Tag Archives: empowersocial

Where’s Penny Been?

**Long Post Alert** I thank you now for indulging me as I answer the question, “Where’s Penny Been?”

Coming up with a focus word for 2019 was a big challenge. Before I found a word I had to do some soul searching…

…I’ve been absent for a while now. Life became overwhelming and I finally stopped most everything for a bit. I took a few months off to rest and regroup. I stopped participating in anything that wasn’t necessary for me and my spirit. A new year can be a fresh start. I just had to figure out what I needed to restart.

You may or may not know that I have two direct sales businesses as well as a virtual assistant gig. All three are part time while I work a full time job in the retail industry, which quite honestly, is kicking my ass. Having to be on the sales floor two days a week (sometimes more) as a “sales person” is doing me in physically and emotionally. I hate it. It’s a necessary evil so I can enjoy the other part of my job.

The VA work I do has grown to a 10-15 hour a week gig. Add that to a 40 hour a week job and that’s a lot of hours worked. Add to that working two direct sales businesses and that balance thing becomes tricky.

I learned in August that I had let my drivers license lapse, and it took four frustrating months to get the paperwork I I needed to renew it. A stupid accident threw me into a tailspin, and the whole thing was kind of the final straw for me.

Friday, January 11 marked the three year anniversary of my fall from the ladder. If you don’t know the story, I fell from the top of a six foot ladder, through some metal shelving, landing on the cement floor of my garage. My head literally fell 11 feet. Miraculously, I was able to get up off the floor and seek help. My head injury was mis-diagnosed and I spent the next two years recovering. My doc says that I’m actually still recovering, which I can’t wrap my head around.

Life changed in a big way that day.

If you touch my head in the right place, you can feel the now healed skull fracture. I am still afraid to put my head directly on a pillow. I still sleep at an incline with a pillow behind my neck to protect that spot from touching anything. I still feel the tingling in that area now and then, which I’m told is the blood flowing through the uneven area under my skull. I named that sensation Herman, as when it happens, I know it’s going to be a hard day. That damn Herman, messing with my head!

Some days I battle between how things are now and how things used to be. It’s difficult to describe, as the “changes” appear somewhat subtle on the outside looking in.

You can’t see that I can no longer tolerate my beloved spicy food. There is absolutely no medical reason for that. My doctor says it’s a coincidence. But since that day, my body no longer tolerates hot peppers, sriracha, and any form of heavy, spicy, hot goodness. I miss it.

You don’t really notice my inability to multitask as I used to. I will ask you now and then to hold a thought while I try to finish something. Other times you may see me staring at nothing, trying to complete my thought. I still lose my words, but not as often. I keep a lot of notes in notepads, scratch paper and an online to-do list program I found. It’s taken three years, but I finally have a system that works for me.

Most importantly I think, I lost my confidence and I haven’t regained it. I’m not quite the same person I used to be. That bothers me. A lot.

I’m battling lower back pain more and more, and I’ve developed plantar facialitis, both of which leave me drained at the end of the day when they are bad. I am pushing through it. I will happily take a migraine any day of the week than deal with that pain. This makes exercise a challenge, and I finally gave up. Now it’s a catch 22. I need to get back at it, as doing nothing is…doing nothing for me.

2016 also brought the passing of the parental units. I still hold much anger and resentment where they are concerned, though I don’t yell at them as often as I did. The mother’s passing was pure selfishness. The acts of her sister, unforgivable. I try not to let the anger surface too much. I am angry for myself and my brother. We were shortchanged, and I’m thankful we both have people in our lives to help fill that void a bit.

I’ve learned a great deal the last three years about my “other family”, the one I was not allowed to know. Of how the parents went to extremes to ensure no contact, and what I call the miracle of them pulling it off when we lived in a small town. My biological father lived less than seven miles away most of my life. He was best kept secret ever! I’m still amazed that people simply went along with it, never revealing the truth.

It was mostly the mother’s doing, but the father was not blind to what was being done and he supported her in the great cover-up. Choices were made, lives manipulated, lies told. I truly wish I’d known the truth of it decades sooner. I was so blind. That makes me angry.

I recently saw a photo of the grandparents I never met holding me as a baby, the bio father I never knew in the background. It took the wind out of my sails. The people I had heard about were real. They didn’t look like the monsters I was told they were (over and over and over.) They didn’t look like people I should have feared. They were simply…human beings who were also hurt in the crazy that was the mother. It’s a tough pill to swallow. I’m grateful for an incredibly patient aunt who answers my questions while never saying an unkind word about the parents. She’s helped me fill in many blanks. Maybe one day I will meet more of them. Maybe not. It’s not easy.

