Friday, November 30, 2012

Another month says farewell

Well folks, November is coming to an end for 2012. 
Though it's a 30 day month, I swear, it has felt twice as long to me.

                                                         Highlights of the month:
  • NaBloPoMo!  I loved meeting so many bloggers and their blogs - many were added to my blog list, and I'm excited to keep in touch with my new friends!
  • Meeting my new best friend!  This pup has been such a joy to have.  While he hasn't fixed all my problems or lifted my depression, he sure has brought more comfort into my world.
  • Making the best pie I've ever made for Thanksgiving dessert.
Lowlights of the month:
  • Stupid depression.... plummeted over the last few weeks.... 
  • I'm in the process of a med adjustment, which is never fun.
Finally, a brief response to NaBloPoMo's prompt for today:
Through this month's NaBloPoMo challenge, I learned that being real on my blog is actually helpful and inspiring to others.  I've been hesitant, at times, in posting how I'm *really* doing, for fear of turning away my readers.  I now see how sharing my reality, which has always been therapeutic for me, has actually connected me with complete strangers, and made me feel a lot less alone!

And that, my friends, is the end of NaBloPoMo!  
Or as Porky Pig likes to say, "That's all folks!"

Thursday, November 29, 2012

365 Days of Giving Thanks

Week 2 of Thankful Thursdays.... I'll admit that some days were easier than others.  This has presented my depressed brain with a much needed challenge!

Day 8 - Friday 11/23 - I am grateful that I got to stay cozy at home, spending the day with my little guy snuggled up on the couch.

Day 9 - Saturday 11/24 - I am grateful for an awesome sister-in-law, who I enjoy spending time with!

Day 10 - Sunday 11/25 - I am so thankful that I was able to open my house to a dog in need of a new home.  I might not be able to afford lots of luxuries, but I can afford to give a dog a much needed home.

Day 11 - Monday 11/26 - Every day I appreciate the roof over my head and the fact that I'm not living paycheck to paycheck, but today, I'm exceptionally grateful for both.

Day 12 - Tuesday 11/27 - I am so thankful that my dog is off antibiotics and is feeling better.  He's finally learning how to play!

Day 13 - Wednesday 11/28 - I am thankful for my dietitian and her ability to understand me at a level very few outside my treatment team can.

Day 14 - Thursday 11/29 - I am very grateful for one of my peers, who has been a huge help with my students on Thursday afternoons.


Shirt Woot - My favorite place for irony!
This is exactly what I feel like right now.  I feel like I am stuck in a tangled mess of a web searching for the elusive light at the end of the tunnel, the place where happiness resides.

I know, I know, happiness is a feeling, not a destination.  No one can be happy all the time.  At this point, I'll take inner peace, calmness, silence, anything at all to turn of the nasty DJ that lives in my brain.

It sucks.  Like really, really sucks.  And I'd pay just about anything to break the radio, fire the DJ, and play only peaceful, positive, growth-minded tracks.  Believe me, I get that happiness is not something that people are 100% of the time.  I'd settle for 10% of my day spent listening to the happiness station, heck, at this point I'd take 5% of the day.  I just can't live under the constant strain of this DJ.  The longer I listen to these stations, the more hopeless I feel.  Hopeless is not a feeling I enjoy.  Hopeless is not something I want others to feel, either.

Hopeless is when your favorite team is down by 8 runs in the bottom of the 9th, has no men on, and two outs.  That's hopeless.  Hopeless is not a way of life.  Obviously my inner DJ didn't get that memo.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pick a topic, any topic

For NaBloPoMo, there have been daily topics posted to help people blog along the way, reaching for that 30 in 30 goal.  While thus far I've been able to meet the goal, I'm starting to fall into the negativity rut.  Because of that, I decided to give one of the daily topics a try.  I chose the prompt from Tuesday, November 13th.

What is the bravest thing you've ever done?

I didn't go away to university.  I stayed living at my parents house and commuted for classes.  I actually lived at my parents until I finally moved out in my mid-twenties.  This meant I never shared a room with anyone, never lived in a dorm, never had to share a bathroom, never had to eat cafeteria food......

An opportunity presented itself for me to go spend a week in the beautiful Catskills for a training.  It sounded on paper like an amazing experience.  It looked in pictures like peace on earth.  Except.... I'd have to fly there alone (never traveled alone before, either.)  I would be off to a place where I knew no one.  I would be living in a dorm room, and would be rooming with a complete stranger.  I would be using a common bathroom.  Eating in a cafeteria.  Spending several hours a day in a workshop with people I didn't know.  Socializing with these people during meals and evenings.  And doing all of this for a full week.

