November 4, 2017 – Confessions of a Broken Heart…

This year has been an emotional roller coaster for me. I spent the majority of my year so far waiting…for good news, bad news, for answers. It’s been hard for to me to even process how I feel most days.

The first 7 months were the hardest. It seemed like one big thing right after another. To say I was emotional was an understatement. My heart weighed me down, and my mind made me crazy, I was depressed.

Trying to stay positive when you’re upset isn’t easy. I had to train myself to learn the art of gratitude, and refill my heart and my mind back up with hope and love each day. That was the only way for me to survive emotionally, and I’m thankful I was able to learn that lesson this year. It keeps me grounded and helps me focus on the good things in my life, instead of fearing the future.

The last few months took me on a roller coaster ride that was filled with happiness, but ended with a broken heart…

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In August I met a man, a great man. He was unlike anyone I had met before. It didn’t feel like we were getting to know each other, it felt more like we were catching up, like my soul had known him forever. It was weird and unexplainable, but in a good way. This man was kind, and sweet, respectful and thoughtful, a genuinely good person with a really beautiful soul. It felt as if the universe aligned in order for our paths to cross. The more we talked, the more we realized how much we had in common. It was like we were living parallel lives. He was just like me, and I was just like him. From small things, like pizza and iced tea, to major things, like being an entrepreneur, music, and addiction. We had so many things in common that it couldn’t be explained other than fate…destiny.

My year went from tragic and sad to exciting and hopeful….I felt happy again!

The more time I spent with him, the more I liked him. He was smart (so smart!), funny and romantic, and very handsome. His stories inspired me. It was like he woke up my soul and made me feel alive. I felt motivated and excited again to go after my dreams with him in my corner. He believed in me, and it made me believe in myself.

Everything had seemed so great. We never argued or fought; we never even had a disagreement. He would tell me all the time how grateful he was to have met me, how happy I made him, how amazing I was. He sent me cute emojis and gifs all the time, and called me his ‘Unicorn.’ Then the next thing I knew he began to ignore me and distance himself from me. At one point he just stopped asking me about my day, or how I was doing, and ignored me after my Mom’s breast cancer surgery. That hurt. I simply did not understand why he was acting this way towards me.

It was a whirlwind romance that ended as quickly as it began…before it ever really had a chance to get started.

The way he ended it was upsetting to say the least. He sent me a text message at 8:50AM on a Monday morning, right as I was walking into my office. He said he lost interest and wished we could have had this conversation in person, but then asked if I would want to grab lunch at the end. Why didn’t he just ask me to meet him for lunch to talk?? Why say all of this in a text?? It was painful.

He compared our relationship to a girl he dated last year, which was like a knife to the heart. It made me feel like he didn’t think our connection was special at all, making me feel like I was just like her. That hurt.

He said he wanted to be friends, but I honestly didn’t know if he meant it. I felt like he hated me. He had been ignoring my texts, slow to respond and barely said anything to me when he did. It also didn’t help that my friends at work told me he didn’t like me, and didn’t really want to be friends, that he just wanted me to go away. One of the perks of getting that message at work that day. I couldn’t hide the fact that I was upset and of course everyone had an opinion. Which only confused me more.

I took everything he said to me personally. How could I not? When someone loses interest you can’t help but feel it was you that was the real problem.

It was already an emotional week because my Mom had surgery a few days prior and we were impatiently waiting for her results to see if she was cancer free. I hadn’t slept much, and I had a lot of anxiety that week. When he ended it, my world just flipped upside down again. I was heartbroken.

I was left to pick up the pieces of my broken heart and try to piece them back together again, all the while wondering …why??

Sending a serious text response that your wrote in-between meetings at work…while your co-workers were constantly chiming in with their thoughts on the situation, was not a smart move. I was very emotional and I reacted without thinking it through. I wish I had waited.

I didn’t want to speak from anger, instead I wanted to respond with a positive message, filled with words of love and encouragement, instead of heartache. I wanted him to know how much I believed in him and wanted him to believe in himself. All I ever wanted was for him to be happy. But masked behind what I thought to be inspirational words, were pieces of my broken heart scattered throughout, spilling emotions all over the place. Halfway through it felt like I was writing a letter to myself, trying to convince myself to keep believing.

Broke my own heart more that day. Truth was, I didn’t want to believe any of this was really happening. I was in denial.

Rereading my response the next day was tough. I wish I had waited and never sent it. I never gave myself time to process what he said or how I was feeling, I confused myself and I shouldn’t have listened to anyone else’s opinions. The next day I looked at everything differently…I felt differently… I instantly knew I messed up.

A month went by before he gave me a glimpse into how he felt about everything. He said I overwhelmed him, and he simply couldn’t handle it. Even before my intense response he told me that there were a “lot of little things,” but never said what they were. I have no idea what he’s referring to and it’s upsetting to me.

He said my response to his text was “like getting hit in the chest with an emotional hammer.” That made me really sad, it made me cry actually. That was never my intention. I didn’t even think he would take it that way.

If we had met in person to discuss everything I think we both would have understood each other better and why everything happened the way it did. There was definitely some miscommunication.

He is someone I want in my life, and I want to be a part of his life, even if it means only as friends. I’d like to continue getting to know him, and uncover the reasons why we met to begin with. I don’t believe in coincidence, everything happens for a reason, including our paths crossing.

I’m a good person with a big heart, but I feel very deeply, think deeply…and sometimes that’s my downfall.

If he could have told me how he felt right along, I would have listened. Maybe I should have told him how I felt about his text before I responded at all. No one is perfect, least of all me, but I am always willing to listen so that I can learn about myself, and continue to grow as a person. I would never hurt him, or anyone, intentionally. That’s not who I am.

We can’t help who we care about, our hearts have a mind of their own. I believe people are brought into our lives at just the right time, but it’s up to each of us to figure out why. I’d really like to know why we met.

