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A thoroughly nice chap

Here is the latest update from the otters… they have finally solved the hamster problem!
Don’t forget to click through and follow the Otter Chronicles to find out what they are up to on a regular basis 🙂

The Otter Chronicles

I have been having some fantastic chats this week with that temporal research fellow, Brian Russetcoat. Fantastic, and more than a little confusing, but he said some extremely interesting words, long ones too. He has a lot of opinions that one, and he does have a tendency to look around dramatically and go off on tangents. Still, splendid conversations I am almost certain.

img_2543 Brian Russetcoat

Yes, I remember now, we had quite a fascinating discussion about music, this fellow used to be in a popular music combo you know. Something I remember from when I was a young otter kitten, B’lieve or somesuch thing.

This was before he got into the research game of course.

Music wasn’t the main reason for our chats, but as I think I have mentioned Brian is a tricky person to talk to. Thoroughly nice chap though, full of enthusiasm and zeal and ideas.

I…

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Otters of the black and pink shirt

Just thought I’d keep you all updated on what the otters are up to! Don’t forget if you want to read about all of their antics first hand follow the Otter Chronicles 😀
(yes, this is a blatant plug for my other blog 🙂 )

The Otter Chronicles

Well, what an eventful day today was! I have had reports coming in from all over the raft. Obviously there have been the every day reports, progress on the temporal flow project, ideas about possible cures for the otter cold, ideas about cures for cold otters you know, the kind of thing. Routine stuff…

However, mixed in with all of these were increasingly flustered updates from Debbie Shorttail concerning the antics of those damn hamsters. She is very concerned with them getting too close together and causing the demise of civilisation as we know it, or implosion of the raft and surrounding rivers at the very least! This is the sort of thing that happens all the time when future and past versions of small rodents meet, or so I am told.  What she hasn’t told me is how they know that, as far as we all know this is…

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Comedy? Me? Really?

Well apparently yes…apparently I can do comedy. Who knew??

Yes I know I am breaking my new schedule the day after it started but I am excited and I want to tell you things!!

About a month ago, I entered a writing competition. It was brought to my attention by the lovely Lucy from Secret Diary of PorterGirl (whose blog is fantastic btw go and read all of it and buy her books) it was a flash comedy writing competition on the website https://carrotranch.com/

Now, I had never really written fiction before, or comedy… but I thought “what the hell, I’ll give it a go” It wasn’t like the judges would come round my house and laugh at me for entering… (hopefully). SO I wrote a tiny (the limit was 300 words) bit of flash comedy based on some iPhone found poetry that you might recognise… and I sent it to them. Then I forgot all about it. Until today…

Today I found out that I came second 😀 😀 😀 I can’t really believe it but it happened! Here is the link to the post where they published my writing…

Winner of Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #2

and, in case you don’t want to click the link (although you should..) here is the flash comedy fiction that I wrote…


The day my phone turned into a needy surrealist and developed an obsession with otters!

When I set my phone the task of writing poetry, I never expected it to reveal a secret life full of angst, rich plotlines and otters…

I hate it when people think they know me
I have been thrown away
It does not matter

I hate it when you don’t think of me
I have just noticed the otter
It seems that there is no such thing as Tuesday

That could have been extremely depressing if it hadn’t turned suddenly, into a surrealist, near future expose on a world with otters peering at you from behind the impending destruction of Tuesday.

During that moment you can tell me how you feel
Yes it was meant for you but I am not
Soon I will be honest with the otter

It would seem that I have been lying to the otter. But what about and why? Was it about the destruction of Tuesday, which really can only be a good thing. Why would anyone lie about that? Maybe it was something else, something I was not sure that the otter could handle. Maybe I was concerned that the otter would indeed tell me how he felt…

I had to find out why I lied to the otter!

I don’t know what you are
Otters and I have gin and tonic
I am just so ready for a new wildcat

That explains it, the otter didn’t know about the new wildcat. Everyone seems to have gin and tonic though so I think the honesty went well. I am not so sure about the wildcat however…

 The otter is definitely the best sort of dragon
We need a better wildcat
Don’t forget to check out the other angry bears

I think the otter should possibly lay off the gin.

 

 

An otter of the people — The Otter Chronicles

The start of the otter adventures, have a look and follow my new blog for exiting new otter adventures 😀

A visit to the research otters

via An otter of the people — The Otter Chronicles

A(nother) new venture and a new schedule

Good morning people of the world!

yes I am being optimistic about my blog reach…why not!