Hello?!  This was so not me.  So not something I'd do.  I was so not brave enough!

Yet.... I made it.  And it was an AMAZING week.  I grew so much in those seven days, I can not even begin to tell you.  And that week long experience, the first solo traveling I'd ever done (mind you, I was in my late 20's at that point) led to some wonderful experiences traveling to visit new friends (made during that week!) in states I'd never been to before.

That trip was me taking a chance, a big one, and hoping that my fear wouldn't outweigh the opportunity and ruin things.  It didn't.  It broadened my horizons in ways that I can't even begin to explain......  No, I still don't like traveling alone.  Yes, I still have major social anxiety.  But I also seem to have a reserve of bravery that stays buried until it is absolutely needed.  And I can live with that.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Week 42: Overcoming Stressful Times

Stress?  I have NO idea what you're talking about.  My life is stress free, and any stress that does exist is chocolate covered, making it easily digestible.  I have the patience of a rock, the grace of a swan, and flow like the waves in the ocean, quietly kissing the shore and retreating seamlessly.

Whatever.  (I can dream, right?)

Stress? My world is covered in stress, where as I'd much prefer a chocolate covered world.  This topic is actually rather timely for me, as this time of year is pretty stressful and frustrating for me.  It's also an opportunity for me to remind myself what tools I do have to get me through stressfully frustrating times like these.

One tool that helps is to focus on my breathing.  Usually that involves remembering to breathe!  I try to count my inhales and exhales and use my breath to distract myself from the situation that is setting off the alarms in my head.  From the breathing I try to move into my phone list - I have a few friends that I know are exceptionally good at getting me out of tough spots in a short conversation.  If my phone list isn't available, then I'll pull out my distraction box.  This box is literally a toolbox of distractions that are neatly packaged and always stored in the same place so I can grab it at my lowest level of functioning.

An overarching tool that I try to constantly remember is the slogan "this too shall pass" as an effort to remind me that the situation may feel stressful at the moment, or I may be frustrated at the moment, but for the moment, I can handle it.  The feeling will pass, the situation will end, and all will be restored to it's typical level of sanity.

And when all else fails I reach for a Xanax.  In keeping with the goal of complete honesty, sometimes I go for the Xanax first.  Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Challenge 18: Lauren Lemon

This is the last image challenge of the year in the Blogging for Wellbeing project, and it ends with another fab photographer!

Image by Lauren Lemon
Lauren Lemon's photos capture moments, snapshots of moments, peeks into moments.... I wouldn't say the are mundane, cause her photos are anything but, yet..... at the same time they're not out-of-the-ordinary either.  Her unique eye is thought provoking yet grounded, whimsical yet simple.

There were a few that I liked, but this image, loosely titled Meanwhile in California, reminds me exactly that, of my days in California.  I have a great friend who lives there, and I love any chance I get to head to the coast.  Lounging on the beach or by the pool, soaking up the salt filled air and burning the image of a California sunset into my brain....  It's one of the most relaxing places I know to visit!

As I'm typing this post, I'm sitting in the exact position as in the image.  Except I'm on my couch.  And there isn't a beautiful sunset on the beach in front of me.  And I'm not filled with sunny feelings that the beach usually brings.  But I can dream....

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Little Guy, Big Hopes

I recently adopted a little dog, whom I absolutely adore. His history is unknown, all that is known is he's a lap dog that loves to lick noses and faces and fingers. He's adapted quickly into the household, and found his favorite spot to sleep (my pillow) and favorite spot to nap (the couch.)  In case I didn't mention it before, I'm completely smitten by his adorable eyes. I hate leaving him as he still barks when I leave, but I do love his wiggly, kiss-filled return!

Confession: I had really hoped that getting a pet, more specifically a dog, would fix a lot of my issues. I'd have someone else to take care of every day. I'd have an excuse to go out and walk at least three times a day (short as they may be!) I'd have someone to come home to who will love me unconditionally. I hoped that once I found the right pet (which I have,) things would get better.

Maybe my thinking was naive. This little guy had a lot of hopes riding on his tiny shoulders that he can't carry.  No one can.  Getting a dog may have been a great thing for me, but it sure hasn't fixed things.  Yes, I'm getting fresh air daily. I'm not spending every non-work moment in bed.  I'm working on a home routine, even if it is for this four legged little guy (who, by the way, is a sleepy-head like me!)

