Transitions and Intentions

2013 can really be summed up as a year of transition. It’s felt like crisis management much of the time. Real or imaginary, I’ve managed to make it through the crises of 2013.

Transition

It’s moving away from this constant battle to be better, do better, have better. It’s leaving behind my own expectations for what life is suppose to look like. It’s getting out of my own way and allowing life to occur the way it should. It’s facing forward toward what is coming, ready to take it all straight on. It’s about only glancing into the rearview to check myself. It’s about stitching closed old wounds and stopping any lingering blood letting from them to allow myself to be healthy for what lies ahead. What is ahead is what matters.

Intention

2014 is going to be a year of intention for me. I am setting that out here and now. I will not live this year by responding to what is happening around me but instead by making things happen. I will accept responsibility for my actions, and I will learn to graciously accept praise as well. What happens from here out is because I intend for it to happen.

-To Infinity and Beyond

These Things I Celebrate

While 2013 has had it’s share of bruises, there were a fair number of highlights to reflect upon as well. I feel as though I have made strides, some very personal, this year in a number of areas. My victories speak only to my own triumphs and may look silly to others, but I gave up qualifying myself a while back.

 

These things I celebrate about 2013:

 

Increased the intensity of my workouts and weightlifting   –   Spent a week at the beach alone   –   Attempted online dating   –   Gave up eating gluten and dairy entirely   –   Advocated for myself to get better healthcare   –   Started saving for a house and a real vacation   –   Paid off my car and began saving for a new one   –   Began to pay down what I owe my parents   –   Joined the Jr. League   –   Went to seminars/fairs/events alone   –   Looked for an accepted a new job   –   Severed communication with a difficult person and began to make peace with the situation   –   Began an art journal   –   Volunteered twice with Fleet Feet Sports. 

 

 

I have much to celebrate this year.  

I’m OK

As I sit here on the eve of my 31st birthday I suppose it is worth taking a moment to reflect. To say that the last year has been rough might be an understatement. It certainly wasn’t what I would have planned for myself. This is never where I pictured myself to be at this point in my life.

But

I’m ok.

I’m not fabulous or amazing. Life’s not rainbows and unicorns, but I’m ok. It’s taken a lot for me to be able to say that to be honest, and I feel like I’ve come a very long way from where I was on this day last year. There are still a lot of days where it is hard to say I’m ok, but I am. I don’t have to be fabulous and amazing every day. Most days I am just ok. And that, my friends, is ok too.

It is hard to conceptualize my emotions right now to put them into words. Just ok is really the synthesis of it. It feels like going through the motions a lot. But that’s what you do to keep going. And keep going is what you do to be better than ok. And one day I will be better than ok.

I’ve had several recognizable achievements personally this year. I don’t want to discount those. But those aren’t what weigh on me. Those don’t require reflection. Forgive me for not ticking them off in a self congratulatory manner.

At the end of 2012 I jokingly said my year sounded like a bad country song: I got divorced, I had to sell my house, I gave up drinking, I lost my best friend, and my dog got sick. I just knew 2013 had to be better. The great news is none of those same sad events have reoccured (yet anyway!). But the bad news is, as a whole, I’d rate this year lower overall. I operate well in crisis because there are steps to handle, things that can be put on lists and checked off. With no crises this year, I was just left with the emotional backlash of last year to sort through.

But I’m ok.

It’s been a long year. It’s not been one of my better ones, that’s for sure. However, a new year starts tomorrow. While I’m still not interested in celebrating my birthday, I know that it’s still my birthday. And I know that I’m still ok. Maybe by my next birthday I’ll be ready to celebrate again by saying I’m good.

Art Journal

My college roommate, Alisha, is an amazing gal. I swear I don’t know when she sleeps, she does so much. Seriously. There’s a reason her blog is called Wearing Many Hats. A while back she did a lovely post on art journaling. Instantly I was in love. I am mesmerized by altered books, and I actually have seen art journals before, but never really thought about it as something so simple. Reading about her experiences with art journaling, something clicked. It doesn’t have to be super fancy art. It’s MY art journal. It’s about MY expression. Don’t over think it, just be creative.

There are always images I am drawn to for no explainable reason. This is the perfect use. Rip that bad boy out the magazine and slap it in there. Save that scrap of paper from the street fair and glue it on down. Inspired by the color on the back of a restaurant take out menu? Bam! That bad boy just became art. Damn, I am creative.

I want to share my little work in progress in hopes that it will inspire you too. If I can make art, anyone can.

