Accepting What Is

I think I have some pretty good friends, but then I see a reflection of myself in a door and notice a piece of my wild, curly hair sticking straight up and realize that I have no friends at all. Thanks a heap, guys. I can’t wait until you have something stuck in between your teeth so I can carry on a long conversation with you, then simply walk away with the satisfaction of knowing I’ve sentenced you to death by embarrassment.

Anywho, I have been listening to a weird sounding German/Canadian man talk to me about The Power of Now and it may be changing my life. Yes, I’m aware it’s very “New Age” and spiritually out there, but if you know me at all then this should be no surprise. Please withhold your judgment. In fact, just pack it away in the box of Hopes and Dreams stored in your parent’s attic. I’m gonna keep listening and then read it old school style, so deal with it. And for the love of God, why does the “Insert” button on the keyboard even exist? WHO is using this button?! And for what purpose? Please don’t answer, I’ve already stopped caring.

As I am attempting not to be so concerned about the future (which is going not great so far by the way), I find myself becoming much more self-aware which actually is great. Sometimes, I think God said, “give Melissa feelings, give her ALL the feelings” and then He did.

I’ve accepted that I just feel things deeper than most people. I know that’s a strange statement coming from me. I’m the sarcastic girl, the anti-social one who would rather talk to your dog than you, but alas I have tear ducts after all. Truthfully, once you’re in my circle of concern, my love knows no bounds. My capacity to forgive is damn near endless (not always a great thing), my loyalty is fierce and I will protect you with everything I have. There is a downside. Sometimes, that same love, loyalty and forgiveness is not returned. Fortunately, I can count on one hand how many times that’s been the case and I have gained wisdom from that pain.

Speaking of pain, let’s get back to The Power of Now. Mind you, I am only a third of the way through and my pal has promised me a book club type of discussion after I read the entire book (which he will soon regret), but I’ve already had some “AHA” moments. One is about pain so here we go…

“The pain you create now is always some form of non-acceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is.”

Wait, humans are resistant to change and things they don’t want? Whaaa? Just kidding and that may seem like a no brainer, but really think about it. When something we don’t want to happen happens, we don’t tend to be passive and just let it be. We fight. We fight for all kinds of reasons. Maybe it’s a painful change, maybe it’s not what we want and maybe it feels unfair or unjust.

What does our non-acceptance and resistance do though? Does it change the circumstance? Does it change the person? No, it changes nothing. It does however cause a great amount of anxiety, stress, unhappiness and disappointment. Yet still, we resist. I don’t even think it’s on a conscious level, it’s reactionary and illogical. I’m so very guilty of this and believe me; it will take quite some time to kick this habit. However, I will try.

I’m aware of the connection between our minds and our reality. I understand the importance of perspective and what we think, but sometimes I still have trouble accepting what is. Damn my humanness.

“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.”

That’s a tall order, Tolle…but I will try because it all makes so much sense to me. It speaks to me on the deepest level. The place where my soul is at peace and I know what is true.

Everyone’s truth is different and I’m no expert, but I do know myself very well and I know what I need. The hardest thing for me has always been to stop overthinking and listen to that part inside of me that knows exactly what to do. Call it intuition, God, your subconscious, the Universe…all I know is it’s the truest part of me and the best guide I have.

Proverbs 23:7 says “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he..”

“Happiness is determined more by one’s state of mind than by external events” – Dalai Lama

No matter what you believe, I think most of us can agree that our thoughts have a great influence over our lives. Those who don’t agree are most likely mouth breathers. Anyway, if you find yourself in a church pew on Sunday mornings, then more power to you and I hope it feeds your soul. You may want to avoid this one though because I’m still confused.

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I never feel the need to explain my beliefs, but when someone is genuinely interested, I do and I’m grateful for the conversation that led me to this book. I’m grateful for people who are open minded and enlightened. I’m grateful every day that I’m alive and have an opportunity to evolve even more. I am far from perfect, but I never want to stop learning or challenging myself and I’ll always be weird so deal with that too.

I’m also grateful for sunshine and music. This gem is from Emeli Sande’s latest album and if you’ve followed my blog, you know I adore her. I love how vulnerable she allows herself to be and the poetic nature of her lyrics. Ok, I’ll stop. Just listen..