But I had hoped for more.... I had hoped that having a dog would magically lift the depression fog that follows me around. I hoped that my anxiety would lessen... that I'd be more hopeful about life in general.... instead, I'm feeling hopelessly in love with a little dog who can't fix me. He can't make things better. He can't make me feel less depressed or less anxious or less hopeless. He can't make my world feel any less heavy, despite his lightness.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Glee: Gone Too Far?

About six weeks ago, I finally sat down and caught up on this season's episodes of Glee.  I really liked the show the first few seasons, and was looking forward to this season.

Tonight, I caught up on a few more episodes.... and I am not impressed, nor am I pleased with one particular story line.  Unfortunately for me, that story line is overshadowing all the great music and great lessons on standing up for yourself and anti-bullying and all that good stuff.

Because Glee has decided to tackle Eating Disorders, and they're doing it in a way that is incredibly disturbing to me.  No one, under any circumstance, should ever encourage someone to engage in eating disordered behaviors.  The joke about binging and purging was not only not funny, it was also dangerous.  No one in their right mind chooses to have an eating disorder, be it bulimia, anorexia, binge eating, or EDNOS, they are nothing to sing about.

Millions of people world wide suffer from life threatening eating disorders, many which go untreated.  As someone recovering from one, I can promise you, eating disorders are nothing to joke about.  Glee, as a show that draws fans from all age groups, made in my mind, a very poor choice.  This is one fan who just crossed over, because Glee, you finally crossed the line.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Week 41: Dream Job

That's an easy one!

If I could do any job, I'd be a technology teacher in an elementary school.  Let me be more specific- I would be a technology teacher in an elementary school that has up-to-date and fully functioning technology!

I've thought about a variety of different educational endeavors that I could tackle over the years, but all of them take me out of the classroom, which is my favorite part of teaching.  For the last few years I've become the go-to person for tech trouble in my building.  I'm also a creative brainstormer when it comes to ways to integrate technology into projects and learning instead of making it an add on.

I don't know...... there's something pretty spectacular about putting a digital native (read: child of today) in front of a computer and supporting them along the creative and innovative learning experience of today....

So there you have it, my dream job.  If anyone happens to have an extra salary laying around, and would be willing to donate it to my school, I'd happily accept it, cause right now, a tech teacher is not in the budget!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

365 Days of Giving Thanks

All month long people have been posting things they are thankful for as their Facebook status.  I really like that idea.... but why does it need to be reserved for just the month of November?  Shouldn't we be practicing gratitude all year long?

That is what I am going to try and do, and by posting it here on the blog (instead of just in my journal) I'm hopeful that it will better help me be held accountable.  My intention is to join in on what many bloggers call "Thankful Thursdays" and each Thursday post one thing that I am thankful for from each day of the week.

Considering this is the most Thankful Thursday of the year (at least in the United States) I figured it would be a great day to start!
Google's 2009 Thanksgiving Day Doodle
Day 1 - Friday 11/16 - I am thankful that my students were wonderful during the assembly today!

Day 2 - Saturday 11/17 - I am thankful for my dietitian's patience, she was the "bad guy" today and came down hard on me, but it was done with love and my best interest at heart.

Day 3 - Sunday 11/18 - I am thankful that for my sister-in-law and her knowledge of dogs as I enter the world of canine ownership.

Day 4 - Monday 11/19 - I am thankful for my friend E, who came to let the little guy out while I was at work.

Day 5 - Tuesday 11/20 - I am thankful that conferences are finally over!

Day 6 - Wednesday 11/21 - I am thankful for my amazing physician who, during a five minute conversation before my physical began, calmed my nerves about the dietary changes, finally helping me make sense of things.

Day 7 - Thursday 11/22 - I am thankful for so much this Thanksgiving day - for having a place to celebrate the holiday, for my sister's safety, for my special friends, for my team... and for a pup who likes to sleep in!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

In Awe and Appreciation

It's no secret that I'm in the midst of some yucky changes that I would prefer to avoid.  I really do work hard to keep this blog somewhat motivating and positive, but sometimes life happens and that is reflected here.  Gotta keep things honest and real, at least that's my goal.

Despite the changes and challenges, or maybe because of them, today I was once again reminded of how lucky I am to have such a wonderful team.  Really truly beyond what I could have dreamed up..... they are amazing.

