“…just the way you are” -probably a little bit shitty and nowhere near perfect

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”


Often I read blogs or excerpts that preach self love and self acceptance and this idea that we should all look in our metaphorical emotional/spiritual mirror and be completely satisfied. How often do we tell our children, our significant others or our family that they are “perfect just the way they are”?

Let me preface this post by being absolutely clear: you should always, ABSOLUTELY love yourself; inside, outside and in between, because human-ing is hard as hell and we are all at least doing that. This post is not really about body love, as that is a whole separate beast, but more about mind/personality love. We must know exactly WHAT we are loving in order to truly understand it.

The phrase “just the way you are” is what my internal focus has been on over the past several months.

Along with the yearly resolution of “eat a lot of celery and drop a couple pant sizes”, my other (way more important) resolution for 2018 is to strive for an increase in self-awareness. This sounds a little crunchy, and if anyone knows me, I don’t much care for crunch.

The problem with true self-awareness is that it can be really mean, discouraging even. You look at the things that make you human and make a mental list of all the poor character traits and all of the wrong and all the shit that you need to work on to be a better human. Of course making a list of the good qualities and ways to bring them out more in your everyday life is also a huge part of this journey. We all have many gifts to share with the world.

Most of the negative that I have come up with so far has been said to me in one capacity or another. Some people will read this and think, “about goddamn time she realized her flaws”. My response to that would simply be to have them find a reflective surface and think hard about every mean thing ever said to them. Then have them address the items that have some truth to them, because chances are, there are a few. There certainly were for me.

The real problem is that just “being happy with the way you are” is stagnant and stationary and likely shittier than you really would like. As humans we are meant to grow, change and evolve.

To seek to always be happy is kind of missing the point in life. There are so many feelings to feel, so many emotional tones that are not only an inevitable part of life but also what gives life its richness and beauty.

It’s not happiness that is responsible for forming our characters or giving us the strengths we possess. The search to find who we truly are, good and bad, is ultimately far more significant to a fulfilled and purposeful life than the search for happiness. One of the fundamental things that sets apart those who experience a sense of meaning in their life and those who don’t is their capacity for insight. If we don’t nurture insight, then we become passive and cheat ourselves of the opportunity to learn and grow from our flaws and shortcomings.

No amount of insight will make you “perfect” or stop you from being a grade A asshat every so often, but it will help you to live a more authentic life, one based on really knowing yourself.

So for now, I will embrace the awful parts about myself, as they give me the drive to be a better human.



Her good man 

Perfect relationships do not exist. ever. period.

However, sometimes it feels like we may have found one when we have a good man who posts himself up in our corner.

“Good” and “man” are fluid terms in our society, so for the sake of this post, we’ll say that “good” simply means when life isn’t in constant turmoil and strife and when our senses are happy and our plate is manageable. A “man” is someone who is of the male species and can grow facial hair (haha). 

So, the operational definition of a “good man” is a male who, by virtue of his character, facilitates a sense of well-being in the lives of those who know him.

And as if a plague wiped them out, we constantly hear, “all of the good men are gone”. Like they were obliterated in a mass extinction or something. This just isn’t true.

However, after spending the last 11 years with Ben, I can say with certainty that a good man is never a perfect man. Rather, the real amazing aspect of being with a good man is that he is imperfect, knows it, and accepts that I am as well. That last part has never stopped him from loving me with his whole self.

Our individual imperfections become a constant exploration of how to bridge the gap between our differences. Some days he shows me the rainbow where I can only see a raindrop, and others I am reminding him that the sun will continue to rise each day, regardless of circumstance.

The power of a good man is that he knows his woman well, but never claims to know her better than she knows herself. He values her independence, her strong will and the fact that she’s stubborn as hell.

A good man can’t predict exactly how his woman will change from a summer breeze to an F5 tornado, but he, after all of these years has noted signs of when the storm is rolling in. As it has been said, there is no bad weather, just bad clothing. This man is still very much affected by the change in the weather, and may still be injured by flying emotional debris, but he always suits up and weathers the storm. He is strong and steady as he navagates it. 

A good man faces his own emotions head on. This means he has space for hers as well. He understands the true value in communication. The most important aspect of being a good man is that he is a good man even without her, by creating positive energy in the world simply by being good.

So, what is life with a good man?

It is still life. Our life. Messy and beautiful. There is a lot of facing our fears, both as a couple and individually. There is spontaneous adventure and there are traditions. There is a fair share of tears, arguing and regretted words.

And there is more muted bliss, laughter and raw happiness than I could have ever hoped for.

Thank you, Ben. For being my good man, my lover and my best friend. Thank you for always flowing with me, even when the water is rough. Thank you for loving me fiercely through every day. Thank you for embracing all of my mess. I love you. Happy 5th anniversary. May our years always be full of adventure and love. 


Be like him 

Since the day after he passed away, I’ve had a weekly, reoccurring dream. I am busy living my life, he is alive, but we can only talk on the phone. He never tells me where he is. I never see his soft smile with the mustache over-top, I never hold his rough hand with the carpenter grip. I only hear his words. Words that are certainly important, but I can never seem to remember them when I wake.


So much goodness has happened in my life over the last few months. Now that the dust has settled (and it’s the third Sunday in June) I realized that I’d never share any of it with him. I’ll never get to hear him say, in his loud booming voice, how proud is of me. His little girl, the apple of his eye, and some would even say, the reason he woke up each day, would never get to have her biggest champion with her for some of the best parts of her life.

