Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Professionally Developed

I work with some amazing people.  Professional, put together, masters of their craft.  People that I look at and think "wow, I kinda wish I could have their lives for a little while, and see how the other half lives......"  I often feel less than, just because they are all married (or engaged) and have families (or are just starting their families) and have very rich and wonderful lives outside of work.  In other words, their highlight reels are pretty spectacular.

And mine isn't.

Except for one area.  I found it quite shocking that my "highlight reel" actually brought out the behind-the-scenes struggle in my colleagues.  See, my highlight reel is very limited.  It actually only encompasses one skill area.  That's it.  I don't have the family.  I don't have the relationship.  I don't have the outside-of-work-amazing-life.  But I do have one talent, that I now know brings out insecurities in others.  Which is something I hate to do, make someone feel insecure.  And today, more than ever, that was made clear to me.

Which is why this quote came to mind.  I know I need to really work hard to stop looking at the highlight reel, the "public persona" of my colleagues.  Because when I do that, I feel like an ant surrounded by elephants - the smallest, most insignificant creature of the bunch.  Hopefully this new-found information will help me balance out a little bit more, and be less insecure about what they have that I don't, and instead, focus on sharing what I can......  After all, we all have something to offer, whether we're behind the camera or running the show.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


I love this acronym for hope.  It is helpful in putting "right now" in perspective.

Because no matter what you're facing, good or bad, happy or sad, painful or not, it isn't permanent, no matter how much it feels that way in the moment.

Right now, in this moment......  Take a deep breath and know that the pain will end.  The moment will pass.  You will be ok.  Even if it doesn't feel that way right now.

Sometimes hope arrives in the most unexpected of ways.  We just have to be open to receive it. 

(Right now, for me, it comes in the form of typing this out for the world to read, and hoping that I can heed my own message, because I desperately need this reminder right now, too....)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Week 40: Favorite TV Show

Yikes! This is going to be tough!  Kinda like picking characters that remind me of me, there are just too many choices! Not that I'm a big TV junkie, because I'm not. At least not anymore. I used to have the TV on whenever I was home, just for background noise. I usually kept it on Food Network. Now, I find the background noise to be a bit annoying, and I only watch a select few shows all together.

Dividing this up into current and past might make it a little simpler.

My current/recent favorite TV show is The Big Bang Theory. I can't help but laugh out loud as I watch! I DVR episodes just so I can watch them again and again. Really helps bring a smile to my face on a gloomy day! I am embarrassed to admit that I've probably seen every episode thus far. (Except this week's episode, still haven't watched it, but it's on DVR!)
My two favorite TV shows from the less-distant past are Friends and Gilmore Girls. And yes, I've seen every episode of both of them. I can quote both, too. And I never get tired of the reruns (though there are a few Friends episodes that I've seen so many times....) I wish I lived in a town like Stars Hollow, I loved the small feel of the place. Oh, and the banter between Lorelei and Rory didn't hurt, either.

As for overall most favorite shows?  These two three stem from my oh-so-distant childhood.  Kids Incorporated was a Disney Channel favorite and I loved watching it. I still remember every single word of the theme song, and can hear in my head at the slightest mention of Kids, Inc. (I may or may not have spent way too much money purchasing VHS tapes of the show on ebay.)  Nickelodeon hosted another favorite of mine, which recently came out on DVD, much to my surprise! Hey Dude was about as fake as they come, but I didn't care. I loved being at the Bar None ranch with Kyle and Brad and Mr. Ernst. My weekly escape to the summer vacation of my dreams. Finally, and likely my most favorite show of all time, Punky Brewster tops the list. I wanted her bedroom. I wanted her to be my best friend. I admired her optimism and spunk, despite the challenges she faced.

Ok, so I narrowed it down to six, not too bad considering the list spans 30 years!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Challenge 15: Image Inspiration

Images by Elena Kalis
I was finally stumped this week.  All week I've been looking at the images for this week's challenge, and every single time I found myself irritated and annoyed with the artist.  I went to the artist's website, Googled other images by the artist, and had the same reaction every single time.

