Doing Without

Doing Without_ An Opportunity to do things differently. by melissacota.comAfter my oldest was born was mom was there, to remind me, that I never did without, and that my child should never do without either. My income did not matter, what mattered was that my little baby girl, who could not walk yet, had the best shoes available. Only leather, of course, let her feet be accustomed to the good stuff. Four month old babies NEED swim lessons nowadays, and of course, ballet is of supreme importance. Now that I have three kids and live so far away that nobody I grew up around can drop in on me – I’ve developed rules that are a little different. For example, my youngest, didn’t get his first pair of real shoes until his first birthday because babies don’t need shoes anyway. I may have let my husband splurge on a pair for a family picture, but those were promptly lost – never to be seen again.

Then last month, an unexpected bill, mixed with an unexpected this, turned into an unexpected that and wow, my grocery money is a fraction of what I’m used to. My Momma Bear complex came back with a vengeance. I DONT CARE HOW MUCH MONEY I HAVE, MY KIDS WILL NOT DO WITHOUT!!! I searched, and surfed, and looked, and counted, and meal planned. I shopped at varies different stores, but only if I had other things to do in that part of town so as not to waste any extra money on gas. I made sure that I put delicious, nutritious, organic, sustainable food on the table just like always. My kids and husband barely noted the difference (except for my constant bragging on how much money I saved). At the end, I was in awe of the reality. I can feed my family, delicious, nutritious, food at a fraction of the cost. AND. That’s a whole lot of work, to make sure you don’t have to eat quesadillas and beans for dinner three days in a row. Quesadillas and beans are GOOD.

And that’s how I was able to reach a whole new level of doing without, and how its ok. We ran out of butter? Eat your toast dry. You ran out of syrup? Skip the french toast and have (dry) bread and scrambled eggs instead. Ran out of oil? Make soup. All this time, I have been in fear of doing without, when all it is, is an opportunity to do things differently. Doing without is not the same as living in poverty. Doing without, is an exercise in questioning: What is it we really NEED to be happy?

Stop Asking For Help

stopaskingnormal*From Normal People

Sometimes its a good idea to get advice from your Elders, because they have been around longer, and know how certain things work already. Sometimes, its a great idea to google something you don’t quite understand, because the collective knowledge of the internet is vast and can teach you lots. Often times, we NEED the help of our friends and family because they are our support system.

And sometimes we need to realize that we are surrounded by normal people, who have limiting beliefs. Normal people have debt, normal people have relationship issues, normal people have aches and pains, normal people work hard and play hard, normal people just want to be happy, normal people KNOW that life has it limits and a rulebook. Normal people believe that Doctors know best, normal people think you just have to put up with certain things. Normal people HATE everyday chores and force themselves to do it anyway. Normal people have HATE. Normal people have nice houses and nice cars. Normal people are basic, because normal people don’t believe in fairy tales.

Go find yourself a weirdo to get your advice from. Weirdo’s dress for comfort and self love. Weirdo’s know how to love life, weirdo’s can walk barefoot in the grass (while the normal folk are afraid of dog poop), weirdo’s know that abundance is for everyone, and not just the rich and famous. Weirdo’s are comfortable alone and know that its better than being around energy suckers. Weirdo’s know how to be happy.

Sure, you can get relationship advice from someone who has been divorced three times. They DO know a lot about relationships. But you can also get relationship advice from that couple who never married and has been living in bliss for the last 20 years. Find people whose lives work for them, and duplicate it on your universe.

You are amazing, please give me your weirdest advice. I’d love to hear it.

Procrastination Through Hard Work

Procrastination is putting stuff that you know you have to do off. We punish our procrastinating selves by calling us lazy, or stupid, or shrugging and saying that’s just what we do. There is more to it than that. When you find yourself procrastinating, stop punishing yourself, and start looking at what the problem REALLY is. For example, I have a business at but I PROCRASTINATE, on it. Why? Because I can’t really pinpoint the niche of my business and it makes me feel silly. Is this business good enough? Would anyone buy my services? If someone does buy my services, will they find a good value in it? What makes me qualified to sell this? What if I have let my customers down? What if I get too busy and don’t have time for my kids?

