Clothing: A walking memory, a strike of lightning, a flash of intuition, and a surge of clarity

What you wear and how it is worn speak to who you are and what you are all about without ever having said a word. This silent and instantaneous communication is perhaps more valuable than we realize. Upon a more careful inspection, we can gather intel into one’s life, their culture, religion, wealth, self-care, what they value, and self-confidence. The essence of what they are or the percentage of things and experiences that make them-them. By just a simple glance, I can make up their life history with the info I’ve been given ( whether I’m right or not is a different story). This is why people watching is so fascinating, and why the fashion industry is a multibillion-dollar industry.

With the rise of fast-fashion and prices of clothing reaching an all-time low, clothing is purchased, worn once or twice(if it holds up in the wash), and thrown out. While these clothes are on trend, they say nothing of who we are and are cause for little inspiration. They are easily lost among the sea of here-today-and-gone-tomorrow fashion. For my generation, fast fashion has become the norm and quality a thing of the past. Yet when clothing can say so much about you, is fast-fashion what we want to convey? I worry that the generations that precede me will miss this.

I worry that if fast fashions continue to rise we will completely forget to appreciate quality and craftsmanship in clothing. When we value cheap over the importance of safety for those making the items, we are doing a great disservice to ourselves and everyone else. How can you completely enjoy something that has caused others suffering? You cannot!

Which leads me to say that fashion is so much more than just pieces of clothing. It is about how silk feels on your bare skin, or how a specific fabric makes you want to dance. It is when a dress has pockets, and the color yellow makes your heart sing. It makes you feel amazing and that you can conquer the world. Fashion allows us to feel the fabulous fabrics, and smell the coat that reminds us of our loved ones, to see our favorite colors dance about on fabric, and to know, at the end of the day, life was just a little bit more enjoyable. It allows us to honor our ancestors by wearing pieces that reflect who they were and the struggles that they went through. Fashion has the ability to take us back to a specific memory much like a smell would. We are transported back in time to our favorite moments and experiences — our own little secret!

Have you ever worn an excellent quality article of clothing? How did it make you feel? If you’re like me, you probably didn’t want to take it off. It feels amazing and you value it because it brings joy and is beautiful. What if it was owned by your grandmother or grandfather and passed on to you? You would think of them every time you put it on. You would treasure it, and a piece like that would never be casually thrown on your bedroom floor. If someone asked where you got it, what a wonderful story you would have compared to the standard “I got it at H&M” answer.

Now, maybe you’re like me and your family never passed you special clothing items.                                                      What’s a girl (or boy) to do?

Raid your closet. What are the pieces you are drawn to ( colors, textures, prints, styles, etc)? Get to know what you like and dislike. I would highly encourage going through your closet and giving away anything you haven’t worn in six months, things that don’t fit, items that were purchased but you hate, and make way for things that you are going to love wearing! Often times our closets hold treasures that are hidden by the pieces we hate. With the extra room in your closet, you’ll have an easier time finding outfits to wear and things that inspire you. In the future, think quality over quantity. Maybe you’ll score a well made and beautiful dress(may it have pockets!) at a vintage or second-hand shop. You have a story and a dress that will last. A piece with a past to be handed down to a beloved daughter, niece, or granddaughter. Think of the rich history that dress will have!

Not only will you be saving money, but you’ll also be helping humanity by choosing not to purchase from brands that knowingly gain off the backs those who are suffering. (think sweatshops, low working wages, child labor, etc)  You will have clothing that brings you, and those who see it, joy.  The things you wear will be inspired by your past, your favorite places, the things you love most in your life, and, who knows, maybe even by your favorite foods! What an excellent conversational starter that would be!

Explore! Branch out and check your local second-hand and vintage stores. Learn about fabrics and color. Learn to sew and create one-of-a-kind pieces to pass on to future generations. Create the story you wish to tell, and let fashion be a walking memory, a strike of lightning, a flash of intuition, and a surge of clarity for yourself and everyone around you.

May you always have a good story to tell!

10 goals for November

  1. Laugh more
  2. Be silly 
  3. Be grateful
  4. Dance more
  5. Have more fun
  6. Eliminate complaining
  7. Create More 
  8. Put more energy into keeping things clean and organized
  9. Call my mom more
  10. Make family a priority 

I wanted November to be a little different for two reasons:

  1. I wanted to enjoy my goals instead of it being a chore
  2. I wanted something that was actually doable

I recognize that I’m a work-in-progress and I might not always win every battle, but I do want to celebrate the small wins I have. In my goals, I’m often focused on not doing X or Y and I am so frustrated when I miss it.

But, what if I add things to my life, like time to create and time to be silly and dance around. I’m trying it and so far I really like. I will admit I haven’t called my mom but that’s coming. I guess the beauty in adding things into your life is that if it doesn’t work you can always try something new.

