We are a team! 

In the past couple days I have had several inquiries regarding my discussing my personal and marital struggles openly, with those around me and the public.  Before American Grit airs on Sunday, let me take a moment to clarify, educate, shed some light, and most importantly THANK!!

You see, I haven’t-don’t and will never say things behind people’s backs.  This post will be specifically relating to my former spouse who for purposes of this article we will refer to as SPOUSE and some comments that are getting back to me. 🙂 

First let me say that in my opinion my choices are mine. I don’t need approval from you or anyone else. I am a grown adult and I get to make the choices I want- whether they are good or bad. WITH THAT SAID THOUGH—

I absolutely 100% from the very moment I applied for American Grit, spoke with my spouse.  I didn’t do anything behind his back.  I was completely honest, forthcoming, and transparent about wanting to apply to the show, why I wanted to, the things I would discuss etc. 

While my spouse wasn’t thrilled–and right fully so- I had his full support.  He was present for several of my interviews and even participated in his own interviews as well as joint interviews done by the TV show. 

Back up a second, rewind, let me further explain a few things. You see, over a year ago in the midst of the most painful and earth shattering experience of my adulthood-as my children’s worlds were being ripped apart and I was falling apart at earth shattering speeds- one of the mistresses and her family began to attack me in heinous vile ways.  My looks were attacked stating things such as: my face was ugly as hell, my boobs were saggy, I was fat, etc.  My profession was attacked: accusing me of making threats I never ever would make, making comments about how I was a therapist and I couldn’t even keep my husband from straying etc. If I had kept him satisfied etc. 

Then my name was plastered on multiple websites, along with pictures comparing the two of us. 

One of the mistresses would send me pictures of her saying how she knew my husband was saying she was “fat” but she wasn’t and how she was loosing weight and wanted me to see her progress WTF. Not that it matters but mind you, of course she was using old pictures or pictures of her after the affair was over and she had lost weight.  Refer to an older post to hear my thoughts on this….but it is what she was doing and so I am stating it as a fact here. Again not that it matters. 

Okay, so that’s the back story. So fast forward- I am in an affair support group (an amazing group at that!) and the tv show posts a flyer in the group for the casting call.  I did not do anything behind my spouses back.  At any point he could have voiced that I wasn’t to do this, or he wasn’t supportive etc. Instead, he explained how he was not thrilled with it BUT SUPPORTED me and my decision if I really felt like it was something I wanted to do…. AND IT WAS!!!

The interview process continued and as I made it through each round he continued to SUPPORT me.  He and I have discussed in private many times my feelings, hurt, pain etc….and the words that may or may not be aired will be no surprise to him. 

I didn’t go on to punish him, I didn’t discuss our marriage to punish him.  QUITE THE OPPOSITE. I went on FOR ME!!! For once I was doing something for me…!!!

I am eternally grateful for his support. He could easily have put a stop or pulled the plug on it at anytime and I would have respected his decision and request.  

In one of the posts plastered online it is said, “Then the wife/husband team will threathen you and your children. Then she will lead you to think they are getting divorced and yaddi. However they are married and happily ever after. Anyways till the next. They are moving so dodge this team duo!”


When that was first written and I learned of it—my heart absolutely sank and I was devastated with anger and thoughts of how f**king dare you.  First, you have no idea of the state of my marriage.  She clearly had no idea–as we weren’t even living together when that post was written. 


Then calling us a duo and a team… I WAS ENRAGED!!!!  BUT BUT BUT after I allowed myself to heal and process my world and trauma and pain….. I am honored to say she is right. We are a team! Regardless of the state of our marriage, we are a team! We have beautiful children together and for the rest of their lives we are a team CO-PARENTING these children together. We are a team–just not the team she deliriously had her in head or heart of hate. 

Side note: I later would learn that this particular mistress and her husband split up and made the newspaper for a domestic violence argument and that she later lashed out using the courts. 

That isn’t the team I want to be!!! No need for that irresponsible, immature, nonsense. I am sad about this for their kids. 

