Saturday, December 5, 2015

Making Plans

Conversation as of late has revolved around taking care of myself, both with my therapist and dietitian.  This whole self-care concept is tough for me.  I know I'm not alone when I say that I can't seem to put myself on the list, that doing things just for me makes me feel guilty.  That's definitely at least part of why my house is a disaster, yet my office is uber-organized.  (The other part would likely be..... laziness, of course!

In an attempt to take care of myself, and make my house a little more of, well, a kind place for me, I made plans this weekend, just for me.  I was intentional in making sure I didn't plan too unrealistically, too (cause you know I never over think or plan too big!)  I am kinda proud of the fact that I deliberately decided to provide some structure to my weekend that revolved solely around me.

The weekend list contained four tasks - two major, one required, and one purely personal.  The major tasks were bagging up the clothes and clutter I'm donating to charity, and actually dropping them off at the donation center.  The required task was some school work.  The pleasure task was reading a book (that has to be returned to the library next week.)

Except I'm thinking my body had other plans.  Cause I woke up this morning and couldn't lift my head off the pillow.  And every time I bent down I got dizzy.  Goal one and two, down the drain, at least for today.  Schoolwork and reading were left on the list.... and kinda still are waiting to be checked off.  What was slated (in my mind,) to be a productive yet relaxing weekend, flipped.  Minimal schoolwork accomplished.  No reading done.  Lots of napping.  Lots of glumness.

The voice of reason would say, "You're sick!  Don't push yourself and make things worse, rest up instead and you'll do what you can get done tomorrow!"

My voice said, "See?!  You tried to make plans and take care of yourself but it didn't work.  You know you get lazy on the weekends!  When will you give up on yourself and just let things be?!"

Reality says, "You're not feeling well.  Do what you can do that doesn't involve bending down, and see how you feel tomorrow."

I knew going into the weekend that I wasn't feeling all that great.  What I'm wondering now.... did I set myself up for failure?  Maybe?  Cause the whole weekend was me taking care of things for me..... which isn't my favorite thing to do..... so making this to-do list when I wasn't feeling great?  Looking for excuses, maybe?  That seems to be my mode of operation.  Look for any excuse to NOT take care of me and my needs or wishes.

Much to do, both inside and out......

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Perfect Day

My dietitian asked me tonight what my dream day would look like.  Dream day?  Hmmm.....

Turns out my initial response - sleeping in, yummy breakfast, nice walk with the Pup, afternoon nap, dinner - wasn't all that dreamy.  Mainly cause it was me and the Pup.  I figured it was realistic, at least.... but reality?  I didn't know what a true "dream day" would look like because I've isolated myself that much.  So it took a little thought.... and here's what I came up with.

The day would start by sleeping in late, and waking up next to my (currently non-existent) partner.  WE would then go to a little cafe or something for a delicious breakfast, lingering on the last bites of food and enjoying conversation together.  Then we'd take a nice walk at a local park or trail.  That would be followed by a nap for me, and my partner would do whatever they chose, nap or otherwise.  Together we'd prepare a yummy dinner, and end the day snuggling on the couch with popcorn and a movie.

That day sounds really quite nice.  Really nice.  Like too nice.  Too perfect.  It will involve me kicking out the mean person that lives inside my brain, kicking that part of me so far out that I have room to let people into my world..... 20 some years of (false) comfort in being alone.... never really thinking there was hope for me to be anything but alone.....  But my dietitian said it's totally possible, and that it will happen.

I trust her fully, but I don't know if I quite believe her here..... I'm gonna sure try though, cause this is a day I'd love to live through......

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

Well.  This generally explains my Thanksgiving experience.  This year, however, was different.  And it's taken me a while to digest the day- literally and figuratively. 

My whole life, my parents have hosted Thanksgiving.  It's always hovered around 18 people, swelling to 30 at some points in the past.  Thanksgiving has been, by far, my favorite holiday to celebrate with family because there are no gifts involved.  It's simply family getting together to share a great meal together.  Good food, sharing stories and memories, and an easy day for me to hide my eating patterns.

This year, though.... it was the first time in my life I wasn't with my family.  I shouldn't really care much about that, considering how much my family drives me nuts 85% of the time.  But it was really weird.  And I didn't like it.  I didn't like not being around everyone.  I didn't miss the cursing and arguing that ensued.  Nor did I miss the negative family members who always complain about being on the receiving end of hell.  But I did miss the family. 

Sure, we celebrated together on Friday, but it wasn't the same.  It was just the immediate family.  No aunts, uncles, cousins..... just us.  And the food Friday was non-traditional.  It was supposed to be a "leftover Thanksgiving" meal, but it morphed into leftovers, brunch, and Jewish delicacies.  The meal was actually rather schizophrenic, and as my mom changed the menu a dozen or so times in 24 hours, I ended up without much to eat.

The odd thing about the whole event was the way it confused the heck out of me.  When I was younger, I always wanted to be able to celebrate holidays with friends.  Trick-or-treat with my best friends (was never able to do so, always had to stay with family,) or new years, or even enjoy Christmas Day with my Jewish friends.  But none of that ever happened.  I was always with my family (with the exception of NYE babysitting years).  Somehow, that is what *felt* right, even though I didn't always want to be there.

So this year, I celebrated with my best friend and her family.  I knew pretty much everyone in her family, and I always enjoy hanging out with them.  It was a lovely evening, full of good food, good conversation, laughter, and relaxation.  It was quite pleasant.

But when I got in the car, it hit.  I spent the drive home alternating between tears and "I'm ok right now because" conversations in my head.  Truth was, I really was ok.  A great evening with great friends and great food?  Heading home to a warm house in a safe neighborhood, driving a safe car that's paid off - all stuff that make things perfectly good.  Perfectly all right.

Perfectly ok.  Despite what my head thinks.  That's where the confusion comes in.

So I guess I will remind myself that one of the things I am most thankful for is my treatment team - cause with their help, maybe one day I won't be as confused.....!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Right Now

Right now, I'm ok.

I'm ok because I have a refrigerator with my favorite food inside.
I'm ok because in a little while, I get to crawl into my warm bed.
I'm ok because I went to work this morning at a place I enjoy.
I'm ok because had two doctor appointments today that were positive.
I'm ok because I have my laptop in front of me.
I'm ok because my dog is curled up next to me.
I'm ok because I'm cozy and warm inside my house.
I'm ok because my belly is full from a warm bowl of soup.

I'm ok because I know that I am safe right now.

Right now, I'm ok.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Positive? Positive.

Tonight my dietitian asked me to find something positive in my world.  I was quickly and easily able to rattle off all sorts of positives, yet they ALL had to do with school.  There were two exceptions to that rule-- the peanut and the Pup.  While they both bring me lots of joy and add oodles of positivity to my world, the rest?  All at school.

No matter what happens at school, I find the positive.  I look for and find the silver linings.  The lessons.  The learning experiences.  A student fails at a task or project?  I help them find the learnings, and figure out what they can do differently to reach a different outcome next time.  A colleague feels unsuccessful with an attempt at a new tool or lesson approach?  We sit down and find the parts that felt awesome, and build from there.  Just today, a colleague tried something brand new, and it only sorta worked.  She was not a happy camper, and felt very much defeated.  With her team, we worked to remind her of the successes in the experience, the positives.

I'm great at helping others get there, reach the positive place.  What about me?

Nope.  I suck at it.  At least I suck at it for now.  (In other words, I'm not there, yet.)

Why is it so hard?  I get that I'm not alone in the self-inflicted negative self-talk.  I know that many, many others are challenged by this.  But I'm talking me, here.  And I need to figure out how to shift my perspective.

