September 20

Butting It Out

**Note 1** I actually started writing this several months ago. Then summer happened and came along with it were the tough choices of whether or not I’d rather be frolicking outside or banging my head against my lap top trying to string together words I’m happy with.

If only there was an emoji for my decision making abilities…

Oh wait, there is…


Maybe I’m being too hard on myself. I’ve turned out okay(ish) depending on the day of the week and the time of the month, so I suppose I’ve done a few things right.

I have, however, made one decision I can finally say I am – without a doubt – proud of and have zero regrets or second thoughts.

And no, it has nothing to do with my dating life.

**Note 2** At the time of initially writing this, my dating life was still on its nine-year hiatus and that has surprisingly changed, which is a story for another time.**


I quit smoking.

People quit smoking all the time… so why is this such a big deal for me?

My choice to begin in the first place isn’t one I’m proud of. Sometimes, you have to travel to the dark side to appreciate the light. Right? (Still waiting for the light to manifest itself into my romantic life).

**Note 3** Sometime last year, I was having a conversation with a friend about my lack luster love life. I brought up the topic of smoking and how I felt that it was something I had to give up before I could totally attract a healthy relationship – as much of what I had been attracting over the last decade has been toxic (not all, though!). I was treating myself with toxic habits and attracting similar relationships to the one I had with my self. Voila! Not long after butting it out, my perpetual single life smoldered out as well… again, a story for another time.

Regardless, it was a large part of who I was… and who I wasn’t.

In fact, I was such a stealthy smoker that most people in my life didn’t even know.

I was a mostly private – and heavy – puffer (of cigarettes, just to clarify) for 20 years.

Two decades.

That’s a long time.

For 20 years, I relied on these magic toxic filled sticks to make me feel at ease.  They were my dirty little companions in times of anxiety, excitement, boredom, and busyness. They were a social crutch. Ever been awkwardly waiting for someone at a bar? Easy, go for a smoke while you pretend to text someone.

They went great with wine, telephone conversations, driving, and they were my way to step back and quiet my mind. And let’s not forget coffee – nothing went better with caffeine than a dose of carbon monoxide.

Don’t even get me started on how great it was after sex… Well, so I’ve been told…

And I actually enjoyed it.

“Life is short… do what you enjoy. I could quit smoking and then I could get hit by a bus. It’s my only bad habit… I eat well and I exercise…. I really do take care of myself. I could have worse habits!”

This was my reasoning each and every time.

For twenty years I told myself that this was something I had full control over. I controlled them, not the other way around. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The mere thought of going somewhere and not being able to have a cigarette or needing to hide it sent me into anxiety. Despite being careless with my own health, I was always cautious and considerate of those who I shared my bad habits with.

My car was stocked with the necessities. Gum, mouthwash, hand sanitizer, and body spray galore. I was like a Health and Beauty aisle at Walmart on wheels. Minus the Health part.

I had ‘quit’ several times over the years. Nothing stuck for more than a couple weeks, tops. I had tried the gum, patches, cold turkey and medications. The terrible dreams were one thing, but my raging bitch moods were another story. Don’t even get me started on being on Champix when you are PMSing. Guys, if you think we are too emotional then… think again.  You haven’t felt true toxic wrath until you’ve seen a crampy, high strung woman too bloated for her fat pants sans her cigarette. That terrifies even me.

I actually felt it was in the best interest of my own well-being and the safety of others to continue to light up.

Although I had ‘wanted’ to butt out for a long time, the one habit I never bothered to adjust was my thought patterns. I had always ‘worked’ on quitting smoking, but I never worked on my mind. For a while, I had only wanted to quit to have extra cash.

I had started CrossFit in 2012 to challenge my mental and physical strength. By no means do I consider myself highly competitive or even all that athletic, but I wanted something that pushed me just a little bit harder. I had only taken small sips of the proverbial Kool-Aid… which was enough to quench my thirst for a healthier lifestyle.

cfIt wasn’t solely CrossFit – much of it was also the changing social perception. Gone were the days of sandbox ashtrays in shopping malls and street corners. I had been a social outcast for the better part of my childhood and smoking was something I did to fit in to some -any- kind of crowd. Despite the changing laws and stigmas – it was still easy enough to hide. But, trying to mask the fact that I was losing a lung before the CrossFit warm-up was even over was getting to be a real challenge – and not the kind I signed up for. I dreaded things like sprints and thrusters, and wall balls and burpees were the absolute worst. And what was the first thing I did after walking out of the torture chambers? Torture my body even more. And not for positive gains.

