What Does Happiness Look Like To Me?

Back to the exercises of yesterday, what does happiness look like to me?

This is inspired by The Life Coach, Episode Three

Starting my list from a place of abundance, what I already have, and then diving into what I’m striving for in the future. My list:

  1. Have a beautiful daughter that completes me in every single way possible.
  2. Build a career that I’m proud of.
  3. Make enough money to comfortably provide for my family.
  4. Have health insurance that covers my family in case of emergency and/or sickness.
  5. Have life insurance to protect my daughter in case anything ever happened to me.
  6. Drive a dependable car that keeps my family safe and comfortable.
  7. Live in a home that is affordable, yet also has the space I need to house my possessions comfortably.
  8. Live a life free from debt.
  9. Have enough money saved for retirement.
  10. Save enough money to purchase a ranch home where I can grow old.
  11. To fill the perimeter of that home with a beautiful flower garden.
  12. To join a community of people that is centered around fitness, health and well being like I had when I was in CrossFit.
  13. Get to a place with my weight where I can have my knees replaced.
  14. Have surgery to remove my excess skin and a breast reduction.
  15. Have a home where friends and family gather to laugh, cry, eat good food and feel safe. I want to be surrounded by people I love.
  16. Purge my possession until I have just enough.
  17. Finish my education / never stop learning.
  18. Work for myself in a profession where I am able to support and change lives, yet make enough money to provide for my needs.
  19. To always have enough.
  20. Ability to travel to places I’ve only seen in pictures.

What about you?  Can you take a half hour out of your day to listen to the linked podcast? If you can and you feel like posting your list eventually, link to it in the comments. Or just write your list in the comments.

I love the idea of starting the list with what we already have. I think that it is an amazing place to start because it honors what we already have.



Well I’m up again early. Showered. Face lathered in cream in hopes of nourishing the lines that appear faster and faster these days. And I’m here, writing, two days in a row.

As I sit down to type I have no idea what I want to unload this morning so it will be interesting to see where this post goes.

I mentioned in an early post that I have been listening to a lot of podcasts. I even linked to one or two. Yesterdays podcast journey delivered me to one that really resonated with me, yet it didn’t say anything more than what the hundreds of others I’ve listened to before. Yet I feel it’s intensity in my soul yet today.

We are personally responsible for our lives. 

At the end of the day, no matter what our background story is or how good or bad we’ve had it in life. I am in control of the person I am ever single second of the day. I think of all the years I wasted in my ‘story’, wallowing because I wasn’t loved the way I should have been. That I wasn’t supported to thrive. That my family relationships were all based on conditions that I behave a certain way. That I had no money.

I allowed people to treat me bad. I didn’t set boundaries with anyone. I thought if I just gave and gave of myself, finally someone would love me the way I deserved to be loved.

In the end I gave of myself until there was literally nothing left to give. I lost my voice. My health declined. I wasn’t the best mom I could be. I lost control of the finances.

The best thing that ever happened to me, and as hard as that time in my life was, and as scared as it made me, getting sick changed my life. I saw death and I knew I didn’t want anything to do with it. I saw how stupid I was acting. I saw crystal clear that I was the one stopping myself from having the life I wanted.

Since I’ve been setting boundaries in my life interesting things have started to happen. People have left, my parents. Others have stepped up and have (mostly) respected the lines I’ve drawn, Rob. My work parameters are changing because I stood up and said I couldn’t run myself into the ground and longer. In response, two of the brokers I support have been removed from my desk.  This will allow me to truly build a strong relationship with the team of brokers I’m left with. My most challenging relationship, my daughter, is actually improving too.

If someone is talking to you in a way that angers you or makes you feel bad, you need to open your mouth tactfully and express what isn’t working for you. If your husband isn’t respecting something that is creating a burning sensation of rage in the pit of your stomach, then you need to tell him. If someone doesn’t value you, regardless of how close they are to you, parent, child, sister, brother, then they need to be removed from your life, no matter how hard that decision will be to make.

For generations we have been taught to abide. To silence our needs. To fix. And as maternal beings we have been looked at as an endless well of nurturing. I know loving someone makes me feel amazing, but it just can’t be done on a one way street. We can’t be taken from until we are depleted with nothing left to give ourselves. We need to protect ourselves so that we can continue to keep giving to those that we love.