I began using a human growth hormone gel about four months ago. I got on an antidepressant around September because my doctor and I decided it couldn’t hurt the exhaustion and edginess I was experiencing. I am feeling “better” these days. That edge is gone. I am calmer, I don’t get my feathers ruffled as easily as I did, and I feel my mood is much more even.

I had no idea how the HGH was helping until I stopped using it. It’s expensive, so I slowed down the use then kinda stopped. But damn! I was SLEEPING at night, and there were other things it was doing for me that complimented the other. The two together had me experiencing a calm I’ve never known. As I lay here on the middle of the night writing this, I miss the sleep part. Yes, I’m “back on the gel” (sounds funny, huh?)

If you can’t yet tell, I’ve been overwhelmed for a while and spinning. What I need to do is find my balance again, as well as my confidence. Develop a plan. Decide what I want out of my businesses and choose a path that I can grow with. Get that balance back. Grow my confidence. Disassemble what’s not working and rebuild.

I enjoy the products I sell. I have struggled with some of the internal things associated with the companies, but I keep those feelings separate. The products are amazing.

I have decided I need to build a business strategy this year and work it. There’s great potential there if I can simply get past all of this. Where will that lead? I don’t know. Will I still have three side gigs this time next year? No idea.

So, what word did I choose?

Metanoia. The journey of changing one’s mind, heart, self, or way of life.

It’s a word I stumbled upon a few years back. I’ve kept it tucked away, and after weeks of struggling to find the right word or phrase, I stumbled upon it again.

It’s fitting. I need to be consistent, find balance, be brave. In doing so, the other things will fall into place and my path will come into focus.

My Skin Care Regimen – Part 2

A better title may be My LACK of Skin Care Regimen! In the Part 1 we talked a bit about my history. Now I’ll share the nitty gritty.

Here is my current routine:

Morning

  • Wake up
  • Shower
  • Wash face and body with whatever is handy (sometimes bar soap, sometimes shampoo)
  • Dry
  • Slather face, hangs, elbows with Ponds for Dry Skin
  • Put stuff in my hair that helps the curl
  • Dress
  • Leave house

Evening

  • Splash a little cold water
  • Sometimes take a cool shower
  • Go to bed
  • Sleep on my back at an incline to avoid bothering Herman (with the added bonus of avoiding sleep wrinkles)

That’s it. The word you are looking for? PATHETIC. I don’t fix my hair, I don’t fix my face. I don’t even eat breakfast!

Now, I do a few things right.

  1. I take cool showers. Very little hot water. It began when my hot water heater died.  Now it’s a habit. My skin and hair loves it and is less dry.
  2. I do moisturize my face, neck,  and chest, right on up and over my shoulders (and elbows and hands.)  I use the same stuff I used in my 20’s.
  3. I rarely go a day without moisturizer on my face.

Now the things I do wrong

  1. Lack of quality, appropriate products.
  2. I don’t take the time to follow any kind of routine.
  3. I don’t use sunscreen. GASP!

I have a lot of sun damage, freckles, and a few of those lovely hormone spots that some of us get when our lady parts start their journey home. I have fine lines, a few less fine wrinkles, and marionette lines that remind me of my mother.

I don’t wear makeup. That’s a catch 22. My skin is decent because I don’t wear makeup. I look younger because I don’t wear makeup. I would look much better if I just wore makeup! Why don’t I do it? Because I hate the feel of makeup.

Enter Willing Beauty. Better-for-you products backed by science. Simple regimen. Happiness garauntee. Excellent results in pre-launch. I’m in!

My product will ship on April 10. Once it arrives, I’m going to do a 30-Day challenge. I will follow the five piece  HY+5 regimen, three steps in the morning and three at night. I will take photos and video as I go, and give us a proper before and after when I finish. I am excited to see how this turns out. I’m 51, I really need to start worrying about my skin!

With our 100% Happiness Guarantee, I’m out NOTHING to try it! Even if I’ve finished the product, I can return the empty tube for a full refund (and we pay the shipping!) how many other companies stand behind their product like that?

Would you like to shake things up and try the 30-day challenge with me? Let me know and I’ll tell you how you can take part! Your skin will love you for it.

