Category Archives: inspiration

Life, Therapy, and Owning Your Sh*t

*I feel it’s only fair to warn you that the following contains a bit of profanity. I would apologize for that, but in the spirit of “Myrtle”, I don’t feel an apology is necessary.¬†ūüôā

10429266_778373725578078_3388048229115365384_n¬†Own your shit. Three little words that hold more power than¬†I could’ve ever imagined.

The above picture is “Myrtle”. Myrtle owns her own shit.¬†Can I just tell you how much I love her?¬† I happened¬†upon Myrtle last week and haven’t been able to get her out of my mind. I love what she represents. Strength, courage,¬†wisdom, sass,¬†and a no nonsense, badass attitude. You go girl. ¬†¬†It took me alot of years to find my “inner Myrtle”, so to speak. ¬†Carrie Hilgert, Artist , is the creator of Myrtle, and I find¬†them (both Carrie and Myrtle!)¬†to be amazing.

“Myrtle is a badass. Obviously. I mean, just look at her. She doesn‚Äôt even own a shirt, much less wear one. She doesn‚Äôt give two fucks what you think about that either. And she‚Äôs not overly concerned what you think about her using the word fuck. Because Myrtle is smart. She lives her life for herself. She loves hard and true but has no time for people‚Äôs nonsense. Get on board or get out. Once, she worked at a 50‚Äôs themed diner and dreamed of walking on the beach at sunset to feel the peace there. She finally did that and now she‚Äôs busy making her dreams come true and owning her life.¬†“–Carrie Hilgert

It’s taken me MANY years to get to this point, where I can finally say that yes, I own my shit. Years of digging deep, letting myself feel things that I had locked away, hoping to never let resurface. I guess that was just my way of coping (or not coping) with situations I experienced through my life. Put the crap I didn’t know how to deal with in the box (in my head), lock that box and throw away the damn key. End of story. Proceed with life.

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Newsflash, friends:¬† You can only get away with that for so long, until the denial and the pretending catch up to you. And let me tell you—it can be a real train wreck.¬† I guess you could say that my box became so full of crap that it finally exploded. And as you can imagine, all of those things that I didn’t want to think about, admit, or cope with were just having their way with my thoughts and emotions. I was a mess.

I now know that there are millions of people that experience those same things at one time or another in their life, but at the time, I felt incredibly alone and vulnerable. Desperate.

I distinctly recall calling my sister at 3am and just crying. Uncontrollably crying. I didn’t know what I was feeling, or what was going on with me, but I felt like I was drowning. I remember saying that to her, that I felt like I was drowning and that I just wanted to crawl into a dark hole and sleep forever.

I wasn’t the type of person that wanted to admit that I had demons inside that I needed to put a name to. I didn’t want to accept them, own them, or work through them. I thought they made me appear weak. I worried that I would be judged. I was ashamed of them and afraid of them. But when you find yourself at a point where you can’t make sense of the chaos and struggle, you know it’s time to do something about it. When I called my sister, we prayed. I will forever be grateful for the peace that I would get from that. I know that it was a defining moment. The moment when I began to know my shit, deal with my shit, and own my shit.

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Because, let’s be honest, until you know what your shit is, you can’t own it. I started seeing a therapist, who helped me sort all of those demons out and put a name to them, so I could call them out. (Heads up to any of you out there worried that someone may find out¬†that you go to a “shrink” or think that you’re crazy— It’s time to get over it. You ARE crazy; we ALL are in some way or other. ¬†Admitting that you could use some help figuring your shit out is a sign of strength. And it’s the hip thing to do. All the cool kids are doing it.) ūüôā

Therapy for me, was like having someone crack the code to a mystery that I didn’t even know I had within me. Here’s a¬†small sample¬†of what I came to know and understand about myself. Obviously I’m greatly simplifying this, but I think¬†you’ll get the gist of it…

