My Transformation Story

TruehappinessI’ve had quite a few people ask me recently about my transformation journey in the last several years. I’m happy to tell it, but it’s not a short, quick story. If I go back to the very beginning, I guess I would have to start 7 years ago when I suffered a severe brain injury. I didn’t know at the time, of course, but it was the beginning of discovering who I really was, and who I want to be.

It all started in 2010, when I was playing “football” with some friends. I took a tackle from a friend, and got hit harder than was intended. I suffered a severe head trauma. I was in college at the time, and I was almost finished with my Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. I was severely disabled, and struggled to finish to get my degree. I was having trouble with memory, retaining new information, speaking clearly, and motor skills. Even walking long distances (like down a hallway) was difficult and painful. So, mentally working was very difficult. I graduated, sure, but I didn’t retain the knowledge very well. I couldn’t tell you what classes I took my last quarter.

Over the next few years, as my brain healed, I realized I didn’t enjoy programming in the slightest. It wasn’t fun for me anymore, I didn’t get a thrill out of it, and it was impossible for me to think the same way. This brain injury literally changed my life. I was fired from several jobs, I couldn’t develop new lasting friendships, my relationship was strained, and I just felt terrible most of the time. My therapists diagnosed me with bipolar disorder. Emotionally, I wasn’t the same. It was like I turned into a totally different person. It took me years to figure out that it did change me. I had continued to try to fit into the box I put myself in. But I didn’t fit in there anymore.

After a few years of struggling, I started working at Petsmart. I hated that I couldn’t perform in my industry, but I needed to make money and do something instead of just sitting at home. So, I found this job. I was happy there. I enjoyed working with the animals, and I enjoyed teaching people about how they could better the lives of their pets. I constantly stayed late. I accidentally would keep working after my shift because I was enjoying it so much. One thing led to another, and I was starting to feel happy again… but this job wasn’t paying the bills.

So I eventually had to quit and get back into the software industry. I found a company where I was happy and enjoying the job, the people, and I could perform there. They were family oriented, and I didn’t work late. As far as software companies went, it was great. It was a good company who cared about their employees. Salary was good, benefits were great, and the people made me happy. It was a good fit. But I didn’t love what I was doing. I still wasn’t “whole”.

Somewhere down the road, my ex-husband and I got a dog. He was a great dog, but we had no idea what we were doing. After a few weeks, he started to pull on the leash, started to get very hyper all the time, and just was uncontrollable. So, I asked for help. I found a trainer who specialized in behavioral solutions. I had no idea the world I was about to discover.

As I started to work with my dog, I realized how much fun I was having. I used the knowledge I was learning to help others. I was giving my friends and neighbors behavioral advice from what I was doing, and wanted to learn more. They saw improvements in their dogs, and I barely knew anything! I was hungry for more information! I started searching online for workshops, webinars, books, online classes, and anything I could get my hands on.. Eventually, I attended workshops as well. I was insatiable when it came to learning about dogs. I wanted to know everything! I loved what I was doing, and looked forward every day to going home and working with my dog.

I started to build a client base after a few months, and I realized this could become a very rewarding hobby! So, I spent more and more time researching, reading, experimenting, and spending time with my dog. My dog and I had learned so much and we were turning into quite the team! I was so happy with how things were going. Every spare second I had was being spent working with my dog, as well as on my newfound hobby. Which meant I wasn’t nurturing my marriage.

In 2014, I went to Cesar Millan’s training center to learn more. Great opportunity and I was so excited! My husband called me while I was at the workshop to yell at me because Napoleon (our dog) had puked on the couch, and he didn’t know how to use the carpet cleaner. We fought. On the phone, a thousand miles from each other, but we were fighting. It was bad, and neither of us was happy. We were so young, and I was preoccupied in building this business.

I got back, and our relationship continued to suffer. We attended counseling, but I had already made up my mind that I was finished, and wanted to move on. We decided on a divorce. Not a pretty decision, but something needed to change. We were both great people, but too young and inexperienced for mature love. We split up. It was painful, it was an end to a chapter in my life I never saw coming.

I couldn’t believe it got this far, I was depressed, lonely, and wondering how this happened. My best friends were there for me during this time. My best friend’s husband was comforting me, helping me, and becoming my friend. I was looking for validation, love, compassion. He was looking for the same. We both weren’t happy, but we found happiness in each other. We both did an unspeakable thing. Something I never thought I was capable of doing. We had an affair. It lasted 9 months. We both knew it needed to end, but we couldn’t tear ourselves away from each other. We lied, we snuck around, and we made a mistake.

