Sunday, November 12, 2017

Crap! My Credit is Actually Increasing


My first months of being an adult were fun, interesting and well challenging. Just like everyone else who turns 18 and must make some decisions on what to do next, I was making those decisions. Ha! Just kidding, I totally blew off age 18 and made horrible choices, became friends with people who weren’t real friends and ventured down a path that was full of bad decisions. I am not sure when I smartened up or grew from those bad decisions, but I can tell you that age 18 brought about a lot of issues. I was receiving credit cards in the mail left and right. I didn’t even apply for them.

I remember thinking it was weird that companies were just sending me credit cards, I almost think that I wasn’t even quite 18 when the first one arrived. I had so many credit cards that I could charge just about anything. I remember having a Sears card, a Fashion Bug card, quite possibly up to five regular credit cards and those as just the ones I remember. Credit cards became my addiction. I charged everything and I wasn’t working enough to make payments in a timely fashion. I cannot recall how it all went down, I just remember that I shot my credit at age 18.

This may be why as an older adult I started to be more budget savvy. I started to be less of a spender and more of a saver. I learned that credit is important and once you destroy it, you can’t build it back up too easily. Your credit score matters for rental applications, job applications and so many other things in life. A bad credit score can leave you without being able to rent a decent place, buy a decent car or even survive in a reasonable way. Your credit score ultimately defines your lifestyle in many ways. That little number will matter more than anything else in life because the higher it is – the more chances you have to get further in life.

With all of that being said, a bad credit score doesn’t mean that you totally suck. A bad credit score simply means that you, like me, are going to learn the hard way on how important a credit score is. Around July 2015 I set a goal – to rebuild my credit so that within 1-2 years I would be in a position to have a good credit score. My mission to rebuild credit within 1-2 years from July 2015 was set as a means to no longer have to pay thousands a month for home rentals. It’s exhausting having to pay over one thousand dollars to rent a place when a mortgage plus equity plus taxes can be much lower.

I set my goal in July 2015 then met my boyfriend in August 2015. Once again, I found myself in a relationship and found myself with a place that ultimately went into foreclosure. My landlords contacted me to inform me that the bank was taking over the home. Even though I paid rent every month, this is how it went. The story of my life goes something like this – I make goals and then something happens or I meet someone and those goals become a distant memory.

I swore that rebuilding my credit was not going on the back burner. This is something that is extremely important to me and can help to buy a place that will be my trio’s roots. I want ever so badly to have a home on land that the kids can come back to and call home for years to come. I want so badly to own a home or at least feel like I have some choice in being able to do that. I kept my promise to myself about rebuilding credit.

For me, step one was about dealing with my student loan debt. Those loans had gone into a bad standing but I found there were some ways to work with the debt collectors for those loans. I gave the company a call and agreed to a repayment plan. This plan was that I had to pay ‘x’ amount of payments per month for somewhere around 9 months. If those payments were made each month, then in month 8 or 9, the government would take over my loan and I could work with a regular student loan repayment plan. I accomplished this. I paid that debt collection place off and am now on a repayment plan for my student loans. Goal accomplished!

With this goal came the idea that my credit score would increase, eh, it didn’t really increase magically overnight bit over the past two years I have gone about 170 plus in points. My score is no longer poor, but it’s not “great” either. I wanted to rebuild my credit, which means I had to stop applying for loans, stop applying for credit and start paying off anything that I could pay off. I currently have more work to do but the other day I was approved for something that I haven’t been approved for since the first years of adulthood.

The other day I was able to find out that all of my hard work keeping rebuilding credit score as a goal, amidst all of the chaos, hard times and emotional roller coaster ride I’ve been on, is still there. I am still working on it, even though it’s not in the forefront of my mind. I could look at this as a failure, because remember in July 2015 I made a goal to be in a position to look at homes for sale with a pre-approval for a home loan in 1-2 years. We are now in November 2017 and while I can’t get a pre-approval for a home, I can get approved for other things. This means I am another step closer to rebuilding my credit score.

Whether you feel like your dreams are crashing down on you or not – please take a moment to look in the mirror. Try to find that one sign that things are actually moving forward. Being in a relationship and raising kids makes me feel as if I don’t matter sometimes. My relationship can be a roller coaster of emotions due to him having his own stressors that no one can solve, and often it takes me down with him. I am thankful that my credit rebuild mission is still a priority and that things are looking up for my ultimate goal of raising that credit score I ruined at age 18.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

That One Thing about Life

There are many things about life that we learn as we get older. When becoming a mother for example, I quickly learned that life didn’t revolve around me. Each decision I made and every action I did would quickly mold who these little children were. As life goes on we make mistakes, we think that in this moment something works and makes sense. We have dreams and goals, life seems so fruitful and you feel like this one thing about life is happiness. Then you get hurt, deeply wounded, make mistakes, say things that hurt and hear things that hurt, eventually that one thing about life is pain.

