What’s a comfort zone?

Image result for comfort zone

Facebook reminded me that 6 years ago, I made a big change and moved myself, my broken heart, and my belongings to Manayunk (Philadelphia) PA and began a new chapter of my life. I’ve never lived on my own before, and was excited, and nervous, and TERRIFIED.

I had a lot of questions that I soon found answers to:

  • Who is going to kill the bugs? Me
  • Who is going to get the things off the top shelf? Me (with the help of step-stools and climbing on the counter)
  • Who is going to figure out what to do if something breaks? Me
  • Who is going to help me in an emergency? Me

You see the theme here. I quickly learned that relying on myself, was the only thing to do. Sure, I had family in the area who I called on, but I was now the head of my household and that was overwhelming. It quickly taught me that I am way more capable than I had ever given myself credit for.

Not only was I solving problems and making decisions, but learning so much about myself. I really didn’t feel like I knew myself. Sure, I knew my interests, what I liked and didn’t like. But I really didn’t know deep down my passions, my direction, what really made me happy, and what really didn’t.

I got out of a relationship that wasn’t the best, and was mending my broken heart and trying to figure out who I was again. I didn’t have a ton of friends in the area to grab dinner or drinks, and didn’t want to sit in all the time, so I decided to really push myself, and go to the bar for dinner by myself.


Why have I never done this before?! I wasn’t embarrassed, or ashamed. I wanted to get wings and beer, so I did. From that day forward, I began dating myself. Taking myself where I wanted, and treating myself the way I would expect, and want, anyone else to treat me. So many friends asked how and why I would just go to the bar alone, and my answer is always “why not?”. It was so unlike me. I’ve always been shy, and timid and clung to family and friends for comfort. But, the moment I let go of that, I grew so much.

From Manayunk, to Phoenixville, I began to learn that comfort zones aren’t really that comfortable. Especially Phoenixville. Moving to Phoenixville I really only knew one person. That was it. (Her, her fiancé and son are absolutely amazing and I am so fortunate and grateful for them every single day). Not really knowing anyone, or having family around I could call on to hang out, I really had to keep pushing myself. Luckily, there are so many breweries and bars and things to do in Phoenixville. My first night there I needed a break from unpacking (and really, needed a beer), so I walked through town, ended up at Stable 12 Brewing and never really stopped going. I am fortunate to have made many great friends by doing so.

Comfort zones also do not really exist with online dating. And online friend seeking. If you’re not new here, you know I use online apps to meet potential people to date. I’m finding that I am drawn to a certain type, but also have been pushing myself outside of that lately and meeting different types of people who I’m actually connecting with and enjoying spending time with. Sure, I haven’t met “the one”, but I love meeting and talking to different types of people, and making new friends along the way. I’m learning that:

1 – I do not give myself enough credit and need to stop thinking that people are “too good looking” or “too this” or “too that” for me. (refer back to my previous post about the physical shit that comes with dating and why it should not matter)

2 – That clearly what I thought was “my type” has not worked out, so maybe it’s time to expand my horizons a bit.

I also decided to use the Bumble BFF app, which is basically online dating, but for making friends. Honestly, it was a little more terrifying than trying to date. I needed girlfriends in the area, and this seemed like an interesting way to do so. I hit the JACKPOT. I met 2 amazing women, who are similar to me but also different, and can’t imagine life without them. It feels like we’ve been friends for years, and through each other have met so many other people. We’ve all really helped each other to grow and thrive and be comfortable being uncomfortable.

Again, if you’re not new here, you know that I’ve had A LOT of major life events happen. Especially the past year. Almost a year ago to the day I was in a car accident that I will never 100% recover from. 6 months ago I suddenly lost my dad. I am single, living alone, an hour away from my mom and siblings. If there was ever a time to give up, this past year would have been it. Instead, I took life day by day, kept pushing myself, and got through it. The biggest push out of my comfort zone in the past year with all that mess? Starting this blog. I have never thought myself to be a writer, or creative, or witty, or relatable, But, here we are. Thanks to all that f*cked up nonsense, I was out of f*cks one day and decided to write a post about my fibromyalgia, and things escalated from there.