First the new venture…

I have decided to try my h and at writing fiction 🙂 I have chosen the Otters of time to be the subjects of this fiction, they are adventurous scamps so should get up to some fantastic antics…

To see what they are up to go and have a lookhere https://otterchronicles.wordpress.com/ and folow the blog…It should be an entertaining escapade… the first installment is already up and running! And there will be new installments on Tuesday and Friday

Their first adventure is here:

https://otterchronicles.wordpress.com/chronicles/

THe second thing is posts to this blog, I have decided that what with keeping track of adventurous otters that blogging every day is getting somewhat hard to keep up…I am planning from next week to blog twice a week (Monday and Friday) to keep you all posted on the exercise-y goodness!

I promise an exercise update later today…for now…here is an otter…

There will be flamethrowers!

In a short break from my normal blogging topics I thought I’d tell you about anxiety and how it relates to me.

It is relevant really because a heath and fitness should refer to all aspects of health and fitness, and certainly all aspects that relate to the blogger!

I will start with a bit of back story… in the dim and am distant past (about 10-15 years ago) I had depression and anxiety and it caused me all sorts of problems…

but I fixed myself, with some help and support…

Anyway, it doesn’t ever go away fully you just learn to live with it and stop it becoming a problem. So well in fact that I could quite easily forget I had it which is pretty dam awesome.

Until recently.

Recently anxiety has risen up and made a home in my head…

it is a bit like this:

I don’t really know where to start, it just feels important to write this down. It is not good pretending it does’t exist.

However, the first thing anxiety does it tell me that this is not worth a blog post. It tells me that I am just whinging over nothing, things are not really bad in my life after all. It tells me that noone wants to read this and that this is pointless.

It is actually right now this minute telling me that I should delete all this and not bother.

The reason I am carrying on with this is because it is important that people speak about these things, there is too much stigma attached to conditions such as anxiety and depression. The more people speak up the better. I also think it is going to help me to tell you all…

I can’t tell you exactly what triggered this, i do have a pretty good idea actually but it isn’t for here. Suffice it to say some people (not me…) did some things that shook my world view and made question a lot of things. It came to my attention around christmas and since then I have been attempting to process it. Anyway, it has triggered some anxiety I had almost forgotten that I had.

What I want to do is describe the things that this anxiety does to me. People have the perception that anxiety is extreme worrying or nervousness about situations and panic attacks. Well those things do happen, but they are not all or even the main part of anxiety for me.

This is what anxiety does to me:

It takes away my ability to trust my own judgement, it takes away my ability to accurately asses situations, it makes it impossible for me to know what I feel or believe what others say.

If I text someone, and they don’t text back immediately the psycho in my brain starts doing this…

“You are annoying them”

“They don’t want to talk to you”

“Why don’t they like you”

“You are not investing why would they answer”

“Stop texting”

“Just check to see”

“Why wouldn’t they just tell me to go away”

“I hope they don’t tell me to go away”

“Why would they want to talk to you anyway”

“They would rather talk to anyone else let’s be honest”

And more and more to that effect all in the space of seconds…

All the while the logical sensible side of me knows none of this is not true. It counters with:

“They are at work”

“They are busy”

“Even if they forget it doesn’t mean they hate you”

“Stop being ridiculous”

Then the psycho picks up on “ridiculous” and starts of with:

“You are so ridiculous”

“Everything you do its stupid”

“You are kidding yourself”

Again all in the space of seconds…

this carries on until it is so loud inside my head that it feels like it will explode.

So I text people again and again and again then I know I am annoying and start apologising for being annoying over and over again…

I did this yesterday to more than one person…

It doesn’t matter that I know that is is all in my head, I feel powerless to stop it!!

The really stupid thing is when they do answer the email or text the psycho starts off with

“You guilt tripped them into it…”

“They answered to shut you up”

It is exhausting!

Then there is the thing that happens when something good happens…

you get super happy and excited for a few seconds then the doubts start..

“You have no reason to be this excited it’s not a big deal”

“Other people do this way better than you it should be them”

“It has been a mistake”

This sort of second guessing and negative self talk happens for everything, every conversation (almost), for every event, for every time I step on a scale or decide on food, for every decision I have to make!

(Except dancing…this doesn’t happen at dancing for some reason)

This is what anxiety does to me!

I can’t pick up a phone to make a phone call without about a day of procrastinating.

I can’t go to a new thing with new people without giving myself a constant pep talk. Yes there have even been times when I can’t do things at all.

