The Ultimate Mood Boost

The Inspiration

I had a strange dream last night and it had nothing to do with me. Sometimes I think I have strange dreams because of a late night chocolate fix, but I didn’t have chocolate last night. It was a series of dreams, but what stood out the most was a tyrannosaurus rex bursting through an arcade game. Yeah tell me about it, I didn’t know how to spell that dinosaur’s name properly until today.

Well, the fun didn’t stop there. Next thing I know I’m following a fashion design team with one of the guys from Queer Eye. He’s wearing the furry coat number that Selena Gomez was sporting in the first episode of Only Murders in the Building. This fashion design team walk into a posh hair salon to get a blow out, but it’s not really a blow out because they were all at a wash station immersing their head and half their body into these strange sinks operated by machines. Their designer clothes were getting a good shampoo rinse too. Somehow they pulled some Dr. Suess Cat in the Hat magic because they looked even more fabulous after their hair treatment.

I woke up from those dreams with my heart palpitating in my chest. Once my heart rate returned to normal, I decided that a post on self-expression might help someone who maybe going through it. Here’s a little bit of sunshine from me to you.

Self-Expression

I’ve been on this self trip lately. It’s been refreshing, empowering and inspirational. When I hear self-expression, images of people wearing clothes that are far from the norm pop into my head. How many people do you know walk around in furry coats like Selena?

Self-Expression by fictional character Mabel played by Selena Gomez wearing a furry orange coat

Maybe it’s a New York City thing, I don’t know. During Only Murders in the Building, the subtitles said the coat was yellow, but it’s clearly a shag carpet orange,right?

Let it be known I live in rural Florida, where wearing something other than a t-shirt is called dressing up. It’s a quirky place to live, but I’m not a huge fan of crowds, so living in sunny rural Floridait works for me. Mabel wears funky coats and my self-expression comes through my words. So how we can we express ourselves?

How Do We Express Ourselves?

Is it through the way we dress, our hairstyle, what we drive or the way we promote ourselves on social media? Self-expression displays who we are to the world. It can be found in the way creatives express themselves through writing, dance, music, or visual arts.

Self-expression is not meant to make us more likeable by others. Think of it as helping us reach our more authentic selves. When we become more in tune with our unique selves, it has the ability to boost our mood and reduce anxiety.

Now that we know the benefits it can bring to our lives, how can we get back to our authentic self?

How to Promote Self-Expression

“While some rules are necessary and good for us, living a life based on others’ rules, needs, and expectations can stifle your self-expression and creativity, and keep a lid on your potential.”

-Lauren Mackler

Take a moment to answer the following questions in your journal.

What’s the first thing that pops up in your head when I ask about your happiness? What makes you happy?

What do you enjoy doing now?

What are you AWESOME at?

What are your favorite colors?

What’s your favorite song?

What are your current interests outside of writing?

Now create a vision board with these thoughts in mind. Keep it in a spot where you will see it often. The bathroom mirror is a good place to start or maybe on your desktop. It might even be a good idea to put it in a place where your friends and family gather when they come for a visit. Wouldn’t that make for a great conversation piece?

Conclusion

Please make time to do the things that bring you joy. We only have so much of it on this planet. I hope you found this post to be helpful. If so, please like, share, and follow. Thank you for dropping by!

I’m Fine

A Dialogue Exchange

“How are you doing today?”,asked the Publix cashier.

With a one-second smile, I replied, “I’m fine.” She handed me the receipt and I walked out with my cart full of groceries. Social interaction, complete. Although, the truth was, “I wasn’t fine.” This is one example of many interactions we have in a day. What we need is more of an authentic dialogue exchange.

How often do we tell the truth about how we’re doing? Have you had a bad day and told the cashier that it was just an effing bad day and you wished people would leave you the hell alone? Nope, I’m pretty sure you said you were fine and you went about your business.

In an alternate dialogue exchange, I could have said, “I’m not having a great day, but I’m trying to have a better one.” I could then wish the cashier a good day herself. It’s as simple as that. The social interaction was leveled up with a dash of kindness.

What If…

What if we treated strangers as a friend we haven’t met yet? Think about it. Your friends and your significant other were strangers to you at one time or another.

Here’s a story for you. I once met a guy at work. He switched departments and was working in mine. I can’t remember who said hello first, but I knew there was something irresistible about him. I was magnetized to him from the start. The man who used to be a stranger became my husband and the father of our two girls.

Wouldn’t you say the most important people who were once strangers have added significant value to your life? For the record, he says he asked me some work questions so I would keep talking to him.

Conclusion

The lesson? Next time you want to say, “I’m fine.” Tell them how you’re really doing. You never know what will happen when you genuinely answer a question.

We’re all out here on this earth wanting to be understood and cared for. The least we could do for one another is give them a kind word. Try wishing someone a good day in return. Sometimes one single act of kindness can make or break someone’s day. Hope you all have a good one!