I learned then that I like to meet new people, push myself, and learn new things. Don’t get me wrong, I love hanging out with my friends, and love all the of friends I’ve made the past few years. But, I never would have met them if I didn’t push myself. If I didn’t go out alone, and not give a f*ck I wouldn’t be where I am today. Yes, I have a lot of areas in my life to improve on. Yes, there are days I question everything. Yes, there are days I’m lonely. But, I wouldn’t want life any other way. All of the bad and rough days remind me that I am enough, and I can, and will, get through anything life has to throw at me.

Keep pushin’ forward, friends.


Please feel free to browse through my blog for other posts, or check out some articles I have written for Thought Catalog here.

You’re pretty…

Let me start by saying I am not sharing this for any type of sympathy, or compliments, or to shame anyone. I’m sharing because I can’t get it off my mind and feel like it’s important.

Okay, so, dating and meeting people can be great, but it can also be terrifying and awful. It can make you really look at yourself in negative, horrible ways and question if you’re enough for the person you may have interest in.

If you know me, or have been following along here, you know that I am not always the most confident person, especially physically. I am working on it, and have come a pretty long way, but it is very much a work in progress.

Recently, I was chatting with someone on an online dating app and he said something to me that I can’t shake:

You’re pretty for a big girl

Uhhhh….. thank you? What? What the hell does that even mean?! Pretty for a big girl. He could have just said “hey, I think you’re pretty” and left it at that. Why did he have to add in “for a big girl”? (For real if anyone knows please tell me.)

I’m not the skinniest person, but I’m doing my best, and honestly who the f*ck cares how big your stomach or thighs are or how many chins you have anyway? I know people are attracted to different things, we all have preferences, myself included. But, if you think I’m pretty enough to match with me on an online dating app, why have to add that in?

I’ve honestly never considered myself a “big girl”, and by no means want to offended anyone. Regardless of size. I feel like women (and men) are constantly being told they are too fat or too skinny.

I YOLO, I eat carbs and drink beer. I workout the best I can. I can give excuses that due to health issues and medications I gained weight and have trouble losing it. But honestly, I’m over the excuses. Am I happy with myself? Personality? Yes. 100%. Physcially? No. Definitely not. Is anyone though? But my body is my body. It doesn’t define my worth. It doesnt gauge my intelligence, or how funny I am. It doesn’t dictate my personality. My compassion, my drive, my overall zest for life is not defined by the size of my pants. Will losing 5lbs make me funnier? Doubtful. Will I be happier? Maybe. Idk.

I work on myself physically for myself. Not to get a guy, not to make new friends. I do it for my own mental and physical health.

Dating sucks enough and we are hard enough on ourselves without having to hear stuff like that. I, personally, already am always in my head wondering “what if they don’t find me attractive?”, “what if they think my friends are prettier?”, “what if he thinks I’m too fat?”

Listen. I know I said all that doesn’t matter, and I really am trying to be more confident and own who I am. Key word: TRYING

This probably goes without saying, but, I didn’t go on a date with that guy. He could have meant it in a harmless way. But I don’t, and won’t, be with someone where I’m always wondering if I’m “enough”, or questioning and overthinking how they feel about me. (I have anxiety. I’m always in a state of overthinking and going to the worst case scenario. I want to be with someone who doesn’t cause added stress and anxiety in my life.)

To recap:

  • Confidence is hard and not a straight line.
  • Try not let weird compliments bring you down.
  • Drink the beer.
  • Eat the pizza.
  • Find balance.
  • Dating sucks.
  • Size doesn’t always matter.


Sunshine on a cloudy day

A lot of times I write about the shitty pieces of my life, which clearly has A LOT of good content recently. But, I genuinely feel like I am a happy person deep, deep down inside. I love to laugh (mainly at my own jokes. I’m hilarious), love to make other people laugh (even if it’s at my own expense) and most of all, love to make other people happy.

A few people have told me recently I am a good writer and I need to give myself credit… so, yeah. Ya know what. This is weird, and new, and f*cking terrifying, but, I am kinda good at this. It all stemmed from a dark, low point of my life, but it really has helped me grow as a person, and helped me connect with others. I found my “thing” which I have been desperate to find for so long. To find a healthy outlet to navigate through life.

Which makes me happy.

We live in a world where as a society we are looking for someone or something to bring us happiness and fulfillment, whether it be temporary or permanent. We can look for that in material items, music, art, or relationships. We try to find something, or someone, to connect with us, to “fix” us. And I definitely was someone looking for that.

But, I was looking in all the wrong places.

