Posted in Blogging, Life, Mental Health, mindfulness, Musings, random, Uncategorized

Little Stories

I’ve let so many days pass in between posts, and it’s mostly because in the mornings, when I usually sit here to write, I’ve been drawing big, empty blank spaces where the words usually are. I just sit here, staring at the screen, waiting, and nothing comes. Instead, when I am driving, or working, or sitting on the toilet five minutes before I have to run out the door to work, I think of these great posts that I will start, you know…tomorrow. Only tomorrow comes, and I can’t remember what they are, and the whole cycle starts again. So today, while I have a little time, I’m going to try to round up some of my scattered thoughts and tell you what has been going on. Here are some little stories:

Not My Story to Tell:  Lately, it has occurred to me that sometimes there are things I want to write about that involve other people in my life, and those people might not want me to write about them. As an overarching rule, I don’t generally censor myself when it is directly impacting my life, but…when it comes to certain people, such as my daughter or my mother, I just can’t. If you were to scroll back through all of my blogs, you would see that has not always been the case, but…you know…I’ve changed a lot. This is one example of that, I guess. That I now understand when it is not my story to tell. Maybe someday, in some other way, but…as much good material as those two give me, they need to know their secrets are safe with me. I reserve the right to poke a modicum of fun at them, and celebrate the good things, of course.

Emotional Hangover: This past week, I experienced a 24 hour period of great stress. The funny thing about me that I am just figuring out is that I am GREAT while the traumatic event is happening. It’s when it has passed that I completely fall apart. And it doesn’t always look or feel as if it is related to what I just went through, either. The day after the storm had passed, I found myself suddenly worried to the point of paranoia over my youngest daughter. For the record, she had nothing to do with the stressful situation, and so I couldn’t understand why all of the sudden I was in a near-panic state over her safety. It finally hit me what was going on, and being able to understand it helped me let it go. But I also went to bed at like six o’clock for two nights running, and I am still, several days later, not quite myself. Which leads me to the next story…

Extra Sensitive: I shy away from the word “empath” simply because it is thrown around quite a bit with lots of connotations that I am not 100% comfortable with…which is actually kind of funny, because I may not be comfortable with claiming them (psychic phenomena, gifts, powers, all that woo-woo stuff) but I am totally into all of it. I just don’t think they are necessarily linked, always. I think everyone has the ability to sense things they cannot see, but some people have just honed those abilities out of self-preservation or even just intentionally. I know that people who have grown up in homes where it benefited them to be on their toes at all times, living with volatile adults, are often extra sensitive. I think I fall into this category. I love people, but I prefer to be alone. When I am with friends, large groups exhaust me. And when I am around someone who is not okay, it drains the life right out of me. I can generally tell when someone is lying, and I sense how someone is feeling no matter what they say to the contrary. Again, I don’t think this is truly unusual, aside from how much it affects me. This is the thing I need to work on. I think it is interesting, though, to think about how the energy people give off impacts other people. I once, long ago, was with a friend and three people who had just done something terrible showed up at his house. I had no idea what they had done, but the energy rolling off of them was the worst I had ever felt. It was like a black fog. I will never forget it as long as I live.

On a Lighter Note: This past week, I have been working hard on my online Tarot course, and I LOVE it! I’m so excited to learn all about each card and what it is supposed to mean. I’ve worked my way through the minor arcana, and will be starting the major arcana today. Fascinating stuff! I love learning new things, and the idea that I will be able to do readings for myself and friends without consulting the book for every card is just so awesome to me!

Also, I don’t know if I mentioned it, but I decided two weeks ago that I was done dieting and tracking my food and obsessing over all that shit. I even deleted all my tracking apps (except fitbit, because it’s too fun). So far, this has not worked in my favor. I’m giving myself one week to get my shit together, and if I can’t start eating like a normal person and not hoovering everything in sight like I have a free pass, I’m going to have to start tracking again. Loving myself does not mean gobbling my way straight into obesity.

So, there you have it- that’s a little of what’s going on with me, and what’s been on my mind this week. Hopefully, I’ll get back into my blogging groove and be back here really soon. Until then, have a wonderful day!