Example.  Horrible stomach ache for nearly a week.  Like, bubbly, volcanic eruptions that keep me close to the porcelain throne.  After about a half hour (I think, I don't keep track of time during sessions) chatting with my dietitian, she asked me if I still had a stomach ache.  Surprisingly (at least to me) it had subsided dramatically.  Why?  Cause she, like my therapist, has a knack for getting me out of my head.  Which I need. 

Inside my head, the positive island is tiny, and frequently empty.  The negative island is always hopping.  Sure, there are a few other islands -- school, pup, Aunt-hood, knowledge, creativity -- but the one I seem to spend the most time on is negative island.  (If you don't get the whole island thing, go watch Inside Out.  Trust me, it will be worth it.)  While my finances and schedule won't allow for daily visits to dietitian island and therapist island, the goal isn't to rely on them for getting me out of my head.  The goal is to take what I'm learning through them and apply it to me outside of my time with them.

Perspective shift - from my world outside of school is negative and sucks, to my world is full of tiny bits of positive every where I go - is required.  If only it were as easy as shifting from park to reverse....

P.S.  I did find something positive that wasn't connected to school -- I have a new toothbrush that I love!  For me that's big, cause the dentist and I don't get along well, but my teeth and this new toothbrush?  Awesome!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

The upside to living in apartment style condos that share common walls is that your neighbors can hear a lot.  The downside to living in apartment style condos that share common walls is that your neighbors can hear a lot.

On one hand, one might find comfort in knowing if something happened and help was desperately needed, shouting for help would elicit responses from those nearby.  Or if there was an overflowing toilet or a broken pipe or something, neighbors would notice the noise, and get in touch ASAP, with either you or someone who could help.  On the other hand, privacy?

Babysat the peanut the other night, getting home at 9:30.  Chilled for a bit, crawling into bed around 10:00, and snuggling in for some reading with the Pup before drifting off to dreamland.  I had just fallen asleep, so comfy in my bed, when I heard the buzzer of a door.  A glance at the clock said that it was 11:24.  I figured it was in my dream, so I stayed put.  But the door buzzer kept buzzing.  And it was definitely mine, based on the loudness.

My heart stopped for a moment, I'm sure, as I started panicking.  I mean, who on earth would be ringing my door buzzer at that late hour?!  Everyone knows I'm an early-to-bed kind of girl!  My heart continued racing as I got out of bed to peek out the window and see if there was anything out of the norm in the parking lot.  Nope.  More panic.

More panic followed by loud footsteps thundering up the stairs.  And the the knocks came.  On my door.  Inside the building.

Mind you, part of why I like my condo is because the exterior door is there.  It means anyone getting into the building has one safety feature before getting into individual units.  So as I stood in the hallway in my pajamas, clutching the Pup, I desperately wished I had fastened the chain lock before I went to bed.  I've gotten lax on doing so since the scary neighbor moved away.

After the knocks grew more persistent, I held my finger poised over the "emergency" dial on my phone.  I had to do something.  The knocking wasn't going to stop.  I was frozen in panic.  And then to make things worse, a flashlight started shining in through the crack by the door handle.

My mind was racing with every single bad thought possible.  Literally.  From the cereal rapist to the drunk neighbor to the pissed off parent and everything in between.  I can't begin to explain how freaked out I was.  So I was kinda shocked when I called out and asked who was there without screaming or crying or vomiting.

Turns out, calling 911 wouldn't have made a difference.  Cause they were at my door.

Guess one of my neighbors heard my water running, and was worried because it had been running for over an hour.  So apparently she called the police to come and check.  Ironically, (or not) I had been in bed for well over an hour when she called, meaning she only *thought* she heard my water running.  It wasn't.

Maybe I should feel grateful that she was looking out for me.  That would probably be an easier feeling to stomach than the fear and anxiety I've been swallowing instead.  Being woken up like that completely freaked me out.  I didn't get much sleep afterward.  I was flooded by fears - imagined and real - that kept playing over and over and over again.

Why did this warrant a post?  Cause my therapist and I have been working very, very hard at helping me find safety in my world, a world that I find to be far too unsafe for me.  I have found safety in teaching, in my classroom at my old school and now in my building at my new school.  I've always felt safest in my teaching world.  The rest of the world, my house included, doesn't always feel so safe.  It's going to take a lot of effort to not let this incident derail the progress.  (And maybe because I'm still feeling *that* unsettled and needed to share.  Either way.)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Jumping Ship

Tonight I did something that I haven't done in over 20 years.

A part of me is really sad that I caved.  I almost feeling like saying "you win" to my team.  I mean, after all, this was their idea.  Sure, it took four years for it to move from idea to encouragement to consideration to well, basically I've gone through the stages of grief, actually.  And I've finally moved from acceptance to action.

Tonight I intentionally ate meat.
And I didn't vomit.
And I didn't die.
And I didn't melt like the wicked witch.

Who knows what tomorrow morning will bring, or even the middle of the night, as my stomach is quite the hyper sensitive beast.  But I ate.  An entire cup of chicken rice soup.  I even drank the broth at the end of the cup.

This was (as exaggerated as it sounds) an excruciating task.  It meant giving up the title of "vegetarian" which I've coveted since I was 13 years old.  It meant giving up on what has proven to be the most useful tool in my eating disordered box of supplies.  My eating disorder has one less ally now, and that worries me.  Maybe it shouldn't, but it does.

It worries me because the path to recovery, which has been a dirt road littered with gravel and rocks, often challenging to travel, might just be starting to smooth out.  That should be good.  Making traveling forward easier, leaving more and more disordered eating behaviors behind me.  But those behaviors have been my travel companions for so long, leaving this one, the original, the biggest supporter behind?  It's anxiety inducing.

On the up side, it means that there is room for another tool, a healthier eating tool.  It means that, as long as there are no detrimental reactions to meat becoming a part of my body (and yes, I will give it a full six weeks to try out,) my menu will grow astronomically.

A part of me feels like I failed.  Like I couldn't keep up, even after more than 20 years, a vegetarian diet.  The reality is that when I became a vegetarian at 13, I only had one known food allergy.  20 some years later, I have a dozen.  Those are not choices.  I must avoid them.  The vegetarian avoidance is a choice.  It always has been.  One I hold very tightly to.  I mean, I am a vegetarian.  Period.  It's my choice to continue with that vegetarianism at the potential expense of my body, or make the choice to eat meat again as a way to better take care of my body.  I might hate the outside of my body, but I really do want to take care of the inside.

Distressing.  Confusing.  Sad.  Anxious.  Remorseful.

But also kinda proud of myself for pushing through this massive hurdle and making the attempt to take care of my body in the way it needs.  Kinda.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Picture Day

There is one day of the year where parents win the battle of what to wear, brushed hair, and washed faces.  Picture Day.  It's the day everyone in elementary school panics, making sure the kids get their pictures snapped before they head to gym or recess, so they don't muss up their appearance for the day.
Recently, my school experienced our annual picture day.  400 shiny, smiley faces, all dolled up, patiently waited for their class to be called.  Interspersed between the class photos, teachers and staff members slipped in, cringing as they sat on the stool in front of the back drop, waiting for the camera flash to pass, and comparing this year's picture with the pictures of colleagues nearby.

This year marked the 30th school picture in a row.  In a row.  Yup.  I've been in school since I was in kindergarten, and without missing a year, my picture has been taken every year since.  All of elementary school, all of junior high, all of high school, all of college, and since I went straight from college to the classroom, I truly never missed a year.