I felt (okay, still feel) lost, and have been shuffling through various self-help books and articles when suddenly it hit me. SELF help. Self is such a key thing. I can read all the books, and do all the meditations and exercises, but I’m the only one in control of my true happiness. No one else. No book. No magic pill. Just me and my mindset.

I’ve been working really hard the past few weeks to really be conscious of my thoughts and attitudes and realize I live A LOT of my life in fear. Fear of not being good enough, pretty enough, funny enough. Fear of rejection. Fear of loneliness. Fear of letting others down and disappointing those I love and care about. Fear of my mental and physical health. Just a lot of unnecessary fear. When I feel myself being afraid, I try to pick it apart in my brain. “Okay, worst case scenario, my fear happens in this situation- will I get through it? Yes. Will the world stop and burn into a fiery ball of doom? No.” Now instead of living in fear, I’m trying to just live. It’s not easy. I’m still terrified of so many things. But, life will go on.

I’m trying to pull that same shift into other aspects of my life too. For example, instead of thinking “I look fat in these pants”, I try to think “Damn my hips look nice and curvy today”. Instead of mourning the loss of my contact lens days, I’m getting excited about new glasses and getting to change up my look.

Please don’t read this and think that I’m suddenly 100% happy and healthy. I’m still the same Julie we all know and love. But, I’m working on it. I’m working on shifting my mindset from fear and loathing, to self-love and freedom.

Buckle up friends, it’s sure to be a bumpy (but fun and exciting) ride.

– J

Thank you.

To the friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, and strangers… thank you.

Thank you for dealing with the mood swings, the tears. The total unexpected.

Thank you for being so understanding and supportive in the most misunderstanding time of my life.

Thank you for reminding me that I am loved, cared for and not alone. Especially when I feel totally isolated and in the darkest, deepest hole. Thank you for reaching out constantly. Calling, texting, messaging.

Thank you for offering. Offering to bring dinner, to listen, to provide a hug. To help clean and do laundry. To come sit with me or go grocery shopping.

Thank you for pushing me to keep moving forward. For reminding me that life will get better.

For sending uplifting quotes and pictures.

For reminding me that it’s okay.

It’s okay to feel. It’s okay to feel sad. To feel lost. To feel confused. To feel happy.

It’s okay to feel. Its necessary to feel.

I have always been a weird mix of emotional, worrisome, but also closed off.

There are very few people I feel I can really open up to, and sometimes don’t even feel like i can open up to myself.

I don’t like to feel. I dont like to cry. I don’t like this new reality that people look at me and know I’m sad and struggling.

I’m a work in progress. I have good days and bad days, and am working to have many more good than bad. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

To teach myself to feel, to really feel, has been the hardest, most fulfilling time of my life. It’s absolutely insane that with how shitty the last 10 months have been, they have turned around to show me the most growth and transformation so far in my 31 years.

To take the worry and emotions I’ve always fumbled with, and actually be able to identify and deal with them yas not only been life changing, but life saving.

Thanks to the friends and family who haven’t, and aren’t, giving up on me. The constant support is continuing to push me to embrace and to feel. To love myself and to know myself. To know that everyone has bad days and rough times. To know that everyone struggles. To know that if I sit on the floor and cry for an hour, I will actually feel better (weird, right?) And soon will be back jamming out to some embarrassing playlist in no time.

Thank you for making me laugh and showing me the light. Thank you for going through the dark times with me. The clouds are breaking and slowly I’m coming back.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Adventure Awaits…. Kind of

Recently a co-worker asked if I had ever taken a Myers-Briggs type personality test, and it had been years since I have. I never really thought much about it, but when he asked, my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to take a test and learn a little about myself. I did a few minutes of googling and  decided to use .

When I first saw my answer, I was definitely surprised a bit, and even thought I had maybe messed up a bit (wouldn’t be surprising, to be honest).

I am classified as “The Adventurer”

Uhhh…. Excuse me? Adventurer? Sure, I skydive, but that’s a bit more stupidity rather than adventure. But, the more I read about it, the more I realized that I did fit the description. And, I learned a lot about myself in the process.

This breaks down to ISFP – T. 56% Introverted, 55% Observant, 89% Feeling, 51% Prospecting, and 92% Turbulent.

