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.


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.


Not My favorite Time of the Year

The proceeding words are written by a person who becomes seasonally depressed. I’ve not yet been formally diagnosed. I only know my history, my patterns, and my experiences. I’ve been cautious to really go out on a limb and say that it is what affects me every fall and winter, but considering that this is my third fall in a row where I am indescribably sad for no good reason, it seems to be the only logical conclusion.

For the past three consecutive Septembers/Octobers, I’ve become dejected, moody, uninterested, and uncharacteristically sad. I thought that because I am in a new place with no one I know nearby that perhaps I was just dealing with a minor bout of the blues due to small twinges of isolation. But my friends and family are readily available by phone and I can communicate with them whenever need be. It is usually satisfying. After one such phone call today, I cried a bit, and then it struck me. It’s officially fall, the weather sucks, and it’s been a good seven days without any kind of sunlight. Hi, SAD. You’re a jerk. Go away.


Sometimes, naming the thing helps. Other tactics I will employ:

  • Vitamin D.
  • Omega- 3 (or maybe just eat more fishes)
  • Yoga (yeah, buddy)
  • Melatonin (for the sleeps)
  • Phototherapy (major lamp action)

I may be a bit of an Eeyore and that may suck, but I’m not going to just sit here and take it.



Truth: Being alone is hard.

I don’t do it well. I mindlessly spend money, distract myself from the tasks at hand. I wander aimlessly through my quiet, lonely apartment. I eat for consolation. Hell, I eat out of rebellion. I am not one that enjoys the solitude because the solitude brings thoughts that I can’t bear.

I think about writing. I think about what it would be like to have finally accomplished the book I’ve been working on. I console myself with knowing that some of the greatest works ever published took years. It’s just another thing to keep me from doing what I don’t want to do. I have to get inside myself and find a way to love this woman as she is, instead of how she might be or could be. I have to love myself, not my potential.

I have to come to terms with the fact that my children will grow up, that my lover will either one day die or leave, that my friends will move on with their lives, and I will still have myself to contend with. I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know how to be in myself at this moment and love the person here. Am I worthy of my own love? Of my own dedication and commitment? Love me, so that I may love me? When will I be out of this cycle?

I’ve listed the many ways that I am worthy of love. I’ve detailed my supreme qualities. I’ve been equally doted on and dismissed, and yet all I can do is focus on the many ways that I’ve been dismissed. My, how we humans love to self-castigate. For what reason? Is the religious doctrine we’ve been pummeled with for centuries? If I hate myself enough, if I am good enough, perfect enough, sinless enough, God will love me, people will love me. I’ll never be alone then.

But it isn’t true. I’ve treated people with a surprising amount of tenderness, love, and consideration. I’ve placed the needs of other above my own, time and time again; only to have been left to fend for myself, by myself. Solipsistic, maybe. But it’s all I’ve ever known.

The D Word…

Let’s be really real about something for a minute.

Dating as a single mom sucks. Your life is already jam-packed with kid shenanigans – be it doctor appointments, birthday parties, school events – not to mention, the crap from your ex(es) you’ll have to deal with; plus finding the brain space to function in a work environment. Oh, and if you’re anything like me, go ahead and try to complete that Bachelor’s while you’re at it. You barely have time for your friends, even your mom-friends, let alone dating.

Dating can be one more thing that, while fun, can add a whole new layer of whatthefuck to your already stacked shitcake. More than likely, all the baggage you’ve got from your past relationship(s), of which you cannot really escape (kids aren’t baggage, just so we’re clear), stares you in the face and will do so until the kid is at least 18 years old. 25, if you’re counting college time.  Continue reading

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.

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