author moments, perspective

The Story Within a Story

Every story has a hidden story within. The why or the why not of the subject. Maybe the storyteller shared the hints, maybe they didn’t.

For example, I may write a blog post or story that shares a fun adventure but within the story is another story of personal triumph for a person on the journey with me. Maybe it’s even highlight a memory that is meaningful to me yet just a unique story to another. That is the beauty of storytelling.

In our last book we invited children to be authors with us. We did this intentionally. We wanted to provoke learning without telling them they were learning. We wanted to promote creativity. We wanted to share our love for writing. You wouldn’t know that from the book cover, but we left hints all around the book. It’s one of the coolest author notes we share with kids when we read and engage at book signings. Talk about a wow factor. It’s the story within the story.

Often times online we invite our readers to join us on the adventures we write about. We invite, provoke, engage others to do more with what they have. Be a better version of themselves. That’s a story of inspiration from within the bigger story.

Maybe my co-author is writing about something she wants to share and it includes her vantage point. Could there possibly be another vantage point within? Maybe you have to find the hidden door to find the message. Maybe that is her hook within her story. Of course there can be a story within a story, maybe even more than one story.

For each post we write we have many who like, some who don’t like and others who just breeze through the content. Whatever the reason or the season for the read, whatever the outcome is, we enjoy sharing our stories as authors. It’s what we choose to do.

We write our way. We leave clues in one post that may link to another or maybe not at all. We may write about the same topic yet it seems so different based on the voice we use or the vantage point. We may provide a visual or maybe we don’t. No real rhyme nor reason to our madness rather we just create what feels natural much like any other artist.

Our blog is a glimpse or a snapshot of us, not a biography or novel. For a tell-all you will most likely need to purchase our upcoming publications. Our blog space is a tool. A tool to motivate and share who we are with others. Today, tomorrow, and in the future.

Our interests will change over time as will our appearance and influences. This is another reason to check in with our site often. We change like the wind. We bend and flex with life. We share the ebbs and flows of life, even the tough stuff.

Since we are talking about a story within a story, I will share the inner secret of this post: bravery.

We are brave enough to share to the level we do. We are exposed. We have readers from Serbia to Japan and beyond. We are forever thankful for all of our readers (see our reader map below). We have friends and family who read our posts. We may even have business and professional colleagues who see us in a different light on this site.

To visualize the magnitude of our bravery: We could be on a plane and somebody notice us but we not notice them. This is a level of fearlessness that many will never encounter. For that, we share our story of boldness, bravery and unwavering sense of self with the wild and tangled web called the internet. The super highway of today.

We invite readers into our world. We are depositing a piece of us for our future grandchildren to read and learn about. There may be secret clues or passages within but you don’t get the full Monty online. We save the juicy stuff for the books and unfortunately we charge for those.

Until next time.

celebrations, friendship

Full-on Festivus Fangirl

One part roadie, one part pit crew, one part media team, one part friend, five parts fangirl.  These were my jobs for the Faded Glory teams at this year’s Festivus Games.

Unlike Chick 1, I didn’t WOD in the sun and fun.  Scheduling and family commitments made competing impossible.  But I still got out and joined in for as long as I could.

My day started at 5am, just like most of the teams.  But, for my first stop I went and got my own workout in first at our home box (burpees over the rower, thrusters, and other fun times). I could have skipped, but even when (especially when!) you’re spending a lot of your time supporting others, you have to keep your own health in line.

Then it was off to the Games, sliding in with my friends to watch them work and support where I could, which led to these moments….

The roadie – Yes, I’ll carry your phone.  I’ll wear your watch. I’ll hold your bracelets.  Of course I’ll keep time for you and count down loud so you know how much you have left to go.

The pit crew – Yup, I’ll charge that dead (phone) battery.  I’ll change your oil (peppermint oil, of course, on sore hamstrings and lower backs).  I’ll drill your muscles with one of those crazy massage guns.  I’m there with your water when your engine overheats.  Creaky joints? Do you prefer Aleve, Advil, or Tylenol?

The media team – The pictures, the videos, the boomerangs. Did I get video of your snatches? Check. Boomerangs of your wall balls? Check. And THE LIFTING FACES!!!  Oh, the lifting faces. Can’t get enough of them.  Capturing the efforts and the agony.  The triumphs and the teamwork.  The small moments, the funny moments, the victories that many people miss – we even miss some of them ourselves!

