes, just make sure you do it. You are important and your happiness is important.

Until next time….

Menopause Is My New Superhero Power

Let’s set the scene….

I’m casually minding my own business while thrifting at my local Goodwill, when suddenly I feel something different. Something is starting to happen inside that I haven’t felt before. It’s a slow burn from deep inside and it spreads slowing but surely. From my core, to my chest, to my arms and my legs. This slow burn makes my skin tingle. I stand there completely frozen with heat asking myself “What in the hell is this all about?” I stand there, telling myself not to move because I’m pretty sure if I do I’m going to burst into flames. And as suddenly as it appeared, the heat starts to subside. Suddenly I can feel the air on my hands, I can move my legs and just like that “poof” I’m back to a normal human temperature.

I had just had my first hot flash.

With the heat gone, I start to do a mental check of all systems. I move my hands, I check and make sure that my legs are still working and thankfully everything seems to be check out as operational. My next thought was “Did anyone see that?” I mean it had to of been crazy to watch some small gray haired lady just achieve supernova temperature in just a few seconds….right?

Slowly I start scanning the room, looking to make eye contact with someone to see if they have a look of awe of concern on their face. The first person I see…nothing. They didn’t even seem to notice me. Second person, pretty much the same reaction as the first person. So I turn around and scan those individuals behind me. Anything? Nope, no one seemed to have noticed my single most amazing body transformation to date. Not one person in that store took notice to the fact that not only did my body temperature reach a temperature reserved for blowing glass, but not one personal took note that I had just officially entered into menopause.

Needless to say I was rather disappointed. I was expecting nothing less than a round of applause, some high-fives and pats on the back. Rounds of “Good job Lonni – you made it!”. But no – I got nothing, not even a weird look or head nod. UGH the reality sat in, this new adventure as going to be a solo journey. Just like puberty, menopause is a silent stalker that only hangs out with and fucks with the you. Oh joy. So I head home determined to do my research and find out everything I can about my new silent, heat seeking partner. I was going to outsmart menopause by learning everything I could about it.

Tap, tap, tap….Google search. Hmmmmm that’s not very concrete info. Let me try again. Tap, tap, tap…Google search. Damn, that isn’t really what I was hoping to find.

What did I find you ask? Well, this is pretty much what I learned about menopause. I’m screwed and there’s not a whole lot I can do about it. What is found is there is no easy way to go through menopause. There is no magical pill to take or a magical tea to drink to make the symptoms go away. I wrap my head out this fact but there has to be more than one symptom right? It can’t just be hot flashes, what other delights am I in for? I had to find out and here’s what I found.

Irregular Periods: I had a hysterectomy years ago so this hasn’t been a problem nor will it be a problem for me now. On to the next one.

Hot Flashes: Bingo! I defiantly have this one so let’s dive deeper into this one. Dear Google: How long will these suckers last? Here’s where it get’s really fun. There is no answer to this one. Everything I read said it can last for days, months or years. The answer is “There is no answer”. It’s up to my body to figure out how long these will last. Oh joy again.

Insomnia: Hmmmmm I’m usually a good sleeper but have been having some restless nights. I checked that up to stress and having too much on my mind. Maybe it was more than that. Maybe it was new superhero power telling me that sleep in overrated and feeling rested isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. I’ll have to keep an eye on this one because like I said. I’m a good sleeper and I would like to keep it that way.

Mood Swings: Well that explains why I started crying when I drove past the bake sale for girl athletes. I was so proud of those young ladies and charging through life in a direction that is usually only geared towards men. I know now why I sobbed all the way to my appointment. Makes sense why I cry at commercials and every other TikTok. I’m not a cryer and this one is very foreign to me. I’m starting to think that the hot flashes aren’t looking too bad.

Loss Of Libido: I’ve been single longer than I can remember and for me it’s just another Monday. That’s all I’m going to say that.

I will confidently say that Google diagnosed me correctly and I’m enjoying the fruits of menopause. BUT can I do anything to help with all of these finding. Can I change something in my life to change the fact that I am now a sweaty, crying, sleep deprived 57 year old? The answer to that is, kinda. When I say kinda, I found some suggestions but no cures. You cannot cure menopause you endure menopause. What I found was this:

Quit Smoking: Did that years ago, so I’m off to a good start.

Get Enough Sleep: Wait, did you just tell me I was going to have insomnia? This one is a wash.

Get More Exercise: I like this one and will start this one.

Reduce Caffeine: No. You already took away my libido you are not touching the one thing that brings me joy. You are not taking away my caffeine. Next…

Eat A Plant Based Diet: I already do that so I’m good here.

Seek Support: It said that many women struggle with menopause and the idea of getting older.

Wait a hot minute (no pun intended). Are you telling that as a society that we are so youth based that women have to join a support group because the idea of aging is that horrible? What a sad statement and one that I refuse to get behind. This brings up another question “Are there support groups for men who are getting older?” Answer, I couldn’t find one and this is sad for two reasons. One, society puts more pressure on women to fight aging than they do on men. Two, society makes men feel bad if they talk about their emotions. There’s a lot of things that can change for the better around this subject!