Hello April! 

New month. New business. New Opportunities. Spring is in full swing, unless you’re in Florida. If you’re in Florida, summer has begun! Mid-high 80’s this week. I am not mentally prepared for summer, but it’s here.

April is usually the time I change the color on my toes to something springier. When I take up walking…again. When I enjoy the long days and cool evenings. The cool evenings will be gone soon enough. New beginnings.

April it always a transition month for me. As a child, April often meant an Easter week trip to camp on a beach near Mendocino. Last April my mother passed away. One April, a thousand years ago, I walked out on an abusive relationship. See? Transition.

This April brings new adventures. 

I WILL begin walking again. It’s time. I have a brace for my ankle, and I may even have a couple pair of good socks.

I WILL give yoga another try.

I WILL begin my Willing Beauty adventure.

I WILL take better care of myself, and my skin.

That’s a whole lot of adventure kinda stuff I’ve thrown out into the universe!

– Penny

Happy Halloween

I used to love Halloween.  I loved sitting outside and handing out candy to the sweet kids.  Then it all changed.  One year, the kids became greedy.  They complained if they didn’t like what I had.  Older kids started joining in, sometimes pushing the little ones out of the way for the good candy.  The year I had adults coming to the door, I stopped participating.

That was probably ten years ago.  The upside?  I save a TON of cash not buying candy.  I know of some who spend upward of $500+ on candy.  REALLY?? Who does that?

Now I am the ogre who either stays away from home until 9pm or sneaks in and leaves the lights off.  How will you spend Halloween?

ig-october-31

What Boosts Your Confidence?

Sometimes it’s a little thing that makes us feel younger, stronger, prettier, smarter. Sometimes it’s a big thing. Clothes often do that for me. A slimming outfit, a color that I know makes my eyes bright. 

What does it for you?  One of these or something else entirely? 

They all work for me!

Learning To Be Me

I told a friend this morning that I am, philosophically, a changed person these days. At the moment I was able to get up from the floor of the garage after the ladder incident, I developed a new outlook on life.

I focus my energy on the good rather than all the negative that swirls around us. That’s a big shift. That’s not to say I don’t get sucked in from time to time. I’m human afterall. But I try.

Doing so has brought about an odd sense of underlying calm. Most of the time 😉  I’ve gained the ability to view challenging situations less emotionally than before. It’s a whole new thing for me, and I rather like it!

I’ve also learned to be more “me”, to lower the proverbial wall a bit and let folks get to know me a little better. Yup, I’ve got a wall. In fact, a former boyfriend once told me that the brick wall I live behind makes it hard for people to get to know the real me. Maybe a few of those bricks are falling away?

I tend to have three different versions of me that the world sees:
Professional Me

Family Me

Friends Me

I’m slowly learning to meld them together. It’s not always easy. I have found that being more “me” in my professional world brings wonderful rewards. I never expected that.

I used to freak when my worlds would collide. Now I allow a bit of grey area. To my surprise, it’s less exhausting that way!  Who knew? Former boyfriend was onto something. Too bad I was too young to listen back in the day. Well, that’s ok.

I am who I am today thanks to my yesterdays.
Be generous. Be kind. Be genuine. Be all of this in all that you do. You’ll be surprised how rewarding it is to simply be you!

Candy Corn

Every Halloween as children, my brother and I would don the year’s awesome, homemade costumes, climb into the back of the car with our paper grocery bags, and be driven into town to trick or treat. The parents never let us out of their site. We never went with friends. We could meet friends out and about, but we always returned to the car to head to the next stop. 

At the end of he night, we would return home and give our bags to the mother. She would go through every item in the bag. Anything homemade or with a questionable wrapper was thrown away. We would protest, especially about the homemade popcorn balls and candy apples from the sweet, little old lady in town. She would tell us that they probably had needles or razor blades in them, and no one could be trusted. Only packaging that had not been tampered with was safe. Apparently these things happened in the cities in the 70’s, and we could not be too careful. 

The candy examination would end with two bags and a bowl. One bag for me, one for my brother, and a bowl for the parents. Yes, she made her own bowl. She would remove from our bags all Butterfingers, Almond Joys, Snickers, malt balls, candy corn, and anything else that looked good to her at the time. Those things were placed in the bowl, and we were informed that was our payment to them for taking us “all the way into town on a school night to tricker or treat.” Heaven help us if we ever ate anything out of that bowl. She knew. She always knew. 