Do you have any goals you’re currently striving toward?

Zipping into Fall the right way

This past weekend, I planned a special date for Nate and myself outside of our normal dinner and a movie type of thing. I wanted it to involve exercise and being outside to enjoy the fabulous fall weather we are currently having. I wasn’t exactly sure what I might find but I decided to try Groupon to see if they might have any ideas. While scrolling down, I found Go Ape Zipline Adventure which I had never heard of before. In short, it’s a two-hour self-guided zip line and high ropes course. IMG-0123

I booked the tickets for the following Sunday and kept it a surprise for Nate. Sunday arrived cold and rainy, so I called and asked to reschedule our reservation for the following Sunday which they were more than happy to do. What I didn’t realize was that the lady accidentally scheduled us for Saturday instead of Sunday. We showed up and she can’t find our reservation. I look at the confirmation E-mail and realize the mistake but thankfully they still had room for us. Watch the Promo Video Here.  We had such a blast and I would highly recommend it as a fun date, friend outing, or for families. They do have a weight limit,  and kids over ten and under fifteen must be with an adult at all times. They have sixteen courses across the United States with two being in Missouri. Each course is different and the Kansas City course is in Swope Park near the Zoo. IMG_0116

There are different options which include moderate, difficult or extreme depending on how daring you’re feeling. I’m not afraid of heights, but some of those high ropes elements really had my blood pumping. I will say some of the spaces climbing up to the elements can get a bit tight (I’m 5’4 and it was cramped but I saw people of all different sizes go through relatively easily)IMG-0120

I never felt worried about my harness not fitting or being secure enough at any point while I was on an element or flying through the air. You are attached to the wire above by a trolly and a carabiner. They spent a good fifteen out twenty minutes briefing us on safety. They have instructors on the ground patrolling the area and assisting when help is needed. We were also given a whistle in the event of an emergency.IMG-0119

This walkway appears easier than it looks; The x’s moved freely and it really works your core and upper body. I woke up sore the next morning. We navigated 39 crossings, five zip lines, one Tarzan swing. The longest zip line was 475 feet, and the highest platform was 48 feet.

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The Trolly and Carabiner

They do recommend you bring gloves to protect your hands from the cold and, at times, rough wire. I used the $1 gloves from Walmart and they worked perfectly. You also have the option to buy $6 gloves from GoApe which is what Nate’s wearing in the picture above. I loved that it was self-guided so we didn’t have to wait for an instructor and we could go at our own pace. The views were amazing as all the leaves have changed colors and the air was perfectly crisp. It was a glorious day to be alive.  Feel free to follow them on Instagram @Goapekansascity IMG-0172.jpg

Human Trafficking: Not for Sale

There is a human trafficking ring that’s huge in the United States specifically around the Kansas City area. I read the news and it makes my heart stand still.

WHAT IF IT WAS ME?

I am afraid for myself and those around me: my family, friends, and especially for my nieces as they grow up. The more stories I hear, the more paranoid I become. It makes me double check my locks, look under my car, and keeps me looking behind like I am being permanently followed.

Evil doesn’t just lurk at night; evil is happening in broad daylight. My nightmares are dominated by being kidnapped and sold. I wake in the dead of night knowing that my worst nightmare is someone’s daily reality.

WHAT IF IT WAS YOU?

I want to hide and stay safe but at what cost? That I might live in a state of being fearful twenty-four/ seven? This answer is a resounding NO! I will not sit passively by like a sheep being sent to the slaughter. I will do everything in my power to protect myself and those around me.

If any good is to come out of human trafficking being so close to home, is that we can no longer ignore human trafficking. It is not just a problem for others to deal with; it is OUR PROBLEM to handle. Burying our heads in the sand will not change the fact that human trafficking is alive and well. In fact, traffickers rely on us to ignore the problem. Silence is for the weak, there is power in solidarity!

Until sex doesn’t sell and fear and violence aren’t used as coercion, human trafficking will continue to be an issue.

Until women are not sex objects or property and society stands up and chooses to see the value in the empowerment of humanity, there will be no change! It is up to you and it is up to me to say no more, not on my watch. It is our job to educate ourselves, be aware and actively seek to protect the weak and the most vulnerable among us.

Yet, each of us is not blameless! We may never have been directly involved with the sale of a human being, but our hands are not clean, You and I both have known, for a long time, that human trafficking exists but have done nothing to stop it. We have silently turned a blind eye to discrimination, violence, hate and a myriad of crimes because they do not directly affect us.

My point, in saying all this, is not to accuse but bring awareness. Unless you and I choose to change, how can we expect others to? By raising the standard for ourselves, we, in turn, raise it for others. Choose to be more, choose to be better, and choose to make a change.