Here is a little bit about what each of that means (from

  • Introverted individuals prefer solitary activities and get exhausted by social interaction. They tend to be quite sensitive to external stimulation (e.g. sound, sight or smell) in general.
  • Observant individuals are highly practical, pragmatic and down-to-earth. They tend to have strong habits and focus on what is happening or has already happened. 
  • Feeling individuals are sensitive and emotionally expressive. They are more empathic and less competitive than Thinking types, and focus on social harmony and cooperation.
  • Prospecting individuals are very good at improvising and spotting opportunities. They tend to be flexible, relaxed nonconformists who prefer keeping their options open. 
  • Turbulent individuals are self-conscious and sensitive to stress. They are likely to experience a wide range of emotions and to be success-driven, perfectionistic and eager to improve.

The website is cool, and breaks down your personality into different aspects of life. I thought it would be fun to give a little info about mine, and how I can actually correlate it into my real life.


They start off by giving an overview of what The Adventurer is. This quote had me convinced:

Adventurers always know just the compliment to soften a heart that’s getting ready to call their risks irresponsible or reckless. (

They describe the Adventurer as someone who is happy to be who they are, but also someone who enjoys reinventing who they are. I recently learned I love to keep learning, growing, and evolving the more I become comfortable with who I am. I’m learning to enjoy being comfortable being uncomfortable. This helps to create a sense of spontaneity, which makes Adventurers appear to be unpredictable. Adventurers are known to be introverts, and while enjoying time with those closest to them, definitely need take a step back to recharge alone. Adventurers are known to use their alone time not just for recharging, but for thinking about who they are, bringing them back to their circle slightly different than before. An Adventurer is obviously known for risky sports (like skydiving), so, I know 100% that is me. Adventurers are also known to be sensitive to other people’s feelings, and I know for sure that I am (for better or worse). Adventurers also struggle planning for the future in practical ways (retirement, assets, etc.), but plan in a way to build a sense of identity and experiences, and that is definitely me. Again, always learning growing, and evolving. Like a Pokemon. Adventurers are also known to be selfless people, and people often tell me this is a quality I possess and utilize frequently.

Strengths and Weaknesses

There is a whole list of strengths and weaknesses, but here are what I feel relate most to my life


  • Sensitive to others: I know for sure this is a strength of mine. I love to help others and be there for them. I feel I can easily relate to their emotions, and am able to communicate in a way that can help in almost any situation.
  • Passionate: When I find something I like, I enjoy it, love it, and make sure everyone knows my excitement (good and bad). For example: Philadelphia Eagles.
  • Imaginative and artistic: I don’t know how many people know this, but I went to school for Marketing Management, Graphic Design and Entrepreneurship. I really enjoy being creative. Example: This blog.
  • Curious: I love learning. New facts, new people, new ideas. All of it. I recently love learning about myself, and discovering new strengths I didn’t even know I had.


  • Fiercely independent: 100%. I would much rather provide help to someone than ask for it. With my car accident last May, my dad passing away, my fibro flare ups, and my shoulder injury, one would think I’d take people up on their offers to help me out, but, I don’t. It’s probably somewhat of a pride thing, but I also am way too independent for my own good sometimes. One of my best friends (the only person I knew when I moved to Phoenxiville) keeps offering to drop off dinner, but, since I hate admitting and taking help, there’s nights I just have some cereal for dinner.
  • Easily Stressed: Again, 100%. Part of this ties to my fierce independence and being so sensitive to others. I hate to disappoint as much as I hate to ask for help. I tend to let stress overtake me sometimes, causing me to pull back and shut down.
  • Fluctuating Self-Esteem: I care a lot about what people think about me, and definitely let that influence the way I see myself. I also compare myself to others, causing some low self-esteem. It’s a constant work in progress, but, I’m getting there.

Romantic Relationships


Anyone who really knows me, knows that this has always been a humorous topic in my life. I’ve been single for a while, and like to joke about it (hello, coping mechanism)

Back to being fiercely independent, romantic relationships have always been a struggle for me. It’s hard for me to let someone into my life in that way. The website says that Adventurers are often difficult to get to know, and I feel like I am. I guard my core, and really value who I allow to really get to know me. (Sure, I’ll open up on here, but deep down, I struggle really letting someone in). I definitely prefer to listen and learn about someone, than to express my thoughts and feelings, which is another trait of the Adventurer. Although this seems like a negative, if an Adventurer is accepted for who they are, we can tend to be warm, enthusiastic partners.

Adventurers are known to surprise their partners in little ways, and I feel in the past this is something I have really enjoyed doing. I like to let my partner know how much I care for them and appreciate them, and I like to do so with small gestures. This can be getting a six pack of their favorite beer, ordering something they like for dinner, or suggesting we watch their favorite movie.