Once my best friend found out, of course she was livid. I betrayed her. I hurt her. I royally fucked up. However, she didn’t find out the whole story. She was told a tiny speck of what actually was happening. But it didn’t matter; it was just enough to shun me out of her life. She sent hateful messages, spread untrue rumors, and turned our friends against me. I didn’t defend myself and I let her attack me. I let the lies spread, and I didn’t retaliate. I didn’t lie, I didn’t cower, and I took all of it. Even though what she thought happened wasn’t the truth. But I didn’t say anything to defend myself because it didn’t matter at this point. Whatever it was, I deserved it, right?

After months and months of abuse from her and her husband, our “friends”, and the online posse she had built, I decided that enough was enough. She even attacked my business! Our businesses had nothing to do with this. This was a personal matter. Yet she brought this into the professional world and it affected clients, fellow dog trainers, and connections. As time went on, more and more negativity poisoned my life. I eventually felt like I was worth nothing. I was a piece of garbage, so I started acting that way. I started making poor decisions, putting myself in dangerous situations, drinking too much, hanging out with the wrong type of people.

After one night of putting myself in a position where I was in danger of my life, I realized I needed to make a change. This was so dangerous, and this could end up killing me.

I committed fully to learning about myself. Accepting I made mistakes, and started to piece myself together again, bit by bit. I spent a lot of time self-reflecting. I wanted to know what had happened. I had been falling apart for a while, and I wanted to know where it started. Why it happened, and how I sank so far. I learned to meditate. I learned to breathe through my pain, and accept that these things happened. I accepted I made a mistake. I learned to forgive others and myself. Only I can control my emotions, my actions, and my mental state. I wanted to be happy. It seemed like a stretch, but I felt like if I self-reflected and learned to forgive, I could learn to be happy.

I went for a walk in nature every day and listened to the sound of the birds, the water, the bugs, the wind in the trees, and I realized that this pain would pass. I spent so much time with my dogs, and alone that I was actually starting to get to know myself better. I meditated, sat with my suffering, and I really felt all the feelings. It hurt, it was sad. I didn’t find solace in other people. I didn’t go to my friends or family, I went to the mountains. I took pack walks with my dogs and hikes regularly. I spent time meditating, thinking, and writing down my thoughts. I spent so much time getting to know myself. I wanted to be healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually.

I started to train. I started running, lifting weights, and getting stronger. I had started to learn to forgive myself, and I wanted to find peace in my life. So, I started working out, and eating healthier food. I stayed away from sugar, booze, and food that didn’t help my body heal from the onslaught of exercise I was putting it through. Nutrition and fitness became an obsession. I started to learn the “secret” of being happy.

I started to see an energy healer to help me clear out any emotional blocks. I learned so much about chakras, energy flow, the psyche, and how energy can fuel the soul. I started to be able to feel the energy move through my body. I started to become in tune with my own energy and be able to read others’ as well. This helped me with keeping people in my life who had positive energy, and shedding people who had negative energy. I was able to have compassion for people who were suffering. Even those who have hurt me, I could give compassion and send love. This was difficult in the beginning. Learning to love people from a distance, even if they aren’t close to me anymore. My best friend, who I betrayed, comes to mind. I love her deeply, and I send her loving, healing energy often. She may not consider me a friend anymore, but I do. She is still my best friend, and I am happy when I hear that she is at peace, finding success, and above all, finding happiness. I want her to feel peace.

I decided against using social media during this time, as it was not helping me through the pain I was feeling. In fact, Facebook in particular is full of negativity, and it was difficult to see the positive. I did block the people who were sending me hurtful messages, posting hateful comments, and otherwise anything that was evil. Getting back on Facebook, I decided I wanted to reconnect with people who have a passion for spreading positivity, bettering the world, and being the best they can be. Anyone else was un-friended, un-followed, or blocked.

