How to Not Apologize for Being Me



Yesterday I posted this on Facebook:

“I won’t hide or change who I am to serve the whims of someone else. I won’t lie to hide someone else’s untruths, but I also won’t tell everyone everything just because they think they deserve to know. This is my life. I try to live it with kindness, directness, love, and wholly unapologetic. Though I’m not always good at it, I’m working hard to become better, the very best version of myself. And that’s good enough for me.”

Let’s break this bubble down.


Permission, perception, acceptance, extreme diplomacy, compromise to a fault, insecurity, fear, apologizing for who I am and what I want.


I’ve lived the better part of 40 years in a state of…

“Is it okay with you that I want to be happy? Does it make you uncomfortable when I do <insert dream, goal, passion>? Are you proud of me now? Do you still like me?”

Pathetic. Yeah, I’ll call like it is.

My point is I’ve lived my life hyper-anxiety ridden because I worried about everyone else’s happiness, lifting everyone else up, compromising my ideals and, sometimes, morals to be accepted and loved. I desperately wanted permission from other people to live my life. I wanted respect. I wanted some insane form of puppy dog approval from my masters as if that was the litmus by which I’d find ultimate happiness.

Where did it get me?

Twice divorced mother of four with few people I could count on and no money in the bank to pay for a pack of gum, not to mention important things like say rent… or power… or maybe food.

It also put me in the deepest, darkest bitch of a hole. One so deep I’d actually considered checking out. Dude, I was making plans. Like who would take care of my kid and how to divide up my crap plans. Like measuring how much damage it would do to my kids versus how much damage I was doing to them by being their mother plans.

We’re talking serious freaking abyss of nothingness with no foreseeable way out, save one, and me posed at the ready to take ticket to somewhere better than here. Because, in that moment, anywhere was better than here.

What stopped me? One word, the quietest sound I’d ever heard, not even a whisper. 


For the first time in my life I said it.



Then I said it again, a loud hush of hot breath following closely behind.



And finally I yelled it out loud into the emptiness of that crushing black place until I heard it echoing back.


Next I said another word.


to my happiness.



to giving myself permission to follow my dreams.



to saying no to all the people who have an opinion about how I should live my life.


Here’s the thing, everyone has an opinion about how to live, but that perspective only applies to their life, not anyone else’s. That’s their truth, and I respect the choices they make for their universe. Why? By definition it’s their world, and I don’t have to pay their bills, or raise their kids, or wear their shoes. So, how the hell can I possibly know what’s right or wrong for them? I can’t.

The flip-side.

They can’t possibly know what’s right or wrong for mine. More than that, they don’t have permission to because this is my life. And this is its new doctrine:


  1. Don’t ask permission to be happy, but don’t walk all over other people to live my happiness.
  2. Expect respect, but also give it. The caveat is not allowing people in my life who disrespect me via their words and actions.
  3. Be kind always.
  4. Have compassion for those struggling, but don’t take on their struggles as my own. This is a particularly difficult thing for me because I want to save the world *dons Super Woman cape*, but I now recognize I can’t do anything for anyone unless I’m doing it for myself first.
  5. Say no more than I say yes because I’m not every woman and it’s not all in me
  6. Give myself permission instead of asking everyone else.
  7. Opinion isn’t fact.
  8. Stop being afraid of what other people think and do it anyway. (See #1 and #3)
  9. Accept responsibility for allowing people to behave poorly and disrespect me, then move on and stop allowing it.
  10. Always strive to be the very best version of myself.


Short and sweet, a list of personal commandments to live my life. These are my truths, born from years of experience, birthed from the joy and pain of four decades. I have no answers moving forward. The outline for my future is a cartoon sketch, which is bound to hold just as much laughter as tears. None of this will be easy, but all of it will be worth it.

And therein lies my ultimate truth.

Only I can craft my happiness and purpose.

Be certain it will involve lots of bubble blowing. 🙂

The questions I leave for you: What does your happiness look like? Are you living it? 

Categories: belief, certainty, Choice, heart, lettng go, life, love, mistakes, moving forward, pain, relationships, self reflection, the fear that binds us, the next step, the universes we create, what once was | Tags: | 7 Comments

Measures of success… & other launch day realities

0 Best seller

On the verge…

Of success? Maybe.

Of worldwide recognition? It could happen.

But one book does not a writing career make.

I had no illusions about my first book launch. It’s not a matter of confidence, but one of realism. This is a damn tough business. Editors, publishers, covers, formatting, constant digital interaction—all of it takes time and energy and money. Most of which I never seem to have enough of, but somehow manage anyway.