When you start to feel pain in such a deep way, it’s difficult to think clearly. Positive decision making skills become obsolete and you live in a life where that one thing about life is sorrow. You start to feel bad for yourself; you start to feel like you aren’t good enough and you ultimately deplete your energy levels to a dangerously low place. This is where the one thing about life could be depression. The hope is that many people realize that depression is coming due to the pain from being hurt before it gets too deep, but we are not psychics. Sometimes this depression from the pain sneaks up on us when we least expected it and we have nowhere to turn.

The one thing about life is that you do have somewhere to turn. There are family and friends who will help you, there are professionals such as doctors and therapists that can bring a positive light force back into your life. While you will still feel like this one thing about life is pain and sorrow, something you can’t rise back up from, that isn’t the case at all. So as long as you seek help and find the positive circle of professionals and friends to help guide you when feeling deeply pained, you will rise above. The difficult decisions that must be made in life are a huge part of what helps you to grow as a person. No one wants to hurt and no one wants to hurt others, but it is okay to put yourself first.

When you are a parent that one thing about life is parenthood. You have to make difficult decisions to try to help keep their emotional health good and their ability to enjoy childhood there. When that one thing about life becomes pain versus happiness, the parenthood side slowly goes downhill and you watch as the situation gets so bad that it’s impacting your child’s life. This is not okay. I started this article by saying when I became a mother I quickly learned that life didn’t revolve around me and I meant it. Being a mother means that no matter how much I desire something to work whether relationships or business, the main responsibility that I have is to ensure I make difficult decisions when necessary to provide the healthy, stable environment my children need for proper physical and emotional growth.

The one thing about life is this – you will be tested and you will try your hardest to make something work, but at the end of the day, especially when children are involved, you have to remember the one thing about life is your true inner happiness and responsibility to be a positive parent so that our future generation grows stronger, not weaker.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Let’s Chat about Contagious Yawning

Here’s an off the beaten path blog post for today, it’s about yawning. Growing up I was always taught in psychology class and through word of mouth that if someone didn’t yawn when you yawned it was a sign that they were a psychopath. I personally feel like this is a really strong conclusion to come to when it relates to a simply act of whether or not someone yawns after another person yawns. What I came to for my own conclusion is that someone who doesn’t yawn when another person yawns is that they lack empathy. The person simply has a lower level of empathy which could potentially mean that they are selfish, on the autism spectrum or perhaps they could be a psychopath.

According to an online dictionary the definition of a psychopath is “a person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior.” This surely can fit in with many people, not just someone who is immune to contagious yawning. Let’s dig a bit deeper, the characteristics of a psychopath are; shallow emotions, uncaring, coldhearted, irresponsible {such as passing the blame without ever taking accountability for their own actions}. Click here to see a more elaborate list of what to look for in a psychopath.

Let’s get back to yawning, could perhaps someone who doesn’t respond to the contagious yawn be a psychopath? I do think that it’s a possibility but I don’t think it’s a definite yes. Contagious yawning is actually a basic form of communication and bonding. When someone we care about or empathize with yawns, we naturally respond in a yawn due to our empathetic, deep bond to that person. When your partner doesn’t seem to have this contagious yawn occur, you may want to dig a bit deeper to watch other characteristics to determine if they are on the autism spectrum, a psychopath or perhaps simply lack a deep level of empathy. Be careful trying to use this simple contagious yawn scenario to define someone you love as a psychopath.

There are actually other key factors that go into the contagious yawn; studies have shown that if you are older or not familiar with the person then you won’t be yawning back when the person yawns. While many factors come into play with the contagious yawn, it simply could mean that the person lacks the ability to deeply bond and show empathy towards another human being. Psychopaths aren’t necessarily malicious, evil people; they are usually just a different individual who tends to be more difficult to connect or bond with as they lack the skills and emotions necessary to feel towards another human being in the way humans bond.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Generalized Anxiety Disorder



Being diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder merely helped me to have a name for what I’d been suffering from for years. I recall being a teenager who couldn’t go into a store alone, I would be in tears over the idea of going inside a store just to buy a candy bar. I literally could not handle it. I remember my mom not comprehending why it was such a big deal. I remember her getting so frustrated with me. She simply did not understand and quite frankly, neither did I. I had no idea that I was experiencing anxiety and without that knowledge, I simply felt like an idiot. 