Instead of stopping, and looking at my “real” concerns, I’ve been procrastinating. Through HARD WORK. I put a lot of time and effort, into learning new skills. I have taught myself basic web design, I can make awesome graphics on canvas, I have a successful Etsy Shop, I can teach you about SEO, I can market through Pinterest…  Did I mention I taught myself basic web design? Ive read books on Social Media Strategies (always use the same picture so people know for sure its you!), I’ve created a brand, I am the Captain of Teams on Etsy, I have found mentors to help me along.  Ahhhhhhhh. I have been WORKING HARD AND LEARNING LOTS. And procrastinating. Because the truth is that I have been working on all of those other skills so that I can NOT have to set up my services on my website and NOT have to put my business out there.

It feels good to be sincere. Im going to add more services to my site today. Im being silly. I am an AMAZING writing coach, and I know it. And now I’m feeling like a motivator too. So, whatever YOU have been procrastinating on – STOP IT. Exercising does make a difference, you can mend that button, pump gas in the car NOW, EAT THAT FROG!!!

If You Want To Be a Writer: Write

When I visualize my perfect life, its pretty much as I live it now – but RICH. My curtains are art pieces, my windows are tinted, my clothes is organically sourced from natural fibers. I hang out and go to yoga, play with my kids, plan vacations, and go on picnics. All that stuff like laundry, cooking, organizing, household shopping, someone else takes care of that. I hang out, journal, crochet, embroider, or send out Mail Art. Life would be just perfect if I could just write out a best selling novel, had it turned into a multi million dollar movie, and got  paid to travel promoting it. It feels like if the back of my head has been writing this story for years – but when I sit down, it doesn’t flow from me. Until it begins to flow, I will continue doing what I love: journaling, sending letters, playing with my kids, and hanging out. Why force myself to eat fruit that is not yet ripe?


So if you want to be a writer: write. If you want to hang out with your kids: hang out with your kids. If you want to run a marathon: run a marathon. But if you only yearn for the celebration of completing a task, then do something else, life is too short to do tasks that you don’t love.

Im gonna go write someone a letter.

Mind Your Own Business

In third grade, I had to sit next to Cesar Lopez, who I did NOT have a crush on. Cesar used to collect pencil shavings to sprinkle on my work and I used to add random periods to his sentences. We were both often in just enough trouble to stay on the teachers radar, but not enough trouble, to be trouble. One day, Cesar was at a special reading class, and I was busy, fixing his sentences. Ms. Nowell looked straight at me, and told me: “Mind your own business.” I was literally confused, I had never heard that phrase before. Was I in trouble? What was I supposed to be doing? I proceeded to start erasing my extra marks from Cesar’s paper, when it was snatched from me: “Mind your OWN business.” Ms. Nowell said again.

And for the rest of the year, Ms. Nowell told me to mind my own business over and over again. She would tell Cesar to mind his own business too, whenever he would pull my hair, or kick my chair. And that’s how life went for two and a half decades. I would hear: “Mind your own business.” and I would translate to: “Leave Cesar alone.”

When I finally figured out (at 30 something years old) that I had been translating mind your own business  WRONGLY for decades, I wanted to kick myself. Mind your own business is such a powerful command, I and had it all wrong. Mind your own business doesn’t mean to leave other people alone! Mind your own business has NOTHING to do with other people. Mind your own business means to pay mind to your own happenings. Take care of your issues. What’s your business? Well then go take care of it!!! Mind your own business isn’t RUDE, its a LOVE command. Mind your own business, just means to pay more attention to yourself.

School could have been so much more productive for me, if I had initially translated “Mind Your Own Business” to “Take care of your own work.” I laugh at all the times I was told to mind my business, so I sat there quietly, not wanting to disturb anyone who was working diligently. I don’t make that mistake any longer. I mind my own business now.