Friday, December 27, 2013

One Little Word for 2014

I've been thinking a lot about this.  It's different this year.  It's not one little word that I think will be impressive.  It's one little word that will be important to me. This is not to say that the changes or pattern that I evoke with this word will only effect myself.  It's more about making sure that I'm my own most important person. 

I've decided to go back to CHOICES.

I think I was partially haunted by my choices this year and yet, I know that it is choices in which I exercise my power. 

I want to choose YES more than no.
I want to feel POWER in my choices.
I want to know that I can be REDEEMED by making a different choice.

My 2014 will be a year of choices. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Different Take On Christmas

This Christmas was different than any year I ever remember.  The difference?  I was relaxed. 

For as long as I can remember, Christmas started the day after Thanksgiving with furious activity of rushing, going and worry.  The tree, the 48 hour+ baking spree, multiple days of shopping, a day of wrapping perfectly, searching for food, preparing new and cool foods and gifts, running from home to home and shopping some more...  I like to think that I'm a relaxed, type B personality.  But in the last couple of weeks I'm starting to think that maybe I'm more type a than I think. 

This year?  I didn't put the tree up.  I never spent a good 48 hours baking all kinds of Christmas cookies that partially got thrown away.  I shopped for gifts one day and was done.  I used gift bags instead of pretty coordinating wrap.  I never made a huge deal over a special breakfast on Christmas eve or day.  I didn't shop for days over 2 new outfits for the 2 days. 

Pete and I opened gifts on the 23rd, which is our tradition.  I commented that this year felt different and more relaxed than I've ever been.  He commented that he saw that and in turn it was more relaxed for him also.  We didn't argue about how he wasn't liking going to my extended family Christmas; I went and he stayed home.  We both won. 

This is a new experience for me. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The F Word

You know it.  You think it, you say it.  You're as caught up as anyone.  It holds power and not all of it is good power.

What word?  Fat.

I hate it with a passion.  HATE it.  I don't want it to have the power that it does.  I think that it does such damage to a person. 

I read last week about how Justin Bieber called a curvy size 14 teenager a beached whale.  My heart aches for that girl.  She must have been so excited ot be near her celebrity crush; so excited to meet him.  And what does he do?  He calls her fat.  For no other reason than to build himself up.  No other reason.

Jennifer Lawrence of Hunger Games is quoted as saying:
"I think the media needs to take responsibility for the effect it has on our younger generation on these girls that are watching these television shows and picking up how to talk and how to be cool," she continued. "So all of the sudden being funny is making fun of the girl that's wearing an ugly dress. And the word fat! I just think it should be illegal to call somebody fat on TV. If we're regulating cigarettes and sex and cuss words because of the effect it has on our younger generation, why aren't we regulating things like calling somebody fat?"
As soon as I read this, I was like YES!  Why aren't we realizing the power words have on young kids like this? 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My 2014 Word?

For the last few years I've been choosing a word in December to live the following year by.  A word that represents some change I want to make or what I need to focus on or a reminder.  Interestingly I think that my choices are very representative of what actually happens within the year.  Maybe it's just self fulfilling, maybe it's luck, but whatever it is, it works.

Last year my word was grace:
I want to live gracefully. In beauty and kindness. With poise and centered in myself. I want to chose nice over mean. I want to give myself grace and forgiveness and be ok with who I am at any given moment. I want to be graceful in motion and thought. 
I have to admit, when I had the abnormal biopsy I abandoned my word and I felt that it abandoned me.  How could I live gracefully when this bad thing was happening to me?  How could I be ok, let alone poised with this decision?  How could I be ok with myself when I was about to remove body parts in a preemptive move?

In reality, I think that grace supported me.  Grace was there to let me recover both mentally and physically.  Grace was there for me to allow myself to ask for help when I needed it.  Grace was there to be ok with where I was at, at that given moment.  Without thinking about it, I was living a graceful life and it was giving back to me in return.  Without grace, I honestly don't know where I would be now or what my mental status would be.

So this is my little thank you to whomever started the trend of One Little Word.  My thank you to the prompt of seeking something to work on year by year.  My thank you for the support throughout this year. 

My 2014 word?  I don't know.  Something is pushing me to go back to the word choices.  To focus on the fact that I can't change all the choices I had to make this year.  To focus on the things that I can change and do something about them.  But I'm still giving it thought because I have about 3 weeks left to decide!