No book is an overnight bestseller and it takes several more, combined with many years, for a series to grab a readership. I know the numbers. I’ve seen the stats. The reality is stark and unyielding, but it’s not impossible and it’s no longer intimidating.

This one book is proof, mostly to myself, that I can do this. Now it’s time for the next step.

The thing that most people don’t know is I launched this book with rotating internet outage and on the brink of my power being shut off. Yep, that’s right. I’m staring at the notice of imminent outage scheduled for the 31st of July. I’m short on my rent for tomorrow, and my fridge is nearly bare. My life is either on the threshold of something big, or a complete collapse. 

Yet, I’m not broken or hopeless or particularly depressed. Because this is life. We claw our way through, chasing dreams or building them with the hopes and intention to be greater than circumstances. Everyone is experiencing their own level of struggle, and one is not larger than another. Our demons, whether internal or external, only have the power we give them. It’s not about triumph over life, but a slow and steady commitment to living through it while still recognizing the moments of joy and connection.

I own little of worth, but the things I cherish aren’t objects of financial value. Over the past five years, I’ve watched my children grow into amazing and kind adults. I’ve made genuine and life-long friendships. I’ve found people who know the parts of me that huddle in the corner for fear of losing everything, and the parts that take on the world. Still they believe in me, even when I don’t believe in myself.

Sometimes I screw everything up. Sometimes I get in over my head and am too prideful to ask for help. Sometimes I don’t have a single answer and wish people would stop asking me questions.

In fact, I’m not exactly sure what to do at this moment.

But in the face of acknowledging I know absolutely nothing, the Universe gave me an answer… or solution… or a peaceful silence that is an answer all by itself.

So, yes, my first launch was quiet. Almost ninja-like. Because I have no illusions that one book is the cure. But I took another step forward, and persistence is the only absolute certainty I know.



Ring Binder Cover V3

Ring Binder is now available on Amazon kindle.

Categories: answers, belief, life, mistakes, not giving up, questions, relationships, tomorrow | Tags: , | 10 Comments

Stars and Scars

Drop racked,

pulled back and forth;

screw true north

and written in the stars.

These scars crumble

while she fumbles the standoff.


Ripped tides,

skyward cries in blues;

Who makes the rules

that no one seems to follow,

when torment swallows the soul

with rope-choked originality?

Forget the banality of structure,

that ruptures what it feeds.

The knowledge that you seek,

still reeks of self-absorption.

Categories: Drive by life, heart, life, love, messages, mistakes, pain, purpose, scars, stars, writing | Tags: | Leave a comment

The Journey

She hangs by her knees from the old oak taking in bits of its wisdom. The spirits gather around reverent in their silence. Her path to changed perspective lies ahead, but ivy creeps along her legs to anchor the moment.

The oak whispers in a deep and ancient voice, “only change can be found on the path before you, but perspective lies in the hanging.”

She sighs, a release of struggles and toil to allow peace to enter. However, the flood before her creates anxiety that she can’t ignore. The wave of red and fur pulses with a fire that consumes all in their wake.  She’s certain they’ll tear her apart before the flames burn. Her first reaction is to lie down and let it pass, but the wise oak speaks again.

“Look just behind you. The Foxes give chase to a hare only steps away. Though the wave blocks your path, it isn’t you they’re after. These obstacles will pass, but you mustn’t back down. Fight through the wall to find your way.”

The woman stands tall, power coursing through her muscles to near exhaustion, but the wave moves on seeking other prey. So she continues down the path.

In the brush that follows, a majestic white swan flails in the briar. Tempted by the sweet fruit, it missed the thorns guarding its prize. The woman transforms into a humming bird carefully moving the vines aside to grant the swan’s freedom. Its graceful wings extend carrying the swan far above the patch to a small hill. Thin pillars of silver surround it gleaming in the fading light.

Returned to her feminine form, the woman strolls down to examine the pillars.

The swan sits as a guardian on the hilltop. Upon inspection, the woman notices the pillars surrounding it are large pens. Near the base of the hill, a man huddles pen in hand. The mask he wears hides his true nature. His smirk a mark of self-satisfaction at the clever way he managed to steal the pen away, but the swan isn’t fooled. She watches him from the corner of her eye well aware of the nature hidden by the mask. His deception will only serve to poison each word he writes with uncertainty and pessimism.

The woman takes note of the scene before her, and then continues on the journey.

A clearing soon appears as she travels father still. In it stands another oak, ancient and ethereal. The woman rests for a while in its shade, but as time passes, the tree weaves her into its branches.

Travelers who wander by see her there in the oak. They marvel at the warmth and generosity that shines from the tree through her eyes. The woman willingly lends support to all at their request. The inner strength they see comes from that of life; a pure energy transmuted through the branches from the sun. As they continue on, the leaves she hands them are tokens, reminders of the time they’ve spent together. Each leaf whispers a secret that only she can hear, a symphony of voices to guide the wayward travelers.