When I looked into his eyes it felt as if our souls connected. To me, our connection was real…too real for me to believe our story is over. I care about him. I will always care about him, he’s a good person. His friendship is worth fighting for…he is worth fighting for, and I’m not ready to give up the fight.

One day I hope he looks back and realizes my heart was pure, my intentions were good, and our connection really was fate. I hope one day he gives me another chance, and we can start over. Our paths crossed for a reason…a reason I believe we are meant to discover together.

I may have only known him for a short time, but I am grateful to have met him, and I will cherish those memories forever.

All I want to do is just wanna have fun! Life is meant for the living and I’m ALLLLIVEEEE lol Sorry that was me trying to be funny…not my best work I’ll admit lol Carry on!

Good vibes only!!!
Good-Vibes

XOXO,
Michelle

 

 

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October 25, 2017 – Storytellers.

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Storytellers. Everyone has a story to tell. We all have a past, one that has shaped everything about who we are, and a future that dictates who we will become.

From the moment we are born our story begins. Chapter 1, if you will, maybe yours starts with a preface if you’re into that haha The first few years of your life you will never remember, which is funny to think about. We were alive, yet we have no memory of it, at least I don’t lol. When I think back to the years I do remember I was probably 6 or 7. Those memories are some of the ones I have carried with me my entire life.

One example. Growing up my brothers and I were extremely close with my cousins because we were all the same age. It was great, we were best friends, we still are. We did everything together, we even vacationed together. One trip in particular we were at Ocean City, Maryland. It was our go-to vacation spot, we loved it. My twin brother used to torment me, like most brothers do lol I’ll never forget what he said to me on this trip though. It was the first time anyone ever called me fat.

My cousin Kerry, who is a year and a half younger than me, and I were prancing around on the beach, it was a bright, sunny day, we were both wearing cute little bikinis. I was an adorable little blonde girl. Not going to lie, I was the cutest lol My brother comes up to me and just bluntly says, “You’re fat!” My Mother was near by and I remember thinking, I’m fat? What does that mean? I ran to my Mother and I told her my brother called me fat, and she replied, “you’re not fat! Don’t listen to him.” I remember running back over to my brother and cousins and saying “Mom said I’m not fat!” He was in the water, I don’t even know if he heard me, but I was upset by what he said. I would spend the whole rest of the day thinking about.

As my family prepared dinner that night all of the kids were playing with balloons, and my cousin Kerry and I stuffed two balloons into our shirts and made ourselves some boobies lol Didn’t we all do that at one point in our lives? I was sitting on my legs in a kneeling position, Kerry was sitting next to me, and my brother was on the other side of me. It was picture time! All of us cousins lined up like we had hundreds of times before. My brother taps me on the shoulder and I look at him and he says “See, your thighs are bigger than Kerry’s, you are fat!” Snap goes the picture. I went immediately to my Mother after he said that and told her what she said, her response was the same, but she was slightly annoyed that I brought it up again, “I already told you you weren’t fat, don’t listen to him!”

When you’re young you don’t have a clue how to process emotions. Hell it’s a daily struggle now lol But at that time I just remember comparing myself to Kerry. I thought, you know what he’s right, she is smaller than me. I instantly felt fat, and so my shame began. I would compare myself to her for years and years after that. I never looked at the situation logically. Logic would have been – I’m older than her, I’m taller than her, duh it makes sense that I’m bigger than her, a 6-year old is obviously bigger than a 5-year old. But I didn’t do that. The people who surrounded me couldn’t explain it to me in a way that I could understand, and a way that didn’t make me self conscious.

My brother doesn’t remember this story, and why would he? This moment didn’t affect his life, it affected mine. I’m not mad at him, I hold no resentment towards him, it was a very big lesson I had to learn in my life. Acceptance. And I only recently learned that in the last few years.

Life is hard. Our story’s are forever changing. What affects one person doesn’t affect another. It’s important to look back at your own life and take the time to get to know yourself. All of these little stories have created the person you are. Understanding, processing, accepting the bad ones, gets you to the good stories.

No two people are the same, everyone has their own string of stories to tell, and I want to hear them all. The stories someone shares with you shows you a piece of their soul. It’s an incredible experience and I treasure every one I hear.

Nothing is a coincidence. I believe everything happens for a reason, including the people you meet. In my job I have to meet a lot of new people, almost every day. New clients, new co-workers, people on the elevators lol These are people you can’t control meeting, however I still think you meet all of them for a reason as well. To learn from their stories.

When it comes to my life and the people I let into it, I’m very selective. Some say I’m too picky, but I disagree. Quality over quantity. The older you get the less people you have in your life, but I think that’s by design. The older we get the more we realize how important it is to be surrounded by good people who genuinely love and care about us. People who are truly invested in our lives in a meaningful way. The ones who listen when you talk. The ones who hug and kiss you when you’re sad. The ones who are excited for you when something good happens. The ones who ask about your day because they genuinely care. The ones who support your dreams no matter how ‘crazy’ they may seem to someone else. The ones who take the time to get to know you. Most importantly, the ones who love and accept you for who you are and don’t pass judgement. These are the people that mean the most to me. These are the people I share my stories with. These are the people I truly treasure.

That little 6-year old girl will always be a part of my story. My brother calling me fat led to me comparing myself to other women, which led me to feeling insecure and self conscious, which led me to a deep depression, which led me to develop an eating disorder, which led me to have a nervous breakdown, which led me to seek treatment, which led me to give up refined sugar, which led me on a path to recovery, which led me to finding myself, and reinventing myself, which led me to finding my inner peace and happiness, which led me to accept myself, which led me to realize my bigger purpose in life…helping others who struggle with sugar addiction. Everything happens for a reason.