I am a firm believer that just because your marriage didn’t work doesn’t mean that a co-parenting relationship can’t work.  So, we are a team-respecting one another and co-parenting our kiddos together.  No body is perfect, I have my issues and my “spouse” has his issues.  It doesn’t make anyone better then the other.  While it isn’t easy we are both committed to remaining friends and kicking ass at co-parenting our kids together. 


When I recently booked one of our usual photo shoots, it was instinctive and I didn’t hesitate…. our kids would have both their parent’s in these pictures. When the photographer, who had no idea we weren’t together, said okay let’s get pictures of mom and dad- we didn’t make it awkward or say anything. We had some fun and took pictures of mom and dad while our kids watched.  When I look around my home and see many pictures of both parents throughout the kids lives around on the walls- it fills me with peace and gratitude that my kids are experiencing the effects of a positive co-parenting relationship. 


Either of us could easily be bitter and nasty and make this much much worse then it is but we are putting in the hard work to keep it about the kids and it shows.  I value and appreciate my spouse for standing behind me as I went on American Grit! THAT’S A TEAM AND DUO and I am proud to be part of it! 

Dirty little secrets

I have eluded to the fact that my world has not been all that great and the road not so smooth.

I have plenty of dirty little secrets in my closet, that for most of my life, I have gone through extreme measures to keep those secret very very very protected and locked up.

You see, I always feared people finding out the truth. The fear of what will they think of me, will they judge me –NO I know they will judge me–, what if what if what if! The fear of people knowing the “real” story of me was crippling. I spent much of my days portraying one persona while covering up the reality.

I grew up in a small town, Cocoa Beach, Florida.  Born and raised in this tiny little town. My dad had no filter- he still doesn’t.  So everyone in this small town always knew my business (our business).  They still do 🙂

Growing up I didn’t realize how people probably already knew my story, looking back I realize that my efforts and worry were futile because my dad was good about announcing everything to anyone anyways 🙂

So anyways, I would venture to say most of my childhood friends had no idea of exactly what my life was behind closed doors.  Then around my teen years I hit a patch where I just didn’t give a flying f**k and had no filter and spoke anything and everything that was on my mind.

Then I hit an age where I said, oh shit, what have I done.  Realizing too many people had learned of my dirty little secrets, I packed up and moved. I ran. It’s easy to run. Fresh start. Leave everything behind. But you know what, running doesn’t FIX ANYTHING.

It took me a few years to figure this out though. So I ran aka moved quite a few times before returning to Cocoa Beach to face “my shit”.

I am now 36 years old.  From the ages of 17ish-present I have struggled with the flip flopping of talking and being open vs. PROTECT YOUR SECRETS AT ALL COSTS. It would come and go in waves.  Only a few of my deepest closest friends knew the truth.

I would analyze and reflect to determine why I was so worried if people knew the truth and it always came back to a few things: being judged, what will people think, can’t hide behind false perceptions anymore, no take backs, will my reputation be tarnished, the list goes on BUT it really all boils down to my concern of society and what they would think of me. I mean heaven forbid someone knows that my life isn’t PERFECT and that I am human and have my trials and tribulations and succeed and fail sometimes. Heaven forbid I AM NOT PERFECT RATHER I AM HUMAN!!

I was always so so concerned with my image and professionalism that I didn’t allow myself to be open about what made me who I am and what I am.  About 2 years ago my name was trashed online.  After spending my life personally and professionally keeping my image 100% —boom there it is my name trashed online.  Attacking my looks, my professional, my character, my person— the exact things I have spent my life maintaining.  I am not going to lie— what came next was deep deep dark days for me.  Wind knocked out of me, can’t sleep, can’t eat, can’t breathe.  It wasn’t pretty at all. My closest friends will tell you- I was unrecognizable in both my personality and demeanor.  The online attacks came only a few months after the personal behind the scenes attacks that followed on the heels of a gruesome vicious discovery about my husband’s latest affair.

Life was a blur for many months. I reacted and responded in ways that I am definitely not proud of and quite honestly never knew possible for me.  I will tell you this, devastation and tragedy and sheer desperation will cause you to act in unexpected ways.