 

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Posted in anxiety, Blogging, Depression, family, funny, Goals, kids, Life, Mental Health, motherhood, parenting

Three Things- Welcome, March!

three daffodils

I woke up this morning with the three things I wanted to write about already in my head- unfortunately, as often happens, they have completely disappeared. For all I know, they were stupid things anyway that only seemed to make sense because I was half asleep. That’s kind of how my early morning thoughts generally are- they seem brilliant until I’ve had a cup of coffee, and then I’m like “What the fuck? That is utter nonsense!” Too bad I can’t remember what they were, they might have been good for a laugh. Anyway, I have at least two I can share…maybe the third will reveal itself as I go. Here goes:

  1. Depression. Can we talk about this for a minute? It often feels to me as if I am constantly on the cusp of slipping into depression, or just over the line into it, and struggling to either keep myself away or get myself all the way out. This week has been extra bad in that respect, and I hate it. I wake up every day with the intention of trying harder, doing better, getting more done, but the fact of it is…when you are truly feeling depressed, it’s very hard to accomplish much. Or anything, really. I think…I think I might be dealing with this the wrong way. I want so badly to just snap out of it through exercise or positive thinking, or even desperate prayer. I don’t have TIME to be depressed. I have shit to do. I don’t have any reason to be depressed, either. My life is good. Well guess what? That’s not how depression operates, and it doesn’t care how good your life is, what your schedule looks like, or if you have time. Much as I hate to admit it, it might be time to talk to someone about this. Sorry for being a bummer.
  2. March. It’s freaking MARCH already. I love spring, and would be pretty excited if I wasn’t feeling particularly shitty this morning. Also, it’s pouring down rain here right now, which we need so badly in California, but also, I feel like the weather is mocking me. I’ve decided that for the month of March, I will go mostly meatless. That’s my theme for the month- Mostly Meatless March. I say mostly because I’m scared. I’ve never tried to go without meat for an entire month, and I might forget, or freak out. I’m going to really try, though, to be a vegetarian for a month and see how it feels. Who knows? Maybe I’ll love it! Maybe I’ll lose twenty pounds! Maybe I’ll go vegan, and talk about only that for the rest of my life! (Note: this will never happen. I love butter and cheese WAY too much).
  3. Well, Camryn just gave me my third thing. She just stumbled out of bed, with her hair standing up straight, and her cheeks all flushed. “What are you doing up?” I asked her, looking at the clock which read 5:49, “It’s way too early!” “The cat woke me up.” She said, climbing into my lap.”She had her arms around my neck.” “Oh, she was giving you a hug.” I replied, giving her a hug of my own. “Yeah, or she was trying to secretly strangle me.” I laughed so hard, you guys- this is an ongoing thing in this house. Our girl cat, Rose, adores Camryn, but you know how cats show affection…sometimes they get a little mean about it. They get so wound up when you pet them that they scratch you, or knead you a little too hard. Camryn is convinced that the cat is trying to kill her. Sometimes she’ll scream for me from the other room to help her, and I run in to see what is wrong, expecting blood or broken bones, only to find a little girl with a cat lying peacefully in her lap. “She’s starting to scare me!” Camryn will whisper. Wouldn’t it be awful if the cat really was being a maniac, but every time I walked in the room she acted all sweet and innocent? Maybe I should install cameras. 🙂

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I hope you have the best day possible under whatever circumstances you are dealing with. I certainly intend to. Talk to you soon!

 

Posted in Goals, health, Learning, Life, People, Weight Loss

28 Day Jumpstart ( Day 8)

fit girls

About a week and a half ago, I was messing around on Instagram (Sometimes I find myself scrounging around there when all the good stuff on Facebook has been exhausted) and somehow or another, I stumbled upon an entry about the Fitgirlsguide plan. Maybe I had seen it before, I don’t know. But on this particular day, I must have been especially bored, because I started searching all the tags for this program, and it must have been early in the morning, because after very little thought, I purchased the “starter kit” plan, the 28 day jumpstart. I generally only impulse buy very early in the morning, or, on rare occasions, late at night. Anyway, if you are curious about it, you can check it out here:

fitgirlsguide 28 day jumpstart

I downloaded the e-book, read through it, and thought “Hmm…I might actually be able to do this.” The more I read, the more I was convinced that this was something that would really help me- and trust me, my own best efforts were falling a little bit short- lose some of the weight I was so bummed out about carrying around. So, last Sunday, I went to the grocery store with my little grocery list (included with the plan) and I bought all the suggested items. I went to the dollar store and bought a bunch of cheap “tupperware” (it’s early, I can’t think of another description except “plastic food container thingies”), and that night, I actually prepped my food.

