Monday Dare: 1/10/02

Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. You can click on the link if you’d like to see the complete list of Monday Dares or learn more about its origin.

This week: Keep moving forward. 

At the age of 21, I made two decisions that profoundly impacted my life. One, I committed to stop living on welfare. And two, I decided to move to California.

I saved enough money for two airplane tickets by pushing fancy lotions and sprays at Crabtree & Evelyn. Since proper luggage would eat up most of the $300 I had left, I bought two plastic tubs at Target, crammed them full of clothing and blankets, and wrapped them securely with bungee cords. BAM. Homettes gittin’ creative. 

When we arrived in Los Angeles, I used one tub as a desk, and Cal used the other as a makeshift playhouse. Please don’t give me shit about letting my kid play in a plastic tub. I removed the lid, laid it on its side, and used a Sharpie to draw two windows and a door. Oh, and a sun. I think *that* gave it a little “something extra.” BAM. Homettes gittin’ creative. 

We had no couch, no real bed, and no dining table. Just a pile of blankets we unfolded every night as our bed, my makeshift desk, and a breakfast tray I pulled out for meals.

The first piece of furniture I proudly purchased was a small dresser from IKEA. I didn’t own any tools, so I used the handle of a hairbrush as a hammer and a nail file as my screwdriver. BAM. Homettes gittin’ creative. 

Lacking marketable skills, my two employment opportunities came down to selling more lotions and potions at a local beauty emporium for minimum wage or stripping. I chose the former option, but I would be lying to you if I didn’t admit that I gave the second option some serious thought.

At each turn, I thought to myself, “This just isn’t the right time. I should be better prepared. I’ll wait. I’ll wait.” I wanted to wait to get off welfare. I wanted to wait to move to California. But I didn’t. Instead, I just kept pushing forward. And I’m glad I did. During a few especially rough weeks, I thought about applying for public assistance again. Once, I got as far as locating a welfare office and gathering all the necessary documents to apply. In the end, I decided I’d rather be hungry and independent, than slightly less hungry and dependent.

Tomorrow is the 10-year anniversary of my move to Los Angeles. This city has loved me and hated me and coddled me and pushed me the fuck around. I’m using this week to reassess, prioritize, and keep moving forward.

What I realize now is that there is never a perfect time, never a “right” time to do anything. You just have to keep moving forward. It can be incredibly scary at times, because the trail you blaze for yourself is often dimly lit and full of things that go bump in the night. Sometimes, you get to where you think you wanted to go and fuck shit damn, it’s not where you wanted to be. That’s okay. Keep moving forward.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken?

P.S. THANK YOU SO MUCH for all of the kind words on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page during The Moment Giveaway. Christopher Fan, Carla Smith Pearson, and Kristine Kastner Santiago, please email me at flourishinprogress at gmail dot com with your mailing address.
image via pinterest

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  • JeanneMcCullough

    That post is just what I needed to hear right now.  Thanks so much :-)

    • Laura


      • lisa from insignificant @ best

        I ditto the ditto

        • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

          Dope to the dittos. Wait…does that makes sense at all? 

  • Chelsi @ Delighted

    Your story is really powerful. I know it is uncomfortable to share stories like this. Thanks. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I ain’t gonna lie….I refrained from reading it for a whole day after posting. ;) Thanks for the kindness.

  • LA

    I guess my biggest risk was moving out of my mom’s house. I was in a serious comfort zone. Crappy job, crappy car, crazy mom. But it was what I new. I pushed on though.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      And I’m so very glad you did. Cuz….look at you now!!!!

  • Random- The High End Hobo

    First: fist bump on the creativity.  Honestly, if you’d botten Cal a real play house, she would have just played in the box anyway.  So really, you were just being environmentally conscious and skipping the middle man.

    Second: I decided I’d never be a stripper when I realized that I woudl hate for my brother to walk in while I was hanging from a pole by my ankles because then I’d fall off, hit my head, and die of blunt force trauma (yes, I had been watching CSI when I decided this).

    Third: I don’t think I’ve ever taken any big risks.  Sad panda face…..

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I would definitely have been relegated to floor work. I’m not coordinated enough to be on a pole. ;) 

      Girl, you may not have taken any big risks, but you sure have accomplished a lot!!!

  • Brittany Rae Olson

    Congrats!  Sometimes it is hard to move forward but the end result is (usually) awesome. 
    And its a very encouraging post.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Thank you!

      I’m prone to laziness, so yes, moving forward it super hard sometimes. 

  • Zed

    You were brave then, and you are brave now by sharing your story. Well done for coming such along way and doing by yourself! Kudos!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I don’t know that I’ve ever been called brave before. haha. Thank you!

  • carrien-she laughs at the days

    For the record? You would have probably made an awesome stripper.

    This post makes me so very proud of you. :)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      The seed has been planted. Hmmmmm…..=P

      Thank you dearly, FBE.

  • Shannon

    Are you a mind reader? Did you know that I totally needed to hear this today? Sometimes it’s hard to remember all the amazing things we conquer throughout our lives. How much stronger those challenges made us. If we didn’t keep moving, where would we be now? I would probably be living in my parents basement. Yuck. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Yay. Glad I was able to return the favor. =) On days when I needed it most, I have stumbled on a blog that has told me exactly what I had to hear. 

      NO bueno on the parents basement thing. Unless it has a pool table. 