On the flip side of that, Adventurers appreciate knowing they are appreciated. I love to do things selflessly, just to make others happy. But in a romantic relationship, I need to hear every now and then that I am appreciated. It doesn’t need to be a grand gesture, and don’t want it done for me because my partner feels they owe me anything in return for what I have done. But once in a while, just a “hey, thanks for being you”, is all it takes.


Adventurers are known to be laid back and “go with the flow” type people. So when I say “I really don’t care what we do”… I really, honestly, genuinely don’t. If I do, I will tell you. Similar to romantic relationships, I value actions over words in friendships too. For example, a friend recently got me a small leprechaun plant because she knows St. Paddy’s day is coming up and it’s going to be a tough time for me, so she wanted to do something to show me she cares. When I’m with friends who are supportive and who I can trust, I definitely find myself opening up more, and letting go of some of my insecurities. I find myself having more self-esteem, and less stress. I also really appreciate my friends who respect my personal space, and understand that when I need alone time, it’s nothing personal against them, but what I need to be the best friend I can.

Career Paths

This is an interesting one for me. says “Adventurers crave a tangible outlet for their imagination, a chance to express themselves artistically”. I feel like I am doing this with my blog, although, I don’t make any money off of it.

My job, my career, right now is working in IT. I do get to learn and help build an EHR, and I really enjoy it. I feel like I do get to use enough creativity to feel fulfilled while doing something that gets to help people who really need help. I get to learn new skills and technology while helping to develop new ideas.

Adventurers are also said to dislike being bored at their job, and don’t like to do the same thing day after day. I am very lucky with my job that every day I am walking into something different (although some days it’s a problem, but hey, you get where I’m going) and I never, ever, feel bored.


Okay, so in conclusion here, I learned that I am definitely an Adventurer personality type. (Kudos to you if you read this much). I’m down to earth, but also extremely curious. I’m sensitive and always willing to improvise and compromise. Whether it is navigating interpersonal conflicts, confronting unpleasant facts, pursuing self-realization, or managing my workload, I always put in a conscious effort to develop and work on my weaknesses and always strive to learn and develop additional skills.

I’m excited to keep learning and growing, and can’t wait to see where this Adventurous personality takes me!

Take the test and let me know what personality type you are and if you feel it’s accurate!

Thanks for reading. Until next time!


Life is weird.

Dad’s birthday is coming up on February 20th, and it also marks 3 months of life somehow moving on without him. 3 months of tears, struggles, laughs. 3 months of days and nights. 3 months of life.

A lot of ups, and a lot of downs. I thought “hey, by 3 months life will be back to normal”…. But, honestly, life will never be “back to normal”. This is a new normal.  People talked about it, but I never really understood it.

I would LOVE to have life back to how it was 3 months ago. There is so much going on now that I would love to just pick up the phone and call dad about. My shoulder injury, my appointment coming up for my neck and back, dealing with 10 years of losing one of my good friends. The weather, the Eagles, the Phillies. There are so many things I just want to talk to him about. And, I do talk to him as if he’s here, but I’m really missing what he would say back.

3 months. A quarter of a year. As much as I miss him and want him here, I know he’s here. I know he’d be so proud of my mom, my siblings and I for how far we’ve come in 3 months.

I hate that it took losing him for me to find the courage to begin writing (and honestly to even figure out that I wanted to do it and enjoy it). I always wanted to have that “thing” that my family could be proud of me for. Some way to stand out a bit and have something other than liking PBR for dad to be proud of me about.

My random, spur of the moment “What the F*ck is Fibromyalgia” post, really got things going. I wrote it as an easy way to explain to a few people what fibro is, and instead of a long facebook post, I threw it in here. I still can’t believe the response. Not only did friends and family like it, but people I don’t even know began to read and share it. Before I knew it a fibromyalgia resource website reached out to me and asked if i wanted to write for them.

Uhhhh WHAT?

I’m not a writer. Well, I guess I didn’t think I was. So far I’ve written 2 articles for them, and it’s surreal. Within 24 hours this is the response to my most recent one, about sleeping (or lack thereof) with fibromyalgia.