Monday, December 16, 2013

I Love Myself

Deep down, I know that I love myself, just as I am.  But the day to day me isn't always so sure.

After losing weight I was liking my body, but the good and the bad parts.  But with the surgery scars and the weight gain, I feel the self doubt filling in those empty spots.  My scar is long and red and raised.  Ready?  Be gentle with me, because this is the first time I'm publicly sharing some of my scars. 

This is my abdomen scar.  Where they took skin and tissue to rebuild the breasts.  The scar runs from buttock around the front to the other buttock. 

Why am I sharing this now?  I watched some documentary where they talked about self doubt and hate.  One of the things that a therapist said, what she would prescribe that patients go home and post on their bathroom mirror:  I love myself unconditionally!  Read it twice a day and say it out loud.  She said that the first 20 days or so would be filled with self doubt, criticism and sometimes hate.  But after day 20 those critical statements after the sentence would get less and less.  After 30 days, they're down to very few.

So, I'm here to say that I love myself.  I'm not perfect (no one is) and I have things that I can improve upon.  I'll do those when my body and mind are ready to tackle them again.  Until then, I'm choosing to give myself grace and be ok with where I am.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Shades of Grey

Tell me, where did your mind just go? *wink*  Well, my shades are considerably more boring. 

For years I was frustrated at every political discussion I had.  I was frustrated about every social issue discussion too.  Oh, and schools?  Yep, frustrated too. 

The process would look like this:
Other Person:  All cows should be blue.  Period.
Me:  But not all cows are blue.
OP:  But they should be.  Blue or yellow.
Me:  But the truth is that some are green.
OP:  But cows have historically been blue and yellow and they shouldn't change.
Me:  But there are so many reasons why cows aren't always blue and yellow and we need to consider those.
OP:  Nope.  Blue or yellow.
Me: grrrrrrrr (leaves conversation)

When my counselor asked me to describe myself the other day I said that I am the greyest person I know.  She laughed and asked me to explain.  I told her that for any statement she gives me, I'll likely to find several different points that would both support and discount it.  I told her that I usually cheer for the team who is losing, even if I switch sides every inning.  I spend a lot of time explaining my reasoning behind everything and I often get frustrated.

Her response was that it was all awesome.  And then I laughed.

Most people in this world have a very black/white outlook on life.  They are very absolute about what they think and believe.  Me?  I'm the opposite.  She said that in her practice, she spends a lot of time with those black/white people trying to get them to understand the grey areas as those people have a hard time seeing that there could be any other answer, other than A or B. 


But I explained that it frustrated me when I talked with others that they couldn't see the things that I see.  She acknowledged this and said that while hard, it must make me a pretty understanding person.  When I thought about it, I agreed. (toots my own horn...) 

What I left with was a new understanding about not only myself, but those around me.  I feel a lot like the person who's always saying, "But, what about this?"  And while that may be true, I also help people think about things that they had not or could not even think about in many situations.  Maybe that's why I like being a probation/parole agent so much?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What I've Learned in 5 Months

Five months ago I was in surgery.  A long surgery that's colored every part of my life since.  I've spent a long time in the last few weeks considering the choice that I made and how my life has changed.  And while there are days I'll tell you that it was the worst thing that ever happened to me, the reality is that not all of it was negative.

1.  I learned who really cared for me in various ways.  Reality is that when someone has a life altering event, most people think about how sad it is.  Not all of those people offer to help or even support.  Some just can't and others don't want to be bothered.  I learned that I have an awesome husband who will go to the ends of the Earth for me.  I have caring co-workers who organized a lot of help.  I have friends who live no where near me, but were with me every moment of every day.

2.  I learned that I can't do it all and that's ok.  The world will not end because I didn't make my famous potato hotdish (Translation - Casserole. Remember, I'm midwestern.) for the Christmas Potluck.  It will not end because I didn't do cute little Halloweek bags for my trick or treaters.  And It will not end because the bathroom counter looks like a tornado for 3 days straight.  Family and friends will be ok not getting a Christmas card this year.

3.  I learned that I need to let my husband into my head a little bit.  That withholding my thoughts is akin to turning my back to him when I need him most and then getting mad when he doesn't help.  IO learned that out of a sad/difficult thing, cvan come a new awareness and awakening of a realitionship.  I learned that we love each other...a lot.