The more I went, the more I began to feel like a hypocrite. That’s like claiming to be a nature lover as you nudge the remnants of your nic-stick into a sidewalk nook and cranny.

Finally, my mind began to change. Slowly but surely, I began to hate it. I had a hard enough time explaining to narrow minded people why I am was still single and child-less at 33, never mind trying to justify why I was dating the slick devilish darts.

smokeIt had occurred to me that my mind had been conditioned to think cigarettes were ‘cool’ and simply a part of ‘who I was’. The only way I could quit was to rewire my brain and adopt new ways of thinking. Rather than being accustomed to telling myself it was something I needed, I began to tell myself the opposite. (Now if I could only translate this into every other area of my life, I’d be set!) I also did what I have been seemingly good at in other areas of my life – I focused on the negatives. That’s right – but this time for good reason. I filled my brain with the very worst things I could think of. Rather than thinking about how much I enjoyed it with a cold beer on a hot summer night – I consciously thought about all the toxins I was polluting my body with and spent time asking Siri to show me blackened lungs.

One morning, I got into my car and left for work. I had one cigarette left. This is where panic mode would usually set in and I would need to b-line to the Mac’s store. I opened my glove box to dig out some change – only to have the content of primarily empty cigarette packages fall out. I stared at the pile of money I had turned into a toxic wasteland.

And that was it. This is stupid. I kept on driving – which might have been the best decision I have ever made.

Deep breath.

(Because I can do that now.)


February 9

5 Reasons Being Single Doesn’t Totally Suck


In 32 years, I have not celebrated ‘Valentine’s Day’, save for the bags of Hershey Kisses and trinkets my Mom would give me when I was younger (thank you Mom). I have yet to have someone Cho-Cho-Choose me.

As of this moment, I have been single for nearly nine years.

Not that I’m counting or anything, but that’s:

3,111 days
444 weeks and 3 days
74,664 hours
4,479,840 minutes
268,790,4000 seconds

Vday3(Thank you Google!)

While there are plenty of folks that don’t give a flying f*** about V-Day, there are always those that always feel a little bit ‘singled out’ while walking the grocery store aisles littered with love. It is also possible to feel both, simultaneously. I know I do at times.

As much as I would love to collide shopping carts with my life partner, I’m also an advocate of spending time single. Over the years, I’ve learned more about myself than some do in a life time. It hasn’t been easy by any stretch of the imagination, however there are some life lessons to learn that one should never live without.

If you are sick of seeing red and feeling blue, here are five reasons why being single isn’t totally terrible…

1. Because personal happiness should never be contingent on whether or not you have someone in your life. Finding your own source of happiness is key. Figure out what floats your boat and go do it. I know too many people that are only happy if they are in a relationship. Too many people that place their own value on whether or not they are coupled up. We all end up alone at some point in our lives, if you don’t know how to be happy with the person you are with (yourself), life is going to be a very shitty time for you when it happens. If you don’t want to be with you, why would anyone else want to? Being single is the opportunity to develop the ultimate relationship – with yourself.

VDay12. Relationships are a big deal. When the right one comes along – you hope it is for life. At least I do. Finding a good relationship is life is like finding a good job. There’s always going to be those soul sucking crap jobs in between, and it may take you years to find the one that resonates with you. Do you really want to be stuck at a job you hate for the rest of your life? Gross. There’s always going to be those people stuck in those crap jobs, because there’s always people who are willing to settle out of fear of not being able to pay their bills, much like those who settle out of fear of being alone. Do you really want to be stuck with someone for the rest of your life that you can just barely tolerate? Don’t settle. There’s far too many people stuck in relationships they aren’t happy with – if you’re single, you don’t have this problem. The options are wide open, my loves.

3. This one is for the group of singles that are kid free. There are a lot of folks that are happily married and enjoy the family life (I salute you)… but if you are like me, in your 30s and have yet to tie the knot and pop out a few babies, don’t dwell. Yes, there are some who feel their life calling is to be parents. I’m not one of them, which is a good thing, because judging by the quality of dates I’ve been on in the last near-decade, I suspect it may last another nine years and by that time I’ll be near menopausal. However, if your biological clock is ticking and it’s starting to look bleak – realize there are many ways to find fulfillment in life that don’t always involve kids. Until the time is right, which may or may not happen, find a way to leave your own legacy. Because you know what is sweeter than the sound of a baby crying and more entertaining than dodging poop? The ability to do whatever the f*ck you want, when you want.

