I don’t think I’ll change too drastically over the next twelve months, and from what I can tell, I am still thinking along the same lines as ever. But, I do have goals that I’m still working towards – some changes, but overall, still the same me

  • Complete all university assignments prior to due date
  • Raise CGPA to 3.5 or higher
  • IF; 16 hour fasting state, 8 hour nom window.
  • 24 hour Fast Jan 31
  • Complete a Whole30 challenge Feb 1st- Mar 4th.
  • Recommit to the lifting/cardio work out plan @ Planet Fitness beginning NLT Jan 17
  • Utilize Piyo as a back-up
  • Yoga to my heart’s content
  • Continue to learn Russian (duolingo/lingtwins)
  • Revitalize Spanish fluency


See… same old Tess, even if it is a new year.

I’d been on the fence about how to approach my health this year. I’ve come to accept that 2016 was a year of transition, of challenges, and I realize that because I was distressed the majority of the year, the way I handled food was more reactionary. I used food, the wrong foods, as a stress reliever instead of yoga, which I’d used previously. I’d considered forgoing healthy habits and fitness because “I have so much on my plate right now.” I have the same amount of stuff I’ve always had. I’ve always had work, school, children, and friendships – so that excuse is bullshit. I’d considered embracing my new body, and giving up the fight for health because of “body positivity.” BoPo is a GREAT movement. I encourage and applaud everyone involved and all who are cheered on by what proponents do – however, body positivity encourages a healthy relationship with food, movement, and yourself and those involved typically love and embrace their bodies. They are happy with their bodies and find ways to encourage inclusion in the mainstream. Even at my lightest, I may still be considered just left of the mainstream – but I digress. I am not positive about my body right now. I am positive about my body when I nourish it, when I move it, when I don’t fill it with garbage. I know what makes me happy, and how to treat myself when I’m happiest – whole foods, yoga, dance, and a normal exercise regiment. I gotta stop kidding myself.

And maybe, possibly, part of my habits and mindsets are part of an underlying mental wound that has never and will never fully heal. It’s not pleasant, but being a victim, whining about it, and doing nothing changes nothing. It’s up to me to take care of myself, to heal myself. I’m rebuilding in 2017. Greater than ever.

It’s up to you to do the same. Save yourself, from whatever ails you – be it food, drug, alcohol,  or unhealthy, unloving thought patterns, behaviors, and relationships. Another day spent spinning your wheels isn’t worth the pain, frustration, and despair. You don’t have to be perfect, the situation doesn’t have to be the best, and you don’t have to have all the information right this second – learn as you go, change as you go. But don’t wait. You have now. Make the most of it.


Lighter Notes

I’m pretty psyched that the end of 2016 is quickly approaching. This year was a lot; a lot of change, of uncertainty, of everything being up in the air. It challenged me to learn, to be my best self, to figure out what I really wanted. With all the bullshit, I still managed to meet the most amazing, loving, supportive, present man and fall crazily in love with him – and he with me. The months with him have passed so quickly. Seeing how he interacts with my children, how he guides them, advises them, and befriends them blows me away. There is a knowing, a safety, and a comfort being with him. He’s my present and my future. I’m set.

Work is coming together. I’m enjoying what I do, I’ve reclaimed my passion for my industry. I’m no longer seeking a way out, but a way to make myself more useful in my profession. This is a blessing. I have found my calling and at 30, I have a blossoming career.

I’ve been lucky enough to be part of a good group of women and to develop friendships with some of them. I am easing into these relationships, as I am cautious and reminded of the some traumatic events from years passed. I want to allow people to become close to me, but not for their amusement or malicious benefit. I will wait, patiently observing behaviors to determine the safety of the situation. Extreme? Maybe.


My next three major goals:

  • Reclaim my physical health by maintaining a weekly workout regime and healthful eating habits
  • Raise my GPA to a 3.0 by graduation
  • Eliminate credit card debt, a car payment, and begin to build a savings nest.