This has led me to realize that there is still way too much going on behind the scenes of my brain (commonly referred to the unconscious) that I am not aware of.  However, I wanted to mark this challenge in the blog activity, because I hope that one day, I can come back to this challenge and view these same images through a different lens.  I hope that I can see them in a way that doesn't create the irritation that I see when I look at them now.  I try to keep an open mind in all areas of my life, but in this case, well, maybe another time.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Week 39: Favorite Time of Day

My favorite time of day is only a few minutes away, actually!  I'm almost embarrassed to admit it, but this blog is all about keeping things real.  Nothing but the honest, albeit painful, truth.

In a few minutes, I get to crawl into bed.  My bed, that is so comfortable and cozy.... I feel almost giddy thinking about how yummy it feels to crawl into bed, snuggle into the layers of blankets and sheets and pillows and softness.... I can't adequately describe it..... so let's see if this helps.

Let me try and give a clearer picture.  Have you ever bathed a dog, or seen a dog bathed? Picture that.  Picture the dog in the shower or tub.  Then picture the dog being freed of the water, and giving that whole-body shake that sends water flying everywhere.  Now, picture that same dog, finally let loose into the yard, and watch that dog roll around in the grass and dirt.  Imagine how happy they feel.  Now picture that huge sigh that the dog releases as they finally feel like themselves again.

That's how I feel crawling into my bed.

It's just me and my comfortable, soft, warm, welcoming bed.... I look forward to crawling into bed hours before I actually get to crawl in.  And when that moment finally arrives?  Yeah.  I sigh.

(Ironically, I never liked my bed as a kid!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Our One Year Blog-a-versary!

Exactly year ago today I decided to jump into the blog-o-sphere.

This blog wouldn't have happened without the encouragement of a few special people.  I was stumped as to what to name my blog, since I wanted it to be kept anonymous, I couldn't use anything too obvious as a name.  It was then that a friend suggested playing around with my favorite color as the name.  Hence, My Purple Dreams was born.

Without the encouragement of another friend, I'd never have started the blog in the first place.  She invited me to join a small group of people working on ed recovery on Facebook.  The project started eight weeks prior to me joining, so I was a bit behind, but I didn't mind, and neither did she.  Thank you T & T, for your encouragement and support with this blog project!

In the past year, sooooo much has changed.  Some for the better, some changes are still in need of being made.  Along the way there were periods where posts were plentiful, other times, posts were sparse, but all the while, My Purple Dreams grew.  It is still growing, just as I am.  This blog has become such a powerful tool for me in every area of my life.  There is something very empowering about sharing my life with others - the ups and the downs - and being accepted and supported by my readers.

We're all traveling on our journeys, and I'm honored that you've chosen to be a part of mine for this past year, and hope that we'll continue to travel together for many more years to come!

Monday, October 22, 2012

From Bad to Worse

Things just seem to be going from bad to worse.  Friday it was a complete stranger that sent me into a tailspin, today, it was a situation at work.  Lately, I feel like I can't catch a break.  Which sucks.  Big time.  (and apparently, I'm not the only one who's noticed the target I seem to wear, as colleagues have commented on "things" too.)

It's as if I'm walking around, as a colleague described it, with a giant target on me.  When anything at all goes wrong in the building, I'm blamed.  It is irrational and illogical in every way.  But unfortunately, it is what it is, and I have no choice but to ride out this wave of insanity.  And not let it break me.

Cause I'm stronger than my eating disorder.  And I'm stronger than a blame-game target.  The question is, how long will I be able to maintain that strength, maintain my dignity, maintain my life.... without breaking completely into un-fixable pieces.  Cause sometimes, you just can't fix the platter that's shattered into hundreds of pieces.

Mother Teresa said "I know G-d won't give me anything I can't handle.  I just wish He didn't trust me so much."  I know what she means.  I know I am meant to learn something from these past few days.  Maybe it's that I can't give one person the power to make me feel bad about myself, or worthless, or self-conscious.  Maybe it's that I am meant to handle situations like this because I'm strong enough to do so.  Maybe.... I dunno, but I wish, whatever the lesson I'm meant to learn, would show itself soon, because this is getting really hard to handle...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

When Are You Due?

