Tuesday, May 17, 2011
What would you do if you suddenly felt like the world was *actually* limitless? If you could take flight at any moment? Would it be empowering? Overwhelming? Frightening? Freeing? Confusing? ...or beautiful?
(www.deviantart.com "Free_Spirit" by ~randomsurprise )
It has been all of those, and more, for me in the past few hours. My husband is moving across state lines to Arizona, with the help of some of his friends. While I lived for quite some time out-of-love with him, trying to find a way to break our co-dependance, rationalize separation, and eventually come to terms with the concept of divorce, for me, this is a bit like staring out into an unknown universe from the shores of a whole new world. EVERYTHING looks different.
Not only that, but this feels even more important and I have a greater sense of responsibility than ever before. I am responsible for myself. I am responsible for finding my own solution to my impending bankruptcy and filing divorce paperwork, and preventing homelessness. His plan is set and in motion. I worked for so long, for the 6+ months since we first talked about divorce, to try to include him in my short-term solutions, and make sure he was provided for. I kind of lost sight of what *I* really needed. This echoes some issues from our marriage. I just found out today that he's moving, while in our final counseling session. And I felt isolated and alone, afraid of shouldering the burden of that mountain of stresses I keep talking about. I felt a little betrayed, used.
No wonder he wasn't worried about finding a job here... Or maybe he painted himself into a corner and this was his best option out. Either way, what was supporting us (my unemployment) is ending. And my plans for selling much/most/all of our possessions have not really taken flight - yet. I have SO MUCH to do. It will need all of my strength, lots of focused effort, and energy for action after action after action. Because that's what it's going to take to make sure that this doesn't crumble into devastation.
After feeling angry and used, I noticed that the anxiety in my stomach turned from fear to burgeoning excitement. It helps that I spent my evening with my friend, and burned over 500 calories (on the Arc Trainer, as I planned!). I'm worried - only just enough to have the adrenaline pumping through my veins urging me to organize. I have a plan. I have a goal. I have a deadline. And I have a back-up. In my self-talk I reminded myself that I initiated this. I refused to feel like a victim. This is what I wanted, ultimately, even if it seemed like it was coming before I was ready.
Never before has the proverb/saying that floats around SparkPeople, that I've seen a million times about weight loss and lifestyle changes, felt so true:
"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over...
...She became a butterfly!"
I want so badly the growth that will come from this, that it burns a little in my soul. I want to keep that fire. I'm tired of stagnating. This is the first time I've faced adversity, and felt energized instead of drained... faced it fiercely instead of crumpling into a heap of depression. Am I strong enough?! HECK YES I AM! The demands of what I've gone through in the past years were worse than this, and didn't have the promise that lies here. I've worked for a few years to change my thinking, BE more positive instead of think it, stay active and pursue healthy thinking, healthy actions, and healthy relationships. And if this feeling is the payoff, then I want more, like the victory of accomplishment!
I need to find a job, a place to live, file for divorce, for bankruptcy, sell almost everything we own, etc., and most of it I have do to alone. I have to move by myself for the first time. I have to continue to find new friends, as I'm unsure of what the fallout will be from our 170 mutual friends (according to Facebook count), and learn that I can be engaging in conversation, instead of relying on him to entertain friends. My mom and sister live on the other side of the country. My biggest supporter, and friend in his family (mom) passed away in March. It is scary, but it should be, in a good way. That will function to help keep me safe and work to ensure my security.
(Free Spirit Painting by Amanda Cass)
Since 2008, my signature tag has been a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, from a magnet I had in my office before I was laid off: "The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience..." I can do this. I have to do this. I will succeed.
Monday, May 16, 2011
I walked along a local "lake" water reservoir trail for a few miles today with NEWSGIRL2177 (Heather) and another friend. We got our ankles all dusty from the brisk pace on the (mostly unpaved) trail! It was the first time I coordinated an event where I hadn't previously been, so I was particularly proud of myself. It worked out well, we had a good time and missed the drizzle that started well after we returned to our cars. Yay!
During the walk I was all dreamy and sighing about nature, and thinking about the few childhood years I spent in Fallbrook, CA, playing in empty fields, and exploring. Heather spotted a crazy yellow & black snake by a creek we decided not to cross. (Looked like this one)
I think it was a California King Snake (Heather - that's nonvenomous, and considered harmless to humans. Hooray!) Plus I think it was deceased.
When we were taking a short break on the boat dock, we saw a Forster's Tern take a dramatic dive into the water after food! The lake was populated solely by Clark's grebes. And there were plenty of Sage Sparrow, and a couple of Great-Tailed Grackles fanning their tails near our turnaround. I wished I had brought my camera.
Feeling like such a nature-girl, I was planning my next hike and explorations, had coffee, got essentials at Target, and finally returned home. After awhile of tracking the trail on Spark Fitness, I was drying off from the shower when I pulled out half of a dead spider FROM MY EAR! It was so weird that I was a bit incredulous at first, but quickly wanted to remove anything else that was in there with minimal damage to my body.
