Monday, March 07, 2011
Apropos of nothing at all, did I ever show you guys my tattoo? I got the name part when we went to Pittsburgh to be with daughter #2 right after my husband's death, then added the rest of the design (after Id figured out what it would be) on a later visit:
This shot makes it look tilted, because I'm trying to take the photo with my phone in one hand and a mirror in the other - it's part of a Mucha drawing.
The rest of this entry is a post I made over on my other blog, mumsananarchist.livejournal.com. Since we'd talked about this topic on SP, I thought I'd re-post it here:
SELF-COMPASSION VS BUGGY WHIPS
The other day, an online friend and I were casually discussing the idea that people, particularly women, were far more understanding and compassionate with the problems of others than they were with themselves and their own issues. We counsel patience, love and time to heal for others, but when it comes to ourselves, we expect to snap the hell out of whatever is bothering us, lose the damned weight, clean *all* the things, and in general set the world back on its proper axis by this afternoon at the latest.
I've been accused, over the years, of being somewhat, well, less than compassionate. When presented with, "It hurts when I do this", my stock response has always been, "Well, then don't do that." In times of true crisis, I've always come through like a champ, but for the normal bumps and scrapes, if nothing's broken and blood isn't pouring from a wound, I tend to lean more toward worrying about possible damage to bikes and clothing than to bodies. When I flirted with the idea of being a life counselor, my daughter observed that I'd be like the ex-drill sergeant in the insurance ad, who responds to his clients woes with, "Well, maybe we should stroll on over to namby-pamby land and find you some self-esteem, ya jack-wagon" and throws a box of tissues at the client's head. Yep, that's me.
But all in all, I've been working at this compassion deal for some time. I now ask if people are all right before asking how the car is, make sure they're not emotionally scarred before asking about the cab fare. I hug people (albeit reluctantly) and sit with them when they are somehow damaged, instead of just writing them a check to go shopping (children) or taking them to lunch (adults.)
But self-compassion? Not so much. I took the Self-compassion Test ( www.self-compassion.org/test_your_self-com
passion_level.html ) at
www.self-compassion.org , a lovely, seemingly very caring organization, and I scored sort of so-so. The C, + or - , or Self-compassion. Go on, take the test. You know you want to. I'll wait here....
.....okay, now you know your score. But don't you wonder, particularly if you scored high, "Maybe I'm being too soft on myself, not pushing myself enough, using this whole Self-compassion deal as a loop-hole." A loop-hole that you could slide right through to your true destination, not love but laziness, not self-compassion but indolence.
Which brings us to PART 2:
I was always pretty stubborn when I wanted to do something (my grandmother referred to it as "firm-minded.") i'd keep after something until I got it; a job, a man, a completed project, you name it, if I wanted it I plugged away at it until I got what I came for. Half the time, once I got whatever it was, I discovered it wasn't what I'd expected and threw it back, chalking it/him up to experience. But I never, ever quit, even when any sensible person would have gone home long ago, usually being a complete pain in the ass and wearing out everyone around me in the process. ("More balls than brains" is something I may have heard a few times *cough*)
Now, though, I fold like a house of cards at the slightest little breeze. I hire (or bribe, in the case of family members) people to do things I should be able to do for myself but don't want to try. If the snow clogs the driveway, I shrug and am perfectly willing to wait for spring rather than grabbing a shovel. If I get resistance or even simple lack of enthusiasm from an idea I propose, instead of trying a little persuasion or further explanation, I give it up. I used to laugh when I fell down (which I've always done fairly regularly), particularly if I hurt myself, but now, to my horror, I cry. I even *think* in the passive voice; "That should be done", rather than, "I should do that."
What the complete hell is going on? Did my mother's and my husband's deaths just drain all the stuffin's out of me? Or did I use it all in a valiant fight against the medical community and, perhaps, fate, with my husband's illness? My immediate assumption now is that whatever the problem may be, it'll be insurmountable. Sure, I suppose I could appeal the insurance company's decision, but what's the point? I don't have enough hot water (one shouldn't have to choose between one bath per day or doing the dishes), but when I told Mr. Fix All that, he told me I *did* have enough hot water, and so I agreed - and as a result, I'm buying paper plates because every dish in the house is dirty (I, however, am clean.) If a daughter needs money, I hand it over without even demanding an accounting, figuring that when I run out, I run out, so what the heck. (And I'm running out momentarily.) It's just.... bizarre.