Today was my annual physical, which I'll admit is not my favorite thing.  But I know that it's necessary if I want to take the best care of myself that I can.  I've been seeing my physician for upwards of 13 years now, and I have nothing but admiration and appreciation for her.  She cares, above and beyond, she cares.

Truth be told, my doctor is the reason I'm still around today.  She sent me to my therapist, who sent me to my dietitian.  Between the three of them...... I don't know that I'll ever be able to find the words to express my gratitude.  They've pushed me, frustrated me, scared me, annoyed me, and most of all, they've cared about me.... all for my own good.  Because of my team, not only am I here today, but I am able to survive challenging changes (albeit kicking and screaming sometimes!)  The mix of love, admiration, appreciation, and gratitude that I have for them.... I don't know where I'd be without them.

The confidence they have in me is actually somewhat frightening, as I'm not really sure where they find it.  But my trust in them?  I'd travel to Mars and back if they told me to.  And it is nice to have that trust in them.... maybe one day I'll find that confidence they seem to have, too.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


In order to change.... we must be coerced, forced, bribed, given ultimatums, threatened, or otherwise pushed to change.

Well, at least that is the truth for me.

I have to make a few big changes.  Like, ginormously humungous changes.  (Well, at least that is how they feel to me.)  I am not looking forward to them.

As my dietitian said (and my therapist readily agreed.....) this situation is a "great opportunity to make some good changes" in my life.  Baloney.  This is a forced, totally-out-of-my-control change that I am not looking forward to having to implement.

Yes, in the long run it will be fine, probably better than fine, probably things will be really quite good because of this forced change.  But for now, I'm going to throw my silent temper tantrum and pout.  Cause reality is, as good as this change may be in the long run, it's rather terrifying at the moment.

Monday, November 19, 2012

What's In a Name?

Names are a funny thing.  They really need to "fit" the person in which they describe.  For a long time, I actually hated my name.  It wasn't one of the "common" names, so as a kid, the only time I got anything with my name on it was if someone made it for me.  I didn't like that all that much, I wanted the personalized everything that my friends had.

Now?  As an adult, I love my unique name.  I love that I only know of three other people with the same name (though I'm sure there are many more!)  My name fits me.  I'm unique.  I'm different (you can take that as good or bad, however you'd like.)  I'm a bit of an oddball, just like my name.

It took a long time for me to like my name.  Once I was able to embrace the uniqueness of it.... it was a lot easier to like it.  Liking my name.... first step to liking me?  I hope so!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A New Day

I am a huge fan of Anne of Green Gables.  In particular, the friendship between Anne and Diana always makes me smile.  They truly are kindred spirits.

It's been a hell of a weekend.  Seriously.  A long visit with my dietitian has me slightly very anxious about some pretty major changes we are making in my meal plan.  It is not going to be easy.  And I'm not looking forward to this.  But she's really good at turning challenges into opportunities, and I hope her attitude rubs off on me.  Cause this is one challenge I'm not thrilled with, no matter how much my friend logic says it's the best way to handle a lousy situation.

So I'm thinking about tomorrow, and how I get to start fresh, with a brand new day.  Kind of like a crisp, clean, piece of paper just waiting to be drawn or written on.  Or a new blog post just waiting to be written......

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Saturday Smiles

A ShirtWoot honorable mention.
Days like today, when I feel the most lost, stuck, tired, depressed...... finding smiles is not an easy task.  But how could I not crack a smile with this image?!

Friday, November 16, 2012

As if.....

A lot has happened in the last seven days.  A LOT.  I love my job, I love where I work, but this year has been a real roller coaster in terms of expectation shifts.  And in terms of good old basic respect of one another.  Recent news has required me to act as if what has been said is no bother, has no impact, and does not even enter my zone of concern.  On the inside, though, with every bit of news, a part of me feels like it's dying. 

Part of recovery has meant trying things that I am not comfortable with.  It's meant stretching out of my comfort zone on so many occasions.  It's meant doing what feels impossible.  It's meant doctor's appointments and therapy appointments and dietitian appointments that are painful as painful gets.

But nothing hurts as much as having to pretend everything is fine, even though everyone around you knows it's not.  Pretending that the announcement that was just made isn't going to cause a major recovery setback.  Pretending that you're going to be just fine, when inside, you're ready to give up, and everyone around you is watching for your reaction. 

I've gotten quite good at acting over the years, it's part of my job, and it's usually useful.  I am so appreciative that today all that practice acting paid off.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Well, I hate to admit it, but I'm blushing.  Larissa over at Papa is a Preacher honored My Purple Dreams with a Wonderful Team Member Readership Award!