  • Ames

    I just love reading your blog. it’s raw, real and honest. thanks for sharing your stories, always funny and motivational. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      *fist bump* thank you thank you thank you

  • ames

    I just love reading your blog. it’s raw, real and honest. thanks for sharing your stories, always funny and motivational. 

  • Miss Annie V.

    Love this post and love that you had the testicular fortitude to venture into the unknown and rock it!  The timing is phenomenal as I’m on the cusp of taking one of the largest risks in my wee life to date. For all my pre-breeding gypsy-ness, I always skipped state to relatively “safe” destinations…. I knew someone, or had a job connection – basically a PLAN. Not this time, and now I have a family in tow, so it should prove interesting (and I’m hoping not utterly catastrophic!)… but ya give me hope and courage, Beautiful Lady, and I thank you immensely for that! Fingers crossed! :D 

    • Sarah Wight

      I love that you said “testicular fortitude” in that sentence. Bah!

      • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

        LOL. That was my exact first thought too.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      You had me at testicular fortitude. 

      Fingers crossed and positive thoughts for you!! I hope that everything works out. No, I don’t hope….I KNOW it will be just fabulous. =)

  • ThePishPosh

    Thank you, this is so inspiring. I am considering making a big change, something I really need to do, and want to do, but is scary, especially in this economy. Everyone keeps saying just take a risk, I’ll be fine, things will work out. Everyone is basically screaming at me to “just jump!” and I am excited because I think I’m going to do it. The hardest thing I’ve done in my past, the biggest risks, include moving to Europe and leaving an abusive relationship. Both were awful, and both were the best decisions I’ve ever made.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      DO IT!!!! How exciting. Ok, maybe a smidge scary, but aren’t most things that turn out ridiculously fantastic a little scary in the beginning? Well, except for that time I tried to use a shitload of super glue in a non-ventilated room to make magnets. That was scary and stupid. 

      I’m happy you got the hell away from that abusive mofo. 

  • Mel

    That last paragraph got me choked up.

    The biggest risk I took was moving with my mom from Jakarta to L.A. ten years ago (same year you moved, but only a few months later). I had the option of staying in Jakarta with my aunt, but I couldn’t imagine parting with my mom, so I followed. My ten-year-old self at the time couldn’t grasp the gravity of the risk I took, and I think that was a good thing. 

    Ten years later, we’re not in a place we imagined. I still don’t know if I’m entirely glad that we moved here. I just know that the move has led me to self-discoveries that I would not trade for anything and to people whom I love fiercely. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Whoa. Both you AND your mom were ballsy to make the move. I know when my parents immigrated from Korea, my mom knew very little English (she still doesn’t) and didn’t know how she was going to assimilate. 

      Each turn takes us one step closer to something. Just wish we could figure out what that something is more easily. =)

      • Mel

        Knowing what I know about your life story, you’re one of the ballsiest people I know.

        When I think of you and how your life has turned out, it gives me hope.

        • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

          You crossed my mind today. I was in Westwood Village eating at Corner Bakery and I was all….”I wonder if Mel ever has lunch here?” Uh, that makes me sound like a stalker.

  • wjroberts

    AWESOME post! Biggest risk I took was to kick out my %$#@! ex when I had 4 kids to support. Hands down the best decision I ever made but, hell yes, the scariest.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      That is big pimpin. When they gotta go, THEY GOTTA GO. Kudos to you. 

  • Sarah

    The most recent really scary thing I’ve done is pack up our house and move it, myself and our cats cross country. All while my husband was already across the country.

    I’ve done a lot of scary things and I’ve figured a few things out.

    1. Everything will work out fine (no matter how scary it is) because there is a solution, always.
    2. I can do anything I set my mind too. It may not go exactly how I planned or how I thought it would but I will accomplish my goal.
    3. People will help you if you just ask, even if it’s figuring out what the next step to take is.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      It took me a long long time to feel comfortable with #3. I thought it might be a sign of weakness or admitting defeat, but really that’s not the case at all. If I didn’t get the help I got when I needed it most, I just wouldn’t be here today. And I’m happy to hear that folks reached out a helping hand when you needed it. Because you deserve it. All of it. 

      • Sarah

        It took me a while too. In fact I down right resisted it at first. I would tell people over and over I didn’t need any help, until I realized I wasn’t the worst person in the world when I couldn’t do it all myself.

        I think the best thing is when we all learn the balancing act of give and take. It’s something I want to teach my children (when I have them) because I think that there is a definite strength when we show we are weak.

        I’m glad someone was there for you. If I would have met you back then I’m pretty sure I would have been standing right along side all the people that helped you. 

        xo babe.

        • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

          I feel like in this friendship…you’ve done a lot of the giving and I’ve done a lot of the taking. Hope to even it out. =)

          • Sarah

            That’s so sweet of you to say. :)

            And I’m pretty good at giving and really bad at taking.  You’ve given me plenty babe and it’s really cool that we have this friendship.

          • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

            Are you all settled in?

  • Woolly

    love the post.  very inspirational, and it shows you are one strong sonofa

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      …bitch? lol. thank you. =)

  • mommyonthespot

    Beautifully said!  And so true.  You should also be so very proud of yourself.  I know I am!

    My biggest risk was not actually leaving my teaching career to become a stay-at-home mom, but bravely telling people that I am trying to find a new career as a writer while still being a stay-at-home mom. 

    People ask why would I walk away from it all, even with a masters degree.  Like you said, . . . “fuck shit damn, it’s not where you wanted to be.”

