Winning At Losing

I don’t like to lose.  I think it would be fair to say that most people don’t like losing.  We are competitive by nature….we all want to be the best, be number 1, or be successful.  No one wants to lose, feel like your hard work didn’t pay off.  But losing is part of the whole game….if someone wins, someone has to lose.

I had a small winning streak recently.  Little things….a travel coffee mug from a local restaurant, a gift cert for jewelry from an insurance company, and other things that just made me feel happy.  Like I was on top of the world.  Then.  THEN!!!!  I was notified I had this huge chance to do something I’ve been trying to do for 15 years!  A company that makes mastectomy bras and breast prosthesis let me know that I was a finalist in their Faces of Inspiration contest….and if I won I would be flown to Georgia for a weekend of pampering, featured in their catalog, and most importantly….I would have a chance to tell my story on a bigger scale!  This was it!  I was one of 4 amazing ladies who have gone through breast cancer.  There would be two weeks of voting online….you could vote as much as you wanted!

 

I was sharing it all over social media, and so were my friends and family.  Strangers were getting in on this.  Everyone told me…..you’ve got this!!!!!! It was exciting, thrilling, and I was on a high!  What an amazing opportunity this would be….and a little pampering too?  Sigh…..

And then……I didn’t win.  I got the call, the heads up, before they announced the winner.  The winner that wasn’t me.  I was heartbroken.  I didn’t want to talk to anyone….I was just so…..sad.  I decided to take that day to allow myself to be sad….grieve the chance I lost….and then let it go.

And that is what I did.  The next day was a new day, and full of new opportunities. It wasn’t immediate….I still had sadness….but I didn’t allow myself to be consumed by it.

This all came back to me when later that week I had the chance to teach my youngest daughter the same thing.  We were playing board games and she HATES to lose.  She could be the one who will throw the entire game board off the table in frustration.  She hates it so much.

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Today was one of those days…..losing at some math game she brought home from school.  I told her…..don’t you remember that I was just in this contest?  And did I win?  I told her it’s ok to be upset if you lose, but going overboard and throwing a fit just takes away the excitement from the person who did win.  And that is never ok.  In any competition or game, if someone wins…..someone will lose.  So we tell that person, good job and congratulations, and we try again.  You never know if your words are getting through to your kids, but a week later, she repeated that all back to me during a conversation about losing.  It made me so proud that not only did she listen, but I could teach her that hard lesson in life by my example.

Losing sucks.  It really does, but losing gracefully shows so much more about your character.  I’m thankful for the opportunity that I had….and to see the amazing support I had….and I’m sad that I didn’t win this one……but in the long run, I still feel like a winner.  And I want my kids to be like that.

Katie 🙂

The Good Old Days Are Now!

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m obsessed with The Office.  This scene is from the finale and it gets me every time.  It’s so true…..we always look to the past and wish we could go back.

This past month has been one that reminds me of how important it is to live in the moment…to realize what you have before it’s in the past.  Turning 40 was a big deal.  I had mixed emotions about it…..it feels old but I’m also so grateful to have reached this age! I’ve seen levels of support from people that just amazes me, and makes me feel so extremely blessed.  I was surrounded by so much love at the surprise party my husband and close friends put together to celebrate my birthday.  I mean really…..seeing all the people there that mean so much to me and knowing they feel the same…..it was just overwhelming!  And being a finalist in a contest and seeing all my friends and family voting like crazy….just wow!  WOW!!!!

I’ve always been a person who tends to live in the past.  Remembering things that happened, wondering what life would be like if I had changed something.  Wishing I could go back and relive something.  Feeling nostalgic over music or items.  But I watched this episode of The Office recently, and heard this song on the radio that really put this on my heart:

Sometimes we focus too much on the past or the future.  We don’t live enough in the moment….but I’ve been sitting here lately just feeling every day how amazing life is.  And how blessed I am….  Life can be so amazing if we change our focus!

Thank you again to every single person who has been there for me.  I have laughed and loved more this year than I thought was possible! I have several circles in my life….and love each one so much!

 

Katie 🙂

Celebrating Another Year

Sitting here in the final hour of my 40th birthday…..I’m just so extremely grateful.  This was not an age I was overly excited about…..it seemed like such an old age when I was younger…..an age I thought would take forever to reach…..yet hear I am.  I thought I would dread it….each day getting closer.  But I’m ok…..and this is why.

I shouldn’t be here.  Plain and simple.  I had an aggressive horrible disease that almost killed me.  Almost 16 years ago.  It’s just crazy to think that I really was so close to dying…looking back on it now.  I fought so damn hard, and today…..I get to celebrate another birthday.

I can’t complain about my age, there are people who never make it here.  I’m so thankful for this amazing day.  40.  Yikes!!!  It’s still crazy to think……but it’s such a wonderful age!

This was the best one yet.  My incredible husband and amazing friends have been lying to me for weeks…..and pulled off an epic surprise birthday party! I’m telling you….it’s not easy to pull one over on me, and they did it!  I have never felt so loved.

 

This room was filled!!!!! Overwhelmed doesn’t even begin to describe it!  Life long friends.  Family.  People I met because of cancer…..and after.  I’m such a blessed person…..and so very thankful I’m here to celebrate another year!!!  And as a dear friend told me today….40 is a gift!

Katie 🙂

We Are Strong. You Are Strong. I Am Strong.