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Supplies: magazine pictures, scrap book paper, sharpies to do the actual journal writing, glue, misc do dads (technical term)

I started with a spiral bound blank sketch book. Don’t google “art journal” unless you are prepared for an onslaught of beautiful, intense pieces of true art. That ain’t what you’re going to see here. I don’t need all that to be pleased with my little journal.

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Cover

I decided my art journal would be about positive and uplifting things. That’s it. Nothing special other than that. The pieces on the front reflect that. I found a really, really cool set of stickers at Michael’s that had affirmation type sayings on them. That’s one on the bottom right. What’s hard to read, but may be my favorite thing about the front is what’s in the green block. It reads, “Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness.” Deep.

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There is no right or wrong way to art journal.

The writing takes a variety of forms.

Sometimes it is prompted by an occurrence I want to explore.

Sometimes I read something motivating.

Sometimes I fill up the pages.

IMG_0499  And sometimes not so much.

I do like to use quotations to spring board writing. Sometimes that’s all I write on the entire page.

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It really is just about whatever floats my boat at the time. IMG_0500

And that’s just fine with me.

It has been very nice to explore this little corner of creativity. I find it soothing in my own little way to rip up the pictures, or to carefully cut around each intricate detail of something precise I want to preserve, and finding just the right arrangement. Of course it is always therapeutic to write, no matter the form.

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I love the intensity of these 2 pages covered with nothing but words.

My art journal is a work in progress and a tool for life progress. I encourage everyone to give it a go.

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Inside front cover

God Grant Me the Serenity

Today marks one year sober for me.

I never thought that would be a big deal. I never thought I had a drinking problem. I was more of a problem drinker. You know the type…drinks when they have problems…drinks when the problems are solved. Weekend warrior. Binge Drinker. Whatever you want to call it, it wasn’t healthy and it wasn’t a means to cope with my emotions. I was never an alcoholic, but that’s not an excuse for my behavior. Once I started, I couldn’t stop.

I never really made a conscious decision to stop drinking. Well, sort of, and I’ll get to that in a minute. It’s odd that the more my life started to crumble the less I wanted to drink. It just sorted faded out as a part of my former life. I have The Big Man Upstairs to thank for that. (By the way-I stopped drinking and the weight dripped off of me like water. Alcohol makes you fat folks.)

This weekend marks another pause in my life from a year ago as well. I closed on my house a year ago this weekend. I had tickets to see Kevin Hart and went out with someone I really cared about to celebrate. We had a great time. I no longer have contact with this person and that really, really hurts. That was the last time I had drinks. I was dreadfully hungover for an extended period of time after only a couple of drinks (and I was pretty buzzed after only a couple of drinks). My conclusion is that a medication I had started to take (and still do) must interact with the alcohol. I very rarely was drinking at that point anyway, and that was the last straw. It wasn’t worth it to be sick.

There’s several memories tied to this weekend in May. I lost my dream of home ownership, but I could be done with the house and move on. I had a fantastic time with someone I really cared about and now am not on speaking terms with. We were actually very close to a shooting in the parking lot of that Kevin Hart show and got blocked in by the crime scene investigation for a while before we could leave.

When I look at where I am today vs a year ago it just seems surreal. That was the point I thought my life was maybe going to settle some. So, so much has changed since that point. There have been moments in the last year, especially in last 6 months, when I didn’t know up from down or right from left. There was more than once when I didn’t get out of bed for multiple days except to walk the dog, and if I hadn’t had to that, I wouldn’t. But, I’m still here. I’m still figuring it out day by day. And never once in the last year did I try and wash my problems away with a bottle.

A Day of Firsts

I threw myself waaaaaay out of my comfort zone this morning. Believe it or not folks, I am not comfortable talking to strangers, especially making small talk. I hate making small talk with people I know really well, but even more so with strangers. I deeply fear embarrassing myself  somehow in front of people I don’t know. I do realize that is illogical. Depending on which point in my life you met me (if we know each other IRL) you may or may not find this fact hard to believe. This is obviously a contributing factor in my social isolation problem and thus lack of friends. It is also certainly not helping me notice any potential dates either.

Today, I threw all caution to the wind, got up at 5:30am (I know, right?), and met a group of strangers on the streets downtown. The local running/fitness store put out a call for water stop volunteers for today’s Race for the Cure last week, and I signed up. My OCD self was even the first one there. We filled up water cups and passed them on to the racers and walkers and generally cheered with great enthusiasm to encourage people along. I may not be much of a runner, but I do love exercise, and I know how great it feels to have someone cheer you on as you go.  After the race we cleaned up, and that was that. Did I make a new BFF? No. But I made a babystep out of my comfort zone and met people with a common interest.

