Monday, October 17, 2011

I wonder...

I'm in a good place in my life right now. For whatever reason, whenever I go to the dentist, i take time to recount the last 6 months of my life since I follow the guideline of going once every 6 months for a check up. So whenever i go to the dentist, i think about where i was in my life last time i was there....and when I leave the dentist i think about what may be going on in my life upon my next visit (April 30, 2012).

So today as I was in the chair getting lectured about how i should floss more regularly (I know, i KNOW!) I started thinking about how 2 visits ago, it was the week of my wedding. And i remember thinking during that the time i come back, I'll be married. When I made my appointment for this time around I was, when i come back - I will have already celebrated my 1 year anniversary.

So today, I went and thought about what has happened in my life since my last visit and what may happen between now and April 2012. It's funny how 6 months seems so far away and full of possibility, but it feels like just yesterday I was at the dentist reminding the hygienist that my teeth are sensitive and to not put cold water directly on them (I prefer the spray my tongue and i'll swish it method, personally).

I wonder - what will I be doing? I will probably be knee dip in internship paperwork, wrapping up my internship class, finalizing another years worth of reports at work. Making summer plans. I will have already gone on my late anniversary trip to Mexico with my husband. I will be preparing myself for turning 31. Will other things be going on in my life?

And for some reason, all these thoughts about the future made me think of a past that is so far back that I don't know how i still remember the details. It should just be a distant memory with nothing real to hang on to...and I'm so beyond the point of wanting my life to be different, but you ever have just one of those totally unanswered questions in your life? And no matter how happy you are, how good things are going - you just can't help but want an answer?

That's sort of what happens to me every time I let my mind wander too far into the past. And it's dumb, and i get irritated at myself and think it really doesn't matter. Because honestly, knowing an answer wouldn't make me want to change anything in my life now. It would just put to rest some very ancient ghosts that like to sneak up on me every now and again. And that WOULD be nice. *sigh*

On a semi-unrelated note....

I annoy myself sometimes with my crazy internal goings-on. We did this MBTI training thing at work recently...and I'm VERY interested in this stuff...personality type, etc. and how it impacts how you perceive others, make decisions, etc. And i'm starting to realize (or maybe just starting to accept) that I am an Introvert vs. Extrovert. I was forced (okay probably more self imposed) to be an extrovert and i've learned it so well that I've even tricked myself.

But when i go through these phases of such internal thoughts and processing - I realize more and more that maybe i am an Introvert...and even though it sounds like a nasty word, maybe it's not such a bad thing.

And just the fact that i'm journal-ing about these thoughts instead of just talking to someone about them....just reaffirms all this. The MBTI trainer said that we are born with our MBTI type...and it's really just more of us getting to a place where we are clear on who we are. Sort of a "you can run but you can't hide" thing. I'm starting to be open to this idea that maybe I am more in line with the introvert way of doing things. Maybe i do it already and everyone else knows, and I'm just now getting the memo. It's hard learning something new about yourself late in the game. But I guess it just goes to show that life is a journey and figuring yourself out is just part of the process.

Here's to more happy thoughts at the dentist and self reflection!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Team Facebook - The Secret Support System

I realized something this past weekend, and I wanted to share it with you!

We all use facebook for different reasons, some of us post funny quips, meaningful quotes..or random tid bits about our day. Others use it to "check in" and to tell others to "check it out" and some people are actually using it to check others out. But we all are participating in one way, shape or form in this enormous community. I realized this weekend when I went to an alumni event at Queens University of Charlotte that I may have gotten to know some of these people better after we graduated than during our time together in school. I see their face and it's not like "oh my god! It's been forever you've changed so much!" It's more like - "Oh hey there, is that the dress you were talking about getting for such at deal at Nordstrom Rack last week on FB?"

You know it's happened to you before. You realize that people that may not be in your "in person" circle are still very much in tune with what's happening in your life. I had about 4 people congratulate me on my 35 mile bike ride at this alumni event on Saturday. People who I absolutely know, and are my facebook friends, but people that i don't talk with "in person" on a regular basis. It was actually a pretty amazing feeling - knowing that so many people are on your team - even when you don't realize it.

That was my big realization - that our support system extends far beyond our in person community. It runs beyond blood relations. People are cheering you on from across the city, across the state, the country and even the globe. How many times have you seen someone's facebook status and sent them well wishes, or prayed a quick prayer for them and never sent anything to them at all? How many of you have read someone's status or seen a pic and thought "man, good for them!" but never actually sent the message?