My life was filled with abuse, betrayal, struggle, broken hearts, and lies.  I didn’t let it define me in a negative way.  I used my struggles to become the person I am today….I didn’t know at the time I was tough.  I never saw myself as strong.  I didn’t see myself as someone of any worth.  I was told by people all around me that I would never be anything or anyone.  I was told all the time that I wasn’t important, wasn’t worthy, and wouldn’t succeed.  Maybe their definition of success was wrong….because here I am now.  I’m strong….I had to find my strength, but I did.  I am worthy…..I am loved….and I help other people find that.  I’ve made mistakes, and I’ve taken wrong turns.  I’ve believed in people who never believed in me.  I have hit rock bottom. I found myself alone too many times because I believed what they all told me.  They were liars.  They were there to bring me down…..and they couldn’t.  It may have seemed at times that they did…..but I always got back up.  But not always by myself….there were many hands that reached down to pull me up to where I am today.  True people….with good hearts.  I’m here today….the person I am today….because of everything I went through in the past.  I let it define me….but only as someone who doesn’t let their struggles bring them down.  As a person who overcomes.

Don’t let your past define you in a negative way.  That is just too easy.  Use your past as inspiration to move forward stronger and wiser.

Katie.

Unchanging Bonds

Yesterday I gathered with a group of people I consider family as we supported our friend at the memorial service for his son.  This is no ordinary group of people…..but co-workers who learned to lean on each other through all the good and bad times in our lives.

I worked for 13 years at the State of Michigan as a case worker.  I processed applications for food assistance, Medicaid, disability, and emergency services.  I handled caseloads much higher than I should have, and I came home most days exhausted and emotionally spent.  13 years of hearing people at their worst.  Most of the time I was yelled at by clients and/or managers.  I was cussed out, threatened, begged, and hardly ever thanked.  It was the best and worst job I ever had….something I had hoped would be my life long career…..but that wasn’t meant to be.

The relationships I made during my time there are still strong.  We are the only people who understand what we went through on a daily basis.  We went through hell together.  We went through milestones together.  We laughed to try to forget how hard the days were.  We saw each other be treated like machines rather than people.  And we always supported each other.  These people became my family.  And even though I’m no longer there, our bond is still that strong.   A place like that changes you, it makes you different, and no one else understands that.

As we all sat together and cried as our friend expressed his love for his only son in front of a crowded church…..I was reminded of our deep bond.  I cried for him and his loss….and I felt that loss.  This was a person I called my work husband.  He is truly an amazing person, someone you can always count on, and it broke my heart to see his pain.  As I hugged him afterwards….many times….it was like no time had passed…..even though a million things have happened since I last saw him.  But people like this…..time doesn’t change how we are together.

Ironically…..today is the anniversary of the day that I started that job.  January 13, 2003.  16 years ago today I started a job that would lead me to people I cannot live without.  No matter the outcome of that job…..I will forever be grateful for that.  And they all feel the same way….we need each other.  Time or distance will never change that bond.

Katie

Love What Matters!

I am beyond thrilled to have my story featured on the Love What Matters website!!!  A chance for my story to be spread further in hopes of reaching anyone who may need to see it!  Check it out!  I’m so excited!!!!

Love What Matters

Katie 🙂

Are You Thankful?

Now….I didn’t ask what you are thankful for…..I was very specific with my question.  Are you actually thankful?

Anyone who has gone through hard times will tell you that it’s not easy to find a reason to be thankful when you are in the moment.  The difficulty you are facing is what consumes your every thought and feeling…..but even in those horrible times, there are reasons to be thankful.

Was I thankful that I went through cancer?  No.  Thankful that I had to go through aggressive treatments that nearly killed me?  No.  Thankful that I’m still living with the effects of cancer treatments today? No.  But I’m here.  And let me tell you, I am thankful for that.  And looking back……I’m thankful for so many other things.

I’m thankful for friends and family that never turned their back on me.  I’m thankful for medical professionals that worked tirelessly to save my life.  I’m thankful that I grew as a person through one of the hardest times of my life.  I’m thankful for the opportunities that have come my way and the friends I have made because of my journey.  I’m thankful.

I know what you are thinking….it’s easy to look back and say you can be thankful, because you are no longer in it.  I know.  You are absolutely right.  We go through horrible awful times….and this post isn’t trying to take away from that.  When we are broken, down, out, defeated, and just done……you don’t want some happy person coming along telling you to count your blessings.  I’ve had those people, and I want to throat punch them.  Everyone gets to have their feelings.  You can sit in them and feel them….but you do have to come out.  That is when you look around you and find at least one thing to be thankful for.  That one thing will keep you going and get you started.

Life is really sucky right now.  Maybe it’s that time of year….or maybe sucky things are just happening all around me right now.  People I love are going through awful things.  People are losing their lives.  People are being diagnosed with diseases that can kill them.  People are facing hardships that can crush them.  I feel it.  I am too.  And it’s so much easier to sink in to my broken heart and stay there.  I’ve been trying every single day to be thankful.  Some days I don’t.  Some days I just can’t.

But I am thankful.  I have a beautiful family, and they are all safe and healthy.  I have food to feed them and a house to keep them in.  I have friends that are like family.  They lift me up when I’m falling.  Right now I have my health, migraines be damned!

I’m no Mary Sunshine….but finding at least one thing to be thankful for while you are going through hell can sometimes give you a glimmer of hope.  And that glimmer is what you go toward to get yourself out of it.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving, where ever you may go.

Katie 🙂