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      a-fucking-men. sometimes, we accomplish a lot…a lot of what we thought we wanted, and then we decide we need and want something else. which is perfectly A-OK. You should yell that shit loud and proud…you ARE a writer. xo.

  • Carrie – Cannibalistic Nerd

    I loved this. I have a hard time just moving forward – I’m a planner and always foresee potential obstacles – which hinder movement. I need to just make a move more often.

    And there’s still time for you to start stripping.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Right?! I did discuss it with Harv the other day. He was against it. I can’t imagine why. =)

      Just do it. And if it doesn’t work out, you can totally blame me.

  • Misty

    Damn, girl.  You are one ballsy mofo.  And definitely a creative Homette!  I aplaud your fortitude and your strength to not take a hand out and make it on your own, especially with a young child completely dependant on your  ability to keep her alive.  Brava to you. 

    I think probably the most scary thing I ever did in my life was have my babies.  I never wanted kids, am not the nurturing mom type, and thought that I might be destroying and creating little lives at the same time because I was gonna be the worst. mom. ever!  But I have survived and become a whole different person because I took that frightfully scary step all those years ago.  I am a better person, and a pretty darn good mom, even though I am still not exactly the nurturing type. 

    Thanks for the story.  You are an inspiration.

    Oh, and I really really wanted a book, but because of the anonymity thing, I couldn’t do it.  Sad.  But I just didn’t want you to think I didn’t love you or anything.  I desperately wanna read your story!!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Thank you for the kindness. 

      Before I had Cal, I was pretty sure I never wanted to have kids. Or wait until much much much later at least! But she has shown me how to feel things I didn’t know were possible, and quite frankly, that kid has saved me from myself. 

      I KNOW you’re a good mama. And a funny one too. =) xoxo. 

  • Corrine

    I applaud your incredible courage! It’s no wonder you make such a good gangster, you seriously are one tough homette!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Takes one to know one, homette!! Thanks for always being so supportive. 

  • Chris Fan

    Fuck yes, I win!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Yes. You did. But mostly, I won because you gave me the tools to get to this very point. Thank you.

  • jen

    Love this post!  
    And packing it up and making it in LA? RESPECT. My biggest risk was packing up and moving to Greece when I was 19.  I transferred universities, graduated there and have lived in 2 other countries since then.  I’ve never looked back but it could all have gone so horribly wrong!  

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      That is just DOPE. And incredibly BALLSY. Safe travels, friend. I hope every place you land is full of amazing adventures. The good kind. =)

  • Ann

    Kudos to you. You should be very proud of yourself. This is quite an inspiring story. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Aw, thank you, A!!! I think I my sheer ignorance helped me out quite a bit though. =)

  • Bettiegblogs

    Awesome post, I know how it feels to have no way put and to just keep pushing forward to the things your want. Sometimes taking a chance is the scariest thing out there.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Amen. Sometimes, you just get backed into that corner and you have to push out. Not always fun, but so worth it most of the time. 

  • Lynellekw

    I’ve often been grateful that I was never in the position of choosing between selling lotions & stripping.  Cause I can’t sell, and although a friend once told me I’d be a great stripper I still don’t think it’s a fulfilling occupation.  Plus I’d never be able to tell my mother that’s how I paid the bills.

    I couldn’t honestly say I take a lot of risks.  I insisted on moving out of home to go to Uni – my mother wanted me to stay at home & do a book-keeping apprenticeship.  In retrospect, it might have been a good choice, but I’m still glad I did what I did, even if I don’t work in the field I trained for.  Actually, that was a bit of a risk in itself – I could have just pushed myself into getting a job in the field I trained for, even though I hated doing it.  Every now & then, when I realise how much more I’d be getting paid, I wonder if it was the right choice to make.  But then I look at job ads and feel a deep sense of relief that I do the work I do instead, and that I have a husband who tells me that my mother doesn’t get to tell me how to spend my money OR how to earn it!

    That’s another thing I’m glad of – I married at age 23, which seems young but I’m glad I did it & I’m glad it worked out! (I never would have heard the end of it from my mother if it didn’t)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I really like that husband of yours. The encouragement that comes from the people we choose as our partners is so fucking priceless. He’s a gem. 

      We decide how we earn it AND how we spend it. I like that. A lot. 

      Good thing I didn’t become a stripper. Probably woulda owed more than I made. 

  • Mrs. One Day

    As usual you’ve gotten in my head and said what I was thinking. You should be extremely proud of yourself for what you have accomplished and for having a spirit about you of self reliance and courage. 

    I’ll remember this post and challenge myself to keep going forward. Thank you for that.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Thank you dearly. I think it was just young person stupidity rather than courage. =)

      • Lynellekw

        Sometimes they’re hard to tell apart.  You decide whether it was courage or stupidity later on, based on the outcome!

        • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

          PERFECTLY SAID. Although, haha, in my case, it turns out to be the stupidity. 

  • Little Miss Uncensored

    I’m so glad you decided against becoming a stripper.  I don’t think they’d allow you to do the sexy, naked dance in flip flops.

    Also, great idea in adding the sun.  I would have given you shit had you drawn something stupid like a pony flying over a rainbow on it.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      HAHA. And the flip flops would have been non-negotiable in my book. 

      I’ll be sure to include a pony flying over a rainbow in any written correspondence to you from now on. You KNOW you like that shit secretly.

  • Amy Bradley-Hole

    You are awesome. I needed this.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      *You* are awesome. And foul-mouthed. And funny. Winning trifecta.

