Helping Toxic People Even When They Didn’t Help You – Be Brave Friday

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Helping Toxic People Even When They Didn't Help You - Be Brave Friday
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It’s Be Brave Friday where Shaun or I (from Dogs are Smarter than People and Loving the Strange and just being an author in Maine) share people’s unedited, unfiltered stories, so we can all celebrate the big and little brave things we do all the time.

Sometimes we don’t even realize we’re being brave.

Here’s Jordan’s brave story and we are so grateful, Jordan, for you trusting us and sending it in. So much love to you.

So I don’t know how long this is going to take me to put this together. I’ve really thought a lot, back and forth, about whether or not to even reply with this, but I think I’m going to, just for a sense of talking to someone outside of my normal circle.

I know this isn’t probably what you were looking for when you mentioned a story, but this is something that’s just been weighing on my mind for a little while now.

Back in 2014, when I was still a freshman in college, I made the decision to start coming out to my family. My mom had been estranged for reasons that is a whole other story. She’s not the same person she was when I was growing up, so it’s hard to really gauge who she is as a person at any given day.

When I wanted to open myself up a bit and come out to her, she responded in a way I assumed she would, being married to a southern church-going bible-thumper–she told me “I don’t agree with that” and to not bring it around my sister (who was 10 at the time).

I was very disappointed and went on with my life. I kept my mom at a distance because if she didn’t want part of my life to be highlighted, I wasn’t going to filter that. She just wasn’t going to get any of it.

I went through my college career. Struggled, thrived. Made friendships and experiences that have changed my life completely. I reluctantly invited her to my graduation, not even knowing for sure if she’d come–simply because that meant that she would actually have to make the trip.

Cut to 2020, where it’s the hell year for everyone. I’ve moved back to where I grew up to be closer to a few family members of mine. My mom begins communicating with me to inform me that her marriage has fallen apart due to infidelity and other personal things going on.

My concern only lied with my sister. She’s a young adult now but she still has no skills of being able to navigate the craziness that will surely come about with my mom. My mom never knew how to do anything for herself, and she always burned any bridges she made with people, so no one was ever at the ready to help her if she needed it. I knew that if I didn’t step in, my sister was really going to have an even worse time than she was already.

I took time off of work to get my aunt (her sister) to help me find a place where my mom could live. Having no income and no job experience in the last 18 years was going to be extremely tough, but time was of the essence. I managed to find a place and help her get moved in.

Honestly, I wanted either two things to happen. I wanted her to just leave it at that, and not communicate with me any more, or I wanted her to change back to who I knew she was when she was someone I looked up to.

I find it hard to find that kindness inside myself and have to go out of my way to constantly help her when she chooses to not help herself. I don’t know if its actual “trauma” but there are so many hurtful things and happenings that she doesn’t acknowledge or anything.

In her mind, she may believe that it never did, but the things she said, she still said. My mom has never accepted any kind of responsibility for herself and that just takes a toll after a while.

My mom has shoulder surgery next week and I’m dreading it more than anything because I know she’s going to need help and the only one who can offer it or is even remotely even willing to, is going to be me. It’s hard enough working in the public during an ongoing pandemic, in a southern state where the government could care less about the constituents dropping like flies.

Now I have to find a balance of keeping my income at a steady rate while also babysitting my impossible mother.

The past year and a half or so, I made a vow to myself to try and keep a positive outlook and not to lurk so much in negativity. This situation kind of makes me feel like I can’t do this without kindness but it’s so hard for me to feel like I can put kindness forward in this. I know this isn’t your problem, and this may be heavier than what you expected in any kind of responses to this?

I’m not even 100% sure that this message is a solid, coherent thought. At times in this scenario, I feel like I’m a bad person, but at the same time, I don’t care if it does. Even growing up, I always felt like the kingpin of my family. Like, if I wasn’t there to hold everyone together, it would all just fall apart and the damage couldn’t be undone.