Fast forward to the year my daughter was born, I recall having these anxiety spells, I mean of course it made sense since I became a single mom without a job just a few short months after her birth. I assume any one would experience anxiety with this type of new scenario, broke and alone with a little baby.  I don’t recall all of the facts and how all of this came to be, but ultimately I was able to see my family doctor at some point and get diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. I opted to go on medication, back then I hadn’t seen the horrible side effects of prescription drugs, so I was okay going on a small dose of Lexapro. I believe I started off on 5mg for a trial run and then the doctor increased my dosage. I really only stayed on Lexapro for a brief period, I actually felt like it made me not care about anything. While I wanted my anxiety better, I still wanted to have logical feelings in life. Lexapro at the higher dose was simply too much yet at the lower dose wasn’t quite enough. 

During my time on Lexapro I learned anxiety coping mechanisms. I worked hard to figure out what type of life worked for me, who I desired to have around me and I learned something very interesting – my thoughts could truly make or break my world. I had no idea about the Law of Attraction back then; it was something I learned about in later years. I recall it taking about three years for me to fully transform my mind forward, away from anxiety induced fear and towards a more level mindset where I felt happier, healthier and in turn made better decisions in life. The concept was simple to me, I had to make sure I was living in an environment that made me feel good, that was more positive than negative and I had to learn when my thoughts were racing to slow the thoughts down and redirect to something positive. 

In about three years I was able to fully transform my mind towards a positive outlook. I had mastered the skill of taking back control of my mind. Anxiety no longer controlled me. Anxiety no longer won. I was a single Mom to one child and ready to be free of this awful mental disease. During the time I worked to solidify my skills of mastering anxiety symptoms, I retained a nearly full time job, found an excellent in home daycare for my daughter and was able to move out of a subsidized housing unit into a real apartment. I was still on some assistance, I believe food stamps at that time, but being able to get off cash assistance, hold a real job in an office as an administrative assistant, trust that my daughter was being cared for while I worked and in turn having a real apartment without income based living? I was happy. Anxiety couldn’t bring me down.

Or could it?

Here’s the reality about living with generalized anxiety disorder, or any anxiety disorder to be honest, it is always a part of you. Regardless of whether you take prescription medication for anxiety or choose to take control in the way I did and still do, anxiety will simply be a part of your core make up. Anxiety will forever be a part of your design, and anyone who befriends you or gets into a relationship with you must 1) know this is a part of who you are and 2) accept you are going to have occasional bouts with irrational fears that will consume you. Being with someone who has anxiety isn’t easy, I know that my boyfriend gets it but it still can frustrate him at times. There’s simply no rhyme or reason to anxiety and it can pop its ugly head up at any moment. 

If you are like me, then you know that living with anxiety is a pain in the butt. You want ever so much to go to a big social event, to go out and be the life of the party but sometimes that ugly little mental illness takes over and it takes all of your might to even move out of bed. I want you to know that you are not alone, anxiety comes in many forms and it impacts many people. The reality of anxiety is that it exists and only those who have experienced to the depth that we have will ever full comprehend just how paralyzing it can be at times. I do know there is hope, there are ways to live a full life with anxiety, it’s just about figuring out what will work for you and what won’t. 

Surround yourself with loved ones who will accept the decisions you have made to live with anxiety. You may opt to not go to social events or to live at home more often than traveling, whatever decisions you have to make in order to feel like you are living life in control over that anxiety, do it! Just don’t give up on living, anxiety sucks, but you are awesome and deserve to live life to the best of your ability, you can gain control!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Actions Speak Louder Than Words ... Pay Attention



It’s so funny how people will say things. They will say them over and over again. It will convince you that what they say is truth. Here’s the thing about people, watch the actions. If you are feeling like something is off or things have changed, stop listening to the words that come out of someone’s mouth and hear what the actions tell you. The lack of hand holding, kissing, conversations without yelling, the back and forth actual engagement on any topic, the discussion of an actual future, the tags that used to happen where they were totally happy for all that you do for them. You still do all of those things, they may not have to lift much of a finger, yet their end of things has changed in such a way that words no longer mean a thing. The words sit in your mind creating utter confusion, like how can one really think that you are that blind? Things are different and in being different they have caused numbness, you don’t really feel anything anymore. 

I suppose this not feeling anything anymore is good, at least you no longer get mad. It’s great to not have to get mad anymore, but it is odd that the other person can’t seem to admit verbally what actions already told you. No more is the time together something to look forward to. No more do you two do anything together that’s of value. The actions are gone. The words of “I do really love you” sit in your mind like why would someone say that? Are they trying to convince not only you, but themselves of this to be true? 

Personally I won’t share my thoughts here, but I will leave this here. Remember to watch actions, but also take into account anything extra that may be going on. Love is love, and we are imperfect human beings. Times will get hard, but if you have felt less than, not a priority and not loved … for a period of time that extends beyond reason, perhaps it’s time to really pay attention to the actions vs words spoken. Words are easily said by anyone and the master manipulator will know just what to say to keep you right there …. Wondering enough to stay.  