I had studied and applied what I learned in fitness, energy work, nutrition, and meditation. I had started to become more connected spiritually, and learned how to be more mindful. I had started to treat my body the way it deserved to be treated all this time. Mistakes are just that: mistakes. They are there for us to learn and become a better person. Those who have “sinned” have great potential to learn and grow. When one is in a desperate place, we do not think about the repercussions of our actions. That mistake did not make me a bad person. It makes me human. It makes me real. I made a mistake that severely hurt my best friend. I love her deeply even now, even after everything. I have learned from that and become a strong, mindful person. I have learned to be less judgmental of those who make mistakes. I have learned to forgive. The most important lesson I have learned is to be vulnerable with my feelings, and allow myself to love fully.

I have decided I will not hold onto feelings of hate or anger. I do not carry around negative feelings, and I work hard to not pass judgment on others. We all have done things that have hurt others. We have made mistakes, and those mistakes make us who we are today. I wish I could have learned the lesson another way, but this is what the universe had planned for me. So, I do not regret making the choices I did, as I have repented, and I am set free of the past now. I don’t live in the past, I don’t hold those feelings close, and I have learned to live with my feelings, and realize that it’s ok. I will not be self critical of my past; instead I will embrace it. It has turned me into the person I am today.

I see the world as a beautiful place, and we should take care of each other. We need to invest in our health in mind, body, and soul. At the end of the day, this is all we have. So, I focus all my energy into surrounding myself with love. Love for the possessions I keep, the people I surround myself with, and the actions I perform. I want a life where I live free of ties, burdens, and unnecessary commitments. I only carry with me what I love. If you are one who I have chosen to spend my time with, know that I love you. Know that you are special to me, and I don’t just give my time to anyone. You are a beautiful soul and you deserve to be loved. You are cherished.

Love yourself openly. Be vulnerable. Be open to your feelings, and don’t be afraid to dream. Dream big and don’t be overwhelmed with the amount of work or time it takes to get there. Wouldn’t you rather spend the time working towards a big dream rather than wasting it just drifting?

Now, every day, I focus on being better than the person I was yesterday. I try to listen fully, instead of speaking and forming quick opinions. I try to pay attention and be mindful. I am trying not to jump to conclusions, judge, or pass negative energy to anyone or anything. Everyone has a reason for doing the things they do. What I can do is hold myself to a higher standard and try to be the best I can be. I won’t waiver, self destruct, or passively aggressively try to manipulate or control. We all do it from time to time, but the goal is to recognize it and try to understand that person is at a different point in their journey.

Acts of self-destruction, recklessness, inappropriate decisions, or poor judgment typically come from immaturity or lack of experience or knowledge. They haven’t found themselves yet, or know how their actions are affecting their lives and the people around them. The people closest to you in your lives are the ones you’ll see clearly. Those are the people where you have to let them figure it out themselves instead of trying to ‘teach’ them. They will accept the lessons freely when they are ready.

Live healthy, live free, live passionately. Be quick to forgive. Think before you speak. Send as much love out into the universe as you can. The world is lacking in true unconditional love. Take care of yourself emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Make healthy choices, for at the end of the day, you only have your health. Investing in yourself is the best choice you can make to achieve true happiness.

Burned Out

I have been going, going, going for far too long. I’m tired, and I rarely enjoy any of the things I can really enjoy when I’m not so tired. I’m just so tired all the time. Things that are fun should be relaxing and help me recharge. But when I’m doing hobbies or trying to unwind, my mind is racing with all the things that I haven’t done.

I am trying to focus on the things I HAVE done instead of everything I HAVEN’T done, which is lot on both ends of the spectrum. I graduated high school with a 3.95 a YEAR early. I graduated college with my Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science when I was 20. I bought my first house when I was 21. I opened up my own business when I was 24. I was successful and quit my full time job when I was 25. I am a successful business owner and bought my second house when I was 28. I have been homeless (in a sense). I have felt love and heartbreak. I have felt loss. I have felt failure and success. I have seen death and also new life. I have built the life I have now on a dream that I made come true. I am proud. I sacrificed to make the dream come true. I missed out on so much because I was building this. There was light at the end of the tunnel. It’s there, I’m in the light now. My business is self-sustaining and now I have too much business for just one person. I have for quite a while. It’s taken over.

overwhelmedI see it like mint. My boyfriend taught me how to plant vegetables and herbs. I learned how to keep it alive and how to nurture it and meet its’ needs so it can thrive. I learned what a struggle looks like, and I learned to love our plants. Now, back to mint. It’s a hearty plant that takes over. At first, I was worried about it growing at all. I thought I would kill it. So I took care of it, watched over it, loved it. Now, it’s taking over our planter box. I can’t keep up with it. It’s going to take over everything else in the box because it’s just growing all over everything. My business has taken over every area of my life, and now I need to prune it. Trim it back, and let the other areas have a chance to thrive too.