4.  I learned that while my brain may feel ok, my body doesn't and I need to listen to it.  I need to go slowly and have patience with myself.  That nothing goes from 1-100 without all the other 98 numbers inbetween.  I learned that even 5 months along, it's sitll ok to nap a couple of hours a day and spend time relaxing to recharge.

5.  I learned that my relationship with my family is important.  My realtionship with my Mom is at times difficult because of how different we are, but that when it comes down to it, we are similar also.  I learned that my Grandma, all 89 years of her, will help out any way she can. 

6.  I learned that I could do a better job advocating for myself.  Instead of letting myself get to the crying every day stage, I could have admitted to the plastic surgeon any number of times that I needed help.  Instead of letting Pete do my talking, I could habe been more vocal about my needs and wants and sought out a solution.

7.  I learned that I do much better when I have an action plan of how to fix things.  Whether it's validating emotions and what I know to be true around them or planning on exercising on certain days, it's a plan. 

I know that there's way more that I could list out.  But those are the big ones.  I suppose that if I posted again in July 2014 (which I'm sure to do) I'll have more things that I've learned.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Admissions and Limitations

Saturday was spent hibernating in the deep freeze of Minnesota. Love the cold wintery weather with snow. But high temps that never get above zero?  Um no thanks.

So between laundry, crochet, baking, House of Cards in Netflix and my snugly puppy, I never left the house. In return, there was a list of other things that I should have done. I just didn't. 

At times, I think I have bounds of energy and I tackle that to do list in the spirit of an athlete. Friday, I shopped...for 7 hours. Grocery, clothes, crafts and Christmas. Ran home, helped Pete cook dinner and was in bed by 10pm. I had a similar, if yet indoors, list for Saturday. But I did none of it. Not because I didn't want to, but because I had no energy or motivation to do it. 

About 1pm, I took a shower so I could feel clean and change into clean PJs (really just one of Pete's old long sleeved shirts and flannel pants).  But in the shower I thought about how much I wanted to sit in the living room and watch the twinkling light of the tree.  And how I usually spend the day after Thanksgiving putting it up. And how it's now well past Thanksgiving and I stare at an empty space and dog toys.

What I realized was sad. I didn't have the motivation to wrestle that tree up and decorate it. Oh yes, I could muster the energy to do it today. But I'd be in a heap the rest if the day. And more importantly to Pete, that damn tree would stay up until Valentines Day when Pete would take it down out of frustration. It's not fair to him or me to do that.  So I made the call to not put up the tree this year.  And I shared this with Pete when he got home.  He was very sweet and said that he'd get me a tabletop tree that fols out so it's just set and plug in, but I told him no need. 

I don't know, maybe it's a positive thing, this realization of my limits. Maybe it's good that I not only realize them, but stick to them. And maybe, a part of me wants my superhuman self back. 

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

I am still here...

I'm still here.  Still struggling in some ways and flourishing in others.

I haven't posted because...well it's complicated.  I realized last night that I don't have the running dialogue in my head all the time.  I've talked before about how I felt like there was this running stream of consciousness going on in my head all. the. time.  Well, it's  I can sit and spend time crocheting and I'm not running 40 things in my head about what I did that day or plans for the next or how I screwed up and what I need to change or 15 other random things.  It's a wonder why I could never meditate with all that going on.  But I sort of can now.  I'm enjoying crocheting things for gifts and for myself and the time spent with no TV/radio; just me and my hook and yarn.  It's relaxing, rather than stressful.

But, that stream of consciousness seems to have been where most of my blog posts formed.  I sort of feel like I've lost my blogging voice.  It's a hard thing.  I want to blog and document what's going on in my head, but I can't.  Many times in the last month I've sat at the computer or my netbook or even my phone and stared.  Everything that I thought about writing felt very forced and not at all authentic.  So I closed the screen without saving a single letter. 

Last night I realized that if I'm going to blog, it needs to be a conscious effort to do so.  And maybe, just maybe, I need to ease back into it, just like I'm easing back into my life in other ways.  So today, is post 1.  I probably won't be blogging daily anymore, but my goal is to do so 2-3 times a week.  I've written myself some notes about things that I really do want to talk about.

PS, thanks for listening....