Category Archives: Health & Well-Being, Introspection

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Just Being

OK so one of my goals is to stop making goals. I made a goal for myself to blog here at least once a week so I can be more appealing to the ad networks. Full disclosure here, folks. I want to make money for the work I do. So, I failed at my goal, and have learned that I need to stop making goals, because they’re not even a real thing, so why let something that’s not even real give me the sadz?

That said, I did end up getting a part time job for a legit publication, so there’s one goal completed, all without having to enter any sketchy limos!

So what doesn’t give me the sadz? Instagram. It makes me very happy. It’s a great way to collect some of your favorite memories in one easy to access place. It’s also a way to journal what’s going on in life when we’re doing what we do best, just being. Commence Mere’s Instagram Dump!

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Come drop me a line in IG over here!

What’s Cookin?

I have not faded away, I am still here, remember me?

mixin

Oh my gosh you guys. It’s been a strange couple of months. Strange, wonderful, and eye opening. Turns out, starting a new business, when you’re already working full time, takes up a lot of your energy. Who knew? It’s been really wonderful though, and it feels good to be challenged by new things.

So, what’s new? Well, the Etsy shop is steady. I’ve done a few local events as a vendor, and it was amazing to get out into the world (away from the computer, whah?) and talk to real people. People who are interested in the same things as I am. People…who want to give me money! Wow! What a concept…

So, this is a short and sweet post. But I just wanted to say hi, and also welcome all the people who are taking part in Allie’s link parties. I am so excited to be getting a chance to know all of these other talented bloggers. Life is good!

Also I wanted to mention, there are going to be a few giveaways from a couple of different vendors coming up in the next month, so stay tuned, this is stuff you will LOVE!

xoxo,
Mere

So… Frankincense.

frankincense

Last week I was in Pennsylvania to be on Good Day Fox Philly with Allie, which was surreal, and more on that another day. In between filming segments, I was going on and on about Frankincense essential oil, which I’ve been doing a lot of lately, and yes, I was getting some eye rolls because my claims are a little out there. When I’m in PA, everyone thinks I’m this big hippie, which is funny, because my hippie friends in CT think I’m the most mainstream person in their lives.

But, I don’t care, the stuff has literally been life changing for me, and I don’t claim to be sane.

So, what’s so great about this stuff? Let me tell you a little story…

As an entrepreneurial-type, I get hit up a lot to sell stuff. Mary Kay, Market America, that kind of thing. I always kind of roll my eyes, because it’s just never felt right to me. I know a lot of people make a good living selling that stuff, and I don’t judge, it’s just not stuff that I feel comfortable pushing people to buy, so I always politely decline.

When I got a message from my cousin recently, that he’s selling essential oils (doTerra), and that he thought I’d be a good candidate to be a reseller as well, I gave him my typical response, and said I’d take the samples, because I’ve always liked essential oils (clary sage really helped me get through natural childbirth), but I have no interest in being a reseller.

So, he sent the samples.

At that time, I was thisclose to launching my online store for my graphic design business. I’ve been talking about it and working on it for about a year. It was taking me forever to finish. I was my own worst enemy. I kept revising and re-revising. My head felt clouded and stressed. I was worried that once I launched, my life was going to change for the worst. I worried that I’d be so busy running that business that I wouldn’t have time for anything else. I’ve been a designer for 11 years now, so I’m kind of not that wowed by it anymore. BUT, ultimately, it’s good money, and I have a family to provide for, so I felt I needed to grow up and just do it, fulfillment be damned.

Being a pretty crazy meditator, I kept focusing on gaining clarity. Clarity, clarity clarity. Just unfog my brain so I can think clearly and ultimately run my life/career from a balanced perspective. It was coming here and there a little bit, but mostly I felt like I just couldn’t quite find what I was looking for. I didn’t even know what I was looking for, but I knew there was something in the back of my mind, waiting for me to find it. It was pretty frustrating, to be honest.

The essential oil samples arrived. I liked them. A lot. At home, alone every day, I would just sit there and breath the frankincense, non-stop. There was just something about that smell that just seemed to reach into my core and grab me. I was like an addict, it was crazy.