The Power of a Simple No

How many times do you find yourself in the position of being asked to do something you really don’t want to do but feel obligated to say yes? Say yes to donating money to a cause you know nothing about, or going out when you would rather say no, or maybe even to see a close friend when you are dying to be elsewhere.

For me, this has been a huge problem all my life. I feel this weird sense of obligation and guilt every time I want to say no, even if I am in desperate need of rest. I end up committing to things I do not believe in, causes I don’t care about, and activities that drain me. I end up upset at myself for agreeing to say yes, I am grumpy, tired and stressed, I drag everyone else around me down with my bad energy, and the worst part is all of this could have been avoided with a simple but firm no.

No, I am not interested in donating to your cause. No, I do not want to babysit your eight- hundred rowdy kids. No, I will not allow you to take advantage of me and my kindness. Saying no is hard! We have been told that saying no is bad and you’re selfish. You need to accept every invitation otherwise you are being rude or you are going to offend someone, but guess what WHO CARES?!! 

This has been an absolute revelation to me this year. I admit it: I was afraid of saying no because someone wouldn’t like me or want to be my friend. I was so terrified of rocking the boat and offending someone with my no I always said yes. Yes, to overworking myself, yes to stress, yes to exhausted breakdowns, yes to sickness and yes to suffering. Me saying yes got to the point where I felt powerless and there was no hope of happiness.

Let me take you back to a year ago when I was renting a duplex with three friends. Let me set the stage:

The way we paid our bills is I would pay everything up front and then everyone would reimburse me. As you might image, this worked for about point one days. It was a source of great anxiety for me. It would be days after rent was due that I would finally get rent if I got all of it. I would ask once and then wait, often times it didn’t come at all. At one point, one of the roommates didn’t pay rent for 3 months. Needless to say,  I was sick of it. Suddenly being nice and waiting for rent was not an option. So, I told him he needed to leave and that the choice to not pay rent had resulted in the consequence of getting kicked out. He tried to guilt me into letting him stay. I informed him that he had twenty-four hours to leave or I would be changing the locks. He could go to the homeless shelter or stay with a friend but he would not be taking advantage of me any longer. It was worth me paying rent all by myself to not have him in the house and with it the stress! It was as if a weight had been lifted off of me. Another time, this girl stayed for a month and didn’t pay rent, this time I told her she needed to pack her stuff and leave in ten minutes…which she did.

I do not have time for people to take advantage of my kindness. Your actions have lead you to where you are currently, and those actions have consequences. I am not responsible for picking up the messes you continually make. Go bother someone else. You see, they will take advantage of you as long as you allow it. The minute you say no more, they go bother someone else!

I was free of those toxic people and I also learned my lesson never to rent with other people again. It was a very painful lesson but I am so glad to have the experience. I was not going to make a change until it got too uncomfortable for me to remain in that same space. Let me tell you, my life has taken a 180-degree change. I am no longer scared to say no. 

One of the things I am learning is that my time is too valuable for people to take advantage of. If I say yes to everything, I will have no time for what is important and in alignment with my highest self. Saying no has changed my life!

Let me tell you, the minute you say no you release yourself to do the things you love. People need to hear no more! Can I get an amen!!!!

 

 

 

 

The life of a chronic overachiever

If I’m being honest, I’ve been a chronic overachiever my whole life. I want to maximize my productivity throughout the day, so I find myself easily annoyed with myself if I’m not getting my checklist done for the day. It’s kind of silly because I put more things on my checklist than I could possibly do in a twenty-four hour period. To make it even crazier I have a master monthly list which I try to fit in between my daily, and weekly lists. I end up so stressed out because I spend more time stressing about not being able to get things done that by the end of the time I’ve accomplished not even half of what I wanted to.

Let me rewind to the start of the year, eight months ago, when I picked up a second job because I can make extra money and still balance everything it’ll be great! That was the biggest lie I’ve ever told myself and I guess I didn’t learn my lesson because when asked if I could work thirty-five hours instead of fifteen in addition to my full-time job, I agreed. Sleep is for the week you know? I realized my mistake on day three; cursing myself as I dragged myself up at 5 AM after having gotten home from work at 2:30 Am. I felt like crying all the time and my tolerance was at an all-time low. I was furious at myself so I took it out on others. If anyone knows me, they know I love my sleep and need at least 10 hours to fully function, needless to say, I was struggling. The kicker is I didn’t even need the money, I was doing it to feel productive. When I did have a rare night off I was so tired, I’d fall asleep the minute I got home.

I wasn’t enjoying life and I was extremely miserable, but I refused to quit. I would rather live my half zombie life than fail. As we all know, I was super busy but not at all productive. It seems like common sense but I missed it big time! I wish I could go back in time and take a different path but the past will stay in the past. I have learned my lesson, these past few months, and will choose a different way in the future. I was literally benefiting no one. Yesterday, I finally finished my second job and I am so thankful. I went through hell and came back exhausted but alive. In the future, I am committed to choosing to have a healthy work-life balance. I will be choosing to only work a certain amount of hours and spending more time enjoying life. I got so caught up about being productive I missed out on a lot. Part of loving yourself, it allowing yourself to rest and relax. I know that when I’m burnt out, doing tasks seem eighty times harder than when I am refreshed and at my best.