I know exactly what I need. I know what jobs I need help with. But it’s taking the time to train someone else and get them up to speed that takes away even more time that I don’t have. Training directly under me…someone should be paying me to teach them what I had to pay for. I need a student. “Dog Trainer Seeks Apprentice”. Too many have phased out. This life isn’t for them. They can’t handle the stress, or the intensity. It’s too hard, it’s too stressful, and it takes over. Too many people think they want this life, but they don’t. It’s not easy. It’s not playing with puppies all day. It’s mentally challenging, physically exhausting, and emotionally draining. You get attached, then it gets ripped away. You get frustrated when your clients can’t do what you can do. It’s not a realistic expectation for them to do what you do. You have to constantly remind yourself people aren’t being stupid… they just don’t know.

On a personal level, I sometimes don’t feel good enough for the other areas of my life. I feel like I fall short. Like, other people could do a better job than I could. Like I hold them back from better things. I’ve spent too much time building this business-life that I’m retarded in other areas to the point where I will always fail. I don’t voice it because I’m ashamed. Ashamed of not being better. Of not being able to perform as excellently in all areas of my life as I do in my business. I’m a phenomenal dog trainer. I’m an excellent teacher and coach of people who need help with balancing their dog. But balancing my life it seems I constantly fail. I feel like I’m spinning out of the control and I can’t catch the string of my life that is floating away. I’m watching it, but I can’t catch it. It’s going too fast. My lungs can’t get enough oxygen, my muscles are sore, and the space between my fingertips and the string is getting bigger and bigger.

I tried to balance. Work hard, play hard. I scheduled time off MONTHS in advance so I could enjoy a weekend here and there without dogs. One weekend a month. 12 weekends a year, I wanted to enjoy a couple days off. Even if that just means staying home, but only having our dogs. Day hikes, trips to visit my family (It had been 4 years since I had visited my dad at home until June of this year). I’m feeling pretty upset since this probably means I will need to work and miss my boyfriend’s friend’s wedding in Georgia, miss his birthday weekend, miss rock hunting, breathwork energy classes, parties, holidays, family get togethers, hanging out with friends because I’m too tired, camping.. etc.

I need about 4 more people besides myself to run the business where it’s more self-sufficient than it already is. I dream so big that in order for me to do everything, I need 4 people here, and then I need me. I have such big plans and wants in my life that it’s overwhelming for me to think of more than just today. And then when I do, I don’t want to do anything because it’s too much.

I don’t feel good enough. But for me to be better, I need more energy. I feel like I’m failing. I feel like my needs are being met and I’m being selfish. I do my best, but I feel like it’s not enough. I’m not enough, but I’m too much at the same time.

Chocolate or Vanilla?

Every decision we make has a risk and a reward based on external factors of time constraints, gains and losses, and what effect of our decision has on the environment and/or people in our lives. We weigh the consequences and benefits and we make a decision. At least… that’s how I make decisions. It gets tricky when there are multiple decisions that effect large sections of the future. No matter what it is. Complex or simple. I like to simplify.

Ice-CreamSo, chocolate or vanilla? This could be a difficult decision because you like both or neither one. But ultimately, it doesn’t affect anything in the future other than calorie intake, taste, and possibly consistency. It’s the most simple decision. Life decisions can be vanilla or chocolate. Could you have both? ½ and ½, or double it up? Maybe pass altogether. What kind of toppings? What if you mix in a little fudge or hazelnut? Candy toppings or fruit? Shit, son! It’s gettin’ real! You start adding other things to this very ‘vanilla’ decision (hehe, excuse the pun) and it starts to get messy. Life is, isn’t it? Messy, I mean.

Comparing bigger decisions like buying a house can be a chocolate or vanilla choice too. Can you have both? ½ of one and ½ of the other? Umm, ok, so it’s a little different. I make a pro/con list. Cost, location, land, appliances, updates, expansions, seller expectations/negotiations, closing dates, etc. You have to decide which is better. If you choose one, you lose the other. If you happen to choose the wrong one, you can lose it and then end up with nothing. It’s now a chocolate/vanilla gamble. It just turned into a very emotional game, not a simplistic delicious decision.