I "met" Larissa through NaBloPoMo, and have quite enjoyed reading her blog.  I've actually met many wonderful bloggers through NaBloPoMo, and while it's sometimes tough to post every single day, I'm definitely glad I signed up for the challenge!

This recognition comes with a few requirements, and I want to get those situated before the celebrating begins!

The Rules
1. The Nominee of the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award will display the logo on his/her post/page and/or sidebar.  - Check!
2. Over a period of 1 week, the Nominee shall nominate a number of readers that he or she appreciates – this can be done at any rate during the week. It can be all on one day or a few on one day and a few on another day, as most convenient to the Nominee. - Check! (see below!)

3. The Nominee shall name his or her Wonderful Team Member Readership Award nominees on a post or on posts during the 7 day (1 week) period. - Congratulations bloggy friends! (all nominations have been delivered!)

Jackie @ Confessions of a Cupcake Queen
Kylie-Rose @ Rose's are Red
Attachment Girl @ Tales of a Boundary Ninja
Paula Young @ A Therapist's Thoughts
Nicole @ Riding the Wavez
Tracey @ Just As I Am

4.  The nominee shall answer the questions, all in the spirit of fun! - Check!

1) Why do you blog?
I blog because I want to make a difference.  If sharing my story - the good, the bad, the painful, the happy, all of it, helps even one person, then I'll have reached my goal.  As I know this has already happened, I continue to blog because I enjoy writing, and am enjoying meeting new people in the blog-o-sphere!

2) If you were trapped on a desert island, what book, DVD, food, cartoon character, and childhood game would you bring?
Umm..... can I say that I'd bring my iPad, a wireless hot spot, and a solar recharging station?  Then I'd have all the entertainment, books, and distractions I'd need!
Oh, that kind of answer.  Well then..... let's see......
Book: Can I have a series?  Can't pick just one book.... at least not easily.  Ok.  One book.  Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass.  Series?  Harry Potter.
DVD: American Eats Series.  History Channel rocks.
Food: Cereal.  Cereal and chocolate.
Cartoon Character: Calvin and Hobbes - I'd never be bored!
Childhood Game: The game of Life!

3) Share a funny joke or one-liner.
The past, the present, and the future walked into a bar.  It was tense.

4) What is your favorite thing about yourself?
Tough one..... it'd have to be my ability to connect with my students and make learning meaningful for them.

5) What one word best describes you?
Thinker.  Explanation here.

6) If you could have a lifetime supply of any candy/candy bar, what would it be?

Almond m&ms.  Or peanut m&ms.  Or mounds bars.  Yeah, maybe mounds bars.

7) What fictional character do you relate to most?

Easy!  Wrote a whole post about it.  You can read it here.

8) If you were to write the story of your life, what would you call it?

Well, I already have the title picked out, and the blog site reserved..... so let's just keep that between me and my therapist for right now, k?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Acts of Kindness

I've been having a really bad week.  Actually, it's been more like a really month.  Things are not going my way at all lately.  In fact, things are not even headed in my direction whatsoever these days.  And I've been working very hard to keep my crabbiness from seeping out.

Today, an excruciatingly long 13.5 hour day, was the longest day yet.  I came home absolutely exhausted and crabbier than ever.

Then I got my mail.

It's not usually all that exciting to get my mail.  Most of the time it's full of junk mail and offers for credit cards (which I consider junk mail, too.)

A few weeks back I had written a check and taken it with me to pay my massage therapist.  When I got to her office, the check had vanished.  Like completely and utterly gone.  I was baffled as I dumped the contents of my purse out in the lobby looking for the check that I had written only minutes before.  As I've been a long standing client, she had no problem with me paying next time, but I was still annoyed.  I searched my car, my house, retraced my steps walking from house to car to business.  Nothing.

Until I opened today's mail.  There was a hand addressed envelope from an address I didn't recognize.  Usually that means a solicitor or a realtor or something, but this time it was different.

It contained my first real smile in weeks.  A complete stranger found the check I had written and instead of ignoring it or throwing it away, they mailed it to me with a note.

A small act of kindness from a complete stranger..... maybe things are going to start looking up??

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Stormy Weather

In life, there are huge storms, hurricanes, if you will, that uproot us at our core.  The destruction and devastation, in whatever form it takes, is pretty excruciating.