Send them to each athlete, even send them to their spouses and our friends who couldn’t be there.  Those photos tell amazing stories of a time that will become incredible memories.

 

 

The friend – Just before she starts each event, I’m glancing at my partner, Milagros, and just give her the look.  The “you can do this.  Just breathe and do it” look.  That moment of reassurance between us!

Some of the highlights of the day are listening to pretty much all the competitors talk about their teammate.  In one way or another, each is fighting not to let their partner down.  To do their best, to give their all for that teammate.  This brings back memories of when I competed, and truly is one of the sweetest, most meaningful parts of the experiences.

Finally, the fangirl –  Cheering like crazy for each of them. (And all the videos with my shrill drum major voice!) Clapping from behind the lens.  “Pick it up!” I barked. Encouraging when I saw the looks of exhaustion, of near tears, of hating that stupid box, that idiotic dumbbell, that impossibly irritating kettlebell. And when I saw those fleeting looks of “It’s too hot.”  “It’s so heavy.”  ‘I’m not sure I can do anymore…” I’d get even louder:

YOU GOT THIS! COME ON!  LET’S GO!  And as others finished, they joined in the cheers. Surrounding teammates who had fought through adversity to encourage them to the bitter end.  We are fans of each other.

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What a day and a reason to support and shout for these incredible athletes.

Pushing themselves past the edge of the discomfort zone, some fighting through injuries and illness.  They showed up and WORKED.  All the training, the invisible hours, the practicing, the endless reps, heck even the no reps mattered.  It all adds up to knowing you fought like crazy to compete and give your best that day.

I’ll truly cherish wearing the #Katashi shirt with my honorary (if temporary) tattoo. That takes fangirling to a whole new level.  You’d be hard pressed to find two more fierce or fun competitors. Still gotta work on my booty game, though.

I’ll cherish the hugs and smiles and people laughing and feeling proud as they saw themselves in action. I’ll cherish seeing both first timers and “old” timers get in there to scrap with anyone who dares compete. Better bring your A game. I’ll cherish watching teams work with and for each other, and being on the team for all of them.

 

 

awareness

Suicidal Thoughts at Midnight

I heard titles and headlines matter, inspiring me to use a catchy title here in this blog that might get a click or two!

Hopefully I got your attention. September is National Suicide Prevention Month and today is actually World Suicide Day. I am dedicating this blog to anyone out there who needs to read this post.

You are important. You have a purpose today, tomorrow and the next day. No matter how difficult times can seem, there is always a path to see the sunshine and live another day.

Use the tools around you if you are struggling. Phone a friend when times are rough. Confide in a coworker or family member if you need somebody to connect with. If you are not the type who finds it easy to share personal information, take advantage of a suicide hotline or confidential app.

 

#bethe1to

Be the one to listen. Listen for the suicide warning signs.

Be the one to watch. Look for the suicide warning signs.

Be the one to question. Ask a question, save a life.

Be the one to ask: are you thinking about suicide? Be direct!

Be the one to persuade. Helping somebody see it’s easy to get help calling a toll free number is key.

Be the one to refer for help. Help them make the appointment for help. Volunteer to go with them to ease the tension.

Be the one to help save a life.

We can all offer hope to another. Hope is free. You just have to put forth a little effort.

Helping save a life is purpose work. Put the suicide helpline in your phone favorites today. You never know when you might need to share it with a friend or loved one.

1-800-283-TALK

24 hours a day
7 days a week
365 days a year

– A crisis doesn’t have a timeline. Be prepared to help keep somebody safe. One life matters.
– Talk to your kids. Let them know of two trusted adults they can contact if they need help.

Take my suicide awareness challenge. Post on social media today about suicide awareness. Pass on the national hotline number to somebody at work or home. Write a hand written note to somebody who may be struggling. Connect with those who need a little extra support right now.

Education is prevention. Pass on a tidbit of knowledge from this blog and I will feel like this post had a purpose.

Much love to all! Stay safe.

author moments, celebrations

101 Ways to Say…

IMG_1831 2

There are 101 ways to say thank you! And this is my global thank you to all the readers worldwide who invest time reading the 2 chicks blog on the daily, on the weekly or even monthly.