(Okay, side-note, one of the few actual fears I have is bugs in orifices. It's what makes the harmless silverfish bug so creepifying to me.)
So with my mind racing, I asked my husband to grab a tiny flashlight and look into my ear. He thought he saw something still.. I quickly grabbed the bulb irrigator from the bathroom that I've used a million times in helping him with ear wax, and go to the kitchen to prepare water for a flush. He said, "Okay! I'm going to shower now!" But I couldn't do it myself, and he had no experience using it, so it was frustrating for us both while my panic and creep-factor was rising. We managed.
I genuinely like spiders, just not when they are ON me (or in me, eww). I needed a method to help calm myself down, and start trusting that there aren't spiders hiding in my towels, or jumping onto me in the shower, etc., or that the risk of bodily invasion is too high to enjoy another trail. I've tried all day to think of this experience differently. Like: What secrets would a spider be trying to tell me that I could apply to my life & stressors?
So far I've only got a few:
*You can always make a new web!
*Diligent work pays off!
*Good things will come your way!
It's working! Mostly. ;D
I just want to recapture that nature girl feeling...
Thursday, May 12, 2011
I'm actively working on a couple of big things right now. But most importantly, I need to manage my stress level, and its effects. That will help make me strong enough to deal with everything else!
-There's so much to do before the month is up, and we're already at the midway point. We need to sell a lot of stuff in our apartment, maybe even furniture too, as fast as possible, but as smartly as possible so that we don't simply give away everything. The ONLY asset we have right now, and potential for extra cash, is the things we already own. It feels overwhelming, but the impending negative (disastrous) outcome would be worse.
-I talked to my husband again last night about needing him to get a job. My unemployment is about to run out. It's difficult to motivate him to take action because we will be divorcing. But it was difficult to do it before, because I always supported us. Nothing has really changed, I suppose.
-I've only tracked my food (completely) for 2 days in the past 2 weeks. Not surprisingly, I've gained/maintained weight. I need to be mindful of what I'm consuming.
-To help negate the effects of stress I need to faithfully exercise every day. Without fail, it makes me feel better.
BASICS: Sleep, Eat, Move - Babies do it, and that's how they grow. Adequate Sleep, Mindful Eating, Joyful Movement will help me grow past this difficult point into a better place with lots more sunshine and I will find even more happiness!
I need to muster more delight for the things I love. Some of the negative thinking, anger and frustration about the rising demands and challenges of my situation have polluted the things I once enjoyed. I am Zumba-spoiled. I've taken Master classes with Heather (NEWSGIRL2177), and we found THE MOST FUN ZUMBA CLASS EVER in Bradley's instruction. The problem is that he doesn't teach at the 24 Hour gyms anymore, so it would cost extra to take his private classes. And, frankly, everyone else pales in comparison to his super shiny awesomeness. HIS enthusiasm is infectious. But I've let my own enthusiasm for dancing and moving to slip away and be obscured by my dissatisfaction with the other instructors, and slight annoyance with other attendees. So rather than criticize, I will actively work to find things I LIKE about any given class. Top 3 recently:
*A week ago the instructor didn't show up and I actually lead the class (for one song) when a gym member brought the CD in. It was a lot of fun, and I was excited to be helping.
*The recent classes seem to be lower-energy/impact than what I'm used to. But this is actually helpful because I'm still rebuilding my strength and endurance after being sick a few times in April.
*There are MORE classes being offered in my hometown. With the price of gas, this is great news that I don't have to trek all over North County to find a class.
And bonus: Once I take these new instructors' classes a few times, I'll be more familiar with their style and their songs, so I can just focus on perfecting my technique instead of learning which way to turn or feeling a bit lost.
So there! I feel better already. :)
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
To see this photo bigger on Flickr.com click on this link:
"Why I Work To Stay Fit" Reason Series #007: Waterfalls!!!
I was born in Hawaii, the land of waterfalls. Tropical breezes tease my hair, and I have hips made for hula (in my mind). We moved to Southern California before I was 2 years old, and I once gave up the dream of ever going back because of my size. I haven't visited yet. But, I'm done limiting my dreams now! I will shower beneath the warm falls!
Many summers (back when my parents were married), we drove from California out to Colorado to visit family. I've seen the 7 Falls in the daytime, and glowing with lights at night, appearing to practically be on fire. As they describe it, "Located in South Cheyenne Canyon, Seven Falls cascades 181 feet in seven distinct steps down a solid cliff of pikes peak granite..." The smell of that wet granite is intoxicating, and I would be lost in flights of fancy, high on the whimsy of the falling water the whole time we were there.
At the age of 8, while attending summer daycare, I avoided the (optional) hike that was offered a few times even though there was the promise of an actual WATERFALL at the end. I remember thinking it was too hot! Too far! Too hard! And I was too fat. But really, that was all too bad, because I wanted it. I've hiked now, twice! So it's just a matter of time before I get someone to let me back on the Marine Corps base Camp Pendleton to discover the hidden treasure I missed so many years ago!