My dad was in¬†a fatal coal mining accident when I was 11. My mom, the most loving woman I’ve ever known, was dealing with the sudden tragic loss of her husband, after already having to cope with the death of two sons earlier in her life. I can’t even imagine what she was going through, but part of her coping was to be on the go a lot, and as a result, I found myself alone much of the time. I had anger for having lost not only him,¬†but her, as well, in a lot of ways. Then, as a young adult, I lost my mom to cancer. And as time went on, and I encountered struggles in my life, I was devastated that she wasn’t there for me, to give me advice,¬†or make me feel safe. ¬†I was angry, and felt like the people I loved the most, that I needed, weren’t there for me. Well, hello there, Abandonment. And then I felt bad for being angry. Hello there, Guilt.

I was married to an alcoholic. Years of me making excuses for him, covering up his drinking, giving ultimatums that I never followed through on, and being made to feel like a “second choice” after alcohol, took its toll on me. I had delved into the role of his co-dependent in order to keep our family together, and I¬†must say that I did a bang up job for many years. ¬†But eventually I couldn’t keep up with it any longer.¬†I snapped. I had finally been pushed to the brink and I “checked out”. It was an unconscious way of protecting myself from dealing with it anymore. Living through having someone you love hurt you over and over again, breaking promises, lying, and choosing alcohol over you and your children time and again—it wore me down and I couldn’t do it anymore. I was all¬†alone anyway, in all reality. The person that was supposed to love and take care of me wasn’t there.¬† Hello there Anger and Resentment, hello again Abandonment. Hello there Guilt.

I’m sure you get the picture, friends.¬†I have no doubt¬†there are plenty of you that can relate to some of that, and more. I¬† had a lot of shit to name, understand, and own.

Don’t cry for me, Argentina. I’m good. Really, I am. Way better than I was before I could make sense of it. I mean look at me. I’m strong, independent, and a badass, even.

Okay, badass might be stretching it just a little bit. I’m not quite sure I’m a badass. ¬†But¬†I’ve got so much Myrtle in me now that I can tell you these things about myself without shame,¬†¬†when at one point I was¬†so ashamed of it that I could barely admit it to myself.

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Cheers, and I urge you to find your own inner Myrtle!

Jill ‚̧

Confessions of a Clutter-aholic: I’m Giving Up Junk Instead Of Junk Food For Lent

Hi. My name is Jill, and I’m a Clutter-aholic.

If you know me, or have read through the earlier postings on this blog, you are aware that over the past year my family and I have downsized from a very large and spacious home to a small/average sized home that also¬†contains a functioning business within it. Our living and storage space is probably a quarter of what it was a year ago. It has been challenging, to say the least. I’m not sure anything could have adequately prepared me for this…my head is still spinning from all of the moving, rearranging, throwing away, selling, purging, and burning that we have already done….and my anxiety peaks every time I look at the mountains of boxes, bags, laundry baskets, etc. that still need sorted through and organized. It’s honestly more overwhelming than I can explain…

If I were an organized, Martha Stewart type neat freak, I’m sure I’d feel like I had the courage and skills to tackle it…but then again, if I were that type of personality, I wouldn’t be quite in the predicament I am right now, would I? ¬†I wouldn’t have collected all of the junk and crap. I would have thrown¬†away items of no use, donated clothing we no longer needed or used, shredded¬†old documents and¬†papers.¬†Prior to the move I would’ve had things organized, boxed, and labeled properly. That’s the person I WANT to be. That I aspire to become.

But I’m pretty much as far from that as one can possibly get on the “neat freak spectrum”.¬†I’m not going to say I’m a “hoarder”, because, that is just too scary for me to even think about.¬†I’m not like the hoarders that¬†television shows are made¬†of, at least not yet¬†(you will not find any dead animal carcasses anywhere and you do not need a shovel to be able to find my floor…so¬†that makes me feel like “hoarder” is definitely too strong of a word for me…).