Candy Corn was the one item that we would fight for. I would dig deep in the bowl when she wasn’t looking and take some back. She would find it in my bag again and take it back out. Who denies their child the joy of candy corn?  Seriously. I could live without the rest. The candy corn? That pissed me off. (It still does.)

I was 13 the last time I went trick or treating. I don’t remember the costume, but I remember sitting in the back of the car squirreling candy corn away in my training bra so I could hide it in my room. That year, I had candy corn. 

I love candy corn. Probably because I was denied it in my formative years. I can eat an entire bag in one sitting. I feel sick after, but I can’t help myself. 

How about you? Candy corn, yay or nay? 

Hello October!

I’ve been gone a while. I had to get things back on track. It’s been a strange year. The update:

Don’t fall off a ladder. Just don’t. Doing so can change your life in ways you never imagined. October 11 will be exactly nine months since the incident. The cat is still alive, well, and continues to challenge me when she’s not being loving and adorable. I still can not get on a ladder. I have tried. I simply can’t. That’s ok. The broken ladder and shelves remain in my garage. They remind me of how fleeting life can be. Of how incredibly fortunate I am that I was able to get up from the floor that horrible day. 

Head trauma is no joking matter. Post Concussion Syndrom kinda sucks. The good news is, I am alive and it could be soooo much worse. 

I have more days now where the wires are handling life in a proper fashion than not. Some days, the wires are crossed and I am oddly emotional, forgetful, I can’t spit out words that I want to say, I become fatigued, and the lump on my head becomes…active.  

Active? It reminds me when I’m too tired, rundown, I lift something too heavy, and overdo it. I don’t even know how to describe it, except it tingles a bit and I get a headache. A different headache from the migraines or sinus headaches I get. I’ve named the lump Herman. When I have a bad day, I explain that Herman is letting me know he’s still there and I need to slow down. Sometimes I tell him to back off. Thank you Herman. 

Not Your Father’s Rootbeer. I discovered this around April/May. I now keep bottles at my bestie’s house for when I go over and hang out. Word of warning – two is plenty! Three may prevent you from getting out of the pool…or driving…or walking…or staying awake. The ginger ale is ok. The cream soda is just as good as the rootbeer. Yes, they contain alcohol. 

My mother has been gone since April. I’m still rather angry with her. Such a complicated relationship. The grieving process is not to be taken lightly. I don’t cry and yell at her everyday like I did the first few months. It’s less often. Grief sneaks up on me, when I least expect it. Then I get mad. Then I tell her to get out of my head. 

I still can not find a happy childhood memory that includes her. Everuthing is clouded in manipulations and questions. I hope that clears one day. I have many happy memories that involve my grandmother and others. In the last year I learned so much about her motives, her lies, how she manipulated us in so many ways…it’s been difficult. I’m not sure there is forgiveness for all that she did. Someday I may write about all that. For now, I try to tuck it away. It’s not healthy to dwell. 

I know a gal who lost her father yesterday. I told her that it doesn’t really get easier, it just gets a little less heavy as time goes by. That’s my best advice. That’s all I’ve got. 

I’ve become Penny the Great. My niece had a baby. I reject the great aunt thing. This is a good compromise, suggested by a dear friend. As one life came to an end, a new generation was developing. His name is Leo. He has a whole, brilliant, wonderful world of opportunities and experiences awaiting him. He has an amazing family to surround him with love and kindness. He will be brilliant. He already is. 

I now try to focus on the positive. I started this in earnest after the mother died. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the stuff spinning around in our heads. I have begun brain training. Huh? Check out Dana Wilder.  A friend introduced me to her site in March. It’s helped me in so many ways. 

Positive affirmations, being conscious of what I project and what I allow in these days. That’s not to say there are not pity parties and rants. I just try to do those quietly and in solitude. I allow only so much time for them, then I move on. I feel calmer these days. 

I’m still 50. I don’t look it! I don’t act like the parents or grandparents did at 50. None of my friends do either. We like it that way!

I signed up for a 5K. It’s in March. I’ve been out of commission so long, I need to start over. I plan to walk it. If I can do so in less than an hour, I will be thrilled. Training begins soon. That’s kind of scary because my ankle is so unpredictable. Cross your fingers!

So, hello October. I’m not sure how we got here so fast, but I think I’m ready for you.