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Health

Moving Forward with Chronic Pain

When you have a chronic illness or a long-term illness, sometimes it is hard to think about creating goals when you are in pain. Sometimes, it is hard to think about the future when your life revolves around constant pain and very frequent doctor visits. There is a grieving period involved too when your whole entire life changes, and you are unsure about the future or your life’s dreams. I get it. I have been there. I am still sometimes there. However, my goal right now is to move forward from that. I am determined that while some of my dreams in life may not be obtainable anymore, that it is time to be flexible and creative in thinking of ways of getting to experience some of those dreams in some form.
I went to college to study English. My dream was to teach students of other languages. I wanted to travel. I also loved writing and wanted to be a fiction writer. I put that dream aside shortly after my accident when I was struggling to type, and my reading ability was not as strong as before the accident. However, I never gave consideration until years after I started my first blog (back in 2009/2010) that while I am not writing novels, I am writing. Prissy Missy Loves is my newer blog and one that I started about the time of my relapse, but with this blog, I get to explore things that I cannot in my other blog, and between them both, I get to share stories. I get to connect with people on a personal level. It gives me happiness to know that I can still write, even if it is not how I first envisioned. As for writing novels, I am still fairly young. Maybe my time just has not come yet.
When I had my relapse, I had this idea that I was going to finish college and go forward in my career choice. However, considering that I never know what my pain level is going to be when I wake up, and some days I cannot concentrate, cannot do much without pain, and have other issues, I have been frustrated and deep down, I think that my dream of this is probably not going to ever happen the way I wanted. However, I started looking at other options. I could finish my degree online. It might take a while, but I could work with my body and issues and make it work. I also recently discovered that there are tutoring opportunities that I can do from home on the computer. The whole idea is so exciting and something I never considered. Again, it is not my original dream, but being flexible in the form can help me obtain that dream.
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Being flexible is also giving me the opportunity to explore possibilities that I never thought would happen. When I was a little girl, I wanted to model. I was short, and I was chubby. The whole idea seemed totally and utterly unreachable. And yet, here I am. I am not, nor will I ever most likely be a supermodel. However, I get to model for small boutiques. Right now, I cannot do as much as I would like, but when I see an opportunity that can work for me right now, I take it. It may never bring me lots of money, but it is so much fun, and it has been a huge confidence boost too!
The point I am trying to make here is that when you are starting to get frustrated with everything that has gone wrong and all you have had to give up, take a moment to see how you can change things to still make it work for you. Also try to put things into perspective. My big thing is that I have started to remind myself that I am still fairly young. While my issues may prevent me from my original plans, there is no reason that I have to give up on life or all my dreams. I just need to modify them to fit the situation. It is not perfect, but doing this can give you a better outlook. Having a more positive outlook can affect the way you live your life. You deserve to be happy. Just because you are stuck with an illness or condition does not mean that it has to define you as a person. Be flexible and as always, be gentle with yourself!

Health

Living your dreams even when life throws you a curveball

I have not written here in a long time. The last several months have been in short, chaotic.

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Grab a coffee. It’s time for a story and a heart to heart