  • Bill-The Authentic Life

    Look how far you’ve come and you did it by yourself! Congratulations! The biggest risk I took was deciding to live and risk losing all that I had ever known. Without big risks there can be no big rewards.

    Look how far we have both come!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I had a LOT of help along the way. Thank God for good friends. I even thank God for the half-ass friends. =)

      I’m glad you risked it all. CUZ LOOK AT YOU NOW. 

  • Amanda

    Damn, Homette!  You are one strong chick!  I never considered stripping because I can’t stand the thought of strangers touching me.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Oh. Now that you mention it, I can’t stand that shit either. Hmmmmm……perhaps a wise choice was made. 

  • Lalab

    Your clarity and strength really impresses me. You lead by example, your kid is lucky to have you as an example to follow.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress


      thanks you kindly.

  • Lance Lankford

    I moved from Chicago to a town of 800 people in the-middle-of- nowhere, New Hampshire (I know, that’s kind of redundant)
    to work for an artist who’s work I really admire. Turns out she’s way narcissistic but the town is amazing! I’m their first out ‘mo, the best singer in town, and subscribe to Bette Midler’s philosophy–“Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke!” I’ve turned my self-censor off, learned about trees and nature and shit and have been having a ball (when not at work)   I even got one of our town officials to start reading your blog and follow you on FB.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I have only had the fortune of going to one town in NH (Nashua) but that shit was a blast…all nature-y and shit and the whole no tax on anything was a real ball. Is that still the case? I want to give you a megajillion fist bumps for turning an Official Person onto the blog. My shout outs to the both of you. 

      P.S. I want to hear you sing. 

  • Kelli Marks

    Obviously, I’m doing the most difficult thing I’ve ever done (so far)- opening this bakery. And I’m days away. I walked out tonight and thought, “Oh My God. I’m a business owner. I have no clue what I’m doing.” You’d think an MBA would prepare you for this, but it really doesn’t. 
    Congrats on the ten years. I wish everyone who was on assistance thought like you. It should be there when you fall on hard times, but you should ditch it when you get back up. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I’m glad you talked about it, because I made myself a promise not to ask until you brought it up ;)

      It’s going to rock so hard. I’ve already tasted the goods and I can say without any doubt that them peeps wont be able to stop themselves from coming back. 

  • Miranda Kaye

    Wow, I totally needed that last paragraph. :) Thank you!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I’m so proud of all the amazing things that are going on in your life. 

  • Tanya Doyle

    I just found your blog…what a great post to start off our relationship with.  Congratulations on your ten year mark!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Welcome!!! And thank you for the kindness!

  • Brittany

    Damn, girl.



    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Girl, THANK. YOU. TONS.

  • Brett Minor

    I have absolutely no problem taking risks. My weakness is in the lack of thought I put into my decisions. I am willing to take on anything, despite the obvious reasons not to. It rarely works in my favor, BUT I have done a lot of things.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Whoa. Same here. All day, every day. I just do things…and then I think about it. =)

  • chemegirljaime

    going back to school

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      And knowing that commute, this ain’t a easy feat, my friend!

  • Noa

    I’m always fascinated and proud of what a badass you are. You get. shit. done. better than anyone I know. Glad to call you a friend.

    Biggest risk I’ve taken was when I quit my job to do comedy–I had my marriage, my life, and my self-worth tied into that decision. It’s not been easy, but goddamn I’m glad I did it. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Yo, no way, the shit you get done is tremendous. The shit I get done is horrendous. Huge difference. You win. 

      I’m goddamn glad you’re doing comedy too. Also, my abs thank you. I laugh a lot, which has given it the more toned definition I’ve always wanted. 

  • Lisa Kolbe

    Biggest risk i ever took was separating from my husband and focusing on my daughter and me for a change. I am in school now. Its hard as hell but I am glad i did it. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      That’s fucking hugely awesome. I am in deep admiration of you and the balls it took for you to take that risk. GO YOU.

      • Lisa Kolbe

        Thank you <3 

  • RaeAnn

    Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU.

    You probably couldn’t believe that I’m at this point of crossroad right now. Your advice couldn’t have come even more right on time.

    That’s why, Liz, you’re so inspirational…and such a popular blogger!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      girlfriend, i hope everything works out for you. You’re so smart, I know you will make the choice that is best for you, the one that will make you the happiest in the long run. You got this, girl. You can do it. 

  • Amy T

    My biggest risk? Nothing close to what you had to do. Probably going to a college in a state no one in my family had thought of on the opposite side of the Mississippi. Other than that? Nothing.

    Oh, well, there was that time I robbed a bank. And got away with it. But other than that…

    I lead a rather dull life.

    But this may be my favorite post. Wanna know why? Because it proves to me that you are one strong lady (granted, I already knew this, but it just reiterates the point). Love it. Love you. And I still have that baseball bat if needed. :)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      That is huge. And admirable. You went. You saw the other side of the Mississippi. You conquered. That’s a pretty big deal.

      And not getting caught for a crime. THAT’S FUCKING GINORMOUS. ;) Gotta fill me in on your tricks, girl. Just in case. 

      Love it that you’re always so supportive and kind. Love you for being so awesome. Keep the bat handy.  

  • Roo {NiceGirlNotes}

    Go ahead, Elizabeth.  You’re an inspiration.  xo

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      You go on with your bad self, east coast affiliate. 