I bet many expectant parents hear this question a lot.  It makes sense, right?  They're pregnant, and people looking to strike up a conversation will ask the obvious.  And I bet many expectant parents are more than happy to answer the question.

Well I'm not.  Because I'm not an expectant parent.

I am recovering from an eating disorder.  There, I said it.  I've danced around the topic a lot on the blog, but I don't know that I've come outright and said that before.

In the not-so-distant past, a complete stranger came up to me, attempted to put her hand on my extremely bloated belly as she asked the dreaded question.  I was shocked.  I mean, I know by evening I am bloated.  I hate it.  But pregnant?  Really?  That is SO not something to say to me.

That comment, as innocent as it may have been (the woman needs to be smacked upside the head as lesson one in learning tact) it flipped my world upside down and sent me into a dangerous spiral.

See, my recovery has only been strong for about two months.  That's not long enough to let a comment like this not rock the boat.  I do not want to throw the last year and a half's worth of work away.  My team has worked too hard to get me to where I am, stable for two months.  But I am so, so, so, discouraged right now.  All that work, all that effort, all that pain......... I mean, my body image has been really bad for years, and while recovery has stabilized my weight and my physical health, I still struggle with the body image blues.  Big time.  And for the last few weeks, it's been exceptionally miserable in the mirror.  This didn't help.

This time around, it wasn't a number that set me off.  It was a stupid stranger.  An inconsiderate, thoughtless, possibly-well-meaning, stranger.  And my former best bud Ed is  holding the door wide open, inviting me back into the relationship that I worked so hard to leave behind.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Week 38: Where Has Time Gone?

That is such a good question.  Where has time gone?  It seems like just yesterday it was summer vacation, and now it's nearly Halloween.  This school year is flying by, which while I don't mind that, I do mind that I always feel so stinking tired!

Funny thing is, that I was just looking at some recent pictures of my former students.  I worked with them when they were 8-9 years old.  This was a special group, so we've kept in contact through the years.  The pictures I saw today were pictures of young ladies and young men.  Not pictures of 8-9 year old kids.  These kids are gangly teens now.  Looking at them and seeing how much they've changed in the past few years.... makes me feel old.  At the same time, it makes me proud to see what wonderful people they have grown into.

Me, on the other hand?  It's been a whirlwind, that's for sure!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Challenge 14, Part 2: A Swing and A Bear

Photo by Andre Arment
When we are children we seldom think of the future.  
This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can.  
The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind. 
--Patrick Rothfuss--

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Challenge 14, Part 1: Staircase

Photo by Andre Arment
I like this new twist on the Blogging for Wellbeing Project!  The photos are so cool!  That, and I'm meeting photographers and artists I've never met before.

This picture stood out to me from all the rest of them, partially because I'm drawn to the warmth and richness of the wood, and partially because it reminds me of one of my favorite artists, M.C. Escher, who creates these incredible optical illusions.

Then there's the heart of the image...... where this child, in red, stands.  Alone.  On the stairs.  Maybe waiting?  Maybe hesitating?  It reminds me of when I was a child, waiting for mom and dad to come home, and how I'd sneak out of my bedroom and wait at the top of the stairs until I heard the garage open, and then I'd tiptoe back to my room and go to bed.  I always had to wait to make sure they got home safely before I could fall asleep.

Yet, somehow this image makes me smile.  Maybe it's because the warmth of the wood reminds me of my years in the horse world.  Maybe it's because sometimes, despite the challenges of my past, there are some memories that feel good when they come up.  For whatever reason, I needed to know my parents were home safe and sound before I could go to sleep.  Looking back now, I think it was kind of cute, actually, and cute usually makes me smile!

Monday, October 15, 2012

One of those days....

Have you ever had one of those days where you look back on it as you unwind from the day, and are shocked at all that transpired?