4. V-Day is a commercial holiday designed to take your money. Nothing more than a visit from Saint Valentine, the Patron Saint of overpriced crap used to show your unwavering affection. The sentiment is nice, but love should be shared every day. We shouldn’t need a reminder. If you find yourself single on V-Day – don’t sweat it. Think of the dollars you are saving in our unfortunate economy. Which brings me to my next point.

WINE5. More wine. Yes, being single means you don’t have to share with anyone if you don’t want to. Take all those dollars you just saved and go by yourself a bottle box of liquid candy and enjoy (responsibly). Toast yourself and dream up all the things you want to attract into your life. Better yet, go do them.

See, it’s not so bad, is it?

Having said that, being single definitely does have its pit-falls at times. Craving human connection and closeness is natural. I’ve longed for it daily. How cool would it be to have someone you connect with on every level? Pretty neat, I’d imagine. But that being said, there is nothing that trumps loving yourself unconditionally first and foremost – essential to attracting someone who will do just the same. Enjoy your freedom while you have it, even if it lasts nine romance-less years. Being single can either be really shitty, or pretty damn amazing – it’s all on how you look at it.

Oh and as a side note – I graciously accept wine, chocolates (great for PMS week), flowers and dinners. “He” is out there somewhere… until then, I will treat myself.

But seriously, man… hurry the hell up, would ya?!






May 31

Excuses, excuses


I’ve been avoiding writing the same way I avoid questions like, “Do you have a boyfriend yet.” The difference is that one I’ve avoided by making plenty of excuses… the other… well, I don’t have an answer.

The last year or more since I’ve even bothered to write anything has been a juggling act and I’ve dropped the ball a few dozen hundred times.

I know I need to write and yet I avoid it. Why? Well, I will tell myself things like I have no time, work is in the way, I have nothing to say, and on and on.

The back and forth dialogue in my mind goes something like:

“I feel so inspired, this is going to be easy!”
“I can’t wait to get started!”

*Sits down to write*

“Nothing’s coming out…”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself, just get out of your own way!”
“This is stupid! Everything I try to write sounds like crap!”

*Texts friend to vent*

*Tries again*

glasseswtf“This sounds even worse! Nothing makes sense!”
“I don’t even know what my point is!”
“Who is going to care, anyway!”
“I quit!”

“I can’t wait to get started!”

(And in case you’re wondering, yeah, I made that stellar graphic in Paint because it’s one of the few things that’s actually still working on my computer. Sweet, eh?)

I’ve been meaning to write a book for… oh I dunno, the last few years or more. It’s a vicious cycle. Creativity hits, words fill the page, PMS (a.k.a. nuclear emotional warfare) hits harder, self doubt blows up and before I know it I’m starting over. Again, and again. Approximately every 28 days. Not only that, the creativity process is an emotional one that stirs up a lot of energy (sometimes unwanted), PMS or not. They say writing is ‘therapeutic’, but I’m pretty sure that sometimes, after writing, I could use a good therapy session. Why? Because the process of creation is the thing that triggers the most emotion in me. Emotion = energy in motion.

Sometimes, I tell myself I have no business writing if I’m not in the right mind frame. It’s like I’m perpetually waiting for things to be just perfect. But, that would do little for authenticity.

I easily walk into the quicksand of negative self talk – in heels no less. I can barely walk in flats, never mind stilettos. I have a remarkable ability to focus on all the things that I don’t perceive as ‘right’ in my life and why they are preventing me from doing what I want. Which is nothing more than excuses, in other words complete bull shit.


Yes, there is a however!

I put it this way… I think about living out my existence and what would haunt me forever if I didn’t do it. What would pick away at my soul eternally? That’s usually the thing you are meant to do. It’s not meant to be easy.

Hang on, I lost my train of thought again. Damn it. I’ve probably written about this very same thing before. Damn it, again.

Anyway, point is… you just have to keep going. What would have ever been created if no one ever got out of their own way and maximized their time? Get out of your head and just do it. Maybe it will be easy, maybe not. Probably not. Or, continually hang on to excuses, fear, and self doubt. What fun is that?! Where is it getting you?