Everyone has a story to tell. Most people who read my blog have blogs of their own. I appreciate people who allow themselves to be vulnerable and let people into their world, into their story. It’s not an easy, blogging is really personal, but sharing your story can help someone continue writing theirs. The stories I have read have really helped shaped me as a person. Stories are powerful. If you have a story to tell, share it. You never know who you might be helping, and maybe the person you’re really helping is yourself.

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Writing is therapeutic. Blogging has helped me understand myself on a deeper level. Starting this blog helped me figure out who I was, what I wanted, what made me happy. It also helped me work through my problems and learn to love and accept myself, finding my inner peace. Writing forced me to look at myself differently. I’m not fat, I’m beautiful. Every line, dimple, curve on my body, each tell a story. Every experience in my life is a story. Every emotion is a story. Two years ago I was ashamed of my stories. I’m not anymore. I believe all of my stories make me who I am, they tie in to my bigger purpose in life, helping people.

Don’t be afraid to be who you are, love yourself. Let the past live in the past, but learn from it. Don’t fear your future, embrace it. We’re all meant to be something great. Each of us have a purpose, a story to tell. If everything happens for a reason, than all of your stories will lead you to live an amazing life. I believe that.

Be grateful for the stories you have.
Be excited for the stories you will one day tell.

XOXO,
HopefulAddict

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October 5, 2017 – Fuck Cancer!

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 8.56.19 PMLast Tuesday my Mom had breast cancer surgery. We knew we would have to wait for the biopsy results until today, when she went back to see her surgeon. It hasn’t gone well in the past so this past week has been excruciating waiting for the results. My emotions have been all over the map this week. Couldn’t think straight. Couldn’t sleep.

Today we finally got the results, and I’m happy to say my Mom is breast cancer free!!! WOOHOO!!!! And, no radiation will be necessary either, which is amazing news!!! I felt a big sense of relief that she made it through. It’s been a long road for her. She’s not out of the woods yet, but hopefully she can continue down this positive road to good health.

My Mom has always been a sick woman. In addition to her battle with breast cancer she is also currently battling lung cancer. She had lung cancer in her left lung when I was in high school, they removed half of it. Now she has lung cancer in her right lung. Two years ago she and breast cancer in her left breast and had to have radiation after surgery. It caused her to have breathing issues ever since. Most recently it was her right breast that had cancer. She’s been through so much this year especially.

For me the hardest part has been living so far away from my Mom. She lives in Massachusetts, I live in New Jersey. I miss the days when I lived down the street from her and on days she needed me I could just get in my car and drive to her house in a matter of minutes. I was able to easily go with her to doctor appointments and treatments. I felt better being there so she wasn’t alone, so I wasn’t alone. Now she’s 150 miles from me and I don’t have a car anymore. I can’t just stop what I’m doing get in my car and go there. It kills me. Before I can do anything now I have to figure out vacation time and sick time, which is easier said than done, and book a ticket. I’ve probably spent over $2K on trains and buses this year alone. I regret giving up my sweet little Toyota Corolla, she needed a lot of work, but she was a solid vehicle…god I loved that car lol #RIPKiwi

2017 has not been kind. It felt like my head was being held under water the entire year. I’m being told to breathe but slowly my lungs are filling up with water. This year has really tested me and my strength. There were times where I just couldn’t see the light in all the darkness. It was one thing after another. I didn’t have time to process anything. It was hit after hit after hit. First my Mom got sick, then I got sick, then my Mom got sicker.

It took me a while but I finally feel like my head is above the water again. This summer really changed things for me. I was at a very hopeless point in my life. I started to think about gratitude, a lot. Since I’m like the rain man of The Secret, I reread it. Truth be told I read it all the time, and often carry it with me every where I go. Every time I read it I take something new away from it. It’s like my reset button. When I’m feeling negative, I reset and then I feel better. This summer The Secret helped me really feel gratitude.

Death and sickness are a part of life, a scary part. This is hard to even write without crying. But I thought a lot about death this year. I think about what my life would be like without my Mom. This past week I tried to mentally prepare myself for the worse. When it comes to health, my Mom got the short end of the stick. It’s never been easy for her. On Sunday she was scared. Scared the cancer would still be there. Scared she would need radiation. Scared her breathing would get worse. Hearing your Mom talk about very real possibilities and not being able to do anything about it makes you feel just sad and helpless. I imagined all of the different scenarios that could play out. It’s all I could think about. Between her breast and her lung I kept thinking about death. I didn’t want to think like that, but sometimes you just can’t help it. I am my own worst enemy when I’m alone with my thoughts. I was overwhelmed this past week.

This year I learned the act of feeling truly grateful. When you face death and illness, everything else just seems so small and unimportant. Life is what’s important. The people you love. The moments you share with them. The memories you make. Everything else is insignificant in the long run. I’m grateful my Mom is still here with us.

I try to go through a mental list every morning, on my way to work, of all the things I’m grateful for, the people I’m grateful for, and the moments I’m grateful for. Feeling grateful really does make you feel more alive and less concerned about the tiny bs that happens every day. I don’t know how else to describe it. I appreciate life so much more now than I ever have before, and I’m thankful for that. Life is precious. Tomorrow is not a guarantee for anyone. It really puts things into perspective when you’re facing death. Gratitude is a process. I have to actively remind myself to practice gratitude, but I always feel better when I do, so I highly recommend it. Even if it feels corny, do it lol It works.