I like to think of it as¬†simply having a gift for acquiring crap and keeping it. Forever.¬†I can’t even explain it. Let me show you…

The last time I cleaned out my¬†bag (or very large purse),¬†I dumped it on the table and this is a portion of the contents that spilled out:¬†10745109_4678314331874_1024699730_nSee what I mean? Crazy, huh? It’s all perfectly good stuff…but in my bag that I carry around daily? I mean how often does one need a remote control or canning jar lid when you’re out and about? How many times did you ever wish you had thought to throw an outlet cover, baggie of googly eyes or container of garlic powder into your bag before leaving for the mall? And I had been carrying it around for a couple of months, probably.

Now if you take a look at that, and then consider that I have an entire basement full of “stuff” that needs sorted through, you can imagine my apprehension. And my subsequent avoidance of it. I’m the Queen of “out of sight, out of mind”. I’m not proud to hold that title, trust me. I have fantasies about having the most organized home and life on the planet. I want to be able to go to a drawer, cupboard, closet, or box and know exactly what I will find in there.

I know. I NEED HELP.

Today, I walked to the basement. When I got to the bottom of the stairs, I looked at the catastrophic heap of clutter and literally said out loud “Oh My God, I have no idea what to do with this mess.” And I turned around and walked up the stairs, closing the door on it like I had done 100 times.

This is where I believe Divine intervention came into play.

I walked directly to the computer, sat down, and on my Facebook newsfeed was a posting from a Facebook page called White House Black Shutters, with a link to their website at http://www.whitehouseblackshutters.com, but what caught my eye was THIS picture:40bagsdecrapgraphic-700x700I’m pretty sure I heard angels singing. I mean, I HAD just told God that I had¬†no idea what¬†to do with the mess in the basement. If this wasn’t a sign, I’m not sure what it was. And I’m much too God-fearing to ignore it. So guess what? Tomorrow, Wednesday February 18, is Day 1 of my “40 Bags In 40 Days” challenge. Please click on their link and check out, in detail, how exactly this awesome decluttering challenge works. Anna Marie, the genius behind it all, has been doing this for several years now, and gives tons of great tips for the most successful decluttering outcome. She also gives ideas for organization, offers support, and provides links to other great resources within her website and facebook page.

In a nutshell, this is what I will be doing: ¬†I will go through a portion of the basement, or a box, drawer, or closet upstairs….and declutter — DECRAPIFY —¬†that one spot or space that I assigned myself for the day. If it’s a very busy day, I will still go through even one small box, bag, cupboard or drawer…to get rid of what I can’t or won’t use, and organize the remaining items. Even a small amount of daily decluttering¬†is positive progress and better than nothing. And I am committing to do this throughout Lent, through April 4th. Sundays are a “free” day, in which you can take a break from it.

Do any of YOU have decluttering and decrapifying that needs done? Let’s declutter and decrapify together…I’m not too proud to admit that I could really use a support system. Do you wish you had more order and organization in your life or home? Do you feel overwhelmed or have anxiety about crap that you’ve accumulated and need to get rid of? ¬†Woman walking across landscape of clothesIf so, PLEASE PLEASE join me. I would love to have some company on this journey.¬† I will keep you updated occasionally by posting some before and after pics with updates, and it would be beyond awesome to see some of YOUR progress and feedback as well. Let’s decrapify together!!

—make sure you¬†“Follow” me on my blog (Click the blue “follow” button” here on the blog site)¬†and¬†“Like”¬† This Wicked, Wonderful World by Jill Palilla Facebook page¬†to see my updated posts.

I’m well aware that actually getting rid of the stuff and organizing is the first step, and as big of a task as it is, the bigger and harder part of the journey for me will be the maintenance that is required to stay on the straight and narrow. I’m bound and determined to live a life of calmness, organization¬†and simplicity.