That goes for me, too! I always need to eat my own words! It’s likely why I put them out there sometimes, to keep myself accountable.

My phone just beeped and someone just sent me this video… how synchronistic…

What are your excuses keeping you from?

If you’re tired of kicking your own ass and would like to keep me company on kicking mine, please join me HERE.

April 18

… And Breathe.


brainPrepare for brutal honestly.

I tend to write only positive and uplifting moments… moments that can inspire magic and hope into others – even if it is only my average readership of one person (thanks, Mom). But if I always did that, I would not be including the remaining fibers of my soul. I would only be showing one fragment of my being, and given that I wear my heart on my sleeve, I find it damn near impossible to hide the rest of me.

That’s not to say I don’t have anything uplifting to say, but today I’m just not in the mood. Maybe it’s the weather.

F#ck it. Today I write my feelings, as they are, in the present moment.

It’s my therapy.

Lately, the amount of days I have felt empty and alone and lost and anxious have outnumbered the days of feeling intrinsically happy and calm. It’s a piss off really, because I WAS there, and I have always been the purveyor of self fulfillment and wholeness – the importance of going on your own epic self journey – and yet here I am, trying to chew on my own words.

Maybe I’ve been looking at too many ‘throw back thursday’ photos and wondering how I went from hob-knobbing with the semi rich and famous, doing really cool shit (as defined by my ego), travelling, donning some low cut, sexified tank top – to sitting alone on a Friday night, in my Walmart-special hoodie donning a salsa stain on it, and on the brink of joining a nunnery. If I ever do end up on a hot date in this life time, I may need an instruction manual.

Anyway, that’s not the point. I get that my interests have shifted as I get older more mature. Actually, I don’t even know what my point is.  Blah.

After all the searching and inner workings – I find myself not knowing where the hell I am. But then again, where did I expect to go? I have no clue. I suppose I figured after going on sabbatical from being stuck inside some little box the majority of society views as ‘normal life’, I’d at least have somewhat of an idea as to what the heck I am doing or what path to take. Perhaps I even went as far as to think I might also have a morsel of romance after I learned to find it within my self, first.

I don’t.

None. Nada. Zero. Zilch. F#ck all.

It’s like every time I think I have found myself, I get lost again. And again. Or maybe I’m just beginning. Maybe I have not yet learned to love myself in the first place. I don’t know.


I also have a problem. It’s called self sabotage. It gets me every time. I am an expert on self destruction. Very rarely can I hold on to a good though long enough to let it play out. Instead, I kill it with impatience and a lot of ‘this-is-never-going-to-work-i’m-a-failure-my-life-is-OVER’ kind of thing. I have a solid habit of thinking of the worst possible scenarios in just about, well… everything. Some – if not most – days, it puts me into a total head spin. 

I’m starting to feel bogged down by those thoughts.

But I feel like lately that’s all I know.

My brain needs a bath.

I want to wash myself clean, scrub my negative patterns away until I bleed. Find a way to stop fearing the unforeseen and inch closer to my dreams.

But I feel like I’ve done that – over and over and over again.  It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey – I get that.

Good grief, I really need to stop saying the word ‘but’.

I guess I’m just frustrated, and I needed it to let it out.

Maybe I’m closer than I think.  

Exhale… here we go again..





April 9

How to Be Something!


If you’re human, chances are you may share the same sentiments.  If you’re one of the few that is totally 1000% satisfied with all that you are doing and have it totally figured out, I salute you.

Oh, and as a side note, I should mention these are thoughts that prelude what will be my next rant… somewhere along the lines about why I jumped from the routine and security of a corporate desk job that I relatively enjoyed, into self employment uncertainty.  I thought about writing it all as it’s really one long string of thoughts, but we’re busy people. We got other shit to do and I’m sure you’ve already fallen asleep, anyway.

Moving on…

For the last twenty-some years, I’ve been following a similar routine. 8-5 at a desk (or a variation of). At first it was school. Much like the general population, Monday to Friday I would haul my ass to class before the sound of the bell and sit at a desk. Save for recess breaks, when I would scramble to find someone to play with. I was an awkward kid, don’t judge.

