Catch ya on the flip side, 2019

The best way I can describe 2019 is with a scene from The Lion King (of course). You know the one where Rafiki is standing there after Simba is talking to Mufasa in the sky and he’s like “What was that?”, yeah that’s what 2019 was like.

Things started off absolutely incredible. Butler cheer won the PIAA State Championship and finished 7th in the Nation in our second year as a competitive co-ed program. Watching those kids come together and leave their souls on the mat performance after performance was incredible.

For those of you that don’t know, coaching competitive cheerleading is a marathon. It drains you. It pulls you away from your friends and family and strains relationships. You have people questioning your decisions if you’re not doing things their way. You’re too harsh, you expect too much, you favor so-and-so, etc. The amount of times I ask myself if I’m cut out for this or suck is a number too high to count. That moment before Butler was announced as State Champions and the crowd was cheering their name made all those fears vanish. Not only did they earn that title but they were kind to other teams and those teams were excited for them to win. For lack of a better way to say it, that was just special. I’ll never forget that. The team then went on to finish 7th at UCA Nationals. The first top-10 finish since I graduated in 2010. To be a part of bringing that feeling and that memory to those kids is indescribable.

Fast forward to a week after returning from Orlando and my whole world flipped upside-down. My relationship was abruptly ended over reasons I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to fully understand and for things beyond my control. A life that I had planned out for me was officially shattered and I was an empty shell of a human. For those of you that don’t know me that well, I’m a force to be reckoned with 99% of the time. I don’t do well with not functioning at 100% and the place I was in mentally was defeating to say the least.

I remember struggling to have the strength to get myself out of bed. Standing in the shower and just wanting to crumble. I was unable to focus on work to the level I was used to. I was distracted and felt like everything I did sucked. That concern from earlier with cheerleading? Yeah, that was amplified. How was I supposed to be a good coach if I couldn’t get my crap together? How could I be a good role model to those kids if I let myself wallow and be this defeated? I preach female empowerment. Women don’t need a men for anything and yet here I was, ready to cry if someone looked at me for too long.

So I went to therapy.

I fought and fought and fought to let myself feel what I was trying to protect myself from. I left feeling like I got the crap beat out of me every time. And eventually, and by eventually, I mean like six months later, the work I was putting in started to show. I was getting myself back.

In the middle of that journey, my family had to put our husky, Phoenix, down. Yeah, in the middle of all that emotional crap, I had to say goodbye to a dog that I’ve grown up with. Super fun. My dad brought home Logan a week later and we were faced with another dilemma. How do you give a new puppy love without feeling like you are trying to replace the one you just lost? It was not an easy transition to say the least.

Getting back to me took a lot of help from therapy, friends, and family but we did it. I still have bad moments here and there, but who doesn’t? I’m proud of the journey I’ve made and there are big things waiting for me in the next adventure.

So, what’s next?

I started getting my tarot cards read and that’s been an amazing addition to my life. You can roll your eyes or whatever you need to do if you don’t believe in it but I love it and have embraced it. My readings have been spot-on every single time and they’ve helped reassure me of my personal growth this year.

I revisited my New Year’s Resolution for 2019 and started reading again. My goal was to read one book every month. That was not going so well for the first nine months of the year. Now that I’m refocused, I’ll have completed six books by 2020. Half of my original goal but six books is better than zero and part of what I learned in therapy is that I need to give myself some of the slack I hand out to others like candy.

I purchased my first pair of Louboutins. After years of dreaming, working, and drooling over red bottoms, I made it happen. They’re currently hiding from dust in their box because I’m not yet ready to scuff the bottoms of them but they’ll be put to good use when the time is right.

I’m making more time for the people that are important to me. In my busy schedule, it’s easy to just say I don’t have time, especially in the middle of competition season. But therapy (and my cards) have taught me that making time for those who bring light into my life will help me to be better at everything else that I do. I’m able to make more of an impact if I’m not burnt out. So make time for the people that make you smile and take stress away, they’re important.

In just a few weeks, I’ll be getting my next tattoo. The main focus of the piece is a phoenix. The phoenix, of course, represents transformation, strength, and renewal. By coincidence it’s also a nod to my pup. The artist has creative control of the rest of the tattoo. I gave her my mess of an idea and have seen enough of her work to trust her to bring something amazing to life. This tattoo will always serve as a reminder that I’ve got this. Whatever this may be. I may struggle and go up in flames from time to time but I’ll rise as the whole damn fire when I’m back on my feet.

So bring it on 2020, I’m ready for you.

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