To The Girls…

 

As I write this, I sit in awe of what is going on in the world around us. Women everywhere are being told they don’t matter. How they feel, does not matter. Your body does not matter. Their basic human rights, do not matter.

As a young adult, I sit and think about how I would have viewed all that is happening if I was still a young girl.

There are little girls watching the news alongside their parents in the family room. Little girls who hear a clip on the radio on the way to school. Little girls who overhear adults talking at soccer practice. Little girls who are confused and curious. After all, don’t we teach them that their bodies are precious and belong to only them from a very young age?

So what kind of message are we sending when we say you don’t matter? The decisions regarding your body are to be made by others and outside of your control.

Are we creating strong, empowered, independent, confident women when they aren’t even in control of the choices they make? Or are we creating women who will have self- esteem issues, low self-confidence, and self-hatred?

The right for women to be able to make their own decisions and control their own life paths is what is at stake. The ability of women to be accepted for who they are and plan their lives the way they want to plan their lives. Their dignity respected, their autonomy respected, their ability to make decisions for themselves about what they’re going to do but their bodies and with their futures and with their lives, and that is what is at stake and that is what was being affirmed.

This isn’t political, it’s fundamental to your dignity, to be able to decide to make decisions for yourself.

So to the little girls like me circa many years ago, who may be sitting around hearing what others are saying. Who are scolded and chastised for asking questions. Who are taught that talking about your body and the things it can do is taboo. This is for you. I hope you listen to the little voice in your head and if you can’t speak out on it now, I hope it grows into a loud and powerful roar that enables you to speak up on anything you believe in.

 

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two months

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Abnormal, painful, heavy and/or irregular menstruation.

Intense abdominal pain and cramping outside of period.

Fatigue, bloating, nausea.

These are the vague symptoms you will find if you Google endometriosis.

Endometriosis occurs when the endometrium tissue lining the uterus is found around the organs, pelvis and other areas of the body instead of being shed during monthly menses. This causes scar tissue, chronic debilitating pain, mood swings, anxiety, depression, infertility, body image issues just to name a few symptoms.  No one brings up night sweats, blood clots, or nausea. How about chest pain, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat and dizziness. I bet you didn’t know that knee pain, back pain, certain food intolerances, and vitamin deficiencies are also associated with endometriosis.

Many women (including myself) suffer in silence and the usual timeframe for diagnosis is 10 years, as it is difficult to detect. Endometriosis is incurable. 

No one tells you how it happens, about the days you will cry because you are in intense pain or how many times you will have to call in “sick” to work with no real explanation of what the heck is going on with you. I am constantly faced with physical pains that I can’t control even with the strongest painkillers.

I can date my symptoms back ten years ago.  I was only thirteen and had to make an appointment with a gynecologist. While I won’t mention this well-known doctor’s name, she brushed it off saying, “It was just a part of becoming a woman.”‘ Uh, yikes ok. 

So I went on accepting this as my truth. Accepting the days of sitting in class pretending I felt okay that extended well into my working years. Calling in sick makes me feel guilty because my boss or co-workers don’t always understand what I’m going through and I often think I’m letting them down.

As the years went by, sometimes I would mention it here and there to doctors and they would act nonchalant as if living with this pain and discomfort was something I could get by with.

The final straw was when my previous doctor told me I was ovulating and it would pass. When I insisted differently, she suggested we change my birth control. Not only would this wreak hormonal havoc on my body, but I also knew it wasn’t the answer. So I stood up for myself. I said no.

I kicked her to the curb and demanded she refer me elsewhere.

I couldn’t do it anymore.

So after countless dollars spent on wasted doctor’s appointments, I saw a leading physician specializing in endometriosis. She suggested I have a laparoscopic procedure because she was sure I had endo.

I was overwhelmed. After I stopped ugly crying, I realized I was relieved. Finally. Vindication. Confirmation. I am believed.

I told a select few people.