I love how much she craves a deeper meaning and connection. I get that, I crave it too. I love that some people are just drawn to one another. It can’t be explained, it just is.

I get that some events and pain are unavoidable and unpredictable, but if there is some pain that we can lessen or avoid by accepting and not resisting what is, I think it’s worth a try. Also, underneath it all I absolutely believe that what’s for me will always be for me.

Wherever your journey takes you, I hope you find what’s meant for you. Choose your humans well.

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Just a tip though, it will never be a pair of Crocs or a man bun. Those aren’t meant for anyone.

The Purpose of Life

​There are quite a few days that I think of my Titi (Auntie) Gloria because she was such a big influence in my life. 

Being present while she battled cancer for four years and watching that struggle was a painful and enlightening experience.

Many of my childhood summers were spent with her. Watching her make Puerto Rican food, working in her Bible Book Store, and playing in her backyard… that was my happy, safe place. 

She was one of my mother’s six sisters and more of a Grandmother to me than an Aunt.

Her faith and strong sense of family were always and still are an inspiration. 

There are so many lessons that are still with me to this day that came not only from her, but from my Mother as well…

Help those less fortunate.

Be hospitable.

Feed EVERYONE who comes into your home.

Be there for your family, always.

God/Jesus IS LOVE (no matter what stupid humans want to portray)

Laugh. There is humor in everything.

Pray for your enemies.

 
For me, the greatest wisdom she ever shared came in her last days during a conversation with my Mother. She said that she knew what life was all about and it was truly the only thing that mattered in the end.

Life is about loving people.

 

That’s it. It’s so simple and we complicate the hell out of it, but just loving each other is everything. Love them. Love them unconditionally. Love them fiercely. Just love them.

Misfits

“I’ve never met a strong person with an easy past.”

I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately and thinking about all of the people in my life. As I’ve gotten older, I have become increasingly choosier about who I give my time to. I like my people imperfect, a little messy, passionate, clever, and grateful. These are my favorite humans.

When I’m hanging out with them, it hits me that we are the coolest bunch of misfits ever. Feel free to disagree, we won’t give a shit.

Life throws a lot of people in our paths. Some are great and some are their own special brand of awful.

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However, in the end, I believe they all serve a purpose. Even if that purpose is to be a seat filler who laughs too loudly at his own jokes and will probably end up being a Wal Mart Greeter in his old age. Or a mouth breather who drags their feet when walking, thus making me homicidal. That’s their journey so Godspeed, you no common sense having bundles of annoying. I’ll be over here thanking the good Lord that your time in my life has passed. Amen.

It’s crazy how life unfolds and most of the time I like the unpredictability. I’ve learned many lessons so far and have gathered a few truths along the way. Recently, I was chatting with a favorite lady friend of mine about one of these truths; timing is everything…and I mean everything.

I absolutely believe that people come into your life at the exact time they need to and they also exit exactly when they need to. It isn’t one-sided either, they needed you just as much as you needed them.

Trust the timing of your life.

I can’t even count how many times I’ve shouted to the heavens, “What were you thinking, God?! Did I really need THAT experience?!” The answer is always, ” Umm, ya. Duh.” Okay, maybe God is a little more eloquent than that, but who knows.

Of course I needed the hard times, the heartbreaks, the challenges, and the people who seemed to be constant sandpaper, rubbing me the wrong way. Otherwise, life would be easy. I’d have no reason to grow, think deeply, talk about the hard things, be humbled, and forgive when I didn’t want to. Also, I’m fairly certain easy is boring and I’m not about that life.

Find your tribe.

I definitely don’t have it all figured out and I’m glad. I hope I never do. I hope I always question things and feel curious and occasionally still learn the hard way. I also hope I always have these wonderful people who let me know that while I am a bit crazy and weird, I’m not alone.

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Find your people, you will need them. When you find them, lean on them, love them, and be there when they need you…especially when they don’t ask you to be, because that’s probably when they need you the most. And if you’re lucky, your life will be messy, hard, and little painful. You’ll be better off for it and enjoy the fun, easy, happy times even more.

