Last Minute Gifts for your Beauty Guru BFF

Do you have a BFF who is always up on the latest and greatest beauty trends? Does she drive you nuts with her unsolicited skin care advice? Does she hold nothing back and tell you “girl that smokey eye has got to go!” Does she have every beautify subscription box known to woman kind on her doorstep!?

Then Girl! I’m here to help! I love this time of year! Tis the season for gift sets! The trick is you really need to evaluate and ask yourself “will this be useful to my bestie or will it collect dust for thirty years?” You don’t just want to buy a gift set to buy a gift set, make it personal and she/he will love you for it!

Raw Sugar Gift Set

Target – Raw Sugar gift set – $9.99

Best Gift Ever Skincare

Target- Best Gift Ever Skincare – $14.99

Best Gift Ever Clean

Target – Best Gift Ever Clean – $14.99

Best Ever Gift Box Men

Target – Best Ever Gift Box Men – $14.99

Dr Teals Gift Set

Walmart – Dr Teal’s Gift Set – $9.98

Love and Planet – In store purchase only

Walmart – Love and Planet Gift set – $9.98

Bath and Body Works Advent

Bath & Body Works – Gingham Advent Calendar – on sale $50.00

Ulta Daily Fix

Ulta – Daily Fix 6 piece set – $14.99

Nurtured By Nature

Ulta – Nutured By Nature gift set – $12.99

Treat Beauty

Treat Beauty – Treatment Stick Duo – $24.00

-AJ

Medical Conditions Holding You Back?

Hey there, I’m AJ and I love to travel. On the outside I look like a perfectly healthy traveler. In truth I have a few medical complications that can make travel a bit tricky, but totally doable. Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks to make traveling easier.

First, if you are traveling with someone be upfront about your medical condition and the limitations you may encounter. For me I am always upfront with my food allergies. That way if I get tipsy my bestie or my Dad can steer me away from the chocolate tequila and mushroom risotto. Don’t be afraid to speak up to waitstaff to let them know about your food allergies. You are not a Karen and they want to ensure you have an amazing experience at their establishment. Latex is my enemy and I’ve made it a habit to scan my accommodations to ensure there are no latex products in my room. If I do find latex products I asked that they be removed immediately.

Food, Environmental, and Latex allergies are not my only complication, I also have damaged lungs. Which means I don’t breathe like you do. A pulmonary embolism with infarction is what did my lungs in, I have 70% capacity in my left lung and 90% capacity in my right. Fun fact I choke on cold air, winter is no match for me. In summer, I choke on really humid air. I can’t win, I live in Minnesota, so I can’t win. Anyways, hiking is one of my favorite things to do during the warm months. For me it takes a little extra planning as I need to look at maps to determine the route. If there are to many hills, I pass. Sherri understands that my lungs are crap and will walk ahead. She knows I’m alive because she can hear my huffing and puffing my way up the hill. She also understands that we need to take more breaks than the average person. Which is completely OK! Don’t be embarrassed if you need to stop for a rest while hiking, you are out there doing it! So pat yourself on the back.

Allergies and damaged lungs are not my only woes. My bladder likes to throw a wrinkle in my perfectly crafted plan. I AJ have a broken bladder, which means I need to self cath. At first I was afraid to travel because who wants to be that 38 year old walking around with catheters in her purse. Not to mention the first time I flew with Catheters the TSA agent flagged my bag for inspection. I spent twenty minutes explaining to the agent and his supervisor that the box was filled with self catheters and not bomb supplies. Thankfully I put the invoice for the catheters in my carryon and presented it to them. The invoice convinced them and they let me go with my box of catheters in hand.

I called Carnival Cruise Line prior to boarding our ship to let them know I would have medical waste. Normally a self catheter can be thrown in the trash. But on a ship it needs to be placed in medical waste and not regular trash. So the cruise line ensured that a red hazard container would be in our cabins bathroom. And upon arrival the container was in our cabin’s bathroom. Our room steward never mentioned it to us and it was no big deal. Carnival deals with all kinds of guests with medical needs.

I’ve gone from cruise ship, to hotel room, to camp site and have not run into any issues with the disposal of self cathing supplies. Yes! I said camp site! Don’t be afraid of camping. The majority of state and national park camp grounds have modern toilets and in most bathrooms you can find a bio hazard disposal container. It’s usually bolted to the wall. If you don’t see one, done fret. You can dispose of the catheter in the regular trash or reach out to the Park Ranger to see if there is a preferred disposal method. If anything you can keep a ziplock bag in your car and dispose of the catheters/syringes or whatever supply you have when you return home.

