Happy National Pizza Day!!

You guys…I love birthdays. Not just my own, but birthdays in general. We live in this world where we’re trained to put ourselves last. But…

Birthdays are the one day a year where we should be truly celebrating our own existence.

So, I have always LOVED birthdays. I make a huge deal out of them and think everyone else should, too. And if I find out you don’t love birthdays because they haven’t been a big deal before? Watch out! I will be making a HUGE deal out of your existence!!

But…about 5 years ago my own birthday lost some of it’s shine. I was honestly in a bad relationship…and he just didn’t think my birthday mattered. And I was stupid back then and let it not matter. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

That was the year that I discovered that my birthday is ALSO National Pizza Day! So…I told everyone…my birthday was canceled, but we were celebrating National Pizza Day. People sent me Pizza Day cards. Lol It was a way for me to make light of the fact that I was hurt…and it worked.

Over the next few years, it started to seem like my birthday had been jinxed somehow. Something bad always seemed to happen around my birthday…so…out would come National Pizza Day!! In my very Sheri way, it made things better. I dropped the expectation of my birthday being a big thing and was simply happy with pizza. 😁

I tried to do that again this year. As of yesterday, I canceled my birthday…and told everyone we were celebrating National Pizza Day!!! But you know what?

No one wanted to celebrate National Pizza Day. They wanted to celebrate me.

My best friend in Tallahassee sent me the COOLEST umbrella you’ve ever seen so that I’d have a reason to smile when it rains. My local best friends spoiled me with gifts and goodies for days. They all showed up to work out with me for National Pizza Day…with balloons and gifts galore. They yelled happy birthday whether I wanted to hear it or not! At work a cake showed up from one of my best friends and exploded! And they made it clear that their world is better for knowing me.

And then…they went out for pizza with me, because National Pizza Day has still become a thing for me.

That’s love. When people let you be you…but won’t let you disappear…and WANT to celebrate the very fact that you exist.

So…Happy National Pizza Day to all of my friends. As CHEESY as this is, I hope your CRUSTy old hearts can handle the love and PEPperoni in my step on this beautiful day devoted to our favorite carbs. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜

The George Bailey Moment

There’s something I’ve never told another living soul. This seems like the place to admit it. Ready? Here goes…

I’m jealous of George Bailey.

I mean, think about it. Aren’t you?

Not for being brought to near suicide (obviously), but that he was given a chance to see what this world would look like if he hadn’t existed.

Lord, most days I would love to have that chance.

I’d love to know if I’m really the mother my daughter deserves…or if she’d have been better off with a different upbringing.

I’d like to see if I’ve brought happiness to the lives of my friends and family…or if they’ve gained anything by knowing me.

I’d give just about anything to know if I touched any lives in a way that changed their trajectory towards the positive.

As silly as it is, I’d even like to know if the relationships I’ve had have made a positive impact…or if I was just a waste of time. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

There are a million things I’d love to witness…to see what life would have been if I hadn’t been here…to understand His plan in putting me where He had and with whom He has.

I believe that His divine plan is greater than any plan I could devise on my own. So, I believe that I would see that there has been positive purpose to my existence.

I also know that me seeing this is not part of His plan. That’s what faith is…trusting that He has put us where we’re supposed to be when we’re supposed to be there…knowing that He will catch us when we trip, but He let us trip for a reason.

But, man…wouldn’t it be nice to not just know, but SEE that we really do matter and really do make a difference?

Leaning

I don’t lean. It’s not a thing I’ve ever been comfortable doing. What happens if you go to lean and no one is there to catch you? You fall. So, I take care of me. I also try to take care of the rest of the world (I’m a caretaker…), but I do not lean and ask others to take care of me.

I won’t even pretend that’s a healthy way to be, and I’ve worked over the years to at least accept offered help. But you’d be hard pressed to find a time I’ve ASKED for help.

Besides the obvious issues with this…there’s also one that I don’t consider often enough.