To the point where, now, I would rather be isolated and alone than have to worry about it. I guess my question through all of this is how can you put forth kindness in a situation that just constantly drains you? I know it’s not really a comprehensible question but a part of me just wanted to type these thoughts out because I feel like if I mentioned it to anyone close to me here, it would make me seem (for lack of a better word, this really isn’t the right one) like a sociopath.

I think you’re a wonderful person, Carrie, and I’m very sorry if this was exhausting to read or just too impersonal in any way, but thank you for even just presenting me with the idea of being able to just send a thought out to another person, whom I weirdly I feel I can trust with that thought. I hope life is treating you properly, and I am wishing you all of the peace and joy that I can. 

– All the love,

  Jordan

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN INTERACT MORE.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 261,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

It Isn’t Too Late to Be There For Your Kids Our Most Personal Be Brave Friday Ever

So all of us need to reach up, reach out, be responsible. Inaction is often just as horrible as bad actions, but we can always climb our way out of the hole we’ve dug by making those good choices, those kind choices (even when they are so damn hard).

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
It Isn't Too Late to Be There For Your Kids Our Most Personal Be Brave Friday Ever
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It’s Be Brave Friday where Shaun or I (from Dogs are Smarter than People and Loving the Strange and just being an author in Maine) share people’s stories, but this week, I’m sharing ours. It’s the first time I’ve talked publicly about this and it’s kind of hard.

Trigger Warning for parent issues (not us).

We have an adorable kid who has autism and ODD and ADD. And here’s the thing. They are funny and creative and have big emotions about their world.

That isn’t the easiest thing to handle for some people.

And we get judged about them all the time. Their ADD manifests in wanting to do a project all night long when they’re really into it. Their ODD manifests in not dealing well when we tell them they need some sleep. Their psychiatrist has said on multiple occasions, “This is not the bridge worth dying on.”

They’re right.

But people don’t get that.

And they judge. A lot.

And whatever. I’m fine with that because though I’m self-deprecating to the point that I tend to drive other feminists crazy, I’m confident that I’m a parent who is full of love and appreciation for her kids. The judging doesn’t matter because what matters is the human who is growing and learning and becoming.

That’s not what this post is about though. This post is about our kid’s other mother. The one who gave up on them two years ago. The one who has to get texts from the kid in order to even think to visit with them. The one who is trained as a teacher but didn’t even send a text to their own child to ask them how their first day of school in a new school system went. And two weeks later, still hasn’t.

This post is about anger, honestly, because I am so angry on behalf of our kid. And I not usually brave enough to talk about this or my anger. I’m a pretty conflict averse human except when it’s about things that hurt others.

But this post is also about hope. We all have moments every single day to do the right thing. To reverse the path that we’re on and actually be responsible and good, to reach out with kindness and with love.

That’s hard sometimes when you’ve sucked for two years. But it’s going to be a lot harder after you’ve sucked for twenty.

So all of us need to reach up, reach out, be responsible. Inaction is often just as horrible as bad actions, but we can always climb our way out of the hole we’ve dug by making those good choices, those kind choices (even when they are so damn hard).

We can all do this. Every single one of us. In order to make our families, our communities, our nation and our world better? We have to.  

Here’s the video where I don’t stick entirely on script because I suck at that, honestly.

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN INTERACT MORE.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 261,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

BE BRAVE FRIDAY – CARRYING THE BABY DESPITE HEALTH ISSUES

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
BE BRAVE FRIDAY - CARRYING THE BABY DESPITE HEALTH ISSUES
/

On BE BRAVE FRIDAYS, we share other people’s stories (unedited) and sometimes our own to build a community of bravery and inspiration.

Please let us know if you want to share your story with us and we’ll read it here and post it on our social media and website.

We don’t edit these because we want people’s stories to be heard as they tell them. We want it to be their voices not ours.

This life is too short to not be brave. We can do this together.


For me, I personally think my biggest “Be Brave” moment was when I stood up to multiple doctors, that told me I could never carry a baby due my ongoing health issues.  Me, being raised by a very strong woman, and also being ridiculously stubborn myself, I kind of told them where they could go with their opinions, and carried on my own path…..