Part of me wants to have all of those pictures in my hands right now, so I can line them up and compare how adorable I was as a child, to how absolutely and completely anti-adorable I am as an adult.  It would be a great excuse for a beat-the-crap-out-of-me session that could span many hours.  Productive?  Nope.  But likely exactly what would happen should I get my hands on all 30 pictures.

Another part of me wants to compare the last 12 years worth of pictures, all my years in the classroom as a teacher, and see what changes I notice.  Unfortunately, that will also result in a less-than-pleasant me-bashing experience.

Like many recovering from eating issues, appearance is a sticking point for me.  I whole heartedly believe the lies I tell myself - that I am hideous, a monster, a mirror-breaker, that my appearance makes me impossible to befriend, much less love.

I know they're lies, logically.  My therapist reminds me that they are lies I tell myself, and that I've been telling them to myself
for so long, I now believe them, even though they logically don't fit.  I know that.  I mean, I head into the grocery store and no one avoids me in the aisles.  I walk into school and no one - kids included - run from me.  I guess I don't look that bad outside, even if that's how I feel on the inside.

This year, picture day was a very reflective one.  Looking at my picture, I kinda didn't recognize the person looking back at me.  That person is put together, coordinated in dress, a warm smile, and wrinkly eyes that show laughter.  That person looks like someone who knows what they're doing.  It looks like someone who can take charge and accomplish things.

Which is what I kinda do.....

So while it IS most definitely my picture, and this IS what others see when they see me..... what's it gonna take for me to see the "me" that they see?  What's it gonna take for me to shut down the lies, once and for all, and replace them with truths?  Something has to change.  And while picture day might not ever be a favorite day, one day, hopefully, I will look at my school picture and go "oh, yeah, I like that person!"

Thankfully, I have a long career ahead of me, with many more picture days to practice!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Almost Famous

I love this movie.  It happened to be on today when I got home,  and when I turned to the channel, this scene was playing.  I love this scene.  There are so many things I love about this scene.  On so many levels.

I am a Kate Hudson fan, and always have been.  She sends a very positive message to the world, and while I know TV is not real at all, she comes across as a person who would make for a good friend.

This.  Scene.  Where William yells at Penny Lane about the Real World, and the confusion all the rules and sayings and nicknames.... I get it.  While this movie is completely fictitious, the idea of being in a false reality, as in on tour with the band, is familiar.  The rules of this "world" and all the sayings and such?  I get it.  And I get why William is mad.  He sees the potential.

I've lived in this world.  I think I still do.

For years, I participated in a sport that was more expensive than I could afford.  I was literally surrounded by people who dropped $15K a weekend, and purchased horses worth more than a new car.  I lived in that fantasy world for years.  At first, I loved it.  But deep down, I knew I didn't fit.  I tried.  I tried hard to fit.  And there were times, moments like Penny's reaction at the end of the clip, where I swallowed the "this isn't right" and "I know I am worth more" feeling and shoved ahead, even though I knew there was a better place for me in the world.

I relied on humor a lot back then, and I'm finding myself relying, once again, on humor as I navigate my new world.  Yes, my new world.  My new job that I began this summer required a massive change of venue, and a huge shift in working overall.

All good.  All good for sure.

Except.  Once again, I feel like the end of this scene, where no matter what Penny is thrown, she will always, always, always smile through the tears, lighten the situation, and not let it get to her.  But I saw her face.  I saw her reaction.  The tears.  The brief but powerful shift of her gaze.  I recognized it.  Cause I do it.

And this new job?  Yes, it's my dream job.  And yes, I love it.  But I feel like an outsider in the "real world" of this community.  I do have a commonality with everyone, which is good, but.... the rules... the nicknames.... the sayings..... the confusion..... the inner hurt because I don't get it.  It's outside of my knowledge base.  And it makes me feel uncomfortable and bad about myself.

Here's the thing.  Everyone has said if I have questions, feel free to ask.  And I have asked questions, and people have patiently explained and clarified.  And like in the movie, everything in the end comes around, through the road blocks and confusion, there is a sense of peace as the credits roll.

Right now, though, I'm in the end of the scene.  The first few weeks of school were crazy, and it would have been no shock to anyone if I broke down at all.  What people don't know is that on the inside, I was frustrated to the point of tears.  But on the outside, I was smiling and cracking jokes.  And keeping everyone shielded from any emotion that wasn't positive.

I'm really getting tired of smiling through those tears.  Really tired.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

When You've Got it All....

and you still feel like crud......

Then you'd be me.

Cause right now, my life is really, really good.  My new job is ah-may-zing.  Seriously.  I am up well before my alarm goes off for the first time in years.  And my alarm now goes off early!  I have already faced many challenges at work, and yet, working through them has not deterred me from loving my new position.

While my new colleagues have me up on a pedestal right now, I know that the truth is, I'm walking with them, not ahead of them.  They just don't realize it.  And for every time they try to push me onto that pedestal, I lift them right up there with me.

The kids, though I don't have my own class, have been inspiring and motivating.  There is such a vibe at this new school, unlike any school I've been in before.  I love it there, even with the challenges and flaws, it's already feeling like home, and it's only been a month.

But inside.  Eating disordered behaviors are surfacing again, and I didn't even realize it.  I've been watching the depression creep up, slowly at first, and rapidly the last week or so, until now, where I'm buried in it again.  My doctor is worried.  My therapist hasn't figured this out yet, I am that good at hiding it.  My dietitian is on to me, though.

The worst part is that I actually have no reason whatsoever to feel this way.  Walking into school every morning, I'm invigorated.  The opportunities I've already been given, in this first month of school?  I know that I'm in the right place, where my talents are embraced and utilized.  I finally feel a sense of contentment.  I'm with my "peeps" who accept me and all of my quirks, just as I am.

And yet.  I am depressed.  Again.

Will this cycle ever end?

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Thankful Thursdays - Year 3

Day 251 - Thursday 9/3/15 -  Had a blast teaching a lesson to a group of kids, who while they aren't my students, it didn't matter - they listened and we all had fun learning!

Day 250 - Wednesday 9/2/15 -  Learned that smiling through tears for all these years paid off - I can now smile through challenges, too.

Day 249 - Tuesday 9/1/15 - Pulled off a great surprise for some old colleagues today, that made a lot of people smile, which in turn, made me smile.

Day 248 - Monday 8/31/15 - First day of school with students, the exhilaration of my new school outweighed the sadness of not having my own crew this year.

Day 247 - Sunday 8/30/15 - I love the joy in my new position, and the flexibility and freedom I have to be me.

Day 246 - Saturday 8/29/15 - The most wonderful time of year around here!  The Cider Mill opened!

Day 245 - Friday 8/28/15 - Feeling accomplished from the past week of workshops, and ready to tackle the new year!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thankful Thursdays - Year 3

Day 244 - Thursday 8/27/15 - The chair in my therapist's office hasn't felt this good in ages.... I could have sat there for hours today....

Day 243 - Wednesday 8/26/15 - Working in a new environment, with an entirely new group of people, and an entirely different philosophy, it's starting to sink in that me as me is just fine here.

Day 242 - Tuesday 8/25/15 - Mantra: diffuse instead of distract.  Helpful tool right now.

Day 241 - Monday 8/24/15 - Nerves didn't beat me today.  First day of workshop week with the whole staff had me really nervous, but I made it through the nerves and enjoyed a productive day.

Day 240 - Sunday 8/23/15 - Despite the recent resurgent of flashbacks, today was edibly enjoyable, with a delicious brunch, a walk, and a sweet sundae to wrap.

Day 239 - Saturday 8/22/15 - Grateful for the nap that ate most of my day today, it was much needed.