Wisdom for the Week: Stay away from people who don’t drink or dance. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

In closing, Nina Simone. Good for your soul on a Saturday. xoxo

 

Simmer Down a Pinch

“The woman who does not require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet” she whispered, posting another selfie.

Ladies, please.

Can we stop with the empowering quotes accompanying your third selfie that week. We get it, being single is your choice. No one can handle you. You look the same as you did two days ago. Thanks for reminding us.

Now, if you know me at all, you know I LOVE a good selfie…but at least I know I’m being a little vain. Embrace it, girls. Hair and make-up are fun. Feeling pretty should be celebrated, but c’mon, people don’t need daily reminders that you’re alive and your camera…err, phone still works. Simmer down a pinch.

Tuesday was International Women’s Day and I love to celebrate all that we are. I love women! I love them so much that I briefly(45 seconds) considered being a lesbian once. Then, I imagined what it would be like to live with another me. No thank you! Also, I prefer to be the pretty one in the relationship. See, vain.

All of the love for my gender aside, I have a couple of things maybe worth mentioning. Probably not, but I’m going to anyway because I never learn.

What’s with women in their 20’s and 30s getting Botox and fillers?! By the time you’re 40, you’ll have lost the ability to show emotions through any type of facial expressions. Are you mad? Happy? Sad? I can’t tell! I have a hard enough time figuring out who’s eyebrows are real these days. Also, men can hardly read us when all of our facial muscles are working. Simmer down a pinch.

As for me, I’ll stick with resting bitch face. It has served me well and saved me from many possible new friendships.

Let’s talk fashion for a second. Did floral leggings make a comeback? Wait, were they ever a thing? I don’t know, but for some reason I have seen numerous, ahem, ladies sporting these as of late. These skin tight pants/leggings come in a pattern that I can only imagine was ripped off their Nana’s 1992 sofa from her “Formal Living Room” and sewn into two hideous leg prisons. Simmer down a pinch.

The last thing I ever want to be is a woman who shops for a “sensible pant suit”. I’m mostly a jeans and cute top kinda girl, but I think we’ll all be better off if this trend makes it’s way to small town, USA with a quickness. I’d rather see Culottes make a comeback than have to endure these walking rose gardens all Spring. From my lips to God’s ears, please banish them. Amen.

These few annoyances are minor. I think women are amazing. We’re strong, smart, creative, crazy, loving, talented, crazy, beautiful, and some of us even smell good. Keep on keeping on, ladies! You do you. Even if it means having an immobile face, legs covered in chrysanthemums, and posting daily selfies. I will still love you….from a distance.

A parting note: If you’re a woman and are planning on voting for Donald Trump, kindly hand over your ovaries and form a line to the right because that shit’s ridiculous.

Someone wrote yesterday, “You just know Donald Trump is an unsolicited dick pic kinda guy.”

And I thought….yep, that about sums it up.

 

 

Tremors

Last week, I almost fell over while putting on my jeans. Needless to say, I’m not the smoothest of characters. I feel like I’m going to need quite a bit more time on this Earth to become my best self.

I made a step in the right direction today at lunch when I purchased and devoured this bowl of deliciousness..

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Then, the Earth shook…like, 4.8 magnitude shook. I hate to break it to my 3rd grade teacher, but there was no ducking or covering. All that training was in vain because I literally just sat there. My mind flashed back to the conversation I had with God on Saturday after Trump won the South Carolina Primary. It went something like this, “Lord, it might be time to flood the Earth again. Amen.” I not saying my prayer prompted the Earthquake, but I’m not not saying it either.

The second thing I thought was, TREMORS…

One of my coworkers yelled “Shit!” and took cover under his desk, making him my favorite person within a two mile radius.

After the shaking stopped, I did what any normal adult would do. I bought a bag a Funyuns and consumed them immediately. No way in hell I’m letting the last thing I eat in life be fruit. Not on my watch!

It isn’t my time to go, I have so much left to do. I still haven’t mastered the skill of remembering where I parked my car after going into CVS for 10 minutes. In fact, I’m only at CVS because I think having a $2 off coupon justifies me spending $47. I need help.