I slowly, very very slowly, started digging up from the grave I had fallen into and what began to happen  was freeing and amazing.  While I am not happy about the events that transpired, I will say that they forced me to make a choice 1) stay in the grave and live a oh so tragic and depressing existence or 2)grab myself by the bootstraps and pull myself up from the pit of despair like I had done so many times before in my life.  ONLY this time I was determined to also do something I had never had the strength to do before and that was STOP HIDING! STOP PRETENDING! START TALKING OPENLY and FREELY!

And that is exactly what I did.  Somewhere along the way in this journey I found myself with an opportunity to compete for a spot on American Grit season 2 with John Cena…..AND I DID IT!!! Boom, talk about sticking to your guns. I mean doesn’t get much more serious and businesslike then taking your “shit” to national tv and being 100% open and forthcoming!!! I have to tell you it has been a freeing experience.

When I tell you that I have not one BUT 2 Master’s degrees, own my own Licensed Private Investigation Agency,  am a college professor, a certified positive discipline educator…. what picture do you paint? What do you think of me? Think about it, go ahead draw some conclusions?

So let’s talk about these dirty little secrets for a minute.

  • I am a former foster care kid! My first stint in foster care was at the age of 8 and it was not a good situation. As a teen I was shuffled to so many foster homes and group homes, that I lost count.
  • I divorced my parents aka emancipated to get out of the foster care system.— up until recently my own children (including my almost 18 year old) had ZERO idea that I had ever been in foster care!
  • I am a survivor of sexual abuse and child abuse WHICH MEANS I was also a victim.
  • My mother abandoned me….. and when she did every so often pop back into my life, it wasn’t good.  She is a piece of work and has been a driving force in a prime example of the type of mother I don’t want to be.
  • I have been homeless as a kid.
  • I had my first child at the age of 18! By the time my son (now 17) was 6 weeks old, his dad had taken off and left us.
  • In 6th grade I was an attempted kidnapping victim
  • I have witnessed indecent exposure (ie grown men pulling up next to me as a kid and “jerking” it) several times. I had the smarts enough to grab the tag number, call 911, and later identify them. One of them sticks in my head to this day, as a Lockheed Martin employee with a family who had been caught more then once. To this day I pass the hotel where I id him from a cop car and I think about that.  I have always wondered what happened to him… meaning if he went to jail.
  • As an adult, I found myself in a domestically violent relationship that ultimately ended up with the man waiting for me in my home with a loaded gun one evening.
  • As an adult, I found myself in a marriage I was so so very lonely in but to crippled with fear and self doubt to stand up for myself and leave.
  • I struggle with letting people walk all over me like a door mat.
  • I struggle with not feeling good enough, wanted, loved etc.
  • In my marriage I experienced infidelity multiple times and I can say the devastation of infidelity rocks you to your core and drives you to heartbreaking places
  • I DIDN’T GRADUATE HIGH SCHOOL, yep this 2 master’s degree individual has a GED!!!
  • I hope to go to PhD school one day, life dream and goal!

 

Statistics say I should be a hot mess! Have multiple kids, a criminal record, dropped out of high school, not gone to college etc.  Don’t get me wrong I have some hot mess issues and moments but all things considered I am a pretty well put together, well rounded individual! I am the first in my entire family to go to and graduate college.  I put myself through college (AA, BA, MS, MA plus a massage therapy license).

I have come a long way worrying about and protecting my “dirty little secrets”.  I later went to work for DCF as an investigator, the same exact office that had come and investigated my home and removed me so many times over. The same office that had assisted with bouncing me from home to home.  I have worked many years to face my past and find my voice but it has been a whole new level of work since August 2015 when my world crashed in on me in unthinkable unimaginable heartbreakingly painful ways.  I have found a voice and although sometimes I want to put duct tape over that voice, I have realized that there is freedom and growth in finding your voice and owning your journey.  Owning the events in your world that have made you who you are and brought you where you are today.