Let me give you a tiny bs story for inspiration lol A few weeks ago I was walking up my street at night, which literally goes up a giant cliff and I’m at the top of it haha Anyhow, I was listening to music, specifically Taylor Swift’s new song ‘Look what you made me do,’ it had just come out. The next thing I knew I tripped on the stupid sidewalk because there was a part that was raised, and it was dark and I couldn’t see great, so I fell on my knees lol My glasses flung off my face hit the sidewalk and broke haha I couldn’t help but burst out laughing at the irony. Here’s Taylor going ‘Look what you made me do’ and then I trip and I’m like ‘dude look what you made me do Taylor!’ lol I clearly do not pay attention sometimes. The point of my story is that last year that would have made me soooooooo mad. I would have been pist. I probably would have cried and threw a fit like a five year old because they are expensive glasses lol But I didn’t! I literally just LOL’d and then called my Mom when I got home and laughed some more, called my best friend and laughed even more. I thought it was ha-larious lol ‘Look what you made me’ …..TRIP’ hahahahahahaha Quick update for you. I wore contacts for a few days, no big deal then I finally went to an eyeglass store in Times Square three days post trip, the guy slapped some glue into the little dohicky, attached the other little dohicky and boom I have glasses again. Although they’re still technically broken you’d never know! haha

Here, play this…and then think about me tripping #yourwelcome lol

The moral of my story is that I use haha and lol a lot…lol I felt like the end of that sentence needed one, I’m sorry. No, that’s not the moral of my story. The moral of my story is FUCK CANCER! Yay! Live in gratitude! Don’t take life so seriously. Sh*t happens. Whatever. You’ll never stop sh*t from happening, it’s true. No matter how safely you walk, you can always fall lol Don’t sweat the small stuff because it’s not important. The people in your life are what’s important. Make memories, live in the moments, do what makes you happy and find your inner gratitude for it all. Life is good people. Life is a beautiful thing! Surround yourself with love, and love those who surround you!

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XOXO,
Michelle

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October 2, 2017 – Timing.

“Timing is everything.” I think timing plays a really big part in the design of your life. Everything happens for a reason, timing included. There’s good timing, and sometimes there really is just bad timing. I don’t know that bad is the right word necessarily, I think of it as just another way of saying, patience, the timing isn’t right yet.

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When I discovered I was a sugar addict, the timing was terrible. I had a successful bakery business that I loved doing, but I was deeply unhappy in my life and realized I had to give up sugar. That also meant giving up my business, that I loved, in order to free myself from my own addiction. I had to let go of a dream. I was devastated. I felt lost. I had no idea who I was anymore. Truth was the timing wasn’t right for me to have my own business. 

Looking back, I’m grateful for ending my business when I did because I would have never overcome my sugar addiction otherwise. Sometimes you have to stop what you’re doing and focus on taking care of yourself, your own happiness, and put yourself first.

After getting my sugar addiction under control I put myself first again. Two years ago I decided to move to NYC. My whole life I helped take care of everyone else around me. I loved helping people. I could never say no, I didn’t want to. What I didn’t realize is the toll it would eventually take on myself, and my own happiness. I had been a caregiver for my grandparents for 6 years at that point. No easy task. Mentally I became exhausted. In 2012 I lost my Babci, she had a heart attack. After her death I continued to care for my Dziadziu, but his needs were very different. He just needed help cooking and cleaning and the occasional doctors appointment. I took my Babci to the doctors every week, blood tests every other week, lots of prescriptions, she took 22 pills a day, cooking, cleaning, errands, shopping, you name it I did it. It was a full time job, but I loved her, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. She was my rock, my best friend, my soul mate. I loved my Dziadziu with all my heart, but I couldn’t stay any longer. I was unhappy in my job, my personal life, my living situation. I was desperate for a change. I knew it was time to leave. I had to take care of myself and my own happiness, I had to put myself first. Leaving was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but it also turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever done for me.

Since moving to the city I have really started to transform every aspect of my life, including my old business. It’s been a challenge, but change was good. Change was necessary.

I think about the people in my life going through similar situations. I recognize myself in others. I see their struggles, their pain, their hurt. You want to help, but sometimes they need to do it on their own, and you have to respect that. At some point in everyone’s life you come to a crossroads where you have to make these major decisions about your life in order to really find your happiness, and it’s never easy. And sometimes the people in your life take it personally when you do make changes, even though it’s not intentional.

My Dziadziu took it personally when I left, he took it hard, and it was heartbreaking. He felt like I was abandoning him, that I didn’t care anymore, that I didn’t love him, he just wanted to die. It was like a knife to the heart. I never cried so hard in my life. I didn’t want him to feel this way, it wasn’t what I intended, but it was how he felt. I worked very hard to make him feel extra special, to show him how much I did care, and of course set up care for him before I left so he wouldn’t feel alone. It took a few months, but he eventually settled in to his new reality, as did I. When I come home now to visit I still cook all his favorites, in bulk, so he can enjoy it for a month or so! After moving I called him every single day, like I had for the past 6 years, until he was adjusted. I still call him every week. I go big for his birthday! He’s turning 94 in November, yay! It all turned out OK, and that’s what makes me happy!

My Dziadziu has only ever wanted me to be happy. He’s one of my biggest supporters, and he has a huge heart! His voicemails are the best thing ever! He’s the cutest! I’m really grateful to still have him around. If I could have given him some better advice back in the day I would have told him, don’t take it personally, even though I’m moving, I’m still around, and don’t be afraid. Sometimes I have to remind myself about this story so I don’t let myself take things personally.

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XOXO,
Michelle

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October 1, 2017 – Baseball, Music & BFFs!

This weekend was great. The Boston Red Sox clinched the AL East! YAY!

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Courtesy Masslive.com

Then I went to see Hanson on their 25th Anniversary Middle of Everywhere tour!

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Courtesy Hanson.net

My best friend came with me to the concert, her first time, it was epic! The line wrapped all the way around a NYC block…legit lol It was crazy.

More good news coming but I can’t quite share that yet, but I’m REALLY excited about it! This was a great weekend, exactly what I needed.

Find your passions and enjoy them!!

XOXO,
HopefulAddict

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September 26, 2017 – Believe.


