We have them for a reason.

My friends, I've come a very long way since we last met. My life has changed in ways that I never would have guessed back in June, when I was griping about giving up control. I've learned the hard way that sometimes you have no control and you have to deal with it. It's a hard and fast rule of life, and I've come face to face with it and kept going. So let's move on, shall we? I have acquired much in the last month and a half. A new last name (a GREAT last name!), a wonderful husband (yeah!), lots of Fiestaware (melt.), guilt of not having my thank you notes done yet, etc... But I've also acquired an awareness of my body that I never had before, as well as an appreciation and complete reverence for my internal instincts. That sounds odd - but let me explain before you write me off.

Instincts. We ALL have them. It's what makes us stop short of falling flat on our faces. Or what makes us feel the need to call a friend at just the right moment. Or how to react and assist in a chaotic situation. And I have learned that sometimes our instincts tell us things that seem really huge and scary, and when we voice them, and are told by someone that it isn't what we think it is, we can squelch our instincts.

Let me tell you - I'm not doing that again. This summer I had strange pains in my legs, and my little brain told me "maybe a blood clot???" But when I told a doctor that, he dismissed it, but gave me testing to appease me, which they didn't do very well at all.

Fast forward to three days after my wedding. I was supposed to be reveling in my new marriage and beginning a new chapter of my life. But I couldn't breathe, and I was coughing like an old smoker constantly. Not the sweetest and loveliest way to start off as a Mrs... And then came one of the scariest moments of my entire life, and I am not exaggerating this fact - I passed out. It was so frightening when I came to (totally unharmed, thank God), and realized what was happening. That led to the emergency room, which led to a CT-scan, which lead to the fact that I had a BUNCH of blood clots in my lungs. And I had 10% lung function.

Ummm... WHAT? My response to the diagnoses? I turned to my brand new husband and half-shouted, with an oxygen mask on, "I KNEW IT!". Because I did. My body told me what it was, and the part of rational Mandy wanted to squash irrational Mandy before she got out of control, which is easy for her to do.

My goal of this post is not to have a pity party and tell you guys my whole saga... I am alive, I am doing well, I am happily married, and back to work. :) Things could have been better, and now they are. Ta da!

My point is to say that we were given instincts by whomever you choose to believe made us for a REASON. And I can tell you, without hesitation, that I have a new-found respect for these instincts that we are so awesomely equipped with. I beg of you to trust your instincts. I know that not every situation will be resolved by following them. And I know that not every situation where they kick in will be DEFCON 5. But we owe it to ourselves to feel that it is ok to rely on what we hear in our hearts. So often in this world we squash down what we hear inside of us because the outside is telling us otherwise. We are torn between compassionately caring for ourselves, and not being selfish and focusing on others. Do not get my wrong at ALL -- focusing on, and being there for others is a privilege and honor that we are so lucky to have. But in order to properly do this, we HAVE to focus on ourselves first. If our eyesight is blurry in the first place, there is no way we will be able to take a photo of someone else that is in focus. So please do not squelch your instincts when they kick in. They can save your life, your relationships, your sanity. They can just plain save YOU.

I'm learning how to pace myself. I'm learning how to ask for help. I'm learning to be honest when someone genuinely asking me how I am doing. And I am learning just how amazing this life is -- and how I have somehow managed to land in the center of the most wonderful and kind people that my life is filled with. It makes me so happy to know that now that I am listening to what my own heart is telling me, that I can finally, truly tune into some of their hearts, and be an asset to them.

Remember. We have our instincts for a reason. Don't let them be diminished, or go to waste. They are some of the most awe-inspiring parts of us as a human race. And we each get our own set -- so we don't have to share. :) It's okay to be a little selfish with SOME things...

Until next time, my friends...

...mandylightfully yours...