I went off the pill September 28th, 2006 – I remember because we were in Amsterdam at the time – and found out I was pregnant November 4th, 2006.  In between those dates I’d had another surgery, under anesthesia, not knowing I was pregnant. 

I had a relatively uneventful pregnancy, after finding an amazing doctor that didn’t see any reason why I wouldn’t be able to carry a baby – a doctor that to this day, I still go to.  He said there was a chance I wouldn’t carry full term, which I didn’t because I’d had multiple surgeries on my cervix, which resulted in having sections of it removed, weakening it and making it not as “stable” as it should be. 

Fred and I continued on with life as if nothing was wrong. We finished off our entire basement, I carried sheets of drywall, shot nails into the cement floor for metal stud walls, did flooring, and just lived life as I would have any other day 😊  My due date was set for July 12th, 2007 but I gave birth – all natural, no doctors, no hospitals, no meds – on June 25th, 2007 at 4:13pm 😊  We joke about that day because it was very “normal”.  I got up around 7am, decided I was going to try out the car seat in the car, and while leaning over to attach it to the middle part of the seat, my water broke LOLOLOL 

We called the mid wife, who said we had “plenty of time” as first babies take a long time to deliver……. My family has a history of fast births, the longest time being less than 5 hours LOLOLOL  We headed to the midwife, had breakfast along the way, got bored by about 9 so we did a mold of my belly, I read some of my book, took a short nap, and around 11:50 I had my first contraction.  I described it as “unpleasant,” in the middle of a conversation with a friend of mine that had showed up, and that was it.  No screaming, no panting, just “unpleasant”.  My midwife laughed at me and said I was made to have babies.  Roughly four hours and 13 minutes later I delivered the most beautiful creature I have ever, to this day, seen 😊

Had I not been strong (brave) enough and pretty much told the doctors to go shove their theories up their condescending asses, I’d never have had Keira and my life wouldn’t be as full as it is now 😊  I have spoken to numerous people about my experience, which has led others to question things with their doctors.   

Would love to talk again – call or text any time you’d like, 484-883-1229

Love to you and Shaun!!

Aly


BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN INTERACT MORE.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 261,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

BE BRAVE FRIDAY PUBLIC SPEAKING AND UNEVEN SURFACES

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
BE BRAVE FRIDAY PUBLIC SPEAKING AND UNEVEN SURFACES
/

On BE BRAVE FRIDAYS, we share other people’s stories (unedited) and sometimes our own to build a community of bravery and inspiration.

Please let us know if you want to share your story with us and we’ll read it here and post it on our social media and website.

We don’t edit these because we want people’s stories to be heard as they tell them.

This life is too short to not be brave. We can do this together.

This week, Shaun’s sharing one of his stories.

Also, sorry this is a day late! Shaun’s computer died last night during our live podcast and things have been a bit — tech scary.

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN INTERACT MORE.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 261,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

Life is About More Than How To and How To Be.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Life is About More Than How To and How To Be.
/

On BE BRAVE FRIDAYS, we share other people’s stories (unedited) to build a community of bravery and inspiration.

Please let us know if you want to share your story with us and we’ll read it here and post it on our social media and website.

We don’t edit these because we want people’s stories to be heard as they tell them.

This life is too short to not be brave. We can do this together.

This week, I’m telling one of my stories.


“How do I become an artist?” I used to ask my mom this all the time when I was little.

“Nobody in our family has an artistic bone in their body,” my mother said every time I asked. She’d light a cigarette. She’d take a drag. She’d offer me a Pepsi, cold from the fridge, always poured over ice and never in a can because we weren’t that kind of people either. “Not one bone.”

“Our family” only meant her family. One of my grandmothers painted all the time, hiding away her canvasses, horrified by how bad they were. None were ever bad, but they were dark, dripping with sadness, a sadness that also came out in her poems. One of my father’s sisters did batik, made jewelry. Another aunt did ceramics.

