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Why I feel like a fraud…

Why I feel like a fraud


I had an absolute blast with the MIRROR MIRROR Morning Makeover challenge last week. It was like an explosion of glitter complete with flowing champagne and endless booty shaking.

In other words… seriously awesome.

But… behind the scenes? The picture looked a little different.

You see, as I was waving my virtual pom poms and cheering you all on, I was also fighting back tears {most times, pretty unsuccessfully.}

The reason? Last week I had to make one of the hardest decisions, ever.

My best friend, my furry fluffball of cuteness – Winnie – has been especially sick for the past 5 months.

Winnie - Chinchilla Persian


My once energetic kitty was crumbling into despair {severe arthritis and a relapsed compressed spinal cord are no fun, at all.}

We’ve been managing Winnie’s pain with a cocktail of painkillers and anti-inflammatories. Last week it was clear that this remedy could no longer hold off the pain.

The worst part about my little guy’s situation – his head is still totally with it {smart as a fox, cute as a button, quick as a…well, kitty}. It’s just that everything from his waist down was failing him.

I felt helpless, hopeful, and guilty all at the same time.  

While the decision weighed heavily on my heart & mind, I knew one thing for sure: Winnie’s comfort and happiness had to come first.

In the midst of our Mirror, Mirror soiree, I wanted to show up for you as well as lap up as much cuddle time with Winnie as possible.

This past Saturday, Winnie left us to find peace, comfort, and play with all the other furry kitties in the sky.

Our last morning together we shared a delicious brekky, snuggled and scratched, and I brushed his still gorgeous coat.

As much as I prepared for this moment, once he was gone – it felt like my heart broke into a million pieces.

The hardest part was leaving him behind. It was gut wrenching – my baby, my furry, sweet baby.

Right now my emotions are swinging. There are moments I feel at peace with everything and then I remember that I am never going to be able to hold, love on him or hear his larger than life meows again.

Right now, it’s Wednesday and here I am, in my office alone, no little companion at my feet or on the desk, tears streaming down my face, trying to accept that my quiet, empty house will never be the same again.

This is why I feel like a fraud.

Winnie - Chinchilla PersianSo why am I sharing this?
Because life does not look like a highly-curated Instagram feed. For anyone.

And as much as styling pretty pictures, working with gorgeous clients, and running challenges to help you make over your morning are TOTALLY me…

… being heart broken, crying and a puffy-eyed mess is also me. At least, right now. :)

I used to run away from my emotions. Desperately cling to that girl you see in the photos and stuff down all my feelings so that I always looked happy & sparkly.

Now I allow myself to feel all the things, no matter how painful it may be.

I’m now gifting myself some space to grieve and honor Winnie. That may mean I can’t update Instagram every day. Or write a blog post next week.

And, that’s ok.

Because life isn’t always Instagram-perfect. That’s what makes it beautiful.

With love and gratitude,

Shelley Cohen



p.s. As part of my grieving process, I wrote a letter to my Winnie. Feel free to read, if you’d like. If you’re grieving something: a loss of a pet, family member, friend, relationship, job – you may want to draft your own letter to your loss. I found it incredibly cathartic. 

Dearest little Winnie

I know this sounds weird that I’m writing you a letter, given that you cannot read. But you know that your sweet charm and irresistible good looks spoke to my inner crazy cat lady – so why stop now right?

You melted my heart and enriched my life in ways that I can’t fully express. You constantly made me smile and giggle at the cute little things you did.

I’ll miss your adorable chatty pigeon purrs and little creepy face when you’re spying on me.

I’ll miss your loud meow greetings when I get home and tummy tickle flops – even when my arms were full of groceries.

You won over even the toughest of cat haters….because nobody could resist your sweet face and even sweeter personality.

In our almost 12 years together, we’ve been through a lot. We were there for each other during fun times and tough times – you always knew if I was sick or had a bad day and turned the cuteness volume right up to make me smile.

I’m going to miss morning snuggles and hallway chasey time (you always won) and your claim to everything that was new!

You will ALWAYS hold a very special place in my heart and I’ll never forget the adventures we took and the amazing times we had together.

You were my number one (sorry Shaun but my Dad did warn you before we got married).

Shaun likes to think that you became his side-kick – his Robin…but we all know that he was your side-kick and that you were Batman. I think deep down Shaun knew that too…it’s OK, we’ll let him think that he was Batman.

Thank you for being the best friend a girl could have asked for and the overflowing amount of joy you brought to my life.

Your unconditional love and incredibly cute little nature had me constantly distracted and swooning over you from the moment I layed eyes on you.

I love you with every piece of my heart and will miss you every day.

Cuddles, kisses and tummy tickles,

Mum xoxo


    9 comments on “Why I feel like a fraud…”

    1. Shelley, I am in tears. I know exactly how you feel and I’m so glad you were openly raw about what’s going on with us. I love your sweet soul, stylish or puffy faced, and I wish you lots of love and hugs for this tough time. Thank you for giving yourself the space to feel this instead of putting up a show and fake through it all.

      So much love to you and little Winnie who’s most likely with my little Avelynne (my parakeet that passed away in 2010. Still a little heart broken but it’s okay).