When it comes to necessary medications, be smart and plan for the unexpected. If you have a controlled substance make sure it’s in the original bottle and have a copy of the script on hand, just in case TSA or authorities ask for it. You can fly with syringes/needles and a small lunch bag with an ice pack if meds need to be kept cold. Ask your doctor for a letter that lists out the injectable medications and that they need to be kept cool until you reach your destination. That letter will help you fly through TSA and will ensure you make your flight on time. You most likely won’t need it, but it’s good to have a little insurance policy in your back pocket.

I always bring more medication than I need on my trips. That way if there is a delay in my travel plans, I do not have to worry about running out of medication. And I cannot stress this enough!!! DO NOT PUT YOUR MEDICATIONS IN YOUR CHECKED BAG!!! Always always put them in your carryon!! There is no exceptions to this! If your bag is lost your medications are lost and it will cause you more stress than it’s worth. And it might ruin your vacation, because some meds are hard to get in foreign destinations. Especially controlled substances and injectables. So again play it safe, pack more than you need and put your meds in tour carryon!

Lastly, don’t be afraid to travel and don’t let the thought of traveling with a medical complication scare you. There is a whole big world out there waiting for you, so go on now, go out there and explore it!!

-AJ

Friendship on Thin Ice?

Friendships are one of the best parts of life.  Friends are family you choose to share special moments. However, not all friends are going to stick around for your funeral.  There are definitely friends that come and go throughout your life. 

Remember when you were young and making your first friends? I do.  I had my best friend from my neighborhood.  She lived across the street from me and we rode our bikes around, went to the beach, wandered around the neighborhood, played at each other’s houses.  I’m not sure when it happened, but maybe when I was 6 or 7 her parents got divorced and she moved with her mom.  She came to see her dad on the weekends, but our friendship quickly dissolved.  She made new friends and we saw each other sometimes.  Strangely enough we still keep in contact after all these years.  I went to her first wedding, watched her twin daughters grow up on facebook and it took me a while to realize she got divorced and met someone new.  She still posts random stuff on Facebook and tags me in it. Old pictures from our past.  

We are 2 different people now. 

I’ve had other best friends, the one in middle school, never kept in contact with her.  The best friend in college, friends on facebook with, random friends throughout my twenties.  The ones I call my “City friends”… never talk to them.  I am lucky to have one best friend now that I do consider a sister.  However, it’s never always been rosy. 

We had a falling out and didn’t speak to each other for about a year or more.  It took a long time to build up trust again, but both of us know we were in the wrong.  I definitely missed her during that year and wish I could have done things differently so we didn’t lose so much time and trust in our friendship.  These are a few things I have learned over the years about friendships for when things get rocky.

Be Present

Oftentimes we are so caught up in our own lives we forget about the ones who are most important to us. We need to ask our friends how they are doing.  Listen to them, ask questions, understand what is going on in their lives. Try on their shoes for a change and see things through their eyes.

Surprise Them

Yes, it’s ok to make your best friend feel special. I am definitely not as good about this, but my BFF certainly knows when I need a pick me up.  She has sent me snacks during quarantine with a little note that stated “friends don’t let friends go without snacks.” 

Go on Trips

There is nothing better than a BFF road trip or camping trip. This helps especially if things are strained.  Taking a trip gives you moments to remember the good times and talk through the issues that have occurred. 

Pick Your Fights Wisely

I have had way too many fights with friends over things that didn’t matter 6 months down the road, but because I chose to pick that fight, I lost a friend for it. 

Don’t Demand Anything

You should never expect an ultimatum from your friend.  There are certain things you may just need to leave alone. You may need to give each other space to let the anger fizzle down before reconnecting.

Bite Your Tongue

I know sometimes those angry moments in the past creep up when we are the most upset. Do not say anything that you might regret later.  If you ended up going too far in a conversation, apologize.  It may be too late, but if it’s an honest apology then they may forgive you. 

There are certainly going to be times when you come across a friend you aren’t sure is really a friend.  We have another article discussing Toxic Friendships and Fake Friends that will be coming out soon. 

If you love your friend and have a hard time picturing life without them then remember to have patience!  Show them your appreciation!  

