It never gets easier, you just get stronger

I’ll admit, I was on kind of a high for a few months there in 2018. I finally, finally, met the love of my life. Someone who enjoys all the same things I do. Who really just completes me. Finding him actually made me feel stupid for all the time I wasted on other guys who weren’t right for me, when someone exactly like him existed in this world. He makes me a better person, and I thank the stars every day that I get to call him mine. In addition, I sold my car on a whim at the end of the summer, and ended up getting an amazing deal on a brand new one that I absolutely love. Family was good, work was fine… I was comfortable financially and even took a beach vacation with one of my girlfriends for the first time in years. I was just plain comfortable in general. Nothing was really going terribly wrong in my life and, deep down, a part of me recognized that. And we all know you can’t enjoy the sunshine without a little rain, but what I got felt more like a monsoon…

The last few months have been pretty rough to say the least. It started right before the holiday season, when I first discovered a loved ones’ personal, private battle with addiction. I didn’t even know if they would be home for Christmas this year, as they decided to leave town and get help. It’s something you see all over the news, and read countless stories over social media; you know it’s an epidemic because that’s what they tell you. But you really don’t fully understand until it affects someone you know and love. It was one of the scariest times in my life, and even when you think you “made it through” the worst part, accepting that this will be a lifelong battle with someone you care tremendously about, is still utterly terrifying. But experiencing this when I did taught me the value of having faith, remaining positive no matter what, practicing unwavering support, and believing in something greater than myself. It doesn’t make the situation any less challenging, but I have kept these lessons close to me.

Then the New Year came and went, and that first weekend, at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning, I got a call that would change my life forever.

“Come quick, it’s your father,” my mom said between sobs. I had never driven so fast in my life. My dad had been rushed to the ER and not long after, we all would be sitting in a private room as a doctor came in and told us, they did everything they could, that my dad didn’t make it. We would later find out it was a massive heart attack that took him from us. He never even stood a chance. It still doesn’t seem like any of that was real.

No one ever prepares you for losing someone you are close to. It’s not discussed, not ever acknowledged as a legitimate possibility. We’re taught that “getting your affairs in order” can actually be a warning sign for suicide, because as a society we just don’t plan on any alternative other than us dying at an old age. And we foolishly believe that, as we drink, smoke, tan, and continue in all kinds of other high risk behaviors- just assuming that we are all invincible. And we continue seemingly low-risk behaviors too, like crossing the street not knowing if that will be the moment a car will hit us out of nowhere, or if a meteor will fall out of the sky while we’re having a picnic or going for a jog.

And then one day someone is there and fine, and the next they’re gone. And life becomes a whirlwind of funeral homes and cemeteries, life insurance companies and figuring out account balances and bills that are due, returning his uniforms and key card to work. These things we should realistically all be prepared for to a certain degree, but no one really ever is. When in reality, the only inevitable in life is that every single one of us will die, though no one really knows what to do when it happens to someone earlier than anticipated. My dad was an amazing man who treated others with so much kindness and respect; he would do anything for anyone. And now that he’s gone, everyone who relied on him so heavily and loved him so much, well… we’re all lost.

Something that has always given me strength in unexpected ways is a statement my boot camp instructor tells us at the end of class…

“It never gets easier, you just get stronger.”

Obviously, the instructor was referring to the workout itself, as in, her class is and always will be tough. But as you work harder to get stronger, your mind will trick you into thinking it gets easier. And it doesn’t, your muscles are just developing in a way that it takes you less effort to get through the class.

The first time I applied this sentiment to other areas in life, it was when that loved one made the decision to go to rehab. You could call in to leave them messages, and a lady at the nurses’ station would write it on a slip of paper and hang on a board for them to receive. One day I decided to leave just that, because I knew it was fitting in this situation too.