What are ways that you achieve a healthy work-life balance?

 

Truth

Let me tell you a story I hope you cannot relate to! Let me tell you a story of loss and hurt and never being the same; a story of hope, healing and of truth. At seven years old, in her sparkly mermaid swimsuit, she had not a care in the world. Opening the door into the warm, summer afternoon, she pranced down to the pool. The water felt amazing and wonderful but even better was playing with her sister’s Shamu floaty, which she wasn’t supposed to be playing with! It was all great fun and her brother’s friend was also staying for the summer. Yay! more friends to play with.

Unbeknownst to her, life was about to change. You see, at seven, she could have never known that there are enemies that parade as friends, wolves in sheep’s clothing if you will. Happily watching the sun dance on her swimsuit, she was a mermaid on her trusty whale traveling the world. Lying on her floaty, the sun was suddenly blocked, thinking it might rain she got up only to realize it was her brother’s friend. Why was he so close? why was he looking at her like that? She couldn’t understand! Quicker than she could run away, he grabbed her vagina and asked her to name it. She didn’t recognize his eyes and they looked scary. She said nothing and hoped he would stop, but he didn’t. “I know what my vagina is called but I’m not telling him,” she thought. It seemed like forever before he let go and told her he was just “joking around”. It didn’t feel like joking around to her and somehow the day didn’t seem so nice anymore.

I never said a word about what happened until several years later. I was talking to a close friend and the story slipped out. Her reply: “me too!” My heart shattered into a million pieces and tears slid down my face. I was angry on behalf of her and for seven-year-old Kellie who was too little to push him away.  I wanted to kill the person who had so deeply hurt my friend. It was a first for both of us that day; neither of us had spoken of what had happened to us so many years ago. I couldn’t understand why she stayed silent, she needed to go to the police, they would listen and believe her! As I was telling her she needed to tell someone, she looked at me and said “for the same reason you haven’t said anything” It was as if the world stopped and for the first time I questioned why I hadn’t said anything? I didn’t have an answer for her that day but left with many questions spinning in my mind.

That night, sleep was nowhere to be found. Why had I never spoken up? Why did I never call him out? Why was he allowed to get away with this but I had to live with the consequences?  Would anyone believe me? Why didn’t I say anything if it really was a big deal? Did I make this up? I felt like my brain was about to explode. It took me a week to tell my family and they were shocked. I don’t think they thought it was possible for a seven-year-old homeschooled kid to be sexually assaulted in their home. They were very upset and were furious about what I’d gone through. They asked me if I wanted to talk to his family but I told them I would when I was ready to do so.

That was three years ago, and since then I thought about messaging him so many time. I friended him on Facebook a few months back, and since have numerous drafts waiting to be sent to him. For some reason, I could not find the words. I thought it would be easy to message him and tell him what a crappy person he is. I wanted to write and tell him that he was not getting away with this! I wanted to scream at him and tell him I remember, but my hands refused to write and words would not come. It was as if my mind went blank and my body froze. I can still see his cruel eyes daring me to say something, taunting me!

In sharing my story, I have heard the same thing over and over again: that happened to me as well! It makes me so angry that these things are happening daily and girls are staying silent. It was not until I tried and failed to write to him, that I finally understood why people stay silent. There are many reasons and so many different circumstances that keep us silent, but I am hopeful that as more people are sharing their stories, it opens doors for others to do the same. For when I am vulnerable, it allows others to do the same.

To: XXXX

“I’ve debated on writing you and telling you what I remember for many years, but today is the day: I am not sure how many other girls you sexually assaulted but that cycle stops now. When you grabbed my vagina, in the pool, and asked me to name it, I refused. In fact, at seven I knew what you did was very wrong and at thirteen you knew as well. My parents were just trying to help when they let you stay in our house the summer of 2003, they let you in and you took advantage of not only their kindness but of seven-year-old Kellie. Well, I remember and will not stop until I get justice. My family is aware of what happened as well as many others in my life. You are responsible for your actions at thirteen years old; those actions have consequences and those same actions are catching up with you” 

I was finally able to write and hold him accountable. It was one of the scariest things I have done and took me months to write, but it feels so good to finally be able to get that off my chest. As I have said, at the beginning of this blog post, I hope you cannot relate to this but the reality is we all have or know someone who has experienced sexual abuse. It is never okay! I know others have had to deal with sexual abuse that is 1000 times worse than what I experienced. I cannot tell you what that’s like but I do know from what I experienced that it takes courage to speak up and stand up for justice.