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Cheers to a “Less is More” state of mind (and never again finding garlic powder and a remote control in my purse),

Jill ‚̧

I Am Who I Am

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A couple of weeks ago, I posted the following status on Facebook, as a result of a stretch of bad weather that brought several days with 2 hour delays and/or school closings for our school district:

10994680_10200145928486988_1688217090_nMy intent was a stab at humor, laced with the honest truth that my own kids (and the kids in the daycare) were starting to give me a run for my money (and make me want to pull my hair out, drink coffee in large quantities, eat chocolate for comfort from the chaos, and by the end of the day push me to drinking, lol).¬†For the most part, I’m pretty sure my Facebook friends got that and had a good laugh with me, several commiserating over the fact that their kids were driving them crazy too. The next day someone asked me if I was concerned that a status like that would offend people, or hurt my daycare business. And that started me thinking…WOULD that¬†be offensive to people? As a daycare business owner, am I putting myself at risk by a status such as this? Would it make them speculate that I don’t want their children at daycare or appear rude?¬†After a few minutes of thought, my honest reply was “Well I would hope that it wouldn’t be offensive or hurt my business, because that’s just me being REAL. And if I can’t be real and still be respected and trusted, then I probably am not a good fit as a daycare provider for that person.” Does it make me a bad mom or daycare provider to admit that I’m human, not Mary Poppins? No, it just makes me honest.

Isn’t is exhausting to have to pretend to be something we aren’t? It’s no fun to try to have to keep up a fa√ßade that everything in our lives is perfect and lovely and beautiful every single day. I’ve been there and done that, and it just plain stinks, having to play that part and not being able to be yourself…being afraid of what others might think of you. Isn’t it more interesting and so much easier to just be real? Yes, there will always be those that judge you or point their finger at you, trying to make you look small in order to pump up their own ego. So what? Let them, I say.

I would rather share the real stuff, and allow myself and my life to have the transparency that it needs so that others can know who I AM. How else can you have honest connections with others, especially in the world as we know it, where social media is often times the only way we keep connected to friends and family? And go ahead and admit it, I know every one of you reading this has a friend (either on Facebook or actively in your life) who pretends that everything is just GREAT. The marriage is fantastic and the children are perfect¬†angels 100% of the time and they have a garden and grow all of their own vegetables and are completely organic and work out every day and run marathons and have fabulous vacations and every selfie is flawless and they have a dream job and make a million dollars and of course they also volunteer for several charities and are on every committee at their school and church…and so on. You get the picture, don’t you?

Raise your hand if you just want to throat punch them when you see that stuff day in and day out. Go ahead, raise it up high,¬†no one is going to know. And I’m right there with you.¬†

Check this out. See these yummy turtle chocolate chip cookies? I made these last night. No, not from scratch…they were the cheating kind, that you just break apart and throw in the oven. SO good though, seriously. With pecans and ooey gooey caramel, and I left them underbaked just a tad so they stayed really soft. Perfection. There was a dozen in the package.11004132_10200141090766048_864673559_n I’m a little bit embarrassed to admit that I was disappointed when Vincent walked in the kitchen and wanted one. I tried to convince him that he wouldn’t like them, but he tried one anyway…and then there were eleven. And by 8am today there were ZERO. Because I ate all eleven of those cookies by myself and they made me happy. How’s that for being real? Eating those cookies was the last thing that I needed to do, particularly since every time I get dressed to go somewhere I’m near tears about how I look and feel about myself right now. It’s been a long winter and this wasn’t my first date with¬†a package of these cookies. I most definitely have a lot of work to do to get my butt back into shape. Literally.¬†But you know what? It was cold outside and I was tired, and I wanted the damn cookies, plain and simple. I washed them down with a couple glasses of milk and then laid on the couch. It happens, friends, in the real world.

And a few days ago I posted a blog about the fact that I had a less than stellar moment as a mom, when I realized that I had pretty much NOTHING to put into my 8 year old’s lunch for school. So I popped a bag of microwave popcorn and threw it in his lunch box along with¬†a half dehydrated apple, a type of granola bar that I knew he didn’t even like, and some almonds. I could’ve cried about it, because I really did feel like a horrible mom– but the feedback I received from that post with comments like “omg this has happened to me too” or “don’t worry, my kid won’t eat sandwiches so I just send snacks” etc. turned into a whole lot of fun reading and made me feel less horrible and more normal.

