PUBLISHED

I am so excited to tell you guys that my favorite, online journal has decided to publish one of my pieces and I’m super stoked ya’ll:

Dear Stephanie,

Thank you for your submission to elephant journal!

It’s official: your words have somehow inspired our hearts and we’re accepting your piece for publication.

We are swamped and working our trunks off, and so we ask for your patience as we process your submission.

We’ve placed it in our queue of articles for publication; currently, our turn around is approximately one week. The next you’ll hear from us is when your article goes live.

We’ll send you an email with a link, along with suggestions on how to spread the reach of your words far and wide.

Do you have a personal photo (that you took or own) to accompany your piece? Send it in! (The feature image for an elephant article should be high quality, 500 x 500 pixels, personal and stylish.) This is optional, as we can choose just the right image for you if you’d like, but we always love to see original personal photos in our pieces, too!

*Timely: Do we have your bio photo? If not please send a (200 x 200 jpeg) headshot. Do you have a bio? If not, please send a short, personal write up about who you are and what makes you tick. Write in third person, please!* Try to get these in right away so we can get this up by Saturday.

By submitting you give us use rights in perpetuity.You can use with credit and a hyperlink, if you ask permission, in any publication that you own or control. We generally will not give permission or reprint articles we’ve edited, hosted, shared in other publications, unless they’re in other mediums. Once we have published your piece, we will not remove it from elephantjournal.com under (almost) any condition.

Thanks again for sharing your work with us. We hope to see more from you in the future!

Warmly,

Travis

Editing Team
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A post from my inner child

(I’m not sure what will come from this exercise but here it goes)

Stop listening to this sad music. Listen to the good stuff. How about some Lionel Ritchie? Remember that song Ballerina Girl? Dad used to play that song for us. Remember when he brought home the pudgy, stuffed, cabbage patch ballerina that hung by the pretty ribbon? You focus to much on the pudgy. That’s your own hang up. No one else thinks you’re fat. Yeah the mean boy at school said it but you see the way he looks at you when his buddy isn’t around.
That gym teacher in middle school who called you ugly. That guy was stupid. I don’t remember what he looked like but his heart was ugly. He is probably just a miserable human. Let it go.
That’s why you like that song so much. Because you have a hard time letting go. It’s become a prayer for you. You’ll figure it out. You’re almost there now.  You have to work on forgetting. You’re worried about forgetting but you shouldn’t be. Just remember the good stuff though. Clear out more space for that stuff.
Remember bowling and having Happy Birthday sung by the waiters at Denny’s, the way Amy laughed when she embarrassed you. The day Julie moved away and you sung ‘That’s what Friends are for’ all day while staring at the big tree branches through the bedroom window. Melodramatic, but you loved her. Exploring the woods and crawling across the fallen tree over the creek. You could’ve walked. It wasn’t that deep but the adventure was cool. Oh, flashlight tag! Even the high school kids would play. Remember the time that neighbor kid shot Julie in the butt with the BB gun? The open classrooms at Kerrydale? I wonder if they’re still like that, don’t you? Probably, since the high school was too. Seems like a stupid idea. Very distracting. Remember when that dentist came to visit? You still think about fluoride being instant throw up when you go to the dentist, don’t you? Did you ever try eating chalk instead of Tums? I wonder if that was really true.
Do me a favor and  stop worrying so much. You’re not dying. You’re going to be an old woman with children and grandchildren who love you so much. You will have a legacy of love. You’re a great Mom. You’re kids know you love them. You’re allowed to be grumpy. You’re better than your Mom and Dad. That’s what bothers you so much about Jer. You think he’s not paying attention and will give the kids bad memories, but he’s more fun than Dad. You just need to tell him you need more fun. He’ll understand that. Tell him about the piggy back ride and why it’s important. There will be piggy back rides and you’re going to figure out cartwheels. Dance more. You love to dance and you’re really good at. Just do it.AND spin. And lay in the grass. Roll down a hill. Even without the kids. Do it for you. Just for fun. There is still fun to have and you will.
I love you just the way you are. You’re awesome. Go to sleep. No bad dreams tonight. It’s happy in here.
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(This writing was done with my non-dominant hand. Turned out pretty interesting. I hadn’t thought of many of these things in years and had no idea where each thought was coming from or going to. I would challenge you to try it out yourself. I double dog dare you.)

Let me explain: 50 Shades of Grey and BDSM

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There is a whole lot of hooplah all over the interwebs and airwaves about 50 Shades of Grey right now. It’s theatrical release coinciding with Valentine’s Day should only further the chatter and curiousity to the author and production company’s delight.