I have to stop the unnecessary remixing of songs that were just fine as they were. Not every song should be remixed, people!!

Mind you, this is coming from a person who passionately sang along to the song, My Humps, on the way home from my Allergist’s office today where the nurse called me “Sunshine”. Me, Sunshine. She clearly doesn’t know me at all. I can’t leave this Earth being so misunderstood.

Side note, somebody tell Selena Gomez and her adorable chipmunk cheeks to please keep her hands to herself. I’m really uncomfortable hearing a Wizard from Waverly Place sing so seductively on the radio. Stop it.

The point is, unless The Rock will be swooping in to save me, there need not be any more Earthquakes in my neck of the woods. Thank you, kindly.

I feel like you all should know that I’m typing this next to my boyfriend who is watching a Telenovela. El Señor de los Cielos to be exact.

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Aaaannd, he just farted. I’m living the dream. Sleep well.

 

 

 

Shout-Outs

Today brought to my attention some much needed thanks to be given and shout-outs to be heard so here goes.

Shout-out to my ex husband for sharing “how happy he is that he divorced my ass”! Point of fact: I divorced you and, while I like to give credit to my ass for ALL of it’s amazing abilities, let’s thank all of me for the blessed event. That was a super fun walk down memory lane. You’re a peach.

Shout-out to the woman in the stall next to me today for peeing with the force of Niagara Falls, thus making me feel like the daintiest lady alive. Holy, Mrs. Doubtfire!

Thanks to my coworker for agreeing with me that Marie Callender’s pies being $7.99 this month does, in fact, justify having a pie party at the office. (Now taking place on the 11th, you’re all invited)

Shout-out to my right eyeball for having the tiniest speck of annoying dust in it for the last 22 hours and making it look like I have a twitch or am hitting on every person around me.

Thank you, teenage daughter, for getting your nose pierced…causing me to have an actual twitch.

Shout out to my son for telling me that you love me more than everybody, but being sure to still call me a “party pooper” weekly, just to keep me humble.

Thanks to the Salvadorian Rancher/Attorney that happened by our office for the delightful story about your turkey who I’m sure really is in a better place, may he rest in peace.

Shout-out to my boyfriend for taking me seriously enough when I’m pissed off, but not seriously at all when I over think what you hypothetically considered doing in a dream I had. (How could you?!) All the while, being remorseful of your almost actions in my subconscious. You are a modern day prince charming.

Thanks to my best girlfriends for promising to live out our golden years together like Blanche, Rose, and a pinch of Sophia. As previously agreed upon, none of us will be playing the part of Dorothy. We’ll have game night, make mixed drinks, and never wear pants! I love you more than Bloody Mary’s, you are my spirit animals.

Shout-out to my 7 year old niece for the conviction in your voice when saying, “I’m serious, for reals!” You are a force to be reckoned with and I take you seriously, always.

Shout-out to me for audibly talking to myself out in public on a daily basis. Thanks for being weird.

Hey, Gabrielle Union, thanks for Being Mary Jane. You’re beautiful and talented. Let’s do lunch.

Shout-out to Benadryl just for being you.

Thanks to my Mother for teaching me the importance of learning to laugh at myself. I’m becoming a pro.

Thanks to my Father for proving that love really does conquer all.

On a genuine note, thank you to all of my people(you know who you are) who have my back and tolerate my crazy. You’re the bee’s knees. I love you all. I’m serious, for reals.

Last, but certainly not least…Thanks, God, for always reminding me how very much I need you. Clearly, I can’t be left to my own devices.

Emotional Intelligence

Yesterday, my psychologist told me that I’m very emotionally intelligent. Wow. Really? As evident by my last blog, I very much feel like a mess at times. Well, thanks. Guess I’m not crazy after all. I find her statement to be a compliment of the highest order because I truly feel that having high emotional intelligence is even more important than having a high Intelligence Quotient. Since this feels like an award, clearly I have a speech to make.

First, I’d like to thank my parents for having me and for raising me in an almost perfect way, but while making sure to give me just enough issues to fit in with society.

I actually read the book titled Emotional Intelligence years ago…

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so thanks, Daniel Goleman, for writing it.