So here’s to being ourselves, flaws and all, and not being afraid to show that we’re only human.

Although I have to admit I really¬†WOULD love to know how to take one of those flawless selfies that some of these chicks pull off….someone needs to give me the inside scoop on that one…

Cheers to (hopefully) a much more interesting read in my upcoming news feeds, friends….

Jill ‚̧

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Love Knows No Distance: When the one you love is far away

abad4dc74967dff7e3e64a0bdb185a22 “It’s the way I miss¬†him before he even leaves.”

Sunday afternoon I¬†cried, alone, in the kitchen.¬†If those walls could talk, they would tell you that I cried my “ugly cry”¬†shamelessly for about 10 minutes, as I mixed and molded a goopy mess into some pretty tasty meatballs that I later served¬†for dinner. By then I was wearing a bright smile.¬†¬†I was hoping I had all the tears out of my system, but when Monday morning rolled around and it was time to say goodbye to the man I love, I felt that familiar tightening in my chest that moved up into my throat. Even though I¬†tried my best to not let it escape, it came out as a muted sob, and I had no choice but to surrender to it¬†as he held me tight and told me he loved me. I tried not to do the ugly cry again because, let’s¬†be honest, no one really wants their boyfriend to have THAT unflattering image burnt into his memory as his last mental image of you, especially when it would be several weeks until he would see you again.¬† I was going for more of a bright, cheerful,¬†fresh-faced send off….¬†but darn it, it just didn’t go that way. He had to see my mascara-smeared, raccoon eyes and I think maybe I even wiped my nose on his shoulder. Crap… Maybe he didn’t notice? What can I say, I’m a cry baby and¬†I can’t help it.

It’s the way I miss him before he even leaves. A¬†force with a mind of its own that reduces me to ugly crying and wiping my snotty nose on his shirt.¬†This is real life stuff, and sometimes no matter how hard you try to reason with yourself, raw emotion wins….

I watched him drive off, heading back to his home in Nashville, 500 miles away. And like several other times just like this, I said a prayer for his safe travels, giving thanks for the past several days we had shared, reflecting on time we had spent enjoying friends and family, as well as the precious moments we had gotten to spend alone together. And then it was time for me to get back to life that was happening around me, and as I was working around the house I found myself already mentally planning for a weekend trip to Nashville to see him within the next few weeks. And through my sadness of him leaving, I began to sense the rays of hope and excitement bleeding through, as I thought of my upcoming visit with him, and the memories we would make together there. And in that moment, the tears were gone and I was anxious to begin counting down the days to my next weekend adventure with my love. This, friends, is love in a long distance relationship.

Persevere: (verb). 1. to persist in anything undertaken; to maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; to continue steadfastly.

Missing someone is part of loving them.¬†¬†If you never find yourself apart from each other, you’ll never know how strong your love really is. You persevere, push through the obstacles, times of sadness and loneliness, and hold onto the knowledge that you would rather battle the distance than give up on this love. I’d be lying if I told you that loving from a distance doesn’t come along with its fair share of struggles, ugly crying and all. Heck I woke up this morning and saw¬†the empty¬†Mountain Dew can sitting on the bedside table that he had left there from the night before, and I instantly got a knot in my stomach and I felt the threat of tears. Simple, random sights or sounds can cause a memory of him to flash through your mind, and with that comes the realization that he’s¬†not here with you, and you miss him desperately.¬†You may have doubt at times, you may feel jealousy, you may question the validity and¬†“realness” of¬†loving someone so far away.¬†¬†But I can honestly tell you that when I finally was able to let go of the idea of what a “normal” relationship is, I realized that we each have the luxury of creating our very own “normal”. There is no “one size fits all” template that a relationship must conform to. ¬†I could have chosen to say no to this. I could have walked away and insisted that I needed to have a partner that was physically present each and every day. But I won’t do that, because I admire his decision to follow his gut, that intuitive feeling that nagged at him for countless years, telling him to go to Nashville.¬† A huge part of the reason I love him is because of his steadfastness in being true to himself. And now, even though I admittedly miss him, that longing reminds me daily of how much I love him. Instead of the distance pulling us apart, it makes us even stronger.