I read the books. I will say that they are not very well written. No disrespect, but it is everything a romance novel is meant to be and not be. It’s an easy read that has a lot of sex in it, however, the euphamisms used to further describe a quite undescriable experience wore my last nerve. The storyline kept me mentally checked in.

It seems many people are not happy with the book due to it’s perceived “intimate partner violence” (IPV). There’s even a hashtage (#50dollarsnot50shades) which is growing in popularity asking people to donate the $50 they might spend on the movie and concessions to a local women’s shelter. I just finished reading an article by a progressive Christian, Mark Sandin, who I respect very much, in which he claimed this was his own problem with the novels and why he would not be supporting the movie.

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Here’s the thing:
Yes, 50 Shades of Grey revolves around two people participating in a BDSM relationship, however, BDSM is not about violence. The roles of BDSM partners are, in and of themselves, while unequal, complementary to one another. The idea of informed consent of both partners becomes essential. It is less about control and isolation and pain than most people believe.

Practicing BDSM involoves such high amounts of trust and vulnerability. So much so that it almost becomes, dare I say … spiritual. What is spirituality without trust and vulnerability? Can you be spiritual without daring greatly to bare the most intimate knowledge of yourself? Having a spiritual connection at that level to something outside of ourselves is at the heart our desire. Desire, not lust.

While leaving yourself exposed opens you up to greatest pains you’ve ever known, it also allows you experience things at a whole new level. Love. Sex. If you’re going to keep pieces of it unavailable, you’re never going to know the heights you can reach. That’s the real idea behind BDSM. At least for those I know personally who practice. As with anything, people get involved for the wrong reasons. Just like marriage and even religion, when you add the wrong person and abuse of power, especially where vulnerabilities are concerned, the potential for things to go wrong or become abusive is high.

That’s always going to be the problem with vulnerability.

SPOLIER  ALERT: In the storyline beyond the BDSM in 50 Shades of Grey you find that Christian Grey (man, that’s a loaded name) was an abused child. The only way he was able to become successful was to lose his inhibitions through a BDSM arrangement. 50 Shades of Grey is actually a reference to the many levels of not black and white that make up Mr. Grey, not bruising as many people insist. It is also through this arrangement that he is finally able to fall in love because it allows him to become vulnerable.

So, you see there is actually a lot more to the story than meets the eye. If you look for it, you’ll find a really deep lesson in vulnerability. And who doesn’t need more vulnerability in their life?

Just imagine, fantasize if you dare, the possibilties.

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Very Inspiring Blogger Award

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I hereby proclaim my acceptance of The Very Inspiring Blogger Award. It sorta makes me feel like an ass to proclaim such a thing, however, to be seen as an inspiration to anyone really is an honor in my mind. Especially someone else who dares greatly in the blogging arena. So thank you to Ann, of GrubbsnCritters for bestowing this honor. You have encouraged me to keep going numerous times in our short aquaintance. That means a lot to me. Anything to that end is acceptable. ONWARD!

As with awards, The “VERY INSPIRING BLOGGER AWARD” comes with rules:

  1. Display the award on your blog.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. State 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 bloggers, link to them, and notify them about their nominations.

Seven, maybe not so interesting but still worth mentioning, things about myself:
1. I am a supporter of marijuana legalization even though I am not a user. This is worth noting in my book because I think many people are under-educated on the subject. Before you develop a staunch stance on any topic, please know what you’re talking about. Here’s what I want you to know about legalization: a.)Marijuana does not fit the regulations for scheduling a drug as illegal. b.) Marijuana has medical benefits, especially for those of use that have chronic illnesses and pain; and c.) Accidental drug overdose from prescription drugs is fast climbing the chart of top killers around the world. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather ingest a natural, well regulated plant than a chemically derived, big pharm, engineered pill any day of the week.
2. I always wanted to have 3 children, two boys and one girl, in that order and I did, despite a miscarriage and only giving birth twice.
3. I used to be registered as a Republican. (gasp!) – lol
4. I have 4 tattoos
5. I currently have teal hair color.
6. I have been diagnosed with two incurable diseases.
7. Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” is hanging on my bedroom wall.