So I Googled and gathered all this information and I had to personally figure out how I was going to deal with my menopause. Side Note: I don’t understand the “pause” part of that word, they really need to call it menostop. What I decided to do was to embrace my changes not fight it. I will exercise more and carry tissues for my sudden outburst of tears. What I’m not going to do is fight it or deny it. Nope, I’m going to make this my new superhero power.

To understand my power we need to flash back to the next time I was out in public and I got a hot flash. I stood there on fire with every emotion I had on high alert and trying to get out all at once. As I stood there I thought to myself “I really hope someone doesn’t fuck with me at this moment because I feel like I could rip someones head off”. And that’s when it hit me. I could use that thought, this feeling, that power, that heat for good not evil. I wasn’t going to snap on some unexacting person. No, I was going to make this my super hero power and help those in need.

I kid you not – when I’m out and about and have a hot flash I scan my surroundings looking for someone who might need help. Is there a little old lady who is being picked on? It there a lost child who needs to find their parents? A kitten who needs to be rescued from a tree? I literally feel unstoppable at those moments and if someone needs my help I’m there to give it. I might be crying and sweaty but I’m there to help. During these moments I don’t feel old and I don’t feel weak. I feel powerful.

Age is a gift that we need to learn to embrace – not fight.

My thought is this. We have two ways to look at menopause and the changes that we are going through. We can be upset and fight the fact that we are aging (age is a gift by the way) and we can be miserable every day because we are not turning back time. Or we can embrace what we are going through and give ourselves some extra kindness and compassion. We can cry when we want, we can yell when we want, we sweat and we burst into flames and we can be okay with each and every one of those things.

I choose to be okay with this. I choose to embrace my changing body and choose to make this my superhero power because not everyone gets to live long enough to endure this. We are one of the lucky ones who get to experience this. So the next time you have a hot flash I hope you go looking for that kitten and use your newfound power for good, not evil.

Until next time.

Tattoo Appointments Here I Come!

I guess I didn’t get the message when society told me that I was too old for tattoos. Or maybe I did get the message and I just chose to ignore them. Either way, I have six appointments coming up in the next few months and with that many appointments I need to make sure I’m ready for each and every appointment.

Now I’ve been getting tattooed for decades and over this time I have come up with a routine that I do to get ready for my appointments. To me, getting a tattoo is an experience and I do this routine to make sure that I have the best experience possible.

So here are my tips and tricks for each and every tattoo.

Always Excited For A Tattoo

The first one is easy for me, I don’t drink or party the night before my appointment. I’ve been sober now for over 6 years so like I said, this one is easy for me. Trust me, before I got sober I had more than a few appointments feeling like shit. In all truthfulness, it’s important to not go out and get blasted the night before for a reason. If you are hungover you won’t sit as well for your artist. If you move your artist will have a harder time giving you a good tattoo and more importantly you just won’t enjoy the experience as much. Like I said, for me my tattoos are an experience and I want each and every experience to be a good one.

Wear Something Comfortable

Next, and this goes along with what I just mentioned. I get a good night sleep. I do this because I’m going to be using a lot of energy. Now I know I’m not going to be moving during my appointment, but it’s going to hurt and when you are in pain your body works to protect itself from that pain. While we know we are getting a cool tattoo, our body doesn’t care and it does what I does best. It burns energy to lessen the paint. Getting a good night sleep helps your body deal with the pain and again helps you have a good tattoo experience.

Make sure you take a shower before your appointment. Remember, you are going to very close to your artist and your artist isn’t going to be pleased if you are stinky. Trust me the last person we want uncomfortable is the person with the tattoo machine. Also, make sure you don’t wear heavy cologne or perfume. You will be in close contact with your artist and while you might like the smell, they may not and you don’t want them uncomfortable.

Please also remember to dress comfortably. You never know what position your artist will put you in and it will make it unpleasant if you are wearing tight uncomfortable clothes. Again, and I know I sound like a broken record, but you just want this to be a good experience and you want to make sure you are doing what you can for your artist also. If you can’t move the way they ask you to, it’s just going to make if harder for everyone.

Don’t Forget Your Water

Be sure to eat a healthy breakfast. Don’t eat too much or too heavy but something healthy. I always suggest oatmeal or scrambled eggs. This goes back to your body burning energy and you will need the fuel to make sure you don’t get dizzy or light headed.

I suggest bringing water. I always bring a big jug of water and sip on it during my appointment. I just feel better having water and I like to keep myself hydrated. Now that I’m writing this down, I really do go into each appointment in full “Mom Mode”!

Bring Snacks

Speaking of Mom Mode – I always bring snacks. Now get this, I don’t bring snacks just for myself, I bring them for my artist and the whole shop. You just never know who is going to need a snack and there I am ready with my bag of goodies to give someone a protein bar. I always bring the same thing that is typically some protein bars, maybe a tangerine or two, pretzels with peanut butter and some licorice. You just never know if your appointment is going longer than you expected and you never know if you need extra fuel. I always want to keep my artist fed and if someone else in shop needs an emergency snack I’m there to give them a snack.

