Thursday, December 31, 2015

Word for 2016.

When I wrote my last post, I began to seriously ponder what I was going to choose for 2016. I narrowed it down to three options; Thoughtful, Inspired and Joyful. All of these are great words. I wrote them on a tiny little post-it note and put that on the back of my cell phone so that I would keep seeing these words and find the one that most resonated with me.  

I'm currently recovering from a stomach bug and woke up to a quiet house and time on my hands. I read a little bit, and then I started to think that if none of those words were sticking out by this point it was time to find something else. I went to to go word hunting, as you do. 

After some time, I found it: 

(se-ren'i-ty) noun;
1. The condition or quality of being serene; clearness and calmness; quietness; 
stillness; peace. 
2. Calmness of mind; evenness of temper; an undisturbed state; coolness. 
[another definition I found and liked Here]

Yes. Exactly. I saw the word, and the definition, and it clicked. Pinterest gave me some pretty, inspiring pictures and there you have it.  Serenity is staying calm through the chaos, of going inward and finding peace of mind there rather than through an outside source. Accepting myself and life for what it is, rather than living in an anxious state because I want to control all the things. 

Happy New Year to you all, I hope 2016 brings you peace and happiness. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Reflections on a bumpy year.

Two Thousand Fifteen is coming to an end-- what a year it has been!

Like I mentioned a few weeks ago, this year has been half amazing and half miserable. I spent the first half of the year excited, stressed, and filled with anticipation of my wedding and my first trip out of the country for my honeymoon. It all culminated into a lovely adventure. The rest of the year was marked with anxiety and fear, all sorts of change and a lot of circumstances that tested my need to be in control and put me face to face with some of my least desirable character traits.

I'd love to say that all of the testing and obstacles thrown at me made me a better person and I conquered it all with grace and gratitude. That is simply not the case. I made it through, I'm continuing to make it through, and that is as good as it needs to be

If there was any wisdom obtained through the mess of 2015, it would be that I'm much more accepting of myself than I have been in previous years. What may have sent me into a self-loathing tailspin in years past, now, has stung but not taken me down.  My word of the year was Complete. I wanted to establish better habits and routines and maybe, for once, finish a NaNoWriMo or #100happydays [I did neither]. Instead, I did better about drinking water/tea first thing in the morning. I did better at journaling and writing for myself instead of writing for validation from an audience. I had compassion for myself, accepting my slightly flighty and definitely contrary personality trait of disliking routine. I continued on the path that is working for me regarding eating and exercise, and I had a better relationship with my body. I left a job that I held for five years (and was very comfortable), and am now working in a new field learning all sorts of new things and hopeful this was the right step.

The end of this year has been marked with some depression.  I know that it is due to transition and specific circumstances and won't be here forever. I missed the joy and excitement of the holidays, but am thankful for all of the love I have surrounding me and my family for always being there to help me through.

I'm still working on what my word of the year will be, but I have it narrowed down to 3 options. Anyone have their word yet?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

nothing in life is set in stone. there's nothing that can't be turned around.

My friend Jill and I were talking about music that we liked as teens and in our early twenties, and she mentioned that she liked Garbage. I brought up the 'ol Spotify and played Beautiful, which used to have heavy rotation in my 3 CD disc changer.

Music is as close to time travel as we can get, and it instantly took me back to being 16-21. I remembered listening to it in my first car, it only had a cassette player so I had one of those converters that hooked up to my discman! Discman, guys. That was a thing. I remembered sitting at my desk in my room on AOL instant messenger talking to boys on the internet and writing poetry. I remembered moving out of the house and listening to it in my first apartment.

Then, I started to cry. Not because I want to be young again... because I want to have that sense of assurance that I have creative talent. Over the years, my struggles with insecurity and anxiety have eroded the sense that I am a writer, a poet, a musical person. All of the creative things I loved about myself. It was replaced with self-doubt and worry that I was only kidding myself and that I have no talent and no value in that arena.

This has got to change.

My adult life has had a very clear pattern of me wrapping up my identity in the person who loves me. It isn't that I become like them and only do what they like, it is that I just coast along thinking that is enough. That being loved and in a relationship and having a job will tick all the boxes. It doesn't.

I need to be creative, and I cannot put it off any more. No more shelving that for another time when everything falls into place, or worrying that I'm not as good as I thought I was when I was scribbling in my diary as a kid. Regardless of my talent, it is who I am and I don't have to be a success for it to be worthwhile.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Let me just start off with a warning...

I'm going to be complaining. About first world problems. Let us all be aware that I realize my problems compared to the vast majority of the world are ridiculous.

My wedding was fantastic. I loved every second of it.

Since the wedding? It feels like nothing has been going right, and the latter end of this year I've felt nothing but anxiety, sadness and back pain.

Our wedding was on a Sunday, and our flight to our honeymoon was early Tuesday morning. I gave myself a day to run around like a crazy person packing and getting things done. On cloud 9, my husband and I ran our errands and stopped at a Thai restaurant with our friends to have lunch before we left for a week.

I took off my engagement ring an hour or so before the ceremony, I kept it in my wallet in the coin purse side which had a full zipper. Kept it safe. The band I got for the ceremony was cheap, too thick, and basically a stand in until I could make a custom ring to fit with my engagement band. I showed my friend J my engagement ring and how it wouldn't fit w/the thick band I had and also showed her some ideas that I had on my phone.

That was the last time I saw my engagement ring. I remember putting it back in the wallet, I do not remember zipping the wallet nor what we did as we all left the restaurant chatting.

A couple hours later, I went to transport it from my wallet to my jewelry box and realized what happened. Frantic, I tore apart the house while simultaneously sobbing because I knew in my gut it was gone and it was my fault. I called the restaurant, nobody had turned anything in. Of course, I didn't have insurance. The ring, being a half carat, was not insanely valuable and I had planned to get insurance once I had The Set. Yeah....