Day 238 - Friday 8/21/15 - What a day!  Ran around like a headless chicken, but got to meet nearly every teacher in the building in the process!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Thankful Thursdays - Year 3

Day 237 - Thursday 8/20/15 - Glad to finally speak out loud something that I've been holding inside for a while.  While it hasn't made things any better, I'm grateful to not be carrying it alone anymore.

Day 236 - Wednesday 8/19/15 - Thankful that I took the plunge and ventured into a new job, it truly is a wonderful place to be working!

Day 235 - Tuesday 8/18/15 - Learned firsthand that having more than 5 scheduled meetings in a day is a challenge, but absolutely survivable!

Day 234 - Monday 8/17/15 - Great presentation at a great conference today!  Moving up in the presentation world - wasn't even nervous for this one!

Day 233 - Sunday 8/16/15 - Wrapped up a uber hot day hanging with one of my favorite families and playing games with two of my favorite kiddos!

Day 232 - Saturday 8/15/15 - Got to spend the afternoon hanging out with the peanut today, and boy did we have fun!  Nothing like a sunny Saturday afternoon full of smiles!

Day 232 - Friday 8/14/15 - Felt extremely accomplished today.  Finished a major project and am super psyched to move on to the next one!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Thankful Thursdays - Year 3

Day 231 - Thursday 8/13/15 - Another great workshop this morning!  Loss for words how much I appreciate the people I now work with.

Day 230 - Wednesday 8/12/15 -  Feared my doctor's appointment this morning, smiled as I walked out!

Day 279 - Tuesday 8/11/15 -  So grateful to work with the people with whom I work.... after spending the day together, I know I'm in the right place.

Day 278 - Monday 8/10/15 - Hosted my first workshop at my new job - nervous as all get out - but thrilled it was so well received!

Day 275 - Sunday 8/9/15 -  Honored that I got to educate my dietitian - had a great work time helping her learn the insides of her website so she can now update it herself.

Day 274 - Saturday 8/8/15 - Enjoyed a fairly quiet day - much needed - and managed to sleep in and nap twice!

Day 273 - Friday 8/7/15 - Got to see an old friend of my brother's tonight - nice to catch up and see her adorable baby!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Thankful Thursdays - Year 3

 Day 272 - Thursday 8/6/15 -  I haven't said it in a while, but I really love my therapist, and today, I was once again reminded why.

Day 271 - Wednesday 8/5/15 - Wonderful day at a workshop with a former colleague - great to catch up with her and great workshop experience overall!

Day 270 - Tuesday 8/4/15 - I love my new job!  Got rather teary thinking how content I feel among my new colleagues.

Day 269 - Monday 8/3/15 - What a way to start the school year!  No power meant we all got to go home extra early!

Day 268 - Sunday 8/2/15 - Lovely, low key day.  Perfect last day of vacation for me!

Day 267 - Saturday 8/1/15 - Despite not feeling well, I kept my commitment to myself and dragged myself on a walk.

Day 266 - Friday 7/31/15 - Had a lovely day with some friends exploring a nearby village I'd yet to have seen.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Year 3

Day 265 - Thursday 7/30/15 - Kinda nice to take my walk early this morning along the beach with my Dad's company.  (Shocking that I just said that, but true!)

Day 263 - Wednesday 7/29/15 - Enjoyed having the beach to ourselves this morning, and this mini-vacation continues to pleasantly surprise me.

Day 262 - Tuesday 7/28/15 - Shocked and appreciative at how lovely today was, considering I spent it with my family.

Day 261 - Monday 7/27/25 - Grateful for the adjusted schedule this week that allowed me to see my therapist on my way out of town, literally.

Day 260 - Sunday 7/26/15 - 

Day 259 - Saturday 7/25/15 - SO appreciative of my BFF, who came over tonight to help me weed through the clutter-overload at home right now.  We made a HUGE dent in it, thanks to her help!

Day 258 - Friday 7/24/15 - Well, I spoke up for myself, and was promised some peace because of it.  Let's see if that actually happens.

The "L" Word

Today I was posed with a task that is proving to be way more of a challenge than it should be.

See, I just returned from a brief vacation with my family (first time in for-ev-er!) and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the trip.  (Never, ever thought I'd say that!)  Anyway, it was suggested to me by someone I very much trust and respect that I send a thank you note to my parents, who I know worked quite hard to make sure I (and my high maintenance requests) were accommodated and that I was comfortable with everyone.

The thank you, though an idea I never would have had, was fine.  I could do that, no problem.  But somehow, it led into another conversation that still, hours later, has me unable to press send on the thank you note.

How do you close a letter to your parents when you really don't have the greatest of relationships, when they are "overly interested" in being in your world, and when there are absolutely zero boundaries?

I wanted to sign it with something simple, like "xoxox" but that isn't what was suggested.  I played around with a few others, such as "with appreciation" and "hugs" but again, not what was suggested.

The "L" word is what was suggested.  More specifically, I was encouraged to close the thank you with "I L you" but I can't.  I just can't.  The "L" word has such strength behind it, I just don't feel like I can use it with my family.  (Yes, I know I'm referring to the "L" word as "it," just goes to show how uncomfortable that word makes me feel.

So, in an effort to understand what the closing actually means, I did what any anxiety-ridden techie does - I went to Google.  I was enlightened, but still.... yeah....

So it turns out that signing a note or letter "love ya" actually is less "strong" as signing "love you" and that is less strong than signing "I love you" or "love always," which are quite strong and serious.  Then there are the variety of signatures that hold similar connotation and strengths, such as "affectionately," and "ever yours," and adoringly," and "with love" and all the other closings that make my stomach churn.

Don't get me wrong, I can liberally use the "L" word in the "right" setting.  Like saying "I love my dog," or "I LOVE maple walnut fudge."  In that situation, the "L" word fits without hesitation.  It's when applying it to people......

Growing up, every single phone conversation with my parents ended with "Love you" which drastically diluted the meaning of the "L" word, and contributed to my aversion to using it.  To me, it's got power and, well, how shall I put it..... power, strength, and an overwhelming amount of warmth that fill it, I just don't like using it unless it's really all those things.  Guess that's part of growing up with the deep scars in which I did, and learning to overcome my aversion while accepting the scars is part of the work my team and I are in for..... Oy.

Guess I better go send that email........

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thankful Thursdays - Year 3

Day 257 - Thursday 7/23/15 - A brief bonus visit with my dietitian ended a productive, and fairly satisfying day with a smile.

Day 256 - Wednesday 7/22/15 - Appreciate the reminder that we all have gifts that others appreciate, which means we get to appreciate others as they appreciate us.

Day 255 - Tuesday 7/21/15 - So nice to talk to my dietitian again.  Two weeks is still just a tad too long for me to go between visits.

Day 244 - Monday 7/20/15 - I love when my therapist makes sense of things that I can't seem to unwind.

Day 243 - Sunday 7/19/15 - Enjoyed plenty of sunshine-filled pool time today.  It was quite nice!

Day 242 - Saturday 7/18/15 -  Treated myself to a treat at the mall tonight.  Hey, I walked for a while, I earned it!

Day 241 - Friday 7/17/15 -  Loved that I had the pool all to myself this afternoon!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Just Keep Swimming....

Today was another scorcher.  Pair the high temps with intermittent rain, and mother nature was left alone much of the day, as was the pool.

It's been four weeks and five days since I began my commitment to fitness.   During that time, I've averaged about 45 minutes a day of intentional walking.  Intentional.  That's the big shift.  I am actually planning time in my day for my walk.  I'm scheduling it in based on the plans for the day, to make sure it happens.  I've made a walk happen 30 out of 33 days.  And that's pretty good, to me. 