One morning, sitting on the floor meditating, breathing it in, I was overcome with something similar to a vision. Thoughts suddenly just filled my entire brain, it was like a voice telling me, “you don’t have to launch that graphic design website. You don’t want to, and why should you? You’ve been working as a business owner for 10 years, you know how to do it right, and you can do anything you want. You can do it on your own terms. There’s plenty of room for another successful entrepreneur in any field you choose”. It was staggering. THERE WAS MY CLARITY!!!! It was something I was so certain of, immediately, all my wishy-washiness was GONE! I became ecstatic, and honestly, a lot of that ecstasy is still running through me. It was an epiphany, and those are awesome, and should be listened to.

SO, (not to brag or anything) after working conflictedly for a year on a website that was never finished, I dove in, made skincare products (which I’ve been dabbling with and giving away to friends over the past few months), and opened my Etsy shop. It took me two weeks to design all the packaging, make all the products, and set up the website. Two weeks. I was like a girl en fuego. Now, a little over 4 weeks later, I’ve made 57 online sales, and 15 in-person sales. I’m set up to sell at several local shows/events in town here, and have 5 offers to sell in retail establishments. This is the kind of turn-around I’ve been wishing for my whole life.

All in all, after reading about the benefits of frankincense, I am convinced that all of this positive change was a result using it. I think it would have taken me at least another year of hard core reflection to even come close to the decisions that I came to in a few days. So, I don’t mind if people roll their eyes at me, because I feel like the proof is clear.

There’s my frankincense story. And to be honest, since trying out some other oils, I’ve had similar results. Patchouli gets rid of my nervous stomach. Rosemary gives me confidence and gets rid of self destructive thoughts and guilt. Grapefruit makes me feel like life’s just one big party. Seriously. It’s pretty awesome. I’ve successfully fought off several colds that went around my house, without Airborne. I could go on and on.

I did end up signing up as a reseller as well. The investment to do so is very low, compared to a lot of the multi-level marketing programs I’ve researched in the past, and the discounts you get on the oils are substantial, so at the very least, that’s enough for me. (I am in no way being paid by doTerra to write about any of this stuff, although that would be nice. Anyone want to pay me?)

So, if you’d like to learn more about frankincense, here are some interesting links.

http://doterralife.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/fabulous-frankincense-the-king-of-essential-oils/

http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-frankincense-essential-oil.html

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/natural_healing/frankincense.html

If you’d be interested in checking out doTerra, which are super high quality, can safely be ingested, applied directly to skin with no adverse reactions, here’s that:

http://doterra.com

And for the science-minded: http://modernessentialoils.com/Resources/SAB_Compendium.pdf (particularly interesting is the part on page 3 about Vanderbilt University Medical Center).

And if you have any questions, or want to share a similar experience, please chime in!

xo,
Mere

Success is more than what we've been taught.

Thursday Randoms

Yesterday was one of the best days of my life.  I’ve been working on my Etsy store for 2 and a half weeks, and yesterday I finished, and launched it!  I felt so amazing after I launched it, and then it got better, I made 11 sales.

I’m telling you, the feeling that comes over you when you get an unexpected email saying you’ve got MONEY, is purely a joyful one.  I love it.  Love it, love it, love it.

Then, it got better.  I had a night out, getting mani/pedi’s with a bunch of amazing working mamas, some of whom purchased some of my products on the spot.  Cash is nice.

I want to tell you a little bit about this group.  A few months ago, a fellow entrepreneurial mama-friend and I set it up, and named it the As-Yet Unnamed Self Starting Moms Networking Group, because we didn’t feel like arguing over a name.

We did this because we have businesses to promote, networking is critical, but were tired of going to stuffy networking meetings, filled with lawyers and insurance salespeople (not that there’s anything wrong with those jobs, they’re just different than what we’re into, and those were the types who were dominating the meetings, so it just wasn’t a perfect fit) who sit around and drink wine and hope something good will come of it. We wanted to do something a little different, and limited it to self-starting mothers.  My husband jokes that it’s a little sexist, and he would probably be right, but I wanted it to be a place where women could come together and talk about our deepest fears and dreams, and sometimes it can be intimidating to do that around the opposite sex.  We will have specific events that men are invited to, because we really do value their perspective and input, but mainly it’s just us girls.

The reason I’m telling you about all of this is two-fold.  I wanted to tell you that it’s completely do-able to chase a business venture without spending a ton of money,  Etsy’s just one of the ways, there’s probably a million other great ways to do it, but this one’s good for me right now. It’s making me feel very happy and fulfilled, and I highly recommend checking it out.  Also, I want to encourage you to join our networking group on Facebook, because it’s a safe place to connect with other working women and promote your business.