Yeah, my brain is jumping around today, so some of this may seem jumbled, but I’m working on a chocolate/vanilla decision while also playing Tetris to fit in all the pieces of my life’s jigsaw puzzle… all the while playing Battlefield 4 and trying to avoid the onslaught of the bad guys trying to snipe me… or in some cases hit me with a fucking rocket launcher. I’m working through shit guys, bear with me. I’m ‘thinking on paper’… get it? Thinking out loud.. thinking on paper? Heheheheheh, ok.. moving on.

I’m not giving up, just problem solving. I’m exhausted. My brain won’t turn off, and my bipolar is all over the map. The world isn’t out to get me, but it is yelling at me.

I made a chocolate/vanilla choice. I made a decision. I have to stick by it. It could be the wrong one. But I made a choice. I didn’t know what to do, and I laid out all my options, listened to my instinct, and I decided based on the information I had in front of me. I said no to one, and yes to another, and now I wait.

I’m not good at sitting on something without making a decision. I do take my time sometimes on some decisions, but usually, I know what I want right away. And I jump on it. I want something, I’ll make it mine. This time, I know what I want… I don’t know how to get there. I’m stuck. Why? I don’t get stuck. I don’t hesitate. I’m hesitating on one thing, and then I doubt myself and then I’m questioning EVERYTHING. My brain is working in circles, with the same questions, the same hesitations, the same problems. And I don’t have a solution, which is driving me insane. I don’t have a plan. I’ve been ‘winging it’ for a few years. Which I guess is polar opposite of what I used to do. I wouldn’t do anything without planning every single second. I had to have that control. I guess I’ve gotten used to winging it. Now I’m stuck in the waiting part. Was it chocolate or vanilla?

 

A World of Broken Trust

cant-blame-me-for-my-trust-issue-quote-1Ok, I’ve learned my lesson time and time again, but apparently I need to keep touching the hot stove to see if it’s still hot. I put my faith and trust in humanity to see if anything has changed. I put myself out there and took a risk. I want to believe there are still good people in the world. People who don’t lie, cheat, manipulate, or trick people into getting what they want. I want to believe there are still people out there who remember what it means TO BE GOOD. I want to see the good in people. That want is slowly diminishing, and I’m finding that concept is starting to totally extinguish in the world.

I put my trust in a friend who had a place for me to stay. Boy, should I have known better… It turned into a little slice of hell. I said goodbye to a stable living situation, a place to safely run my company, financial stability, daily conveniences, and most of all a place to call “home”. I don’t know what that is anymore. This friend tried to help, yeah… but this person knew a lot of important details that were not shared with me for whatever reason. Putting my entire organization at risk. I’m a fucking fool for trusting in the first place without a written contract…paid in cash of course, and I trusted this “friend”.

I moved into this …”temporary living situation” and worked out a verbal agreement with someone who I was told was a good person… I was lied to, manipulated and set up. It’s complicated and confusing on what actually happened… but bottom line was that I was used. Again. By someone I trusted…AGAIN. I don’t have a home, and I’m constantly reminded of why I don’t trust people. I put myself out there and want to see the good, and all I get in return is a knife in the fuckin’ spine.

I may have sold my house prematurely. I can look back and say I should have sold contingent upon me finding a new place, but it doesn’t matter. I did it, I don’t regret it (maybe I do a little bit). I’m trying to move on and move forward. What’s done is done. I maybe jumped the gun because of a series of unfortunate events that had me feeling like I needed to start over. Huh… so this is what ‘starting over’ feels like. Maybe I tried to run away from my problems. Maybe I just wanted the greener grass. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter, I’m here now, and reminded of why I’m here. It’s no one’s fault but my own. I made the choice.

I have been THIS CLOSE multiple times to being in a better situation and finding a new place, and every time something has ripped it from me. I am doing things honestly and openly communicating, and it seems everyone else isn’t. Why? Because ‘it’s not meant to be’ or ‘I’m being challenged/trialed and this is a test’… fuck that noise. I’m trying the best I can, and it’s never good enough. I’m constantly coming up short in one way or another. Back to not being good enough. Awesome.