This spring, I had another weird relapse type of event. I spent the next few months having cognitive testing and having my primary care doctor do several tests to rule things out. It is all TBI related. I started doing some therapies this summer and spent the summer either at an appointment or waiting to see a specialist.
It has been a rough year. I have been bullied (which I plan on discussing in another post). I spent my summer worrying because I was having memory issues to a point that my doctor was starting to think I might have early dementia brought on by the TBI. I am thankful that my neurologist said that he does not believe that is the case and that he thinks what is going on is treatable. I have struggled with depression, and I was brought really low by all of this. To finish the summer, my father-in-law passed away, and while he was 80, he was a good and stubborn 80. He was the kind of old person that you thought would live forever. This year brought me really low.
I stopped doing pin up shoots. I stopped writing. I stopped trying to find modeling projects. I stopped exercising, which is something I love. I stopped living. I gave up.
Why am I saying all of this? How am I getting to the point of the title of my post? Well, it is like this. I hunkered down. I let all the emotions, pain, and worries get to me. I let it wash over me. Then I realized that I am still here. I am still alive. My neurologist said treatable. While I am going through another mess of dealing with insurance issues, going to new specialists, and still dealing with the problems, I am still alive. I cannot do everything the way I used to be able to, but maybe I really shouldn’t anyways. I used to be the type of person who was so over-scheduled that it was hard to breathe. I rest a lot. I have to. I need to. I should. I am still alive.
Because I am still breathing, I can still live my dreams. I started writing again for my other blog. I am not writing as much, but I gave this one and that one a new look. I have been writing a little here and a little there. If I get tired, I quit and then come back to it. I have been reading and trying to get caught up on blogging techniques and social media so that I can do something I want to do.
I have been taking small projects. I modeled for a boutique this fall. I did a few photo shoots. I submitted stuff to magazines. I did a pop up shop with my business. I am doing another this weekend. It’s not much, but it is a good place to start. Do I wish I could take every project I am offered or see an advertisement for? Of course. However, I know my limits and am living within them because I want to see myself get better. I cannot get better if I am stressed or tired.
Sometimes life happens in a way that makes us scared. Sometimes things happen that screw up our plans and goals so badly that we want to give up, that we can’t see a happy ending, or that we think we cannot obtain our dreams. Don’t give up on your dreams! Re-evaluate them. Start slowly. Start simply and build on that.
I am not positive and full of hope every day. Some days, I still get brought low, but I am working on it.
Taking a break from this blog has also given me new focus on what I want to share with all of you. I am hoping to add a bit more lifestyle as well as beauty and fashion tips and trends. I am also getting back into cosplaying and cons, so I cannot wait to show you what I am working on!
I hope that my blog helps somebody. If you are struggling, know you are not alone. Don’t give up on your dreams!
 
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Health

What I would like to tell people with an invisible illness

I have not written a lot lately. I got on a nice schedule and was becoming so proud of myself because my stats were going up, and people were reading my blog. Then I started having “episodes” again that brought me low and have put me pretty much out of commission for a bit. I have issues related to an accident from fifteen years ago. My trauma was completely head related and invisible for the most part, unless I want to show you my bald spot and star-shaped scar. Because these issues are invisible, I deal constantly with people trying to downplay my issues and also try to act like they don’t exist because of the mentality that if they cannot see it, I must be making it up. Honestly, it sucks.
Having a TBI (traumatic brain injury) sucks, especially if your issues relating to it are not visible. I never had a migraine until my accident, and since my accident, I have had many. I have some really scary ones, and they inhibit me from leading a normal life sometimes. After my accident, I had trouble reading and typing. I wanted to be a writer. I had started writing a novel. One day, in an act of frustration, I deleted the whole thing. I took all of my writing journals from everything I had written in high school and college, even copies of things I had published and trashed them. I was so angry because I felt like I had lost my talents and was struggling because I was having issues in my college classes. I felt defeated. A lot of my friends and family did not understand what I was going through so I stopped talking about it. I had heard that a few people talked about me behind my back and acted like I made my problems up because they could not see or feel the frustration I felt. I had problems getting help because my lawyer for my accident was not a good advocate for me, and then after it was over, we did not have insurance. I tried to cover up my issues and move on. I would have problems and cover it up, often being called a flake in the process. However, I felt I was moving on with my life…until my relapse almost two years ago.