Nothing is harder than watching someone you love battle a scary disease. Today my Mom continued her fight against breast cancer by undergoing surgery.

Last night I couldn’t sleep, my mind wouldn’t stop racing. Truth be told I haven’t slept well in a while. I woke up at 4am with tears just streaming down my face. I felt emotional. This would be the first surgery that I wouldn’t be able to be there with her, that was difficult for me. Tomorrow I have to fly out to Toronto for a business trip. It was too hard for me to try to get to Massachusetts for the surgery today and get back to NYC in time for my 7am flight tomorrow. I was overwhelmed by guilt. I felt sad. I kept thinking the worse. What if something happens and I wasn’t there? My brother calmed my fears though, he took the train from NYC to Mass last night to be with her. I was grateful he was able to go, it made me feel better about leaving.

I had to stop myself from allowing my mind to think so negative. I had to reset. 

My commute in to work today was uneventful and the same as it always was, but today I felt different. As I looked around the bus and train I wondered how many people were going through the same thing as my Mom, as my family. Probably a lot. 

We are all so different, and yet we’re the same. No matter who are, or who you meet, everyone is going through something. It doesn’t matter if it’s a surgery, a bad day, or even a happy one. Everyone is going through something. The looks on people’s faces, their body language, it all tells a story about who they are and what they may be going through. I saw one woman holding back a grin looking at her phone, she wanted to burst with excitement, she was happy. Maybe she just found out she got a new job, maybe she was looking at a picture of a loved one, maybe it was a simple conversation that she was thinking about. I’ll never know but looking at her made me smile. I could feel her joy, her excitement, I was happy for her. I also saw people who were sad, uncomfortable, angry, annoyed. I loved it all! 

Life is great, but life can be hard. There’s so much you can’t change, can’t control, even though you want to. I wish I could cure my Mom myself, but I can’t. All I can do is believe that she’s going to be ok. Believe it with every ounce of my heart and soul. And I do. I believe. Believing gives me hope, faith, keeps me positive and living in the moment of gratitude. 

Belief is powerful.

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September 23, 2017 – Experience.

“Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions.” – Mark Twain

I have learned a great deal from my past experiences; the good, the bad, and the heartbreaking. Every experience has helped create the woman that I am today and the woman I will become. Experience shapes us all, and the world around us.

The good experiences…are the ones I live for, the ones we all live for. The ones that fuel your passion, make you excited, make you feel loved, desired, and happy. They motivate you and encourage you to be better, do better, want better.

The bad experiences…are the lessons I have grown from, the ones that knocked me down and tested my strength. The ones that tried to destroy me, but shaped my soul. The necessary evil that challenges us, pushes us, defines us and helps us grow.

The heartbreaking experiences…are the loss we must all go through; death, sickness, breakups, fear, stress, depression, negative thinking. Heartbreak also brings with it strength, understanding, love, clarity and gratitude.

Lately I’ve thought a lot about my life, reflecting on who I am. But who am I?

My past was filled with a lot of bad experiences. I struggled to get through them, and at the time I didn’t understand why. Like many, I battled with depression at a young age. It was a fight. I didn’t want to feel depressed, or defeated by what was happening to me and around me, but it seemingly always got the best of me. I was defenseless and felt alone. When you’re young emotions are scary, overwhelming, and hard. Not knowing how to handle my emotions I unknowingly turned to food, to sugar, to escape my feelings, to numb my pain, and it worked. In my family, I was always the strong one, the one people turned to, the problem solver, motivator, comic relief, I was the rock. I would sacrifice myself and my own needs to be there for others. More than anything I believed that I was strong, that I had a good head on my shoulders, that I could get through anything, that nothing bad phased or even bothered me. I was wrong. I lived in denial for many years, not realizing what I was doing.

In 2011 my whole life changed. I remember it well. It was summer, my family was about to go to our annual family reunion in New York. My oldest brother, who lives in London, called me, he needed to talk. When he called he told me he was nervous about the reunion and finally admitted that he was an alcoholic and decided to give it up once and for all and begin his path to recovery. He explained his addiction to me in grave detail, his emotional battles, his sacrifices, his scars, how it all began, everything.

My heart broke for him. My extended family are all big drinkers, an intimidating situation for someone with a problem. I understood. He knew I didn’t really drink, so he knew I could help support him, and be there for him every step of the way, and I was with every ounce of my heart and soul. I don’t drink now.

I knew my brother had problems with alcohol for a while, I knew it was getting bad. The previous Christmas was scary.  Living so far away from him was difficult for me, I didn’t know what to do or how to help. I feared the worst. It was the first time in my life that I couldn’t help someone that I loved. All I could do was pray and tell him how much I loved him. I had to learn to trust and believe that he would one day help himself find peace and be OK. It was one of the hardest experiences I ever had to go through. When you want to help someone so desperately, but you can’t. I wanted to fix it, I wanted to heal him, I wanted to protect him.

When he told me he was sober, I believed him. Talking to my brother that summer was different. He had been sober for a few months at that point but kept it to himself. He attended AA meetings regularly and worked the program. The biggest battle for him was facing the emotions he had avoided for years. AA couldn’t help him with that, he had to work through them on his own, and it was difficult, but he was finally ready to face reality of the choices he made, the experiences he went through, and accept them for what they were.

It was during that phone call, in that moment, as he talked that I realized something, we were the same person. We both didn’t deal with our emotions, we both pretended like everything was fine, we both masked pain under humor. But I couldn’t be an addict because I didn’t drink…right?? I could relate to everything he was saying, it was strange. Then something clicked. I realized I was using food to numb my pain the same way he was using alcohol to numb his. I joked about it to him. Telling him I was the same way but food was my outlet. I remember him reading part of his 12 step book to me. I cried because it was exactly how I felt.