Lastly, I want to leave you with this little piece of graphical wisdom, because it’s something that has been a little difficult for me to grasp over the last year, because I’ve (we’ve) been conditioned to think that money=success and that’s that, but once I practiced, I did grasp it, and it’s been making me very happy, and making me feel very successful ever since.

Success is more than what we've been taught.

Chase those dreams, they’re more attainable than you may realize (I’m aware that I sound like a cheeseball, and I don’t care).

xoxo, Mere

LTB – Never Stop Trying

For today’s episode of Let’s Talk Business, I’d like to tell you a story about epic fails!

When I was five, I was gifted with a beautiful, plastic self-inking stamp.  The image was a strawberry with a happy face, and the ink was strawberry scented.  I was pleased.  I realized that I really enjoyed the important, business-like feeling it gave me to powerfully stamp it all over a manilla folder.  Then I had an idea.

I would go door-to-door, soliciting my neighbors to purchase a hand made candy dish (which I would later figure out how to make out of cut up manilla folders and glue).  If they desired to purchase a dish, I would smartly and professionally smack a stamp on my folder, then on a little card, and give it to them as a receipt.

Every single person ordered a dish.  Thankfully, I wasn’t smart enough at the time to ask for payment, because I completely failed get around to making the dishes, therefore my only loss was maybe a little credibility, meh.

Clearly, I understand the importance of shoulder pads in business at a young age.

Clearly, I understand the importance of shoulder pads in business at an early age.

I just really enjoyed pretending to be a professional, and the thrill of a sale was all the reward I needed.  That, and some pretty sassy office supplies.  The success for me at that tender age, was the experience of the task, not the money.

Since then, I’ve had a lot of major epiphanies for new business ideas. Unfortunately, my epiphanies have not resulted in creating 50+ jobs for people, have not landed me on the cover of Forbes, and have not allowed me to finally trade-in my 96 Geo Prizm for my dream car…YET.

The businesses I’ve started (and ended) are:
- Online store selling handmade baby clothes and silk baby slings
- A service similar to SpaBoom for spa owners to sell gift cards online
- A shared workspace/child care co-op

These businesses failed, for various reasons, despite my initial passion for them.  I lost money.  I lost friends.  I lost faith in myself, and most importantly, I lost the ability to enjoy the successes that are in addition to money. In each of these failures was a common thread.  I was crippled with fear of losing money.  It consumed me, and eventually I wasn’t able to enjoy them, so I closed the doors, one by one.

What I learned, is that if I had been capable of figuring out smarter ways to keep my investments within my means, giving myself the time and patience to think things through carefully, and overall, staying like that wide eyed five year old, focused on feeling fulfilled by my trust in the process, I think things would have been different.

I had to fail in order to learn those lessons.

So, with those lessons simmering on the back burner or my mind, for 1 year I put aside any thoughts of making money in new ventures.

I allowed myself to enjoy writing for this blog, and plug away in my graphic design business, which is the only thing in my career that has withstood the test of time.

Anything else had to be purely hobby, when there was time and money.

It was liberating to be free from the pressure to make money from those wonderful, hobby-ish things, and just enjoy the process of being creative.  It’s been teaching me SO MUCH.  It allowed me to make mistakes, which eventually turned into happy accidents (ie, innovations).  Without the pressure to make things quickly and efficiently, with the expectation of making money, I was able to create things that I was extremely proud of. Things that I used on myself, and gifted to my loves ones, instead of rushing them out the door to the public in hopes to turn a profit.

Essentially, it’s teaching me to care for myself, which might just be the most important thing to be able to understand, in order to create a successful career, and life in general.  It taught me that success isn’t just money, it’s an overall picture of your life, and how comfortable and joyful you feel. Frequent, regular comfort and joy are true successes.

Now that I’m at the one-year mark of being safe, figuring out what I really love to do, without the pressure of making money at it, I’m releasing myself from these restrictions, forgiving my 5 year old self for never fulfilling those candy dish orders, harnessing that wide-eyed wonderment that I relished at that age, and THEN revisiting the money questions with a clear head, and asking friends for advice. I am now ready to gear up, and start Entrepreneurial Venture #725 – the Etsy Shop.  I’ll be keeping y’all in the loop on that project, stay tuned!