I rarely get panic attacks. I rarely give outward signs that this is going on… but it is there!

I can’t tell people because I don’t want to bother them, the psycho me tells me they don’t really care anyway…

I need to point out this is not all the time!

I am generally ok even now. It is happening more at the moment for some reason, but it is not all the time!

I am not telling you this so you (if you are one of those I speak to away from blog world) will text me back more often or more quickly…

I really do know that you all have lives and things to do!

I really do know that one missed text doesn’t mean you hate me!

I just felt the need to write this down because it happens to me sometimes.

I am winning over the psycho and I will not let this stop me from doing stuff!

Doing stuff helps!

Dancing helps!

Lifting helps!

Running and cycling helps!

Art helps!

Blogging helps…

So all I have to do is keep doing and find a way to stop listening to the psycho on the occasion that they creep in!

I am even second guessing publishing this post because I don’t want people to think I am guilt tripping them into liking me!

I am not! This isn’t what this is!

This is me saying no more!!

No more psycho no more monsters no more sitting alone in the dark!

This is me taking back my head!!

There will be flamethrowers!!

Remember when I said never again…

I did… I said never again.

I said I hated it and I wouldn’t ever do another one.

I wrote about it a lot… here and here

Well… I may have changed my mind.

Its ok…I can do that, I am allowed 🙂 I make my own rules you know 😛

In case you haven’t already guessed, I am talking about running. Specifically running races, and even more specifically running a half marathon.

Yes…that’s right, after several strong hints, you have guessed it! I have signed up to run another half marathon. Brighton half marathon on 25th Feb 2018 to be precise.

brighton half marathon

So, there it is…

I suppose that I have a little bit of explaining to do…

I have been thinking about this for a while, I have actually been putting some serious thought into whether this is a good idea or whether I should just let the whole thing go. This is the first difference between this time and the last time. Last time it was a spur of the moment decision made after a little persuasion from  my friend Rachel who wanted someone to run with her and convince her to train. Don’t get me wrong, I decided to do it of my own free will, but I didn’t have the idea for myself and I never really wanted to do it for the right reasons.

I didn’t do the last one because I wanted to run a half marathon, I did it to help out a friend. Which is all well and good, but it didn’t really set my head off in the right place. I was negative about the whole thing from the outset.

This time it is different. I have thought, a lot…and bored people talking at them about it. I have decided that I want to do another one.

Not “I feel I should”

Not “It would be a good thing to do for charity”

I want to run (or walk/run) a half marathon. I want to do it for the following reasons:

  • I want to run a half marathon to prove to myself that I can.
    I know this seems odd as I have already done one, but the experience of the last one was so bad that I have discounted it in my head)
  • I want to see what I can do with the right training and the right food and basically the right versions of everything I got wrong in the last one.
  • I want to do it to prove to myself I can stick at things and improve, to prove I am not a failure.
    Yes…I do feel like one after the failed walk and the disastrous last half…I know I am not one in general, but sometimes we have to do things to banish the feeling.
  • I want to run a half marathon for me.

So that is it, me running a half marathon because I want to… noone forcing me, noone pressuring me to do it, just me against myself.

I *could* just go out and train for a half marathon and run the distance with no race I suppose…but I want an official tick. I want a deadline and a designated place and time to do it. I like to have something tangible to train for.

Also I like shiny medals…

Not that you are really allowed to go around wearing your medals…not for more than one day any way…

I don’t see why not though…I might do this time…I fully intend to be proud of myself at the end and not just grumpy and broken!

In fact I am going to try not to be grumpy at all during this process…

Ok…no that is a complete lie..I will be grumpy sometimes but I am determined not to be sad and angry throughout the race!

I will, of course, keep you informed about how my training is going! The very first thing I need to do is figure out a training plan…and how to run… and how to eat while running and drink… ok…I’ll take those one at a time…

but for now…

run

Run!!

Body Positivity

img_6203

3 years of hard work…

I am not putting up that picture to show off… This is not a look at my weight loss etc post or picture…although to be completely honest it is good to remind myself how far I have come once in a while…

The whole point of this picture is it represents a fundamental change in my attitude!

When the first picture was taken I hated pictures, I wouldn’t look at the camera and I could barely look at the resulting pictures without being miserable for ages.

Now, believe it or not, I am willing to pose for photos, I mostly don’t hate them and I even have more selfies than is sensible on my phone! But this is about more than photos. It is about confidence and attitude. It is about finding the courage to stand up to the judgmental attitudes of today’s society. To stand up to the attitudes that say you have to be a certain size or shape to dress a certain way.