Now, here I sit, a week later, and I want to tell you a little not-really-a-secret secret: It was actually pretty easy. And I lost a little over four pounds. In a week. Did I mention it was easy? I’m not sure how much about the plan I can actually reveal, as it IS a pay for the info kind of thing, but here is what it consists of- a healthy, yummy, easy to prepare, weekly menu. The aforementioned grocery lists. Daily home (no gym required) exercises. And lots of sound advice about attitude, drinking water, loving yourself, and having fun while changing your lifestyle, rather than viewing it as a horrible consequence of enjoying food.

Here is what I have learned in the past week:

  • I eat a LOT more often than I am hungry, just because there is food available. I snatch bites from my kids plates because it looks yummy, or finish their food because it’s there. I sample whatever is on the counter in the kitchen at work brought in to share. I eat when I am bored. I eat when people I am visiting with are eating. I eat because food tastes good and it is there. I was eating WAY more than I realized before.
  • It doesn’t take as long as I thought to prepare healthy meals for myself. As a matter of fact, if you have all of the ingredients on hand, it’s cheaper, faster, and leaves you feeling MUCH better than running to McDonald’s for a double cheeseburger.
  • I DO feel like an idiot working out on my living room floor, but much less so on day seven than I did on day one. And there is something very gratifying about knowing you are doing something about your weight, no matter how stupid you feel.
  • Not only was I eating much more than I realized, but my eating choices- even when I thought they were good- were much worse than I realized. I wasn’t eating the correct portions, and was allowing myself WAY too many extras. Hence, the reason I wasn’t losing weight the way I thought I should be.

Having said all of that, I will tell you a couple of other things that happened last week. One of them is that I didn’t follow the meal plan exactly- the first three days I was perfect with the food, but on day three, I was supposed to meal prep again, and I just didn’t want to. So, instead, I prepared either the exact meal, or a variation of that meal each day.  I made the shocking discovery that a sandwich can be absolutely fantastic without mayo! Who knew that? Not me. A little whole wheat pita with mashed avocado and turkey, onion and tomato? On POINT. So delicious.

I stayed with the basic ingredients I had purchased, I stayed within the basic portions recommended, I continued to track my calories on Myfitnesspal, and I did the exercises, every single day. Most days, I even did extra. And the results have been fantastic!

The only thing I found I could not, would not, did not want to do was this: I am not giving up the cream and sugar in my coffee. I tried it for one day, and all I can say is- Fuck that. No. So I compromised by drastically cutting back on coffee, adding only two tablespoons of fat free half and half per cup, and one tiny teaspoon of brown sugar. Because, lets be real here- I’m trying to be healthy, happy, and lose weight. Giving up my yummy coffee would not make me a happy girl.

So, that’s the scoop! The plan costs only about 25 bucks, and the groceries (for one person) have cost me about 70 dollars a week. This is a GREAT program for anyone who needs a little structure, and who is just learning about eating healthy, correct, portions and proper exercise circuits. I have learned more for this 25 bucks than I have learned in six months (and way, way more money) from my personal trainer at InShape. He and I are going to have a few words tonight!

Check it out, kids! I will post again about this next Monday. Have a great week!

Posted in Blogging, family, humor, kids, Learning, Life, Mental Health, Musings, parenting, random

Beautiful Human Machines

IMG_4083

I had intended to title this post “Stupid Human Bodies”, to be honest with you. I woke up this morning with only half of one nostril cooperating in my breathing effort. I have the kind of congestion that can be neither blown out, nor, uh…breathed in? I suppose the proper description would be “hocked up”, but that sounds so yucky, doesn’t it? Either way, if you are reading this, then you probably are saddled with one of these disease prone, periodically snot-addled, human contraptions we call “bodies” yourself, so I am sure you understand. The throbbing headache caused by sinuses that are malfunctioning- or is it hyperfunctioning? I am really unsure. The achy skin inflicted with fever. The goopy eyes, runny noses, dry, cracked lips. And this is only when we are dealing with the common fucking cold!