Post-Mormon Life

In one of my last posts, I talked about authenticity. This is me practicing what I preach. Welcome to my post-Mormon life.

“I believe in Heavenly, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost and Joseph Smith. I believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to be the only true church and that Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet of God to guide us during these latter days. I am grateful for the temple and for the opportunity to be sealed with my family for time and all eternity. I know that families can be together forever and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Does this sound a little familiar? This was my LDS testimony.

It’s been nearly eight years since I asked to have my records removed, but there are days when I miss the predictability of being Mormon. There’s a plan. You get baptized, go on a mission, get married in the temple and have children. You spend your life in the service of the church. I had an identity when I was LDS. There are songs to remind you who you are. If you forget there are church talks during Sacrament meeting, Sunday School, Young Women’s lessons, Relief Society, conference talks and the church magazine, The Ensign. And of course there’s the weekly activities for the youth, Family Home Evening and the Temple.

Sunday Service: Non-Denominational vs LDS

After I left the church, I still believed in God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. I joined a non-denominational church called Church on the Living Edge. I needed God in my life, but I wasn’t sure who He was in relation to me.

After reading the Book of Mormon in conjunction with the Bible, I realized how unfamiliar I was with the Bible. I could tell you all about Nephi, Alma, Lehi, King Mosiah and Moroni, but the Bible? I was familiar with Job, Noah, and Isaiah, but my knowledge of other stories were sparse. Unlike my fellow well-versed COTLE members who praised with open arms shouting “Hallelujah” and “Thank you, Jesus!” when they felt something in the sermon move them, I had a difficult time adjusting to the sound level.

I could speak my praises often without restraint. In fact, you could say “Amen” while Bishop Chironna spoke. People didn’t have to wait until the end to agree with his words. On the other hand, the LDS congregation during the service remains silent other than the quiet, “Amen,” spoken after prayers and talks. It took some adjustments, but I liked the change.

Lost and Found

From the middle of 2018 until the beginning of December 2021, I had a complete disconnect with God. I wasn’t sure of his existence, lost faith in prayer, and couldn’t come to terms with the Bible. When I suffered the worse depression of my life, I refused to turn to him for answers. Lost spiritually and I knew it.

And then on December 3, 2021, while driving home my husband, myself, and our 2 year old were hit by a drunk driver. With gentle words spoken in my mind I heard, “Brace for impact.” I felt suspended in time, but only for a moment. Yet, I knew everything was going to be okay. I heard the oncoming vehicle crashing into ours and then a high-pitched ringing in my ears from the sound of crushing metal. By the grace of God, we walked away from the accident with a few minor bruises and some back pain.

That night, God spoke his existence into my being once again. I drink coffee, swear when I’m upset, and watch R-rated movies. I’m not a fan of alcohol (it probably has more to do with it not agreeing with me) and watch R-rated movies. I’m no longer Mormon, but I know I’m still a daughter of God.

The New Spiritual Me

I have come to terms with the Bible reading the words contained in it daily and stream COTLE Sunday service. When I watch the service, I raise my arms in praise and shout “Thank you, Jesus.” Gospel songs are my new jam during church service and I love belting them out. I don’t miss the quiet church voices we had to use in the LDS chapel.

I know I am far from perfect and realize I am incomplete without God in my life. He tugs at my soul and reminds me of his presence in my life when I hit my lows. Regardless of what the LDS church said about having my blessings revoked from God, He continues to bless me and my family. He surrounds me with peace and hope when I call on His name. This is my post-Mormon testimony.

au·then·tic·i·ty

Authenticity has everything to do with walking your truth. Whatever that truth may be. I touched on this in a previous post, but I think it deserves a little more attention. There a lot of voices we hear, but many of it comes from our inner dialogue.

Here’s a little bit of what I battled while writing this post.

“It is a process,” says the voice of wisdom.

The whiny voice says,”Blech, processes take too long. It’s got to be easier than that!”

Followed by the mom voice,”Remember to defrost the chicken.”

“Shush!” says my blogging voice, “Stick to the topic! But yes, do not forget to take the chicken out of the freezer.”

My inner critic has me wondering if anything I say makes a difference in the world. I combat that inner critic with an “I hope so” and keep on hitting that “Publish” button.

What does it mean to be authentic?

It means being true to your values, your actions, and your spirit. It also means being honest with yourself and others. Authenticity allows us to silence the inner critic and be at peace.

Self-awareness leads us towards authenticity which can be a painful journey, but it’s not without hope or the rewards that follow. It’s painful because being honest with ourselves and others can be a challenge. Who am kidding? It is a challenge. It doesn’t mean we have to wallow in our faults or mistakes. We acknowledge, forgive and move the eff on. When we become truer to who we are at our core, it gives us the opportunity to be vulnerable and connect with others on a deeper level.

Reflection

Authenticity requires vulnerability transparency & integrity.

What prevents you from being more authentic?

What fears or outside pressures do you have? Are they real or imagined?

What are your values?

Do your actions align with your values?

How do you behave when no one’s looking?