Your time is valued. You inspire me to keep writing and sharing. With every new country who hits our blog, we celebrate. We wonder about the people reading our content. We get inspired.

My words are mine yet they impact others near and far. How incredibly lucky am I to have this platform?

Pretty lucky, I am. Cheers to another 100 blog posts and thousands of new readers. As I sign off on this post, I attach a picture of me. A symbol of my strength, my beauty, and my confidence. All of which I have the power to control each day. I also have the power to share those same things with others.

We all have good days and bad days but we can also all make a choice of how we carry ourselves each day. I choose to be strong. I choose to embrace my beauty my way…all the way to what my shirt says. Anyone can have pretty eyes, tattoos and thick thighs, but one has to be strong, to be honest and proud to show it to the world. I am doing that for you now. You can do the same your way. Be strong. Have courage. Show your inner beauty to others.

Hugs and kisses to all! Embrace your inner badass today. You can do it.

More posts to come from Chick 1 in a hop, skip and a jump.

awareness

Are You My Type?

Last week, Chick 1 posted about her Enneagram results.

As one of her business partners, she encouraged me to take the Enneagram test to learn more about myself and how I can grow. (And yes, she had to remind me more than once. I’m scattered. It’s a problem.)

Anyway, to mirror Chick 1’s approach, I thought I would share my top 3 Enneagram type areas with some comments…all three of these were basically tied for me.

Type 4: The Individualist

The Sensitive, Introspective Type:

Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental

There are several things about the description of Type 4 that come to mind.  Fours are thinkers and reflect a lot.  I was a philosophy major, and lived “the life of the mind” for many years, well into my PhD. (My Dad used to say I walked around with “a little black cloud over my head” from thinking too much.)

I do love to just sit and ponder things, and I tend to still be reflective in my work at school today.  Fours are also artistic. If you know me, you know I love singing, poetry, and other creative expressions.  Fours try to be distinctive and individual.  No one would believe it now, but I was actually voted Most Original of my senior class!  My crazy Goth-girl-in-Catholic-school is not so pronounced these days…I think some of these traits have actually taken a back seat as I have aged. In my teens and early twenties, I think this would have easily been the dominant type.

Type 2:  The Helper

The Caring, Interpersonal Type:

Demonstrative, Generous, People Pleasing, and Possessive

On my good days and in my heart of hearts, I do really love being generous.  I love writing letters, giving thoughtful gifts, and trying to lift people up. I call these kinds of activities “soul-feeding” for me. I have learned in recent years that time and attention are some of the greatest gifts I can give people I love and care about, even people I hardly know who may be in need.  (And, I do have a bowl of candy in my work space at all times, just like the description states!)  All of these go along with being a Type 2.

But I do know at times in my life I have wandered into unhealthy territory with this tendency.  As I said in a recent conversation with Chick 1, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”   I’ll write more about this comment in an upcoming post, but for now I’ll just say I have, at times, sacrificed my own health (physical, mental, emotional) to put the needs of others first.  I am still working on how to balance my personal needs with those of others.  I’ll also reluctantly admit to being possessive or jealous at times. I have to adjust my inner soundtrack to keep this tendency in check.

I do think it’s funny that my top two appear to be opposites.  An individualist, but who likes to take care of others.  But then I think, I have a hard time accepting care and help from others.  (I dish it but I often can’t take it!) Go figure.

Type 9: The Peacemaker

The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type:

Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent

This is the person I am at work, more than any other place. I aspire to be easygoing.  When I left my last job, my boss described me as “steady.” That I was a calm, reassuring presence.  That I never seemed to get too ruffled.  This was a huge surprise to me, since my busy mind is often racing and worried.  I do strive to be a peaceful presence, while hiding the storm and insecurities inside.  And the Type 9 tendency to be creative, again, isn’t lost on me.

A more negative side of this is my tendency to avoid conflict at all costs.  I often worry about conflicts being the end of a relationship.  Some of the feelings and experiences I fear the most are being disconnected from the people I care about. So, I avoid conflict for long periods of time only to explode “out of the blue.”  Embracing conflict as a natural part of relationship and even as a step to growing to deeper connection and understanding is one of my challenges.

At the end, the description tells me to embrace exercise as a way to work through some aggressions.  Thanks, CrossFit!