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photo by Unsplash

The last two years have been really hard. I had built a business. I had planned on finally finishing my college education. I thought I was really hitting a new milestone. Then, it was like I was back to right after my accident. I had a lot of speech problems. I had episodes where I had no idea what was going on. It was scary as hell. I started being more honest about what was going on, and I do have a lot of support because of it.
However, there are those who still whisper about me behind my back. I had an awful episode last week where I basically had migraines, strange headaches, speech issues, and complete exhaustion for several days. I have been to the doctor and have visits with a doctor, a chiropractor, and another doctor this month. I am hoping to get some relief and some answers, but it is so frustrating. I have had a lot of bad luck with doctors, including my last neurologist who found a benign cyst on my brain but would not look into it further, nor answer my questions. To be honest, he was more concerned with my weight, than my brain. He even gave me meds to say as much.
Why am I saying all of this? I am sharing because I know that I am not the only one who suffers in silence. After fifteen years of suffering, I know now that I must be my own advocate. I know that it is frustrating when people try to “diagnose” you because they know someone who was this, and so you must be this….blah blah blah. I hate when people think you are faking it because they cannot see or feel what you are going through. I know what it is like to be depressed and never know for sure if you are depressed because of a chemical imbalance or out of sheer frustration because you just want your life back! I have all these dreams. I want to do so much more for my life, and I feel every time I start getting somewhere, there is my brain injury issues to muck it all up.
To put it simply, it all sucks. Somedays, it is hard to just get through the day. Somedays, it is hard to want to try at all or to believe that some day you might get to do all the things you want to do. I feel so powerless sometimes. I feel like this is consuming me. I feel alone. I feel like I am letting people down. I feel so tired. Most of all, I feel like a broken human being. I feel like I am being punished, for what, I do not know. I feel like giving up sometimes. It hurts.
If you have an invisible illness, I want to say that I am sorry for you, and that while some people are not going to understand, talking about it does help. Making people aware of your issues helps, even if all it does is weed out your support system. And a support system is something you need, no matter how small it may be. Having people check on me over the last week made me feel loved, even when I knew some were talking about me behind my back saying I was faking it. Those are the people you keep in your life. With the others, while it is hard, you just have to let it roll of your back.
I am hoping to be able to write regularly again soon. However, I am taking time now to take care of myself and evaluate my activities while I wait to see what the doctors find out and hope some relief comes soon. Also, I need to find a new series on Netflix or Hulu. If I cannot do all the things, at least I can watch them!
 
 

Health

Self Care is the best care

I am going to be honest…I love doing pin up, and I love blogging. I have been blogging for another blog for many years and have contributed to other blogs over the years. I know I should be writing more. However, if you have been following me the last year, you know that I had some issues starting last summer stemming from a TBI (traumatic brain injury) I got 14 years ago. It has been a huge blow for me in many ways.
I had a lot of high expectations when I started this blog, and I had to put a lot of them on hold. In some ways I felt I had to put my whole life on hold again, and I have spent a lot of the past year dealing with not only the physical aspects to all of this, but the emotional as well. I was angry, and then I felt depressed. My social anxiety came back full force, and for a while, I probably wasn’t giving myself the best care I could.
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I have been working at changing that. The past 6 weeks have been insane in my house due to activities and such. Most of my family has a birthday in June. I wanted to blog here and in my other blog. I wanted to start doing more affiliate posts because I would like to make a bit of a profit from this, if only to pay for things so that I can showcase fashion and makeup to show people how to feel pretty on any budget. That is the goal. However, before I can do all of that, I have to keep in mind that self care is the best care. It is something I think many of us forget as many of us live busy lifestyles.
If there is anything that life with a TBI has taught me, it is that taking care of myself makes me a better person in the long run. It makes me a better wife, mother, and friend. I want to be around for a long time, and if I don’t take care of myself and treat myself right, that might not happen. Self care doesn’t mean running to a spa necessarily, but it means doing little things, like taking a bath in epsom salts now and then. For me, it means putting on makeup. I may only spend five minutes on hair and makeup most days, but it makes me feel like a million bucks. It means loving yourself and not beating yourself up all the time. Most of all, it means being gentle to yourself. Make realistic goals and expectations. If you want to lose weight, that is great. Just don’t beat yourself up if you cannot lose 10 lbs in a month, but someone else you know can. For me, I want to write. I want to empower women through my pin up to feel better about themselves. However, I know I have limitations. When I cannot keep to the schedule I want for myself, I need to just get up, dust myself off, and keep trying.
Taking care of yourself mentally and physically should always be a priority…whether it is 5 minutes to meditate or an extra few minutes relaxing in the shower. Granted, if you have a chance to take a spa day…ALWAYS take the spa day!
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body confidence Health

