You Can Take the Girl Out of the City, But You Can’t Take the City Out of the Girl

Winter 2016 on the Upper West Side

When I came back to Michigan, there were many things I wasn’t prepared for.

Winter in November was one of them.

Although I spent the past five years on the East Coast, Northern Michigan is a whole new ballgame.  Despite living in town, the heavy snow and the ice makes is nearly impossible to even walk down the street- this morning, I fell twice in my own neighborhood.

Ouch.

As I waited for the bus to get to work, a man called out to me, “you know, the bus isn’t coming up the hill today!”  I looked over at him, as snow fell off the fur on the hood of my new Michael Kors coat and into my eyes.  “Oh?” I replied, “Where does it pick up?”

“At the bottom of the hill!”

I stared at him as I wiped the snow from my face.  Well, I suppose I can make it to the bottom of the hill.

Begrudgingly, I turned around and started walking.  My clothes were already getting wet from the heavy snow, but that didn’t stop me.  I’d walk all the way to work if I had to!  A mile and a half is nothing when you’re used to walking over 10 miles each day in the city.

As I continued to walk, my feet slipped on the snow-packed pavement.  Catching my fall, my leg started to cramp.  I kept going.  Then, as I hit another icy patch, my coffee mug flew out of my hand, my phone detached from my headphones, and I fell flat on my back.  I paused for a moment.

I can’t do this shit.

All sorts of things began running through my mind at this moment.  Should I keep going?  Should I dry my phone off and see if there is an Uber nearby?  Or do I just go home, call my boss, and tell her what happened?

I decided to go with option #3.

I may be a winter baby who loves bundling up, wearing cute boots, gloves, and hats, but when my nearly 35-year-old body is in pain, the best option is to stay inside.

Maybe I should mention that I haven’t driven a car in almost six years- and I am not about to start now.  Can you even imagine the damage I could do to myself or others if I were to drive on this ice?  It wouldn’t be pretty- not to mention bad for my anxiety.

You can take the girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl- even if it means she’ll attempt to walk a mile and a half in the snow and risk falling on her butt.

Vulnerability is Empowerment

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” -Brené Brown

For the past three years I’ve used this blog as a journal to connect with others and document what I’m going through, what I’ve learned, and to share what inspires me.  Today I re-launched mindfulinstyle.com as a place to empower women to feel beautiful, inside and out. Through storytelling, journaling, and discovering your authentic style, my hope is to inspire others to own their story- no matter what other people may say about it.

I wasn’t always comfortable with being vulnerable, though.

For many years, I played chameleon and hid my insecurities.  I wasn’t open and honest about my fears, my alcoholism, and I certainly didn’t know how to own my shortcomings.  I played the victim and avoided people who hurt me- and those who I hurt, too.

Instead of letting the opinions of others get the best of me, I learned to take back my narrative and take responsibility for my past; for my past no longer defines me.  It’s made me the person I am today- the person who has overcome her challenges and is finally living out the life I always wanted to live.

Mindful in Style has helped me feel content in my own skin, and moving home to Michigan has been symbolic of no longer running from myself. Whether it’s helping women find their voice, their passions, or their personal style, I’m excited to see where Mindful in Style can go.

I’m Not Ignoring You, I’m Just Living In The Moment

Each minute of every day, we have communication right there in our pocket (or in my case, a Henri Bendel handbag).

From texts to calls, our phones never cease to ring, beep, or buzz.  We receive social media alerts, Tweets, and comments.  Since it’s so easy to get a hold of one another, people sometimes forget that we all have our own lives, obligations, and self care to attend to.  It’s not necessary to respond to everything we receive right away.

In this day and age, it’s crucial to take the time to go “off the grid” to focus on what’s right there in front of you.  Whether it’s spending face time with friends and family, reading a book, or enjoying time in nature, it’s so important to put down the phone and be in the moment.  Embracing what is right in front of you is what life is all about.

You don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why it took you a few hours to respond, nor do you need to feel obligated to check your Facebook feed every hour.  It’s important to remember that life is happening around us every minute, and although the virtual world can be fun (and important for staying in touch with our loved ones), being mindful and in the moment is the greatest gift of all.

So, put down your iPhone and do something that takes you back to your childlike joy.

Your mental health will thank you.

Living With Anxiety

Most people who meet me wouldn’t guess I live with anxiety.

Like anyone else, I have to take special care of my mental health, my highs and lows, and my sobriety.

Just because I put down the drink doesn’t mean everything will magically be sunshine and butterflies.  No, drinking was a solution to my crippling fear of what other people thought of me, my insecurities, and my stress.  Alcohol became much more of a hazard than a solution as the years went on, so I was faced with no choice than to put it down.

People who don’t know me wouldn’t suspect I’m an alcoholic, either.  But as I hit 30, I was no longer able to drink casually or control the things I did or said.  It stopped being fun, and started making my highs and lows much worse.

Being home in Michigan has triggered those old feelings of anxiety, worries, and fear.  Although I’m surrounded by love, there are still people in my life who just don’t get it.

They may think I’m pining away for a drink, but in reality, I’m so grateful to be sober.  That doesn’t change the fact that I still have those teenage girl feelings from time to time- very real feelings of anxiety.  It isn’t something I can control, which is why I started to meditate daily, take a lot of walks, and spend time in nature every single day.  Spending time alone is crucial to balance in my life, which can be hard when I am back in the place I grew up.

When things are going well or life is mellow, I seem to forget about the anxiety.  I forget how painful it can be, and how I feel I let people down if I’m not doing what “they” want or expect of me.  However, living in NYC and Boston for five years taught me to set boundaries, love myself as I am, and to not let expectations rule my life.

I am what I am.

Sometimes simply a missed call or text message (which, of course, I feel obligated to respond to immediately) will get my heart racing and will send me into worst case scenario mode.  I worry what people are thinking, whether or not they’re mad at me, or if I said the right thing if they need support or advice.  I have to remember that even though I try to help others, I first need to take care of myself.

If you don’t fill your own cup of wellness, how can you offer anything to others?

I may put on my sunglasses and a smile, but I have hard days, too.  Sometimes I want to spend all day in bed, ignore my phone, and be alone.  On others, I am go-go-go, social, and energetic.  Life is all about balance- and self care.

You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can own the story that is yours.