All this unspoken support is happening around us - and sometimes we forget that in today's world - we are never alone. We are never stepping up to the plate without people in the bleachers cheering us on. We are never crying tears without someone, somewhere, wishing they could make us feel better. This act of living "online" and sharing in this community we call Facebook, Twitter, Google+, whatever you use - it's like a big and totally unplanned extended family. And that "cousin" whom you've never met may very well be following your life story and wishing you well every step of the way.

Some people might think this level of sharing and community is too much - too personal, too intrusive. But I think it's a wonderful opportunity to connect with people outside of those we might physically see every day. A great chance to connect on a different level with someone who doesn't live on your street or even in your town. The perfect way to feel like no matter what you do - you are doing it with potentially hundreds of people sending good thoughts.

I love this sense of community and outreach. I love that when I'm having a good day or a bad day that I can look here and find some encouragement from someone i didn't know was following my story. I don't find it weird or strange, I find it refreshing that we can still take a few moments in our day to really CONNECT to others, and to show that we care what's happening in their lives. It's what makes us good people, I think.

So for all those that I may have been secretly cheering on from the sidelines, I will try to do a better job of letting you know I'm happy for you, or proud of you, or wishing the best for you. Because it makes you feel special when someone reaches out - and everyone deserves that. So thanks, team Facebook, for being sorta kinda like a family to me during some of my crazy journey's I've posted here. It's good to've got a friend.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One of those days

I get like this at least once every summer. You know - that panicky..."I have so much to do but CANNOT for the life of me get motivated to do something about it" feeling? I was able to keep this feeling at bay for a little while due to a big project at work that was unexpected, challenging, and gave me the ability to dig in to it and just chip away at it. But i've finished the bulk of it, and now reality is sinking in that instead of using the summer to work on all the normal projects (like getting ready for fall semester) - i used it to work on this other I'm way behind.

Alas, i've used my creative energy on this other project, and I'm just feeling uninspired. *sigh* I know, whoa is me.

I heard of the Bob & Sheri morning show this morning that studies have shown that "sleepy people" are more likely to spend their time blaming others. I would consider myself a sleepy person these days. I don't really feel like doing anything, i feel boring. I feel fat. I would rather just curl up into a corner and read sometimes as opposed to going out and doing "stuff." But I'm not blaming anyone for feeling this way, I am disproving all the research by saying "I blame myself!"

That makes me sound terrible. Again - refer to the subject of this blog. Just one of those days. I have high hopes that tomorrow will be a new day. One that the sunshine through the window makes me happy that it's summer instead of feeling like a blinding heat keeping me indoors. A day where appointments make me happy because it's the chance to meet with someone new, and not a meeting to get through.

Tomorrow, I'm sure i will be more interesting, less fat, and rested. Oh tomorrow, you're only a day away.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

No Rest for the Weary

I'm feeling a bit weary. Work is busy, my work out schedule is busy, my mind is busy with other things.

And still - I find time to write about how busy i am, classic, i know.

I have a lot going on for me right now that I can't share here. Even though with the small group of followers i have, it's not a very public forum. But still, it's just not the right outlet for everything that is going on. And i guess it's that part of what i'm not sharing that has stressed me out the most lately.

It comes in waves, and sometimes it doesn't seem to matter, and other times it drives me crazy. I'm just sort of tired, and this week made it apparent that I still have an issue with bottling up how i feel until it has no other option but to explode.

I'd really enjoy a long nap right about now. But i am proud to say that despite being tired, I'm sticking to my triathlon training. Today was my long swim day - I absolutely couldn't get up this morning to work out before work, most likely because i didn't get home from work/working out/teaching class until 9pm last night. So i made sure i had time to swim during lunch.

I'm super proud of myself for making it happen regardless. I had to swim for 24 minutes today. When i think of walking for 24 minutes, or being on the elliptical for 24 minutes, i wouldn't bat an eye at that. But man...running or swimming for 24 minutes is challenging!