In my efforts to be self sufficient and not lean on other people…I sometimes forget to lean on God.

I realized today that I’ve been doing that again. I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed and like I don’t belong…that I forgot to lean on the one with which we always belong…the one who carries us when we’re afraid we’ll fall.

It took me crying in public to see this. And, you guys…I’m not just talking crying…I legitimately tried to make it to privacy before I cried, but I was full on ugly crying by the time I got to my car. And multiple people saw it.

And when I say ugly crying…picture Dawson Leery. UG-LY Crying. (Hey, whatever I do in life…I do it full force…including embarrassing myself. 🀣 )

The reason I was crying…it’s stupid. I KNOW it’s stupid. But…today was the race that a whole bunch of people signed up for because it should have been the first time I could run again. But…I can’t run again. And, because my friends love me, they still wanted me there. So…I went…and I shivered…and I waited on my friends to finish doing something together that I used to be a part of. (And will be again, but right now I’m not.) And then I watched everyone laughing with their medals and taking pictures together and…I have never felt more like I didn’t belong anymore. So, I ran. I tried to run before they could see the tears.

But, of course, I didn’t make it. And, not only did some people see that ugly crying face…but a woman whom I really respect (in that “I’m in awe of you and a little frightened because I don’t think I can live up to how strong and self assured you are” kind of way…) was the first person I passed once the tears really started to flow.

I was mortified. I could hear my upbringing in my head. “Don’t ever show weakness. Don’t cry. No one cares.” And…here was me…failing at that.

All I could think was, “OF COURSE she’s the one who saw me. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ”

But all things happen according to plan. He knew that I needed someone I respected that much to see me fall. He knew that His message would need to come from that person that…if she came to me with that message…I would listen, because I know she’s not one to say things she doesn’t mean.

And that’s what happened.

A couple of hours later, I received a message from her. She told me that she knew today was hard for me. She reminded me that I need to keep allowing myself to heal and that I would run again. Because this is only a season.

I thanked her. Not only for the thought, but because she had lifted this burden from me as I’d been worried that she would think I was weak for crying over something so stupid. And what she replied with stopped me.

“We all have our moments where we are not as strong as we want to be, but this is a time that we are to lean on God for our strength. He will hold us up. It doesn’t matter what others think of us, only how we are viewed in his eyes.”

How is that always the first thing I forget? Honestly, how is that the first thing most of us forget?

God doesn’t judge us as weak when we need to lean. God welcomes us with open arms. Our Father who WANTS to hold us safe in those moments when we feel we can’t keep going. The one who we should remember is proof that we ALWAYS belong. We belong to Him.

If we only allow ourselves to lean.

So…today…I’m leaning.

The Beauty Is In The Bloopers

In the days of social media, we live in a world where the majority of what we see is the highlight reels of people’s lives. We see the new babies. We see the job promotions. We see the happy couples, the filtered selfies and the beautiful homes. And we’re happy for our friends that they have these things.

All the while we’re judging ourselves in comparison…and we are finding ourselves lacking.

Our home isn’t as clean. Our kids are being jerks today (they all are at some point, just keepin’ it real…). Our job is driving us crazy. And have you SEEN the size of my zit (or my stomach)?!?!?! We can’t live up.

News Flash: Neither can they.

This is the highlight reel of social media. The varnish that makes things seem more…ready for human consumption.

But, in my opinion, the beauty of life isn’t in the highlight reels. The beauty is in the bloopers.

I’ve never heard anyone say, “Oh, thank goodness, so and so is as perfect as me. Now I feel like we can be friends.”

Think about your best friends and tell me if this resonates.

Do you EVER look at your best friends and think, “I’m so glad they’re perfect.”? Or do you look at them and all of you burst out laughing about jokes about how your hair is a mess, your kids won’t listen, and your last date/significant other made a completely numbskull comment?

I bet it’s the latter.

I bet those late night laughs are filled with stories of bloopers…of the stupid things you said…the way you fell off a curb while trying to walk in heels…the dumb parent moment you had.