So do I need *more* self-compassion, or less? Am I being so easy on myself that I've dissolved into a puddle of mush? Should I be leaning on myself to regain some semblance of strength? Or is this sudden lack of ... spine ... just part of some grand Healing Process and I'll emerge, with wings of tempered steel, any day now?
Your guess is as good as mine.
Music:whining dogs, snow plows, irritable chickadees
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
...was a little unexpected. I didn't do as well with the whole food thing as I had planned (the road to hell being paved with, besides good intentions, perhaps buttered toast and sherry) but I didn't do that badly, and I did do unexpectedly well in other ways.
I went through all my SP profiles and teams, and signed up for some team goals. No, I didn't get the living room cleaned up, but I put new batteries in the Wii, sorted through the myriad cords and wires to get it going, and did all sorts of exercises on it - proving, once again, that my balance is completely pathetic, although I have excellent posture (win a few, lose a few.) I weighed and measured and did the fitness tests here on SP, too, and despite the horror of my hip measurement, got a Good to Excellent on the 3 minute step test. And the exercise, what there was of it - maybe half an hour - felt good!
I canceled a bunch of magazine subscriptions - I have a whole box of magazines I haven't even looked at, and I figure if I buy them on the newsstand and read the upcoming issues, I might consider subscribing again. In the meantime, it's one fewer thing to deal with (or feel guilty for ignoring.) I also decided that for every new book that comes into the house, I have to list one on Amazon to sell (I don't have to actually sell it - that part really isn't up to me - but I have to be willing to sell it.)
I did all my usual stuff - feeding the critters, feeding the people, filling the furnace, etc., all in record time and in good humor. I even paid a few bills without flinching. Oh, and that sturdy little spider that showed up on my computer when I was writing earlier - I didn't squish him or put him outdoors where he would undoubtedly freeze. I put him down an air vent to the cellar - an action that I'll probably come to regret when he's eight times his current size, but it seemed a decent compromise meanwhile.
it's difficult for me to distinguish between "being easy on myself" because I honestly have been through a lot in the last couple of years, and not asking enough of myself to lift myself out of my doldrums. I'm still trying to find that balance, and the tipping point shifts from one day to another. To make it more complicated, I've had varying degrees of clinical depression for decades, and sorting out what is bereavement and/or empty nest feelings - real things that need to be dealt with in a healthy way - vs. depression, an unhealthy animal that needs to be handled quite differently, is a real challenge.
But the best news is that I gathered my courage and called a local business about an idea I had last summer - and they're excited about it and I have a chance to present the details in two weeks. I've been worried about what I was going to do for a living, and have been taking every suggestion from hay farmer to phone sex worker (a friend's niece put herself through college that way) but this idea was all mine, and it looks good. Details another day, but it's legal, ethical, practical and horticultural.
I view SP not so much a place to lose weight and gain fitness, but as a place to get one's life together, with an emphasis on health. To that end, I did maintain an awareness of what I was eating, I did move more, and I made some real and positive steps toward getting a functioning life again. All things considered, a successful day.
Hope yours was good, too.
PS: The insurance thing is complicated, but basically my husband died five weeks short of the two year minimum for automatic payout. Under two years, the insurance company does a big investigation, and despite the fact that my husband died of liver cancer unrelated to his other liver problems (and I have that on good authority from Mt Sinai in NYC), the insurance company seems to feel that I answered questions untruthfully. I maintain that I didn't - I answered exactly what they asked, without elaborating and providing information for which they did not ask - and thus the lawyers, guns and money (a nod to an old Warren Zevon song.)
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
February was rough in oh, so many ways, none of which are particularly interesting to the Spark Community at large, I'm sure. But you know I'm going to tell you about them anyway: no life insurance money for me, which will possibly involve lawyers, guns and money. Bereavement progressing normally, if there is such a thing - good days, bad days. Slow progress on getting things sorted out here at the house. Plenty - and by that I mean PLENTY - of snow. Lots of wood-burning furnace hassles. Complete disregard for diet, nutrition and exercise. In short, my usual February.