Brian Dell @ Dedicated Tattoo

A couple of more items to bring if you want is music. If you have an artist that doesn’t talk much, or if music helps your relax, then bring your beats and just listen to music. Bring a pillow to help out with those uncomfortable positions and bring a blanket. I haven’t brought a blanket to any of my appointments yet but I’m planning on bringing one to my next appointment at the end of this month. I have a long session coming up with Austin Maples and while I love him dearly, he’s doing an American Traditional tattoo that is packed full of black. What I trying to say is “It’s going to hurt”. I know I’m going to be cold and I’m bring my blanket. I will let you know if it helps.

Last but not least, I always tip my artist. I do this because I love them dearly, but also because I appreciate the hard work that they just put in to give me a beautiful tattoo. I get asked a lot about tipping and how much should you give. I usually tip anywhere between 20% to 25%. Both of my artists have agreed this is a standard amount and they both also said that if someone tips less they appreciate anything. If you can’t afford the 20% I say at least give them what you can.

So those are my tips and tricks for my tattoo appointments. If you are new to getting tattooed, remember, to breathe and to enjoy the experience. You only get your first tattoo once and trust you will have more appointments after this one. If you already have tattoo experience, I hope I was able to give you some new ideas for things to try for your next appointment. My next appointment is at the end of this month and I’ll be bring you along with me. I’ll be getting my right hand tattooed for Liberty in July and that one is the appointment that I’m really looking forward to.

Until Next Time…..

Dealing With Loss – In Real Time

I’ve written about this subject before and I have done numerous TikTok’s and YouTube’s regarding this subject BUT what makes this one different is I’m going to talking about dealing with loss and the pain that comes along with it in “real time”.

What I’m trying to say is this – I’m going to talk to you about the pain of loss while I am actively feeling the pain of loss.

Let me tell you what’s going on….

If you have been following me on any of my social media platforms, you will know that I have a constant four legged companion named Liberty. My sweet girl is a 13 year old pitbull that I have had since she was 5 weeks old. She has seen me through good times and through bad times. She has seen me sober and she loved me when I was an addict. She was the definition of unconditional love.

I lost my Liberty two days ago.

Me And My Liberty

I hurt. Plain and simple I hurt and I feel like I also lost a piece of me on that day. Liberty’s passing was quick, I mean real quick. She woke up fine and I had to say “Goodbye” to her that evening. I knew Liberty was older and that she was on borrowed time, but that doesn’t make the pain of my loss any less. So I cried, and I cried and then I cried some more. I have cried every day but today was a little different. Today I asked myself this question “Lonni, what are you going to do with this pain?” I have to tell you, that was a good question and it needed to be answered. I mean, I could sit here and cry some more or I could start my healing journey and try to help someone else along the way. I knew the answer and I knew what I wanted to do so I chose to start my healing journey. I chose to try help someone else by sharing how I was going to start healing myself. I think Liberty would approve of this and here’s what I’m doing.

I’m giving myself time.

We have a tendency to put so much pressure on ourselves when I comes to time and healing. For some reason we feel that we have to issue deadlines for everything in our lives, including grief. I decided today that I was going to allow my as much time as I need. If it’s quick great, if this takes awhile great. I’m taking that pressure off and just letting the healing process begin.

I will be extra compassionate to myself.

I say this because I find myself loosing patience with myself. Tasks that should be quick are taking longer and I’m getting frustrated. If something does not happen the way I want I snap. I see this happening and I’m having to tell myself to just take things slow. I am purposely watching out my triggers, anything that will make me snap. I try to open a program on the computer and get irritated that it’s taking so long. I worked on my Blog today and hung up on customer support. I watched an YouTube instead and didn’t have the patience to finish it. I see all of this and I’m aware of what’s happening so I’m giving myself a break. When I get frustrated, I don’t get upset at myself, I say something kind to myself and move on. When I start to feel frustrated I remind myself that I’m hurting and that I might be blowing things out of proportion. I’m just kinder to myself because I hurt.

I will keep a close eye on my anger.

This one is real threat. I was raised to be a fighter and I thought anger was my super power. I was like this until just a couple of years ago. I was like this until I got sober. Once I got sober I let go of the anger but the anger didn’t let go of me. It is always buried deep waiting for me to either use it or waiting for me to let down my guard and it comes out. So, I have to be careful because I don’t want to give it the power it’s looking for. When I go to the store and someone cuts me off, I don’t chase them down to confront them. When someone looks at me wrong I don’t turn and look for a fight. When someone is rude to me online I won’t respond, I will just delete the comment. So like I said, I am being extra diligent with my anger. I’m keeping a very close eye on it to make sure it doesn’t take over. Because trust me, no one wants angry Lonni chasing them down at the grocery store. I repeat – No One!

I will remind myself to let people help.

When I hurt I shut the storm shutters. This comes from years of being hurt and receding into the happy spot I made for myself in my mind. In that spot no one can hurt me and I can keep myself shielded from the outside world. While this is a great defense mechanism in some instances, in this instance is does me harm. It shuts me away from the people who love me and want to help me, not hurt me. So I have to remind myself, that no matter how much I want to shut my feelings down and shutter myself away, I can’t. I can’t do this because this is when I need the people I love the most. My boys are just as hurt as I am and if I don’t let them help me, I won’t be able to help them. As much as it hurts, I cannot hide from this pain.

I will no make any major changes.