That was my today.  The day flew all-too-quickly, which was rather nice for a Monday.  On the same note, it felt very disjointed because of external issues that cropped up, demanding immediate attention.

I was really looking forward to seeing my therapist tonight, to debrief, and hopefully get my head on a little bit straighter after the chaos of the past few days.  While it was a great session, and a great conversation, and I left her office feeling pretty ok.... I got in the car and cried my way home.  No words, either, to explain why.  Just an unleashing of tears that I can't explain.  I just wish they had arrived earlier, so that I could have been in therapy at the time and could have explored the possibilities for them with my therapist.

Some days just leave me wondering how I made it thorough the day in one piece, while still managing to plant some good in the world.  Today was one of those days.  I planted good seeds in the lessons taught at school today, and then my tears watered them all evening long.  Maybe that means they'll grow faster?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Words and Music

I guess this fits in the ongoing "Week 7: Words that Give Me Meaning" series.  Lately I've been really challenged to find the words to express myself.  I feel full of this false sense of good, and if I open my mouth, I'll lose it all.  I feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop, but this time, the shoe is in my hand. 

And I know I'm going to drop it.

In fact, I might already have.  That would explain the tearful mess I've been this evening.  On the heels of a pretty decent end to the week, as life would have it.  Now, though?  I just feel like....

Some Nights by Fun

Some nights, I stay up cashing in my bad luck
Some nights, I call it a draw
Some nights, I wish that my lips could build a castle
Some nights, I wish they'd just fall off

But I still wake up, I still see your ghost

Oh Lord, I'm still not sure what I stand for oh
What do I stand for? What do I stand for?
Most nights, I don't know anymore...

Oh whoa, oh whoa, oh whoa oh oh
Oh whoa, oh whoa, oh whoa oh oh

This is it, boys, this is war - what are we waiting for?

Why don't we break the rules already?
I was never one to believe the hype - save that for the black and white
I try twice as hard and I'm half as liked, but here they come again to jack my style

And that's alright; I found a martyr in my bed tonight

She stops my bones from wondering just who I am, who I am, who I am
Oh, who am I? mmm... mmm...

Well, some nights, I wish that this all would end

Cause I could use some friends for a change
And some nights, I'm scared you'll forget me again
Some nights, I always win, I always win...

But I still wake up, I still see your ghost

Oh Lord, I'm still not sure what I stand for, oh
What do I stand for? What do I stand for?
Most nights, I don't know..
. (come on)

So this is it? I sold my soul for this?

Washed my hands of that for this?
I miss my mom and dad for this?

(Come on)

No. When I see stars, when I see, when I see stars, that's all they are

When I hear songs, they sound like this one, so come on
Oh, come on. Oh, come on, OH COME ON!

Well, that is it guys, that is all - five minutes in and I'm bored again

Ten years of this, I'm not sure if anybody understands

This one is not for the folks at home; Sorry to leave, mom, I had to go
Who the heck wants to die alone all dried up in the desert sun?

My heart is breaking for my sister and the con that she call "love"

When I look into my nephew's eyes...
Man, you wouldn't believe the most amazing things that can come from...
Some terrible nights...ahhh...

Oh whoa, oh whoa, oh whoa, oh oh

Oh whoa, oh whoa, oh whoa, oh oh

The other night, you wouldn't believe the dream I just had about you and me

I called you up, but we'd both agree
It's for the best you didn't listen
It's for the best we get our distance... oh...
It's for the best you didn't listen
It's for the best we get our distance... oh... 

Challenge 13, Part 3: Shelter

Image by Julie De Waroquier
This week's blog challenge offered several different images from which we could choose, and then share our interpretation of the image.  It's been interesting for me to read about everyone's different perspective on the images! The photographer was completely new to me, and I've become quite taken with several of her pieces.  If you haven't heard of Julie De Waroquier, I encourage you to take a peek at this French photographer's site.

The image above is called Shelter, and it is probably my second favorite to the tree image.  I found myself often taking shelter from the world in the pages of a book.  To this day, I still find shelter within the pages of books (well, books unrelated to work!) as it is so comforting to get lost in a world where you know everything is already taken care of, and all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.