This is a very different top 3 than Chick 1.  In fact, I giggled when my absolute-dead-last-barely-registered-on-the-scale Type was, you guessed it, Type 8, The Challenger, which is Chick 1’s dominant type.  The other two on the bottom were the remainder of her top 3, the Enthusiast and the Achiever.  I’ve mentioned before how people say we are an odd pair.  Well, in this regard they are definitely right! Exact polar opposites.

More on what those Enneagrams paired together might teach the Chicks in a future post.  In the mean time, I’ll be over here filling up my cup so it can runneth over for others, lifting heavy stuff so I can deal with others with a lighter hand, and being artsy-craftsy in my original / expressive way.

 

Did you take Chick 1’s Enneagram challenge?  What did you learn about yourself and how you might be the best version of YOU?  Share with us in the comments!

 

coaching, hustle

Purpose

 

Recently I was in a position where I needed to review my purpose, my passions, my goals and my visions. That seems like a mouthful in and of itself, but it is healthy to want to review where you are, where you are going, and if you are even on the right path in life with the right people in your inner circle.

Often times, people become complacent. They expect things versus earning things.  They stand still and are content with the status quo. They complain when things don’t go their way. They make excuses. I beat to a different drum. I mean, I complain a lot. A lot about things that don’t really matter much at all. Sometimes I complain about the weather. Sometimes I complain about my daily workout. Neither really impacts my day or aura, but I feel the need to complain and I usually do it out loud! But when it comes down to where I am heading in life and who is along for the ride, I don’t really waver on my direction or drive.

My Personal Side: I have three kids in three different age brackets: Young adult, emerging adult and teenager. Each has different needs from me at these various stages but each is given love, guidance and motivation to reach their next milestone. As our kids age, we shift roles as they navigate life and turn into independent learners and become responsible. We can only hope for success for each of our kids.

My Professional Side: I am successful professionally. I earn a good living but am I 100% challenged or loving everything I do? The answer is NO. There are tasks like monthly sales tax reporting, payroll, and dealing with human capital issues that I am not so passionate about.  These repetitive tasks require my time and energy. Is the trade off there for work/life balance? I am still figuring this out. I would much prefer a tropical island with good weather year-round and no need to have a professional side. Maybe that is in my near future….

My Healthy Living: I commit to eating healthy 90% of the time, limiting alcohol consumption, and making time for me (self-care). I heard somebody call that high maintenance today, but no it isn’t high maintenance, rather it’s high quality! For me, committing to me and my positive mental balance helps my patience/stamina when it comes to difficult family challenges, work challenges, and of course difficult people.

My Value: I know my personal/professional value. I encourage you to know your value. Continue to evolve as a person which will grow your value over time. Never let anyone diminish your self-worth. Once you allow another to dictate your worth, you will begin to struggle in other areas. Remember you control your value, not others.

My Purpose Work: I do a lot of purpose work. Some people see the purpose work, while it’s hidden in plain sight to others. This is where I fill my tank. Not my gas tank, my emotional tank. My purpose work helps carry me through the challenging times of the hustle and bustle of carting kids around or managing mundane business tasks.

Did you know 2 Chicks donates books each year to kids in need? Improving literacy one child at a time is part of our purpose work. Should you want to help sponsor a book drive in your area, contact us today.

Find your purpose. Live your purpose. Pass the passion of living your life with purpose to others. Many get caught up in their daily to-do lists and forget about laughing, smiling, and inspiring others. Offering hope, humor, smiles, and high-fives are all free. If only more people acted with kindness.

Signing off for now.  2 Chicks have a sizzling summer planned with lots of writing.  Watch our blog weekly for updates.

We are knee-deep in our #1095Days project which includes you, the audience!  Be sure to read, comment, and let us know what you like and don’t like.  You are part of our story!

awareness, perspective

My Reflection

When I look into the mirror, I see me. I see my strengths, I see my weaknesses and I see the stress I carry from my short life in ways others may not see, even if I’m right in front of them.

What does my reflection show to world? The face of good of health and nourishment, a smile that can light up a room, and eyes that are as blue as the ocean. Some may even say I am cute.