So, I’m putting it all out there. If my story reaches one person in a positive way then it is worth it! I am putting it all out there and am no longer concerned with what my name looks like online or on paper, or what others may think of me, or being judged because if you take the time to get to know me in real life then you will truly KNOW ME! Not the events that are part of my story!

 

American Grit Season 2 

Well, after well basically my whole life of leading a pretty quiet and low key life, I have some big exciting and CRAZY news coming.  For those who know me, they know that I really truly kept my personal life very low key and hidden.  From a rough childhood, to a mother who abandon me and when she was around it wasn’t a good situation, to foster care and more.  It’s all been things I went through great measures to never let anyone find out.  Then about 2 years ago my entire world was flipped upside down and in unthinkable ways and well the result was I found a voice and backbone I never knew I needed or wanted.  I made the choice to share openly and not be so worried what others would think.  I meant business! 

Annnndd the news is out!!! Premieres June 11!! For those that don’t know I’ve had a hard life but have overcame.  Then about 2 years ago I was pushed to the absolute EDGE! and my world was shattered in unthinkable ways.  I went to some deep dark places and emerged slowly with a zest and deep desire for something different, better, CHANGE!!!  One thing led to another and boom I found myself with an opportunity to compete for a spot on this show! A tv show!!??? Something I would have never thought to do let alone WENT through with in the past.  

I have learned and embraced a lot these last two years!!! No looking back…. push forward! ❤❤❤

I had the opportunity to compete for a spot on American Grit Season 2, truly an amazing achievement for me and a huge step out of my box.  

#americangrit

Meet the other competitors:

Alison Kempkey 

Carla Mireles 

Chris Edom 

George Foreman IV 

Gigi Gustin 

Gill Morton 

Hannah Johanna Butera 

Herman Singh

Janessa Morgan 

Melanie Mahanna 

Michael Wilson Morgan 

Nathalie Battee Martin 

Richard Mallard 

Scarlett Angelina 

Sherman Solo Braithwaite 

Will Westwater 

Heather Pincelli 

Tv… what?!? 

Annnndd the news is out!!! Premieres June 11!! For those that don’t know I’ve had a hard life but have overcame.  Then about 2 years ago I was pushed to the absolute EDGE! and my world was shattered in unthinkable ways.  I went to some deep dark places and emerged slowly with a zest and deep desire for something different, better, CHANGE!!!  One thing led to another and boom I found myself with an opportunity to compete for a spot on this show! A tv show!!??? Something I would have never thought to do let alone WENT through with in the past.  

I was one of 17 finalists competing for a spot on the show, American Grit!!! Crazzzyyyy 

I have learned and embraced a lot these last two years!!! No looking back…. push forward! ❤❤❤

It has been awhile 

You may have noticed that most of my blog posts disappeared and that it’s been awhile.  

There’s good reason.  I’ve been up to some pretty crazy sh*t.  I am not quite able to let the cat out  of the bag, but stay tuned…. soon!

And as always I am keeping it 100% real and honest and no filter blunt.  🙂 

For now, here’s a pic of me just after I crushed that half marathon I was training for and COMPLETED!!

POP UP Camper Conclusion..finally

Wowsers… summer flew by. I didn’t intend to take so long to post a pop up camper rv living update conclusion–but such is life and well here it is now.

Let’s start with the good things about our pop up experience. As a reminder, we closed on our old house and had about 2 months of time before we would close on our new house. So we had this small window of time and well I decided let’s do it!! Let’s do this full time rving thing —on a small scale. I am totally the person that would love to sell everything, pack the kids into an RV and hit the road.  To me that is living life. Literally living it.  Going where we want, how we want, when we want. I have a teen that isn’t on board with living in a RV during the school year otherwise I am fairly confident I’d be blogging via RV right now 🙂

So the positive:

  1. Talk about connection and quality time with your kids! Words can’t even describe it. Our pop up didn’t have a tv, well we put a small one in but you could only watch movies on it and it was sort of a pain so we didn’t use it much.  This equated to loads of quality time and true interaction.
  2. Life experience.  I still to this day (granted only about 2 months out) but each day I hear a story about the pop up living from my kids. Whether it is the rain, frogs, food, etc. I hear a story about us living in the pop up everyday and I love it!!
  3. Met some incredible people!! Not only the “locals”/temporary residents but the long term full time rving families that were there. All there for different reasons too. One family was a doctor family who moved from their 400K house and wanted to just downgrade and take time to decide what their next move was. Another came as a temporary thing while they were in between housing and a job loss and some 7 years later are still there with their 3 kids.
  4. Having the kids realize that they don’t need “stuff” to live or be happy or do things. Literally all summer no tv, no internet, no stuff to occupy their times. It was them, their few toys we had (ie bikes and roller blades), swimming pool, frogs, bug catching tools, etc. It was neat to see them sort of band together and make new friends and just be kids. Wet, muddy, dirty, no shoes on, holding different bugs and critters each day and smiling all day about it.
  5. Besides the cliche obvious things like it put a roof over our head etc. I truly enjoyed my time in the pop up and am now more confident then ever that the rv life is totally “me”.
  6. I have now learned and proven first hand you don’t need a giant pantry full of shit that is going to sit in there for months, you don’t need a huge freezer full of food that again will sit there for who knows how long, and you don’t need a fridge full of an entire weeks++ worth of food! Seriously! Yet, what is the one thing I did when I closed on my new house and moved in…packed the fridge, pantry, and freezer…oye vey! LOL

The not so positive:

  1.  It isn’t as cheap as one would think.  Especially since our fridge was smallll and that meant regular trips to the grocery store. The meal portion of this RV living added up quick especially because I don’t eat meat and well see #2 :), so these made it a little tricky and since I wasn’t overly prepared for this aspect my food bill was more then I would have liked.
  2. STOVE, we had a small stove in the camper but since space was already an issue and I have little hands in the camper I didn’t want to turn the stove that is propane fueled on.  So the only cooking ability was outside on the grill. It made it a little tricky and the constant rain didn’t help either.
  3. THE RAIN!! There was a lot of rain…. a lot… so being in a campground that didn’t handle rain very well and in a pop up with no tv, no cooking, etc it was a patience testing process at times. Or maybe a sanity testing process is a better way to describe it 🙂
  4. OMG let me not forget the laundry!!! Hands down my single biggest failure to be prepared for was laundry!! Having to cart my stuff to a laundry mat. It was not a huge thing but I wasn’t prepared for it at all so it totally caught me off guard and made me really forget how FANTASTIC having a washer and dryer in your own home is. 🙂
  5. The pop up was fine for a short 60 day stint-not ideal for that length but doable and we made it work BUT truly a smaller travel trailer would have been even more ideal.  We could have used just a few more sq ft of space and storage compartment for some of our stuff underneath the rv woudl have been great.
  6. ISOLATION… if you aren’t careful and don’t make it a point to get out, get around people, socialize … it is super easy to find yourself lonely and isolated. I did pretty good at this, it helped having 3 kids to cart around but being new to the town and knowing no one and being in the pop up. It was a bit of a fine balance of socializing versus isolation.

These are a few of my biggest takeaways. Overall I can say I am so glad I did this! It was a blast. Great memories. Great adventure. I wish we could have moved campgrounds more but given the circumstances that wasn’t how our trip was this summer.

Here’s what I can tell you!!! I am already planning on another summertime excursion for the next summer.  YEP you read it here!! I just announced over the weekend to friends and family that this summer I will be planning a 4-6 week excursion across country. I have a few goals this time

  1. Trade in my pop up and get a small light weight travel trailer!
  2. More campgrounds!! I am hoping to start in Florida and travel all the way to the Seattle/Portland areas! Stopping at many many locations in between!!! CRAZY EXCITED.
  3. Putting more of our adventures on the blog this time!

I receive many behind the scenes comments on my blog! Thank you! I love your feedback and comments whether it is on the blog or off the blog. I am going to start researching the best travel trailer for my needs and routes/places to stop. If you have any favorites feel free to shoot them over to me!!