Then there are the storms, full of thunder and lightning, and maybe even some wild winds.  These storms definitely cause chaos, and wreak havoc in the moment, but their path of destruction is much smaller, requiring little more than righting patio furniture and picking up the sticks that have been strewn about the yard.

Finally, there are the breezes that blow through on a day to day basis.  You know the ones, right?  The breeze that makes an 82 degree day feel just perfect.  These do little more than cause a slight chill, or bring a nice refreshing breeze, making the wind chimes dance as they fill the space with music.

With all three of these "winds" the goal is that we as people learn to bend, no matter what the forces.  We are flexible, yet strong.  We have firm roots, so we stay within our space, yet, bending allows things to stay fluid, and even lets some of the old, decaying debris break off and blow away, leaving us ready to begin again.

Sometimes there's a rather lot of rebuilding (think: hurricane) that needs to happen, generally bringing people together to support each other.  Sometimes there's just a bit of clean up that needs to happen (think: storm) and then we're ready to go again.  Sometimes, there is nothing to do but enjoy the breeze.

Then there's me.  The person who falls apart at even the slightest breeze.  The person who turns a misty spring morning into gale force winds.  The person who doesn't bend, instead, painfully breaking into dozens of pieces.

That's where I am right now.  Facing a situation that in reality is a storm, but I'm acting as if it's a wild hurricane.  Do I like doing this?  No way.  But this "hurricane" reaction is how I tend to respond to every breeze that blows through.  It's pretty painful, breaking all the time.  I feel like I've been broken so many times where I was left to put myself back together alone, and I missed a few pieces.

This time is going to be different.  The hurricane has been downgraded to a storm.  And while, as usual, I'm picking up the pieces and putting myself together, this time, I have an instructional guide, and that..... that is making a huge difference.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Jumping in...

So, seems I've decided to jump back into the hole.  I have been spending a lot of time lately hanging around the hole, but I don't know that I've jumped back in willingly in a little while.  Looks like I'm back at chapter two...

What hole is this, you ask?  Well, let me explain....

There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: 
Autobiography in Five Short Chapters 
By Portia Nelson

Chapter I
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in
I am lost . . . I am helpless
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III
I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in . . . it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V
I walk down another street.

(I visited the hole here back in February, too.......)

Challenge 17: Radu Voinea

Image courtesy of Radu Voinea
This week's Image Inspiration comes from photographer Radu Voinea.  As I've done for the last few weeks.... I've sought out images that are striking to me, and this one really hit well as it speaks to the season, which is one of my favorites.

I want to step into my monitor, and right into this scene.  My nostrils dance with the cripsness of the autumn air.  My ears are serenaded by the crisp crunch of the fallen leaves.  My feet almost glide over the slippery texture of the moist, fallen leaves.  The fall mist that is sprinkling washes the day away....

I want a good book, a waterproof cushion, and a thermos of warm cider as I sit on a bench, under my red umbrella, enjoying the best that autumn has to offer.

P.S.  I just saw that this is my 222 post!  You know how I love numbers, so I couldn't resist marking this milestone in my blogging world!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

True Friendship

Today was the first Sunday in months that I actually smiled.  It was the first Sunday I got out of my pajamas.  The first Sunday that I actually left the house.  The first Sunday that I didn't spend the day hiding in my bedroom.

Yeah, I'm still depressed.  But I spent a few hours with a true friend today, one of the few that I have.  And somehow, while we were walking to lunch in this unseasonably warm weather, the darkness temporarily released it's hold on me and I was able to enjoy our time together.  While I was forcing myself to laugh at first, so as not to rain on the beautiful weather, after a while, it wasn't an effort.  

Smiles were harder.  Somehow, as good of a job as I thought I was doing in keeping things light and happy, she knew.  She commented on how happy I seemed, and wondered if it was genuine.... she knew.... but being that special soul that she is, she understood.  And when we said goodbye, that little extra squeeze?  That was the best medicine out there.

Only a true friend sees the pain through the mask and loves you anyway....

Saturday, November 10, 2012


I generally do not post these ecards that are floating around facebook and pinterest and the internet in general. 

But I couldn't not post this one.

It is SO fitting for my world these days.  It seems that allergy season has been extended for an indefinite length of time.  I mean, why else would I constantly be tearing up? 


Friday, November 9, 2012

Challenge 16, Part 3

Image by Murat Suyur
I like the whimsy of this image.  Tasty white chocolate mixed with technology of my favorite kind.  Nothing too fancy, just pure fun, if you ask me.  Two things I prefer to not have to live without: technology and chocolate (though I prefer dark chocolate!)