Unapologetic

I am a chubby girl. There, I said it. I have fat on my body, BUT it does not define me as a person. I am more than just a chubby girl. I am a pin up model, a wife, a mother, a friend, a blogger, a fan girl, and a big geek. I like to post my outfits on Instagram because I like to show off my style and also inspire other women to find new ideas for clothes to wear. However, I have noticed a trend lately that I feel I need to address because I just can’t keep my big mouth shut (unless you put a big cheeseburger in it. Winks)
 
First of all, I want to say that I respect people who do direct selling. I used to do it myself once upon a time and was quite good at it. I even like some of the products that people direct sell. However, I do not like the tactics that many “health” MLMs use. I have noticed over the past few months that when I post inspirational and body positive quotes or Instagram or sometimes when I post a knock-it-out-of-the-park Outfit Of The Day post, I have been getting hit up by people who inevitably just want me to buy their shit. I know not all of the MLM people who follow me are like that, and those who generally like my style or what I post, I got nothing but respect for you. However, those that want me to buy their wraps, drink their “fitness drinks,” or want me to try one of their weight loss products because I have “the fats” can frankly go to hell. These trolls are the kinds of people who will “follow” me after I post a body positive post just because they hope I will follow them back. Then, of course, they unfollow me. They will send me a direct message maybe or leave a comment on one or two of my posts. I seriously am not buying it. Basically, what these people are doing is saying, “Hey Fatty, I see you posting on the internets. Buy my shit and lose some weight.” What I see is a troll who has no common sense and will not ever get my business. It also makes me lose respect for the product he or she is selling.
To be honest, if I am going to buy anything, it is going to be from someone I know, not from someone who is trolling hashtags. Also, these people don’t know shit about me. They are NOT my doctors. They don’t know why I am chubby or what I eat. They don’t know that I love to exercise, I hike, bike, and I love bellydance! They just see someone who is gaining interest on social media and think I am a quick sell…or maybe they are hoping to snag one of my followers.
Well, I have to say, I feel sorry for these people because they can’t see what I am trying to do…that I am trying to encourage people to love themselves because when it comes down to it, I can love myself as a chubby girl, and if I lose weight, then great. However, if I don’t love myself now, I will not love myself just because my ass can fit into smaller jeans.
I am gonna keep being me. I am gonna keep posting my awesome outfits, and I am going to be whatever the hell I want to be. To my trolls, well if you don’t like it, you can kiss my fat ass!

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I got nothing but resting bitch face for haters! Photo by Victor Devilbliss. MUAH by Making Faces Professional Makeup

Health

Sometimes You Just Have to Keep Breathing…

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Sometimes, I feel like I am not in control of my own life, and it makes me mad. I set goals for myself and have a plan of what life should be, and then it derails somewhere along the way. I feel like I have no control over what is going to happen, and instead of going with it, I am more often than not angry about what could have been.