We have a gift guide on the website you may want to check out below:

Gift Guide for the Foodie Friend

-Sherri

That’s On Being Single

I have been single for years upon years upon years.  I constantly made excuses for it such as being busy in school, my career, living life and not wanting to be tied down, etc.  I spent most of my 20’s fending off questions about why I was single or “when you get a boyfriend…blah blah blah.”  

There was nothing that filled me more with anxiety than not checking off this imaginary box of being in a relationship, getting married and having a family.  The reality for me was that I just wasn’t interested in it.  I didn’t want to find that one person, dating was overwhelming and mostly seemed like a waste of time.     

Friends would tell me you have to date a lot to find the one person or kiss a lot of frogs.  Who wants to go around kissing a bunch of frogs? I sure didn’t.  

In my 30’s as I got more comfortable with myself I realized I prefer to be alone. I prefer to sit in my house with my dog and cat, hang out and watch a movie. Or, if I’m going out, then going out with my best friend and having a good time. No pressure.

Dating was nothing but social anxiety for me.  

I know there are other people out there like me, I’ve seen you on Instagram and TikTok.  Thank you for putting yourself out there to not make me feel like an old maid or loser.  It’s ok to not be in a relationship and choose not to have children.  

I understand there are people that love being with someone and they respect and cherish each other.  I think it’s wonderful, it’s just not something for me. 

I love sitting in my townhome alone watching movies or TV shows.  I can order food or cook something without having to acknowledge anyone else. 

I also like being able to buy what I want without having to check in with someone else. I can make plans, buy a plane ticket, etc.  

My house can get messy and I can clean it when I wish.  There isn’t anyone else I have to pick up after or get grilled by anyone that asks me to pick up after myself.  I do what I want when I want. 

If I decide to change my lifestyle (eating healthier, meditation, yoga, etc) I can do this without having to worry about someone else.  I know it’s difficult trying to eat healthier if you have kids or a significant other. I keep certain foods out of my house, but if I had a partner that brought them in, I’m not sure how well I’d manage.  

I’m sure there are also a lot of good reasons to have someone around, but for me, personally, I enjoy spending time alone.  In fact, when I’m with my family for too long I certainly notice myself go a little crazy and am happy when they leave.  It doesn’t mean I don’t love them, it just means I need my alone time.  

I’m a creature of habit and don’t like too much change unless I choose to make that change.  

Being single is a lovely thing and a way to get to know yourself better.  They say  you can’t love someone else until you can love yourself.  I think I can say that I do love myself even with all my flaws.  

There are so many reasons to be single and we think we miss out on so much in life.

The reality is that you can do anything by yourself that you would do in a relationship. 

A few things to consider doing alone:

Eating at a Restaurant by Yourself

I once vacationed in New York City and ate in Time Square all alone. I didn’t think much of it, but my friend was in awe of me.  I sat next to the window, ordered a drink and people watched out the window, reviewed my photos of New York City on my phone.  It’s not as scary as you think it might be.

Vacation by Yourself

You don’t need someone to go on vacation. Check on AJ’s article about Solo Travel.

Hiking/Camping Solo

This is one of the best activities to do by yourself.  I love the silence of the great outdoors and going at my own pace. I can take breaks when I want and go off trail if I want to.  The first year I decided to start hiking. Sometimes it was just too quiet and I was a little jumpy when I would run into the smaller wildlife – like a turtle or a bunny.  No joke, I was uptight.  However, after years I can camp alone in a tent and sleep like a baby.

If you are single or even in a relationship try some of these activities solo.  It’ll give you a new take on life. 

-Sherri

{Self Love} Weight Doesn’t Define You

When I was growing up my dad always told me “you do not have the right to make comments about a body that is not your own.” By telling me this he instilled in me the value of dignity and grace. Because of this lesson I just see people and not sizes. As long as you have a good heart, I don’t care what you look like.

We as women from the moment we are born society fills us with expectations. Most of these expectations are unattainable. Society tells us that thin = beauty. That we need the perfect hair, the perfect skin, the perfect body in order to be successful in life. Diet culture does more harm than good, it destroys a woman’s self love. If a woman doesn’t love herself, then she becomes the perfect consumer for the billion dollar health & wellness industry. If she doesn’t love herself, she will spend her life chasing after perfection instead of finding the beauty in her flaws.

