Making Peace with Loneliness During the Holidays Pt. 2

Last year I wrote Emotional Loneliness + The Holidays and it was one of my most read articles. This might be because family is one of those topics we always come back to, and the love/hate pulls are so strong. While last year I was very (proudly!) single and in a stable job, this year I’m in transition between cities and jobs, and I brought home a partner I’m just crazy about. What I found this year was that despite my relationship status, regression to a less mature version of myself around family is definitely going to happen, and honestly, having a partner doesn’t change the inner child triggers that flare up. To quote last year’s article, this regression stems …


4 Signs You Are Codependent and 4 Signs You Are Not

Two months ago, I quit my job. The 2+ years leading up to that decision were survival mode since my divorce: get a new job, figure out finances, move 3x! I was excited for a little break. Despite my enthusiasm, once my break came, all I could do was squirm and complain. I’d never experienced this kind of depression before. It wasn’t the agony I was used to. Depression felt like this constant companion, hanging out right beneath the surface of my words and actions, never screaming, but stifling my motivation for life. What was happening? There were no external voices to tell me what to do, that I was doing a good job, that I was on the right …


Decision Paralysis + Codependency: When My Emotions Depend on Your Emotions

This week has been a metaphorical ringer. Work stress. Relationship stress. Family stress. Home stress. STRESS STRESS STRESS! You know those weeks where you wake up every morning in a panic like you’ve dropped the ball on something major? If you didn’t know – I do not preach meditation because I’m oh so peaceful, I preach meditation because I’m pretty sure it’s already saved me from early onset high blood pressure. A huge struggle this week has been the need to make important choices amidst difficult circumstances. The reason choices are so hard, particularly during stressful seasons, is because there’s often not a right or wrong answer. Most choices come with a slew of positive and negative repercussions that need …


How Awkward First Dates Are a Path for Growth

These past few years have been a motor speedway of personal growth, the conduit being not only a ton of therapy but also destiny-driven personal interactions that left serious imprints. One date in particular was rather surreal, mostly because I was immediately uncomfortable sitting there. This date reminded me of pain from past relationships. I, unknowingly, had written off traditionally religious guys, associating similar traits to being hurt in the same ways I had been before. My subconscious mind kept me safe from those kinds of guys, protecting me from ever being like that again. The hour we sat there became weirdly healing as this guy began to disprove every assumption I placed on him. I thought a traditionally religious …


How To Tell When You’re Saying Yes To Your Worth and NO to Boundary-Stomping Jerks

This year, I’ve met a number of flighty, unreliable types. They chat you up, and they’re super flirtatious. It kinda feels like they create chemistry with everything. Initially, all your warning signs are screaming, “f*** boy/girl, stay away,” but then you find out the guy/girl is kind of creative, or they say something to make you feel special, and you’re in. One date couldn’t be so bad, right?! They ask you on a date (sort of). They don’t really set a time, or a day, and then they text you around the time you sort of agreed on but never finalize plans. A MILLION RED FLAGS. A. MILLION. I know this is a little sad, but the old Ilsa would …


Marriage Is Hard – Guest Blogger + My Mom, Elizabeth Carroll

If I’m being honest, and I am honest to a fault, my marriage is hard right now. Jim and I were married ten years ago and enjoyed an extended five-year honeymoon. Utter, unrealistic bliss! My daughters found us sickening! I think God knew we’d need a season of bliss to look back on because He knows our wounds and they are deep. Deep wounds make it easy to blame and  give up. DON’T. My therapist says that our marriage is providential, meaning that God meant for Jim and I to be together. He is my perfect storm and I am his. He is my iron sharpening iron. I freaking hate it. I want my bliss back!!! Bliss Breaker At year …


The People We Attract + Why – Unfinished Business Part 2

The primary foundation of attraction and chemistry are tied to our unfinished business + imago match. (Read More Here) To remind us of these concepts: Unfinished business: our unconscious search for the mate that will right the wrongs of our imperfect childhoods. Imago match: someone who carries the traits of what survival looked like for us in childhood, most likely a combination of traits from our childhood caretakers. The final piece of the attraction puzzle is self-esteem, which is defined as “confidence in one’s value as a human being correlated with achievement, good relationships, and satisfaction.” While I like to define these three concepts separately, they are, in practice, totally intertwined. Our imago match will carry our unfinished business from …


How To Take Treasure from the Darkness

I once heard, “you teach what you need to learn”, which has become a mainstay of my writing. My journey to writing has been entirely through pain, both self and others-inflicted. The discovery of this outlet has come through heavy emotional darkness – one event digging up years of events that led to self-destructing choices that all came crashing down. There are two ways to deal with pain: Cut it off. Pretend like it didn’t happen. Attempt to go on with life as if this big ugly was never there. Silence its voice. Be warned that pain cannot truly be silenced, and will find moments to scream out and shame us. Embrace it. Recognize that this pain is now part …