Don’t even get me started on the rest of the insulting things we must suffer through- the flaw in our design that put so many nerve endings in the places where we are most likely to ram them into things (think little pinky toes, my friend), the acne as teenagers (and adults), the metabolism that runs like a dream for so many years, only to leave us high and dry when our terrible eating habits are firmly ingrained in us…leaving us looking, bewildered, at the cellulite on our thighs and the rolls of blubber encircling our middles. Uncomfortably warm, permanent (seems like), hugs from the fat fairy. Yeah, life inside these bone and skin tents can be trying.

I was feeling all kinds of sorry for myself this morning, hobbling around with my achy, common-cold bones, hindered by my fat hug and the insurmountable mucus battle raging in my head…I was feeling whiny and bitchy and all kinds of pathetic. And then my daughter woke up. As you can see from the picture above, whatever is wrong with me is WAY less important than whatever the hell is going on with her. Yesterday, I thought she had a bug bite near her eye causing that swelling. Today, I am leaning more towards some type of cellulitis, perhaps conjunctivitis with a little something extra…I don’t know.

But it’s amazing, isn’t it, how quickly ones perspective can change? First of all, when I got out of “poor me” mode, and jumped into the impenetrable armor I call “Mommy Deluxe” (motto: don’t fuck with my kids, you hear?), my cold symptoms seemed to just float away. But, more importantly, I became acutely grateful for this wonderful machine that house our souls from day one through day…whatever you make it to. Because if this fancy contraption was not SO smart that it could send up distress signals you would need to blind to miss (ie: this eye is swollen even WORSE today, lady, so the Benadryl ain’t working! Help! Help!), how would I have known that something was seriously up with my kid? Answer: I wouldn’t have. I would not have known.

Our bodies are such precise and miraculous little systems. They are so complex, there are things even the most highly trained doctors, the most insanely educated scientists, are still mystified by. They protect us, they wage wars we often know nothing about, they suffer such abuses at our hands, and they still do their job, to the best of their ability, every single second of our lives. How cool is that? They find ways to communicate with us that we can understand, each body learning the language we will hear so that it can tell us how to help. And what do we do? We complain and whine, and get upset when things go wrong…Yet, how often are we grateful for all the many, many things that go right?

Today, I am going to stop whining, and appreciate this marvelous (if a little chubbier and snottier than I feel is totally necessary) temple that has been with me since the moment…no, since BEFORE the moment, even…I was born. Also, I am going to call the doctor for Cammy. That eye does not look good.

Have a beautiful day!

Posted in Addiction, inner peace, Learning, Life, Mental Health, Musings, People, recovery

Back To Earth

back to earth

There are signs that I am improving; My internal clock is working again- I go to bed before most of the world, but I wake up before most of the world, too. I am crawling out of bed, pulling myself out of the tangle of sheets, blankets, children, dogs- before the sun has even thought about peeking its glowing face around my corner of the world. I am back to my routine of soaking in lavender scented baths every morning, thinking about nothing. Then, I like to wrap myself up in my robe and sit on my front porch with my coffee, listening and watching as the rest of the world wakes up. The lavender scented water that has gotten in my hair is freezing cold by now, and when it drips down the back of my neck, it feels really good- this robe does not breathe. I need a new one. Anyway, in between the sounds of early morning traffic, way down the hill, I can still hear the pounding of the surf, and the little birds that have made their home in my neighbors attic.

Another sign that I am improving? Yesterday, I bought a book. A real, paper and ink book, which I read this morning in the tub. I don’t read in my other state. And then, there is this, of course. That I am sitting here, writing this, is another sign. Yesterday, I went for a walk with my dogs, one of my children, and a good friend. I wasn’t trying to find anything, I didn’t bring home a pile of garbage and call it treasure. I just walked. Well, I did try to get a library card in a neighboring town…but they were on to me. Jeeze! You don’t return a few measly books thirteen years ago, and you are branded for life. I may never check out books on this peninsula again.