This is a tough one for me because part of my coping mechanism is change. When I hurt I want to change something to take that hurt away. My poor closet came under attack first. I purged my closet the first day, only to realize what I was doing and I put everything back. Next I thought about changing my hair, even though I absolutely love my hair. Again, I was looking to change my situation because I wanted to change the pain. I have to understand and remind myself that changing something like my hair or closet isn’t going to change my pain. It might mask it for a few hours or days, but it isn’t taking anything away. If anything it will make me pissed at myself once I get out of my fog. So stop yourself from doing thing different (at least for a couple of days).

I’m monitoring the voices in my head.

I have a real problem with negative self talk. It lead me to addiction and even today they can quickly turn ugly. I have already caught myself saying “you should have” “you could have” “what if”. I mean come on Lonni. Not one of those things would have changed the outcome and the only thing you are doing is hurting yourself. You are not making the pain less and you are not bringing Liberty back. So I listen very carefully to what I am saying to myself and I keep the negative self talk out of my head. This all goes back to being compassionate. Everything I start a negative thought, I tell myself a positive one instead.

So these are the active steps that I’m currently doing to help me through this difficult time. I hope these help you during your difficult time. If doesn’t just have to be about the loss of someone you love. It can be about anything. Here’s the thing that gets me. We often feel like we have to explain the journey that lead us to a painful moment. Bullshit. The story of the how we got there is irrelevant, what is relevant is how you are feeling at this very moment. What matters is that you hurt and you need to start your own journey of healing. Period.

I truly hope my words will help you in some way. I know I feel better now that I have this written and I know Liberty is proud of me for doing this. I love that dog and will love that dog until the day I pass. I will get through this – one step at a time.

Until next time – love you!

Making Changes to Make Me Happy

Have you ever woken up and say to yourself “I’m just not happy?”. Well, I did that not so long ago and I knew at that moment that I had to make some changes and changes I did! What changes did I make you ask? Well, I quit my job yesterday Yes, I am no longer employed at a corporate job and I have to tell you it feels amazing. Let me say that louder….AMAZING!

I figured out long ago that I no longer got joy out of my job and that turned into resentment and that turned into me being weighed down with negative energy. I had figured out what was making me unhappy but the problem was, that unhappy job was paying my bills and more. That unhappy job had been my career for decades and the simple fact was….I was a 57 year old miserable woman making a great living. So there I was, stuck in a career and sacrificing my happiness. Yesterday I decided to picked my happiness.

But let me stop here and back up a little because we need to look back at the first couple of months of 2022 to see how I got to the outcome of me changing my life direction in the most major fashion.

Rewind to New Year’s Day. 2022 started off just like any other year. I stayed up long enough to tell Brandon “Happy New Year” (Robert doesn’t make it past 9:00). Got up the next morning, worked on my social media, watched some Netflix and then made black eyed peas (there’s my Southern side showing) and cornbread. That’s when the changes started and they haven’t stopped yet. I burnt my peas and the cornbread that I have made for years just didn’t turn out like it usually did. I sat there and wondered what happened. What did I do different? Was it me? Was it the peas” I didn’t do anything different but the outcome was different nonetheless. Funny how that happens and I should have known then and there that this year was going to be about changes.

Shortly after the pea and cornbread debacle, a close friend of our family was tragically taken from us in a car accident. He was a driver for the wine tour company that we all worked with years ago. He was the type of person who you could call and say “Darryl, I need….” and he would stop you right there and say “What can I do.” We all know someone like that and he was our person. His death hit me in a way that I wasn’t expecting. Yes, I was sad but more than that, it shook me to the point where I started taking a harder look at my own life. I remember sitting in the parking lot near my home and just thinking about him. He would pick me up in that exact parking lot in the tour bus and we would talk for hours. I always looked forward to our time together because I spent more time talking to him then doing anything else. As I sat there thinking about our conversations and how we would laugh at just about everything. I thought about how quickly he was taken. He no longer gets any more “do overs” or “next times” his time was up but mine wasn’t. I still had a chance to change. I could change the things that were making me so horribly unhappy and make things right.

Now you would think this is all I would need to start making those changes, but it wasn’t. I was still too scared to make any major move. I knew I wanted to but wasn’t ready to make that kind of change. I told myself that my day would come and I would quit soon or later but things had to happen first. I had to have a certain amount of money in bank. I had to have a certain amount of followers on social media. I had to be farther along across my social media platform. The list just kept going. Until Tracy died.

Tracy was a co-worker that I had worked with years before. To be completely honest we weren’t that close but we knew each other from working together. She was the type of person that always seemed happy no matter what. She was one of them. Tracy always had a dream to move to Belize and retire, and she had in fact lived her dream and moved a year ago. Last month Tracy had a heart attack and died. She lost her do-overs and next times just a quickly as Darryl lost his. This time, this time I decided to stop living in fear of my own do-overs and next times and do something now. This time I decided to give myself that freedom to do what I needed to do to be happy.