I wondered, could I be addicted to food?? Is that even a thing?? After we hung up I started to think about everything. About my experiences, the emotions I wasn’t allowing myself to feel because I didn’t want to feel them. I thought a lot about food. I thought a lot about the fact that I think a lot about food.

At this time in my life I working full time for a news station but I also had my own cake pop business on the side that I started late 2009. When I started this business it was before all the cake pop hype, it was new and different and so my business was thriving. I struggled to keep up with orders, and everything was word of my mouth, I never advertised or marketed my pops. It was a very exciting time in my life. I also baked cakes and cupcakes for friends and family events. I loved baking, I found it to be fun and creative, but it was also therapeutic for me. Baking was my release of my emotions, my frustrations, my fears. I baked a lot, and ate a lot of cake in my day. I had to. I was testing recipes, they had to be right, I’m a perfectionist. The more orders I had to fulfill, the more cake I seemingly had to eat. It was becoming a vicious cycle.

Baking quickly became my anxiety, my burden. In August 2011 after I got back from my family reunion, I broke down. It was then I knew I really did have a problem with food, and not just any food, a sugar addiction. Here I was making money off the very thing that I was addicted too. What was I doing? I had absolutely no idea. I panicked. I tried to maintain my business, my passion, I didn’t want to give that up. But I also didn’t want to give up sugar. How could I? How the heck would I be able to do my business without eating my own products? It was a double-edged sword. That was a very stressful time in my life. There was a lot going on besides my business. My emotions were all over the map and I didn’t know how to deal with them without food.

I remember telling my parents I was addicted to sugar and couldn’t control myself. My addiction was bad. I binged on sugar and I didn’t even realize what I was doing, and yet I did it every single day. My mother’s advice to me was just to “stop eating sugar.” She didn’t understand, she didn’t take me seriously. I can’t say that I blame her for her lack of support at the time. I didn’t understand it either. My brother was the only one who understood my addiction, but he lived on the other side of the world. I was grateful to have his support, but at the same time he was dealing with his own addiction problem, and I felt like I was going through mine alone.

That September one of my friends asked me to create blue bear themed cake pops for a baby shower in October. Despite what I was going through I said yes. I always said yes. I could never say no, it was a problem. I should have said no. I tried to just “stop eating sugar” and I couldn’t. It was like I was a mad man, severely depressed, completely overwhelmed by my emotions, it was a total disaster. I felt like I had to have sugar to survive, I couldn’t live without it, and that scared the hell out of me.

I ended up having a nervous breakdown at the end of September. Physically and mentally broke down. I didn’t have the support that I needed, I didn’t have the tools I needed to get through it. I couldn’t even imagine what life would look like without sugar, and I didn’t want to give it up. I knew that if I did, I would have to also give up my dream, my business. The week of the baby shower I canceled the order, took two weeks off from work and checked myself into an eating disorder rehab facility. I told my friend that I was sorry, but I was sick and I couldn’t do it. She was obviously very upset and for good reason. I offered to buy her something else in place of the pops, to make it right, but she declined. I was devastated, it was the last thing I wanted to do, but felt like I had to do it to save myself from myself. No one knew what I was going through. I was embarrassed.

The rehab facility was an outpatient program. I had to go there every day from 8am to 6pm, and it was a very detailed scheduled. We kept journals, and attended therapy sessions, workshops, and lots of 1-on-1s regularly. We had to eat breakfast and lunch and a snack in front of them. Something I didn’t like to do. Even though I was a confessed sugar addict they wanted me to face my fears and made me eat dessert after every lunch. I ate brownies every day. I didn’t want to do it, but I understand why they wanted me to. I had often skipped meals and only ate once a day, which usually resulted in a binge, so eating every meal was actually difficult for me. I cried. It ended up being too much food and I didn’t want to eat it. I was clearly broken. They also weighed us every morning to monitor our weight throughout the process. Most of the women there were anorexic or bulimic, so I understood why they were doing it, but I hated it. When I first saw the number on the scale I started to cry. I was in shock. I hadn’t weighed myself in years.

I didn’t realize how big I had allowed myself to get. I didn’t realize how much control I had given up to my addiction. A lot of people would ask me “how did you not notice you were big?” My response was always the same, make a joke, change the subject. What I wanted to say was that its actually very easy to lose sight of who you are when you don’t see yourself. I was very good at avoiding myself. I avoided scales and mirrors, I lived in jeans and sweaters that masked my body. I didn’t talk about it, ever. When you live in denial it’s easy to NOT see it.

After completing my outpatient treatment, I felt a little better, but I was long ways away from healing. This would only mark the beginning of my journey to ’emotional sobriety.’ They gave me the tools to be able to deal with stressful situations in healthy constructive ways, but what didn’t help me was eating brownies every day. For me, eating sugar every day when I was trying to become free of my sugar addiction, made me not be able to get past it mentally. Well if they think I should eat sugar, then I should right? That’s what I kept telling myself to rationalize the sugar that I would eat every day after that. My two weeks were over, and I was back in the real world, having to face my real problems again. I was very unhappy in my life at that time. I didn’t know how to proceed. I didn’t know that I wanted to. I felt like giving up. I had demons, and I couldn’t conquer them and still do what I wanted to do. It broke my heart.

After a few more months of being depressed and feeling awful, and eating sugar. I snapped. I couldn’t do it anymore, any of it. The only person that could help me, was me. I was in control of my own destiny. If I was going to get better I would have to make the decision to do so, and commit to it, on my own. That’s exactly what I decided to do. I decided I had to quit eating refined sugar. It was poison to me. Unfortunately that also meant I had to give up my dream of being a baker. I couldn’t bake anymore. I had to stop, I knew it was bad for me. And I was devastated.