And then when my dad died, a flood of people had a myriad of advice. And I knew everyone was just as shocked as we were, and they all just wanted to offer comfort and support. But if I heard the words “new normal,” or “it’ll get easier,” one more time… I was going to explode. So I wrote that boot camp message on a sheet of paper, and hung it up on my mom’s calendar (which was riddled with phone numbers and to-do lists), because deep down I knew this was the only thing I could say, and the only way I could feel, to ease the pain of the loss we are all experiencing. Because it’s not going to get easier. What happened was shitty. It wasn’t fair at all. We are all suffering. But we will get stronger- little by little, day by day. I see it every single day in my mother, I can see it in myself. And if these words can help you get through a hard time, no matter what it is, I just want to make sure you know:

It will always be tough. But as you work harder to get stronger, your mind will trick you into thinking it gets easier. And it doesn’t, your muscles are just developing in a way that it takes you less effort to get through.

So, it never gets easier, you just get stronger. x

kc goes ape

I’ve been having a bit of a rough go at things lately.

This past Sunday, as the morning sun crept through my window, by 9am I already maintained that I would stay in bed all day. Birds chirping, cat purring and waiting to be fed, I had no plans for the day and I had no motivation for anything this Sunday had to offer.

Then my text tone went off, and my heart stopped.

I frantically shuffled around the bed in search of my phone. My heart sunk when it wasn’t who I was waiting to hear from: more proof that I was making the right decision for the day. Then I actually read the message I received:

“Do you want to Go Ape at 1:30?”

um. What did you just ask me?


Apparently there is a local zip lining/tree top adventure course located in the Metroparks in Strongsville — called Go Ape. Not exactly something I would jump at on a regular Sunday (let alone one where I’m feeling sad and unmotivated), but it felt like this was one of those times I just had to suck it up and agree to go.

We started with a quick, overwhelming lesson with a lot of information and all of it ending in “you could basically die if you don’t follow these rules.” So that was great. I would recommend going with someone who has done it before, just for that simple fact. There were 5 courses to complete (the first one being a small “intro” course); each beginning with a climb up into the trees, a handful of obstacles to get through, before ending with a zip line back to ground level. You have to book in advance, and lucky for us, this weekend was 25% off so we only paid $45 when all was said and done. It was a bit crowded, I assume because of the promotion, so there was a little bit of waiting time between obstacles and courses. But it was enough time to calm all of my nerves between the adrenaline rushes.

The website recommends closed-toe shoes, workout gloves, and tying your hair back. All very appropriate recommendations — after about the 3rd course my hands were hurting without gloves.

I never really thought I had a fear of heights — but being 50+ feet above ground, with only two cables keeping me from imminent death, I definitely had some involuntary hand trembling and knee shaking going on. It didn’t help that I kept looking down like a psycho. There were times I wanted nothing more than to turn back around and get on solid ground. I think I almost pissed myself no less than three times.

Overall, though, I have to admit it was beyond exhilarating. Actually getting through the courses took some strength and patience, but getting to that zip line at the end and the freeing feeling of it all — it was 1000% better than staying in bed all day. Everyone should do something that scares the shit out of them at least every once in a while. Lesson learned.


Check it out for yourself, you can book now at

I don’t like making waves

The universe doesn’t just hand you opportunities… it only presents them to you. It’s up to you to recognize an opportunity when it comes around, and to seize it. Either that, or let it pass by and regret what could have been. Either that, or stay stuck.

We never like to admit when we feel stuck. It’s not a feeling to be proud of. And even if we don’t verbalize it, when a person is stuck everyone can see it — they wear it on them like a badge.

Personally, I don’t like making waves. I prefer making that steady, rolling water that you float and bob atop on a warm summer day. That constant and calming free-float. You know what I mean. You have to recover from waves. Once a wave hits, there’s that chance you can’t go back to the way things were. When you’re just floating, it’s comfortable. It’s dependable. It’s consistent.

Then I think, if you always do what you’ve always done, then you always get what you’ve always gotten. I’ve heard this statement in one form or another more times in the last week than I ever have before. When the universe presents an opportunity, then attempts to send all these signs… well then, it might be time to admit…

That maybe it’s time

To make some waves.