Now I’m not the type of person who decides to do something then think about it forever. Nope, I’m the type of person who says she’s going to do something and it’s done. But this, decision effected more than just me. It directly effected both of my children because both of my boys worked with me. Yes, they could have stayed and worked after I was gone but neither of them were any happier than I was. So the meeting was called and the decisions were made. We were going to all change careers and we would all go into social media. Some things we will do together (our Podcast We’re In Trouble Now) and some individually. But the really cool things was that we were all going to jump into our new lives together. We had all decided to give ourselves that freedom. There you go – the plan was made and in motion. We were going quit by my birthday (my birthday is in August). I wanted to give my company time to find a replacement and transfer over the account I had and make everything smooth and everyone happy, everyone but me that is. I have to tell you, once you get the feel of “I’m going to do what makes me happy” it’s hard to put it on hold. Meaning my 4 month notice turned into 3 months, which turned into 2 months, which ended up being 7 days. 7 long days of waiting for my do-over.

Today was the glorious 1st day of the rest of my life. By no means will the coming days, months or years be easy. I will have to work harder than before. I have to budget every dollar I have saved and I will have to think steps ahead to make sure I make the correct choices. But those choices are mine and I’m excited to see where this journey takes me. I’m excited to see what amazing things can happen since giving myself the freedom to follow my heart.

My message to you: If you are currently in an unhappy place, I hope I have given you the same motivation to make changes that Darryl and Tracy gave me. I’m not saying to quit your job, but I am saying don’t be scared of change and give yourself the freedom to make the changes necessary. You are important and you deserve happiness just like the next person.

Until next time….



In the world of words, time is rather a small word. I mean it only has four letters, but man is it a big word.Time can have some many different meanings to so many different people. We can wish for more time, we can hope that time goes by faster and we can beg time to slow down. Time doesn’t listen to any of us and just keeps plugging along at it’s own pace doing it’s own thing.

We know that time doesn’t listen to our hopes and wishes, but that never stops us from trying. Why is that? Why do we continue to struggle with something that we have no control over? I think this is a very good question and I think we need to take a deeper look into time and how our quest for controlling it ends up controlling us instead.

We can wish for more time:

This one…this one is a tough one for me because “Yes” sometimes I wish I had more time. I wish I had more time with my loved that I have lost. I wish I could share one more laugh with my Sister. I wish I could give my Dad one more hug and I sure as fuck wish I could tell my Mom “I love you” one more time. But the ugly truth is I can’t do one of those things. That time has come and gone and there’s nothing I can do about that. However; what I can do is appreciate the time that I did have with them. I can make sure that I live my life from now in honor of them. When I laugh, I laugh for me and my sister. I give hugs every chance I get because you never know who needs one (It’s defiantly a challenge now with the pandemic but I still try). I hug people because maybe they don’t have anyone else to hug them. I hug people, because let’s face it…I like to hug and it makes me feel good. I tell everyone and I mean everyone that I love them. I don’t hold back. When someone says something nice on my social media channels, I tell them I love them because I do. I have more than enough love to go around and again, maybe that person needed to hear that. Who knows, maybe my Mom is up in heaven bringing these people to me so I can tell them. Kinda like her way telling me that she loves me too.

You can wish for time to go faster:

When I was younger, time dragged like an old boring movie. I remember endless summers having to go and do errands with my Mom. One that I dreaded most was when she would visit her friend Ruth. Let me paint this picture for you.

Ruth was an elderly friend of my Mom’s (I was say she was in her late 70’s) and she lived alone. She had no children and no grandchildren, so my Mom would visit with her and bring me and my sister along for the ride. Now Ruth loved my sister. She was 6 years older than I was and not nearly as curious and antsy as I was. So of course she sat there and listened to the adults in such nice way, while I would keep myself entertained. But how does a girl of 7 entertain herself in a house full of elderly items? Well, it’s not easy but I gave it good try. I remember she had a rocking chair and I would see if I could rock myself across the room. I couldn’t of course because I weighed 25 pounds and that thing was made out of the heaviest wood ever. Did it stop me from trying? Oh Hell no it didn’t. I would sit there feverishly rocking back and forth trying to propel myself forward only to never move an inch. I got yelled at for this every single time but I never gave up. When this didn’t work I would move on to something else.The old exercise bike was another one of my favorites. It was way too big for me that again didn’t stop me. In my mind I was taking part in the Tour de France bike race. In reality, I was making that poor bike squeak to the point they could hear me in the next room and driving Ruth out of her mind. I did this until I got yelled yet. Poor Ruth at this point just didn’t know what to do so she would give me candy. I told you, she had no children or grandchildren so she clearly had no idea that giving sugar to a bored child is a receipe for disaster! Now I was board and hyper. Time was not my friend in these visits. Time slowed down to the pace that it was painful. My Mom would tell us that we were only stopping for a minute and that minute turned into hours. I hated going there and my Mother was painfully aware of that fact but made us go nonetheless. I knew my Sister felt the same way and now that I’m looking back at this, even though she sat there being the “good child” she was the one who would instigate me into these adventures. She did this in hopes that my Mom would get so mad that we would leave. I am proud to say the her plan worked 10 out of 10 times.

You can ask for time to slow down:

Out of all of these examples, the only factor of time that we remotely have any control over is this one.

When we say life is going by too fast, what exactly are we telling ourselves. Are we saying that we are not living everyday to the fullest? Are we saying that there are things we want to change and we are worried that time will run out before we do? What exactly are we saying to ourselves with this one?

