What was your first car?

My first car was a Yugo. (pause for laughter)  In my defense, I lived in California and it was all I could afford. I have to say the payment of only $100 a month was still too high for this disposable car.  I will admit that is was pretty proud to finally have a car of my own.  I am positive my mother was happy to have full access to her car.

This is exactly what my car looked like, minus the happy people around it.

Imagine this little car with a Garfield stuck to the window, sheepskin seat covers (because we wouldn’t want to have any ware on those seats), fuzzy steering wheel cover and a 22 year old girl with a lead foot darting around the San Fernando Valley. This car had no glove compartment , it was basically a tin can on wheels, but I put a steering wheel anti-theft devise on it anyway.

The good thing about Yugo’s is that no cop in his right mind will write a ticket to someone for going 90 MPH in a Yugo.  My theory was that they would get laughed out of the precinct for that one.

So one night after a night of dancing  I drove my friend home and realized I had left my credit card at the bar.  This was before cell phones…way before!!  I was trying to get back to the bar before it closed to get my card back.  As I am exiting the freeway I see the lights go on behind me.  Ok, here we go and I am not going to make it to get my card back tonight.

The officer came up and starts with “Do you know how fast your were going?”

“No, sir.”

“You were clocked at 90 MPH.  This is a Yugo?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Where are you going so fast?”

I told him and he asked me give him my driver’s License and registration and get out of the car.  I explained I had to get out of the car to get the registration.  I handed him my license and he backed away as he watched me  disassemble my car seat cover. Instead of a glove compartment,  my car had a a zipper in the back of the drivers seat.  So I took off the drivers seat cover to get the registration out of the back of my seat, then reassemble the seat.  At this point both police officers are standing outside of their car and watching.  I am not exactly sure how the cop kept from laughing outright at this insane process.

They gave me a very brief sobriety test and released me without even a speeding ticket.  I guess they felt driving a Yugo was punishment enough or they just couldn’t believe that car could go that fast without falling apart.

Less than a year after purchasing this car the engine seized up and the car died.  I am sure it had nothing to do with my driving. 🙂

What was your first car?

What Does “Should” Really Mean?

It has almost become cliche’ to say “don’t should all over yourself.”  I know that until recently I have not internalized the meaning of that phrase, and honestly it irritates me when I hear it.  I have an understanding of why it irritates me so much, the real reason.  I’ve found it through a very difficult journey I am in the middle of right now.   This journey is the reason I started this blog.

I have toyed in my head with how much of ME am I really willing to put out to the world.  Do I have the courage to be truly raw and open with people I don’t know?  How will I get through the inevitable pain of being judged or criticized by someone I don’t even know?  Honestly, there are only 4 people that even read this blog so what am I really worried about?

The characters in my journey are basically the defense mechanisms that helped me survive this world until I could find recovery.  This is the story of MY life and the views I share are from my perspective.  I own it and I am “Daring Greatly.”

I lived a life of “should” because I lived to please others. What I wanted was never a consideration.  This is not to say I didn’t want things, but what I wanted was whatever it took to get “love” from other people.  I remember this from my first memories.

The list of shoulds:

  • Be quiet
  • Be clean
  • Dress like the other girls
  • Don’t eat too much
  • Don’t eat too little
  • Do eat this
  • Don’t eat that9fc51-file451297827287
  • Don’t show your anger
  • Don’t cry
  • Don’t laugh too loud
  • Do as your told
  • Don’t defend yourself
  • Don’t expect anything from anyone
  • Don’t let anyone take care of you
  • Don’t trust anyone
  • Don’t trust yourself
  • Be active
  • Exercise all the time
  • Don’t be lazy
  • Don’t make more money than your husband
  • Don’t put pressure on your husband
  • If you don’t look perfect stay in the house

I’ll stop there.  I never really thought of these as shoulds, they were my reality.  These are the reasons that Brenda the Avenger came to be.  I needed to shutdown any and all feelings and be on high alert at all times.  Honestly, BTA kept me alive even when I didn’t really want to be alive.

My numbing agents run the gamut, but alcohol and eating disorders are the two that brought me to my knees.  I had no choice but to ask for help.   I gave up alcohol 4 ½ years ago, and it was that day that my eating disorder took over.  It took until last October for me to see what was happening.  Stepping out of my life for a while to get help was the hardest and most courageous thing I have ever done.  It is also the scariest!  I feel exposed.  My feelings are raw.   Brene’ Brown  talks about this in “The Power of Vulnerability” , you cannot numb the dark without numbing the light.  I numbed the joy when I numbed the pain.  She said that it is like being a turtle without a shell in a briar patch.  It’s time to get out of the patch and quit searching for a new shell.


My dietitian pointed out to me last week that I am always saying should.  She asked me, are those things you want to do?  I want you to do the things you want to do.  I was taken back a bit, because I felt like in 4 years I had learned so much about myself and here I am again.  I am at the cross roads of should and want.

I looked up the definitions of the word should, since I seem to assign my own definitions to some words, and the first two are:

“1. Used to indicate obligationduty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions.