What I will not do is allow my children or my romantic relationship to suffer. After everything that has happened this year, my priority will always be to protect my children and ensure that my guy feels loved and appreciated. Without him, I may have given up here and returned to a life I hated, but was comfortable in. He saved me more than he knows or is willing to admit. I am a feminist, do not be mistaken, and he is a man who is strong enough to support me in that and kept pointing me in the right direction, even without directly telling me what to do. He saved me by being there, physically and emotionally, by having my back and being my safe place when I felt like everything was crumbling around me.

This is everything I’ve been asking for. I am grateful, humbled, and amazed by my good fortune.

Room to grow

The past several days has taken quite a bit out of me. Over the past few years, I’ve become quite accustomed to being alone and having few friends. It’s had its lonely moments, but it was safer. However, safe isn’t always the best thing one can do for oneself. So, I’ve branched out a little and opened myself back up to the possibility of maintaining friendships. It’s not easy. I imagine there will always be people that I hesitate to build connections with. Those that I have connected with require attention and that’s especially true over this weekend. I had a few friends who came to me for guidance, assurance, or general griping. I value their confidences in me. But by the middle of the third day, one of my closer friends could read on my face just how exhausted I was of it and how much I just needed to not help someone at that moment.

I still have work I need to do. I still have edges I feel need smoothing out. I’m still not great at picking up nuances in conversations sometimes. It’ll come with practice and as things change, eventually all these things I see as hindrances will become funny anecdotes. Maybe. I’m not really great at stories, but it’s possible. There’s room to grow here.

I feel like I’m hitting my stride; I’m beginning to understand what life is about. That’s a weird sentence to read. Throughout my 20s, I don’t remember giving life’s purpose much thought. I don’t remember being overly concerned with my personal growth or what I could be doing with my time on Earth. I was just sort of there. I was tending to my children, tending to my ex-husband and his family, tending to just about everyone but myself. I’m grateful I was able to realize what I was doing, and how it wasn’t going to help me feel fulfilled. I’m grateful for the choices I’ve made leading up to this point in my life, and thankful for the people I know and am getting to know. I don’t know if I’m ready for more challenges, but I’m sure they will come regardless.


Begin Again

When my marriage ended five years ago, one of the deciding factors was the knowledge that I did not know who I was or what I wanted. I did not know what my own interests were. I did not have any hobbies. I had ambition, but I did not know for what. For a while afterwards, I was aimless. I followed along or I did what I was used to – neither of which was smart. I didn’t really know where to start…so I went back to what I knew I liked the last time I knew myself.

As a teenager, I loved music and art and reading. I loved dancing and yoga. I loved inline skating, wrestling, superhero and zombie movies, and writing. I revisited some of those same things on my quest to know myself better. I’ve seen where I was less genuine, and why, and as an adult, one who enjoys learning and understanding, it takes effort to be more of who I really am instead of who I think I should be.

I’ve been struggling with accepting myself for the past couple years or so and when things didn’t work out, I momentarily wondered why. When I am honest with myself, when I stop trying so hard, when I stop worrying and trying to control – things tend to just fall out the way they’re supposed to.

A dear friend of mine is going through one of the hardest things a person can experience. Everything he has held dear for the last 14 years is in question and he feels lost. To him, I’ve said – “You’ve done all that you can do. You’ve given all of yourself to all of these things in your best effort to make it work. If you’ve done all you can do, rest. These things may not be for you, and I know it’s painful to hear that and it’s even more difficult to accept – but you must rest. You have nothing left to give.”

So little in life is actually up to us. You can want, and work, and beg, and plead and still nothing will come up you. When you can do nothing more, rest. Then begin again.




I am really, thoroughly exhausted and I don’t want to be. I’ve drank two cups of coffee. But you know what, it might be time to bring out the big guns (pre-workout).

My eldest kid told me yesterday that she wanted to start running to get her body ready for playing soccer and basketball next year. In my family, we are not terribly athletic. I practice yoga and sometimes run – and that’s about it. No one else in my family cares two toots about health – even with obesity, diabetes, and heart disease being major players in our collective health history. So, when my kid takes an interest in sports and health, I’m all about it.

She asked me to run with her. At 6am.