I know for a fact that I have no control over time and struggle with time management. I have more projects daily that I have time for. I’m constantly looking for that balance of getting my projects done and have some mental health time for myself. But I am aware of this and that’s what is important. I have to keep a constant eye on this because I don’t want to loose that balance that I have made so far and I work daily on improving my time management.

For me, I have to schedule my time in order to keep it under control, to keep a balance. I was just telling Robert that my Dad had a daily schedule. I wrote everything down and kept track of everything. Partly for his peace of mine (he had to have everything perfect) and partly because he knew he was getting older and didn’t want to miss anything. After my Mom passed away and we had to go through both of their belongings, I found years of pocket calendars that my Dad had kept so he could remember daily chores and keep himself on schedule. For my Dad, time was a necessary evil that he had to control. I fall back on this more and more these days as I get older and as my life picks up speed. Which is weird if you think about it. I’m working on slowing down my time as my life picks up speed. If you find yourself saying “That went by too fast” or “I can’t believe the year is over, that went by so fast” you might want to stop and make sure you are giving yourself enough time to enjoy your life. This really isn’t as hard as it sounds. Maybe give yourself 5 minutes of quiet time before bed or start reading for 30 minutes a day. Whatever it is that you decide to give yourself, make sure it is something that will bring you joy.

When people ask me….

“Lonni, if you really did have the opportunity to turn back time, would you?”

The truthful answer is “No”.

I wouldn’t go back and change anything in fear of changing who I am now. Yes, I have a very painful past and yes the easy out would be to go back and make everything pain free. That however; would change who I am now and I love who I am today. I wouldn’t have the same outlook, the same experiences to share with you and the same gratefulness for life that I have now. That is the important take away from this blog today. The understanding that as soon as we stop trying to control time, we can start appreciating what we have this very day, hour, minute and second. I can’t bring anyone back, I can’t undo my pain or the pain I caused my children, so why spend any time or energy trying. I know it’s hard to give the quest to control time, but the reality is this is the first step in finding a deeper level of inner peace and truthfully in todays world we could all use a little more this.

I hope this helps anyone who struggles with time and I would love to hear your comments on this and suggestions for other topics.

Until next time…….

Wrinkles? I Call Them Laugh Lines

Let’s face it – when we get older we get wrinkles. Some people get more, some people get less, but the one thing we all have in common is the fact that we get them. The aging process and how we face age is a personal journey, some people fight the process and some people embrace the process. Personally, I don’t love mine but I don’t hate them either. It’s more like I’ve come to acknowledge them and respect them for what they are. I like the fact that they tell people that I have character, that I have been on a journey and that I have stories to tell. But most importantly it tells people that I’m still alive.

There is not one person amongst of us over a certain age that doesn’t have wrinkles. So let’s take a deeper look at our wrinkles and see if we can learn to love them a little more. Because the truth is, if we love our wrinkles more we will love ourselves more and we can all use more self love!

What do we know about wrinkles?

We know that wrinkles are a simple fact of life. Simply put, if we are lucky enough to age we will get wrinkles. We all should know this by now….right? I mean, I knew I was going to get wrinkles, and yet the first that I looked into the mirror and saw my Mom looking back at me, it took me by surprise. Again, I knew they would be there one day I just didn’t know it was going to be “that” day. I still remember thinking to myself “Well, they are here now so we might as well learn to get along with them”. Even today I still catch myself being surprised by my wrinkles sometimes. When I look into a mirror and this does happen I just stop and remind myself that it’s okay to be older and I love the older version of myself.

We know our skin changes with age. Our skin looses collagen and we get wrinkles….period. This is just basic knowledge in the simplest of terms. There are outside factors that along with this basic knowledge that can make a difference. We can do things to help minimize our wrinkles. I’m not talking about creams or surgery, no I’m talking about taking care of yourself from the inside out. Your skin and reap the benefit with sampling using sunscreen, eating healthy and drinking more water. You can make your skin work for every drop of moisture by smoking, drinking or living an unhealthy lifestyle. I spent the majority of my life abusing my body and skin so I’m Team Healthy these days and my skin has never looked better (it really makes a difference.

We know that society looks down on our wrinkles. Society glorifies youth and perfection, plain and simple. You see it every time you turn on the TV, go to the store or look on social media. Society praises perfection and when you have wrinkles your skin is not perfect and there goes your praise. When you really stop to think about it, it could become a helpless feeling. Thinking that you will no longer be praised because no matter how hard you try, you will never be able to get that perfection praise back. We can’t change what society thinks about us but we can decide how we think about us. We haven’t walked through the fires of life to crumble under the pressures of perfection.

We know the people try to use our wrinkles and age as an insult. Why do people think that getting old is an insult? Am I going to put most of the blame back on society? Yes I am! I haven’t met anyone who has been able to do stay forever young, but I have met a lot of people who like to tell others that they are less than perfect because they are older. I have to wonder when did age become and insult? When did the simple fact that you are not dead and getting older become a source of ridicule and who is the jerk that came up with the first insult? Do you think that people who were traveling across the plains in a covered wagon told each other that they were less than perfect? Did they all call each old and try to make the other person feel like a burden? I don’t think they did. I think they were happy to still be alive and worked together to stay that way. I think this is modern day problem made worse with technology.