      • Oh sweet Brenda! Thank you so much for your beautiful message. My heart is so full of gratitude.
        Writing this post was incredibly difficult to do but wow…it really has been SO therapeutic. I really want my readers to know the real me…on good hair days…and bad! We all have ‘stuff’ that happens and sometimes it’s ugly & messy. I guess I really wanted my readers to know that it truly is ok not to have your shiitake together all the time. Ride the emotional roller coast…no matter how painful at the time…it’s the best way to heal.

        It’s amazing how our little fury, feathery & fluffy family members take a massive piece of our hearts and fill it with so much love & joy. Much love to you and your little Avelynne – parakeets are so cute…and have big personalities!
        Thank you for being such an amazing support pretty lady – I fills my heart with so much warmth. xoxo

    2. You know that my sincerest thoughts were with you on Saturday. As one of those people who never had a liking for a cat, winnie changed me instantly. I had taken a few pictures of him during my visit last April. I took those pics to the photo booth on saturday in order to make a few prints. I sat in my car while looking at the picture with tears streaming down my face. I could not imagine how you were feeling at that time. Thank you for sharing your emotions but, more importantly, bringing winnie into my life. He spread so much joy to all those who got to know him. He will be truly missed but we will all cherish his memory!

      • Thank you for your lovely message, Marcia. Winnie certainly had a way with people – I know that he was quite fond of you. You couldn’t help but fall in love with his sweet little face and adorable personality. I miss his big meows so much – it’s so quiet here now.
        Awww, that was so sweet of you to print out his little picture…he really did wiggle his fluffiness into your heart!
        Saturday was a really emotional day – and it’s been a rough week. I keep thinking that he is coming home…and in a way he is…
        He will forever be in our hearts. Again, thank you so much for your lovely note – my so grateful for all the love and support. xxx

    3. Michelle we all feel your pain here in Australia. We will all miss Winnie! He has been your world for so long and you his. The pain and desperation you’re feeling will eventually subside to a feeling of wonder. The wonder that a person can feel so much for a fluff ball and that that fluff ball can feel so much for a person. You two were a world of your own. That little fluff ball was not really a cat, but a person in cat clothing. We still have Winnie fur in the bathroom cupboard from his sleep overs and laugh about the times he would.poke his head out to see if you were there to pick him up.
      The time ahead will be tough for a while, but the Michelle I know will work it with dignity,purpose and the toughness that an Aussie girl can muster.
      We love you and constantly thinking of you.
      Love Dad
      Anita Matt and Jas

      • Oh my goodness! This message made me cry and laugh…cry because you guys are the in the very few that REALLY saw my relationship with Winnie – a special bond that was unbreakable. I’ve said it before, but it’s amazing how a little fluffy guy can take such a massive piece of your heart.

        You’re so right, Winnie and I were a little world of our own. He spoke to the crazy cat lady inside me…and somehow…everyone else saw that too!
        The amount of people that would be stunned by Winnie’s ‘humanness’ was pretty funny – he definitely was a person dressed in a cute cat costume. He would sit on my lap like a person while we waited for the vet…meanwhile other cats were flipping-out in their carriers. He did the same at Los Angeles Airport after the long trip from Brisbane while we were waiting for our connecting flight to Houston – the amount of pictures he had taken by the Japanese tourists was hilarious (some how we ended up at the Tokyo departure gate).
        He loved riding in my car – he would sit on the back ledge at the back window. People driving by would do a double take…you could see it written all over their face when they realized he wasn’t a dog…but a cat!!

        I’m not sure that staying at your place was his favourite holiday destination…after little Jas picked him up by the tail ;) but I know he loved you guys…even Jas. It was pretty cute that he could open cupboard doors…he certainly love that place under your bathroom sink! There was no place that was out-of-bounds in his eyes!

        Things certainly are tough right now, but I’m trying to take comfort in the fact that he is no longer in pain. He will forever live in my heart.
        Thank you so much for all your love and support guys, it means the absolute world to me.
        Love & Hugs xoxox

    4. Michelle I thought I would just add that those tears you are shedding are not wasted.
      Tears are wonderful things! They can be tears of joy and happiness, tears for fear an(English Band) or in this case ‘Tears of Love’.
      Remember tears don’t just go away when you wipe them with your hand or with a tissue! They are always there, evaporating into the air. Winnie will be taking this in knowing that you love and miss him.
      So don’t be ashamed of your tears they are there for a reason!
      “LOVE” I know this cause I’ve shed a lot for you this week.


      • You’re my hero! Thank you, Dad – I don’t know how you come up with these things (you really blow me away) but I take great comfort in them. Thank you for being there for me…even on the other side of the world.
        Love you xoxo

    5. I am so so sorry, Shelley :'( I can’t fight back the tears as I read this myself so I can’t even imagine what you have been going through. Winnie was so lucky to have a mummy like you. He wouldn’t have lived to be almost 12 if it wasn’t for your massive sacrifices to be able to afford to make him better on more than one occasion. And in the end your final decision was the best thing for him and I’m sure he absolutely loves and appreciates you for it. Sending you lots of hugs from Australia xoxo

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