That wasn’t about me though. My only genes, according to my mom, came from her. And so I was left wondering, “How do I be an artist if there isn’t an artistic bone in my body?”

And I gave up even though I was a kid who didn’t think with words, a kid who was haunted by images and color, the smash-up of form and hope always twirling around in my head.

And then my mother was dead. And my father was dead. And a brother and aunts and uncles were dead and grandparents and two best friends.

The grief grew in my fingers and writing stopped being enough. But I was lost because I still didn’t know how to be an artist.

I googled it. Google did not help.

And then I just started. I’d paint out the images in my head, disappearing women, angel-women (never men) watching landscapes, cruelty hidden as trees, shapes in the water that nobody would ever see but me.

A local artist that I love asked me about my oil technique and I said, “Oh, I’m too cheap for oil. I use acrylics.”

She gasped. I figured I was doing something wrong and didn’t post a photo of my art for a long, long time. I assumed that gasp meant that I was breaking the artist guidelines, the rules somehow.

Where could I find the rules? I wondered.

We all tend to look for the rules, the how-to-do-things when we first start out in our careers, our relationships, our lives.

“How to be a . . . ” is a pretty hot topic, right?

And it makes sense that we do this. We go to school. We learn that there are rules to abide by, ways to think, certain methods we should follow to solve math problems, right essays, grammar rules, behavior rules, etiquette rules.

Do well with the rules and you might get As, high marks, praise from the teacher.

But there is a certain joy that happens when you don’t know the rules, when you aren’t typing away every day on your masterpiece even though you don’t know about three-act structure, painting skies that look like envelopes drawn by three-year-olds, and singing songs that are completely, unintentionally offkey.

Art is like that.

Being brave is like that, too.

Art is when you see/read/hear/feel something and your emotions become bigger or even better? They become something you’ve never felt before. Art is something that pushes you beyond your own self. It can make you remember. It can make you think. It can make you forget to remember all over again. It can make you brave.

Because yes, there is a certain bravery to put yourself out there in your art. But there’s also just a bravery in putting yourself out there and living—living a whole, big, amazing life—a life where you’ll mess up massively and succeed hugely and fail and love and lust and fall down and sometimes not want to get back up again.

Being brave is determining for yourself who you are and not caring if you don’t fit the genes, if there aren’t artistic bones in your body. Being brave is doing things despite the rules. Being brave is being you. The real you. You can do that. I’m positive of it.

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN INTERACT MORE.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 261,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

When Your Patient Teaches You a Thing or Two About Living

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
When Your Patient Teaches You a Thing or Two About Living
/


On BE BRAVE FRIDAYS, we share other people’s stories (unedited) to build a community of bravery and inspiration.

Please let us know if you want to share your story with us and we’ll read it here and post it on our social media and website.

We don’t edit these because we want people’s stories to be heard as they tell them.

This life is too short to not be brave. We can do this together.

When Your Patient Teaches You a Thing or Two About Living

This is a story from the wonderful Donna Roberts. Thank you so much, Donna!

I believe I can fly. I believe I can touch the sky. — R. Kelly
(Note: names and minor details changed to protect privacy)

The thing about clinical work is that each day you never know what’s coming. You can be working with a patient in the most clear-cut treatment plan with everything going textbook perfect and suddenly . . .

“Hi, Joe. Nice to see you.” And it was. Joe (not his real name) was a regular in my therapy room, but unlike some others, a willing and enthusiastic participant in his treatment program. He worked hard in session and practiced the suggested exercises in the times between visits. He was open, expressive and insightful — all elements of the “perfect patient.” We usually both felt good after a session.

That’s not to say that there weren’t painful struggles in his treatment program. Joe, like many of us, had his own demons to confront, his made more powerful and debilitating by his bipolar diagnosis. But he embraced the challenge, knowing that working through his “stuff” meant some pain for each gain.