Like Dory said, "just keep swimming" or in my case, just keep walking.  I don't love walking every day.  There have been more than a few days where I want to skip the scheduled walk.  Thankfully, once I start out on my walk, I usually enjoy it.  It's work, but it's fairly pleasant work.  And I know it's good for me.

Just keep walking..... that's what I did today.  I was gonna make it a day off - too hot to walk outside, too hot to even walk in the pool.  Instead, I got creative.  I went to the mall.  A place I generally do not enjoy.  I went though, knowing the intention to walk daily is one I'm trying to hold myself to.  I figured I'd get some good people watching in, too.

And I did.  For about 45 minutes, all was
good.  Until I started noticing people more closely.  I realized that what I see as "nicely dressed" is what most people wear every day.  Ugh.  Strike one.  I also realized that ladies shorts are have grown shorter and shorter over the last few years.  It made my stomach hurt watching so many females - all ages, mind you - walking around and tugging their shorts down to cover their cheeks.  Strike two.

Once I noticed that, I started noticing the mannequins in the windows.  Where all the female mannequins are barely dressed and standing on tiptoes, looking uncomfortable, as opposed to the male ones, flat footed and sporting nice outfits, yet looking comfortable.  Strike three.  I was inwardly cringing, knowing that no matter what I do, or how much fitness I incorporate into my life, or how well I eat, I'm never, ever going to have a body that will be able to wear even a fraction of the clothes in the windows.

I know this about me, about my body.  I know that my body doesn't agree with most things in fashion.  I'm aware that I would not be comfortable in the outfits the mannequins were wearing, no matter how nice I thought they looked.  Not gonna happen with this body.  Which to this day, still depresses me.

But I'm learning.  I'm learning to dress for the body I have, not for the body I want.  I'm learning to make positive food choices, even though I know my body will never change.  I'm learning that intention matters.  I'm learning that fitness isn't just about body shape, it's about feeling good that you made the time to take care of your body.

And despite all of this, I hope.... I intend to.... no matter the situation or circumstances.... just keep walking....

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Summer Swim

It's been hot here.  Like, really, really hot.  Now, granted, it's summer in the mid-west, so anything is possible weather-wise, but this?  This is hot.  And it's gonna get hotter.

One of the biggest reasons I moved here is because of the pool.  It has a beautiful pool!  Even better is that it is rarely in use during the day (though it's packed in the evenings!)  I looked forward to lazy days floating around the pool, enjoying summer to it's fullest.

And for the first few years, I did.  Until I couldn't anymore.  Until I couldn't be in the pool without turning it into a haven for over-exercising.  And when my doctor ordered no more exercise, that ceased.  Fast forward to a few years ago, and I was given permission to use the pool again.  You'd think I'd be excited.

But I wasn't.  Cause at this point I flat out refused to wear a bathing suit.  Sure, I have a shorty wetsuit, that I could easily wear in the pool.  But then I'd look like an idiot.  So I just avoided the pool all together.

Until this summer.  I've enjoyed it a few times already, with a good book.  It's been pretty nice, too, as the pool continues to be empty during the day when I use it, and busy in the evenings.  That gives me plenty of time and space to walk around the pool enjoying my book.

It's been nice.  Until today. 

Today, I was literally up to my shoulders in the water, holding my book that I was reading, which was nice.  Until my hands started sweating like faucets.  Sure, it happens a lot outside of the pool (thanks to the oh-so-UGH hyperhydrosis,) but that's never happened to me in the pool before.  Ever.

I walked back in the door in tears.  My body has been particularly difficult the past few weeks.  Between unusually challenging female problems, to extreme fatigue and exhaustion, to the return of headaches, to mysterious lower back pain, I've been batting 100.  And I am not dealing with it well.  I fight with myself on a daily basis to take care of my body..... it feels like painfully hard work that I don't often want to do.  Yet, I know I've got to do it. 

My nutritionist commented the other day, "wouldn't it be awesome if everything was what it was supposed to be?!" Well, yeah.  But at this point, I'll take a one day break from the pain and exhaustion.  Maybe that will give me some more energy so I can continue working on this puzzle my body is.  Cause lately, it feels like what used to be a 100 piece puzzle has turned into a 1000 piece puzzle with no picture guidance.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thankful Thursdays - Year 3

Day 240 - Thursday 7/16/15 -  Nothing as good as baby snuggles while the Pup is sleeping next to me.

Day 239 - Wednesday 7/15/15 - Awesome day at work! I still can't believe that I get to work here every day!

Day 238 - Tuesday 7/14/15 - Glad that the storms didn't hit while I was at work today.  The Pup is glad, too.

Day 237 - Monday 7/13/15 - Appreciate the teamwork used by my treatment team, their thoughtfulness, foresight, and just plain kindness feels like a much needed blanket sometimes.

Day 236 - Sunday 7/12/15 - Great brunch with my sister-in-law, who is more like a sister.  Enjoyed it so much we decided that we've got to do it more often!

Day 235 - Saturday 7/11/15 - Spent a chunk of today in the pool and it was sooooo refreshing!

Day 234 - Friday 7/10/15 - Great spontaneous lunch with a friend, productive afternoon taking a project from start to completion!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Thankful Thursdays - Year 3

Day 233 - Thursday 7/9/15 - Feeling fairly good that we were able to situate my therapy schedule for the rest of the summer.  The comfort that comes from my consistent appointments is unequaled elsewhere.

Day 232 - Wednesday 7/8/15 - Grateful that my headache today didn't escalate into a full blown migraine.  That's all I've got today.

Day 231 - Tuesday 7/7/15 - Lovely luncheon today with some lovely friends from my old school.  I felt like a grown up, and it was actually kinda ok!

Day 230 - Monday 7/6/15 - Thankful for watermelon and my BFF.  If I hadn't been talking to her this evening, I'd have ended up with frozen yogurt and a horrid stomach ache and headache instead of watermelon.

Day 229 - Sunday 7/5/15 - Was very overwhelmed today which means I spent a lot of time in the kitchen looking for snacks.  I'm thankful that I didn't let myself cave to the constant urge to eat.

Day 228 - Saturday 7/4/15 - A fantastic July 4th celebrating the first birthday of the peanut!  Finally found a reason to get out of the house on the 4th instead of turtle up!

Day 227 - Friday 7/3/15 - Enjoyed a lovely lunch with a friend, and an invigorating walk with my dietitian.  Pretty good way to start the weekend!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Sliding Doors


Yesterday was a glum day.  Today was a pretty glum day, too.  I've been feeling overly exhausted lately.  Like, breathing-is-too-much-work exhausted.  Yesterday was the worst.  In addition to the exhaustion, my limbs felt like they were made of concrete.  Not fun.

And days like yesterday often multiply.  Like bunnies.  Leading to days on end of glum, gloomy, melancholy.

Yet.  While today was glum, and I am still carrying that excessive exhaustion (waiting on lab results from my doctor to see what's up) I made different choices than I have in the past.

Enter the sliding door analogy, the latest from the brilliant brain of my dietitian.

Sliding doors.  You can see what's on the other side, sometimes.  You know what will happen when you walk through the doors, sometimes.  Sometimes, you even choose to leave the doors closed.  Choose.  Choice.  Everything we do is a choice.  A life changing decision.  Every time we make a decision, we walk through a set of doors.  And every set of doors shapes our lives.  Every single decision we make is a life altering decision.  We just don't know it at the moment.

I'd add that it's how you CHOOSE to react that
matters the most.....
Turns out there was a movie called Sliding Doors that came out in 1998.  It illustrates the idea of sliding doors by sharing two perspectives of the same moment.  The moment where the main character catches the train and what happens after is one perspective.  The moment where she misses the train and what follows is the other.  Her life looks very different in both situations.  Catching the train, walking through those sliding doors, was a life altering choice.