So what can we do about this? We can’t turn back time and (and why would we) so we need to change how we look at ourselves. Let me repeat that last part just incase you didn’t hear it……we need to change how we look at ourselves. We need to love ourselves and all our wrinkles. Because I have to tell you, once you start believing what society is selling, you will start the mindset of thinking that you are old and we cannot allow that to happen. With that first wrinkle we start the slippery slope of ageism. With ageism you are suddenly too old for Dr. Martens. With ageism you might as well forget about getting that new tattoo. With ageism you might a well throw everything out of your closest that isn’t beige, because color is not allowed when you are old. Ageism will have you believing that there’s no way you can still be cool and have wrinkles. Ageism will take your identity away from you and everything that it represents. Everything about ageism is wrong! You can have age and a new tattoo, you can have wisdom and a fierce style. You can have gray hair and wrinkles and you can do anything you put your mind too. It is up to you whether or not you to go against society and what society is telling you. Our wrinkles and our age does not stop us from living the best life. We are the only ones who can stop us from living the best life regardless of age. I know it is easier to blame society but the truth is, it all comes down to us and whether of not we want to fade away.

Fade away, the thought of fading away terrifies me. I don’t want to fade away, I don’t want to be forgettable or washed out. I’m not afraid of aging, I’m afraid of fading away. I can’t stop age, but I can stay true to myself at any age. I can be the same outspoken person that I was in my 20’s, I can rock a style that I was too insecure to wear when I was younger. I can have as many tattoos as I want that I could barely afford when I started that journey. I can be a voice on social media at 57 that I never could have been at 27. Fade away? No, I’m shining brighter than ever

So this post is for anyone who is struggling with their wrinkles now or the thoughts of wrinkles in the future. Age is not an insult and not to be feared. We are not fading away and nothing is stopping us, but us. I truly hope this helps you embrace your wrinkles and embrace yourself.


To The Very End

To the very end. That is what I think every time some asks me who my inspiration is/was and I tell them my Mom. Why “To the very end”? Well, let me tell you the story that is my Mom and give you a glimpse as to why I am the way I am today.

So the other day I was on a TikTok live and someone asked me this question. “Lonni, who is your inspiration?” Without hesitation I said my Mom. But the answer has so many meanings, it’s not just a simple black and white answer. It’s a rainbow of colors kinda answer. She inspired me in so many different ways. Her strength that I didn’t give her enough credit for while she was alive. Her love of fashion that has given me my thirst for everything fashion. Her unwavering love for her family. Her ability to light up a room, just by walking into it. But mostly, what I draw inspiration from on a daily basis was her ability to absolutely, 100% be true to herself. She was true to herself to the very end.

When I say be true to herself, I mean she was so incredibly comfortable in her own skin that she didn’t change who she was regardless of the situation. She could be at church and speak up when women were told that they should be seen and not heard. She could be at a five star restaurant, wearing whatever she wanted and every woman in room would want to be wearing the same thing. She could go into a tattoo parlor at the age of 73 and get into a political debate with the shop owner. He was one of the scariest guys I knew and she never backed down from her belief. It’s that simple trait of being herself, regardless on her surrounding that really gives me the most inspiration.

Now I didn’t realize the depth of this or how true she really was to herself, until she left me. My Mom had to endure the pain of losing her oldest daughter, then she had to bury her husband of almost 60 years, then it was my turn to help her go be with them. It was during this time that I learned the biggest lessons. **Side Note – When I speak of my Mom’s passing I don’t do this with sadness. I do this with pride for the woman I call my Mom. Yes, I miss her with every breath, but I’m going to tell you the story of the last few months of her life and how my love and respect for her grew during this time. I don’t look focus on my loss, I focus on the gifts that she left me with.**

Let’s start from the beginning of what made my Mom who she was. My Mom started her life one day in March 1934 on a farm outside of Fayetteville, Arkansas. She was born premature in a time that most women didn’t give birth in hospitals, they gave birth on the farm and that is where my Mom’s story began. She was the youngest of six children and by far my Grandfather’s favorite. The family moved to California in 1940 to small beach town outside San Diego called Encinitas. My Grandparents didn’t have much money and both parents work to feed the family. My Grandfather worked on Camp Pendleton as a contractor and my Grandmother worked whatever job she could get. Moving from Arkansas wasn’t that easy for my Mom. I remember her telling me that she fought kids who made fun of her accent. She had to wait for the free dentist that came to schools to get dental work done and being the youngest daughter, she wore whatever her sisters grew out of, these days he would have been considered a “Latchkey Kid”. She got taken on dates when her older sisters couldn’t leave her at home and learned quickly what she didn’t not want in a husband. She was small in size and big on personality. With dark hair, green eyes and beautiful shape, she was an Audrey Hepburn lookalike and everyone took notice of her. She was a High School Cheerleader and the Homecoming Queen. She met and fell in love with the man that she would spend the rest of her life with at the young age of 16. Did she meet the quarterback or the valedictorian? Nope, she met my Dad when he was 17. She met the young man who grew up in an orphanage, rode a motorcycle and was the complete opposite of the homecoming queen. She met exactly who she was supposed to.