It took me 43 years to figure this shit out and I’m sure it will take me another 43 years to perfect how to reprogram myself to love myself enough to keep a little inside for me. I was born and bread to be a wife. From my earliest memories I was taught to serve men. From waiting on them as they barked orders to me, to cleaning up their messes. I was taught that I needed to have straight teeth, long hair, and an attractive body because that was the key to my hooking a husband that would provide for me. My value in my family is based only in how much I weigh. How fitting is it that one of the last things I heard my father say was to my brother, “look at her, no man would ever want to be with her.” And that wasn’t 20 years ago, that was in the past six months.

It hurt for a long time afterward. I processed it over and over and read about men that feel this way about women because it hurt so bad and I needed to understand it. After I made peace with it I am left with this, I’m so happy to be me on my terms. Big and fat with a gap in my teeth, living life on my terms. This is so much better than having a man, providing for me under the terms that I kept those conditions met. When I do eventually lose weight it will be on my terms. Not on the pressures that have been put on me.

This is my demon. I’m sure you have yours. Hell, this is just one, I have plenty. Regardless what yours is we need to remember that we are the ones in control of everything. Set boundaries, live them, and you will be surprised how others act when you demand that they respect them.

Happy Tuesday.

Below are a few links on where you will find me at these days:

What I’m listening to:

The Life Coach School podcastEpisode One


What I’m reading:

The Art of Extreme Self Care, by Cheryl Richardson

Honoring Your True Self

I’m up early and it’s Sunday. The sun is shining pretty bright and I have a feeling it is nice outside. I can’t remember the last time I was up early on a Sunday. Sunday’s are typically the only day that I have to just sleep in. I feel like I’ve been sleep deprived for a very long time and Sunday just wraps me up in a nice warm blanket and says, “stay, sleep, let the world pass you by”. And like a good listener of the world I say, “thank you very much, I will do that!”

What’s new?

I’ve been purposely walking for exercise for six weeks now. My goal was to make it a full six weeks and to then evaluate how I felt, where I had come from and where I want to go. I’d say being up, feeling good and ready to take on the world so early means that my body is actually healing, even if the scale tells me I’m still larger than life. The funny thing is that I don’t even care about that damn thing anymore.

Over the past couple months years, I’ve been striving to meet certain personal goals. I have been told I have been too hard on myself at times, suggested by others that these goals didn’t really matter and they surly didn’t define me, but I keep trying to fill this empty void that is inside me. When you know with all your heart that you are someone different and then everyday you wake up and you’re not this person you are meant to be, life gets hard. It causes us to make bad decisions, stay in relationships that aren’t healthy, and making it so very easy to neglect ourselves.

Do you ever feel like you are not honoring your true self?

So over the past few weeks I have been doing just that, honoring my true self. Taking care of my body. Organizing the things in my life. Looking internally and listening to my voice, finding out just who Catherine really is. I’m don’t know much yet, but I do fully understand that I am ready to break free of the bullshit. This I know for sure!

What’s next?

So I’m taking on another step tomorrow and I’m going to be focusing on the next six weeks. Since I feel my walking is now a habit and my body is used to the idea of moving again, I’m going to focus on my food. Much the same way that I just worked on the exercise, one day at a time. Evaluating my likes / dislikes, finding what foods make me feel better and which ones make me feel like crap, taking the time out to actually pack healthy things for myself so that I am prepared all day long. For me, it’s all about taking small steps to eventually get to some larger goals met.

I took this picture below my first day out walking. I was so weak from being sick earlier this year that I was unable to walk much faster than a snail. I kept at it, taking one step at a time and now I’m here today much stronger than I was before. I’m not perfect, but I am very much whole.



So my depression talks. Just like you and me. I have a running dialog with it all the time. That is why I am seeking out meditation, because I believe that I can quiet that voice down, maybe even shut it the hell up.

One of the greatest stories depression tells me starts when I go on antidepressants.  As soon as I start feeling better, depression says,

“hey, you know these meds you are taking? You think they make you feel good, but really you are missing out on life. You might not be depressed, but you are not happy either. The medication takes all emotion out of life and what is life worth living if you don’t feel anything?”