It might not seem like it right now, at least it didn't to me, until my dietitian explained it further.  A few years back, she had tickets to go to a function that she really didn't want to attend.  But she made the choice to go, and in doing so, significantly altered her career in a very positive way.  A chance meeting with an old acquaintance led to a working partnership that to this day is still going strong.

Back to today.  Day two of gloomy me.  A day that was full of sliding doors.  Do I get out of bed or hide under the blankets a little longer?  (I hid under the blankets a bit longer.)  Do I eat a cookie with breakfast or not? (I didn't.)  Do I try to get any work done before I have to leave or not? (I didn't work.)  Do I go home after my day and nap or go for a walk? (I walked.)  Do I stop for frozen yogurt on the way home or run into the grocery store and get some watermelon? (I got watermelon.  And cherries.  And plums.)

They don't seem like big decisions with life changing results.  But in a small way, the act of choosing today was life changing.  I didn't let myself make today a wasted day of gloom.  I made a (semi) conscious choice to not let today turn into a day like yesterday.  I made (for the most part) healthy food choices today.  (I'm especially proud of the watermelon over frozen yogurt choice.)  I didn't let my eating disorder take the driver's seat today, which is usually what happens on these gloomy journeys.  I chose to go for a walk, despite my couch looking exceptionally comfy.  I may have been followed by a cloud of gloom, but instead of crying over the rain, I was grateful it was there to mask tears.

Sliding doors.  Choices.  Decisions.  Maybe one day, when I walk through the door, I'll meet the person of my dreams on the other side, in the pet store, picking up dog food.  That's why I finally realize that whenever I leave the house, I should be ready for anything.  But that's a post for another day.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thankful Thursdays - Year 3

Day 226 - Thursday 7/2/15 - Thankful for progress.  Didn't realize I had made any till it was pointed out by my therapist today, but there it was, and for that I am thankful.

Day 225 - Wednesday 7/1/15 - Huge sense of accomplishment today!  Built a swing set, despite my siblings saying I wouldn't be able to.  Love proving them wrong!

Day 224 - Tuesday 6/30/15 - I felt very productive today.  And that felt very good!

Day 223 - Monday 6/29/15 - Wonderful day at school.  I could get used to walking into work every morning and feeling, well, feeling quite good about being me while being there.....

Day 222 - Sunday 6/28/15 - Grateful not only for the much needed sleep-catch-up, but also for the fact that I didn't beat myself up for allowing it to happen.

Day 221 - Saturday 6/27/15 - Lovely evening with the peanut, who was so content and happy!  It was a treat to have the time together, just the two of us!

Day 220 - Friday 6/26/15 - Called my first meeting ever, and it was way more positive and productive than I could have imagined!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Post Secret Ponderings

I got the newest Post Secret book for my birthday a few months back.  I skimmed it then, but I finally had a chance to sit and really read through it recently.  There I sat, in my swing, snuggled in with a pillow and a blanket.  Cradling my Post Secret book.  Knowing that I'm gonna be diving into a hole, by choice, and I don't know what will be when I climb out.

This book, in particular, struck me on a very deep level.  It's my third Post Secret book, and I look forward to Sunday Secrets every week, but still.  In reading this book, I realized something that I think I've known for a while, but never acknowledged to be true.

Reading this book, I realized that some of my darkest deepest secrets have been shared by others.  Flipping through the pages, I saw at least three secrets that I was too afraid to send.  Two of the three have never been spoken of outside my treatment team's offices.  The third secret still resides solely in my head.

And apparently, they all reside in the minds of others, too.  

Does this make me feel any better?  I don't know.  Not really, I think.  It does make me feel less alone, knowing others are struggling with my struggles, too.  But it doesn't make me feel better.  Cause no one else should have to deal with my struggles, these in particular, and I wouldn't wish them upon anyone.

But clearly, others are inflicted, too.

And while occasionally, it helps to hear examples of what others have done in similar spots, usually, when someone on my team provides an example such as "you need to remember that you're not the only person in the world dealing with this?"  That? That is not helpful.

See, I'm an overachiever when it comes to constantly comparing myself to others.  I'm masterful at using others checklists to "score" myself.  I like knowing that sometimes, when my dietitian has a ridiculous schedule, she will fit in a workout anyway, though it may only be 20 minutes, because it's better than nothing.  That tip has kept me exercising on days when I was too busy to, knowing that if she is good with the concessional 20 minute workout instead of the full on hour, then I can be too.

So why do I still struggle with the idea of knowing that others suffer from the same issues I do?  Why do I cry when I see my secret on Post Secret, or in one of the books, though I never sent it in?  Why can't I find comfort in knowing that I'm not alone in my struggles?  While I might never know the answers to these questions, I'm ok with that.  I will continue reading Sunday Secrets, and continue reading the Post Secret books, and continue crying when I read one of my secrets in someone else's handwriting.  Maybe one day, I'll take comfort in those secrets, too.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thankful Thursdays - Year 3

Day 219 - Thursday 6/25/15 - GREAT first day of work!  I may not know how this position will roll out come fall, but I know that the team I'm working with is one that I will enjoy being a part of!

Day 218 - Wednesday 6/24/15 - Today I had the opportunity to present to a group of teachers on one of my favorite tech tools.  I felt good about the way things went!

Day 217 - Tuesday 6/23/15 - Grateful today for those in my life who help me remember to appreciate the little things that I tend to overlook.

Day 216 - Monday 6/22/15 - So I handed in my keys today, making it really real.  However, I got the keys for my new school today too, making it REALLY real!

Day 215 - Sunday 6/21/15 - A fairly peaceful Father's Day and bonus time with the peanut made for a sweet Sunday.

Day 214 - Saturday 6/20/15 -  A week.  I've stuck to my exercise plan for a week.  Heading in to week two a little more tired, but a lot more determined!

Day 213 - Friday 6/19/15 - What a wonderful afternoon with my new colleagues.  Reaffirmed that though this has been a scary and uber challenging decision, it was the right one.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Standing Out vs Being Noticed

I was driving in turtle-speed traffic this afternoon when I noticed a lime green sporty-type car that was impossible to miss.  Which got me thinking.  Stand out or be noticed?  What's the difference?

I used to want a bright purple car.  I (obviously) love purple, and I wanted to not lose my car in parking lots.  At the time I had a boring silver car, that was similar to probably 70% of cars in most parking lots.  I always lost that car in the parking lot, and since it didn't have the remote keyless entry, there was no clicking of the lock button to get the horn to honk and alert me to it's location.

I wanted a purple car so I wouldn't lose it.  I never realized that a car like that would most definitely be noticed. 

So I started thinking.  When you stand out, it's your actions that make you stand out, who you are makes you stand out.  It's putting together a presentation that is so far above and beyond what anyone else did, just because you had that much fun with the task, and were able to use all your skills to present the material.  You're not doing it to get noticed, you're doing it cause it's something you genuinely love to do and share.

I feel like when you want to be noticed, you do things in order to be seen, like buy a lime green car.  Or in my case, it would have been buying a purple car, though I didn't think of it that way at the time.  Being noticed, I think, is equal to what kids say is being a show off.  It's doing things specifically for attention.   

As I type this, I realize this has everything to do with my new job.  Everything.

