I pulled the rug out from under myself once.  Yanked the band-aid off a situation that seemingly wasn’t there.  
And after a brief, yet painful, moment of sheer awfulness, I FINALLY knew EXACTLY where I stood.
And I didn’t like the end result.  
Not even a little bit.  
Yet after months of guessing and table playing ‘every possible scenario’, one had ultimately presented that hadn’t even crossed my mind.  
And after pulling myself together, and resetting my sights, I realized I was in a much stronger place for having gone ahead and made the call.  
That there was very little guess work left and the answers for going forward much more clear.  
That gathering facts and asking questions outright, monitoring things a different kind of closely and making no assumptions, digging deep and not taking ANYTHING at face value had now gone to a whole new level.
And with one horrible call the pieces had suddenly been placed differently on the game board and I was now in a difficult, yet stronger position to do just that.
But accepting that some things will never change, and having the courage to support changing the things that can is rarely easy.  
And maintaining strength in the wisdom to know the difference almost always comes at a price.  
And I can’t say that I haven’t made the occasional misstep since that incredibly valuable learning lesson.  
But my ability to think clearly and navigate more smoothly has improved ten fold.  And EVERYTHING gets easier with experience.  
So rest easy my friend.  Rest easy in the knowing that big changes are often nothing short of terrifying.
Rest easy in knowing that the first step is almost always the hardest.  
And rest easy in knowing that we cannot become what we NEED to become by remaining what we are …
See you when you get here ❤️

Amy Hege Atwell is the author of 10 Little Rules for Mermaids, available at, on Amazon, on Etsy, and at retail outlets including her shop The Painted Mermaid in Southport, NC.

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The rule of threes

The rule of threes

It’s interesting what comes in threes. And because ‘losing your identity’ / ‘letting go of what keeps you from going to the next level’ just did, I have a tale …

I was sixteen when I started in corporate retail and worked at all levels – full time, part time, several at one time – for 26 years. Many were spent recovering ‘broken buildings.’ Two overlapped with owning my own store.  

When I left, I was over the moon pregnant with a long awaited wee one and beyond ready to make the shift to full time mommy / store owner.  

At three weeks old he and I took over The Painted Mermaid, working open to close together, seven days a week. (Naively insane, but wonderful all the same) 

And as the dust began to settle I inadvertently sought out the next ‘fix’ – after all, solving problems was my designated forte. It was oddly unsettling when the need lessened.  

I’m not sure when I realized that in and amongst all the glorious chaos and bedlam I had somehow lost ‘me’ in the shuffle …

Writing a book like mine opened up A LOT of fantastic conversation, and at some point a dear friend had offered that she didn’t miss the man she divorced, she missed the man she’d married. That one statement helped lead to my realizing I missed the girl that HE had married.  

The book has been on my mind a lot this week – it’s been a year, and we are soon going into its third printing. And if I leave you with nothing else from these random thoughts of mine, I give you this: You are not alone my friend, with ANY of it. We just don’t always talk about it.  

It is up to US, men and women alike, to discover who we TRULY are and keep that truth alive for OURSELVES.  

For we MUST be happy separately if we ever hope to be solid and happy together.  

So do what you can to let go of what you cannot change.  Take the steps YOU need to find or rediscover you.  Focus on the SOLUTIONS, and I will see you when you get here.

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Endlessly, beautifully, creating ourselves

Endlessly, beautifully, creating ourselves

We’re supposed to have a dream right? 
Some big fat uber sexy goal? One we’re ‘never supposed to lose sight of?’ 

But what if we don’t? 

What if just getting through whatever day at any given moment is about all the dream we can handle, let alone sexy? 

And what if we’ve let ourselves get so loaded down with whatever it – good, bad or otherwise – that we’ve all but even forgotten the concept? 

What if we have gotten so far away from thought provoking conversation and stimulating brain activity that we feel all but invisible? 

And what if we’re essentially very happy – but there’s just that little something missing? The thing you just can’t quite put your finger on? 

You look to the only person who can change that. 

The one person who may not know how at this very moment – or even what. 

The one person who in the end you DO KNOW you can ALWAYS go to to get things figured out. 

The person who knows to grab a good book, crank up the dance music, take a shower and do – or not do – her hair. 

Take a class. Research a small project. 