Your life has been waiting for you and my friend it’s time to take it back. We are living in the movement of body positivity and self love. People are scared by the fact that we stepped off the never ending treadmill and found happiness within. They are scared because we found what they are searching for. Our weight doesn’t determine our worth. Our weight doesn’t determine our happiness. Our weight doesn’t determine our success. Our weight is just who we are and nothing more. You as a woman deserve to love yourself fully. Your body is amazing and it will carry you for all of your days.

I weigh 236 pounds. It took a lot of soul searching to accept and appreciate all 236 pounds of me. When I look in the mirror I no longer see flaws, fat rolls, or cellulite. I see a body whose scars, bruises and fine lines tell a story of a fight well fought. This body of mine carried me through trials and triumphs. This body of mine survived a massive pulmonary embolism and stroke. This body of mine fought undiagnosed endometriosis for decades. This body’s womb became a tomb three times over. This body of mine protected my sons until they took their last breaths, this body is all that they knew. And because she still holds out hope that she will get her rainbow baby, I will honor this body for all of my days. She is mine and I will always be hers.

The biggest lesson I learned is that you do not have to be ashamed of your pant size, fat bodies are normal, and that the number on the tag doesn’t define you. You are beautifully made. Doing an outdoor boudoir shoot (yes, I was half naked on a public beach) really helped me see just how beautiful I was. I cried at my reveal appointment and kept asking Alyssa “is that really me!?” With tear stained eyes she replied “yeeeesss GIRL!” On that day I walked out of her studio with a walnut box full of confidence, through her lens Alyssa reignited my light and I will never let it dim. Every day I remind myself of this:

“She is clothed with strength and dignity & She laughs without fear of the future.”

Proverbs 31:25
Photography by Illuminate Boudoir

She is clothed with strength and dignity allows me to handle haters with grace. If someone makes a comment about your body and your vibe, it just means that they don’t know any better. Or it means that they are hurting, we project into the world what we are feeling on the inside. Just think, millions of people believe in society’s lie, the lie that thin and only thin is beautiful. They feel threatened when they see beautiful fat bodies living their best lives. Folks waste their time and energy striving for unattainable ideals, instead of enjoying their body as is. That wasted time, is time that they will never get back. And there you are without a care in the world, living your best life in your bikini jamming out pool side while enjoying cocktails and apps. They want what you have, they want to love their body like we do. But, they do not know how to break societies chains. We’ve been where they are and we can light the way. It’s our job to help them break those chains and embrace themselves, the road to self acceptance is the best gift we can give a person.

-AJ

{Holiday Gift Guide} Foodie BFF

I am the Foodie in this BFF equation. My kitchen is my happy place. I love to cook, grill, and bake. My Dad taught me how to grill, charcoal is the only way. And Ms. Dorothy my neighbor taught me how to bake and can. Yes I AJ know how to can. I haven’t canned anything in my adult life, but it’s go to know that I have that skill in my back pocket just in case we need it in the apocalypse. My Mom, she taught me how to cook. My cooking isn’t fancy, it’s a reflection of my country upbringing. We are meat and potatoes kind of people. Ya know hard working salt of the earth carb loving people.

Over the years I have amassed a collection of recipes, vintage Pyrex and kitchen gadgets that I use pretty frequently. I also have a collection of funny tea towels, oven mitts, and aprons with swear words. I am a sucker for the Pioneer Woman’s collection at Walmart, she is my spirit animal when it comes to whimsical floral patterns. Tongs? Little bowls?…… well I’ve got plenty and may be slightly addicted to them.

Did the thought of Pyrex, tiny bowls, and swearing aprons give you the sweats? Or did the thought of having to find the perfect gift for your foodie friend make your tummy turn? Well I am no expert shopper, but gift giving is my love language and I am here to help. Have no fear below are my top gift finds. Happy Shopping!

Walmart

Pioneer Woman 2 Pack Slow Cooker
Pioneer Woman Cow Butter Dish
Nutribullet

Target

Tea Kettle
Sauté Pan

Amazon

Rainbow Silverware

Blue Q ~ For that Bestie with an Attitude

Fuck Off Apron
Burrito Dish Towel
I’m Drunk Oven Mitt

Ingredients ~ so your Bestie can make you food when you come over for a visit!

Flavor God Seasonings
Lesley Elizabeth
Old Southern BBQ Store
Cheese Curd Capital

*Note: We were not compensated for this post nor are we affiliated with the retailers and products listed in our Holiday Guide. Product Photos are from their respected retailers websites.