Even at the end of my first 365 I wouldn’t have dreamed of wearing the muscle shirt in the top picture without a second top under it. I still qualified every achievement with disclaimers about needing to lose more weight, or still having lots of things I needed to change. It was almost as if I was not allowing myself to be proud of myself , I couldn’t let anyone thing I was pleased with me the way I was. After all what would happen if they thought I was still fat…I felt I had to acknowledge it before they said something!

Just in case you are new or have forgotten this was the end of my 365 project…

me 365

day 365 😀 

This was me, I was happy because dancing, I was happy because 365 days of exercise is quite a big achievement, I was happy with my progress.

The one thing I couldn’t say I was happy with was my body.

Now the end of 365 me was a differently shaped me to the now me. Partly because I have been a little less dedicated to my eating, and quite a lot because I have been doing a lot of heavy lifting… but this isn’t the point, the point is…

We are allowed to be proud of ourselves. We are allowed to like our bodies and appreciate them for what they can do!

I know what you are thinking…what changed? and when are you going to get to the point and tell me what body positivity is?

Well first things first…what changed?

Well…obviously I did…but what made me change?

The first thing was this person…

whitney-thore

Whitney Way Thore click for more info

This is Whitney Way Thore, star of a show called Whitney Fat Girl Dancing, and a dancer who works to encourage people to accept their body and not body shame others. I don’t watch her show often, but I happened to catch an interview with her and of course she was being quizzed for promoting obesity and such like. and she explained she has PCOS  which made her gain weight and that she was aware that it could be unhealthy to be overweight but then she said “Appreciate your body for what it can do.” and that if it is stopping you doing things you want to it is time for a change. That one line started to change my outlook.

Then I found Grrrl Clothing, an amazing company run by Kortney Olson  I have told you about them before here they are all about body positivity and fitness at all sizes…which quite honestly is rare in a fitness clothing company! The breakthrough really came when I found their FB group Grrrls. This group is full of amazing women who all support each other and all subscribe to the Grrrl philosophy which comes handily written on the clothing tag.

IMG_0021

This is important. No negativity about yourself or others. As soon as you start to do this your outlook starts to change.

How often do you look in a mirror and criticise yourself, or tell yourself that you are stupid, or tell other people that you need to lose weight or are so fat or whatever. As soon as you stop this and start to look for positives, everything changes. Not instantly…it is not magic… you can’t wipe out years/decades of social conditioning in one hit but it starts to happen. You start to appreciate what your body can do whether it is lift heavy things, run a long way, make children (I have heard this can be a good thing but I remain unconvinced :-p), or just move you around through your busy day to day lives. You start to realise that you can be and do anything you want to do at any size and that the dictates of society are quite frankly rubbish…

Society says you have to be skinny to be attractive…well no actually the thing that makes a person most attractive is confidence. Society says women shouldn’t lift weights because they might get all bulky…well, bulky is unlikely in women and anyway…why shouldn’t women be bulky if they want…

Society says working out is for weight loss and for looks…well no, working out is for health and for whatever your own personal goal is!!

Before I go on any more I am going to show you some of the awesome women in the group who have inspired me to walk around with scary bright leggings on and muscle shirts with no vest tops under them…to walk around with confidence!

These are not the only inspirational women in the group by a long way but it just shows, no matter what size, what shape, what background we come from, there is no judgement! 😀

So here’s what body positivity means to me:

Body positivity is about believing in your own self worth, about believing that I am strong and capable and worthy of confidence as I am right now! It is ok to want to work on self improvement, it is ok to still want to lose weight but the difference is I am doing it for me and for health and to be an even better me rather than as a punishment for being a bad me!

I work out because I like it.

I wouldn’t mind losing some more fat, but I am proud of myself for who I am at the moment!

I can spend three days in a row dancing and walking miles and still walk the next day! I can lift 100kg (almost…) I can ride my bike for mile and miles I can swing a kettlebell about like nobody’s business and I can do all of these things right now.

I am fit and I am healthy and I still have chocolate sometimes and that is ok!

I am still mildly terrified of posting this without the caveats I mentioned at the start. I still have the fear of people judging me for being too fat or too weak or, now after writing this, too show-y off-y…

but you know what I am posting it anyway along with these pictures of the me that I am proud of right now!

Image-1

So be who you want to be, be who you are and don’t be ashamed of it! Don’t let “society” dictate whether you wear leggings or shorts or vest tops or giant hats covered in peacock feathers or what ever you like because at the end of the day it is not their business…it is yours 😀

 

Found poetry pt 2: the otter saga

Or the day my phone turned into a needy surrealist and developed an obsession with otters!

