(originally written 1/12/2018)
If you’re not ready to tap into some feelers, I advise you to exit out of this post. Otherwise, stay tuned – I firmly believe you won’t regret it. Plus, it’s really, like, not that bad. You can handle it.
I’m going to talk about a few moments in life that brought me to where I am today. More specifically, but also not entirely, I’m going to talk about my insanely irrational anxiety about landfills and our beautiful planet Earth running out of drinkable water and the hole in the ozone layer that’s resting above Logan International Airport and our inability to keep our planet clean.
(Deep virtual breath)
Stick with me, though, because I think some back story will not only help with the now, but will also help with you, lovely readers, getting to know an ordinary girl, with ordinary problems, trying to do the best she can in the life she’s been given.
Chapter I: Flashing Back
It’s junior year.
It’s 2007, to be exact.
I am not yet Momma Cheeks (thank the gods – Cheeky, Jr. wouldn’t have stood a chance). Instead, I’m an anorexic, 99-pound seventeen year-old girl (reminder: we don’t judge here at The Poo). Aside from my tininess, I seem pretty normal – medium-length blonde hair, porcelain skin, looking like a middle-schooler (the majority of my life, really), and popular – by association.
Internally, there is chaos, loneliness, and a girl shackled by a life she does not want – screaming for attention any way she can find it. Self-esteem doesn’t exist, and thus the attention she longs for comes intermittently – in forms I’m not proud and will not mention here.
Life was a bad dream – the kind where you punch someone but feel no impact (how unsatisfying); where you scream but no noise comes out (the worst).
And so you may be thinking:
Why are you telling me all of these super sad details about your life!? STAHP!
Chapter II: The Attacks
At rock-bottom, I began having the irrational panic attacks I mentioned in the beginning of this post. I would sit at home, or in the car, or in class, and I would worry about the health and safety of the future generations. I claimed I’d never have children (that worked well) because I didn’t want them to live in the life this society has created for them.
I wanted to change the way the inhabitants of this world treated its one and only Mother Nature. I wanted to figure out a way we could enjoy this planet without trashing it, without making mountains of unrecyclable, chemical-induced landfill waste. I wanted to make the world stop wasting their water supply on stupid, selfish things like gigantic pools and watering the lawn after three days of downpour. I wanted to make sure the future generations knew that it’s up to them to fix a culture that believes in convenience over the environment and that believes in the quality of present life over the quality of future lives (because, convenience).
But, as a person who felt invisible, you can see where I’d also feel all-too hopeless – and so the downward spiral of anxiety and panic continued.
Eventually, I was able to turn these very loud fears into background noise, and I kept on keepin’ on with life and college and terrible choices.
With a consistently low self-esteem, I decided the only thing I could really ever do, because I’m not good enough to do anything else (terrible reason to do something, by the way), where I can still change lives… would be to teach. So, I became an English teacher, and a softball coach (one of the most embarrassing decisions of my life – I am not an athlete, never mind teacher of sport), and I tried to be a role model for the next generation.
OMG. WHAT. A. FAIL.
Chapter III: Fast Forward.
It wasn’t until 2017, when I realized who I am and who I want to be are two very different people.
Who do I want to be? An influential, patient, creative, loving soul, who is good at anything she puts her mind to, and just changes lives every day with her power of words and teaching methods and a warm-hearted smile.
Who am I? An impatient, stubborn, foul-mouthed, sometimes selfish individual who wears her heart on her sleeve, enjoys wine far too much, gets frustrated with ninth graders who think they’re smarter than her (though they very-well could be), and is inspired to make a difference so long as she’s not directly dealing with hormones other than her own.
Who am I when I try to fit into shoes of the person I want to be, rather than try to fit into my own?
Basically, thank you, Cheeky, Jr. for giving me the excuse to quit a job I so desperately wanted to love, so that I could figure out what I actually love, and what I’m actually passionate about.
“WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT, MOMMA CHEEKS?”
Thanks for asking!
Chapter IV: The Counter-Attack
First and foremost, my passion is to raise a kind, respectful, self-advocating boy (Solid #1 if I do say so myself).
Secondly, I strive to make an impact in the way people treat this beautiful planet, one way or another, because our children – and their children – depend on it.
And so, thanks to a good friend who introduced me to the cloth diapering world, to my amazing son, and to my highly emotional high school self, I have created Cheeky Things – a diaper service eliminating waste in landfills (fear #1) while significantly reducing chemicals suffocating Momma Nature (fear #2). And while reusable diapers obviously use water (fear #3), the water used to clean the diapers is easily recyclable and is for a better purpose than watering our lawns during a hurricane (I’m sure, if Momma N could talk, she’d fully agree).
Without even realizing it until recently, Cheeky Things has been a plan in the making for over 10 years. If I had a time machine, I would go back to 2006 and have a conversation with high school me. I would tell her to have hope, to keep believing, and to follow her heart. I would tell her that life is hard, but following her true passion makes it easier, and that one day everything will be okay. I would tell her that we will do great things, and we will find a way to control our fears. I would tell her to believe in herself – to believe in the future – because one day it’s going to be really, really great.
I would tell her she’s worth it. She’s worth this life and she’s worth all the lives she will eventually impact. Out of everything, I think high school me needed to hear that the most: she does matter, and she’s not invisible, and she will make a difference.
Though it may be small, it will, in fact, be a difference.
Chapter V: The Moral
- To those of you who relate all-to-well with high school me – screaming silently and punching with no impact and thinking you’re not worth it; to those of you who believe your fears are uncontrollable and your hopes and dreams are unattainable: you’re wrong. You’re worth it, and you are making more of a difference than you think. Have hope, don’t give up, and keep fighting. This, too, will pass.
- People do change. I am a firm, firm believer that people change.
Exhibit A: me (see evolution below) –
- High school: an emotional, anxiety-ridden, anorexic mess who craved any attention, good or bad.
- College: drunkenly yelling at everyone (drunk took like two beers for little-old-me, by the way – not easy when you’re drinking with people who take shots for a buzz) and making more enemies than I could keep track of.
- Ms. Cheeks (teacher-me): a frustrated 20 something who desperately wanted to be wonderful at her job and impact lives day in and day out, but failed miserably because it’s just. Not. Who. I. Am.
- Momma Cheeks: a business-owning momma who advocates for what she believes in, every single day, supported by an amazing network of friends and family, including (but not limited to) a beautiful human (also known as Papa Cheeks) whom I don’t deserve and who motivates me every day to be better than the day before.
- If you don’t like where you are, then I highly advise you to seriously analyze your life. Figure out what you’re good at and what you’re not good at, what you love and what you don’t love, who you are versus who you want to be, and eliminate the negative. It’s never too late to improve yourself and change your life. Life is too short to be unhappy in any form – so fight the fear and make the change.
(Another deep virtual breath, and then a big ole real-life sip of wine, because this week’s post has been HEAVY – for me at least, I don’t know what you’re feeling. Hopefully it’s something other than annoyance and discomfort. If it is, I guess that calls for another swig! You’re welcome).
Back to serious matters
Thank you for getting to know me and the foundation of my business just a little bit better. I hope you’ve gained something from this post, regardless of whether it’s about Cheeky Things, about who I am, or about who you are. I hope we can begin to evolve together – I look forward to it, really.
Until next time
PS: Here’s a really great podcast episode from Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations with a woman (Gretchen Rubin), who I swear must be my soul-sister. The podcast also goes hand-in-hand with some of what I’ve said in this post, which is why I’ve added it here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/gretchen-rubin-8-rules-to-happiness/id1264843400?i=1000398969714&mt=2