Distance is not for the fearful, it’s for the bold. It’s for those who are willing to spend a lot of time alone in exchange for a little time with the one they love. It’s for those knowing a good thing when they see it, even if they don’t see it nearly enough.

Now, when we do have time together, we don’t take anything for granted. What¬†many couples would consider to be “small stuff” or inconsequential, is big stuff to us. ¬†Holding hands, sharing a cup of coffee, holding each other¬†at night and waking beside each other in the morning–these very common everyday occurrences become incredibly significant to people in long distance relationships. We may not see each other everyday like most couples do, but we make the very most of the time that we DO spend together. We make the moments count, we make sure to share details about our days and dig deep to communicate how we are feeling. We depend on each other for emotional support if one¬†of us is struggling and needs encouragement. We are each other’s strength. When faced with many, many trials and tribulations over the years, our love has endured, and I believe those times prepared us for this part of our journey—loving each other from afar. Our love story continues to write itself, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you, and be sure to tell those both far and near how much you love them!

Cheers!

Jill ‚̧
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Confession: I want to be a writer….

Hey you guys! How about this? At the ripe old age of 47, I’m finally fulfilling one of my lifelong dreams. I’m a writer. Okay, well not a “real” writer. I’m a blogger, which is a fair compromise in my opinion. And I have to say that I’m pretty darn excited about it.¬†Let me tell you how this has come about…

You know the sayings. You’ve all said them probably as many times as I have. “It’s never too late.” “Be all that you can be.” “Follow your dreams.” We always say them, because we think it’s the right thing to say. But how often do we follow our own advice? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’m willing to bet that not many of us really, truly follow our “dream”. I have a feeling that most of us take the safer road. Following the career choice that will provide the better job, the higher salary.

I found myself recently talking to several very important people in my life about their futures, and more importantly¬†their dreams. And each time, I’ve found myself encouraging them to follow theirs…even though there was a great possibility of some hardship along the way…the hardship would be worth it. Regret later in life would be a hard pill to swallow, so better to do something they love.

Case in point: I was having a conversation with my daughter today about her future, and whether she should go back to school for her Masters Degree in Communication. Finally, frustrated, she texted me that maybe she should just go to school and be a medical assistant. What? What What? Now don’t get me wrong….a medical assistant is a fine, upstanding profession. But just earlier that morning I received a panicked text from her about the fact that everyone at her workplace was coming down with the flu and she didn’t want to get it. Plus the fact that she has a puke phobia, and tries her¬†best to stay at least 3 miles away from anyone she knows who may be ill.¬†So you’ll have to excuse me when I discouraged that career change for her. Let’s just call it a motherly hunch that¬†that career isn’t for her. ¬†I’m CERTAIN that her idea was purely based on the idea of job security alone…and this is what too many of us tend to do.¬† I encouraged her to continue on in the career she loved, focus on getting experience, and follow her dream–to be a wedding planner. And I have to say she’d be a FABULOUS one. So it’s worth the struggle right now to get to that point eventually.

So, that brings us to now, tonight, and this blog. I was thinking….maybe it’s time for¬†ME to follow my advice. After all, I AM that person that said “It’s never too late”. So I will lead by example. To my friends and family that I have encouraged to follow their dreams: here you go. If I can do it, even in this small, off the chart way, YOU can do it too. Stay tuned for many more tales from This Wicked, Wonderful World!!

Cheers,

Jill