There is something safe about taking shelter in a book, about how it protects my mind from my own intrusive thoughts, at least while I'm within the pages of the story.  Something about how my world is calmer, as I'm lost in the story, instead of lost in my real, somewhat frightening world.  One can take the literal term for shelter from this image, but one can also take that figurative route, and be distracted by the comfort and security within another's words, instead of the tragic and traumatic words of our on minds......

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ten. Eleven. Twelve.

I can't resist a chance to bring a little mathematical logic into the blog-o-sphere, and today is one of those mathematically magical days that will only come around two more times in my lifetime.

Image from
Today is October 11, 2012.
That makes today 10/11/12.

Now, with my fascination with numbers, I wanted to post on 10/11/12 at 13:14:15, but I kinda forgot.  But just because I forgot at that moment, didn't mean I was going to let this day escape without at least a little acknowledgement.

And you know what?  Today was a pretty good day.  I had an *awesome* therapy session, one where I left actually smiling instead of with a wad of tissue, blotchy eyes, and a runny nose (which happens more often than not.)  No matter how my therapy goes, I am always grateful for my therapist, who puts up with my incessant need to re-hash topics over and over and over until they get through my thick skull.

I'm one lucky person in the grand scheme of things, because even on my worst days, I know my team will be there to pick me up when I need them.  And on the better days, like today, which are still few and far between, I can record these moments so as to remember them on days when my team IS picking me up off the floor....

Happy 10/11/12!  See you on 11/12/13!

Challenge 13, Part 2: Butterfly

Image by Julie D Waroquier
I love this picture..... the innocence, the softness, the possibility..... reminds me of the innocence of childhood.  Staring out the front window, watching the wind blow through the trees, waiting for dad to get home from work.  Wishing.... hoping....

I noticed, too, the somewhat "old fashioned" tone to the image.  The jumper the child is wearing, the shoes, they are all reminiscent of a time so far away.... when things were simpler.  When kids played in the yard with boxes and sticks, and their imagination took them places that kids today will never visit.  When family dinners were a daily event, and conversation took place face to face, instead of screen to screen.

Innocence.... possibility..... hope..... hope that the children of the future will be able to enjoy.....

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mental Health Matters!

As World Mental Health Awareness Day draws to a close, I have been reflecting on my journey over the last year.  Most notably, how much things have changed in the last year, and how much they are still the same.  Confusing contradiction, I know, but it's true.  The world has changed, I have changed, my health has changed.  Yet, the sun still rises, the stars still shine, the rain still falls, and the leaves still change.

The thing that hasn't yet changed is the stigma attached to mental health.  And even more, the stigma about eating disorders.  It is frustrating and sad to hear people speak of eating disorders as "fads" or "attention seeking."  It is frustrating and sad to hear people whisper about depression and anxiety.  If only they knew that in a room of 20 people, 5 likely suffer from a diagnosable mental illness.

But no one talks about it.  And if no one talks about it, the secrecy just increases the shame.

I've been talking about it.  Slowly at first, and quietly, and with a few trusted people.  But through the blogging community, I've grown stronger.  And braver.  And though I still struggle daily, the shame is decreasing as the secrecy lessens. 

In the beginning, things were definitely rougher.  Below are snippets of my journey that I hope will inspire you to try something new on yours...

Stress and Attitude
Got Feelings?
A Wake Up Call
What If?
Everybody Knows Somebody
I Just Don't Get It
Self-Care vs. Self-Neglect
Caving, In a Good Way!

To close out World Mental Health Awareness Day, I want to share something that was shared at Psych Central's Blog Party.   The page is now full of amazing stories shared by courageous people.  When you have a healthy dose of courage, it helps to also have a bit of humor mixed in.  This video should do the trick!  Serious and funny at the same time, it is, in my mind, a great end to a great day.

World Mental Health Day

Did you know that today is World Mental Health Day?  I didn't, at least not until I read a tweet about it from Psych Central.  They are actually hosting a blog party in celebration of the event!  Those participating are encouraged to share their story, experiences, or anything related to mental health.

