Friday Feels: July

Last month I started a new monthly segment here on the blog: Friday Feels. It came from an idea to merge two other bloggers' great ideas - but of course, with my own self-love and mental health twist added in. (Real the full intro to the series and the very first Friday Feels here.) The general idea of what I came up with was to take the feelings I'd been living with a lot at that time, list them out, and then share about what things in my life were sending those feelings my way.

This time I thought it would be more fun (and lend a deeper sense of exploration to my time writing the post) if I used totally random feelings, and talked about what's going on in my life in that way. But I like to think I know me pretty well, and I knew that if I just picked ten "random" feelings off the top of my head, they would be exactly what they were last month - my most-felt and not necessarily randomly chosen feelings. Better to go another way if I wanted to be truly random in my choice.

Next I debated coming to you guys and posting something on social media, asking y'all to suggest feelings I could delve into with this post - but judging by the number of page views as compared reader comments both here and on social media ... well ... the thing is? Y'all be lurkin'. So I kinda had the feeling that if I did that, no one would answer (except for that one company that follows me on Instagram and leaves one of about four possible comment variations on about every 3rd-5th post I put up, #SpammersAintSoCleverAfterAll) and I'd be right back to where I started.

So I googled a random feeling generator, clicked on this page, refreshed it ten times, and came up with the following:

1. Accepting:
It's kind of perfect that this particular emotion came up, as I've been working so much lately on simply being more accepting of whatever I happen to be feeling. I tend to kick myself when I have negative emotions, and years of being told how "negative" I am has really given me a certain weirdness over my emotions in general. Exposure to toxic narcissism over the years left me feeling afraid and ashamed of my emotions for a long time, particularly any negative emotion. If I was sad I was "being negative," if I was outwardly angry I was "acting crazy," if I was hurt or afraid of getting hurt again I was "not letting things go." It's taking me some work now to remember that emotion is a healthy thing - all of it.

2. Alarmed:
One of the people who triggers my PTSD in a huge way (partly because he is one of the people who took part in my developing it) is my kids's dad - I am an abandoned daughter in a lot of ways, and now that I'm raising two mostly-abandoned daughters, their dad is a major sore spot for me. I would have liked for us to be able to co-parent in a civil way, remembering to respect each other as people even if we aren't compatible as a couple. I would have settled for us being able to co-parent at all because we're both still parents of these two kids. But it just hasn't worked out that way, and as he walks in and out of our daughter's lives without a care for how it impacts them as young women, I'm alarmed as I think of the days to come - when they will seek out their own romantic partners, influenced by the examples they have seen.

3. Cautious:
Caution is a part of PTSD. Caution is that thing that kicks in when the fight-or-flight response is triggered; it's what makes us so able to think through things quickly, discovering and discarding possible scenarios dependent upon our actions and reaction. These days, I'm cautious about everything, from my interaction with friends and romantic interests to my parenting techniques and who I choose to work with, both publicly and behind the scenes. I'm cautious about what I eat, how much I drink, where and when and how I spend money. I'm cautious as I walk through a parking lot no matter what time of day it is, when I walk up and down the stairs of the house we live in, when I pull into an intersection. Part of this is PTSD - the hypervigilance and hyperawareness that are constant parts of my everyday existence. But another part of this is simply knowing that I'm all my children have - that they need and deserve a cautious mother who works to protect them, serve them, guide them, and always be there for them.

4. Disappointed:
What disappoints me most these days? Honestly, that would be past-life me - the me of years past, the me that got me where I am in life. The me who trusted the wrong people, who loved too easily, who gave too much, too many times. The me who didn't learn fast enough, who adapted to what was there instead of standing up for what would have been right. I tell this to my therapist and she shakes her head, reminding me to give myself grace and patience, reminding me to be understanding of the me that was before, the girl who didn't yet know any better, even if present me thinks past me should have been smarter.

5. Festive:
I don't share everything here, but because my focus is on mental health and building a healthy lifestyle - especially in the wake of my developing full-blown PTSD in the first place - I often share stories of the more subdued and "negative" side of my life. People are often surprised to find out what lies behind the blog though - the deeper things that are so personal I don't share them, despite all the very personal things that I do share. But this too shall pass, whatever "this" happens to be in any given moment - and the hope fostered by that knowledge is the bubbling fount of any festivity I might be feeling at any given time. The knowledge that I'm giving my all to coaching my kids and improving our life despite our challenges gives me hope, and the slow realization that they (at least, Joey so far) can see the strength of that effort gives me the courage needed to keep making it. Slowly, our life will change and grow into what I've always wanted it to be - because now, after so long waiting, it finally can.