Which leads me back to trusting other people. I can’t take anything anyone says to be the truth. I have trust issues already, and this shit makes me want to never put my trust in anyone because I get burned every.fucking.time. Every time I think “Ok, I’m going to have faith and trust this is going to work” or that someone isn’t lying to me. Whenever I actively think that, it seems it bites me in the ass. So I’m wary and I protect myself and go in guarded, already waiting for something to happen. That’s healthy (sarcasm).

The last two places I have put an offer on have ended similarly. First one was because the seller’s realtor fucked up. This one was because the seller’s realtor fucked up AGAIN. I’m stuck, there is literally nothing I can do to fix this. So, I’m preparing myself just like I do with everything else and expecting shit to fall apart at some point. Waiting for something bad to happen. If I prepare myself and go in guarded, it doesn’t hurt as bad. I can recover faster and move on. The only person I can trust is myself. I can take care of myself. I’ll put my shit back in the box again and I’ll stop getting my hopes up that something will actually work. I’m backing off, I’ll keep trying, but I’m done with this feely shit. I get excited and it gets torn from me. Yeah, I’ve said it before, I know. You would think I’ve learned my lesson by now. Apparently I learn slow.

fmlKeep your positive thoughts to yourself for now people, it won’t help. Encouraging words just make it worse right now. I’ve been strong for so long.. for SO long for so many people.. I can’t be strong for myself anymore. I’m falling apart. So FML, let me vent, and let me crawl back inside myself and put all my stupid fucking emotions back in the box. You’ll see the smile on my face tomorrow, and I’ll seem fine. I’m not. Enjoy fake Heather for a while, world. She can’t handle reality, so she’s crawling into her fucking shell of safety.

Homeless

Sitting here at the Laundromat. I fucking hate this place. I hate waiting for my clothes, I hate loading them up and taking them somewhere to do them. I miss MY washer and dryer, the convenience of doing laundry whenever I want, and I was spoiled by the high efficiency. I also hate I have to pay $15-$20 each week to do laundry, yet this was supposed to be ‘included’ in the utilities I paid..along with internet at my house that I don’t have. Not necessarily a fan of the people who come here either. If I was pregnant or brought all 10 of my 1/2naked kids with me, I wouldn’t stand out like a sore thumb. Or if I was a Asian. Well, I guess I don’t always come alone… I bring Jinx with me.

laundromat

I want my washer and dryer back. I want a kitchen. I want to be able to use the internet when I want to…and not rack up a giant bill on my cell phone because I have to use a hotspot service. I miss having a bedroom. I want to feel like I have a home again. I can sleep in the back of my truck and feel just as comfortable as I do when I’m at my ‘place of sleeping and business’. This is because I don’t have a ‘home’. It doesn’t matter where I am, I feel the same. I’m sick of feeling like this. I’m so close. I’m trying to hang in, but it’s like a carrot being dangled in front of me, and instead of teaching me to be patient and be strong, it’s teasing me and pissing me off and draining all my energy. When I go to reach for it, it’s taken away and the world laughs at me. Yeah, I know, the world isn’t out to get me. Shut up, I don’t want to hear it.

I have a lot more than some people, so I feel like I should be grateful for what I have. I’m trying, trust me. I’m trying to remember what I felt like when I wrote my last post. I’m trying to get back there and hang on to that feeling. Because I feel like I’ve lost it and I’ve fallen into the trap I’ve been trying so hard to avoid. Yep, I’m there. I tried to fight it and mentally will myself to not be here…and I think I did postpone it for a long time. But now, here I am.

I’ve realized it’s not about WHAT I have, but more about MENTALLY where I am. It’s hard to explain. I have a place to live, but I’m homeless. Why? It’s not mine, I’m not safe or comfortable there, my livelihood is threatened pretty regularly in this place, and I am paying a shit ton of money to have even that. I feel robbed, lied to, taken advantage of, and I feel like in many ways, I AM homeless. I can have a roof over my head in a lot of places. I feel like I am living in my workshop. What’s it all for? What’s the payoff for what I’m doing to myself? I feel like it’s coming, and I’ve literally sacrificed my stable home for it. I took a risk. I weighed it, and a bunch of things went wrong that led me to this situation. So now I’m here… down to the final weeks before my next big adventure starts and I’m crashing.