I thought I'd start with a few facts from the World Health Organization.
  • Depression affects more than 350,000,000 people, nearly 10% of the adult population?
  • Depression doesn't discriminate by age, community, race, religion - anything.
  • Only one-fifth of those with mental illness will receive treatment and care needed for the condition.
  • 75% of visits to the doctor are due to stress-related ailments.
  • More than three out of four employees who get the care and treatment needed for their condition see drastic improvement in work performance.
(more facts here)

My story is no different than thousands of others... and you can read about it throughout the pages of my blog, as it's an ongoing life experience for me.

I was 14 the first time I journaled about suicide.  I was 16 when a clearly laid out plan was thwarted, thankfully.  I've been in and out of therapy ever since, thanks to a teacher, who finally got my parents to see how much help I needed.  They weren't capable of understanding me, no matter how much they tried.  I don't blame them any more, but it doesn't make the longing for what could have been hurt any less.

I was 13 when my anorexic tendencies took over, though at that point, no one noticed.  Graduating from high school sucked, it was a very traumatic summer.  College was rocky as well, though I found my true calling as an educator, and while anxiety nearly cost me my college education, I managed to graduate and get an awesome job teaching in a school where I've now spent the last 10 years.

Fast forward through several other therapists (seen anywhere from 4 months to 18 months) and many, many visits to a variety of doctors for a variety of ailments (some were legitimate medical issues, others completely anxiety related.)  With all those doctors appointments, it's kind of odd that no one picked up on my eating disorder until just last year.  I kept it well under wraps, and it kept my emotions well under control, or so I thought.

Being blessed with multiple mental health issues, including major depression and anxiety, definitely has it's challenges.  It is a constant struggle to take care of myself, and to do what needs to be done to lead a fairly productive life.  Some days are obviously better than others, as I do have a great job that I love and often times, it's the only reason I do get out of bed.

But some days the depression takes over, and I want to roll over and stay buried under the covers until the weekend is over, and I get to go back to work on Monday.  Strange, I know.  I've learned over the years that I thrive on structure, and structure is very strong at work, but nearly non-existent at home.

Thanks to an incredible treatment team, including my doctor, therapist, and dietitian, I am doing better than ever.  While I am not "cured" nor will I likely ever be completely rid of my depression and it's pals, I am more able to sustain good days, and not let the bad days suck me down as deep as they used to.

Don't get me wrong, I can still (and do) fall off the face of the earth for days at a time, especially when I have time off work.  I can't even say that those days are few and far between, because right now, they're pretty regular weekend guests.  But I can finally say that I know what it's like to trust people, as I have complete trust in my treatment team and I am forever grateful for their support.  It is worth every penny, every minute, every tear of my being to work with them. 

Cause without them.... without my doctor (who is amazing,) who sent me to my therapist (whom I adore,) who sent me to my dietitian (whom I also adore,) I'd become another negative statistic.  And that is something I'd rather avoid.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Week 37: Most Meaningful Gift I've Received

I'm going to take two perspectives on this one, too.  Cause there are at least two angles in which to view this prompt, at least as I see it!

First, the literal version.  The most meaningful gift I've received came from my students.  It actually came in three, no, four parts.  The first part was the gift my principal gave me in letting me loop up a grade with my entire class.  Yep.  Two years.  Same classroom.  Same kids.  Same families.  Ah-may-zing.  The final three parts of that gift came the last week of school.  The parents put together a few things that had me bawling.

For starters, the class made me a giant card.  We're talking GIANT.  Two poster boards.  They decorated it, wrote their favorite memories from the years, and signed it.  It is safely tucked away and I'll likely keep it forever.  The second part of the gift was an incredible step stool.  The sentiments on it talks about helping them "step up" into the next grade.  It is decorated so sweetly, with their fingerprints turned into animals, and their favorite sayings from our time together.  The last gift, was tucked away into the stool (which lives in my bedroom as a foot stool!)  It was a book.  It was no ordinary book.  It was a hard cover, dust jacked, photo book of our two years together.  Each child had a two page spread with pictures of them both in and out of school during our time together, along with a favorite memory or thought.  The last two pages in the book contain a note from each student.... I can't read that book without bawling....