Monday, July 10, 2017

Working Through Hormones



Being a girl is miserable sometimes. I can clearly see that my body is aging even though my mind swears I am still in my 20’s. As October nears, I will be 36 years old. While I don’t feel as if that is OLD per say, heck my other half is going to be 47 and I don’t even think of him as OLD, I can tell there are some changes with me that are a sign of aging. A huge part of the aging changes is hormones. 

I admit I am a naturally sensitive person. I can get my feelings hurt easily. While this is truth, it is sort of a pain in the butt when you are also a confident, happy go luck woman. My hormones are all whacky which is making me feel unlike myself. I decided to stand up and figure it out! Take time to be me. I have requested this week off from as much client work as possible so that leading into a weekend without kids I can try to recoup and get back to being centered. 

Sure hormones are medial, meaning it’s not something I can just magically fix, but I can fix my environment to be more relaxing just long enough to get back to feeling centered. I have an amazing life, I have three awesome kids and my other half does well to try to adapt and I do my best to adapt with him. I have someone who I feel comfortable will grow with me and I also feel comfortable growing with him. I love what we have, but with these hormones I am starting to just not like anything.

More often than not I want to curl up in a ball and just sleep. As a woman, who is aging, I get this is normal. I have spoken with female friends, I have watched friends go through this. It’s all about reducing your stress levels and doing what is necessary to get back to feeling fresh and centered in life. This week my mission is to work through writing and relaxation with hopefully the end result being an amazing, relaxing weekend with my other half so that I can feel like me again and start next week off as Brandy Ellen.

I am looking forward to spending this week bringing the happy go lucky me back and feeling centered again. Sure, I will still have work to do after all I am an adult who has to help bring income into the home, but I will have minimal work to do as a means to enjoy motherhood and life with my love so that after one week … I shall be me again!

I say if you are struggling with hormones, stress or simply feeling off centered, do not be afraid to ask for time off. Sure bills need to be paid and other things come up but there’s only one chance at being you and finding your inner happy! Make sure to put your own balance first, because without you being balanced, everything else falls out of place quickly!

Being Cold in Your Time of Need



Slowly sinking down, lower and lower. The stress builds up and the emotion runs high. Perhaps being more social than social media is what matters right now. If you notice that your other half or partner in life is going through a tough time, take a moment to leave a nice comment or heart a photo that they share. You see, sometimes the people who are suffering the most internally are sharing selfies or positive posts as a means to find a way to pull back together. In times of high stress and emotion, it’s important to have that confidence boosted, to feel as if you still matter. 

As you watch the person you love be more social to others, uplifting them, leaving funny comments to make others laugh, you have to wonder why they don’t do that for you as well? You post photos and only find those who have supported you for far longer are leaving positive comments. While the attention isn’t necessary unless you are someone who constantly needs attention, during trying times it is best if a partner is aware of that emotional toll it plays on them. 

I see things a bit like this, if your other half is having a hard time and confiding in you about that hard time. Perhaps they told you that their emotional state of mind is suffering, why wouldn’t you, in times when you swear you love them to pieces, pay more attention to their social habits? It seems I have noticed a trend of when I am at my worst, the online interaction is less with me but more with others. Why is this so? I have no idea, but what I do know is that I can get through this because I have always done that myself.

When you find that your other half is more social on social media and compliments others more than you in your time of need? You learn to retract and get back to the place you were before their relationship was a part of your world. Do what you need to do to get back to you, but remember these times when they were more social and friendly with others, while behind closed doors they weren’t so kind to you or empathetic during your time of need. 

Whether watching this person be kind to others in public, at family gatherings or on social media we must admit this hurts. It hurts deep when we are hurting inside and need our other half to support us. What hurts the most is knowing that this person is capable of being kind during your time of need but doesn’t bother doing it. They go out of their way to be social with strangers while you sit here drowning in a time of high sadness and all you want to see is your partner, the person you love so much, be there for you to leave kind comments, to show that they truly do still love and support you. When that doesn’t happen, it makes the pain of sadness hurt even deeper. 

All you can do is work … work on you and always remember how this went down so that you can better determine what’s best for the future – be it a conversation or major change, because this type of scenario isn’t okay!  Always remember how they were emotionally available for others in a way you needed them to be for you …. Because this says a lot about what will or will not work for you in the future! 

Once you have worked to get yourself back, make a decision on how to proceed with handling this hurt and pain that comes from feeling left out in the cold during your time of need. When the outside world sees someone as kind and generous but you see it quite the opposite in your time of need in the personal side of life, it speaks volumes. Learn from this and move forward with whatever is going to be a good fit for your mental health well-being!