I'm still not an awesome swimmer, so i'm working on my form. I keep watching other people swim - they probably think i'm a stalker, but really i'm just watching other peoples form. How do i move faster? How do i not suck in water every other breath, should my neck hurt? All these questions. I guess i will figure it out as i go. I have until May before my first race happens with a swim. The 2 races i plan to do this summer are actually both less distance swims than what my training program is prepping me for. I hope that means i'll be MORE than physically prepared come race day.

I haven't been able to keep up with the running portion of my tri training. I'm still working with a sprained calf muscle (or so my doc says it's sprained). But with teaching TurboKick once a week and my other training - i figure once the strain heals I can catch up on the running since i know i'm capable.

It's just hard when your leg feels like its going to fall off if you keep running. I wonder what happened to hurt my leg so badly? I feel like it showed up out of nowhere. I'm hoping it disappears as quickly....but it's been several months and no luck. I guess i'm just not willing to stop working out completely because then it's truly like starting from scratch and i've worked too hard to do that.

So I'll just keep on keeping one. Even though everything is perfect right now, I'm working hard to be better in all areas of my life. And i can feel good about that, even on a bad day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Catch 22

I was more rock and roll at 16 than I am now, we all were
The screeching guitars, crashing symbols and amplified vocals
Sent thrills through me then and we would

Turn it up times ten in my little gold Tercel that lost its’ rims
to bumps in the road on a regular basis,
Leaving me to pull over and scurry into medians after them, hoping
no one would recognize me on the way to

Wednesday night Youth Group – we would pack out
that upstairs room; where our own rock stars would perform on
the stage we built for them; playing to our hearts content
Hundreds of jumping feet, singing along and

I can remember every beat of those songs, each break in the music
building suspense and we were so cool to know the next word
This was our rock and roll; our version of blue streaked hair and cigarettes it

Kept us safe from what happens next
Where we go our own ways and pretend it will always be the same
between us, but knowing deep down – these were fleeting moments that are
Now memories that rush back to me at 20, 25 and now at 29,
Flashes of what we wanted to be and how we desperately wanted to just stay on
those couches, listening to the strumming of the guitar and harmonized voices
singing songs that still play in my head on a rainy day where

The splatter of rain on my window, the tears that may have spilled; remind me
of who we were in those safe moments, where we needed each other most
and what we’ll never be again

aam 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Confessions of a Middle Schooler and Being So Glad I'm 29 Instead

I’m in a place in my life where I’m reflecting on “how I got here.” Not really like “God” vs. Big Bang or anything – but more of like, thinking about the person I have become at 29.

I usually get this way after a big event (whether it’s in my life or someone close to me) or when I stumble across some of my old writing and it makes me think. So lucky me – both of these things happened to me recently so it’s been a double whammy. I had this big rubber maid bin sitting in the back of my Honda Fit (best car ever!!) for the longest time. My parents keep telling me to come to their house so I can bring all my old stuff that is sitting in their attic to my house. I started this process over the summer – and you see how far I got with it. From their attic to the back of my car. Ironically enough, prepping for my wedding and needing all the space in my car prompted me to finally move that big bin of “stuff” inside the house. Now that the big event is over, and I’m going through the process of cleaning up, organizing and trying to feel truly settled – I knew that it was time to open the bin, for better or worse, right?

So for those of you that don’t know me or haven’t known me for very long – all of my “big bins” of stuff that are saved from growing up contain writing. My writing – I’ve kept a diary, written stories, a journal, a blog every since I was able to write practically. Seriously – in the bin I went through recently, I found a journal from second grade where my teacher asked us to respond to a question every day that I had kept. I found several short stories I wrote in elementary school when I was part of the “writing club” and journals full of despair as my third grade self found out we were moving to a new town and I’d have to leave all my friends.

So when I go through these bins, it’s an all day process. I must read everything. I am always, always amazed by how brutally honest I was in those diaries and journals. Some entries really make me sad for my younger self. I want to find a time machine so I can go back and appear to myself at 10 year old and say “Don’t worry – you’ll get through this, you’ll make the best of friends in the next few years.” And at 16 I want to tell myself that hearts do heal, and that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. The entries from middle school are probably the worse. I am almost embarrassed to read them. One of the middle school entries I found during my most recent “bin” adventure was a contract that I wrote out for myself in my journal. It was about how I promised to not be fat anymore and that I didn’t want to live the rest of my life being overweight. And so I signed a contract agreeing to lose weight and be happier. The next 5-6 pages after the signed contract were food logs of all the meals and snacks I ate and how much I exercised.