-AJ

Solo Travel

I am the coupled half of this BFF equation. Jay is my partner and the behind the scenes tech guy for our podcast. Jay and I have been together for six years. And I am not going to hide it, it hasn’t always been bliss. Relationships are work. And you reap what you sow. We had to work through our differences and give up our single life habits. We butt heads. We annoy each other with our weird little habits. We argue over petty things and laugh until our bellies hurt. And if you do this to, it’s perfectly normal. No relationships is Hallmark Movie perfect.

Don’t get me wrong I love Jay but sometimes a girl just needs time to herself. So I make time to take myself on a solo trip. Jay takes care of the cats and Cullen goes to his grandparents house. Cullen is an asshole and won’t walk for Jay, hence why he goes to Grandmas. I make sure to FaceTime with Cullen so he knows his mama still loves him. The cats and Jay can fend for themselves. Just kidding, I check in with Jay to let him know that I am alive. If I don’t he panics…..

I know a lot of people are afraid to travel alone. Don’t be afraid to do it! Just make sure you let people know where you are going, what you will be doing and when you are expected to return. If you rent a car send the car info and license plate number to your spouse or friend. Ride share, you can share your route in the app and they can watch in real time to ensure you arrive safely. Be smart. Be aware of your surroundings and have fun. This is your trip! You deserve that drink at the bar, walk on the beach, and dinner at a sidewalk cafe.

I am the trip planner for my family and Jay. Solo trips allow me to have a blissfully unplanned agenda. I don’t have to answer to anyone but myself. Plus I get a bed all to myself and I can set the hotel room temp to my liking. I can sleep in and order room service or I can wake up early to watch the sunrise. I can grab some OJ from the breakfast bar and sit in the courtyard watching the lizards run around. Groupon is one of my go tos for getting a deal on tours and activities in the city I’m visiting. Also check in with the front desk, they often have coupons for activities or insight on what’s happening during your stay.

Don’t be afraid to dine alone. We all have to eat and you can get fast food at home. Not sure where to go, Yelp is a good tool to find what’s good in the area. Walk into the restaurant and enjoy yourself, this is after all your vacation. While dining alone I’ve had a lot of great conversations with waitstaff and even shared tables with random strangers. Take photos of your food and fruity drinks. Talk to the waitstaff, ask if there is a must do activity/place to visit during your stay. But mostly enjoy yourself!

Worried about collecting photo proof of your trip? Hello!? Have you not heard of a selfie stick? Yes a selfie stick is your friend, use it and take beautiful photos of yourself. Take photos of the scenery, including the hot guy or girl you spy at the pool (just don’t be suspicious). Take videos! Take lots of videos. And girl, take yourself shopping. I love looking for products that are unique and made in the area that I am visiting. I like to look for little things like magnets, Christmas ornaments, and coffee cups. Oh and in case you are wondering, yes booze flies well, just put it in your checked bag. So go visit a local distillery, brewery, and winery. Bring some home and share it with friends or keep it for yourself. Buy whatever makes you happy.

Outside of shopping, sipping on wine, and sight seeing, I like just sitting and hearing my own thoughts. That’s what I love most about solo trips is just sitting and listening to my soul. I am able to relax which allows me to come home refreshed. A refreshed less stressed me is good for my real . I am thankful that I have a partner who understands and supports my solo trips. Now the only question is, where will you wander?

-AJ

All The Single Ladies

Being single is waking up every morning with unlimited possibilities for the day.  You can roll out of bed at noon or wake up at 6 am slamming the cupboard doors without worrying about anyone else but yourself.  It’s the ability to be spontaneous and self-ish.  It’s also the ability to be lazy and indulgent without judgement.  

Women spend too much of their time searching for the right person, going down so many rabbit holes with men that just aren’t right for them.  We get the idea that marriage is some kind of reward, but most of the time it’s a prison sentence. You think you found the right person or almost the right person, he just needs a few tweaks, right?  You think your relationship now is the way it’ll always be, but forgetting that people change with time.  They can grow and become a better or version of themselves or pretend they did. 

Don’t get me wrong… some relationships are fantastic and grow with ease.  Couples can be respectful of each other and encourage each other to be better people.  It happens, but I don’t think it happens as often as we’d like to believe.