Soon a weary and despondent man appears before the oak . The woman smiles warmth down on him. The branches of her arms transform to soft-feathered wings, as she becomes the swan. The man struggles to climb onto her back and soon the two float among the clouds.

As she flies ever higher, exhaustion does not find her. The steady beat of her heart matches each wing flap creating a rhythm that comforts the man. He’s content to let her bear the weight soaking in bits of energy and light.

Below dawn has found the world. Its landscape unfolds before them; each canyon scarring the earth seems a distant memory of pain. Even the warning caws of crows catching the wind go unnoticed. He sees the destination ahead once hidden beyond the clouds. She bears him to a place of peace where words flow like raindrops in the spring.

Renewed, he at the vision clutches the feathers on her back in anticipation of their arrival.

Together they stand, a human ladder of strength, inscribing the journey in stone. He holds her up to reach the highest parts of the wall. Alone she can barely scratch the surface, but together the hard stone easily gives way to her smooth fleshy fingers.

The interlinking rings she etches tell a story of relationships and love. They become a chain, made stronger as another is added. The impossible becomes ordinary as their combined strength breaks through obstacles.

In unity they understand that the power of one can crumble with the breeze, but when the rings form a chain, their combined resolve becomes an immovable force that can rearrange the stars.

Categories: answers, belief, choosing faith, Drive by life, journeymen, life, love, messages, mistakes, tomorrow | Tags: | Leave a comment

Brushing Keys & Building Dreams



It took a flash brighter than lightning on a starless night for me to see. If not for the scream of a handful of words, I might still be blind. I won’t admit to the tears, because I’m too stubborn to let them fall. I won’t admit to the twist in my stomach, because I’m too thick skinned to let it bubble past the surface. I won’t admit defeat, because I don’t really know the meaning. Instead, I’ll let them scrub the insides clean.

~   ~   ~

Will you know when your paradigm shifts? Will anyone be there to care? I ask these questions often, and then I wonder if they matter. Mine shifted tonight and when I saw the stars again, my three were right where I left them. The comfort of the familiar steadied me. I let the gathered expectations of the last nine months blow away. They piled up when I wasn’t looking, but then I guess we miss the dust bunnies until we’re stepping on them.

Here’s the hardest part of revelation: when it finally happens, no one may be there to share it and no matter how loud you scream no one will hear it.

Instead, I’ll leave it here. Though you won’t understand every word you’ll feel it with me; the excitement that borderlines mania, the fear that borderlines terror, the hope that borderlines faith. When the sharp breath hits like that wall you didn’t see coming, you’ll know. You’ll see it’s all part of who I was, who I am, and who I hope to be. Seek me out to hear the smile in my voice or walk by with a quick uneasy glance; either way I’ll be here brushing keys and building dreams in cloud shaped castles.

Categories: answers, belief, choosing faith, contentment, deliverance, Drive by life, heart, love, messages, mistakes, purpose, questions, relationships, unconditional love | Tags: | Leave a comment

Martin King Blogfest Blogger!

The ever charming and humorous Martin King came over to Settled Reality to share a little story about childhood mistakes. Yeah, I’ve made a few, but that’s for another post. Please enjoy!



What is the biggest mistake you’ve ever made? Come on we all make them…even as kids. Well I must confess to making one of the biggest errors ever.

It was very rare I got to go to the cinema and even rarer that I can remember what I went to watch. So imagine my delight when my best friend’s dad offered to take us both to the pictures.

I remember his words so clearly even now; “Would you like to go and see Star Wars or Warlords of Atlantis?” Looking back it was a no brainer. But to a ten-year old kid that’s never heard of either of them, it’s almost like tossing a coin.

You’ve got to admit, Warlords of Atlantis does sound like a pretty awesome film. So that is what we both chose. And off his dad took us to the Unit Four in Nelson. We were brimming with excitement as we took our seats. Nothing was to prepare for the biggest let down I can recall. What a load of rubbish.

But the evening was such a treat, it half papered over the cracks of disappointment. That is until every kid a school talked about nothing other than Star Wars. The fact that every shop you went into was full of Star Wars merchandise possibly heightened the hype even further.

So there you have it. The one that got away wasn’t just big…it was humongous – and I never did get to see it! What a mistake…

These blogs are all about fun and sharing. Thank you for reading a ‘#100blogfest’ blog. Please follow this link to find the next blog in the series: http://martinkingauthor.com/blog/7094550076

Categories: childhood, memories, mistakes, Star Wars, Warlords of Atlantis | Tags: | Leave a comment

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