  1. Indicating a desirable or expected state.”

Those describe exactly what my list of should do to me.   They are my expectations of me and my criticisms of myself.  Who would think one word would have so much power?  I gave it that power.

I am on a journey to live differently, see myself differently and allow joy back into my life.  I am going to spend this year practicing being kind to myself and learning what it is I WANT to do, to be, to see, to say and to feel.


I don’t have the equipment to do a vlog on this journey, but I want to do pictorial posts on adventures, activities and projects to see what shakes out.

I am going to put up a poll of ideas and see what the four of you want to see first.  If you have any ideas please share them in the comments.  I love hearing from you.

cowl scarf

Wins & Growth Opportunities

Mornin’!  This is my first journal post for my daily review.


I judge myself so harshly that  it was suggested that I journal about the things I did well each day, and what I’d do differently on the things I did’t do well.

This weekend my days blended together so here is a weekend review.

When I review my day it is so easy to get caught up in the To Do’s that are still undone.  The mistakes, perfectionism and all the work I “need to do” for my trauma and E.D. work and meetings that things fall through the cracks.  It happens to everyone, but there is part of me that knows that and doesn’t care ” Little Miss Perfect”.  I named her just now…that’s a good thing.  Now I can develop a healthy relationship with that part of myself.


I completed my first knitted slouch hat Friday night/Saturday morning, and it is a mess.  The win is that I love it anyway.  It is perfectly imperfect just like me. I plan on doing a post about it with pictures and everything.  I learned in the process about knitting and about myself. I’ve been wearing the hat all weekend.

Healthy purging: I removed from my apartment all the excess that I don’t use or can’t wear. Cleaned and threw out all the trash.  I always want to try and recycle/recreate things and part of my creative projects, but there has to be a limit.  I recycled all glass and other recyclables, trashed and and donated the rest.  It is such a good feeling.Nike Swoosh

i  did my chores so I am not looking at things that need to be done…they are done.  I always think of the Nike swoosh when I tell myself ” Just do it!!”

I ate when I was hungry.

I texted friends to see how they were doing.

I didn’t weigh myself.  My nutritionist is going to liberate my scale if I don’t stop weighing myself all the time.

I cooked two meals for myself.  Small step for mankind, GIANT step for me.

My dining table is cleared and set for dining only.  This where I will eat and experience my food by candle light, with music, flowers and lots of self love and kindness.

I got dressed and actually looked at myself in the full length mirror. There was no verbal or internal ripping myself apart.  I was able to stop when they started to come up.  Those thoughts are simply not welcome anymore, though I know they will visit and bang on the door often for a while.  Today I said  “NO!  Go away!”

I sketched Brenda the Avenger last night.  This was a step toward helping this part of me relax.  She jumps in when I am in fear, shame, loneliness, sadness and blocks these feelings so I am either numb or angry.  My goal is to see if I can get her to relax enough to allow me to feel these things and do my work




I was up all night Friday night finishing my hat.  No sleep until morning and late night eating. Binged on trail mix, banana chips, PB and Crackers.

These were not excessive, but definitely a step in the wrong direction.

When I notice these things I want to:

1. Stop and say a prayer

2. Journal about why and what is going on.

3. Forgive myself and renew my promise to myself to heal.

Things I can do to stay on track:

Stay on my sleeping and eating schedules –  not skipping snacks or meals,

Sleep and rest are key to a balanced and healthy life.

Keep up with 3 meetings a week.

Anyone want to share their Wins & Growth Opportunity?  I love hearing from you!!

Courageous Journaling

My journal ideas come from my team of women, who are helping me find balance and peace within myself and with the areas in life with which I struggle.  I struggle with many things, like everyone does to a small degree.  There are two things that have both threatened my life, alcohol and disordered eating.  These two things teamed up for many years, and during my short period of living in New Orleans, they nearly killed me.  At the time I did not know this, but looking back I can see more clearly my path.

I have been sober since 7/18/2010, one year after losing my mother.  I believe that once she passed and got to see my life, she spiritually kicked my butt all the way into a 12 Step Program.  The miracle of it all is, back  then I assumed that when things got tough I would always default to alcohol, or have the desire to, but today the thought does not even cross my mind during the hard times.  I am so grateful for this gift.

Today I also realize that what I always viewed as a weight problem, is actually an eating disorder, which has morphed and grown in strength over time.  Once again, right at a key turning point I was able to see not only that I had a problem, but what I needed to do to address it.  I had to step out of my life for a month to really look at and get a good start on addressing the variety of behaviors i act on.


Today I know that not only do I need to focus on intuitive eating and life balance, I HAVE to and WANT to root through the root cause, which is childhood trauma, of why I do what I do.  When people say your secrets will kill you…IT IS TRUE!!!  All of these secrets almost killed me many times.

It takes a village to raise this inner child and I am armed with  so many friends and resources.



Journal Ideas:IMG_0424

1.  Nightly journaling of what I did right in every area of my life that day and what I would do differently for any mistakes. I will only post one here.

2. During my meals, I have to write about the meal like I am writing for a newspaper article.  Describe the entire experience so that I am engaging all my senses in the process and I am emotionally connecting to the meal.  

Who wants to join me and share one of your journal entries on these ideas?