  • Mari

    Aside from cracking me up with your post and making my day that much brighter, here we find out that you’re such an inspiration!!! 

    We’re all (if you hadn’t noticed) very proud of you and I’m sure your lil one is too :)


    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      God, I’m glad I make ONE person laugh. I know no one in this house thinks I’m worth a chuckle. =)

      Thank you so so very much. Cal is proud when she isn’t embarrassed. Which is most of the time. 

  • Jenniferjune

    So close to home…
    28 years old packed up a three year old, a four year old and a 7 year old (all mine – no kidnapping involved) and moved across the country with nothing but the clothes on our backs and a welfare check  in my wallet.
    Thank you for your courage.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      You are Amazing. And I’m glad there was no kidnapping involved. ;)

      It takes a lot of courage to do whatchu gotta do, yes? I know you are an inspiration to the people in your life. I just hope they have the good sense to tell you that. 

  • Jaimee Hunter

    Biggest risk? I moved to NYC from Texas in 1999 to follow a job. I moved back to Texas 8 months later without a job. Too f-ing cold up there!

    Nevertheless, thank you for your message today. I needed that reminder to keep moving forward. Big hug, homette!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Ah, once you have those 120 degree summers, those blustery falls seems fucking nippy as shit. I had the same experience when I moved to Boston for a short while. 

      Keep moving forward, J, keep moving forward. xo

  • LessThanKate

    You? Are amazing. Thank you for sharing this. I am so proud of you, despite the fact I’ve never met you – but I truly feel like I’ve “gotten to know you” through reading all your blogs!

    The hardest thing I had to do was move back to Iowa. My parents pretty much made me do it due to the life choices I was making then, but it was, by far, the best thing for me. I think the second hardest was leaving graduate school. I had made this plan for myself – which included graduating from graduate school. And I am a MAJOR planner. But a month into graduate school and research, I decided I had made the wrong decision. The worst part was that I had just graduated with my B.S. and everyone I knew had asked “what are you doing next?” and I had been so proud to say I was going on to graduate school and had gotten a paid research position. Then, a couple months later, when everyone asked me about it, I had to admit that I had dropped out. I do have a job now that I love, and I am so much happier that I didn’t go to graduate school since looking back I’m not sure it was even in a field I’d actually like to work in, but admitting that you made the wrong choice and changing your path is always difficult. But, if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to get a full time job and buy a house – which is one of my greatest accomplishments in life so far. : )

    Gangsta love to you. You are an inspiration to a whole shit load of other awesome people who just need to hear that things will work out in the end.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Admitting you went down the wrong path and then doing something about it is just about the fucking hardest thing anyone ever has to do. It takes guts and courage and strength and maybe a little wine. But that may just be me. =)

      Sista, I’m glad you did what you did. It brought you to where you are now. Grad school? A blip on the radar. All these wonderful joys in your life now are the direct result of you taking life by the balls and owning it. You did it. You made it happen. That makes me proud to know you. 

  • wickedopinion74

    Yep. I did this and then my life exploded like violent diarrhea. I’m still cleaning up the mess but I wouldn’t change it for anything. Thanks for the reminder to keep on truckin’. You da bomb, bitch. (Uh, I mean that in the nicest way possible :D)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I think it’s pretty fucking fabulous when we look back on the choices and messes we’ve made and know that we wouldn’t change it for the world because it’s made us who we were meant to become. 

  • k8a

    Strength, humor, and character.  Winning combination that means homette can achieve anything homette wants.  I like you all the more.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I like generous people. I like kind people. You are a double whammy. 

  • Claire Lopez

    Wooohoooo! Congratulations on staying true to yourself. I think speaking my truth and being ME 100% is the scariest thing I do every day. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I would love to work up to where you are at right now. I am afraid to be me a lot. And speaking my truth on a daily basis….that would just…rock my world. 

  • Fred

    This post is exactly what I needed to hear right now.  Thank you! x  

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Keep moving forward, Fred. xoxo. 

  • Shannoncolleary

    Happy 2012 young lady.  Every time I read you I think, “How come I never get bored of reading her.”  It is because A. you curse, B. you’re funny-as-all-git-out, C. you’re always gittin’ creative and D. you are encouraging.  Now I’m off to do something I don’t want to do.  But need to do. xo

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      You are so big pimpin…conquering your demons and writing that book. Thanks for your unwavering support. 

  • Becca (aka SMC)

    The biggest risk I ever took was not going back home. My dad kicked me out of the house when I was 20 for coming home at 11:10 and not 11:00. He literally changed the locks on the door and told me to stay somewhere else. A few days later he asked me to come back home. I refused. It was the hardest but best thing I have ever done for myself. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Wow. I didn’t know this about you B. That must have been difficult, but you made a choice and you stuck with it and…well, frankly, I’ve come to expect less than conviction and bravery from you, sis. 

      • Becca (aka SMC)

        so are you complimenting me or calling me a coward here? hahah I can’t really tell.

        • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

          Well, that depends. Are you going to kick my ass if I call you a coward?;)

          A total compliment.

          • Becca (aka SMC)

            Me kick your ass? Oh Hell NO, I’m fucking terrified of your gang! :)

          • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

            But….aren’t we in the same gang. AND the same circus school?

          • Becca (aka SMC)

            oh you do have a point there… or maybe what I’m really trying to say is I’m also scared of myself too…

          • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

            Well, if we’re being honest here, I’m scared of you too. Anyone that can almost die at the mall….I’m just thinking what it would be like if you and I were to hang out in someplace more dangerous like…Vegas. I mean, can you imagine????=)

          • Becca (aka SMC)

            i’d come back with a broken leg… you’d have a lot explaining to do to the hubs….

          • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

            Are you okay being a cripple? B/C I’m okay explaining. 

          • Becca (aka SMC)

            For vegas I can totally be a cripple

          • Becca (aka SMC)

            For Vegas… I can handle being a cripple

  • lisa from insignificant @ best

    I think it’s funny that you claim you have no marketable skills.  But you MacGyver’d the shit outta those plastic bins.  That alone is worth something.  Plus you have an inner strength that I don’t think you even realize you have.  I mean while I’m sad I can’t watch you “shake that ass” as a stripper, you definitely picked the harder more honorable route.  Good for you sista!  *fist bump*

    P.S. You’re lucky I love you enough to continue commenting on your blog…seeing how I wasn’t picked to win your book.  I demand a recount!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Yo, I will take ANY comparison to MacGyver ANY day. Hey, if I ever decide to do an amateur night, you’ll be the first to know. =)

      P.S. LOL. Shit. better go check the hanging chads. 

  • JazmynK

    I just withdrew from my first college after 3 semesters. I’m not dropping out, more like taking a semester off (something I still can’t grasp) and transferring to a school here at home in Chicago. The craziness behind that decision would be a whole blog post, but it was the first big decision I’ve made without outside influence. I’m here looking for a job and waiting for college responses, afraid that everything is going to fall through the roof. Thanks for your story. If you can do that, I’m sure I can do this okay. You’re such a boss. :)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Good luck to you. You are not only going to be okay, you’re going to be fucking fabulous. Making a decision without outside influence (especially the first one!!) can be so tough…I wavered for a long time the first time I had to do it….but after I made my choice, I just knew it was the right thing for me. It sounds like you feel the same way. =)

  • Andi

    You are amazing!  I’ve made some tough choices, but most of them were before I had kids.  I’m not sure I’d have the balls to make the same choices WITH kids.  

    I’ve taken risks but all of my moves involved some kind of back up plan except one: I was living in OC and barely making it on a crappy retail salary and I opted to pick up, move back to LA and go back to a job that I used to love.  I actually got only a verbal confirmation that I could come back, put an apartment on my credit card, and moved in over the weekend.  Come Monday, I struggled with the bus system to get to the office, took the wrong bus and had to walk about a mile, got there only to find that the woman I was supposed to speak with was out for the day, and cried all the way home from sheer terror.  Everything worked out swimmingly, but it’s probably a good thing I was too young to really think about the risks I was taking.  

    I also risked my (at the time) 6 months relationship with the guy who became the Hubs.  He drove back and forth between OC and LA for a year and a half while we dated, got engaged, and planned our wedding.  Now that’s devotion!  

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      WHAT A GUY. Assholes are plentiful, but the gems are so far and few in between. He prolly knew what a keeper you were. =)

      That was totally a risk worth taking…giving up what you knew wasn’t working for something awesome. Still scary though. Happy to hear you didn’t let a little ugly thing like fear stand in the way. 

    • you gotsars!

      Thanks…. you are pushing me forward.

  • Angie Uncovered

    I did exactly what you did a couple of times! Well except the lotions and potions and I was about to jump ship and do it again in a couple of months. It’s so frightening and so exciting at the same time. Right now I feel the biggest risk is staying put (if only for my sanity), but just as in the past… I will do what I need to do to make a better life for my kids. 

    I am not old enough to be your mom, but I’m proud of you! 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I’m proud of you for bringing the funny and always, always taking a positive, humorous approach to things. It is so very obvious that you put the kids first and I can’t even begin to tell you how much respect I have for you. 

  • Princessreview

    Wow, moving across country to a strange city without any idea of what you would do when you arrived?  Yes, very brave of you!

    The riskiest thing I ever did was walk out ouf an unhappy marriage.  I was on my own for the first time in 12 years and at first even something as simple as getting groceries home was overwhelming.  It’s been 4.5 years and I still struggle with some things but the way you did it is the only way…just keep moving forward!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Major, mahor fist bumps to you for having the courage to leave. My mom stayed for a long time…maybe ten years longer than she should have. I wish she would have made the choice to seek out peace and happiness instead of staying out of fear or obligation. 

  • Jen

    Four years ago I was a stay-at-home mom with 5 year old twins and no marketable job skills.  I was also married to an incredibly controlling and abusive man who denied me any freedom, income, or contact with friends and family.  One night when I confronted him with his latest affair he threw me up against the kitchen cabinets and stormed out.  I had to wake up my sleeping children and strap them into their car seats as I drove myself to the hospital with a towel pressed to my head to get seven stitches put in my scalp.  That night I took the greatest risk of my life.  The boys and I left the hospital with the clothes on our backs and $12.73 in my pocket and we never looked back.  We started out living with my sister, then my parents for a while until I got on my feet.  I then discovered an amazing women’s organization that funded my graduate school tuition and I was able to start a new life.  Today my boys are happy, healthy 9 year olds, I have an amazing career and am currently working on my PhD.  Most importantly, I am now surrounded by like-minded strong, confident and hilarious women and my children have a mother who is happy, vibrant, and alive.  :)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I feel fortunate just to KNOW you right now and call you my friend. How fucking awesome that you looked fear and uncertainly right in the ugly face and told it to shove it. You deserve every single happiness. 