Joe’s condition was stabilized by medication prescribed by his psychiatrist. My role was part two of his treatment plan — the talking cure — the “fun part” we called it.


With his more severe symptoms under control, Joe’s problems were not all that uncommon — relationships, work, stress, etc. We just had to approach them from his unique history and dysfunctional behavior patterns.

That fateful Friday started like any other session with Joe. He was calm and chatty and we exchanged some trivial dialogue before getting to the more serious work. I had tentatively penned in “communication skills” as a topic for the session, but only if Joe didn’t lead us down another path.

Joe turned pensive and quiet. I was just about to suggest the communication topic when he took a deep breath and said, “I think I want to go off my meds.”
I tried not to look surprised, but I was. While this is a typical reaction for many on psychiatric medication, it was unexpected from Joe. He had been faithfully following his medication regimen for almost five years. He had few side effects and had frequently expressed agreement that they normalized his behavior, for the better.

I was curious why he would say this now. Was he facing a crisis? Was he experiencing negative side effects? Did he Google his condition and become convinced he should try the latest wonder drug or fad? I even wondered if he was joking, trying to jump start a lagging session. And, to be honest, I was a little bit scared. Joe’s more serious symptoms had always been under control in my therapy room, courtesy of his effective medication. They made his problems seem normal and, more importantly, manageable. The full-blown symptoms of bipolar disorder were another matter altogether.

So I said what all therapists say when they don’t know what to say, “Well, Joe, tell me more about that.”

And thus began the most intense conversation I ever had with a patient in therapy.

He looked out the window, off into the distance and said, “It’s me. I’m losing me. I think the meds are taking away what it means to be me.”

“You’re losing the sick you.”

“That may be the only me there is.”

I let the silence get uncomfortable waiting for him to explain.

“You know, I’ve never really talked about it, but when I am manic I feel like I can fly! Like. I. Can. Fly. The world is mine.”

“I understand. But Joe, it’s not and you can’t.”

“Who says?”

“The healthy you knows this is true. We’ve talked about that.”

And then he focused his gaze directly on me and asked me questions that shook me to my core — my healthy, non-bipolar core. His voice was raised, but not in anger, with a deep and heart-felt passion for what he was saying.

“Have you ever felt anything that intense? Have you ever lived that fully? Have you ever felt that deeply?”

Taking a deep breath and donning my therapeutic persona again, I replied, knowing my argument would hardly stand up to such emotion.

“But you’re a danger to yourself when you’re in that state.”

“I’m a danger to the real me when I am so subdued. I get it. I get where you’re coming from. It’s not you. You don’t want to live that way. But how would YOU feel if everyone told you that you had to? Wouldn’t a little piece of you die inside?”

I knew I was defeated here. Arguing with him would just entrench him more deeply in his convictions. I couldn’t match his intensity in that moment. I needed to stop fighting him and accept him where he was.

“Joe, you know I cannot recommend that you do this.”

“I know,” he replied calmly.

“I don’t have the authority. I’m a psychologist, not a psychiatrist, so I cannot make judgements or decisions about your meds.”

“Yes, I know.”

What we both knew, but didn’t say, was that he would be taken to the psychiatric ward for observation and consult.

The time between making the call to his psychiatrist and when the orderlies escorted him to the other ward, could have been awkward and tense. But Joe made it pleasant. We chatted about the trivial things that make up casual conversation — the weather, the Yankees.

Then, just as he was about to walk out the door, for the last time, Joe turned to me with one final piece of advice.

“Live a little, Donna. Just once do something that makes you feel like you can fly. Don’t always play it so safe.”

And while his words did not turn me into a risk taker they do come back to me from time to time when I stand on the brink of something I’m afraid of. And they make me just a little bit braver.

And sometimes . . . I believe I can fly. I believe I can touch the sky.

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN INTERACT MORE.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 261,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

BE BRAVE FRIDAY – Confronting Anxiety and Riding Bikes

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
BE BRAVE FRIDAY - Confronting Anxiety and Riding Bikes
/

On BE BRAVE FRIDAYS, we share other people’s stories (unedited) to build a community of bravery and inspiration.