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After lunch I went to Loft to see about pants for work. It has been a good long time since I bought new pants from a store and not second hand. My weight loss and body reshaping adventures have precluded me from spending any significant amount of money on pants that may not fit for very long. I decided that I am officially ready to buy NEW pants. Loft was on the agenda for today. Armed with a half dozen pairs of size 4 pants, (and a few tops because you have to have tops to go with the pants, right?) I hit the dressing room.

Epic Fail.

Every pair of those stupid pants were too big. I don’t mean a little too big, I mean falling off at the waist. Even the petite size 4’s I tried on today were too big.  Now mind you, I have just given away/consigned most of my size 6’s. Most of what I have are 4’s and the fit is ok.  I’ve been measuring myself regularly out of curiosity if going GF would change my waist line, and I’ve lost a half inch in 3 weeks. That’s not enough to do this. I seriously think that Loft has done what I believe many stores are doing now: expanding the definitions for what each size is based on the average sized American woman today. All that aside, I still need pants. I grumbled back out to the floor and to the one rack of trousers I really liked best. No size 2’s. No petite sizes at all. Are you ready for this? I sure wasn’t. Image

The size 0 fit.

I had to ask the sales girl 4 times if she was sure they weren’t too tight. I didn’t have to hold my breath to get into them but they don’t require a belt either.

Shopping is still an emotional experience for me in a lot of ways. I’m not sure that I can explain how it makes me feel to say I own a pair of size 0 pants that fit. Sure, it’s a good thing, but it’s an emotionally heavy thing too. For someone who couldn’t wear the clothes the “cool” girls did (cool =pretty) as an adolescent because they didn’t come in my size, this is so odd. I remember being so thankful for Lane Bryant because I could get things in the smaller sizes there that were trendier at least. It is just odd.

I think in some ways my identity was tied up in that fat girl. Loosing her has been like loosing an old friend. It’s not the same face in the mirror. It’s not the same clothes in the closet. The fat was an armor against the world, a buffer for me. There is a reason for the stereotype of fat people as funny. I was always SO over the top outgoing that I hoped people would like me and be attracted to me for my personality and see past the fat. I’ve noticed that the less fat I am, the less outgoing I am too. However, the loss of fat also has occurred over an incredibly difficult transitional period for me too, so the correlation is not direct.

My sweet college roommate Alisha posted this quotation from the amazing Gilda Radner on facebook this morning, I think it really serves to summerize my place right now well. I’m not as content as Ms. Radner appears to be, but I am understanding this concept of  “not knowing” somewhat better.

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.
Delicious Ambiguity. ~Gilda Radner

Week 2 Blues

Week 2 is not going well.

My symptoms have returned, and I am not sure why.   I have not eaten as simply as I did last week.I stuck to mostly 1 ingredient foods last week: hard boiled eggs, pot roast, broilled zucchini, applesauce, peaches, etc. You get the drift. I do cook on occasion (gasp!) and thought that I can do this; I can cook GF/DF.

Before I get into my use of kitchen appliances, I have to mention that suspect 1 is pumpkin as I’ve had symptoms in the same day as having pumpkin seeds and in the same (but separate) day as having pureed pumpkin. Sunday night I made vegetarian enchiladas and grain free cookies. (It was only waaay later did I realize that the enchiladas had tomato pasta in the sauce. Oops. Good thing it is low on the list of reactors. That should be suspect 2 I guess.) I added Diaya cheese (totally not impressed btw) to the enchiladas too. This is a first for my gut-not milk cheese like product. Suspect 3. I had these for lunch on Monday. The grain free cookies were chickpeas, peanut butter, honey, and Enjoy Life chips and shouldn’t have been anything harmful. It has been a while since I made them, so who knows. I have to include suspect 4 as Miralax. I took a dose Monday morning to improve the previously mention side effect of this GF diet.

Monday afternoon symptoms returned with a vengence. With.A.Vengence. I was up and down all night with the same old, same old, nausea/uber bloating/stomach churning/burping/abdominal pain that I’ve had off and on for the last couple of years. I ended up sleeping on my back on 3 pillows to try and rest. For a stomach sleeper, that’s a major sacrafice. I am totally willing and able to give up wheat, dairy, and probably any other food if it means my gut will feel normal and I can sleep ok. Last week I thought I was on the right path. This week…Feeling a little defeated. It will get better again, right?