6. Glad:
One of the things I'm most glad about these days is that I have this platform of support to stand on. I love knowing that I can come here and talk about my stories and my life, sharing with all of you and receiving the support that comes my way. Now and then I get a comment or email that reminds me of exactly why I feel like I was meant to do this, and it warms my heart so much to know that putting my life and my self out there in this way is paying off for others. I'm also glad to know that I can use this platform to encourage others to explore their own feelings and experiences - and with that being said, if you have a blog or public page where you'd like to share your own Friday Feels, feel free to link them up in the link list below!

7. Helpless:
Life is hard - you guys already know that. We're all facing our own challenges, and as much as I hate my own sometimes, I know that you guys have them too. You're facing death and divorce, parenting challenges and financial problems. I know your lives aren't all that different from mine in many ways, and that's one of the things I love best about coming here to share with you. I love that you get it. But I also have really big dreams for what I want my writing to accomplish - big dreams that aren't just for my benefit. Bit dreams that I'm helpless to act on right this minute. I'm still building, and I'm still manifesting, and I'm still praying all the time, claiming what I already know God has in store for me. But in the meantime ... in the time of waiting that I seem to be locked in right now ... I truly do sometimes feel totally helpless.

8. Peaceful:
The thing about helplessness, especially if you know that you can't just get up right now and change it, and especially if you also know that it is, little by little, already changing, is that you can find peace in the waiting. It's true that sometimes I feel utterly helpless to change the situation I'm in or to make things things look different right now for my daughters - but it's also true that I'm praying constantly and writing whenever I can, trying to build something that will become a new way of life for my family. I believe with all my heart that when God gives someone a dream, He does it because that's what they're meant to do in some capacity. And I don't think He'd have made me a writer if I wasn't meant to do something with it. So while I'm waiting, I continue everyday to strive for peace.

9. Torn:
Lately, what I've been most torn about is the fact that my girls are going back to school! I love that they're going back to class and they're both looking forward to getting back into the school routine. They're looking forward to getting back to their friends too, and after a summer of 24/7 parenting all on my own with no partnership from their dad, I'm really looking forward to being able to carve out a little alone time to spoil myself in the quiet - or get some writing done without constant interruptions for a change. But the other side of that is that I'm back to long days without my babes, huge piles of paperwork and things to sign, and the stress of the upcoming holiday season. Back to school is a good thing for an overwhelmed single mom ... but it's not necessarily such a great thing for a mommy who's gonna be missing her babies.

10. Upset:
Hmm. What's upsetting me lately, other than the usual things and the constant cloud of my van's transmission hanging over my head? I think honestly, what upsets me most lately has been the idea that I've been cheating myself in a huge way all this time by not taking daily probiotics. Some of you will remember reading this post from when LoveBug Probiotics reached out to me about trying and reviewing three of their adult Probiotic lines.

Well, I started taking them the day that first post went live - I started with the Colds Suck and took only those for seven days. This line is intended to help boost immune system health by repopulating the microbiome in the gut with more effective and beneficial bacteria essential to the health of your body, and by then end of that first week, I had been able to increase my energy in a major way without actually changing anything else. It started getting easier and easier to get up a little early every morning, which changed the course of the whole day because I was able to carve out a few minutes of my own before the girls woke up. This was something I had been struggling with and knew I needed to get under control before the girls go back to school - I didn't want to shock my system with a sudden change from sleeping til 10 to sleeping til 5! I also managed to increase my water intake in that first week, which was great, too. This past Sunday, in addition to the Colds Suck supplement from LoveBug Probiotics, I also started taking Here's the Skinny, and while I can't say whether or not I've dropped any pound-weight (because I don't weigh myself - it's just not good for my mental health), I can say definitively that I see a small change in the shape of my body and the fit of my clothing in general. I'm definitely happy to be able to report that I'm feeling less ... puffy.

And while all of this is great news, what upsets me about it is that I feel like I've lost valuable time! I'm just about halfway through my challenge to use the full month's supply of the three product lines LoveBug sent to me, and I can say that I'm thrilled to have had the chance to partner with them to review their products. I'm looking forward to seeing how things develop in the coming weeks as I finish up the products included in my LoveBug influencer box.

Today's "Featured Favorite Product" is again (of course), LoveBug Probiotics - so seriously guys, take some time to check them out on Amazon - they even have prenatal supplements and supplements for kids, and I really love the way LoveBug has the whole family in mind. I'm truly excited to see how things work out for me in the next few weeks!

Quick Disclaimer: Since the above link is an affiliate link, remember that if you choose to click product links on my site and end up purchasing through them, I will receive a (very) small commission for referring you. Rest assured that this is at no extra cost to you, but my family and I appreciate your support. Also, this is not a sponsored post - I was not compensated for this post or for my eventual review. I did, however, receive a complimentary influencer box of products to test. (If you'd like to see a list of other companies I'm currently working with, click here.)
Even though this post is not officially a part of my partnership with LoveBug Probiotics, I really am still so thrilled to have had the chance to work with this company. (and psst! If you're still reading this but still not sure you're ready to invest, here's how you can try LoveBug for one month, FREE!)

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