I have been single for so long and it took me a while to come to terms with …. Enjoying it. I like being single.  I like getting good sleep at night and making plans that I can cancel. I like choosing to not do things that I do NOT want to do.  I have the ability to do that.  I don’t have to bite my tongue to make someone else happy.

Don’t tell me you married people don’t do that? I’ve seen you do it. I’ve heard you complain about it… and I’ve rolled my eyes at it. 

I’m sure there are pros to being in a relationship or being married (double income?), but here’s a few pros for the single life:

This movie called Life is all about you all the time

You don’t need to share the limelight with anyone else, but yourself.  When you make a decision about your day,  a haircut, the clothes you wear, adopting a fourth pet, buying a home, sleeping early, or staying out too late, you don’t have to check in with anyone, but yourself. 

“Hello? Sherri?  Yeah, this is Sherri.  I’ll be staying out late tonight.  Why? Because I feel like it”

End of story. 

Becoming Spontaneous

I’m not a spontaneous person, but it’s nice to have the option to hop on a flight to Las Vegas with your bestfriend for a long weekend of… whatever it is people do in Vegas these days. Did I mention you can adopt an animal without having to fear what your partner will think, because that “partner” doesn’t exist.  You live alone with 6 cats and 3 dogs and it’s glorious.  

What?  You think that’s a bad thing? How is that bad?

Drinking Without Judgement

1 glass of wine, 1 bottle of wine. Who’s counting? Your dog?  I don’t think so. 

Ruling over the Remote Control

That’s right, I rule over all the remotes in my household all the time.  Yes, even when I have guests come stay. I let them know who is boss in my house.  I mean, usually I’m nice enough to let them watch what they want, but don’t piss me off. I can change the wifi password if I choose to. 

I can watch a Hallmark movie or choose to not watch the Vikings lose every Sunday.  It’s 100% up to me and only me. 

Eating Whatever You Want

Sort of the same as drinking.  You eat 1 cupcake or 6?  Who’s counting?  Maybe the dog, but it’s only because they want a cupcake too! You don’t have to consider what anyone else likes or dislikes. If you decide to get healthier you don’t have to worry about being distracted when your partner chooses to bring home the foods you crave.

Silence

You know what I’m talking about…

New Hobbies

Guess what? You don’t have to explain to anyone why you decided to meditate or do yoga.  Or start putting together puzzles.  Or start a podcast with your bestie.  Or decide to make blankets.  Or clean out all your closets, because you are having an emotional breakdown and don’t know who you are anymore, but cleaning might help.  You don’t have to explain it to anyone. You could explain it to a therapist if you choose to. 

Time for Yourself

I feel like this is so important in life. We all need to time to get to know ourselves, know what we want or don’t want in life. You have time to experience the things you want to do without having to explain why. It’s the time spending on the couch or a long hike. It’s the getting away without feeling guilty.

The feeling of knowing I am an independent woman.

It doesn’t matter if you own a house or rent an apartment on your own – You have done what many women before us were not able to do.  Be independent.  Make choices.  We get called “old maids” or “spinsters” if we don’t have someone else, but the reality is we are just bad ass bitches.  We don’t need someone to take care of us. We don’t need to take care of anyone to feel validated in life.  

If you find that special someone – good for you.  Never change for them, don’t force them to change for you, be happy with where you are in life, in this moment, because our society changes every single day.  If we can change it to normalize women being single, happy and independent we can make this country and world a better place. 

-Sherri

{Surviving} A Toxic Marriage

I was that annoying girl in college. You know the one who had perfectly crafted vision boards lining her dorm room walls. I had my entire life planned out. I had everything on a time line, go to law school at 23, get married at 25, and have my first kid when I was 27. And one day as Fate always does she took my perfectly crafted boards and turned them into a burning heap.

Law school!? Ha! I got accepted but never went. I chose to get married to someone who wouldn’t wait for me to finish. He told me “you can make a new dream.” The only thing on my timeline that I got right was married at 25 and after my wedding my line melted into a hot mess.

My marriage was perfect in the streets. But behind closed doors it was a mess . I fell in love with a man who only loved the idea of loving me. He had a sex addiction and put me in situations that no one should ever put their wife in. On top of that there was the daily mental and emotional abuse. He would constantly tell me that I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough. That my weight is what drove him to sleep with other women and if I was skinny he wouldn’t do it. He took my light and I began to loose who I was. I believed him when he said “you will never make it on your own.” So I stayed, I stayed in a toxic marriage.