I’ve been dealing with the fibro pain for as long as I can remember, and dad was always reassuring me that I wasn’t crazy, or making it up, and always knew I would find an answer and solution. He always knew when I was trying to hide my pain, and would look at me, give me a hug, and tell me it would all be okay. He’d get me motrin, water and a snack. Put on something I wanted to watch on TV and would just sit with me. God, I miss him.

It’s so crazy how far I’ve come with it. I still sit on the couch and cry about the pain sometimes. But now, I’m reaching hundreds of people who are experiencing the same. finding solidarity in this terrible thing and I’m able to do some reassuring now. I’m able to be “dad”. People have messaged me after reading this article and my last one saying how much it spoke to them, and how they feel so much less alone. I like feeling a little bit like dad. Able to give that “hug” and let someone know that they aren’t crazy.

 It’s insane. And I know dad would be so proud and would be sharing it with everyone he knows. And, I know he is proud, even though he’s not physically here. Like I said, this is the kind of thing I always wanted to share with him, and I hate how it all played out. I know there’s so much he was proud of me for aside from liking PBR. But I never felt like I had my “thing”. I have a normal job, no kids, no house. Just me being me renting my little apartment and talking to my cat. I have a lot going for me that I am proud of, but never had my “thing” that made me feel like I really stood out to him (or to anyone, really).

Life is so weird, how I always wanted his stamp of approval and him to brag about something, and it took losing him for me to find my voice. 3 months ago I never in my life would have thought I’d have a blog, and be writing articles that are reaching hundreds of people. I know dad is influencing all of this, and looking down proud and encouraging.

So, here’s to you dad. 3 months down, a lifetime to go. Thank you for influencing me, encouraging me, and pushing me, even when I didn’t know I needed it.

Happy birthday dad. Love you, and miss you.


Who? How? What?

As most people know, the past 10 months or haven’t been exactly ideal. In a lot of people’s eyes, I guess you can say I’ve had a very unlucky, shitty past 10 months.

Just a quick recap for anyone new here:

  • Car accident where my car was totaled, my neck and back got f*cked up so I’ve been dealing with (and still am) PT, acupuncture, a fibro flare up, medication, doctor appointments, constant pain
  • Dad suddenly died
  • Maddy got out and almost gone forever (ok, being dramatic here, but that sucked)
  • Slipped and fell on ice and now have a sprained shoulder and in a sling

A lot of people have been asking me how I’ve been doing it. And honestly, I had no idea how to answer. A friend (acquaintance… I don’t know. One of those facebook friends you’ve met a few times through your friend’s, roommate’s, cousin’s neighbor). Anyway, this person reached out asking about everything and how I was doing. Then asked me to describe my personality since he didn’t really know too much about me and really wanted to understand me more and about how I was handling all these curveballs. “uhhhh…. My personality? Lemme get back to you on that”. I literally had no clue how to describe myself. It really got me thinking.

Who the f*ck am I?  

Here’s what I came up with:

  • Optimistic pessimist
  • Hopeless romantic (emphasis on the hopeless)
  • Cold hearted cynic who gives everyone the benefit of the doubt
  • Introverted Extrovert
  • Worrier
  • Scaredy-cat
  • Curious
  • Tired
  • People Pleaser

Looking at the list, I guess I’ve always been a bit of a walking oxymoron (emphasis on the moron). Which, is why have been absolutely awful, they have also kind of been great. In some small ways (trying to be a little optimistic here, because the pessimist in me knows that they F*CKING SUCKED.) They were great, because I just realized now I am a bit stronger than I give myself credit for. That I actually can overcome some hard-ass shit. 

I can do hard shit.

So, back to the original question…..

How do I do it?

How do I get up, and show up, everyday with all this nonsense life has decided to throw at me. I feel like I really don’t have a choice. As much as I would love to hide in bed and cry all day, what good would that do? I would let down my co-workers, my friends, my family. If I don’t show up, it’s not going to take away any of the shitty things going on. If I don’t show up, life isn’t going to go on.

The good thing is, that life is temporary. Life existed before all of this happened, and life will go on after. Nothing is permanent. Which, also sucks. Life is so temporary. I (and really, we all do) need to live each day because nothing is guaranteed. And it’s very, very unpredictable.

An adopted member of the Donnelly family reached out to me and said:

 “Breathe deeply and be the strong bitch that you and I know you are. But don’t forget to cry when you need to”

And that is exactly what I plan to do.


World = Shattered.