I slept really poorly last night - not sure why, although possibly because I was only awake for about eight hours yesterday, and seven of them were spent on the sofa - but instead of going back to bed this morning (we're up at 5:00 usually), I'm.....here's the new bit......I'm following through on my plan to try to pick up my life a bit.
I input my "breakfast"- coffee, a handful of mixed nuts and a bag of Butterfinger Snackerz - which shouldn't have been in the house in the first place - into the tracker and downloaded the apps to my phone. I weighed myself for the first time in a good six weeks (and now I know why I didn't want to do that
I have a package of fresh batteries for the Wii and I'm going to get that up and running again. I have a gym membership I'm either going to use or quit paying for (although, in my defense, I have a car that has to be repaired first so I can get to said gym) but meanwhile I'm going to exercise at home. Real exercise, not just toddling about with wood. I've located all my old exercise DVDs, and some that are on VHS - but naturally I still have a VHS player, since I never throw anything away - and I'm going to get all that functional again (or force my 23 year old daughter to do it for me, which sounds even better.) I *will* exercise, dammit.
Thank you to all who sent Goodies and kind thoughts and words during my absence. I would have responded if I were able, but I seem to have been in hiding, largely from myself, I suspect. (There are no good "hiding" emoticons.)
So, in short, I feel lousy, I look worse, my house is a disaster (I write that almost every time, don't I?), I'm broke and halve no plans for the future, but instead of having that force me back to bed, covers pulled over my head, I'm actually tackling things. I have learned that I can't overhaul my entire life in an afternoon, but I can clean out the refrigerator and buy some vegetables (and then actually consume them, instead of just storing them for a while and then tossing them out the door.) I can tidy up the living room. I can wash a few dishes by hand (dw is broken and I haven't felt like taking it apart..I'll get to it...) I can look for my other snowshoe.
I can make a fresh start.
Thursday, January 06, 2011
So we've had this membership to the local Y (well, 20 miles away, which where I live is local) for about two years now. My daughters went now and then and my husband went occasionally. I think I went swimming once or twice. We were on the just-grab-the-cash-from-the-account monthly payment plan, though, so it all just kept rolling along, even through the times when no one went for four or five months.
Both daughters are on a major get-fit-or-die-trying (I have no idea what all this hyphenization is about) kick, and have been going every day for cycling class or to lift or something, and today I was dragged, somewhat reluctantly, to Zumba class.
Bear in mind that I once taught both straight-up aerobics classes and step classes. However, that was twenty years and *cough* 60 pounds ago, and I was totally unprepared for what this Zumba business was about. I got the feet after awhile, but the arms totally elude me. Also, my Spanish is pretty much limited to dirty words taught to me by busboys and prep chefs, so about the only thing I understood in the music was "Vuvuzela!" and I'm not entirely sure about that.
Plus they tricked me. I thought the class was 45 minutes, but it was an hour instead...I kept waiting for the woman to stop, but it seemed like every time she came to a pause there'd be more shouts of "Vuvuzela!" and we'd start up again. I stayed in the back row, right corner, where I figured I could grapevine out the door if necessary, but Alex (daughter #2) wouldn't let me escape.
It was a lot harder than it looks, and I *definitely* got a workout.
Tomorrow there is no Zumba class. Instead, we're either doing some sort of cycling thing where they turn out the lights and blast Anthrax (the band, not the toxin) at you whilst you pedal furiously, or we're going to do something called NIA, which promises to, "blend mind and body with a combination of yoga, cardio and *insert something else I can't remember*."
It appears that I'm going to the Y every day. Yes, Every Day. (And I'm only allowed one adult beverage per day! *One!*) But not Saturday or Sunday - it's just too full of skinny 20-somethings in Spandex, and even I have my limits. Instead, maybe I'll do something useful-but-physically-demanding (there we go with the hyphens again) like split wood. Assuming I can still walk after all this healthiness.
Edited to include the following:
For those of you who may not know *cough*HIPPICHICK1*cough*, a vuvuzela is a large horn, blown interminably during the World Cup.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I'm not particularly self-promoting, but because I *am* essentially lazy, instead of attempting to transpose my other blog to here, I'm just going to send you over there. No, it's not more of my tale of woe (except for the lead-in, which you may feel free to skip.) I found (courtesy of Daughter #1) a wonderfully warped blog, and blatantly swiped one of the entries.
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