I then stop taking the medication and I spiral down into a hole.

Depression tells me another story too, it’s a bit simpler, but basically he says,

“HEY!!!!! Did you notice how great you feel????  You don’t need those crappy antidepressants anymore…YOU ARE OVER THE HUMP!”

and then…I stop taking them.

It’s a cycle I’ve been unable to break since I’ve started treatment when I was 19. My last cycle was years ago and when I stopped the last time, I said I was never going to go back on medication again because I’d rather suffer than play the on / off game. These past four years have been the hardest of my life and I haven’t went back to the medicine.

That was until the medical drama that started this year and I needed help. I promised myself when I asked for the pills that I would stop playing that game. That no matter how much shit depression talks, I know I am sick and I need these medications. For life.


So meditation has been going fabulously. Things are clicking and I’m feeling like this has been a missing piece of my life. I sit down to meditate around 9:00 every evening and some days I may even sit back and enjoy a guided session beyond that. It has been nothing short of wonderful.

On Saturday I sat down for my session and my mind starts to wander. I push through the session and I’m happy, but I felt somewhat of an emptiness. I didn’t recognize it until Sunday, but depression was at work trying to fuck up this good thing that was taking over my life.

Sunday I sit down for my session and I have the shittiest session again and this time I hear depressions voice,

“Hey, you know these problems you are having these last few sessions?  Yeah, it’s the meds. They are stopping you from really exploring the benefits of meditation. This is the extent of what you are ever going to feel from meditation unless you stop taking the meds or quit meditating. You decide, but something has got to give.”

And this is where I stayed all day. His voice just running through my head all day.

Tonight is my meditation class and depression tried talking me out of going, but I plugged through and made it to class. During one of our exercises, our instructor started the session by reading a disclaimer about how meditation should never replace therapy, and what we are doing should never be considered therapy. He explained to us that he was going to ask us to go the “that place”. You know the uncomfortable place at the pit of your gut that is raw and ugly and sparks all your sadness.

Oh, I know that place well and I go to it instantly.

I close my eyes and I see my 19 year old self, in the living room of my apartment up at school. I’m on the phone with my mom, the health insurance card in my hand, I’m telling her how sick I am with my depression and that I needed to come home.

I felt nothing. I couldn’t bring myself to feel the pain we were reaching for.

“You can’t bring it up because of the medication.” says depression.

Damn, I think to myself. Depression might be right. This is my trigger. This is my place. This is the defining moment of my life. My mom failed to tell my dad I was sick, and when he found out I had failed out of school, kicked me to the street.

I realize this story wasn’t working so I went to my second heaviest place of pain.

I was just beat by someone I love. I locked myself in the bathroom and I was black and blue, crying, leaning over the sink. I looked in the mirror and all I saw was my mom in the reflection. The sight makes me cry harder. I’ve repeated the cycle.

Nothing. I feel nothing!

The instructor rings the bell, everyone opens their eyes and a box of tissues is placed in the center of the room for anyone that feels the need to clean up a bit from the experience.

I sulk.

I cross my arms and mope the rest of the class. Depression dances in my head, not just with a ribbon, but he’s got a trophy too…he fucking won and he feels like a million bucks.

The class starts wrapping up and the instructor tells us a story.

He’s at the park with his granddaughter, she is 3-4 years old. They start racing to an imaginary finish line and when they arrive she stumbles a bit a falls over, but not hard enough to cause any type of pain or injury. He goes to pick her up and she starts sobbing uncontrollably. He knows that her crying is about something greater than her fall and they eventually calm her down enough to ask her questions and she tells them that she was crying because she was a big girl and big girls don’t fall like that. He explains to the class, we could have done a lot of things in this moment, we could have assured her that she was a big girl. We could have told her to brush it off and go play, but we didn’t…we just held her.

The tears start streaming down my face and I sit in silence, hoping the rest of the class doesn’t see me crying. My heart is so heavy it feels like a weight is sitting on my heart.

Our instructor tells us to close our eyes and as I sit and meditate, the tears stream down my cheeks and start collecting on my chest in a pool. When the session is over, I wipe my face, blow my nose. I tell depression that it can fuck off and it can shove that trophy up his ass.