Fourteen years ago, I had big plans for my life. I was so close to graduating college that I could taste the victory pierogi (a yummy polish dumpling)…since I was planning on leaving the country after graduation to attend grad school in Poland. I had already chosen a school and even had the opportunity to visit when I studied abroad the year before that. I was about to marry the man of my dreams who treated me like a princess. I could see my life coming together, and I thought I had my happily ever after. Then, in one moment…it was all gone. A driver wasn’t paying attention. She turned when she shouldn’t have. I never saw her coming as I was crossing the street. I remember bits and pieces. I remember wanting to get off the pavement because I was supposed to get married that weekend. This wasn’t supposed to happen, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to let it ruin my plans, but it did. I ended up in the hospital. We had to postpone our wedding. I figured I would be back to normal soon. Only that didn’t happen. I had suffered head trauma. My neck constantly hurt, and it still does. I found myself having trouble reading. I was stuttering and would occasionally have speech problems. I couldn’t type without it looking like a jumbled mess. However, I wasn’t going to let it get the best of me. I started reading any book I could get my hands on…text books, biographies, novels, trashy romance books (which are awesome and underrated by the way). I enrolled in summer classes. I went back to work at my student job and part time job. None of it lasted. By mid fall, I dropped out of all my classes and had to quit my jobs. I also got pregnant shortly after my husband and I got married. We were worried that where we lived wasn’t feasible financially, and we moved near my husband’s family. In just six short months, my fairy tale ended and was replaced with this new reality.

I tried to just go with it. I wanted to be the best mom I could. I did everything with my son. I loved beauty and fashion, so I started selling Mary Kay because I felt like I needed to do something since my dreams of a career went straight down the toilet. I was pretty good at it too, but I ended up quitting because someone tried taking my clients, and I was finding that other consultants where I lived were a little too cutthroat for my tastes. I had another baby and then decided to try being a children’s party planner. I planned other events in college and loved kids, so I figured it would be perfect. It helped me overcome my typing issues. I taught myself how to design websites and do a bit of simple coding. I grew the business. I started a small shop. I became obsessed in trying to make my business grow because I felt I needed validation. I kept so busy that I joked that I didn’t need sleep. I could live on coffee. I may not have gotten my original dream of college, grad school, and then a life of teaching English abroad. Instead, I had a life of planning parties, learning to blog, planning playdates, and eventually taking in international students in hopes to get some sort of fulfillment of my lost dream.

However, it was not to last. I think I knew it was all a little too much when we decided to have a third child. I ended up losing two babies, got severely depressed, and cut my business back to almost nothing. I started to feel like a failure. I felt like my body was a failure too. I got into pin up about that time and got some body confidence back. I started working on putting my mental health back in order. I thought after I had a baby, everything would be great again, and I would start living this new dream of just being a mom. It would all be good. Then I had the baby…

My baby has been the best thing that could have happened to my family. However, it has also been very stressful. My husband worked in the oilfield and was gone a lot. My baby had the WORST colic ever. She did not sleep for the first seven months. I didn’t have a lot of support, and I seriously thought I was going to lose my mind. I couldn’t go to a therapist because I had no one who could watch the kids. I wasn’t sure I wanted to ask my doctor about anti-depressants because I had a bad experience with them once before. I was a mess. In the midst of all that, my husband and I decided to move from the area we were and start a new adventure. Originally, it was so he could try to get into the office of his company. We wanted to all be together, and our baby girl was the catalyst in realizing that our lives as they had been were not working anymore. We found a house, and we thought everything was going well. Heck, the baby was even starting to sleep…sometimes. Then, one day in the middle of June, I felt like a bomb was dropped on me. My husband told me that his company cut his salary. Also he would not be able to get into the office. Basically, we were moving for nothing. I think something just completely broke in me that day. A few days later, I ended up having symptoms of a stroke and ended up in the hospital. There they discovered, it thankfully was not a stroke. However, they found activity stemming from my brain injury years before and a benign cyst on my brain. Since then, I have had speech issues and a stutter from time to time. I am tired a lot, and sometimes I get angry about the whole mess.

We still moved. It has been an adventure, and I look forward to sharing more about that in later posts. I am still angry sometimes. I get frustrated when I can’t get words to come out like they should, or my thoughts become jumbled. I am working on it. I just keep going…I just keep breathing…because that is all I can do. I can hope it will get better. I can make plans for the future, but in the end I know that all my plans can change in the blink of an eye.However, if I want to enjoy life for what it is, I just have to keep breathing.