There are other signs (I just accidentally spelled signs “sighns”, how very ironic. Or is that ironic? well, whatever, how funny.) that I still have a ways to go…I don’t really feel like shaving my legs. I haven’t washed my face before bed in well over a week. I cry- like, a lot- about everything. Yesterday, I saw this harassed looking man, walking two dogs while shouting into his cell phone. Trailing behind him was the most sad faced little red headed boy, about four. I wanted to pull over and scream “Hang up your phone, and pay attention to your kid, asshole!” But I didn’t. I just cried the rest of my drive. I don’t enjoy this overly-tender state I am in. It makes wearing mascara treacherous. But this is what happens when I stuff all my feelings for…what, five months, this time? Yep.

So, the crying. The fact that, even after getting a no vote from friends on Facebook last night, I still went to pick up Camryn’s medicine from Rite Aid in my pajamas. I could have at least put on yoga pants. The worst part? They aren’t even cute pajamas- they are super old, faded, purple flannel with big coffee cups all over the legs. You can’t even pretend they are anything other than pajamas. I didn’t care. Well, until after I got there and realized they had screwed up the meds, and I would have to sit and wait for another fifteen minutes. Then I cared. Lesson learned, Universe.

I’m tired. I’m tired of feeling like this. I’m tired of feeling like that. I just want to be okay. But I know I am getting there. Or hope that’s where this road leads. I suppose we shall see.

Posted in Goals, inner peace, Life, love, People, writing

Only You Know The Truth

As you know, a while back, I began the messy process of falling apart. Now, I consider myself somewhat of an expert at this particular activity…only, this time, it was different. Usually, it takes some type of EVENT to start my little disaster a-rollin’, but in this case, nothing had outwardly changed. I still had beautiful, healthy children. I still had my home and my awesome job. I still had a roller-coaster of a relationship with the same guy I’d been riding along with for the past four years.

And yet…day by day, my misery mounted. My moods, at first, were mercurial and alarming, but eventually settled down into “horrible”. For a good while, I soldiered on, putting on my Stepford Wives face for work, then discarding it the minute I got home, locking myself in my room, snarling at anyone who interfered with whatever nonsense I was doing. I withdrew from EVERYONE who loved me, either because I didn’t feel like hearing whatever they had to say, or because I didn’t want to bring them down. I desperately wanted to get better, but I wouldn’t do any of the things I knew I needed to do to get there. I was tired of asking for help, and too stubborn to help myself. In short, it sucked. Bad.

One day, I woke up, and I just could not, under any circumstances, do it for one second more. I could not get up, get dressed, go to work, and pretend I was fine, while in my head I was terrified that, at any moment, I was literally going to run screaming from the hospital. I could not pretend I was fine, period. It was killing me.

So I hit my pause button- stopped everything dead in it’s tracks- and I went out on FMLA for mental health reasons. At the time, I felt like I was a full of shit liar, but HELLO! Why is it so hard to see our own dysfunction while we are in the midst of it? I was off my freaking rocker, and anyone who knows me can vouch for that.

I knew it was pretty bad when I told my mom that I had taken leave from work, and, rather than the scornful scolding I expected, she said “Oh, Thank God!” or something like that. I mean, she lives ten hours away, and she could see how ill I had become.

The first three weeks were not so good. I slept a lot, I ate a lot, I gave in to my depression. I spent a lot of time crying, and the rest of the time trying to figure out what I was going to do. Should I check myself in somewhere? Should I get the hell out of dodge? Should I just go back to bed? I thought I was just spinning my wheels, but I see now that I was doing something incredibly important. I was giving myself some time- a LOT of time- to breathe, to think, to grieve, to fall apart- with no pressure. I mean, what an incredible gift I gave myself…a long chain of days to just feel what I was feeling instead of fighting it and masking it and pretending I was fine.

In the midst of all this, my mom, who is the queen of practical gifts for your crisis (she once, when I was in my early thirties, sent me this package that I excitedly opened, only to find a case of laxative TEA. No shit. Pun intended.) sent me a book called “Finding Your Own North Star” by Martha Beck. I had my doubts, but cracked it open anyway. Have you ever been completely lost in the middle of your own life and suddenly found the exact set of directions you needed to find your way home again? Well, this book was that thing for me. Or the first part of that thing, anyway. It described to me exactly where I was, exactly what was happening, and precisely how to deal with it. I am still reading it, weeks later, bit by bit, but every time I open it up, it assures me, yes, yes, what is happening now is what is supposed to be happening.