The people I am going to nominate are those who have inspired me personally. To those receiving my nomination, please do not feel obligated to accept or post. Just know that I think you’re special and wanted other people to take notice and be inspired by you :
1. The Bloggess – thank you for inspiring me to keep it real.
2. Kindness Blog – thank you for inspiring kindness.
3. Out of Great Need – thank you for keeping mindful and hopeful in thriving with mental illness.
4. After Midnight: A Christian Bipolar – thank you for leaving the light on.
5. Silverliningmama – thank you for inspiring my courage muscle.
6. ReinventionDiary – thank you for inspiring my shoulder angel
7.TheCompassionateGardener – thank you for inspiring my self-compassion
8. UncommonGraces – thank you inspiring me to embrace being a bossy gal.
9. MeganBuggsJourney – thank you for inspiring my inner little girl to fight
10. Ray Ferrer – thank you for inspiring what’s left of my sight and my home.
11. Dances With Fat – thank you for inspiring me to dance like nobody’s watching and to not care if they are.
12. Playfully Refined – thank you for inspiring me to doodle again.
13. 90Days to Spiritual Enlightenment – that you for inspiring me to shine one.
14. blahpolar – thank you inspiring me to laugh in the face of bipolar.
15. European Travel Adventures – thank you for further inspiring my wanderlust.
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Core Values Exercise

Stephieopolis

This is a pretty neat exercise to help you identify your core values. We had to do this exercise in one of my paralegal classes to help us decide what areas of law we would like to focus on. It’s really helpful and interesting.

You will need a piece of paper and a pen.

Here are the directions:

1. Review the list of values below . You may add any values that you feel may be missing from the list.

PEACE   HAPPINESS   INTEGRITY   WEALTH

JOY   LOVE   SUCCESS   RECOGNITION

FRIENDSHIP   FAMILY   FAME   TRUTH

AUTHENTICITY   WISDOM   POWER

STATUS   INFLUENCE   JUSTICE

2. Write down the 8 values that are very important to you on your piece of paper. This is your personal set of values.

3. Allow yourself 2-3 mins to narrow the list down to 5. Place a star next to them.

4. Allow yourself another 2-3 mins to narrow the list to…

View original post 166 more words

Wide awake

Its 4am here and I cant sleep.

I made the mistake of taking a nap earlier in the day, thinking the kids would wake me up after an hour when they hit the door after school. No such luck. I had forgotten that they both had after school activities. My husband picked up Diva and when they got home and he saw I was asleep, he pulled the bedroom door shut and let me continue to sleep.

On top of that, I had this terrible dream in which everyone and everything in my past with long shadows that still reach me today made an appearance. I was being chased, tortured and succumbing to pain so great, I felt it physically. I even tried waking myself. I was able to tell myself it was a dream, but it was as if I was drugged. I was crawling and couldn’t keep my eyes open, grasping desperately for anything and anyone who could guide me to consciousness.

My guess is that much of that has to do with reading back and cleaning up my blog because many of the things imported, did not come through as Id hoped. I know there’s a lot there, but looking back from here with new eyes, has ripped open old wounds. I can see the signs now before the rest of the story unfolds. It’s so striking sometimes that I push away from the desk and start pacing, racking my brain: How did I miss that? How could I be so stupid? Had I not always approached this with painstaking honesty, I could convince myself that I knew and just left things better unsaid.

Im also kicking myself for not only letting someone who has nothing deserving of being let back in, but also making my vulnerable enough to that person to let them hurt me again. I didn’t remember the “I never loved you” until after I had come to that suspicion on my own and then read it. I know this doesn’t make me the asshole. Im no saint, I just don’t want to live that way. I resent that I allowed myself to be strapped back into the blinders. It makes me feel bad about myself that Im wanting them to redeem them self. That Im waiting for an absolution that may very well never come.

Im supposed to be working on my “brand”, making it presentable and flow. The brand, however, is me and this life Im living and whenever I shine a light on everything around me it’s always going to be messy and complicated. That’s me, but I think I like that about myself. It makes me, me but, its also made me wonder if I’d be better off setting it all ablaze and starting over.

Is that really even possible?

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Character development

I am still attempting to audit my site. Making sure I have consistency and order.

Some of my posts transferred in as private and while Im attempting to correct that, if you subscribe,  you are probably going to continue to get notice about these as they go public.

Unfortunately, these posts are mostly about the demise of my first marriage. I guess you get a little glimpse into the events and circumstances that got me here. Character development. Back story.

You may also notice some layout changes as I try to scrub some of the lingering negativity off.

Stay tuned, my friends. I’m getting there.

~Stephanie

Sunday’s Song

I’ve decided to close each week by featuring a song that sums up the events of the week.

Music plays a big part in my psyche. There is always music, even if you cant hear it.

This week has been full of looking back at my experiences in growing up, in love and just in living life. Asking questions. Ruminating.

Joni Mitchell’s expression of same in Both Sides Now is a better summary than anything else I could I offer.