Please let us know if you want to share your story with us and we’ll read it here and post it on our social media and website.

This life is too short to not be brave. We can do this together.

Also, a super shout-out to Chantal for being brave and doing the thing that I, Carrie, probably really need to do. You’ve got this, my brilliant and amazing and shiny friend. I’m so proud of you.


I started with a therapist to finally get help with my severe illness anxiety disorder. We had our second session yesterday and I’m feeling really hopeful I can finally get control of it.

  • Chantal Watts

I’ve mastered three traditional set dances this year, learning them mostly over zoom! White Blanket, The Three Sea Captains, and King of the Fairies. These are the really traditional dances, and they are HARD.

I’m 44 years old and have what is probably rheumatoid arthritis in my legs, but tomorrow and Saturday I’ll be performing with my Irish Dance school for the eighth year! I never did dance as a kid for more than a few lessons, because I was so bad at it, but at age 36 I decided to take a class for fun when my kids did, and now I put my introverted self into a variety of spangly costumes and Riverdance my lil heart out! I’m not great. It hurts like a BITCH the next morning because of the arthritis, but I DO IT ANYWAY.

  • Jessica Day George

I’ll turn 45 years old next week, and I just learned how to drive a motorcycle (and got my license) in May! 

  • Teresa Cole

I put my first completed book out there and I’m waiting on 4 beta readers to get back to me… 

Melissa Lyn Sawmiller

And finally, Fiona!


BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN INTERACT MORE.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 261,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

Be Brave Friday: Don’t Small Down Your Self or Your World

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Be Brave Friday: Don't Small Down Your Self or Your World
/

On BE BRAVE FRIDAYS, we share other people’s stories (unedited) to build a community of bravery and inspiration.

Please let us know if you want to share your story with us and we’ll read it here and post it on our social media and website.

This life is too short to not be brave. We can do this together.


This week’s Be Brave Story is from the wonderful Sheri Boggs!

Sheri, thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

You are so brave and so wonderful.

xo Shaun and Carrie


I have a story of bravery to share. It isn’t big, bold physical bravery but rather small, mild bravery in which my foe WAS MY OWN MIND. 

I took violin for a few years as a kid and started taking adult violin lessons in my late 40s. I was not great and probably would have given up a long time ago if not for my teacher, (let’s call her Ms.X), who is hilarious and reminds me of Candace Bergen. Half the time my lessons consisted of us ranting about politics or her telling me some marvelously gossipy story about when she played with our local symphony.

A few months before the pandemic we decided I was ready to join the New Horizons Orchestra. New Horizons is an international organization with orchestras in cities all over the United States. Anyone is welcome, regardless of experience or skill, and their motto is “Your Best Is Good Enough.” My first time there, however, I realized I would need significantly more than my best. Everyone seemed to be a music teacher, a retired symphony member, or someone who practices for three hours a day. I stared in bewilderment at the sheet music (a medley of tunes from Chicago) and struggled to keep up. My bow was barely able to land on the right string much less hit the right note. 

Needless to say, when everything shut down I was relieved not to have to go back and be so noticeably behind everyone else. I also quit taking violin lessons, falling into a Covid-related funk and reasoning that Ms. X would only want to deal with Zoom for her most promising, high school and college-aged students. I didn’t touch my violin for a full 15 months. 

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Ms.X emailed me to see how I was doing and to let me know New Horizons was starting up again. I wrote back that everyone had been super nice but I’d felt embarrassed the few times I went, I never had time to practice, and I wasn’t planning to go back. She wrote back that she would “entreat me to reconsider,” claiming that, “some of those people have no talent whatsoever and I would know because I taught some of them.”  She assured me that New Horizons is about the joy of playing and that I was already way ahead of some of them, even if it didn’t feel like it.