I’d also like to thank the private, Christian school I attended from 1st through 8th grade for the incredible friendships I made and for making sure I will never want to have too much to do with organized religion. Speaking of…thanks for making me wear a skirt once a week on Chapel days and thanks to all the boys in Jr. High for standing under the stairs while us girls walked up to class thus giving me my first taste of sexual harassment.

Thank you to my Interpersonal Communication class in college for teaching me how to communicate with others effectively, no matter how stupid they are.

Thanks to my sense of humor for apparently keeping me fairly sane all these years. I don’t care how irreverent or offensive my humor is…FUNNY TRUMPS EVERYTHING.

I can’t forget to thank Florence and the Machine for the music and lyrics that got me through some dark times.

On that note, shout out to Lil Wayne. I can’t explain it, but he gets me.

Aaaaannnnddd it wouldn’t be a true acceptance speech if I didn’t thank God for everything. I’m not wearing 20 gold chains or winning an award for Best Rap Video, but I’ll thank God just the same. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s define emotional intelligence…

The ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions.

I love that the definition says “and” not “or”. Having the ability to do ALL three of these things is a must. In fact, I would go one step further and add Communicate  in there….but I’m a talker so that’s just my preference.

The ability to perceive emotions means not just our own, but others’ emotions as well. This is tricky because we all view the world differently and take in information differently. Also, since we’re human, we have all been damaged in some way and these scars can change our view. I think of it like this…we all have experiences in life, some negative and some positive. Every experience adds a filter to our view of the world, ourselves and others. This is part of why everyone has a different “point of view”.

The world is not black and white. It is gray. I’m sure there are those that feel it is black and white, that there is always a right or wrong way. To those people, I say…try out a few therapy sessions, take the MBTI indicator test and learn a little about how different we all are and why there can never be just one way in life.

It goes without saying that those who cannot control their emotions are screwed and should seek help.

Evaluating our emotions is only possible if we are aware of our emotions. Awareness is so important because far too many people like to bury their heads in the sand and shove things under the rug instead of dealing with what they’re feeling. Guys, I know it’s a little scary, but excavating what you are feeling and processing it will be much less painful in the long run. I think communication actually falls under the evaluation part of this process. If you have any kind of relationships in life, you will have to be able to evaluate your emotions and effectively communicate what you are feeling to those that are important to you.

Everybody is going to have pain and deal with rejection at some point in life. It is how we deal with these issues that determines how emotionally healthy we will be. It is how we teach our children to deal with these issues that determines how emotionally healthy they will be.

Is it easier to pretend that everything in life is fine when it’s not? Sure, it’s easier…temporarily. I was a person that stayed in a bad situation for far too long for what I thought were the right reasons. Also because change is scary and saying goodbye is tough, but sometimes it is necessary.

Here is a quote from the next book I will be reading….

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The book this quote is from….

yhst-20550167876698_2167_10539471I’m excited to read this one. Yes, I’m aware that I am a nerd.

Look, if you’ve spent any kind of time with me, you know that I would love nothing more than to walk around with blow darts and a taser so as to temporarily incapacitate the stupid people of the world as I come into contact with them. I have been told this is illegal so I have refrained. However, should I ever win the lottery and have an endless amount of bail money at my disposal, I will move forward with this plan. In the meantime, it is clear that we all have to deal with morons so that is why I choose to read and educate myself on how best to interact with others.

Earlier I mentioned the MBTI indicator test. It’s basically a personality test(one that I have given to many people in my life). I find this stuff fascinating. There are 16 different personality types, here they are…

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Here’s the population breakdown….

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As you can see, we are all very different. Some of us just don’t mix well together, some of us just fit well together. No matter what though, we all have to deal with each other at some point. In a perfect world, people would all be emotionally healthy and treat each other with respect…but this is not a perfect world. I guess we can settle for, let’s all behave like adults and understand that we all see things differently.

Life is way too short to spend our days unhappy or living with regret. By the way, I’m an ENFP.

Here's What I Know…

Brace yourself, this isn’t a post making fun of any celebrities, fashion or stupidity. I know it’s shocking, but try to pay attention.