You Sunshine. It’s you. YOU are the one with ALL the power. 

You just may not remember it. 

And yes, the only thing more important than accepting help when you need it is asking for it. 

Good. Solid. NO STRINGS ATTACHED, open, honest help. 

Just never EVER forget – no matter what – you absolutely CAN take care of you my strong and MOST BEAUTIFUL friend. 

So do that …

and the rest will come. 

See you when you get here. ❤️

Amy Hege Atwell is the author of 10 Little Rules for Mermaids, available at,, on Etsy, and at retail outlets including her shop The Painted Mermaid in Southport, NC.

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Define yourself

Define yourself

Judge not lest ye be judged.

At first glance this reads as a religious statement or perhaps the lead in to some strong comment chastising others for having made said judgement.

But what if we all read it — and better yet manifested it — as a mantra if you will to release the pain and heaviness that comes with judging others?

And what if we then opened our minds to the concept of ‘there but for the grace of (God, the Universe, Allah, your Higher Power) go I’? The idea that under different circumstances you too – regardless of your beliefs – could have fallen subject to whatever the situation at hand?

And then there is Alexander Pope’s ‘To err is human, to forgive divine’ – a critical concept that BECAUSE be we are indeed human, is easier said than done.

And none of this releases the ‘offender’ of responsibility on their end, but rather puts US in a place of less angst and more peace, thereby making us more approachable, and open. Not to ideals we find deplorable or behaviors less than ideal but to the idea that it is ok to come home – that it is ok to change your mind, admit your mistake or even just shift and soften your views, whichever the case may be.

For at one time or another, we ALL make mistakes. Or change our minds.

And at the end of the day it is far better to ‘judge not lest ye be judged,’ in the knowledge that ‘there but for the grace of god ‘go you’ and that to err is indeed human, to forgive, divine.

See you when you get here

Amy Hege Atwell is the author of 10 Little Rules for Mermaids, available at, on Amazon, on Etsy, and at retail outlets including her shop The Painted Mermaid in Southport, NC.

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The Little Table

The Little Table

The first piece I ‘picked’ was as a college student in Boone, NC.

The details are fuzzy some 30 years later, but it was in a quonset hut close to the sidewalk. Otherwise, I would never have ventured in.

It was a small chippy white metal table, and I LOVED it. I paid $20, and it lived inside every house or apartment until my little one was born some 25 years later. As a new mommy I was SO nervous about sharp things and hard things and ‘could be lead paint’ things, so the little white table lived on the porch and soon became the ‘little rusty table’.

I loved it still.

Eventually it moved with me from studio to studio becoming the guardian to hold whatever cumbersome thing that was keeping me from unlocking the door. Until one day, one of my long time shoppers who had nothing but love and support for “The Painted Mermaid” spotted it and asked if it were for sale.

I hadn’t known this man well over the years. I knew him and his wife as kind and special ‘regulars’ and had certainly known of her decline. But we had just spent the last few days together bringing the fabulous pieces they had curated together — many which I recognized, one of which was the first piece I had ever painted — back to what I had begun to realize was their ‘Mermaid’ as much as it was mine.

He told stories of each piece. Where they’d found it. How she’d felt about it. How he felt about it. And I remember saying the table was not for sale, but that it needed to be with him. He promised he would seal it (for safety) and love it, and never sell it. He kept his promise. And just a few short weeks later, when this man I had grown to love unexpectedly joined his beautiful wife, the little table came back to me.

I think of him often, and as I do today I recognize once again the importance of letting go. Making more room for the important things. And knowing that if it’s meant to circle back to you, it will.

Good morning Sunshine, I’ll see you when you get here.

Amy Hege Atwell is the author of 10 Little Rules for Mermaids, available at, on Amazon, on Etsy, and at retail outlets including her shop The Painted Mermaid in Southport, NC.

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Self improvement

Self improvement

We’ve spent A LOT of time together this year on Rule #1 (Back your own Trailer) in my book (10 Little Rules for Mermaids) and ‘all that it is entailed in learning to do new things and what for me it means to ‘be grown’.

And as I wake on the dawn of a new era, I find myself realizing TODAY is a perfect day for EACH of us to make a COMMITMENT to stay in better touch with ALL that impacts us in this world, to be more interested, more active, more aware.