So, much to my own surprise, I went to my first practice this week! I was again completely lost in the sheet music and unsure what key we were even playing in but it felt good to be there. Everyone was so welcoming and if anyone heard me scratching away at the wrong string with my bow, they didn’t say anything. I came home, practiced, figured out the key, watched videos of other people playing the pieces, and practiced some more. I plan to go back next week. 

The takeaway for me is how, when I’m anxious, I try to make my world smaller and talk myself out of things where I have to experience being awful at something, but what actually helps me is to keep pushing outside of my comfort zone, and letting my world get bigger. I had fun, seeing a few familiar faces and occasionally hearing my violin blend in with the violins all around me. 

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN INTERACT MORE.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 261,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

BE BRAVE FRIDAY – BEING BRAVE FOR A DOG AND YOURSELF

On BE BRAVE FRIDAYS, we share other people’s stories (unedited) to build a community of bravery and inspiration.

Please let us know if you want to share your story with us and we’ll read it here and post it on our social media and website.

This life is too short to not be brave. We can do this together.


This week it’s Carden’s story that Shaun reads on the coast of Bar Harbor, Maine.


Carden’s Brave Story

Hey Carrie and Shaun!

I thought I’d love to share my story of being brave today! It fits the today’s “dog” theme, too.

So, today I went to the Can Do Canines campus, a service dog organization here in Minnesota, to do a walking evaluation with different dogs.

I was born with spastic cerebral palsy that effects muscle tone in my legs, and causes me lots of trouble with balance and walking comfortably.

Today was a BIG day for me, because up until now Ive been waiting for a mobility assist dog for up to 2.5 years — the first organization I applied for ended up not working out.

But Can Do Canines has gone much smoother.

Going in today I felt nervous, but also very, very excited! I’m a dog lover at heart, and getting to meet these dogs (even though they were already matched with their forever homes) made things feel that much more real. Then came actually walking with the dogs.

I felt a RUSH of anxiety because I had no clue how to walk a big dog, much less the commands and timing of getting the dog to walk forward with me, say “good doggo”, ya know, all that good stuff. It was SO NEW and different and also a little scary.

I felt somewhat in over my head, like “how am I going to be able to function and have a healthy relationship with a dog? How do I learn all these commands? How do I remember commands and to praise consistently? How how how?”

— a lot of it was fear of not being good enough. A good enough student, a good enough handler, a good enough person in general. Internal frustration bubbled up to the point where I wanted to throw down the leash and call it quits. But something else in me knew I could come through.

And then, just like that, I suddenly heard a voice in my head go “aahhh SCREW IT!” and I didn’t feel nearly as anxious!

I took some deep breaths, took some sitting breaks (it was a lot of walking), and made sure to look into the eyes of the 3 dogs I had “tried out”.

All I need to do right now is to focus on the task at hand: walking briefly with a dog to see which harness, height, and handle feel like the best fit for me….thats all. Of course new things, even things I’m looking forward to and that can help me live a more healthy life, can feel scary. But it won’t ALWAYS be scary. Having compassion for myself, and the new dog at my side that I just met minutes prior, helped me push through and enjoy my time much better!!


Carden, we are so proud of you and psyched that you’re getting a dog. You two are going to be amazing together. We know it.

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN INTERACT MORE.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 261,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

  • Carden Levi Olsen

BE BRAVE FRIDAY – RINGING THE BELL AND CHANGING MEDICATION FOR DEPRESSION

So, today is our first BE BRAVE FRIDAY featuring the stories of people who are not Carrie.

Why are we doing this?

We’re doing this because in a world where everything can feel like crap and overwhelming sometimes, it’s good to celebrate and lift each other up.

We don’t censor these letters and stories. We read them verbatim. You can be anonymous or like Dee and Tez, you can tell your name.

Let us celebrate you. Let’s inspire each other, okay?

I hope you’ll take a second to listen to Dee and Tez’s story.

Trigger warnings: Mental health, cancer, ill parent.

Awesome warnings: Braveness. Persistence. Facing your fears.

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN INTERACT MORE.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 261,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.