See, I know I stand out when it comes to my gift of teaching.  It is something I was born with, an ability that I didn't have to learn, it was always just there.  Because it was a g-d given talent, and one I truly love, I continue to learn and grow and hone my skills.  This makes me stand out.  This also makes me uncomfortable.  Cause I didn't choose this gift.  I didn't ask to be *that* skilled here.  It is just who I am.  And the idea of taking and sharing this?  I feel like people might think I'm showing off or trying to be noticed, when that couldn't be farther from the truth.  For 14 years I was content teaching behind a closed door, doing my thing, reaching my students in ways no other had done so.  

This is part of what makes me uncomfortable.  I have a gift, a talent, per say, that is one not many around me possess.  I am more than happy to share, to teach, to support those in their quest to grow stronger in this area.  However, I don't feel like that makes me special, and the fact that it does indeed make me stand out makes me uncomfortable.  Ironically, this is basically the crux of my new job, so I better start getting used to standing out in this area.....


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Thankful Thursdays - Year 3

Day 212 - Thursday 6/18/15 - It is nice to be reminded that little things really can make a big difference.  Something as simple as a reassuring pat on the back can change the course of someone's day more than we realize.

Day 211 - Wednesday 6/17/15 - Grateful for my school friends, in particular, one of them whom I've grown close with.  She made emptying out my classroom a little less lonely today.

Day 210 - Tuesday 6/16/15 - Last day of school.  I bawled like a baby.  But you know what?  That's cause I love what I do, and I'm going to miss the kids that I grew to love over the school year. 

Day 209 - Monday 6/15/15 - Last field trip of the year, a full, long day, and it was the smoothest it's ever been!  Grateful that it worked out so well, as it made for a great end of the year!

Day 208 - Sunday 6/14/15 - Thankful for shelter from the storms today....

Day 207 - Saturday 6/13/15 - Trying on a new routine today.  I think I might like it!

Day 206 - Friday 6/12/15 - Fourteen years of carnivals and not a drop of rain during them.  So thankful that today followed suit, and stayed dry until the end!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Swiss Cheese

My dietitian, once again, shared one of her fabulous analogies.  This time, it had to do with one of my favorite indulgences, Swiss Cheese.

Right now, I'm going through a major transition that has rocked my entire world.  While it is all good stuff that is happening, and great places where I'm headed, it's still left me incredibly unsteady on my feet, and I feel as if the ground is constantly moving beneath me.  That makes it pretty near impossible to feel like I'm able to stand on my own two feet.

Enter the Swiss Cheese analogy.

Imagine a big block of Swiss Cheese.  It's got those holes all over it that go straight to the core of the block.  Now, picture those holes filling up with different things - say, pimentos, pickles, other cheese, maybe even some mold (hey, it goes with cheese, right?!)  What we have is no longer a block of Swiss Cheese.  It's something that resembles Swiss Cheese, yet it's been overpowered by the other flavors that filled in the holes.

Ok.  Let's make it personal.  Imagine a person as a block of Swiss Cheese.  Standing tall, full of holes.  When things happen, when life happens, they dive into the holes and stew on what fills them - the argument, the fear, the stress, the family, the job, the financials, the stuff that is out of their control.  That person is going to be pretty unsteady, full of all sorts of stuff that negatively impacts all they do.

Now picture that same person, only this time, they choose to fill their holes in with positive experiences - like journal writing, exercise, healthy choices, good friends, and so forth.  These experiences fill the holes so that the core of the person is protected.  That way, when things happen, the world will still go on, negative things will still swirl around you, but they no longer have the ability to hit you at your core.  Instead, you filled the holes with self-chosen, positive experiences, and now when the world's chaos hits, you can let it bounce off and laugh.

Pretty powerful imagery in my mind.  Right now, I am so that block of Swiss Cheese, full of holes, constantly being attacked at my core by perceived threats to me and my safety.  However, I am (finally) working hard to fill the holes.  Seeing my therapist twice a week, my dietitian once a week, making intentional choices when it comes to eating, seriously attempting to add exercise to my routine, choosing a career change that will challenge me daily, and encourage me to be truly me.  All of those choices will fill the holes in my world, helping to protect and strengthen my core.

And one day, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, one day, I will be able to stand on my own feet no matter what is swirling around me.  (Knowing, of course, that my "support" team is only a phone call away!)

Saturday, June 13, 2015


When you close your eyes
and all you see is what you don't want to see.

The colors, textures, and scents
all fill your senses behind closed lids.

The memory has been packed up
tucked away behind the gate, boxed up, forgotten.

When you close your eyes
and it all comes flooding back.

The hours and weeks and months
working to put it behind you matter not.

Less than a minute was all it took
for the moment to return to consciousness.

Now it is all you see
when you close your eyes.

Fingers crossed, wishes on stars,
whatever you can do to put the memory away again.

The scents, breeze, piney and floral,
The colors, orange, tan, white, golden, and green.

The textures, clearly visible even now
wood grains, corduroy, denim, grassy, velvety, rough.

Maybe not today, or this week or month,
but back in the faded darkness, behind the gate, and into the box.

This memory will once again,
leave my consciousness and I will resume fighting, living, growing.

For now, closing my eyes
is going to mean working twice as hard to change the picture.

Covering up the scene,
replacing the colors, the scents, the textures.

And I will move forward
stronger than before, better able to live the life I am destined for.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thankful Thursdays - Year 3

Day 205 - Thursday 6/11/15 - Quiet evening with the peanut and parents..... it's been too long since that snuggle time!

Day 204 - Wednesday 6/10/15 - The rain held!  Field day was a blast!  Happy to witness the joy in my students faces....

Day 203 - Tuesday 6/9/15 - Sometimes it's ok to not like family.  Today was one of those days.  And I'm ok with that.

Day 202 - Monday 6/8/15 - Grateful for the reminder that the past is the past, and the past can't hurt me anymore.

Day 201 - Sunday 6/7/15 - Appreciating the use of two legs so much more now that I can only comfortably use one, which thankfully, is temporary.

Day 200 - Saturday 6/6/15 - Despite the crutches, was able to enjoy some time with my BFF and her girls this afternoon.

Day 199 - Friday 6/5/15 - Happy to report that tonight's unscheduled trip to the ER had me in and out in under two hours.  Gotta be some sort of record!  And for the record, it was nothing major, just on crutches for a few weeks....

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Year 3

Day 198 - Thursday 6/4/15 - Appreciative of the whole concept of a "break-up" in regards to relationship, as while I've not been through one, I'm experiencing the same mental processes with this job transition, and have more respect for those who have been through a break-up.

Day 197 - Wednesday 6/3/15 - Found a new dog walker for the Pup.  It was a much more challenging task than I anticipated, but I'm pleased with the outcome!

Day 196 - Tuesday 6/2/15 - GREAT afternoon at my new school!  It's going to be a lot of work, but I'm so excited to take this next step!

Day 195 - Monday 6/1/15 - It was nice to be in my therapist's office today.  I really needed it.....

Day 194 - Sunday 5/31/15 - It was nice to finally take the Pup out for a walk today!

Day 193 - Saturday 5/30/15 - Enjoyed the rain today, it matched my mood.

Day 192 - Friday 5/29/15 - Had the most wonderful evening with a group of former students.... what a treat to see them all again!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Year 3

Day 191 - Thursday 5/28/15 - Feeling really grateful to be able to experience the growth that I see every year as a teacher. 

Day 190 - Wednesday 5/27/15 - What a day.  SO thankful that things fell into place the way they did, and I didn't have that lost-puppy-wandering time I was so worried about.

Day 189 - Tuesday 5/26/15 - Grateful that my bladder still wakes me up at night, cause even though I hate the interrupted sleep, the alternative would be way worse!

Day 188 - Monday 5/25/15 - This Memorial Day, the magnitude of the holiday hit me hard.  I am and always will be ever-thankful for those who gave their lives so we could live in freedom. 