I guess I’m finally feeling the effects of the go-go-go mentality I’ve had for months. I’m losing it. I have an awesome support system, I have people who will help me this time, I have a plan…. So why am I fading now? I’m hanging in, but I just want to curl up in a corner and watch the world keep turning without me. I won’t… because I don’t have a choice. But I’m also not going to be happy about it. I’ve noticed I have less motivation to do the things I’ve worked so hard for. Like training for my race this weekend. I should really train… like at all this week. Or doing dishes… yeah, I should do those at some point. Whatever, why? For who? I don’t care. Leave them.

I should be researching sound proofing, landscaping, fencing, costs on how much it’s going to take to refinish flooring in the barn and putting up walls. I should be inputting my clients’ paperwork into my computer, getting my phone fixed (broke it … again), being proactive in this particular living situation that is now urgently pressing upon me. But I don’t have it in me. So I’m here, at the Laundromat, doing laundry because that’s productive right? There. I’m doing something. I got out of bed, and I’m doing laundry. Bare minimum to keep me going.

I go from handling stress well to it all blowing up in my face. I got it, really, I’m fine, I can do everything by myself all the time because I’m fucking super woman…Just kidding, I’m not and I don’t have a handle on anything, actually. There’s no build up, it’s just one minute I’m fine, and the next I’m not. Yeah, it’ll pass, I know. I don’t feel like I’m being dramatic; feelings are feelings, and this is what I feel. I’m stuck because I don’t have time to feel like this, and all my energy should be spent on my business, and fighting for my living situation. But I feel like if I don’t stop, I am going to burn out. I’m at the point where I feel it happening already, and I don’t see a break in sight. I don’t see a good stopping place, and in the near/immediate future, I’m actually starting a much bigger project. I feel like I need to get out and run away for a few days. I tried to over the weekend, but it just wasn’t enough. I need some actual recharge time… oh wait, I forgot. I’m a business owner, and a dog trainer no less. That doesn’t happen. I gave that up. I’ll quit bitching now and buck up and do what I’m supposed to do. Which is doing fucking laundry.

The Power of the Mind

Battle Creek Falls, UTWe are in control of our own state of mind. Certain events can trigger emotions in a certain direction. Such as fear, anxiety, depression, hyperactivity. Adrenaline, dopamine, melatonin, serotonin…You know what these are. They work together (or against each other in certain situations) to create emotions. You have the power OVER your own mind and the ABILITY to guide these chemicals to stay in balance. I am not medicated for bipolar, depression, mania, insomnia, meltdowns or psychotic episodes. This is a CHOICE I made because I don’t want a drug controlling my state of mind. I feel like I need to be stronger than the chemicals, and stronger than the need to have drugs controlling me.

Battle Creek selfieThere have been certain events in the last few months that have caused me to feel a high on life. I learned to love me for me. I love my strengths, and I have accepted and have learned to also love my weaknesses. I saw how beautiful the world is and what it has to offer. I see beauty everywhere and in everyone. It wasn’t until I could see the world this way, that I found another soul who also sees the world the way I see it. I look into his eyes and I see everything. Everything he is, what he’s been through to get here, how he sees the world, and how he sees me. And his soul is beautiful, and I’ve fallen for him. Every day, I find a new reason to love my life and to keep trying to be better every day. I love where I’m going, and I’m finally feeling like I’m reaping some benefits from all the struggles I have faced in the last few years. I kept saying I needed some good things to happen. I was way off base. I needed to OPEN MY EYES to the good things and MAKE them happen. If I wasn’t in the right mental place, I would have missed this. I would have missed the beauty, and I wouldn’t have met this absolutely incredible person. I deserve to receive genuine love, and I want to give it to someone who is as deserving. I needed to learn to love myself before I could even reciprocate this. I didn’t even know what I was missing in my life. I thought I had gotten over the feeling of having a broken soul, and I was ‘whole’ again. Again, I’ve been blown away. I didn’t realize what ‘whole’ meant until now.

I have been faced with difficult trials regarding my business, my living situation, my psyche stability, and financial security. I have tried hard to keep a level head on my shoulders during this time, and I feel I have succeeded. I refuse to fall into traps that will suck me back down and take away the feeling of wholeness I have. Nothing can take that from me, and I control my state of mind. The world is not out to get me, and we are all faced with our own set of unique challenges. Some more difficult than others, and sometimes, it feels like everything is crashing down. Through all of this, my attitude has been that of it’s just a trial.