If you’re interested in exploring the notion of starting your own business (but maybe feeling a little crippled with fears related to past failures), here are some excellent books to get you going:

The E-Myth
$100 Startup
The Four Agreements
Think and Grow Rich
The Circle

But most of all, just enjoy the process and try not to psych yourself out.

I’d love to hear your experiences and lessons learned from successes and failures alike, please feel free to chime in here!

xoxo, Mere

 

Story Time!

Sometimes blogging is kind of hard. There’s a TON of competition, people have short attention spans, and if you don’t include some beautiful photos (these days, photos with pretty WORDS on top of them) you can’t Pin It on Pinterest, thereby excluding you from the “third most popular social network”.  Horrors!

January is particularly hard, because who the hell feels like doing anything that month?  It’s cold, so you don’t want to go outside and take pictures, and it’s dark, so pictures you take inside are going to look funky.

So, today I’m throwing caution to the wind and I’m just going to write words.  I’m going to tell you a small story, because this story came out of me while on the phone with a friend today, and she really seemed to enjoy it, so maybe you might too.

A (True) Story:

Two years ago I got a sassy new hairdo and bought some new clothes and makeup.  I was looking GOOD. Good, for the first time in about 4 years, because in those four years I’d given life to two small people.

Feeling good, I went to the wine store to buy wine, and feel even BETTER.  Bending over to examine some cool wine bottles, I was approached by a cute guy who worked there.  He asked if I needed help, I said no thank you.

He stood there, staring at me, kind of with a twinkle in his eye.  I got a little nervous.  I was afraid he was going to hit on me or something, which in a way would make me happy, (confirmation that I indeed, look GOOD!), but would also make me scared because, of course I’m married, and rejection isn’t fun for people.

I waited, and he finally spoke.

He said, “I’m not sure how to say this, but…
you have a granola bar stuck to your butt.”

THE END

Losing It Over Here (and Getting It Back)

Howling like a baby wolf is cute and creative. Just not at 7AM, mkay?

Howling like a baby wolf is cute and creative. Just not at 7AM, mkay?

I’ve been a little quiet here for the past few weeks.  January is tricky.  The holidays are so busy with deadlines for work, cooking, traveling, presents.  Then, come January, we’re worn out and lazy.  We usually get sick. Going back to work and school presents more challenges than we’re prepared for.

This month was typical, and so I needed to take some time to sort out some stuff, which I’m still kind of in the midst of, which isn’t a big deal.  Things tend to go back to normal in February.

I just wanted to take a little moment today to tell a little story.  I was sick over the weekend, and lost 2 nights of sleep.  Last week, both my kids were sick, plus there was a snow day, and a school holiday.  I ended up getting only 1 full work-day, out of 8 whole days.

I feel like I took it all pretty much in stride, and stayed in a good mood, despite the challenges.  Today was the first “normal” day since then, where all the kids went to school/daycare, husband back to work, etc.

You’d think I’d be in a fantastic mood, but I wasn’t. I was snarky and moody while getting the kids ready. Pretty much at the end of the rope, so glad they were getting out my hair, frustrated that they weren’t, already.

That happens.  I’ve had a few friends confide in me lately, when they’ve had a rough moment with the kids, and regretted the words they said, the tone/volume of voice, etc. They are not alone.

When these women are recounting the story, I can visibly see the pain, regret and shame in their eyes, and it breaks my heart, because I can relate, and because I wish/hope they could believe that yes, it’s regrettable, but it’s going to be OK. Kids need love and patience, but it is OK for them to see that people have limits.  If those limits are tested, needled, poked, or bashed over that person’s head, they are eventually going to have a reaction.

I always joke that kids need to learn that as adults, they can not just walk into a bar, go up to the biggest, toughest dude, and poke him repeatedly in the face.  They will eventually get punched.  We are talking valuable, life skills here!

While it would be wonderful if we could all stay cool and calm, and handle those situations with grace, it’s absolutely not possible to do that every time. Kids are HARD!

For me, when I lose my inner calm, the remedy truly begins with self forgiveness. I am human, I am tired, I will release myself from the chains of shame, because they just hold me back from becoming a better person. I take a half hour to do something that really clears my head.  For me that’s meditation/yoga.  For some that might be exercise, or a hot bath.  Whatever lowers the stress and shuts off the constant chatter in the back of your mind, works.  Tell yourself you forgive yourself, say the actual words, they’ll hold more weight if you say them out loud.