Cute only gets one so far as you age. Cute doesn’t define or shape who I am on the inside. I have a chronic medical condition. I even have a pacemaker-type device in my chest. I have dealt with this medical challenge and it’s rippling effect my entire life.  My life hasn’t been easy. My implant surgery was major and I almost had brain surgery a few years ago. Despite all odds, I have worked hard and persevered in most areas of my life. I have accomplished more than doctors ever thought I could. But nobody knows that I struggle each day.

Only my close friends, family and medical team are my inner circle and know me inside. I don’t even have many close friends because most people shy away from those who are different. Not because I am scary, rather due to lack of
knowledge and willingness to face the unknown. 

I like to keep my condition private to avoid judgment from others. This has been my choice thus far in life. This choice has come with consequences. I have had to miss out on events over the years and lost close friends because I couldn’t do all the things they could do or wanted to do. Social acceptance can be hard as you grow up and missing out on some milestones in my youth days has hindered my development. I can only imagine what challenges will arise in adulthood when you are like me.

As I age, expectations are placed on me that mirror those of others my age to do this or achieve that or even perform a certain way. Basically putting me into a box. A box of what my life should be like for somebody my age. The problem is I don’t fit in that box or any box for that matter.

No box needed! I am special. I am special like a fine jewel, not special as in incapable, stupid, or even retarded. I sometimes have to think differently or take a longer path to complete something due to my medical challenges. Unfortunately, the high-paced hustle of today’s world doesn’t adapt well to people like me.

I’m simple. I don’t really like to use the internet. I barely text. I’d rather talk to another human face to face. I don’t like voicemail either. My communication skills are one of my strongest attributes yet it’s almost a lost skill in today’s technology world.

Getting a job is almost 100% online now. I am a number. If I don’t type well, I fall into the dumb category. If I don’t have a resume full of fancy graphics, I fall short on the tech-savvy qualifier. This list could go on and on about the negatives of being me and being different.

Thankfully, I have been taught not to dwell on the negative but it’s getting harder and harder. I’m emotionally spent every time I need explain the why I’m different or why things take me longer or why I can’t do something even if I look like the person next to me!

My insides are different. I’m wired for me and I just wish the world accepted me for who I am. I can dream that one day people will understand me and appreciate my value because I have value. Sometimes you just have to look beyond the surface to see my loyalty, my trust, my kind soul and my incredible work ethic.

Where do I fit in the world today and where will my future take me? Why does being different have to be so complicated? Why do I have to explain to ignorant people how hard my life already is without adding the stress of their ignorance to my plate?

If only people saw my insides in the mirror instead of my outside. Would they see the time bomb ticking in my head? Would they see a hamster wheel running 24/7? My insides are a mystery to me in a way but would my insides help people tolerate my differences? Should I have to broadcast my life to the world to get acceptance?

In my short time on earth I have learned a lot about people. Some are kindhearted but the vast majority fall into the ‘other’ category that normally puts their own needs and wants ahead of others.

I hope my open letter hits home with somebody on the internet. I hope that one person chooses to be kind today, tomorrow and the next day. This world needs more kindness and hope. More positive messages to overshadow the negative that can weigh a person down.

My life is changing in many ways. I can’t see far ahead because I keep hitting road blocks. I restart over and over but how many times can one restart before they give up?

I want to restart. I hope I can restart now and prepare myself to restart again because all I can see ahead is restarts. I am different in a world of predesigned boxes. Mine apparently has the reject stamp on the box and I’m desperate to reconfigure my box to adapt to my special qualities.

Mental toughness is a battle everyday to some. It gets harder and harder to adapt when roadblocks are tossed at you in abundance. 

One day you may find me floating by on the highway in my not-so-fancy RV or home on wheels. Out to adventure and see the world my way. If I can’t fit in a box I’m going to have to define my alternate path. From what I hear, the road less traveled can be a fun one, since most stay in the box that was designed for them by another. 

Thank you for reading a glimpse of my life. And it’s such a small glimpse it’s like a small hair. Maybe I will share another story or hair of my life again soon. Until then, I will seize the day and tackle all the adversity that comes my way. To please the world as it sits today, I will have one foot in my predesigned box and one foot outside while I figure out my life. I may or may not be flipping the bird to others around me who are ignorant to my differences. 

This story is honest and heartfelt. It is written as a tribute to all those who need a little hope when life gets hard and keeps you in that dark place. Get up, get going and prove others wrong.