Turn Wheel Battle Creek, UTA very relevant analogy I have been thinking about today, is that it’s just another hill I need to climb, and I will push past it. I’ll overcome it, and there are always crests coming up. Sometimes, the inclines are steep and daunting, but there are always crests. This is the walk of life. And I am learning to love every step, even the hard ones. Even when I’m exhausted and feel the want to give up, I won’t. Because the rewards of completing just one more step are so incredible, that I don’t want to sacrifice them. The hills never end, we will always keep climbing, but we will get stronger, and sometimes there are downhills and plateaus where we can catch our breath. I will not stop, I will not be beaten. I will not miss out on something because I’m tired. I want to experience everything and grow. If I stop walking, I’m not moving forward and progressing. I’m in no rush to finish life. I want to enjoy the journey, the scenery, and feel everything. I took a much needed meditative hike today, and reflected on all these things. It was good to get some perspective and realize how strong my mind and willpower have become. I’m impressed with myself, and I’ll only keep getting stronger.

Learning to Be

Heather-personal-growth-mental-experiment

Meditative pack walk

I forgot who I am. My friends used to describe me with things like: fun loving, care free, wild child, tough as nails, hilarious as hell, and I absolutely did not give a shit. All that mattered was that moment. “No filter Heather”. I said whatever was on my mind all the time. Yeah, this gets me into trouble sometimes, and I have gotten better, but that’s part of what makes me ME. I started to doubt myself and what I was capable of. I forgot how far I have come in my accomplishments. I started to hate who I was. What happened to me psychologically? I’ll tell you.

My independence was stripped from me. This happens to everyone at some point, I think. For one reason or another. For me, it was an injury. I gave up who I was and became irritable all the time, disappointed in myself, and insecure. I lost a giant piece of who I was. I didn’t realize this until I had a very therapeutic hike up Stewart Falls. My injury controlled me. I was very bitter about things other people could do and I couldn’t. I tried to stay silent for a long time, but eventually it came out. I was resentful and hurtful and wasn’t being supportive. When I hiked up all the way to the top and back, it was like I was leaving all those negative feelings on the mountain. I came back and felt refreshed and more like myself than I have in a very long time. I did it, even though I was kind of nervous. I felt like I could get really hurt, I would over do it, I would fall and seriously mess it up again. I was careful and I took my time. I have a bad habit of rushing when I get anxiety, and I worked through it and practiced slowing down. It’s advice I constantly give my clients. “Wherever you are struggling with your dog, just slow it down into smaller steps.” So I took my own advice and slowed it down. I thought it through. Impulse control. Mental filtering. Things I have been teaching time and time again, and yet here I am. Doing the same thing all my clients are doing, yet I’m applying it to a different area of my life.

Heather-stewart-falls-personal-growth

At the top of Stewart Falls

I went on another walk this week. One of my mentors would call it a ‘meditative pack walk’ because I wasn’t so concerned about corrections, or teaching. I was focusing on my energy, and learning to just be. I focused on my energy. Noticing things, and walking, but not really going anywhere or letting thoughts linger. I just let them pass through my thoughts without dwelling, worrying, stressing or holding on. I thought about a lot of things. But I focused on letting them go and just being. This is something I’m always trying to become better at. When I was at Cesar’s last year, I practiced this being in his DPC. I didn’t really understand the concept, and thought ‘I’ll try it later’. That’s exactly what I shouldn’t have done-there is always time to stop and think and be still. I was rushing, even then.

I’m learning to be. Again. I’m learning what I want, what I need, and figuring out who I am again. I have grown so much, and I’m so much more balanced, but there is always room to improve. I will never be perfect. I will never be the best. And I will never stop growing.

I am a strong person, but I lost sight of myself. I want to be the fun loving, bad ass, tough as nails Heather again. That’s who I am. But now, I’ll be stronger, better, and I’ll have learned from this. What we learn from our mistakes is what makes us who we are. This is what turns us into the people we are today. No regrets? Yeah right, we all have regrets. We all have our skeletons. But we have to get up, forgive ourselves, dust ourselves off, and hold our heads high after we make mistakes. Even the big ones, we have to get up at some point. Self love is an important part of life. We have to forgive ourselves and move on. I’ll never be complete, I’ll be a project for my entire life. I’m ok with that. I want to enjoy the journey a little more and stop worrying about the destination. THIS is who I am. Rushing to the finish line was a symptom of a bigger problem, an underlying issue that was hidden. Well, I found it and now I can treat it.

long-road