And being aware doesn’t mean becoming an expert. Being interested doesn’t imply studying every nuance. And being active doesn’t require leading anyone to change, except OURSELVES.

We NEED to understand what is happening around us Sunshine, we DESERVE to understand what impacts us, our families and our world. So let us recognize today as the clean slate that it is from a KNOWLEDGE standpoint, a chance to stay current with current events from the BEGINNING.

MAKE the time to spend fifteen, twenty, thirty minutes with neutral, factual, non emotion driven resources each day. Feel free to ask questions of teachers, librarians, even public officials, not so much for their thoughts or opinions, but for their resources.

And if you don’t understand what you just heard, that’s ok. You just may be surprised who else around you didn’t really either. So google it.

Knowledge is power Sunshine, but not having it doesn’t mean you’re not capable of gaining or understanding it. And not unlike a great meal, a walk on the beach, a brief flirtation or even a great romance, knowledge is rewarding.

Knowledge is INVIGORATING. And life is too short not to experience ALL of it my friend. The strength and confidence that comes from gleaning your own information is life altering, and life GIVING.

So taste it, sample it, SAVOR it. Because EVERYONE around you will benefit from your wholeness, especially you. Om shanti Sunshine. Take care of you, and I’ll see you when you get here.

Amy Hege Atwell is the author of 10 Little Rules for Mermaids, available at, on Amazon, and at several retail outlets including her shop The Painted Mermaid in Southport, NC.

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More on Rule #4 for Mermaids … Curing what ails you

More on Rule #4 for Mermaids … Curing what ails you

Ah yes, back to waking up and not being able to go back to sleep … Sigh. But this time I know what I’ve done to ‘deserve it.’

And some of that is holiday. Some is year end business stuff. Some year end personal stuff. You know, life stuff.

But MOST of it is self inflicted ‘off the wagon’ stuff.

Now, I have NO CHOICE but to manage my diet differently than most, and quite frankly I see that as a true gift. Otherwise? Gurl.

And as a rule I don’t weigh every day – only when I can feel something is off. And then if I know why, I just fix it and move on.

But here of late, I’ve gained four-ish pounds that I cannot shake. In addition, each day I can be up as much as ten – and back down six overnight. THAT tells me I’m missing something.

And even still, my first thought is often ‘but I’m not doing anything any different’ (I mean, even when I’ve completely lost mind, it’s at least the same BRAND of frosting 🙄).

But with practice and, for the most part, clean eating, I can FEEL it when something’s different.

So drilling down the list, I now know to not only look for something COMPLETELY new but to revisit labels on the few packaged items I do use.

And you know what Mermaid? I think this time it’s my new supplement! You know, the kind that promises fabulous health and great glowing everything??

So. I will clean up the no-brainer holiday behavior (NO regrets). Deal with life issues by figuring out some semblance of an actual exercise ROUTINE. Eliminate the new supplement long enough to be sure my system is clear before adding it back in, and go from there.

And please know, it’s not so much about the four pounds Sunshine – it’s the fluctuating water weight that is TERRIBLE for your body. It’s the ‘fibromyalgia like’ symptoms. It’s the stiffness, the edginess.

So long story short, in the words of the GREAT Jimmy Buffet, it’s time to get back to treating your body like the temple that it is my dear, not a tent. See you when you get here.

Amy Hege Atwell is the author of 10 Little Rules for Mermaids, available at, on Amazon, and at several retail outlets including her shop The Painted Mermaid in Southport, NC.

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Hindsight in soft focus

Hindsight in soft focus

As the days pass, and periods in your life resurface,  look over them kindly and with open eyes, for THEY are what helped mold and shape you.

Grow to know and better understand the meaning behind the expression “hindsight being 20/20.”

And as distance allows a new clarity, and without losing sight of the opportunities and moments in which you are currently living, let those periods CONTINUE to help mold and shape and grow.

Knowing all the while that as the days turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into years, not unlike eye sight, the details behind hindsight soften and fade.  So choose wisely on what you focus.  

And as the year 2020 comes to a close, choose wisely what you retain. 

Namaste Sunshine

Amy Hege Atwell is the author of 10 Little Rules for Mermaids, available on our site, at The Painted Mermaid in Southport, NC and on Amazon.

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