One thing I have to say about these recent Blogging for Wellbeing Challenges is that I have been exposed to artists that I'd not have otherwise met.  Bonus!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Little Things

I know that a lot of people don't always recognize how lucky they are.  How good they have it.  Perspective is a tricky thing, no matter how old you are.

I know that I am luckier than many.  I recognize that, and am very grateful for what I do have.  Yeah, there are a lot of things that I went through that really sucked.  There are a lot of things in my life that still suck.  But I still think I'm a lucky one.

And that's partially because of the people in my life who support me.  It's not like they go above and beyond, it's that they're just great people.  It's the hug I get when I walk into my dietitian's office, or the little extra squeeze when we hug goodbye.  It's the text message that warns me not to panic when I pull into the parking lot and don't see my therapist's car.  It's the three month notice I get when there is a schedule adjustment to be made, because I don't take to surprises well.  It's the unexpected text that says "I made some soup for you for next time you come over," just because.  It's the way my crazy thoughts are normalized by those who really understand me.

I'm lucky.  Really lucky.  It's the little things that really do mean the most....

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Challenge 16, Part 2

Image by Murat Suyur
Another intriguing photo that literally jumped off the screen and into my mind.  I'm often drawn to the light bulb concept in general.  I love how the light bulb has transformed the world, literally and figuratively.

For example, without the light bulb, we'd be living with candle light for always.  Obvious, yes, but less obvious is that many say the light bulb is the invention that revolutionized the world.

Which is the less obvious reason that it sticks with me so strongly.  The light bulb represents ideas, ideas of all kinds.  It also represents thinking.  This image, complete with the "old" light in the candle flame, and the "new" light of the bulb, may in essence be two different things, but in reality, it's connecting ideas from past and present, in a way that I hadn't seen before.  In other words, it's shedding light on today while paying homage to the past.

What's this got to do with anything, you ask?  Well, I'm in the process of opening the doors of my past, visiting old pains and hurts, and attempting to make peace in an effort to move forward a little lighter (pun intended!)  No easy task, excruciating, at times.  Then again, being burned by a candle is painful, and it was not easy to invent the light bulb, either...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


That seems to be where I spend a good deal of time.  Thinking outside of the box.  I've always thought it to be a good thing, but lately, I'm not so sure.  It seems that sometimes, or so I've been told, thinking outside the box scares those that prefer to spend their time inside the box.  Ironically, just yesterday, I read a GREAT article about this exact topic on another blog.  Seems that most people find comfort within their little box.  But in some cases, people outgrow the box, for whatever reason, and decide to leave it behind.

And that makes others very nervous.  Cause being an outside-the-box thinker is who I am naturally.  Which these days, I'm not sure I like.

Some people might say that living inside the box is lonely and isolating, but I'm experiencing the opposite.  Seems that there are few people who naturally think outside of the box.  So really, I'm finding the outside rather lonely, and to be honest, a bit frightening.  I'd much rather have preferred to stick in the box if I knew it would protect me from ridicule and bullying that has escalated the more I spend time outside the box.  People inside their boxes feel threatened by me (or so I'm told) and would rather I stop thinking the way I do, which is kinda impossible.

I can understand their perspective to a degree, I mean, there is definitely comfort in consistency and security that the box offers.  But..... not everyone is comfortable in the box..... so please, if you know someone who is an outside the box thinker, even if you don't always get where they are coming from, please don't make fun of, or ridicule, or bully them into believing they are wrong for the way they naturally think.  That doesn't help anyone.  And to be honest, it hurts.  A lot.  Because while questioning oneself can be a good reflection tool, when done from a critical perspective, it does more harm than good.

Monday, November 5, 2012

We actually won?!

This past month, notations for the 2012 Nourishing Body Image Award were sent in to an awesome blog that I love (check out Nourishing the Soul if you haven't already done so!)  And believe it or not, one of the images on this blog was a winner!

I am truly honored that this was chosen as the  
Best Body Positive Photo, Video, or Image, 
and hope others can heed the message it sends.  
Thank you for the recognition!

Image from Challenge 4, Part 1: Self Esteem

Challenge 16, Part 1: Murat Suyur

Image by Murat Suyur
This week's Image Inspiration comes from photographer Murat Suyur, another multifaceted artist.  I chose this piece to start with because I'm a big baseball fan, and I found myself drawn to the image. 