I remember being ten, feeling fat and unhealthy, and asking my mom to help me. She did what she could, but she didn’t really know much about what to eat or not eat or what to do or not do. Mom always had a slim frame, so weight wasn’t an issue for her. I’ve been interested in health since then and I’ve accumulated a lot of information. Now, I’m not in tip-top, perfect health, but I can, at least, go run with my kid in the morning.

So I did. I’m just really tired now.


So, some things I’m trying to accomplish today:

  • This paper I don’t want to write.
  • A powerpoint based on the paper I don’t want to write.
  • Three other random assignments that I hope won’t take longer than 20 minutes each.
  • Inspection for the vehicle.
  • Random errands.



Back to homework! Right?



This summer was weird.

Most people  I know had a really weird, off-putting summer. Unexpected life events took some by surprise. Others were blindsided, sidelined, benched…

I made the big move. My kids and I no longer live in Nashville. I miss it occasionally. But Virginia is just as green, with hills that gently roll  and a climate that isn’t overwhelmingly humid. For as metropolitan as D.C. is, it’s still not as gray as Houston was. People are still surprisingly Southern here and I’m learning that isn’t just Southernese that people fluently speak. It’s a completely new dialect of Corporatese, which is familiar and disgustingly thick with subversiveness. I’m learning, too, that things concerning my career are not all that different from what I had previously. People still do peopley things. They still undercut one another – and others will go above and beyond to help out a stranger.

There is upward momentum here. There are options, choices, different career paths available, which is much more than Nashville could offer me. At the heart of it, I do think that being able to connect with people will be the deciding factor. I don’t believe it’s about being well-connected – I still think it’s about not being an asshole.

My kids had a fun summer with their grandmother and dad. They came home with bronzed skin, full bellies, and plenty of stories to share. We are rebuilding our lives right now; we’re learning how to make do with not very much and they’re excited about it. I love that we’ve learned how to be content with barren walls, a futon, a couple of air mattresses. One never needs much to be content.  It’s us against the world – always has been – but the world is probably not as scary as we’ve been led to believe. It has scary elements, a few broken people, but it’s a mostly good place.

Maybe I’m too much the optimist.


The In-Between

Rarely do I start a post knowing what the title is going to be, but today is different. I know you don’t know that I chose my title before beginning the meat of what I want to say, but I knew the essence anyway. And this rambling here, this is only because I’m not sure how to begin at all. Do I start with a cute anecdote or dive right in? No, this intro will do.

My mornings are very routine. After driving an hour to work, I sit at my desk and I open both my work email and my personal. Whatever I didn’t get to yesterday afternoon at work is perused and relegated to a checklist, which I’ll tackle throughout the day. In my browser, CNN, MSN, Yahoo!, Facebook…typical, I think. I look around to my cohorts – their screens are similar. All is as it should be.

In my personal email, I read the Daily Skimm and when I have the pleasure, a Lenny Letter. Skimm keeps me briefly updated the most current and relevant news on an international and national level. The Lenny Letters – so named for the co-creator Lena Dunham (fantastic, fantastic, fantastic) – are gorgeously written essays by women of different background with similar political and personal agendas. It is an authentic feminist forum with a markedly positive message.

It was today’s Lenny Letter that got me thinking about how in-between everything I am. Jami Attenberg wrote an essay about being a writer in New York, her view of the skyline and how, over three years, it had all changed. She casually noted how varying the income of a writer is and how she had thought she would never own a home (until she did). It started me thinking about how I have seemingly accomplished all the trappings of a very nice life for a very nice family. It’s all very nice.

As nice and quaint and cute as it all may be, as Americana and traditional and predictable as it appears, I am becoming evermore cognizant that it lacks authenticity. It is the voice that never quiets – the ghost of my childhood self who would never compromise her truth for a paycheck. She is relentless.

The call to write is growing louder. I read my books, I take in bits and pieces of knowledge, I write this blog, I bend to the beckons of my poems and stories when they call. But I admit I am distracted. I am distracted by providing for my children, by increasing my workplace value, by continuing to create a life that does not reflect my artistic nature to benefit three lives that never asked to be, yet are.