What will you do? Make sure you do it. Are you going to do it? I don’t think you’ll do it. Please do it. Have you tried yoga? Have you considered meditation? Have you tried not eating dairy? How about nutrition? Medication is bad for the body and you’re an addict. All those chemicals. You can’t take that. What are you going to take instead? Can you have babies? Are you infertile? You should have a baby. You should start having babies. Why aren’t you having babies? Are you better? We can’t wait for you to feel better —to get back to normal.

Normal is now tiredness. Exhaustion. It’s being slow. It’s feeling slow. Withdrawn. Feeling sick. I am sick. Always keeping it secret. F. Feeling small. Thinking about it. Thinking about pain. Always thinking about my body. Your body. Assessing every twinge, every tug, every pull, every ache. Waiting. Holding your breath and counting. Waiting for it to stop. To get worse. To come back again.

Two months ago today, I was first diagnosed and had a laparoscopy. My endo is so severe it caused organs to shift and tilt.

I am now faced with the harsh truth that the physical pain is paired with the emotional pain of the possibility of not being able to carry a child, my first surgery will probably not be my last and I am on a medication that has kicked my body into early menopause.

While the road ahead is difficult, I know had I not been an advocate for myself while sitting in a small cold exam room with nothing but a gown the quality of a cheap paper towel, I would still be suffering in silence.

Fortunately, I have learned the capacity of my strength and fortitude due to this disease.

If you’re a woman suffering from chronic, mystery pain that doctors are just shrugging their shoulders at, I hope you are inspired to be an advocate for yourself as well.

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Coffee Break Thoughts from the Airport

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My job can be a little exhausting. Okay, sometimes a lot. We are a dedicated nonprofit with a small staff. I’m actually doing two jobs within the organization right now during a transition period.

Through my job, I am tasked with traveling sometimes. There are one-day trips to exhibit and then there are week-long trips for conferences. I have essentially traveled three weeks of the past month. I haven’t been home much and as I sit here in the airport waiting on a flight that won’t get me home until 11:30 tonight (then I have to drive an hour home), I think how fortunate I am to be able to travel alone.

I’m not sure if you’ve had the opportunity to travel alone, but let me tell ya… it makes for some serious self-reflection/processing time. As I walked every inch of the city of Louisville (and visited the underground speakeasy you see above) with no one but me, myself and I, I had the sweet, rare opportunity to really process where I was at and how I was doing in terms of life in general. I was challenged and reminded and affirmed of His love for me and plan for my life all at the same time.

I am exhausted and looking forward to some time at home for a long weekend before I fly out again two weeks from now. But I’m so thankful to have had that time to step away and be alone. I know the craziness of the holidays is soon upon us, but if you have the chance to carve out some alone time for yourself, whether it be a couple of hours or a whole weekend, I can’t encourage it enough! It was pretty transformative for me.

I am so overwhelmed and I am so thankful.

So here’s my question for you, friends, how are you doing, doing. Are you giving yourself the rest you need? Are you giving yourself the grace you deserve? I haven’t been.

There will be a million things telling you that you’re not doing enough or being enough or accomplishing enough. But you have one friend right here today telling you this simple truth… you already are. You Are. Enough.

If you’re like me and have a hard time believing that to be true of yourself, my challenge to you today is to pause. Give yourself the rest you don’t think you have time for because I guarantee you that you do.  There will always be a million excuses not to, but you know what I can promise? Life will go on. And you? You will be so much better off for it.

Go buy that Starbucks holiday drink and go on a walk around the prettiest neighborhood you can find. Or curl up on the couch and put on a Hallmark movie… and instead of checking your email inbox and finding other ways to do a million things at once, just watch. Light your favorite candle, put on your favorite worship song and spend thirty minutes journaling and pouring your heart out to the Lord. Replace one of the “to do list” things you feel like you have to do with something that brings you rest.

I know I know.. it goes against everything our millennial-multitasking minds tell us to do, and that’s the beauty of it.

Let’s fill this season with a bit more rest, ok?  That’s how I intend to round out the remainder of the year.

So before I step off my soapbox, let me just say one last thing. It is good to trust in the Lord. He is faithful, and He is the best author. Trust Him with your story, friend. In the valleys, remember there are so many pages you haven’t lived through yet, and remember that His love, which is so far greater than any love we’ll ever find here on this earth, will lead you through each one.