Then, any damage caused to the relationship with the kids can be remedied  (a bit later, once the dust settles) by having a warm, open conversation.  Let them know they are loved, let them know “why I lost my cool”, let them know you are human, and flawed, but you love yourself enough to forgive yourself, and them, and they can forgive themselves too, and tell them that everything will be OK.

And then, everything WILL be ok, and it might happen all over again another day, but that’s OK, because we can deal with it in a loving, productive way. :)

I hope you all have a beautiful day today.

xoxo, Mere

Homemade Anti-Perspirant Deodorant - All Natural | Yinmom, Yangmom

Confession… and a DIY

The black bar, for old time's sake.

The black bar, for old time’s sake.

It’s yet another confession-time here at YMYM!

I’m stinky.  Sometimes very stinky.  And, since I work from home, I don’t need to shower first-thing.  Some days I’m sitting here working, stinking this whole house out, and I comfort myself by pretending that I’m having a contest to see how stinky I can get.  Only, it’s just me here, so I’m competing with myself, therefore, I am the winner.

I use natural deodorant, and for most people, that induces a lot of giggling.  Because everyone knows that natural deodorant doesn’t work for shit.
Homemade Anti-Perspirant Deodorant - All Natural | Yinmom, Yangmom

I’ve tried a bunch of brands over the years, and found a semi-decent one, Kiss My Face in Peaceful Patchouli (the other scents don’t work).  This only works if you’re blind to the fact that it actually kind of smells like BO, only friendlier BO. Also, it’s very wet.  It’s cold.  It’s a roll-on.  On a cold Connecticut morning, the thought of being cold and wet is not-preferable.

This morning, I realized in desperation that I’m out of Peace Patchouli!  I don’t plan on showering for at least 5 more hours.  So unless I take action, it’s going to get scary in here.

I Googled, and came across a recipe for homemade deodorant.  However, I couldn’t make it, because my sexy beefcake of a husband, (who is also quite inconsiderate, hello!?) tightened up the jar of coconut oil so much that I couldn’t OPEN IT.  Ugh!

Luckily, I had some of the body butter, which I made for presents last week (click here to see that post).  So all I did was add baking soda and corn starch (or arrow root powder) to it.  The results are pretty impressive!

Just to let you know, this formula is weird, it’s a cream, and most American’s aren’t used to rubbing cream on their armpits, so it’s a bit different, but it works.  And the best part, it works at keeping you dry too (which, Kiss My Face does not do!).  YES!

The essential oils smell lovely, and dissipate as the day wears on, so you don’t smell like deodorant.  The baking soda absorbs the stench, and the cornstarch absorbs wetness.  The nice oils keep your gorgeous, lady (or not) pits from looking bumpy from shaving.  After a busy day working and chasing for a highly-active 3 year-old, without a shower, I am stink-free and loving life.

The full natural antiperspirant deodorant recipe is below.  You’re welcome, I love your stinky butts!

XOXO,
Mere

Homemade, All Natural Anti-perspirant Deodorant
Author: 
Recipe type: Personal Care
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2.5-3 cups
 
Makes 2½ to 3 cups of goodness, which is kind of a lot. Basically it’s three 12 oz mason jars, or 4½ 8-ounce jars. My suggestion would be to just make the big batch. You’ll be glad you did, because it’s easier to whip up when it’s a lot, and because you’re the type to appreciate this kind of thing, you’ll either use it up yourself, or give it away for gifts. Omit the dry ingredients for a lovely body butter.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup shea butter
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup almond oil
  • Essential Oils (I used Lavender, Frankincense and Lime)
  • 1 cup Baking Soda
  • ½ cup Corn Starch or Arrowroot Powder
Instructions
  1. Melt the shea butter and coconut oil in the top of a double boiler. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes.
  2. Stir in almond oil and essential oils (just a few drops of each, it’s easier to add more than take away).
  3. Place oil mixture in freezer for 20 minutes.
  4. When the oils are partially solid, they’ll look like yellowish goo, whip it up with a mixer until it’s got a buttery consistency. It’ll get very white and pretty, and you’ll be tempted to eat it, but don’t.
  5. Stir in your baking soda and corn starch or arrowroot powder until it’s mixed throughout. (If you omit this step, you’ve got body butter.)
  6. Throw the mixture into jars, and apply daily!