The ring was heart shaped and a bit quirky, but not ornate and the band was petite, which is exactly my kind of style. I wore it all the time, without exception. It was mine, it was a part of me, and I'm so angry with myself for losing it.

I still get tears in my eyes every time I think about it. It is now November. I got married in April. I tell myself over and over again that its an object, a thing. It doesn't matter, what matters is the love I share with my husband. This is true, but tell my heart that and you'll get a kick in the shin.

Combine sobbing all night, stress from a wedding and the joys of air travel, 2.5 days into my 6 day honeymoon I was sick. Kree followed suit. We tried our best to remain positive, and we did get to go to the Tulum ruins before the sickness took over, but there was the first of many things to go wrong.

The rest of the year has been filled with anxiety, work stress, a bad haircut, relationship stuff, moving!

I'm ready for something good to happen. I'm ready to have something to write about again.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

I think I have a point...

Now that I've been 30 for 2 months, I can now start every post with "When I was in my twenties..." 


When I was in my twenties, I struggled with the idea of making friends as an adult. I failed miserably. Thankfully, I had online friends who saved me from my over-thinking, anxious self. When I was going through my divorce in late 2009, it was an internet friend who would call me and keep me distracted and thinking positively. It was my LiveJournal friends who listened to me whine and say the same things over and over again but still kept encouraging me. They have made me a better person. Those connections are real, whether they know what I sound like singing Paula Abdul in the grocery store isle or not. 

It seems as though there is a distinct difference in the way we are online versus the way we are in our day to day life, but which person is more authentic? Save the trolls and the people who only go on the internet to view facebook, the voice that we present on our blogs or on twitter is the voice we want to have. The inner voice that thinks a little more before speaking, and who can curate their image a little better. Does that mean that because we are leaving out the bad hair days and the rambling about Once Upon a Time we aren't our real selves? In "real life", do the acquaintances we have that know our coffee order and see our muffin top  in that OOTD know what we value? Do they get to understand the depth of our feelings like those who read our little internet manifestos? 

Maybe I got spoiled in my young adulthood by making those online friends, so small talking my way through a get together to hope someone might be the same weird as I am isn't so appealing. Maybe I'm weirder than I thought? [This is the moment in a movie where a montage of awkward behavior would play showing my ineptitude in making friends.]

I have some real life friends, and they are great. I value the bond that people have with a BFF who knows it all and who spends half their time on your couch. Those are the relationships that are so glorious we watch them play out on YouTube, and miss when they are gone. 

I think what I'm learning is that I can cherish all of my connections with others, without having to rank the real life vs online friends any differently. Also, that I'm much more introverted as an adult than I was as a kid, AND my bed is really, really comfy. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

I have a body and I'm talkin' about it.

In late 2013, I stopped dieting for a few reasons. The first, I had a very unhealthy relationship with that word and the actions I would take while dieting. Mostly, obsessing about food and my weight to a level that the world ended if I didn't lose at least half a pound at my weekly weigh in, and would usually end at some point 7 to 14 days after starting with a lot of bingeing and hating myself. Not a good plan, and something that needed to end.

So, because I live in a country where the economy relies on people dieting, you hear a lot of people say "No, don't DIET, you need to make a lifestyle change." Ok, that sounds great. What does that entail? Oh, downloading an app that makes you log calories, buy a fitbit and weigh in once a week? Hmm. That sure does sound like dieting. Only thing that is missing is the chicken breast heavy meal plan.

So, I made myself commit to not dieting for 6 months. That sounds weird, but I grew up (starting at a very young age) going through cycles of being on a diet or feeling guilty about not being on a diet and having very negative internal dialogue telling myself how terrible I was for not working hard enough to not be fat. I mean, I had Gastric Bypass at age 23. To live a life without dieting was completely foreign to me.

I stopped Pinning diet plans and Thinspiration quotes. I got off the scale for 6 months (and now, only occasionally and not more than once or twice a week). I started following plus size fashion bloggers, and bought clothes that were fashionable *right now*, not putting them on a wishlist for when I lose 2 sizes. I started to deliberately work on my self-esteem and body image, and I accepted the fact that I'd gained 40 pounds from my lowest weight post-surgery and that didn't make me a terrible person.

Now, in 2015, I still have hard days. When I got married, I worried about how my arms looked in my dress. I am still fat, I didn't Margaret Cho/Jeanene Garofolo it and end up thin.

What I have gotten from this? Most days I feel cute, and I actually believe my husband when he tells me that he is attracted to me. I have lost 20 pounds. I eat my feelings much less, because I no longer follow the pattern of deprive and treat. Not diabetic, not even pre-diabetic (I have PCOS which causes insulin resistance and family history). I like myself more, and I worry about what people think less. Still need a lot of work on that last one.

So, why am I sharing this? Because it is my blog and I wanted to talk about it. Also, I have internet and real life friends who spend their lives in this cycle, and I wish they didn't. When I was in the depths of self-loathing because of the way I looked-- I searched out body positive blogs and found corners of the internet where I found fat women who were proud of themselves and their flabby arms and it gave me hope.

Keep on dieting, if that works for you. Reach whatever goals you want, and try to find the healthiest way to get there and the weight you feel comfortable. I can't say to *everyone*, stop dieting! stop the madness! But if you're like me? Which a lot of women are... just remember that you can actually live a life where you don't obsess about the french dip you ate at that BBQ. Was it a tablespoon? Teaspoon?. There is life beyond that obsessive nightmare, and I hope you get there.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Happiest of Days!

Hooray! I am *so* happy today. It is hard for me to sit quietly at my desk. This is a time to celebrate. 

FINALLY. Marriage equality for all in our country.