Anger. Confusion. Frustration. Sadness. Exhaustion. Did, I mention anger? These are some of the many emotions I’ve been feeling since suddenly losing my dad right before Thanksgiving. (Only the kick-off to his favorite time of year. It’s fine) It’s been over 2 months, and I honestly still am struggling. Grief isn’t easy to understand or explain. It’s different for everyone. Even just for my siblings and I it’s different. Being single and living an hour away from my siblings and mom has proven to be very, very hard during all this. (Normally I’m Miss Independent, but sometimes even Miss Independent becomes needy). I can’t thank my friends who live in town enough for being there for me through all of this. Ya’ll are the real MVP’s. (and will continue to be, cause, well, this shit still sucks).

One minute, I’m good and everything is fine. The next, I’m vacuuming my living room and it hits me again, and I’m sitting on the floor sobbing for 2 hours. It’s such an overwhelming experience and honestly a shitty one to have to go through at such a young age. (I know there are so many other people who got a lot less time with their parents and that sucks. A lot. But for me, 30 years just wasn’t nearly enough time).

I’m beyond grateful for all my dad got to experience with me. My entire childhood he somehow never missed anything for all 4 of us kids. I still don’t know how he did it. (or how he had the patience and energy, to be honest). When I was going to a million doctor appointments in the process of being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, he was my biggest supporter and always gave me a hug when I needed it. He knew when I was in pain, even when I tried to hide it. The man was a saint.

But, I’m selfish. And angry. And disappointed thinking about all the things that he won’t physically be here for in my life.

What if I get married? He won’t be able meet and give his stamp of approval of the guy and give permission to marry me. Or walk me down the aisle. Or give me away. (not many people know this, well, until now, but it’s actually something my dad talked to me about quite a few times. He was so excited about it. “Saving the best for last” he would say. (sorry sibs))

What if I have kids? He won’t get to be their pop-pop. And damnit, he was a great one.

What am I most afraid of, you ask? (you didn’t. but i’m going to tell you anyway)

WHAT IF I START TO FORGET HIM. What if I wake up one day, and forget the sound of his voice? Or his laugh? Or the sound of the stupid whistle noise he would make when he wanted to show you something or explain something. What if I forget the cooking tips he taught me? Or forget the excitement in his voice after calling me right after the Eagles won their first super bowl?

I really could go on, and on, and on about how much it sucks to have lost him. I could talk for days about the guy he was. The unofficial manager of the Phillies and Eagles. Always giving directions even though we were gonna just put it in the GPS anyway. Avid reader and gardener. Loved the library and road trips. Loved our Irish heritage (and loved passing it down to us kids). Funny. Generous. Supportive. SO F*CKING SUPPORTIVE. Of everyone, of anything. Supportive, and proud. So, so proud.

I somehow worked up the guts to speak about him at his memorial and focused on the proud piece. He was proud of us kids for EVERYTHING. No exaggeration. I’ve been drinking PBR since college, because, it’s cheap. Well, once it became popular dad would brag to his friends and co-workers that I drank it, and liked it. Forget talking about my job, or where I was living. “Julie, oh yeah, let me tell you about her. She loves PBR. It’s great.” I mean, could be worse I guess? (and, yes, before you ask, I did in fact drink a PBR in front of a room full of people as I talked about him). As proud as he was of us, I really, REALLY hope he knows how proud of him I am. Proud, and grateful for everything.

One lesson I learned from all this, is that everyone deals with grief differently. A few things I learned and wanted to share as I wrap this up:

  • Don’t judge someone based off how they are reacting. It’s confusing, and shocking and totally shatters your world. If someone appears “fine”, they probably aren’t. don’t assume.
  • Let people talk. I am super guilty of this too, and am being more mindful and conscious of it. but sometimes, I just need to talk. About my dad, my pain, my f*cked up dreams. It’s human nature to want to tell our own story and experiences to let someone know you “get it”, but, sometimes I just need to be selfish and talk, and cry, and then probably talk some more.
  • BE PATIENT. With yourself, with your grieving friend/family member. There’s no time limit or “Grieving your dad for dummies” book. Be patient, and understanding, and have a lot of tissues available.

Well, now I’m sitting here, in my Christmas pj’s, watching the Super Bowl pre-game and really missing him. If we weren’t watching the Super Bowl (or any football game) together we would be texting about it the entire time (it was usually not PG. We taught each other quite a few words and phrases over the years).

Hopefully I stop crying before my wings get delivered. (Poor delivery guy if not.)