I am a few days away from my 32nd birthday. This once seemed to be an ancient age (back when I was 11), however, I’ve made it to this point and still feel like I’m not a complete adult. Not sure when that’s supposed to kick in or if I ever want it to. Anyway, back to being 11. I made 3 decisions that year that I have actually stuck with.

Here they are:

1. I would never change my last name. I didn’t care how great my future husband’s last name was, I found it strange that women gave up that part of their identity. Also, c’mon, Nightengale is an awesome last name. I am proud to come from the family that I do and it just felt wrong for me to change it.

2. I would always be a 49ers fan. I know. Maybe I should have reconsidered this decision.

3. I would wake up every day and ask God to give me wisdom. People can educate themselves to no end, but true wisdom is a powerful gift. It’s more than common sense or logic, it is a deep understanding of yourself and others. It is having an almost unexplainable intuition about people and situations. I believe that having wisdom is seeing people the way that God sees us – with complete unconditional love. I am still working on this.

I don’t love religion, but I love God…you want to call it a “higher power” or “the Universe”? Ok, fine, whatever suits you. I say God. I believe in taking the good out of every teaching and religion. I believe in not judging others for their particular faith or lack there of, that is not love.

Here I am, an almost 32-year-old adult(sort of) and this is what I know to be true. Feel free to disagree, I won’t give a shit…

~Everyone needs to be passionate about something in life.

~Without compassion, we are doomed.

~Forgiving is the most important thing a human being can learn to do. Not just for others, but for ourselves as well.

~People who fight to be right will always lose.

~There is no love like the love a parent has for their child.

~Everything seems worse at night.

~There are few things funnier than when my Dad imitates my Mom.

~I have been blessed with fantastic parents.

~I talk too much.

~We could all use a little therapy.

~Nobody has it all figured out.

~Blood doesn’t make you family, but memories, love, loyalty & trust sure do.

~I will never be able to tolerate disingenuous people. Be real or be gone.

~Laughter truly is the best medicine.

~My Mom believes in me more than I believe in myself.

~The ocean always puts things in perspective.

~I often say what others just think.

~There is nothing like reading an amazing book.

~My brother gets me in a way that nobody else ever will.

~My kids are all way too much like me, God help them.

~I’m wrong about something every single day.

~I’m a damn good cook.

~My Father is the most generous person I know.

~My Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins have shaped who I am more than they will ever know.

~I love my dogs & my cat, but I always hated the fish. RIP.

~My most comforting meal will always be Puerto Rican chicken, rice & beans.

~Music has very often been my therapy.

~It will all work out.

~When I think of how much I miss my Grandma, my heart actually physically hurts. I doubt that will change.

~All good things come from God.

~I have an addiction to magazines.

~I love talking to, texting & laughing with my Dad because he’s like me….but smarter.

~Owls are adorable.

~I am vain.

~All forms of Art are valuable; Dancing, Acting, Painting, Singing….we NEED this in the world.

~It really is all about the little things.

~I am loved.

~Happiness is a choice.

~Golden Oreo ice cream is delicious.

~You can’t change others.

~Being at peace with myself is more important than what others think of me.

~I’m superstitious.

~I was definitely a bird in a past life.

~People that place so much value in material possessions, often don’t value themselves.

~Camping at the beach every year with my family is my favorite childhood memory.

~Nothing seems real until I’ve shared it with my Mom.

~Patience is a virtue I sometimes wish I didn’t have so much of.

~Sharks & Snakes are evil.

~Sometimes insanity has a pretty face and lipstick, be careful.

~I worry.

~I like spooky houses, mysteries & conspiracy theories.

~My children are who they are, my job is to help them love and accept themselves, not change them.

~I’m slightly hilarious.

~The smell of a Nectarine makes me smile.

~I will always dance in my kitchen.

~I have so much respect for my Ancestors.

~Sometimes God asks us to do exactly what we don’t want to do. Do it anyway.

~I will forever be a curious person.

~Embracing our own imperfections allows us to love others in spite of theirs.

~I am my Mother’s daughter.

Most of all…

~I know who I am and will never apologize for it.

Here’s What I Know…

Brace yourself, this isn’t a post making fun of any celebrities, fashion or stupidity. I know it’s shocking, but try to pay attention.