On December 31, 2011 I ate all the sugar. I was about to give it up completely. I wanted to start fresh, to start off a new year with a new found hope. I committed myself to my ‘sobriety’ from sugar. I would make the decision to not only give up refined sugar, but also start a blog about my experience in hopes that one day I could help inspire someone else who was just like me.

January 1, 2012 Began my journey.

That same month I decided to start seeing a therapist who specialized in eating disorders. On my very first session the therapist asked me if I ever read the book, The Secret. I said no. She suggested that I read it ASAP. I’m like yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ll get right on that lol She started talking about this book being life changing, how it’s helped so many of her patients. I kept thinking…it’s a book. Who cares lol The next week I had another session with her, frankly she was starting to annoy me. I wanted to focus on my problems and how to deal with them and she brought up The Secret in the first 30 seconds again lol “Did you read The Secret yet?” I said no. She asked me why. I said I didn’t have time. She said it was quick and easy read. I was like well I don’t want to read it lol She was like “Just read it!” She was adamant, and slightly aggressive lol I was annoyed and wasn’t going to come back.

That afternoon I left and drove around to think. I really wanted a coffee from Starbucks so I drove to the one that was closest, which also happened to be part of a Barnes & Noble book store. I love books, and that is one of my favorite stores, its like my mothership lol Anyhow, I walked into B&N and the first thing I see was a legit giant display of The Secret. I’m a strong believer in signs. I think everything happens for a reason. I believed I was meant to read that book. I remember saying to myself “ok ok I’ll read the damn book!” haha So I went I bought it and then I got a coffee went upstairs sat on a comfy chair and started to read it by the window.

I’ll never forget the day I bought The Secret, because me entire life literally changed…from a book, just like my therapist said it would. I never went back to her, I never saw her again but it was as if her only purpose in my path was to get me to read that book. I read the whole book in one day. I couldn’t put it down. I wasn’t sure what the heck just happened lol This book is about the law of attraction. The power of positive thinking. Becoming aware of negative thoughts and emotions. How negative attracts negative and positive attracts positive. I was doing it all wrong! I was negative. I had negative views about sugar, my job, where I lived, friends, family. There was a lot of negative energy around me, and it was making me negative. I was also very negative about myself. I was hard on myself.

I decided to test out The Secret; Ask. Believe. Receive.

Ask…the universe for what you want
Believe…that it’s coming to you (even if you don’t know how)
Receive…what you asked for (feel as if you already have it)

It’s like placing an order on Amazon. Find what you want. Order it. Know that it’s going to be delivered to you. You don’t doubt you’ll receive an item you purchased right? It’s the same for the universe. You can’t doubt it, you have to believe completely.

I asked the universe for a new job, a new apartment, and a lot more money. Since you have to act like you’re receiving what you asked for I packed up my stuff in boxes because I believed I was moving. I told people I got the job that I just applied for, even though I had no idea. I also told them it came with a nice raise, again I had no idea. I also started looking for apartments. Not just any apartment, it had to be the price I wanted, on the first floor, one bedroom apartment, close to work, with a nice kitchen, good closet space, and handicap accessible for my grandparents, I was their caregiver.

The first apartment I saw, checked all my boxes. I put in an offer and was approved.

My parents thought I was crazy, I didn’t even get the job yet.

I didn’t care. I just believed.

Two weeks AFTER moving into my apartment, I got the job, I also got the raise.

I told my parents, I told you so 🙂

They were disbelief.

I’ve used The Secret many times in my life. I carry it with me in my purse. Sounds crazy, I’m aware, but it became my saving grace. When I’m feeling negative I’ll read a chapter or two. Or I’ll watch the movie version, which is currently on Netflix haha It helps me reset my energy from negative to positive. It helps me stay in a state of gratitude for the blessings that I’ve been given. It helps me believe in myself, my future, and especially my dreams. The Secret brings new experiences and lessons into my life every single day.

This past July my sister-in-law yelled at me. Hard. It definitely threw me for a curve lol  She was frustrated with me because I hadn’t dated anyone in three years and she wanted me to get over my fears, put myself back out there and go one some dates, she also said that I was too picky about guys. I said I have standards and I’m not willing to settle for anything less than I deserve.

Sidenote – In 2012 my Babci was very sick. I was her caregiver for 6 years. She was dying, and I knew it. On December 2, 2012, she passed away. I was destroyed emotionally. I have never felt more lost in my life than the day she died. I still think about her every day. My Babci was my best friend, one of the most beautiful and kind souls I have ever known. She knew me better than I knew myself. Her death sent me back into a depression. I didn’t know who I was without her. It felt like I had lost a child almost, I was the one taking care of her, I felt like I let her down. I had a lot of guilt about her death. At the same time I was unhappy in my new job, and I didn’t want to stay in Massachusetts. I wanted to leave. I needed to escape. I couldn’t be a caregiver anymore, it was too hard. Everything reminded me of my Babci, and it broke my heart. I felt dead inside.

Enter my ex. It was like he knew when my life wasn’t good because he would always come back in at the those times and then make it so much worse. But he was my distraction from my own life, and it was toxic. Of course it didn’t end well. Does it ever? The last time was my final straw. I had known him for 16 years, we dated on and off the whole time, and it was never good. I always knew he wasn’t worth my time or energy, he was always just a distraction. But I was finally done. I cut him out of my life completely. I felt free. I needed time to heal, to grieve, to find myself again, and find my faith in love again. Because of him I had a lot of fears about starting a new relationship, I had a lot of trust issues. I was scared. I am scared.

In the past three years I’ve completely changed my life. I moved from Massachusetts to New Jersey, working in New York City (utilizing The Secret of course!). I started over. I changed careers, leaving behind the world of television, and entering the world of experiential marketing. I got a new apartment, and a new beginning. I even started baking again. It was always my passion, and I couldn’t lose it. I was lost without it. I just needed to refine it, so I did. The difference now is that I don’t bake with refined sugar, instead I just fruit. I’ve had no problems at all with it and I couldn’t be happier about it, and about where it’s going! I’ve finally found myself again. It took me walking away from everything that was comfortable, and it was hard, to find myself again, and I’m grateful.