Happy Superbowl Sunday friends.


What the f*ck is fibromyalgia?

I’m 31 years old, single, and am living with chronic pain. (I was officially diagnosed when I was a freshmen in college… as if college wasn’t terrifying and awkward enough) It makes dating even more fun than dating already is in the world of swiping, matching and messaging. “Hey, I’m Julie, I love the eagles, craft beer, I take my coffee black, and oh yeah, I’m have chronic pain”… really seals the deal. It doesn’t usually come up, but to have a serious meaningful relationship, I’m going to eventually have to tell Mr. Whoever about it, and hope he doesn’t go running (cause let’s be real, I’m in too much pain to chase after him.)

Recently quite a few people have reached out to me after I posted about having a fibromyalgia flare up asking what the hell it is. And, honestly, it’s not that easy to explain, but let me try. (Please note: I am not doing this for sympathy, or attention… just because enough people have asked, I figured why the hell not.)

“But, you look fine, so you must feel fine?”

Aside from the tears in my eyes some days from pain and exhaustion, and the bags under my eyes from lack of sleep, I generally usually look like a normal, functioning human. Which, is one of the complicated and challenging pieces of having fibro. You look fine. You don’t look sick, so people don’t know. (Which is fine for me because I’m not really a fan of all the sympathetic looks and pity)

“So, what does it feel like?”

Another difficult question to answer. Different people have different experiences with it, so here it is from my experience. You know that feeling when you have the flu? The achy, exhausted feeling where even your hair hurts? Imagine that, with the 2nd day soreness from a killer workout. Some days, it’s even more fun when you feel like you have 3rd degree sunburn and wearing clothes hurts.

There is also the numbness/tingling that happens. Not constant, but the feeling that your arms or legs are asleep, but without sitting in a weird position on the couch binging hours of Netflix.

There is also some awesome swelling of your fingers and toes, without eating a ton of salt. (Again, realllllllly attractive when trying to date.)

“Well, if you’re tired all the time, you must sleep a lot, right?”

Ha. No. Another side effect of fibro is chronic fatigue (the fun continues, don’t worry) AND insomnia. Double whammy. You’re exhausted because you are always in pain, but can’t sleep because you are always in pain. It’s nearly impossible to get comfortable enough to sleep. I generally sleep for about 1 hour straight without waking up, and average about 4 hours of total sleep a night. (Getting back to my previous statement about the bags under my eyes… I use A LOT of concealer)

“Okay, well, why don’t you just take medicine?”

I’ve tried. I’ve tried them all. Medicine specifically for fibromyalgia, antidepressants, anti-seizure medicine, all of it. And honestly, none of the medications have helped the pain.

I discovered CBD oil (and bath bombs and lotions) which does help a little, but still, no long term, significant relief. (I am however working on getting my medical marijuana card, because honestly, it’s the only thing that does help take the edge off.)

I’m also able to manage it with light stretching and exercise, but due to a car accident back in May, I’m not cleared to go back to the gym (that’s a story for another day, but also the reason my fibro is this bad. It’s the first time in 5 years I’m back on medication and dealing with it at this level)

“At least it’s only physical, so mentally you must be 100%?”

I wish. Sadly, with fibromyalgia comes anxiety and depression, because, you never know how you are going to wake-up feeling (on the nights you do actually sleep enough to really wake-up). It’s also very overwhelming knowing that no matter what, there isn’t a cure, so there is no light at the end of the very long and exhausting tunnel. So yeah, I’m a little sad about it sometimes. I do my best to mentally stay ahead of it, and I do feel happy and love my life, but some days are a little hard.

There is also the “fibro fog” as it’s referred to (similar to “mom brain”). Because of the pain (physical and mental), it’s sometimes hard to concentrate and remember things. My apartment isn’t very big and I am constantly forgetting what I went to the kitchen for.

“So, how do you do it?”

I’ve gotten to a point where I just have to. I need to get up, and show up, as many days as I can. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had days where I lay in bed all day and throw myself a pity party because it hurts too bad actually put clothes on, but for the most part I focus on all the good I have in my life, and use that to distract myself from other stuff going on. I like being there for other people in my life to remind myself that even though this sucks, I don’t have to as a person. I try to be the best friend, sister, daughter, aunt, co-worker, whatever, that I can. And, it helps.

So, thanks for listening. Hopefully this helps to clear up some of the questions people have been asking about fibromyalgia and how much fun it really is.