I’ll go one further. If you’re like me, your VERY best friends became that way because you shared an imperfection. You have the same anxieties. You have the same fears. You understand each other’s traumas.

A lot of people think I share too much sometimes. But…I have more love in my life than any one person deserves. Why? Well, a lot of people tell me it’s because, in my ability to be vulnerable, I showed them that they can be safe and vulnerable and real, too.

Connections happen through shared experiences, imperfections, foibles and flaws.

That thing that makes you feel weird? That’s where you’ll meet your best friend.

That trait that makes you feel unlovable? That will be the trait that makes someone connect with you and love you.

Life isn’t pretty. Life isn’t perfect. Life isn’t a highlight reel. Life is full of bloopers and outtakes…but instead of hating them, we should love them for the joy and love those bloopers bring into our lives.

So…don’t just love your bloopers. Share your bloopers. Connect through the scenes you used to wish you could delete. Because, seriously…

The beauty is in the bloopers.

The Runner

I’m a runner.

Yup. I just said that. Funny thing…it took me not being able to run anymore to admit that I’m a runner. Prior to an injury I’m trying to recover from I would say, “No! I’m not a runner! I RUN, but I’m not a runner. I just like food.” <—–Now, don’t get me wrong…I DO like food and that’s a really big incentive for me to go run…but…Physically…I AM a runner.

However, I am also another kind of runner.

I have a history of being an emotional runner.

I never run away from circumstances. I face them head on. Always. I never run from my own feelings. Again…faced head on. I never run away from people in my life who hurt me without giving them absolutely EVERY POSSIBLE CHANCE (oftentimes way too many chances). But…when I’m dealing with something in my life that is hurting me…I run from everyone.

Because if I run then it won’t hurt when they do.

I could make a lot of excuses for it. Yes, there have been a lot of people in my life who were always supposed to be there…and then they weren’t. Family…friends…exes. When I’m hurting it’s easy for me to fall back on the mindset of, “Everyone leaves and I am, apparently, very easy to walk away from.”

But…reality check…who HASN’T had that happen in their life? What makes me so different on that front where I have the right to use it as a crutch?

NOTHING.

And yet…as I deal with this injury…and I try to deal with the fact that, right now, I’m not a runner. ..I fight these feelings. All of my friends are still runners. All of my friends can still do all of these amazing things…and they do…without me…I don’t belong. No one will want me to come back even once I can. I have nothing to offer people if I can’t run with them. Look how happy they are without me…I should just stay gone…

And so I’ve gone back to being the bad kind of runner.

And it becomes a spiral. I have the feelings of not belonging and fighting my own feelings of not having what is, truly, an anxiety/stress relieving activity (as the great Elle Woods said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.”). So I start to withdraw. Which makes me feel more like I don’t belong. So I start to get a little…let’s be honest…bitchy. Which makes feel more like I don’t belong and like why could anyone POSSIBLY want me to come back??? Hell, I don’t even want to hang out with me right now!

It’s a never ending running cycle. Like a treadmill from Hell.

But it needs to stop. Now.

So. This blog is the kick I need to give myself in my own ass. My friends love me. Honestly, I have never in my life had the kind of friends that I have now…that I know love me even at my worst. And I owe it to them not to be the bad kind of runner.

Besides…what’s the point of being any kind of runner that doesn’t earn me ice cream?

Who He Meant For Me To Be

Lately I feel like there’s been this battle raging inside of me. This battle feels like I am trying to figure out, “Who am I even?”. Which seemed weird to me. I am a person who…for better or worse…knows who I am, accepts who I am, and…after many years of working on myself…loves who I am. So, why am I now trying to figure out, “Who am I even?”

Yesterday I found a little clarity on this.

You see, my daughter struggles with the same anxiety that I do. I hate it for her. I wish I could take it away and let her see how absolutely beautiful and wonderful she truly is. I wish I could make her never doubt herself again. That’s every mother’s wish, right? But we can’t.