You see, apparently, the way I was living was so out of sync with who I truly am, that I was losing my mind. When you are doing what you think you are supposed to be doing ( in other words, what your mom and your boss and “society” thinks is correct) and it is in direct odds with what the REAL you, the one that wants to be a cross dressing ballroom dancer, lets say, NEEDS to do- it can make you do exactly what I did. You can bet your ass you are going to wake up one day and, though that good and obedient, people pleasing you will want to get up and go, go, go, happy to perpetuate the facade of happiness, the REAL you is going to refuse.

So, here I am. Doing what I am meant to do, which is write. I don’t care if I am writing MY truth, as I am in this blog, or writing the make believe story of a make believe person in a novel (which I have done, and will be doing again for nanowrimo, yay!). When I am doing THIS, I feel alive and excited. I feel like what I am saying is important and worthwhile, and I feel engaged and full of that fire that I cannot access any other way. For me, this is LIVING.  There is more to it, as well, but this post is getting REALLY long, so I will leave it at that.

What is it that you feel passionately about? What path does your heart long to follow? I want to hear your answers, even if you feel stupid and have never told another living soul. Please don’t wait until it goes to hell in a handbasket before you set yourself free. Can’t wait to hear from you!

Posted in Goals, Life, love, People, Uncategorized

5 Little Things

Well, hello.

You’ve probably all forgotten me, and I don’t blame you- it’s been a long time since I’ve sat down here with something to say. I need to apologize, I suppose, for my absence. There is this thing that people do when they are feeling incredibly bad, and sad, and miserable, and overwhelmed…it’s called isolating. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Anyway, I sort of had a  little nervous breakdown, took some time off work, and I’ve been doing a lot of work on myself. Work that did not include writing this blog, unfortunately.

The good news is, I am better. The great news is, every time I go through something like this, I learn more about myself and what I really need to do to keep myself well. I am lucky that I have lived a life that has afforded me the luxury of safely taking care of myself- a job that allowed me to take a couple of months off to get better- I know that is not the case for all the people I know ( some of whom could DESPERATELY use a little self help…or ANY help, for that matter.). The point is, I realize how blessed I am to be where I am and have a great employer who really does give a shit about their employees ( they were probably like “PLEASE, PLEASE GOD, let that girl request a LOA before we have to fire her!)

So, back to my point…what was it, again? Oh yeah! What I have learned this time about me, and about my happiness and mental well being is so simple that I have whittled it down to five little things, henceforth called :

The Five Commandments of Courtney:

  1. Thou shalt not imbibe ANY illegal narcotics, ever, for any reason, other than major surgery.
  2. Thou shalt go to bed when tired and get eight hours of sleep, or more, whenever possible. And it is usually possible, so thou shalt not make it into something harder than it is.
  3. Thou shalt eat good, healthy food.
  4. Thou shalt get off your lazy little butt and MOVE. Exercise is good for your mind, body and spirit.
  5. Thou shalt have a spiritual program of some sort.

That’s it. That right there is the recipe for happiness for me, and since I have been making sure to live by these rules, guess what? My life is completely okay. Alright, I feel a little embarrassed about it, but in all honesty, my life feels WONDERFUL again. I forgot that when I feel great, my life is automatically going to seem more manageable to me, and by default, will become a pleasure again. I forgot that when I feel like a giant ball of shit, everything in front of me is going to look like shit, too.

Life is really not supposed to suck all the time. If you find that yours does, you may need to do what I did, and take a look at what the problem is. Chances are it is going to be you, but don’t despair! That is GREAT news- because YOU are the only one YOU can change. So there’s hope.

If anyone even still subscribes to my blog, I’d love to hear what your “commandments” are. How do you live your life to stay happy? Was there ever a time in your life when it was so bad you had to make some serious inner (or outer) changes?  I can’t wait to hear- so I’ll obsessively be checking my stats all day again!