Then the bell rang and us rug rats scurried back to class. Back to a wooden slab of a desk to be spoon fed all sorts of interesting and relevant information that I am sure we all fully remember and utilize every day in adulthood. All in hopes that one day we will land a good career, and ‘be something’.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against school. I enjoyed phys ed, creative writing classes, and even failing math more times than I can count on one hand (I can only count to five, anyway). There were plenty of good things. Like overcoming the fear of speaking to an audience. I learned what I was good at, and I learned about the kinds of things I never wanted to do again.

It also taught me many of other things – social interaction, how to sit at a desk for prolonged periods of time, strengths and weaknesses, constructive criticism, how to meet deadlines, how to create sudden and spontaneous illnesses, forge sick notes, how to slice open an innocent frog, acceptance of routine (blah), and so on.  There were some teachers that simply showed up and read from a text book, and others that helped you to go past your fears and brought out the very best in you.

knowledgeBut in my opinion, there’s a lot of important topics school doesn’t cover in great detail – which are crucial to long term happiness. Unfortunately, they can only been taught through experience. There is no ‘Art of Being Human 101′ or ‘Inward Journey for Beginners’ or ‘Fundamentals of Soulful Living’ and you can’t get your Masters in Mindfulness. Important lessons that really help you BE the best you can be – in whatever field you choose.

And there was always that nagging question:

“So have you decided what you want to be when you grow up, Tanis?”

How do I know? Who says I’m going to grow up anyway? What if I die tomorrow? Does that mean I didn’t BEcome anything? But I already AM something, I AM me, and if I am ME, I’ll also BE me when I ‘grow up’, so doesn’t that mean I’ve already chosen what I wish to BE?

I loathe this question.

It makes it sound like you are not fully a human BEing unless you attach a fancy title to yourself. I guess you’re just merely human-ing, or something like that. Science is wrong, you’re heart only starts beating once you’ve found the perfect job to brag about. (This is incorrect, by the way).

So after school, I scurried off into the ‘real world’ and signed up for the rat race. Be something! Be something! I need to be something!!

As a society, we are caught up in labels, perceived meaning and the pressure to ‘be’ something that already exists (which is YOU, btw)… and less on what it actually means to BE. If you are reading this, I can only assume you’re alive – in which case you are already what you need to be.

“OMG. You’re famous?! Please let me lick the dirt off your heels! I bow to you!”
“Wow! You’re a lawyer! That’s so awesome!”
“So you’re a delivery person… Oh. That’s cool.”
“You drive a garbage truck? What?”
“Heh, so you work at McDonalds? Do you, like, not have any motivation in life? Ew.”

But, seriously. What if I really do actually enjoy flipping burgers and it makes me intrinsically happy? I actually really do enjoy BBQing.

routine3So, most of my life was spent in a relentless attempt to get to the top of some invisible ladder so that at my high school reunion I could say, “Look at me, look at what I am being!” And I was something. I was something that excelled in my field and sat a desk for a determined amount of time every day, Monday to Friday.

Anyway, after several fancy titles, a lot of time spent busy ‘being something’ – I decided I didn’t want to do the dance of routine anymore. I felt stifled and empty, not to mention I’m a terrible dancer.  I didn’t want to do things I wasn’t totally passionate about just to satisfy some ridiculous perception we have.  Disregarding who you are, compromising yourself in exchange for an inflated ego, a perceived monetary value of what you are ‘worth’ just so you can get by and hopefully go out and start enjoying life by the time you’re damn near dead, or because of a bunch of narcissistic societal beliefs, doesn’t equate to success. It adds up to misery and wastes the essence of who you truly are. Time you spend ignoring what you believe to be your true purpose is time you can never get back. Yeah, you can never get time back – that’s scary shit!

So I jumped. Into a foreign land of not knowing, no security, and not much routine. It might have been the most secure choice I have made. But, more on that later.

For now, though, here’s the thing:

Success is not defined from your job or the label you give yourself. If you’ve got degrees and certifications coming out of your you-know-what and you are a terrible person, I am sorry, but you are not a success.  All that does is make you a terrible person with a good education.

Success comes from BEing. That’s it, that’s all. Simply being. Being in the moment. As best you can. Great things happen when you choose to be awesome at LIFE, not just a label. BE a good person. That’s all there is too it.

If you don’t design your life, someone else will. That little nagging voice in your heart telling you to chase your dreams? Or at the very least, to make a change? It’s a real thing, listen to it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The crime which bankrupts men and nations is that of turning aside from one’s main purpose to serve a job here and there.”

You are already what you want to BE.

Go out and do it.