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Tablescapin’ on a Budget

The news has been so very serious lately. As has my Facebook feed.

Whew. I’ve had just about all I can stand. So today, I’m sharing a little something laid-back.

I had hopes that putting a Fall tablescape out would bring the Fall weather. I was so, so wrong.

Also, I rarely have people over. I joked with a girlfriend that I was going to invite her over just so she could stare at my dining room table!

I’m sure there are some of y’all that can create something WAY fancier than I put together and you’re probably saying “Bless her heart” at what I threw on my table! But it makes my little heart content and I love staring at it!!

My goal is to be able to leave this out through Thanksgiving and then swap a few things for a Christmas feel. I didn’t want it to be specifically Halloween/Thanksgiving/etc…

Props to anyone who has time to constantly change theirs out. (That ain’t me).

Everything in these photos is from TARGET. Uh huh. Act shocked. Good alternatives to not so expensive table decor is TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, the usuals. I would have scooped up some stuff from there had the new goodies at Target not sucked me right in!

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DETAILS:

Table Runner- Chip and Joanna did well on this one

Eucalyptus Pick Stems

Eucalyptus Garland

Pillar Candle Holder

Gold Candle Holder

Blue Glazed Pitcher

  • The sunflower is from Target as well but I can’t find it to link it!
  • The two vintage jars are from my mama y’all. Visit a thrift store or two and I’m sure you can find something similar!
  • White candles- a Walmart find #noshame in a good Walmart find

 

Let me know what you’re decorating your tables with in the comments!

 

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Cry Pretty

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I’m a crier. Oh lawd, I am being so serious.

Everyone shows emotions differently, but that’s okay. You may call your best friend when you’re stressed. You may hit the gym for a good sweat session. You might pour your favorite glass of Cabernet and grab the container of Ben & Jerry’s out of the freezer while carefully trying not to spill either on your white couch (this is a talent ok, trust me). You might eat Hot Cheetos knowing how terrible they are for you. You might do all of the above (guilty).

You may cry. There’s really no wrong or right way to do it.

But hold on.

Why am I even talking about this?

I’ve been feeling like a basket case of emotions lately and I’m seriously considering investing in a good waterproof mascara. I’m a crier. I feel better when I cry! I don’t always have a meltdown or anything.  Just a frustrated tear after feeling defeated, a happy glisten at my eyes because I heard some fantastic news, or a hysterical, tears streaming down the cheeks because I’m laughing with the person I love at our favorite television show.

Now sometimes I do have a breakdown. Like full-on, ugly tears, expensive mascara running breakdown. If I feel comfortable enough to do this around you, you’re stuck with me for life!

Heck, I cry at weddings. At funerals. At baptisms even. Then I look around and realize no one else is crying. I’ve even apologized for crying before! Used to, I figured okay Ang, you’ll grow out of this. You’ll be an adult.  Younger Ang didn’t know what being an adult was like.

In essence, a whole lot of stuff where the tears are justified. And so are the glasses of wine.

Nine months ago, my life was a lot different. I had a different job, lived in a completely different city, had different friends, and so much more.

Fast forward to now and things are like day and night kind of different. Between then and now I’ve cried plenty of tears (and gained a few pounds).

One day at my current job, I broke the streak. I cried over something that happened that I felt was going to be the end of the world.

One day I sat on my bathroom floor crying until I made myself sick. It felt like the end of the world.

One day I let myself be vulnerable and ugly cry in front of someone I love deeply. It felt like the end of the world.

Spoiler alert! It wasn’t the end of the world.

It’s ok to be a real, functioning human who had some pretty heavy stuff happening.

Lock ‘em up is what many of us do. We press them down, stifle our feelings, suppress any emotional expression. We tell our friends to do the same. Chill. Relax. Put on your game face. Try to be cool no matter what is happening in your life.

Many of us have the impression that emotions are bad. Some were raised in families where people didn’t express much emotion. No one ever said it was wrong to cry or to get too excited about something. But then again, no one ever did.