Time and time again he chose the other women over me. When I was in the hospital recovering from a pulmonary embolism and stoke (more on that later), I looked over to see him on Craig’s list looking for his next fix. It didn’t matter to him that his wife had just fought for her life, his needs were greater than mine. Frankly he cared more about the bill we’d be receiving than my actual healing. I should have left him then, instead I stayed

I stayed and ended up getting pregnant. It was an unplanned but very wanted surprise. Even in pregnancy he managed to cut me down. He didn’t like the fact that I was gaining weight and didn’t have a sex drive. It became normal for me to come out in the morning to an adjusted drivers seat. While I slept he roamed. He told me it was my fault because I got pregnant and he didn’t find me attractive.

My pregnancy wasn’t meant to be. He was in Vegas when I heard the words “I’m sorry there is no heart beat.” I called to tell him the news and he refused to fly home. He was to busy in someone else’s bed to care about his wife and now dead child. Now Sherri, Sherri did what no friend should have to do. She showed up on my doorstep, took me to the hospital and stayed with me until it was time for me to go back to surgery. She was there when I said goodbye to a son that I never got to hold. She did what my ex-husband wasn’t man enough to do, she stood by me as I breathed in the hard reality of pregnancy loss.

Sherri became a safe space for me and little by little I told her what was going on in my marriage. She slowly planted the seeds that I was good enough and capable of living on my own. Losing my son taught me that I was stronger than I could ever imagine and one day I woke up, and I took my life back. I sent Sherri a text telling her I was done and wanted to look at apartments. I left my ex-husband on that same day.

A week later I had an apartment and I moved out of my perfect suburban home. Sherri did not judge me or ask questions, she just showed up and packed. Leaving a toxic relationship isn’t easy. The last words he ever said to me were “you will never make it on your own! You will fail! No one will love you.” His words, they became my fuel. I didn’t want him to win, so I fought tooth and nail for a better life. Little by little I found myself again. I thought I had worked through my marriage on my own and that I was healed. Boy was I wrong. My emotions would bubble up to the surface and I’d shove the shame back down. Until I put on my big girl pants and found a therapist.

I finally walked into a therapist’s office four years after my divorce. Truth, I should have gone to therapy sooner. I laid everything down for Ms. Emily and she didn’t judge me. She explained to me that I had been mentally, emotionally, and sexually abused. Until that moment I never saw myself as abused. To me abuse meant physical like beating your wife and it didn’t happen to professional women like me. She explained that mental and emotional abuse are the worse forms of abuse as they leave no physical scars. Instead they leave a lifetime of pain that no one but you can see. Simple words or situations trigger me and send me back to my marriage, PE/Stroke, and death of my son. Ms. Emily diagnosed with PTSD and told me “it’s perfectly ok, you’ve been through hell dear.” She was right, I had been through hell. I wasted so much time trying to distance myself from the trauma instead of healing. The first step in the healing process was learning how to love myself and once I did that everything else fell into place and I’ve never looked back.

If you’re reading this and nodding your head, I want you to know that you are not alone. I’ve been where you are and I know how scary it is. The first step is the scariest one to take, after you take it the rest will surely follow. And I know in my heart that you can do it. You are strong and you are enough. You can and you will make it on your own. Don’t be like me, seek a therapist right away and work through the trauma you just left. And of course if you need a friend you can tune into our podcast. I promise my post divorce and dating blunders will make you laugh. Laughter is good medicine and you my dear need the strongest available dose.

If you or someone you know is in need of assistance please visit the links below: RAINN

National Domestic Violence Hotline

Know the signs of Domestic Violence

Teen Dating Violence

-AJ

Here We Go!

A few weeks ago we decided to create a podcast!  We are working on content ideas and ways to engage our audience. 

Speaking of an audience… we are working on gathering an audience through social media.  We currently reside on TikTok, Instagram and Twitter. 

TikTok: @MaybeSwearingHelps

Instagram: @Maybe_SwearingWillHelp

Twitter: @SwearingHelps1

Please reach out to us on social media!  We’d love to talk with people who are interested in what we are doing. We will also be putting out requests for people to write in on certain topics that we will discuss during the show. 

Once we have a firm date set for our first podcast show we will announce it!

Until then – maybe swearing will help get this project done?!

AJ & Sherri

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