If you remember, I told you my Grandma took whatever job she could find and when my Mom was 16 she happen to working for the Thorntons. The Thorntons were a part of the flower industry that was Encinitas (fun fact Encinitas was the “Flower Capital of the World” until the late 80’s). The Thorntons owned the wholesale part of the family business. My Dad and Uncle Fred grew the flowers and my Uncle Bob shipped them (see where I’m going with this). So my Grandma worked for Uncle Thorny and my Mom went to see her at work one day and my Dad happened to be there. It was literally love at first sight. The cheerleader fell for the family bad boy and the bad boy finally found the one person who he would love his entire life. They dated while in she was in High School (my Dad dropped out) and were married shortly after graduation. Within months of being married, my Dad packed up my Mom, took her back to her parents and went to Korea to fight in the war. My Mom never gave up hope that he would return and he did not let her down. He carried her picture and a four leaf clover with him the whole time (we still have both) and came home three years later.

When my Dad returned home, my Mom was ready to start her family but having children was not easy for my Mom. With years passing and no children in sight, my Mom and Dad decided to adopt. I guess that’s all they needed to do because as soon as they started that process my Mom got pregnant with my sister. My Mom had a history of health problems and her pregnancy was not easy for her and the birth of my sister was almost the end of them. My Mom broke her tailbone and my sister was pulled out with forceps. But that horrible experience of child birth didn’t stop my Mom from trying again. She still needed to give birth to me and it took her six years of trying to do so. I was the last child, my Mom just couldn’t physically have another child. She was lucky to have survived the first two times.

Now here’s where it gets real. In reading the history of my Mom and how I came to be, you would think this is a fairly tail romance full of good times. That was unfortunately not the case. Remember, I told you that my Dad was raised in an orphanage and spent a tour in Korea. My Dad was raised tough and he did not know how to show love and he was not an easy man to love. Our nightly routine was a never ending loop of hostility. My Dad fought his past and my Mom fought to keep the outside world from seeing what the inside reality looked like. ***I will write a different blog regarding our home life at another time, this one is more about my Mom*** My Mom by the her sheer strength keep her little family together. In looking back I know now that my Mom was one moment away from snapping. I saw this when she got into a fight with a neighbor over their son throwing paint on my sister. My little Mom had the Dad backed into a corner fearing for his life. I saw her march into my middle school and insist that her daughter(me) was not drunk and would not be expelled (I was drunk but I was not expelled). I saw her marched into my high school to insist the graphity be removed from the girls bathroom when bullies wrote not so nice things about me. I know now that her strength came from a woman who could not deal with one more thing.

Growing up in a difficult family wasn’t fun and I found my own way to protect my emotional self. When that didn’t work I turned to alcohol (I guess that ran in the family). So it wasn’t until I found my happiness and I found my sobriety, that I was actually able to stop and take a long look at my Mom. I stopped drinking a few years after my Dad passed away and I know without a doubt that my Mom would have not passed peacefully if I had still been drinking. So here we are, we are a few months from my Mom passing away and I spent just about every single day at my Mom’s side. Her health started to fail in the spring of 2016 with trip after trip to the ER then a stay at the hospital. Each time and each trip she had her trusty sidekick there. I grew up with a strong outspoken woman and I knew my how to get my way. I remember my Mom laughing every time I walked into her room and looking at me and saying “I heard your boots walking down the hall and so did every nurse on duty. They all came running to make sure I was okay before you got here”. I was always polite to the staff but that was my mother laying in that bed and I was her advocate. I channeled my inner mom and she knew she was in good hands with me there. The hours that I spent next to her bed just watching her talk to the Doctors and Nurses always left me amazed. She was in pain, she knew she was dying and yet she had the same spunk, same wit and the same charm she did when she was 30. She was the same person in death as she was in life.

How? How can one person be so true to themselves? How after everything she had been through just be okay with being her? There were hours and hours that I got to spend with my own thoughts. I got to revisit situations in my childhood and look at them in a different light. That gave me the time to look at my own life. How true to myself was I really being? Was I living my most true life? The answer was no. I was still trying to figure myself out, I was still tying to figure out who Lonni really was. I had spent so many years of my life drinking away my memory of who I really was, that I had lost myself. As I sat there during this time with my Mom know that it was coming to an end, I had a choice to make. Would I continue to hide who I was or would I take the time and reconnect with the real Lonni. I knew the right answer, the answer that my Mom had shown me my whole life. The answer was to find me and let the best me out to shine bright. I lost my Mom shortly after this conclusion but I only lost the physical part of my Mom. My Mom will always be a part of me and she will always be that person who inspires me most to be my true self. That gift is a gift that just keeps on giving. That is the gift that I wish to pass on to you. Stop and take the time to find the real you. Life can get busy and life can get hard and we sometime lose who we really are. We can be in a bad relationship or come from a difficult childhood and the real us gets pushed aside. Find that real you and once you do it is so easy to be you. You no longer worry about being who other people want you be and the freedom of being you is so easy that you can do it while dying.

So this Blog is for you Mom – Though all the good times and through all the bad times you never changed. You were Barbara, you were Mom and most importantly you were always true to yourself. Love you forever.

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