Now, the not-so-literal version.

The most meaningful gift I've been given is the gift of reflection and connection.  Because of who I am, and my life, I, somehow, have a very easy time connecting with my students.  They comment that I understand them, I get them, and I just know how to make things work for them.  Which I guess, is true?  I don't quite know what it is that I do in the classroom, because a lot of it comes automatically, but somehow, I manage to connect with each of my students throughout the year and help make them feel special.  I think that gift comes via the gift of reflection.  I'm uber reflective, often to a fault.  I ponder and ponder until I have analyzed and journaled about everything.  I think that it's in that reflection process that I find ways to connect with my students.  Maybe?

Gifts.  Literal and figurative.  I still prefer to give them than receive them!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Challenge 13, Part 1: Artwork Inspiration

Image by Julie D Waroquier
At first glance, this image took my breath away.  At second glance, and third glance, and every glance, it continues to do so.  It so much reminds me of my childhood, the happy place I used to escape to, both literally and figuratively.

I was, and am, a reader.  I think I was born a reader, learning to read early, and never stopping once I started.  To this day, I don't like to read a book during the work week, because I tend to pick up a book and finish it in one sitting, which means that starting a new book on a work night leaves me little time to sleep!

When I was 10, we moved into the house where my parents still live, and in the front yard was a wonderfully magical tree.  I loved that tree.  I spent a good portion of my life in that house up in the tree.  I'd pack my pockets with snacks and books, and could easily spend an entire day, perched comfortably in my well worn spot on the third branch to the right, and just read.

I'd get lost in the books, but more than that, the tree was my escape.  In the spring and summer, when the leaves were full, I could literally escape the glances of my family, the arguments, the annoyances, and be hidden in the foliage, safely tucked away with favorite friends as I ventured into their fictitious worlds.... oh how I loved that tree...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Really, Glee? + Follow-up

I know I'm a little behind on fall TV, what can I say, baseball trumps sitcoms this time of year!  Right now, I'm catching up this season's episodes of Glee, and I have to say, I'm rather appalled, actually.  Within the first 3 minutes, they make fun of people with eating disorders.  Within the first 20 minutes, they make fun of people that are overweight and poor.

So far, I'm not impressed.  Instead, I'm about ready to drop the show off my play list.  I don't find it funny to make fun of people, and while in the past seasons, Glee has definitely pushed the envelope, I think they took it too far this season, and it's only episode one.

I don't know that I'll ever understand why people think it's ok to say unkind things about others, about complete strangers, and why it's ok for TV to turn that into humor.  I thought reality TV was bad, but this?  It's getting kind of sad what we value as entertaining sometimes.

I've got 4 episodes DVRd, we'll see how many of them I can make it through without being completely disgusted.  Yes, I realize that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  This is mine.

I've watched 3 of the 4 episodes, and while I'm still not thrilled with how low Glee sunk in their season opener, they haven't sunk that low again.  So while it isn't going to be on the top of my to-watch list, I'll keep DVRing the show, and catch up on episodes when I can.

I'm all caught up and ready for the show to resume in November.... I liked this fourth episode the best, so yeah, I'll keep the show on my watch list.  I hope they learned from the horrible lines in the first episode of the season so they don't go *that* route again!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Challenge 12, Part 3: EMBRACE

This background for this quote was taking at an incredible 5K event.  I've never run a 5K, but after being there, my goal is to complete that same event next year. 
Yeah, um.  I'm so not there yet.  My body might be the most amazing thing that I'll ever own, but more often than not, I don't feel like I "own" it, instead, I feel like my body "owns" me.  I mean, I have to deal with all the aches and pains that come from years of mistreatment.  I have to deal with the allergies, the sensitivities, the maintenance, all the stuff that isn't fun.