      • Jen

        Liz, I love you and Misty so much there are no words.  It was not a pretty battle, but in the immortal words of the great pop music icon turned country music sell-out Darius Rucker: “Thank God for all I missed, ‘cuz it led me straight to this”.  My mom loves to say ‘you don’t KNOW these people on the web; they aren’t FRIENDS’.  You know what?  You guys spill your souls to me and allow me to do so in return so if that isn’t fiendship, I don’t know what is.  ((*fist bumps*)) This goes out to all of my survivin’ sisters out there who are looking at a dark tunnel…there IS a light at the end, you just have to believe.

        • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

          I think y’all know a LOT more about me than most of the peeps I eat lunch with on a regular basis. fist bumps all around, you fabulous bitches. 

          • Misty

            Ditto.  Even holding a lot of personal stuff back for anonymity’s sake, I have shared more with y’all than most of my “real friends” know about me.  You are all fab friends.  Fist bumps right back atcha!!

          • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

            Oh, P.S., so glad you got a FB page. 

    • Misty

      You are amazing. I am in awe of your strength. Like Liz, I am honored to be your friend. You rock, sistah!

    • you gotsars!

      I have only three words… You fucking rule!

  • FearlessFibro

    I’ve not felt very funny lately, or chatty, or even into hearing other people’s funnyness, which usually fuels me. So it was nice to see, under my list of “shit I need to read”, another serious post, that made me think.
    The bravest thing I have done has been recently realized. I gathered up all available cash and courage, and got a second opinion about my health.
    And I will be doing more brave things in the very near future-but it’s important to remember not everyone is going through what I’m going through right now-but everyone struggles. And each person’s struggle is just as real as the next one.
    Thank you. I needed to read you today, and be reminded that it’s okay to be funny and silly, even in the face of a powerful shit storm.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Two thumbs up for second opinions. I hope you received new information, new HELPFUL information that is, and it brought you some additional comfort. Hugs to you. Keep moving forward. 

      It takes a pretty whole person to acknowledge that all people go through struggles. Honestly, sometimes, I forget this because I am so wrapped up in my own so I want to thank you for this very important reminder. 

  • Karin

    Second story I’ve read today about the struggle to climb out of the downward spiral. Too many of us have similar stories. Too many people struggle just to feed and clothe their families. 

    I am so glad to know that some of these stories have happy endings. :)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      There ARE so many. It’s disheartening to hear about those who are still in the fight. I pray that every one of those that are struggling make it through….and find themselves in a much better spot in the end. 

  • Jennifer Thornton

    Your story is so inspiring. Keep being effin inspirational, okay? That way I don’t strangle people at work which keeps my ass out of jail. See, look how much good you’re doing. I bet if I did go to jail those rat bastards would put me on work release. Whatever, you make the world warm and fuzzy, Thanks.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      You just made me smile this [————————-] big. Hey, if I can keep one more person out of jail… job is done. =)

  • RollerScrapper

    I too headed to California, where I didn’t know anyone, I just packed 2 suitcases and a backpack and came out here.  Fortunately for me I didn’t have to work as hard to make it a reality, but it was tough, especially b/c I’m an introvert and have a tough time meeting new people.  It was really good for me though and i love it here.  PS Props on being a published author!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Girl…..totally the right move for you cuz look where you are now. =) I’m so happy for you. 

      And…thank you!!

  • Goradde

    i’m gonna cry. always been proud of you.

    ps your book will be mine once we get an address here. we moved last dec in a newly built apt with no address yet. like is that even possible? it’s been weeks already.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      that’s kinda fucking dope. you live in a place that technically doesn’t exist. also, that’s super annoying. as a kid, we had a similiar situation in a house that wasn’t recognized yet by the usps. fun times, fun times. 

      and…thank you so much for the support. love you. 

  • Agape

    You are incredibly brave, incredibly talented and full of hope and promise.  Each post of yours I read amazes me and encourages me to be braver, take more risks, and enjoy and learn from life.  Thanks, man!
    Some days, the bravest thing I can do is just put one foot in front of the other…..quitters never win, winners never quit.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      oh man, this just reminded me of that one song…is it puff the magic dragon? “put one foot in front of the other…and soon you’ll be walking down the roooooaaad” 

      Good reminder to keep on keepin on. 

  • Gwendolyn Francis

    It’s as if I wrote this….  My friends and I all went into psychology and had to do psych tests on each other as practice.  My friend got her results from another friend who stated, “The good news is that you are normal.  The bad news is that you are faking it.”

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Oh man, I would love those results because I can’t even pretend to be normal. =)

  • Lady Jennie

    Excellent post!  I’m tweetin it.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      thanks, friend!

  • Kristyn

    As one of my best friends, you know a lot of the risks I’ve taken and you’ve been there to support me through them. I thank you so much for being there for me, and I love this post!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      You have been there for me since, holy shit, 7th grade. You’ve seen all the rough spots and still stuck by me. That makes me love you immensely. Thanks for being my friend. 

  • littlemutantgirl

    Moving forward is the greatest thing. For so long I waited around for an opportunity. I was living in a homeless folk hostel and waiting and waiting until somebody would come and save me. One day I just snapped, proclaimed in my loudest voice “FUCK IT” and packed up and moved to England. It’s not as brave as it sounds though, these days I’m living with my dad until I get myself in tip-top shape, but I still like to think it took some balls to throw everything down and just get up and move.
    And woman, you’re a bloody inspiration.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      It totally *IS* as brave as it sounds!! Amazing. Proclaiming “FUCK IT” loudly is often the start of something pretty awesome. I did that a few times myself when I felt backed into a corner, whether from a life situation or a shitty relationship or lack of funds. I’m so happy you moved outta there and you’re getting back on your feel. The best of luck to you. I know you’re going to make it. 