So…yesterday…

Yesterday her counselor asked me when my daughter started being anxious about other people. I told her, “She was ALWAYS shy. Even as a little girl, she hid behind me around strangers or people she didn’t feel comfortable around.” The counselor’s response was one that I’ve often tried telling myself.

“That’s ok. God made us who He wanted us to be.”

Isn’t that a wonderful thought? And a really true one. That person that we were…that innocent, carefree child…That is who HE wants us to be. So what happened? How did we change?

That was the other part of yesterday. I told her counselor that I understood how my daughter was on the shyness front. I told her that people constantly argue with me that I’m not an introvert (like they know me better than I know myself?). She was shocked. “I would have thought you were an extrovert, too!” Nope. Not even a little. So, she asked me how I’ve battled my shyness. I told her…my family doesn’t believe in shyness. I remember being told, “You can’t be shy. Quiet people can’t be trusted.” So, I felt like I needed to change. Around 7th grade I figured something out…If I knew EVERYONE, I’d never have a reason to be shy. So, I made that my life’s mission. I started forcing myself to be social with people I didn’t know. I started forcing myself to be seen. I made sure that I never walked into a room where there could be no one that I knew. The counselor’s response? “That’s brilliant! Have you told your daughter this? You could teach her what worked for you.”

“Yes…I could do that. But I’m not sure I want to…”

Of course she couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t want to, so I explained. By forcing myself to be this person who *seems* very extroverted, I replaced one “problem” for another. My shyness turned to anxiety. I was fighting, with every bit of my being, to be seen when the last thing I wanted was to be seen. In order to do so, I became loud…sometimes obnoxious…always trying to get a laugh or a smile…and so very, VERY anxious. Now, instead of being quiet and comfortable, I was afraid of what people thought of me at every turn. Was I annoying? Was I too loud? Was I too much? Did I say something stupid? These people that I’m surrounded by…do they even like me or want to be there?

You see…I gave up who HE meant for me to be in order to become who the world expected me to be.

She was quiet for a moment as she pondered this and then she spoke. “I never thought of it that way. I’m an extrovert so being seen didn’t bother me. It wasn’t changing who I was. I never really considered what forcing that social side felt like on the inside.”

So, beyond feeling BRILLIANT as I always do when I teach a mental health professional a little something about psychology…it really got me thinking more in depth.

When is the one time that I’m NOT anxious about being seen? When I’m on stage singing. I can get on stage in front of hundreds of people and sing my heart out. I can put every bit of emotion inside of me (which is a lot if we’re being honest) out for the world to see through my voice. Then, the second I get off the stage, I go back to wanting to be invisible. Why? Because God gave me that voice. God gave me the music inside of me. God gave me the ability to share through words, either lyrical or written, what I feel inside…and I’ve always felt that He gave me this because I was meant to be someone who could show others that they’re never alone. That’s the power that words and music have…they show us that, no matter what we’re going through, someone else has been there and survived it well enough to write about it.

That’s who He made me. That’s the voice that He gave me.

It wasn’t God who wanted me to be that loud, exuberant, outgoing person off stage or without a pen/computer.

It was people.

So *this* is why I still have this battle raging inside of me. This is why I constantly have this anxiety of feeling like I don’t belong…like I’m in this world that isn’t mine…

When I’m with MY people…I AM that outgoing, funny, fun loving person. I love being that person.

When I’m with other people…I AM that quiet, reserved, thoughtful person who just wants to make the world smile. I love being that person.

When I have paper and pen (or a laptop) and have the ability to share with the world these thoughts…I can put into words every little thing that I feel like people need to hear. I can make them feel not alone. I love being that person.

I love being the person that God made me. That woman isn’t anxious. She’s joyous.

It’s the person that people made me that is anxious and afraid and scared.

I want to be who He made me.

And I want the same for my daughter.

“/end post” <——because I just learned that html wants to make it an actual internet thing if I don’t use the quotations.

*jazz hands*