On the one hand, balloons are a childhood whimsy, fun, light, and full of laughter.  On the other hand, a baseball is hard, fast, and sometimes, if hit the wrong way, it really stings.

Putting the two together creates a mental tug-of-war in my brain (nothing new, actually!) that leaves me wondering....

What's that?  You too are left wondering?

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I am who I am.  Lots of people, surprisingly, seem to like me, too.  Unfortunately, I'm not one of them.  I am not my biggest fan.  In fact, I'm not even in line to become a fan at all.  People in my field see me as knowledgeable, compassionate, innovative, outgoing.... The list could go on for a while, but then I'd be too ill to finish this post.

Because I struggle to see past my insecurities, most of which are body image related.  Yep, I said it.  Body image.  Something I generally try very hard to avoid talking about.  In fact, I haven't broached the subject in more than six months.  It's that hard for me to think about.

But it's time to open that door up a little bit, and peek inside the darkness of the room in which all my body fears reside.  It is not going to be fun.  But I'm told it's a necessity.  I have found myself stuck in the painful place of wanting to listen to what others say about my abilities, but being pulled down by my self-perceptions instead.  Unable to accept compliments about my skills because after all, how could someone as [gulp] ugly as me be good at anything?

The truth is (and I'm quoting from others here) that I am quite good at what I do.  I am "knowledgeable and compassionate and innovative when it comes to education.  The things [my] students are doing and learning is pretty spectacular."  It makes me ill to hear that, even though a part of me knows it's true.  I chalk it all up to the fact that while most people were out and about, developing social skills and building relationships, I was hiding inside, escaping from the world.  The benefit from the time I spent alone is the fact that during that time was/is when I explore new tools that eventually become the norm.

That's the thing.  I feel like what I do with my class is the norm, and it's always shocking to hear that it isn't.  I am stuck behind the fact that I don't think it's possible for someone like me (read: ugly, insecure, self-conscious, socially awkward, highly sensitive, easily distracted, and so annoying) to be innovative.  To be excellent at anything.

So here I am......  Trying to accept that I may have admirable traits and skills. Trying to swallow the fact that others seem to be able to see past my appearance, and see the whole picture.  Trying to pull out the knife that I plunged into my own heart so long ago.... and trying to let myself be seen, just a little, just for a few minutes, so that maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to hear what my team (and a lot of others) is telling me, instead of listening to my vicious inner voice.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fairy Tales and Inner Dragons

I finally found a way to describe the inner turmoil that plays out in my mind on a fairly regular basis.  I've got this nasty little inner "dragon" that constantly is breathing fire down my back.  It's MY voice in my head that's heating things up for ME.

Well, it's time to hire a dragon slayer to help me slay the beast in my brain.  I know it's not going to be easy, after all, it took 30 years for this dragon to grow, I'm not going to be able to slay it overnight.  It's going to take some time to replace the voice that once belonged to others and eventually became my own worst enemy, with a positive one. 

The challenge is internalizing that positive voice, and making it my own.  Oh, yes, I have already found one to listen to, thankfully.  And once I internalize that voice?  This dragon's days are numbered.  (Yeah, I know, the number may be in the high triple digits at the moment, but they are numbered nonetheless!)

Friday, November 2, 2012


Every November, writers all over the world (published, non-published, and soon-to-be-published) can choose to participate in a pretty cool writing project called NaNoWriMo.  That stands for National Novel Writing Month, and writers are challenged to write an entire novel during the month of November.  The goal is to write a 50,000 word, 175 page novel by 11:59pm on November 30th.  Sounds challenging, yet.... inspiring!

They have a great program for young authors, as well as a plethora of resources to inspire willing writers.  In fact, you may have even read some books that began as NaNoWriMo projects!  (Water for Elephants anyone?)

Anyway, after perusing the web last night, I learned that there is something a little different for those in the blog-o-sphere.  It's called NaBloPoMo.  National Blog Posting Month.  If I am understanding correctly, there are similar challenges that go on year-round, but November is the birth-month of these great writing projects.  It sounds like something worth giving a go, so.... I signed in the empty box and clicked "submit" and voila!  I'm going to give this challenge a go!

What does that mean?  One post a day.  For an entire month.  Might be a bit tricky, as November is one of those crazy months at work, but then again, so was June. I survived the June Blogger Challenge and actually really enjoyed it!  I'm hoping NaBloPoMo is equally as worderific (yes, I think I did just invent a new word) as June was.  As there are no "set" blog prompts (though there are prompts available!) I am eager to see what transpires!