And all the while I really do try to remind myself that my body is a gift, and that others would be grateful to be in this vessel.

Truthfully, as much as I don't like my body, I really am grateful for it.  Even though there are bodies out there that I'd much prefer, I could have ended up with a body much worse off than the one I'm in.

How does this all fit in the "embrace" genre?  Well, I have fully embraced the idea that this body is mine, for the rest of my life.  Though right now I'm not fond of it, I'm reminded pretty regularly by my team that I'm actually doing a pretty good job taking care of not only my body, but of my mind, too.  I never thought I'd embrace therapy and this taking-care-of-me crap, but it turns out, while I was resisting the concept of self-care, I was actually doing exactly that - taking care of my self.

Funny how things work sometimes......

Friday, October 5, 2012

Challenge 12, Part 2: EMBRACE

I find this to be a VERY interesting concept.  Embracing pain?  Really?  Like those sharp, shooting pains that run down my right leg?  Or the dull ache that constantly resides in my right shoulder?  You seriously want me to embrace it?  Really?  You must be joking.

I can think of lots of other things I'd prefer to embrace.  Like a friend.  Or a puppy.  Or a pony.  Or a pillow.  But pain?  No thanks.

BUT.  If I do choose to embrace that pain, and it does indeed become fuel for this journeycalledlife, then maybe it is worth a go?

As one of those people who believes everything happens for a reason, I guess there IS a reason for pain, and maybe that reason is that it IS what provides fuel for this journeycalledlife that we are all on.  I guess that would give a little more positive purpose to the pain that placates me persistently.

Definitely something to munch on for a while......

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Challenge 12, Part 1: EMBRACE

I love this quote.  I found it somewhere, likely on pinterest, and it fits beautifully into this week's topic.  So often I shy away from myself, and even more so, from what could be considered "beautiful" about me.  I kind of like being different, but in the past, I've always seen it as a negative thing.  Like, I'm the one who is always sick.  I'm the one who is always having an allergic reaction to the smallest things.  I'm the one who brakes out in hives at the thought of eating specific foods.  I'm the one who likes a quiet night in, instead of a busy night out.  I'm different.  I just never thought that my differences could be worth embracing..... my "you"ness would be worth value to this world.....

It's nice to start thinking about the possibilities out there.... that maybe one day my differences won't make me feel bad about myself, instead, they'll be something I embrace as me and who I am.  And eventually, I might even find a way to be proud of those differences.... baby steps.... baby steps....

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Week 36: Most Meaningful Gift I've Given

This topic had me stumped for a while, hence the hiatus on this particular blog challenge.  Ironic, too, as I posed this topic for conversation.

It's hard for me to gauge what the most meaningful gift I've given is, because I am not the receiver of the gift, and I will never fully know what the receiver thinks.  That said... there are a few gifts that were meaningful for me to gift, and I hope they were equally as meaningful for the receiver.

One of the gifts I gave was a quilt.  This was a very special quilt, as I had spent months working on it.  It was a photo quilt with pictures of the family.  No, this wasn't my family, it was a friend's family that had become very close to me.  I was nannying for them for a summer, but I've known them for a long time. In fact, the mother of this family is someone that I've written about before, as one S is an inspirational person in my life.  Though we don't see each other or talk as often as we did, S will always be special to me.

This quilt was extremely special to me, because upon graduating from high school, S gave me a blanket.  Said blanket has been on my bed ever since it was gifted to me, and it has very special meaning, as it is like being wrapped in a hug with all her good wishes for me.  So for me to be able to gift her and her family a blanket filled with photos of the family, making it was very special to me, and I know receiving it was very special to them.

The other gift that comes to mind is one with a slightly different story.  A person I work with, who was very helpful to me as I transitioned into my current position, was telling me about her favorite book as a child.  Knowing this, and with my affinity to books (ok, my addiction to book collecting) I was able to track down a copy of said book.  While the cost of this book was next to nothing, the value was priceless, as was the look on her face when she opened it.

Dunno.  I can only hope they appreciated the meaning behind their gifts as much as I did.....