I am a few days away from my 32nd birthday. This once seemed to be an ancient age (back when I was 11), however, I’ve made it to this point and still feel like I’m not a complete adult. Not sure when that’s supposed to kick in or if I ever want it to. Anyway, back to being 11. I made 3 decisions that year that I have actually stuck with.

Here they are:

1. I would never change my last name. I didn’t care how great my future husband’s last name was, I found it strange that women gave up that part of their identity. Also, c’mon, Nightengale is an awesome last name. I am proud to come from the family that I do and it just felt wrong for me to change it.

2. I would always be a 49ers fan. I know. Maybe I should have reconsidered this decision.

3. I would wake up every day and ask God to give me wisdom. People can educate themselves to no end, but true wisdom is a powerful gift. It’s more than common sense or logic, it is a deep understanding of yourself and others. It is having an almost unexplainable intuition about people and situations. I believe that having wisdom is seeing people the way that God sees us – with complete unconditional love. I am still working on this.

I don’t love religion, but I love God…you want to call it a “higher power” or “the Universe”? Ok, fine, whatever suits you. I say God. I believe in taking the good out of every teaching and religion. I believe in not judging others for their particular faith or lack there of, that is not love.

Here I am, an almost 32-year-old adult(sort of) and this is what I know to be true. Feel free to disagree, I won’t give a shit…

~Everyone needs to be passionate about something in life.

~Without compassion, we are doomed.

~Forgiving is the most important thing a human being can learn to do. Not just for others, but for ourselves as well.

~People who fight to be right will always lose.

~There is no love like the love a parent has for their child.

~Everything seems worse at night.

~There are few things funnier than when my Dad imitates my Mom.

~I have been blessed with fantastic parents.

~I talk too much.

~We could all use a little therapy.

~Nobody has it all figured out.

~Blood doesn’t make you family, but memories, love, loyalty & trust sure do.

~I will never be able to tolerate disingenuous people. Be real or be gone.

~Laughter truly is the best medicine.

~My Mom believes in me more than I believe in myself.

~The ocean always puts things in perspective.

~I often say what others just think.

~There is nothing like reading an amazing book.

~My brother gets me in a way that nobody else ever will.

~My kids are all way too much like me, God help them.

~I’m wrong about something every single day.

~I’m a damn good cook.

~My Father is the most generous person I know.

~My Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins have shaped who I am more than they will ever know.

~I love my dogs & my cat, but I always hated the fish. RIP.

~My most comforting meal will always be Puerto Rican chicken, rice & beans.

~Music has very often been my therapy.

~It will all work out.

~When I think of how much I miss my Grandma, my heart actually physically hurts. I doubt that will change.

~All good things come from God.

~I have an addiction to magazines.

~I love talking to, texting & laughing with my Dad because he’s like me….but smarter.

~Owls are adorable.

~I am vain.

~All forms of Art are valuable; Dancing, Acting, Painting, Singing….we NEED this in the world.

~It really is all about the little things.

~I am loved.

~Happiness is a choice.

~Golden Oreo ice cream is delicious.

~You can’t change others.

~Being at peace with myself is more important than what others think of me.

~I’m superstitious.

~I was definitely a bird in a past life.

~People that place so much value in material possessions, often don’t value themselves.

~Camping at the beach every year with my family is my favorite childhood memory.

~Nothing seems real until I’ve shared it with my Mom.

~Patience is a virtue I sometimes wish I didn’t have so much of.

~Sharks & Snakes are evil.

~Sometimes insanity has a pretty face and lipstick, be careful.

~I worry.

~I like spooky houses, mysteries & conspiracy theories.

~My children are who they are, my job is to help them love and accept themselves, not change them.

~I’m slightly hilarious.

~The smell of a Nectarine makes me smile.

~I will always dance in my kitchen.

~I have so much respect for my Ancestors.

~Sometimes God asks us to do exactly what we don’t want to do. Do it anyway.

~I will forever be a curious person.

~Embracing our own imperfections allows us to love others in spite of theirs.

~I am my Mother’s daughter.

Most of all…

~I know who I am and will never apologize for it.