What I looked like back then:

I was angry. Really angry. I worked out tirelessly and aggressively to get out all my emotions. It was the only “healthy” way I knew how to release all my emotions. I looked great, but I banged up my body so much because I would overtrain, never rest, and cause avoidable injuries that eventually became lifelong.

I was so adamant to stay on this path, I ignored the warning signs from others and my own body telling me to slow down- you can’t keep this speed. 

I gained all the weight back because I was so exhausted from all the stress and caring for others. I was busy putting others first, ignoring my own needs, and the internal pain I refused to work through and feel.

What I look like now:

I actively work G-R-A-P-E-S into my everyday life. This is a tool I received from my therapist, and I use it everyday as a guide to living a balanced daily life. 

G~ Gentle with self~ Read a book, get a massage, watch a sunset

R~ Relax~ Enjoy a bath, medidate, take a nap, sit on the beach

A~ Accomplish~ This can be simple- grocery shopping, empty the dishwasher, laundry, get a work task done; but don’t spend your day attempting to accomplish 10 things

P~ Pleasure~ Enjoy a funny TV show or movie, play a game

E~ Exercise~ Get outside and bike, walk, run, yoga, pilates... whatever suits you

S~ Social~ text a friend, have coffee, or take a walk together

Learning this balance was eye opening. 

For example, exercise now is a part of my day, but not all of it. Exercise used to take up my social and pleasure time, and I realized there is more to life that I was missing. I used exercise as my crutch to dull the pain.

Now, I have spent years tirelessly feeling, embracing, and walking through the trauma, pain, and PTSD from what we all experienced. 

I’m learning to accept myself for who I am now.

I’m finding my value is not measured by the way my body looks, but how I feel about myself as a whole person. I have literally “cleared out” as many cobwebs I can from my internal pain. I’m okay talking about it. I have released the anger, resentment, aggression, and fear. I am becoming whole again.


What I looked like back then:

I was lonely. I had put all my eggs in my husband’s basket. He was my everything. Husband, partner, best friend, companion. We did everything together. Workout, cook, go to the movies, spend time with our kids…

I was dependent on him for everything.

What I look like now:

My eggs are spread into lots of baskets. My kids. My parents. My best friend. My husband. A group of friends. Acquaintances. I’ve reconnected with old and new. I’ve let people back in that I pushed out like a wall years ago, because I was too afraid to tell the truth. I was also afraid to  be let down again by anyone else.

I’m also my own best friend and cheerleader. I’ve embraced the years of solitude that I had, and now enjoy both interpersonal, as well as intrapersonal, experiences and moments. I find happiness in a cup of tea, morning coffees and writing, my Peloton, quiet walks and hikes, ocean views, and TV sitcoms. 

I’ve learned to depend mainly on myself. 

By this I mean, I am not seeking approval or acceptance from my husband, or the “need to fit in” with others. I am genuinely happy attempting to carve my own path. I hold myself to higher standards to always be learning, and becoming professionally and fiscally independent, responsible, and aware. 

I seek the good, and prepare for the bad. Meaning, when things are good, I enjoy the ride, but I don’t get too high, because everything eventually comes to an end. I am prepared for the lows. 

I also challenge myself to learn and get stronger each day- inside and out. I am constantly working to be better in mind, body, and spirit.

I am working to become the whole package I know I can be.


What I looked like back then:

I would return from work at 8:30 pm, missing an entire day of kids’ sports games, homework, and dinner. I would eat by myself, and cook for myself, no meal provided when I got home. It was mostly canned soup warmed up on the stove.

I would place myself in a hot shower, barely standing. Crawl into bed right after. No TV. Nothing. Wouldn’t have the energy to even talk with my kids about their day. I would wake up the next morning at 3:30 am to be at work by 4:30 am before sunrise. Not home to kiss my kids goodbye on their way to school.

I did this for a year. I would walk alone in an empty secluded parking lot as a female, and rush to get the keys out to unlock our studio door in the dark. The studio across from us was robbed one morning at 4:30 am. It was the only day I wasn’t working that week.

What I look like now:

I kiss my kids good morning everyday at sunrise. I cook pancakes and let them wake up to the smell of fresh sizzling bacon when the day calls for it. I take out our ironing board to iron their uniforms, so they’re not going to school in wrinkled clothes like they used to. Lunches are made fresh, water bottles filled.

I enjoy two cups of coffee each morning quietly, without rush. I read my “Jesus Calling” book and set an intention for the day. 

There is no rush, only peace.


What I looked like back then:

I was made fun of for my lack of cooking skills. I took the insults because while I knew my family was mainly joking, it was partly true. I never took the time to learn to cook as a mother. I knew basic stuff, but it was not a priority. I was overcome trying to manage the chaos.

What I look like now:

During Covid I set out with a purposeful intention to become a better cook- may I be bold and say, “chef?” My mini sliders are amazing. I’ve made several different types of meatball recipes- they are the bomb. I’ve created soups, salads, appetizers, pizza, chicken, steak, shrimp, and pork dishes, and even mastered stove top grilled veggies on a cast iron skillet. 

Sometimes I blow up the kitchen with overheated tomato sauce, and drippings of onion peels somehow appear all over the floor, but my family can’t say anything now. My family dinners I serve are my pride and joy. A minimum of once per week, (with all the sports and after school activities) I host a family meal where we engage our teens to talk about their day.

If you peek into our kitchen window, you’ll see fresh garlic bread being passed in a napkin covered bread basket, side dishes of fresh homemade salad, and a piping hot lasagna dish for a family of four. At the head of our table, sits our maltipoo with her head resting on top of the table, waiting for any scraps to be shared.


Writing about back then, vs now, puts a smile on my face as I write. It almost makes me feel warm inside, relieved that these “now” moments are ours and real- and consistent. It’s not all perfect, please know. We stumble. We fall. Sometimes we even yell at each other. But the bottom line is, we’re whole again, and that just makes life awesome.

Voices InCourage is a community designed to help you get from your then, to your now. Whatever that looks like for you. We’re here to help you get back to those peaceful moments, where passing warm bread baskets sitting around a family table can be your time again, too. Voices InCourage launches Fall 2021.