I’ll Rise Up

Design Credit: Debbie Kelly | Photo Credit: Kyle Cottrell

As I was working on some social media marketing for Littles & Co. Creative Studio I’ll Rise Up by Andra Day began to play. It’s a song I’ve heard many times. Today it hit my heart, and got me in my feels.

I could relate!

There has never been a day where I don’t have to talk myself into fighting past the pain of Chiari. The conversation typically sounds like this:

“It would be great to wake up without a headache.”, says me.

“Alright, Deb, I know it’s rough, but you have bills to pay. You can do this!!! It’s always easier once you get going.”, replies myself to me.

Nor has there been a night, when my house is quiet that my mind doesn’t force me to look in the rearview mirror.

“Today ended up being a pretty good day.”, I say.

“Ha, are you sure? Did you remember to __________? Nope. You forgot again just like when ______________. I guess _________ is right about you.”, says the nasty negative voice in my head.

That’s one of the nicer conversations I have with myself.

Clearly, I don’t offer enough grace to myself.

It’s not surprising though.

I became someone whom I can’t stand, all to please someone who would never be satisfied.

I protected someone who would never protect me.

I took the high road when I should have stood my ground against that person.

Every “if only…”, “I should have…”, “I could have…”, “Why didn’t I…”, “Why did I…” has created a significant pattern of hatred for self. All of which that person has used to their advantage.

It’s a tragic thing when the disgust for someone else is redirected upon self because it’s the only way to comprehend what has happened.

When this has been a pattern for decades, it’s not so easy to break.

Recognizing it is the first step. Right?

Battling it exhausting, but necessary.

Remembering that we all have our battles helps me stay in the fight. There’s something soothing in knowing my struggle is not foreign to humankind.

Not one single person who has ever lived is immune to having been exposed to evil. Knowing that others have managed to conquer their demons in incredibly empowering.

Sometimes demons take on human form. It’s important to remember that evil thrives on the fear. They can sense it and they use it to their advantage.

Fear gives power to evil.

Facing the people, and things, that terrify me the most takes their power away.

That’s courage in it’s rawest form. Gritty badass courage. And it takes the power back.

Silencing that nasty negative voice is an added benefit.

I’m all about that.

Here’s to living a gritty badass courageous life.

Here’s to rising up…a thousand times.




I’m Back

How has it been 4…four…cuatro…4 years! YIKES!

Well, I know how why it has been so long since I blogged. I just didn’t realize it had been that long.

It’s all good though. I’m back.

Actually, the new and improved, and most importantly cognizant me is here.

Phew, if you’re a fundamentalist and following this blog like you used to 4 years ago, all judgy and condemning, you’ll have a blast.

Not really.

You’re going to hate on me more than you did before.

And that’s ok with me.

You know why?

You don’t pay my bills.

You don’t live my life.

You haven’t battled what I have and come out as amazing as I have.

Yep, even you J.B. I know you’re watching.

Please, send me another nasty letter. I need someone to tell me I’ll never make it on my own, and that I’m demon possessed. Your seven page email tearing me down was so damn true.

HAHA, just kidding. You were so wrong about me.

All the hate from my haters was SO motivational. Really!

After working full-time while going to school, I graduated Summa Cum Laude in April of 2017. It was one of the proudest days of my life!

When I was handed that diploma it was a big F*CK YOU to all those who told me I would fail – J.B., pastors and their wives, deacons and their wives, “friends” and the ex husband.

That reminds me.

I owe all of my haters a big you a thank you for kicking me to the curb and supporting my abusive ex husband. You all forced me to dig deep and find my grit. And I really am thankful for that.

What I have learned about myself and what I’m capable of accomplishing is more than I imagined could come of my divorce 7 years ago.

I’m brave and badass. I’m going places. Here’s to the new adventures of Ain’t Losin’ My Marbles.

– Debbie

The Sexy Lie

I have been pondering this subject for quite awhile. I have a slightly different perspective than most. As a former Baptist Fundamentalist, I  bought into the idea that women bear the full responsibility for the way men think of them. This wasn’t an easy sell for me as I question everything. Eventually, because I desired […]

I’m Movin On

This song by Rascal Flatts is one that helped me move through a very painful time. It still brings tears to my eyes. This is for all those who are struggling, myself included, with a past they regret, burdened with blame and trapped in the past. Find the forgiveness you need. Trust others. Love again. […]

Making Waves

I didn’t always want to be an artist. The closest thing I ever came to art was a stroll through the art museum. Creating art was for artistic people I was merely creative. I didn’t have the skills to draw an inkblot, let alone a masterpiece. In my mid-thirties, I started designing scrapbook pages. Which quickly led into designing informational pieces for a non-profit organization. I decided to pursue a BFA in Graphic Design and started classes in the fall of 2011. This past summer my dreams were surpassed with an internship invitation at “Creative Go Round” in Chicago.

I have a love-fear relationship with Graphic Design. I love the process of creating something out of nothing, bringing to fruition my clients vision is a thrilling process. However, the first steps in the creative process, hitting the project deadlines and meeting the needs of the client often overwhelm me. I always have moments of doubt about my abilities and wish I had picked something less subjective, and artistic, as a career. Then my muse comes to me; my pen records my ideas and the intimidation caused by the unknown retreats. My confidence builds as the ideas flow forth from my mind into solutions in graphic form. 

 I have often considered what it is about graphic design that draws me in. It is the power that graphic arts have in communicating truths to the world around us. I believe each person has a particular role to play in the lives of others. As a pebble dropped into a pond creates ripples, I desire to create waves that will have a positive impact on society. Creating designs that cause people to think critically about social issues, and thereby affecting social change, is my ultimate goal. I relate to the mission behind AIGA’s Design for Good platform, which is to “build and sustain the implementation of design thinking for a social change.”[1] This is where my true fervor lies as a designer.

[1] Design for Good, AIGA, http://www.aiga.org/design-for-good/

Licensed Agent

When I got my job at the call center I was thankful for something that paid a bit more than what I could make at the daycare. It was difficult to balance the start of classes, training for the job and working at the daycare in the afternoons. Somehow I made it work and I got a 4.0 in my classes, and got a promotion in my new job.

1391673_10151797413518922_1701689776_nLast week I sat down before a computer terminal to force enough insurance terminology to pass the state licensing exam into my brain in a matter of 4 days. When I clicked ‘finished’ on the state exam yesterday I really had my reservations. Since I had my Littles over the weekend I didn’t put in the time to study that I desired. I walked into the testing center praying I wouldn’t have to pay another $75 for the test. When the test proctor came out with my score his grin gave away my results. I passed! Barely. Very close to failing…miss one more question failing…barely. But I passed.

Now I can say I’m a licensed health insurance agent. My new job will be to present Medicare Advantage Plans…and hopefully sell many of them. We shall see. In the meantime I will take any forward motion I can earn. This is definitely moving forward in a decent job while I finish my BFA in Graphic Design. And it should mean I can give my kids a Christmas this year. Finally!!!