Looking back at this attempt to “be happy” at age 12 or 13 and seeing my food log, I am alarmed at how uneducated I was about what eating healthy meant. My breakfast consisted of Toaster Strudles and Chocolate Milk. Lunch was frozen chicken nuggets and baked fries. Wendy’s spicy chicken sandwich and fries for dinner.

I truly had no clue how to help myself. It’s like I knew that I should be watching what I eat – but I didn’t understand anything about healthy choices. Why was that kind of junk even in my house to begin with? I was too embarrassed to ask anyone for help and my entire family struggled with the same weight issues so I didn’t really have someone to show me what to do. As I continued to read my journals, they are filled with disappointment in myself, asking God why he was punishing me by making me be overweight. How it wasn’t fair. There were even some entries where I tried to strike a deal with God – you know, I’ll be really good and you can make me lose 5 pounds this week. Man, it breaks my heart to read those words. That desperation to be different from who I was. I wonder how many other people had those same feelings growing up and perhaps just didn’t document them. How many people still have these feelings?

To be honest, I had forgotten how unhappy I was during those years in my life. Not with my friends or family, but just with myself. And instead of asking for help – I just floundered around for so long by myself. Knowing I needed to change but having no idea how to do it – at least not in a way that was lasting. It took me most of my teenage years and a lot of my 20’s to find the courage to change and actually DO something to help myself. Instead of it requiring an amazing amount of strength and self determination – I found that making a decision to change my lifestyle and become educated about how to be healthy was really more of a surrender to myself and my previous lifestyle.

It was more about learning how to let go of how you’ve always been – and allowing the opportunity to be a “new you” shine through . Letting go of those pictures of you with braces and the unfortunate outfits. Letting go of that hairstyle that you didn’t know looked so ridiculous. Letting go of all those habits to just not talk about it and deal with it in your head. Letting go of those insults and comments people made to you because you were a chubby kid or teenager.

Honestly – it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It is something I still struggle with today. As I read through those entries in my journals, I wanted to go back to that girl who wrote them and give her a hug and wipe her tears away and tell her that she is not alone. I want to go back and tell her how to find the right information about being healthy – to explain that weight loss is not a miracle that happens to some people and not for others. To show her that making a few changes at a time can lead to a long lasting impact. And really – to tell her to stop being so scared of just trying. To stop writing and thinking about what she should do so much and just DO IT.

And it brings me full circle to where I am now in my life. Reading those entries makes me feel even more strongly that we have to help each other with our goals. And not keep quiet about them. Find people that have the same mind set and surround yourself with positivity. Because I didn’t let anyone in on how I felt about myself when I was younger – no one could ever help me. That was a big mistake and one that so many people are still making today – even in their adult lives. I used to think (even in college) that if I talked about weight loss or wanting to lose weight that people would see me as bigger than I already was. That I would be looked down on. I have no idea why I thought that – I guess my weight and my struggle to be healthier was something I buried deep inside me and talking about it made it more real and I wasn’t ready for that.

I have been more successful in my weight loss journey since I have opened up about it. This process has not only helped me physically look and feel better – but emotionally – it has been a positive adventure as well. One that I wouldn’t trade for anything because I have learned so much about myself from it. I wanted to share this today because I think so many people are out there trying to do this alone and I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to….finding someone who is excited about fitness, or excited about eating healthy things is a great place to start. Don’t feel like you have to find someone with the same weight loss goals as you – one of my biggest inspirations two and a half years ago was actually a co-worker turned friend who was already in excellent shape. She was just so excited about living a healthy lifestyle that it encouraged me to be that way as well. She didn’t look down at me and tell me I had a long way to go. She just was always up for working out, meeting up to eat meals we made at home, and being a great friend in the process.

So stop looking for someone else that has the same issues as you do, someone who can complain with you about your mutual disappointments – and look for people who have the same dreams that you do. Instead of focusing on how much weight you have to lose – think of it as how you want to be healthier. How you want to run a 5k. How you want to swim 10 laps without stopping. Focus on the cup being half full instead of the other way. This type of positivity is impossible to ignore. It will start making changes in your life, and in other peoples life like this ripple effect you can’t even begin to imagine. And it’s the sort of impact that is long-lasting, life changing, and something you’ll want to write about. You know, so you can go back in 10 years and read it, and realize how right you were.