When my sister-in-law yelled at me, it wasn’t as if I didn’t want to date again, but I just wasn’t focused on anything but my health, career and my own goals of one day starting my own business again. But since she was really adamant about it, I told her I would try.

My dating history is a disaster. I know what I want in a man, but I was never able to find someone who exceeded my expectations. I wasn’t willing to settle for anything less than I deserved, because I didn’t want to go back three years and relive that pain all over again.

My non-negotiable standards. A man who is kind, sweet, thoughtful, well mannered, respectful of me and others, with an old fashioned soul, and a nice smile. A man who will not judge me for who I am, what I look like, what I like, or for my past, or the past of my family. I also want a man who has a good sense of humor and can make me laugh.

Enter Bumble. The day after she yelled at me I joined a dating app called Bumble lol I had no expectations. But I didn’t want to enter the dating world with a negative mindset believing that the man I wanted didn’t exist. So I believed that he did and I believed that I would find what I was looking for. I stayed positive.

Literally that night I saw a man who I thought was very attractive, and his profile description was funny “I’m looking for a girl who will let me eat all the cookies.” Since I gave up sugar I thought, I was the girl that would let him eat all the cookies lol He had a picture of himself wearing a knit winter hat that looked like a lion with ears. It looked so cute. I also own my own similar hat, only mine is a monkey lol I thought it was a sign. Taking a chance I swiped him right, which means add him to my likes! We were an instant match. On Bumble the women have to talk to a man they match with first otherwise they can’t respond to you. I told him I had a similar hat lol Yup people, that was my opening line. I had no idea what to say. But much to my surprise, he responded.

We ended up talking for a few days on Bumble, and then he gave me his number. I panicked. I liked him, I wanted to text him, but what would I say? lol I’m a classic overthinker. He was at a music festival that night and so I didn’t want to bother him so I waited until the next day to text him, and I believe my opening line on text was “I hear you like festivals,” I probably would have deleted me right then and there lol

I was about to leave for vacation in three days. I had to drop that bomb on him. I liked him but I was scared that he wouldn’t want to meet me after telling him that. We ended up meeting for coffee the day before I left, he came downtown to me, he’s sweet.

When I first saw him I was nervous, he was really attractive, and tall (score! haha). He gave me a hug and kissed the side of my head. It was cute. We had a really nice time, I can’t explain the feeling but I felt drawn to him. We had an instant connection.

After I got home from vacation he asked when he could see me again, I thought that was really cute. I was excited that he still wanted to see me even though I had been gone for 10 days. In the dating world…that can be detrimental lol

We ended up meeting up that Friday after work. It was a truly incredible date. We had so much in common, more than I have had with anyone else in my entire life, it was weird. He would say something and I would just look at him and think omg me too, and vice versa. It felt as if the universe had aligned to make our paths cross. It was surreal. We were like the same person. It was the best feeling in the world. He even walked me to the bus station, even though his train station was across town. He’s an old fashioned soul. We had such an amazing time that he couldn’t wait to see me again and asked if he could see me the next day, I didn’t even hesitate, my answer was yes.

I wanted to get to know this man, I wanted to see what else we had in common, I wanted to know if this was too good to be true. The next day I met him in the city, he took me to his favorite pizza place that we had talked about the night before, and he ordered my favorite pizza, Margherita. I thought he was so sweet for doing that. He’s a total gentleman, honestly the sweetest guy I have ever met. After pizza we walked around the city, stopped at Starbucks were he ordered an unsweetened iced passion tea..which had literally been my drink for years haha I was like add it to the list of things we have in common lol It was amazing.

We then went to Central Park, sat on a giant rock, and talked all night. I felt my walls just crumble around him, but I wasn’t scared. At this point I had told him so many things about myself that I was never able to tell other guys before.

Everyone has secrets. I have this blog for instance that none of my friends or family have seen or read before. It’s personal, and private and I don’t want to offend anyone or have someone take something I said the wrong way so I have never shared it with anyone, because I’m afraid. I never even told most people in my life about it. I told him. I haven’t shared the link with him yet, but I will.

I even told him that I make music on the side with my brother, another passion of mine. He never judged me for any of it, and I was blown away by his reactions. He was a genuinely good guy, with a good heart. I was in awe. I never even shared my music with my best friend. I was scared of being judged. That night I played one of my songs for him. I couldn’t even believe that I did that, but that’s how comfortable I was with him. I barely knew him and yet I felt like I could trust him with all my secrets. I felt like I could tell him anything and he would never judge me. It made me really happy. He called me his unicorn that night. He was my unicorn. It was the craziest connection I have ever felt in my life. I was grateful to have met him. That night was really magical. Our connection was unbelievable, and unexplainable. I was smitten. He walked me to the door of Port Authority. We kissed. It was perfect. When I was on my way home I sent him the link to my music, he loved it. That made me happy.

Our situation is complicated, and I don’t know what the future holds, or what any of this means, why he was brought into my life, or what will happen between us. I know that our connection is amazing and incredibly terrifying all at the same time. I’m scared he’s too good to be true, I’m scared of getting hurt. I’m scared I’ll lose him.

What I do know is that I will forever be grateful for the day that I met him because it renewed my faith and hope for the future. He is kind, sweet, thoughtful, well mannered man who is respectful of me and others, with an old fashioned soul, and a nice smile. He hasn’t judged me for who I am, what I look like, what I like, or for my past, or the past of my family. He has a good sense of humor and makes me laugh. He is a beautiful person inside and out. Just knowing guys like him exist out there means the world to me.

So who am I?
I’m a believer.

XOXO,
Michelle

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