Day 187 - Sunday 5/24/15 - Hearing my cousin whisper "I can see why you don't visit your parents as much as they wish!" made me feel a little more understood by my family.

Day 186 - Saturday 5/23/15 - Love when things come full circle.... had the opportunity to help someone out today whom I've know her whole life..... I got to help her the way her mom helped me when I was her age....

Day 185 - Friday 5/22/15 - Shocked and grateful that tonight's family dinner was completely peaceful and calm, which is a first, and hopefully something that is repeated every month when we gather.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Insecure Comparisons

This.  This is where I am right now.  I didn't realize how much I do this, how much I look at people's outsides and compare it with my insides. How much I look at people's "shared successes" and compare them to my private flaws.  

I can walk through the mall, glimpse someone who looks like they have all their stuff together - they are fit, they look amazing, they've got a friend or friends with them, they're laughing or talking.  They look like what I wish I had.  

Except.  Except I don't have a clue what happens in the rest of their world.  For all I know, their behind the scenes is just as messed up as mine.

I struggle to accept my behind-the-scene life as ok.  If I can finally, finally stop comparing what goes on in my head, and behind closed doors of my home, with what I see in everyone else?  Wow.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Year 3

Day 184 - Thursday 5/21/15 - Very excited to read that there may finally be a requirement that insurance companies cover eating disorder treatment.

Day 183 - Wednesday 5/20/15 - So happy to have the Pup to come home to every day....

Day 182 - Tuesday 5/19/15 - Loved seeing a former student today!  Stopped by to hang with the class and I, what a treat!

Day 181 - Monday 5/18/15 - Feeling positive about building a professional, yet still me, version of "me" for my new job.  And more than for the job, really, for me.

Day 180 - Sunday 5/17/15 - Thankful for all those who rescue animals - it was nice talking to so many today while waiting for the vaccination clinic.

Day 179 - Saturday 5/16/15 -  Simple things, like clean sheets, make me happy.

Day 178 - Friday 5/15/15 - I realized today that the inner thug that lives in my brain and constantly taunts me has had 30+ years of practice and is not going to silence overnight.  This is a good realization.  It means I'm finally ready to start turning the tables to tame the taunts......

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Anxious Heart

"Depression is when you can't feel at all. Anxiety is when you feel too much. Having both is a constant war within your own mind. Having both means never winning." 

Photo Credit
A friend sent me the link to this article about My Anxious Heart, a photo series depicting anxiety and depression with photography instead of just words.  While I found all the photos in the series so spot on and relateable, it was the quote above that got me. 

On top of the eating disorder, which is thankfully under control these days, both anxiety and depression reside inside me.  There are days where my depression is so thick I can't lift my head from my pillow in the morning.  There are days when my anxiety is so strong walking from the bedroom to the living room has me short of breath.

Sometimes I miss the numbness the eating disorder provided, it was a more tolerable numbness than the one depression carries.  Depression numb is being in the dark with no light in sight, where as the eating disorder numb is more dissociative.  Both leave me feeling rather care-less.

I struggle with lots of things I see on Facebook, and I actually stopped reading the newspaper and watching the news nearly two years ago.  Why?  Because I feel too much.  Because I'd see a story about a town in need, and my heart would break for the citizens of the town.  I'd see a story about a child who won the battle with cancer, and my heart would crack open even further for the pain they had to go through.  Feeling so much, so intensely, leaves me gasping for breath.

I don't like that I agree with the author, that "having both means never winning," but I do.  I feel like the delicate balance, the grey area, so to speak, is so hard to find, and once it's found, it is nearly impossible to stay for long.  Being in one extreme, depression, is no better than the other extreme, anxiety, at least for me.  I aim to reside in the grey area.

And yet, it seems impossibly elusive.
(That's what the depression says.)

And the idea of the grey area is terrifying.
(That's the anxiety talking.)

Still, I plug on.  I see my therapist twice a week and my dietitian once a week and the rest of my team as needed and I plug on.  They haven't given up.  So I won't either.

Monday, May 18, 2015

At Any Cost

I've been *trying* to live a healthier life for 68 days.  I know that because I've numbered every day in my food log since starting this new commitment to myself. 
Since making this commitment....

  • I've eaten more produce in the past 68 days than in the past 68 months.
  • I've prepared more meals at home than ever before.
  • I've eaten less processed foods.  (My dietitian may be rolling her eyes at this, but it is true!)
  • I've run the dishwasher with more than just bowls and spoons.
  • I've run the dishwasher more frequently.
  • I've cut out some favorite foods because they make my body hurt.
  • I've cheated on the foods that I'm supposed to avoid.
  • I've paid the price for cheating, higher prices than ever before.
  • I've begun to listen to my body.  
  • I've begun treating my body with a little less hostility.
I've tried.
Oh, how I've tried.

I'm not where I wish to be.  Yet.  But I keep trying.
One day at a time, I will uncover the life that belongs to me,
that was lost amid the chaos of growing up, of an eating disorder,
of shattered self-esteem, and of fear-driven living.
And I will try to live my own life.
A healthy and peaceful one, at that.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Up for a Swing?

It's been a day.  It's been a week, actually.  A rather anxiety ridden week.  Today was the first day I felt like I had the space to breathe on my own, without relying on my team's presence.  So what did I do?  I sat in my swing.  I sat in my swing for a long time. 
Made me think of this poem:

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

--Robert Louis Stevenson

It was a favorite poem of mine as a child.  The illustration is one by my favorite childhood illustrator, too.  This particular illustrator brought multicultural illustrations into her books before it was "the thing" to do.

Back to *my* swing.  I got it almost two years ago.  I bought the stand first, as there was no place to hang a swing inside my house.  I bought an inexpensive rope swing for it, too, with the intention of putting it outside in the spring.  That never happened.

Instead, I ended up getting a beautiful wicker cocoon like swing and keeping it in my living room.  And I love it.  I don't use it enough, though.  Or at least I didn't.

As of late, with my anxiety at an all time high, I've been working to find ways to self-soothe that don't involve the presence of my uber-calming team.  It hasn't been easy.  So far, Xanax is a guarantee (but I've been out of it for weeks,) as is sleep (which isn't always feasible.)  I know there are other things I can do, my dietitian has been encouraging me to take walks, which I have been.  But sometimes dragging myself out the door even for a short dog walk is rough.  Crawling over to my swing is doable.  There's something about the gentle sway, the cocoon-like shape of the swing, and the way I can curl up in it that provides a sort of calm that my nervous system really needs.

How do you self-soothe?  I'm open to new ideas and I'd love to know what works for others!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Year 3

Day 177 - Thursday 5/14/15 - I am so grateful I am not a student these days.  The amount of pressure the kids face, most of which is out of their teacher's hands, is unacceptable.

Day 176 - Wednesday 5/13/15 - HOA meeting tonight.  Usually they are horrid.  Tonight's was the smoothest, calmest meeting ever!  Hoping they're like that every month from here on out!

Day 175 - Tuesday 5/12/15 - Being passed a tissue box when you're fighting the tears that are leaking from your eyes can be better than a hug sometimes.

Day 174 - Monday 5/11/15 - Love the sound of my therapist's laughter.  Especially when I can't seem to find my own laugh.

Day 173 - Sunday 5/10/15 - Pleasantly surprised how peaceful today was..... especially considering it included a picnic, rainy weather, and my entire family.

Day 172 - Saturday 5/9/15 - The energy that comes from 200+ teachers voluntarily spending their Saturday learning and sharing is unmatched.

Day 171 - Friday 5/8/15 - Said some things that weren't easy to speak.  Cleared up some stuff by doing so, though, making it worth it.