Practicality is the only reason I continue to be an in-between. It is impractical to abandon my career and force my children to raise themselves. I won’t damn them to figure out the world alone.  I am building the skills and the tools to eventually crossover from this gray area and into my golden animation – but for now, and for the sakes of my children, this is the way it must be.

Summer Reading Goals

Hi friends! Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Taco Thursday! One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, FLOOR.

And of course, Revenge of the Fifth.

Leisurely reading has been on my wonderful list of things to do and, like most of my other goals, I set it aside and abruptly forgot (I think I was distracted by cooking shows or something). I have done well to read some personal development books (these are kind of essential, I think) and I’m ready for something meatier.

The two at the top of my list are Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie and The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo – followed abruptly by my anthology of Kurt Vonnegut and then Edgar Allen Poe.  My eldest kid has her own reading assignments (she requested them!) of To Kill a Mockingbird and Harry Potter 4 and Harry Potter 5.

Midnight’s Children was a Christmas gift and though I have made some honest attempts to lose myself within its delightful imagery, life has been chaotic. I’ve decided to slow down some and make room for the things I’ve said are important to me. If reading and books are life, then a certain amount of dedication must be paid.

Just as yoga requires attention, as does my love of words.

One of the greatest mistakes I think most anyone makes is failing to develop his or her inner self, apart from the rest of society. We fail to distinguish ourselves from our families, our friends, and our intimate relationships. Having made that mistake and learnt from it, I know how freeing it can feel to be rooted in yourself.

Over the coming months, there are things I will gleefully subtract from my life in order to make room for new things and experiences. I’m anxious to get started, happy to see positive changes and excited to move my life in a new direction.

Hello, Good Afternoon, No.

I’ve been trying to come up with something witty or helpful or at least, interesting to write today. I have a few poems at home, tucked in a journal, that I’ve been meaning to get to (but haven’t) and there’s that gnawing at the back of my mind, urging me to get going again on my novel series.

I am the laziest human being. I’m probably the embodiment of sloth and entitlement. What do you mean no one reads my stuff?! Oh. It’s because I haven’t posted anything. I’m disappointed that more people haven’t read this cute, pithy, little blog of mine, but really. It’s insignificant and unimportant. I’m still searching for validation – if only I weren’t such a broken human being!

But you know what, something glorious happened to me a few days ago. I forgot to give a fuck. The story behind it is pretty boring and nondescript. I was with family and some were upset because of a decision I’ve made to send all three of my kiddos to Wyoming for the summer.  Normally, I’d be anxious about disappointing someone.  But in that moment, my only thought was, “I have no inclination to appease you – I don’t even hear from you on a regular basis. Tell me again why I need to rearrange my plans for you…”

My family is full of opinions. Open-mouthed and closed-minded.

And people often wonder why I stay silent.

My family isn’t living my life.  I don’t agree with their decisions and they don’t agree with mine – and that’s perfectly acceptable. But, unless you want me to illuminate you on your many, many errors, keep your opinions about my life to yourself – because I’m not asking you what to do. I’m not asking permission and I’m certainly not asking forgiveness.

I’m done asking for permission, or opinions, or guidance. I’ve thought for long enough that I was doing something wrong, that I was such a failure.

How in the hell have I ever failed?!

I haven’t failed at anything. So, pooh pooh on your opinions and “advice.”

Now… about accomplishing these writing goals….


Whole Truths, Half Truths, and Bald-faced Lies

Yesterday I wrote about the trinity of my family – honesty, vulnerability, and kindness – and like most other people, after I finished the entry the theme stayed with me. I thought about some of the ways that I hadn’t been honest, vulnerable, or kind. I also reflected on many of the ways that I had observed my actions and made a conscionable effort to live more in line with my values. It’s easy, so easy, to get caught up in all the wrong we do, in all the ways we don’t walk our talk – at least it is for me. Life is our greatest teacher, but what good are the lessons if you forget them afterwards?

Until very recently, one could say that I was not living honestly. Continue reading