When we suppress our emotions, it weighs us down. It’s as if we are lugging around a heavy bag with us wherever we go. We all know what happens if we have to carry that bag for an extended period of time: The longer we carry it, the heavier it feels.

So it is with an overwhelmed soul. The longer we bear it, the heavier it feels.

Friends, let it go today. Call a friend, make time for a workout, pour your favorite glass.

Have emotions and don’t ever be ashamed of them.

Ange_Sig

 

work diaries: my everyday #OOTD

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OUTFIT DETAILS

BLACK TIE WAIST TOP (I bought mine from a local boutique-True South- but this one is similar)BLACK JEANS (on sale) | CLASSIC BLACK HEELS  

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OUTFIT DETAILS

BLACK JUMPSUIT (Facebook shopping is the best!)CLASSIC BLACK HEELS  | EARRINGS

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OUTFIT DETAILS

BLACK SILK CAMI ($17.99 find!!) (I throw a light jacket on with something sleeveless like this)BLACK HIGH-WAISTED JEANS | EARRINGS | HERMES SANDAL DUPE 

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OUTFIT DETAILS

WHITE RUFFLE SLEEVED TOP RIBBON BELTED PANTS | EARRINGS |CLASSIC BLACK HEELS  

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OUTFIT DETAILS

MOST COMFORTABLE JUMPSUIT EVER 

 

I can’t believe we are already half way through September!! The months have flown by! I have been at my ‘new” job for almost SEVEN months now! I guess it’s not truly new anymore, but I feel like I just started.

Life has been a little CRAZY lately to say the least, but life is still so, so good.

I am required to dress business professional every day for my job. But pantyhose and shoulder pads really aren’t my style, so I have to get creative with my work looks.

I wear a lot of black as you can see and I love finding a good deal. I love shopping at local spots, (like True South here in Greenville), Facebook shopping (Trilogy and Lavender&Lily) [this is addicting y’all be WARNED], or my favorite online boutiques (VICI and Blue Door Boutique are two fab ones!).

I get a lot of remarks about wearing so much black, but I can mix and match pieces easily, plus I can wear statement earrings or a bold lip (two of my favorite things!)

My room is often a mess and I need to up my mirror pic selfies, but I hope this gives y’all a little bit of #fashionfriday inspo!

Happy Friday lovelies!

 

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I Hope I Call You

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This day holds a different gravity for all. I was in Birmingham waiting for my grandmother who was receiving chemotherapy at the time. Just a child who didn’t understand the impact of what I was watching on the television. The majority of us can recall where we were sitting when we heard.

Regardless of where we were that day, the resounding truth remains the same – in one single moment, your life may never be the same. 

What a day it is to honor those who lived and loved and fight for our freedom. My heart hurts at those still affected by the tragedies of this day. But what also hurts is the fact that sometimes, almost always, it takes a tragedy like this to remind us to cherish and enjoy every single moment. To really take in the air running through my lungs as I write this. To remind me to take a harder look at the smile lines on the face of the person I love, because it might be the last time I ever see them light up with laughter again. To cherish a kiss, to bask in the feeling as I snuggle with my nieces or to close my eyes and taste the warmth of my favorite cup of coffee.

The photo I included in this post, gets me every single time. Chills. I hope and pray Brian loved and prized Jules every second up until this moment. That the life they lived together with their family was full of nothing but precious memories for her to remember after he was gone. That they lived a life so full that it gave hope to everyone around them.

I sit back and think, am I taking even one second of my life for granted? Of course I am. We all do.

Ask yourself, “Am I living the life I love?”

If not, something has to give. It’s difficult to realize you aren’t living the best life possible. But boy, does it feel good when you take the steps to turn that around. When you take the steps to find your spark again and shine like you were meant to. It feels great when you sit back and soak in the moments and the people around you like never before because it feels like life couldn’t get any better.

Today and every day moving forward, I have to remember to make the best decisions based on my heart and what makes my cup full. I want to live my life to the fullest with the ones I treasure as long as I am here in the flesh.

Make that call. Send that text. Let them know how important they are to you.

You never know what tomorrow brings.

 

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