 

 

Wishing You Peace in 2013

A Peaceful New Year

Wishing You Peace in 2013

It’s almost 2013, and for the last couple of weeks I’ve been reflecting on the past year, and thinking about some of my hopes and goals for the next year.

Have you ever gone through a phase where it feels like you’re being faced with one obstacle after another?  I went through a phase like that between ages 14-18, and then again recently, between 27 and 33.  That last one was a long one.

2012 started off as a rough year.  My husband was very busy traveling far away for work.  Our dear friend and daycare provider passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly, and money was just as tight as it had been for 10 years.

We were feeling oppressed and over it.  I got to a point where my only choices (if I wanted to enjoy life at all) were those which allowed me to do what made me happy.  Sometimes that meant ending relationships.  Other times it meant facing my demons.  There were a lot of tears as I said goodbye to everything which didn’t serve me and my family.

Now, I can look back at 2012 and say that it was one of the best years of my life, second only to 1997, the year I met and fell in love with my husband (who is amazing, and took a giant leap of courage in changing jobs in June, resulting in a much more peaceful life for us).

What I’ve learned after breaking out of those rough phases, is that they’re happening for a reason, there’s some important lessons that need to be learned, and they all pretty much revolve around the same theme, that we need to love ourselves more.  We need to remember to put ourselves and our families first.  We need to remember to set some difficult goals, and challenge ourselves to woman or man up, and carry them out.

The feelings of self-satisfaction and pride which result, are enough to fuel us through those difficult times, and launch us into a peaceful future.

I’m psyched for 2013, but intend to take things a little slow, continuing to go through the steps which will lead me towards my goals for my business and my personal life.

I am so happy to have had this blog to chronicle all that I’ve learned throughout the last year, and to have you all to share it with me.

Wishing you the very best in life in 2013!

xoxo,
Mere

The Shame Game

CS Lewis on shame.

There is a very nice mom at our bus stop.  One morning, out of the blue, she looked very, deeply, deeeeeeply sad.  I wondered if something really terrible happened.  I honestly have never seen anyone quite so affected.  It was alarming, awkward, and uncomfortable (I’m being honest).

After that I didn’t see her around much, and her husband was taking the kids to school. So, today when I picked up Brooke, she was there, and I realized it felt like it had been a really long time since I’d seen her.

I walked up to her and she smiled and greeted me, along with the other moms.  Someone said to her, “I’m glad you’re feeling better”.  She nodded, then announced very calmly and shamelessly, with a big smile to the rest of the group, that she had been in the hospital for a week, for depression.

We were all so clearly taken off guard by her blunt, unapologetic, unembarrassed confession.  Some of us just clammed up.  Others tried to fill the awkward silence with words of encouragement and offers to help. It was alarming, awkward, and uncomfortable, again.

Thinking about that now, I’m just really wishing we could all just speak openly, without fear of embarrassment of such personal things.  Without shame and worry that it could be received with shock, embarrassment, awkwardness.

My opinion of her hasn’t changed at all from what it was before.  I pretty much could tell she was a bit of a wild card from the get go.  No harm was done to our relationship.

In fact, now I know something about her that will make me feel less awkward, and more caring when I’m around her.

I don’t need to worry about whether she’s judging me now, because she shared something deeply personal.

If we all have dirt on each other, because we all share our dirt without shame, and consequently continue to treat each other with ever-deepening respect, the world just becomes a more peaceful, graceful, comfortable place.

Maybe if it became more common to blab about our personal business freely, a natural side affect would be that people naturally become better at accepting one another.  Who knows?

xoxo, Mere

PS: I really thought hard about writing this, because she is my neighbor, and I don’t believe in humiliating anyone for blog content, so I wasn’t sure if I should “out” her.  BUT, after I read the words I wrote, I realized that if someone wrote something like this about me, I would feel proud.  So, that’s why I’m writing this, at the risk of her someday reading it about herself, because I really admire her honesty.

I do also want to mention that she’s from Western Africa, and I’m really curious to see if it’s more common for people to speak openly about their problems in the culture she comes from.  It’s no secret that some cultures are more sensitive than others.  New England is definitely a play-your-cards-close-to-your-chest kind of place.  She’s a brave one.