Early this week, grief grabbed me by the throat and she didn’t let go until I sobbed, snotted, and felt her tight fingers squeeze the breath from my lungs, letting me know she never truly leaves her victims.

Grief is miserably hard, even 10 years later. It is especially devastating when really good things are occurring. Because the only thing worse than not having him here when the the world was so dark, is not having him here to smile and raise a beer to all of the light that is now in the life of the fierce woman he raised.

In a mere 16 years, that beautiful man gave me enough wisdom, unconditional love and encouragement to make sure I would be able to get whatever I wanted out of life. So today, I will be thankful for that gift.

My hope is that everyone finds a Marty Cooper in their life.

Be like him. Strive to make sure that those we hold the closest to us feel that constant, palpable, unconditional love. The kind that will allow them to conquer the world, the kind that will infinitely last within them.

1800 Miles of Fear and Faith

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.” -Charles Darwin


For my return readers, the writing hiatus has been due to a lack of true moments to reflect. I’ve never been able to write just for the sake of writing. It has always had to come from somewhere deeper. It feels good to be here again. 

That brings us to now. My life has become increasingly overwrought in the last few weeks, forcing me to reflect or succumb to a nervous breakdown (dramatic). A long-distance marriage, grueling work/clinical weeks, rigorous course work, real estate decisions, anticipated relocation.  A lot of internal and external (sorry, Ben) turmoil.

I have spent the last year jumping from one item on the [never ending] list to the next in pursuit of my advancement in the nursing world. However in the past week or so, somewhere in the deep, distracted soul that is my own, I’ve tried to remember to inhale and become increasingly aware of every atom alive in me. What they need, what they yearn for. And now, I am attempting to embrace the last of the quiet nights spent alone in my tiny Tulsa apartment, curled on my side like a comma on the sofa. Reflecting.

To someone who has always felt somewhat defined by my ambition, big steps and change always cause me internal terror. What if this time is different? What if this time I can’t do it? What if this time the dream is too big? The self-doubt creeps its way in, and at times, it consumes me.

Soon, Ben and I will make a giant move across the country. A move that will start a new chapter for us both, professionally and personally. The 1,800 miles is paved with trepidation and risk. Not enough to scare me off, but in fact, to prove to myself how much I want it. To reassure my soul that this next step is part of our life’s journey. My heart is trying, albeit reluctantly, to keep my brain from flirting with the idea of taking the easy route.

Instead of giving in to playing small and living life with a safety net, the only way to get what I want in life is to live like I will. Like the success that all of this change will bring is a factual outcome, despite its certain ambiguities.

The reality is that we all need to be thrown into the chaos that our minds and souls create when uncertainty approaches. Whatever the circumstance may be. We need those raw moments, because it is within them and the shadows that they create, we are given the solitude to center ourselves. In every unsure moment of our lives, there is a point where inner knowledge overrides the fear and transforms it into self-faith. 


        This faith chases out the fear.

This faith grows and blooms within our hearts until our minds have forgotten that fear even existed, or what it felt like to be held back by our self-doubt. We simply forget to fear anything, because we have not only made the choice for radical trust in ourselves, but also to fully embrace the unknown.

(That last part, for me, is a continued work in progress)


About this blog and it’s author

I started this blog back in 2011 when I was 20.  A lot happened before then, and a lot has happened since.  I am coming up on my 6 year anniversary of my blog, I decided I needed a new site (also because of an increase in annoying formatting issues..blah blah blah).  You can find all my original blog posts  from 2011-2016 at www.lizattemptingambition.blogspot.com  


This post was originally published 8/23/11 at the start of my blogging adventure 

When I was 5 I snuggled up in my twin bed with my Disney Princess comforter and had the most vivid dream I can remember.  I was on my pink bike, with the white basket and handle bar ribbons. I was speeding down my street with the wind blowing my knotty, should have been brushed, brown hair…………..WITH NO TRAINING WHEELS!

The next morning (6 or 7 in the morning) I defiantly woke my dad and told him to take off the training wheels. I was certain I was going to learn to ride that bike. I explained to my dad that it had to be just like the dream or it wouldn’t work. He humored me and made me waffles and my mom didn’t brush my hair. We went outside and he grabbed his tool box and headed for my bike. The wheels were off, just like that. I hopped on the seat and my dad grabbed my seat and put one hand on my back an I began to pedal. With a soft push from my dad, I was on my own. 

Most kids fall the first few times, but for some reason I didn’t. I pedaled slow at first and then faster until the wind was blowing my hair, my dad cheered as I turned around in the neighbors driveway and made my way back without as much as a falter in my technique. I can’t describe the feeling that I had as I was reliving my dream there in front of my home in Portage Des Sioux, MO, but I can tell you I knew I was going to ride that bike and it was all because of a dream.

Since that Spring day in 1996 none of my other dreams have become reality to that extent. I can not see into the future, nor do I believe that is what happened. It was not because I dreamed it. It was because at the sweet age of 5 I had the ambition to make it true. I am still, after many hardships in my young life, “attempting ambition”. I firmly believe that if you are ambitious about something only good can come from it. So if you get nothing else out of my writings get this; BE AMBITIOUS ABOUT EVERYTHING, the people you love, the things you do, the values you hold, and above all, always be ambitious about your dreams. 

I hope you enjoy reading my blog as much as I have enjoyed writing it