Otter-City-1

this is what you get if you google surrealist otters… It is by Caleb Brown and I think it is awesome!! (click on it for more info!)

In case the title of the post didn’t give it away, I have been experimentinf further with this predictive text found poetry idea. I have had some quite interesting results.

There are quite a lot that don’t work, you get an endless string of “I have not I have I want to no seem…” etc but I have discovered that the way to avoid this is to play with the rules. In traditional found poetry you can take words from a page or pages and put them together, this allows a degree of selection of words. So in the construction of these predictive text versions I am allowed to take out words and sometimes give the phone a startign letter. but not add words which were not suggested. This is what happened yesterday:

I hate it when people think they know me
I have been thrown away
It does not matter

I hate it when you don’t think of me
I have just noticed the otter
It seems that there is no such thing as Tuesday

That could have been a very depressing poem if it hadn’t turned suddenly, into a surrealist, near future expose on a world with otters peering at you from behind the impending destruction of tuesday! It has been pointed out to me that the juxtaposition of an otter with the emo-angst of the first 4 lines adds a playful tone to the end of the poem (thank you Lucy for that one 🙂 )

I thought that would be the end of it…but in my next attempt the otter put in aonther appearance…

During that moment you can tell me how you feel
Yes it was meant for you but I am not
Soon I will be honest with the otter

It would seem that I have been lying to the otter. but what about and why? Was it about the destruction of tueday, which really can only be a good thing and I am not sure why anyone would lie about it. Was it soemthing else? Something I was not sure that the otter could handle. Maybe I was concerned that the otter would indeed tell me how he felt…

The next installemnt looked like this. I did encourage the otter with the addition of an O at the start of the second line, but that was the only medeling i did. It is in the rules…and I had to find out why I lied to the otter!

I don’t know what you are
Otters and I have gin and tonic
I am just so ready for a new wildcat

Well…I guess the otter didn’t know about the new wildcat. It would seem that he has gained some otter friends too, possibly to balance out the afore mentioned wildcat. Everyone seems to have gin and tonic though so I think the honesty went well!

Mind you…I have a feeling the otter left me in the end…

It does feel better when you are my friend
It was ok to go back in time for a while
I am sure it would be nice to see the otter

 

Found Poetry pt 1

I have discovered and rapidly become obessed with found poetry. If you aren’t aware of found poetry, it is using words and phrases you find in certain placecs to make a poem. This is how wikipedia describes it:

Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry (a literaryequivalent of a collage) by making changes in spacing and lines, or by adding or deleting text, thus imparting new meaning.”

This whole voyage of discovery came out of a conversation with the lovely Lucy from  PorterGirl about auto correct and predictive text. So for my first venture into found poetry I decided to use only the words suggested by my phone’s predictive text:

I am not sure if it is true or not
I am not sure if I am a good person
Saturday nights are the best things ever

I am not sure if I should be honest with this
Yes I am sure that I am not sure
The idea of the gin is not a bad thing

Yes I thought you had to be honest with me
It does not work for the people who don’t know
Yes yes indeed yes

Which is interesting and not just random word salad so that is a start…

My second attempt went like this:

Yes there was an option for a small gin
Yes It was good fun, there was a lot of good stuff
It should probably have been more sensible than it was

Yes I do have some sort of food
Yes it does seem like that would be quite tricky
It was ok but that was meant for your mind

Well…I see a gin theme developing here, and to be honest the line:
“It should probably have been more sensible than it was”
probably sums up my whole life!

I liked the repetition in the startign words, so I continued this for my third attempt:

I am just leaving work for a while
I am just so happy to see it again
If it doesn’t happen again it should

I am just not surprised at all
I am not going on anything else
If you had been a little more sensible then she would have been a better person

I could see by this point that my predicitive text with no direction was startign to come up with the same words, so I decided to see what it would do if I gave it some help…

So I gave it the letter M…literally that is all…

Manipulation is not very much fun
It hurts me to think about it but you never know what I mean
It was a very small thing but it certainly was meant to be hurtful
It does nothing for me and my mind

Well…me and my mind are not sure about that one…

I quite like it though!

I also quite like this form of poetry, and am inspired to try some more found poetry method. I have seen examples made from words taken from book pages or magazine pages, or adverts…

I feel some experimentation coming on!

found_poems_jpg.jpg

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