Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Happy Birthday!"

Today is my 33rd birthday.

If I had to choose only one word to describe my life as of late, it would be "Blessed" - no questions about that.

Earlier this week, during my morning commute into one of my many jobs, I reflected a bit on my life over the past 5 years. - The good, the bad and the very, very ugly.

It's no secret that my journey to where I am today was by no means a cake walk. I recall a time in 2008 when I was going on several months of being without a job, stuck on the seemingly never-ending waiting list for Aesthetics school, worrying about how I was going to put food on the table, and ultimately questioning my self-worth each and everyday.

It was only by the grace of God and the generosity of family & friends that got me through. Many of you reached out to help - whether it was providing a place to live, sending monetary gifts, providing me with groceries &/or Kroger gift cards that I used to put gas in my car, or even paying my way on much-needed get-away trips - had it not been for your generosity, I wouldn't have made it. - So from the bottom of my heart, I thank you and hope to someday be able to repay you as well as pay the kindness you showed me forward to someone else in need.

The definition of "Thankful" is:
(1) Pleased and relieved.
(2) Expressing gratitude and relief.

- Yup, that's pretty much me in nutshell.

No matter how I look at it, there's not much that I can't be thankful for these days. - I have a wonderful husband who loves me. - A healthy & happy child. - A roof over our heads. - Groceries in our kitchen. - A car that runs. - Enough money to pay for gas. (Most of the time! Ha!) - And several jobs - all of which I love - that are directly related to my passion for makeup & skincare.

Even in the midst of everything positive, I find that I still struggle to find a balance between my personal time and business. I have a very bad habit of working myself straight into states of exhaustion and illness because I hate turning down work. When it comes to being a freelancer, financial security is NOT one of the many perks of my job. Work equals more money for my family, so naturally I try to accept every gig that I am offered. - And here's the kicker, my other gigs offer me somewhat set hours which means guaranteed money - which ultimately equates to some sense of security.

So I end up working my irregular freelancing schedule around the somewhat regular hours, and in all honesty, that gets a little tricky - making for very long work days and very few valid days off. - No matter how much you love what you do, anyone pulling those kind of hours is bound to have a time for meltdowns, rants and tantrums. Sure, I've considered cutting back on hours or even quitting one or two jobs all together, but ultimately, it boils down to the simple fact that I can't ever forget that horribly scary year that I was unable to find a job. - And now that I have several jobs in addition to all the freelancing work coming in, I have a really tough time saying no just so that I can score a day off to do nothing productive.

It's a double-edged sword at times. I feel so thankful for the work, but at the same time I get so overwhelmed with the lack of time for anything other than work. However, no matter what I feel at any given stressful moment, I will always end up saying this: - Yes, my schedule makes me crazy at times, but I wouldn't change it for the world. I am SERIOUSLY blessed to be so busy doing what I absolutely LOVE to do! As long as God keeps sending the opportunities my way, I will continue to graciously accept any and all work He provides!

In my recent hours of reflecting, I also came to some pretty powerful revelations about who've I've become over the last 3 years.

Let's just be honest, my 32nd year was the best year by far.

I feel like I have finally achieved some state of real happiness in my life. I suspect a lot of that comes from finally being at peace with who I am. - Oh and I'm sure having too many jobs, rather than none at all, helps with that too! ;)

- That age old saying, "You have to love yourself first before you can love anyone else" has never made so much sense until now. For so much of my life, I didn't like who I was, so I turned to alcohol to mask how I really felt. Pretty much all of my "adult" relationships were negatively effected by my actions while I was under the influence of alcohol. I never made the connection until the infamous breakup of 2009. - But even still, I only cut back on my days of partying, rather than stop all together, thus my self-destructive behavior continued.

It wasn't until Summer 2010, that I would have a major break-through. It wasn't even life-changing per se, but the potential of what could have happened had it not been for pure, dumb luck was what literally sobered me up.

Cliff Notes Version: - Friend's wedding. - Very reluctant to go. - Potential for ex-boyfriend drama. - Heavy drinking. - More drinking. - Leaving. - Driving. - Blacking out. - Waking up the next morning at a friend's house. - Can't find my shoes. - Plethora of missed calls & voicemails from worried friends.

- Bam!

That's when it hit me. I was 31 years old. I had a 5 year old daughter. What would have happened had I gotten a DUI - killed someone - died myself? What effect would that have had on Emily's life?

- Needless to say, my actions the previous night scared me so badly that the next morning I actively made some huge changes.

- I focused my energy into writing/blogging more. - I decided to take a much-needed break from partying and dating. - I set my heart on God and my mind on finishing school.

What happened next was so unexpected. I wasn't looking for any kind of relationship when Alan and I first met. We both went into our first "date" not thinking of it as a date at all. We thought that we were just going to be friends. - Boy, God had some very different plans in store for us!! :)
I can say that my relationship with Alan from start to present has been nothing short of amazing. - It's not perfect by any means. - We argue and fight occasionally, but our fights are never ugly blowouts. - We are a pretty peaceful lot.

I honestly feel I can credit that peacefulness to the fact that we don't drink. -Aside from my having an occasional drink, or glass of wine, I know that my life is much more peaceful without alcohol-binge induced insecurities rearing their ugly heads. - And I'm sure having a husband who I trust completely - and can tell just about anything to without judgement - who adores me regardless - also helps keep the "crazy" to a minimum. :)

- Life is good.

- I have so much to be thankful for.

- I am blessed beyond belief.

- Year 32 was a rockin' year for me - the best by far.

- Hoping to raise the ante with my 33rd year.

-Rumor has it that there is power in 3's. :)

Thank you to my family & friends for all your love and support. I thank God for you everyday!

<3 - The Birthday Girl

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Location:Forest Park Rd,Madison,United States