When I was 13 my imagination was swept away in the currents of the Colorado River running through the Grand Canyon. I treasured my single keepsake from the trip - a set of waterfall postcards. The camera & film for the trip were lost on one of the stops so I used them to decorate my room when I got home, not able to bear parting with any by mailing them off.
We can take a virtual 360 view of a Yosemite waterfall (see link), but nothing compares to flooding your senses in person. www.destination360.com/north-america
There are so many beautiful, wild, and wonderful things to discover and experience in the world. I will never blanket my life with limitations again!
"SPARKPEOPLE: Make Your Life an Adventure"
Me: "Yes, please!"
~MY LIFE, MY REASONS~
..Building my book to print (I have a list of dozens, and hundreds more bouncing around in my head)..
(Not made yet)
#005: Carnival Rides
#006: Make Believe
Sunday, May 08, 2011
I've been thinking about this all week, over-thinking it, then avoiding thinking about it, finally forgetting and then reminding myself to think about it. This last half hour of Saturday is my final moment to get the points this week for my Challenge Team, The Cute & Shady Sweeties, so here goes...
MAIN CHALLENGE: For the main challenge, blog about why you decided to change your habits to become a healthy, fit person. Even if we arenít at goal, we have ALL made lots of changes. What motivated you to take that first step? Many of us donít take enough time to think about what brought us here, but holding on to that could help you to motivate yourself when you hit a plateau of have a rough week. Share your thoughts in a blog so that other participants in the FEF challenge who are not on your team can comment.
By the end of 2007, at 29, I had spent more than half of my life obese. I did Jazzercise for Kids as an overweight child, and dieted with Weight Watchers as a pre-teen. When my mom took me to a lap-band/gastric surgery at 17, I decided I was completely finished with trying to lose weight. That option wasn't for me, so I figured there really wasn't anything out there that would help me tackle weight loss. (I think my exact thought was, "Okay, well, I'm just going to be fat forever," in a stubbornly defiant tone.) So I played up my best features, and tried to develop confidence. --But all of this is a different blog, one with lots of pictures, that can come later. Back to the topic.
And refused to talk about my weight loss, appearance, size, or any of that with anyone except my husband. I was fortunate enough to avoid any major disease, but I suffered from migraines almost several times each month, barely slept, and was in pain at nearly 400 pounds.
2006, not my highest weight
Inside, I was hurting. On the outside, I tried to be as pretty as possible, and enjoy the few things I could find. Here's a typical "why are you taking my picture" face, followed by the pose (because I wanted to have something other than a frowny picture for MySpace.. Remember that site? LOL!):
2006, not my highest
But those weren't the only difficulties I had. My work was challenging emotionally, and my home life was worse as I tried to help my husband handle his internal demons. In a way, changing my lifestyle was the only thing I could do. I felt like there was no hope anywhere. I struggled with the same intense depression and suicidal thoughts that I carried since childhood.
But two things happened in January 2008. My friend, Kelly, sent me on a wild goose chase to find her page on "this new site that's totally addicting", and my co-worker and confidant, Shane, suggested that we try walking outside during our "meetings" instead of office hopping.
The first steps out the door at work were the easiest... To get away from prying ears, and breathe in fresh air was a relief. The next steps after that (just getting around the building) were HARD. My lungs burned like they did in P.E. at school, and I never felt like I could make it for the whole 5 minutes. I complained a bit, but he persisted. And I started exploring some of the articles on SparkPeople, still determined that losing weight wasn't my objective, wasn't going to be part of my life.
Learning about how nutrients actually help to fuel the body, and feeling like doing what SparkPeople suggested wasn't at all like the dieting I did as a teen, actually MADE SENSE from a scientific perspective, was what turned my doubt into hope.
And finding success that first month with that little bit of occasional walking (I lost 10 pounds without changing my food), convinced me that my body was crying out for change.
I made a SparkPage and started thinking about how nice it would be to be able to tie my shoes by simply bending over, or crossing my legs (you know, without having to stretch my leg out across the bed and holding my breath to reach). I thought about being able to hold my nephews without having them sit on my tummy and slide off of my "lap". I was about to grow out of the largest size available in stores near me, and was dismayed at the thought of online or catalog shopping, because I like to TRY ON my clothes... And I thought about all kinds of other benefits, too. They were all related to functional ways of getting through the world, markers of fitness and health that are much smaller than running a marathon.
I saw examples on Spark of people who had lost 50 pounds, and thought that I could tackle my extra 200. And so I did.
These pictures related to this phrase showed up recently on my friends' Spark Pages (like Annie's)... And I completely relate to it!
I'm more than half-way there. But I'm fully into pursuing things that make me feel good -GENUINELY feel good- eating well, and moving often.
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