  • Lesley

    You need to write a book!
    I grew up with just my mom since I was 5, my dad left me and my mom tells me that was one of the hardest moments of my life. I have blocked it out I guess, because I have no memory of any of those moments.
    But, my mother made me who I am today. For better or for worse, but almost ALL the time for the better. Its amazing to read the stories that you’ve done for your daughter AND for yourself.

    You are amazing. <3

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      A huge ass fist bump to your mama. Sounds like an incredibly strong, brave woman. And I admire ALL strong, brave women. You included. You just keep on pushing forward no matter it seems like and that makes me proud to know you.

  • FunnyOrTragic

    I totally agree with you.  Of course, this is my philosophy out of necessity, since the little pessimist in me can find *nothing* in the world that is, in fact, perfect.  Except for Vosges red fire dark chocolate toffee.  Oh good lord…

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      You had me at Vosges. They opened a store recently here in LA. It’s been nothin but trouble. =)

  • Rachel Smith

    Yayy! Good for you. I don’t know you, but I’m proud of you. It can be incredibly difficult to keep moving forward when everything seems to be holding you down. And it takes balls to talk about your struggles. Thank you for sharing with us!

    “Sometimes, you get to where you think you wanted to go and fuck shit damn, it’s not where you wanted to be. That’s okay. Keep moving forward.” <– Most awesome quote I've ever read.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Thank *you* for being so supportive. I wouldn’t have the balls to talk about these things if people like you weren’t so kind. xo

  • you gotsars!

    So its taken me all week to comment (because you know I read this shit Monday) because I am a pussy. I don’t take risks and I pretty much hide in the corner shivering like a chihuahua when I hear the robot voice even think about saying ‘Danger Will Robinson!’. But… I do believe in moving forward. It is imperative that we not stagnate. I

    One of the best things I’ve ever read to remind me of this – as I am the queen of quote collecting and should have a wall of them really – was attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes (and he was a smart motherfucker so I listened…)

    “I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor”

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      You collect some great fucking quotes. Thanks for sharing them with me. They always hit directly at what’s going on in my life. So maybe you’re a psychic. I think that yes, you must be. 

      I don’t think you give yourself enough credit. Your humility is so refreshing. Because I really hate those egotistical fuckfaces. I hope you’ll let your friends convince you just how fab you really are. 

      • you gotsars!

        It isn’t always about being convinced, sometimes its as simple as learning to accept a compliment or words of thanks without saying – ‘oh, it was nothing’. Because it was something and someone acknowledged it.

        soo, er, um…. thanks for the compliment. :D

        • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

          You’re welcome friend. 

          I feel equally as awkward accepting a compliment as I do saying “you’re welcome” when it is well received. 

      • Guest

        It isn’t always about being convinced, sometimes its as simple as learning to accept a compliment or words of thanks without saying – ‘oh, it was nothing’. Because it was something and someone acknowledged it.

        soo, er, um…. thanks for the compliment. :D

  • jacqui

    Excellent advice. Sometimes people forget to keep moving forward and let themselves get stuck or worse…move backward.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I’m very familiar with the moving backward scenario. Sometimes, I feel like I should grow a pair of eyes in the back of my head.. so I don’t trip as I zoom back to square one. 

  • Rachel B

    Thanks for sharing, it really is great inspiration to keep pushing forward. My biggest risk was selling most of my possessions and moving to Africa for two years. But if I’m really honest with myself moving back, living with my parents, and building my my own business was even harder. No one likes to admit they need help and while I could have moved back home and into my condo I decided to suck it up, let the renter finish her rental agreement,, and save enough money so I’ll be financially stable when I’m on my own again.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Whoa. Adventurous AND responsible. A rare combo in my eyes. =) Your African adventure sounds fucking awesome. I was watching a House Hunters episode the other day and it was for a couple looking to find a place in Namibia. They showcased the natural beauty of the land and I was just blown away. I’m jealous of you. 

      I’m equally as impressed by your resolve to be financially solid and be your own boss. That just rocks big time. 

      • Rachel B

        I need to see this House Hunters episode! It’s always fun to see where they go and where you recognize in those types of shows.  

        And thanks for the support, some days when I think to myself “why am I in my 30s and living with my parents, shoot me now…” I need people to remind me that this is the smart thing to do!

        • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

          You know what I found so interesting about that HH episode? They disclosed the prices of the three choices and they were like, not cheap at all!! And two of the homes were in subdivision type settings. That HH show is so educational, haha. 

          I wish you all the luck in the world. Everything will turn out beautifully.

  • Lori Rebecca

    I have really enjoyed your blog.  You are a wonderful writer, and you are hilarious!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Thank you SO much for the support and kind words. And thanks for taking the time to read this hot mess. =) xo. 

  • Glamamom

    You’ve accomplished quite a lot in 10 years.  You should be very proud!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Thank you kindly, friend. 

  • Pauline

    I printed the last paragraph of this post and taped it inside my vanity in the bathroom. It’s very inspiring. Thank you. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Thank YOU for being so supportive. *fist bump* 

      May goodness find you and sadness forget you.