Saturday, August 16, 2014

I'm On Fire. Until I'm Not.

Day 6: on fire
What are the signs that you are on fire?
What I mean to say is: I mean to say, how does it feel in your body when something really gets you going?

Day 7: roadblocks or just detours?
What tends to trip you up?
What is your kryptonite? Ask yourself in the most compassionate of ways.

Times I feel on fire are often the times I'm pursuing my passions; writing, exercise and being creative.   Some nights I can't not write. A good sweaty gym session makes me feel strong.  When I'm on fire I feel healthy. I feel happy. And I do the types of self-care things necessary to keep that momentum going - eating healthy, getting enough sleep, quiet time and exercise. 

I am well aware that when I allow myself to take care of myself, not only does my creativity flourish but I am better able to handle the big and small crisis that life throws at me. 

When I'm on fire I feel confident. 

Yet, it's my own self doubt that too often wipes out that confidence. My kryptonite is me.

I'm not really sure why I allow self doubt to be such big part of my life. I know that the voices in my head are liars. I know that it's vital to my physical, mental and emotional health that I keep those negative voices silenced. 

The way to keep the voices away is by taking care of myself: eating healthy, exercise and rest. I know this. I have studied this. I teach this.

Yet I constantly struggle with it.

The voices tell me I'm not a size 2 and never will be so just eat the ice cream because no one likes me if I'm not that size 2. It doesn't matter that size 2 isn't even realistic for my 5' 9" frame.  Everyone probably thinks I'm fat.

The voices tell me that my writing is stupid and self indulgent. No one wants to read what I write. A real writer would have published her book. A real writer spends her days drinking tea, reading, writing and sitting in the sun. A wanna-be spends her days working two jobs, taking care of kids and feeling guilty for not taking more time to write.

I am my own worst critic. There's no need for anyone else to put me down, I can do a pretty good job of that on my own.

I'm aware of my triggers. I'm usually aware when I'm spiraling down to a bad place again. Although I still struggle with the contentment and depression cycle, I do believe the cycles are getting shorter. 

I am more determined, dare I say confident, to stop the low points immediately and to continue on with the self care I know to be necessary to handle the struggles of being a controlling person in a very out of control life.

This post is part of #AugustMoon, a series of daily writing prompts found at Kat McNally Words To Soothe The Weary Soul.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Perfect Work & A Perfect Reminder

Day 5: Perfect Work

What would your perfect work day be like?

My perfect work day would be a day where I don't feel like I didn't get enough done and I didn't let anyone down. The perfect work day is where when I'm at work I am fully present at work. When I leave work I actually come home to spend quality time with my family, rather than rush off to job number two. And when I'm at home, I am fully present and in the moment at home.

As I read today's #AugustMoon14 writing prompt I thought yeah right, I haven't had a perfect day in what feels like forever. So I figured why even bother trying to write tonight.

As I perused through Facebook I had a notification from an app called God Wants You To Know. Now I could, and should, write a post just about this app and how I have no idea how it got on my Facebook and some of the notifications I've had from it. But tonight, this is what it said:

Today, Jennifer, we believe God wants you to know that ...
you can give yourself more credit.
Are you juggling too much? Sometimes you don't give yourself enough credit for what you do get done in a day. Today, celebrate your accomplishments.

Well that's just apropos for tonight isn't it?

And I actually did have a couple work accomplishments this week. Also,it's the first full week back to school and back to a four night per week dance schedule and so far the kids have had lunches packed and up for school and out the door without any issues. That's a win. I've managed to keep up my personal workouts this week. And I made three blog entries! 

So as I spend the end of my night preparing for tomorrow, I think for tonight I will cut myself some slack and acknowledge that although today wasn't perfect, it wasn't a fail.

This post is part of #AugustMoon, a series of daily writing prompts found at Kat McNally Words To Soothe The Weary Soul.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Right Now, For Now

What is it that you do now? Today, we’re going to look at where we are, exactly as we are, right now. Grab a pen and a piece of paper; sit down in front of a screen with a keyboard; or dictate into one of those fancy smart phone apps!Tell us what fills your weeks, days and hours.

Right now I'm not at work. That's unusual for a Monday evening and feels very weird. Right now I'm also not at dance. Kid 4 has back-to-back dance classes tonight for four hours. It feels even weirder that I'm not at the dance school.

I am constantly struggling to find the balance between work/life/kids/myself. And I mostly fail.

At the beginning of this dance year I committed to only 2 nights per week to teach yoga/pilates and to help at the front desk. Of course I still have my full-time day job as well. Last year working full time days and four nights per week was just too much and my non-dancing kids got unintentionally ignored. As a single mom I'm working multiple jobs out of necessity, but that doesn't make it any easier on the kids who feel that I'm not giving them enough time. 

Since I work at a fitness center I fortunately can build exercise into my day. I go through spurts where I'm good about staying active and spurts where I'm not so active. Not coincidentally I feel better, more creative and am better able to keep the depression at bay when I'm moving and sweating more.

I also haven't been reading and writing as much as I would like to. I have been spending too much time laying in bed in front of reality TV at night. Mostly because I've been working too much, fighting depression and plain old exhausted.

Yes, I'm well aware that working too much and lack of self care are paths leading directly into depression for me. It's that whole struggle with balance thing I've got going on. It's just where I'm at right now.

For now. 

This post is part of #AugustMoon, a series of daily writing prompts found at Kat McNally Words To Soothe The Weary Soul.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Exhausted, Scared and (Not Really) Alone

My conversation last night: 

Concerned friend:  You need to write a blog post.
Me:  I don't even know how anymore.
Concerned friend:  Yes you do.

And so here I am.  My first post in four months. I've thought about writing a few times. Many times I sat down to write and nothing would come out. It hasn't been the best of summers. Single mom stress and an unexpected kid crisis have gotten the best of me.

I've spent the past few weeks once again not sleeping well, chronic headaches, nauseous and constantly on the verge of tears. With all my years of yoga, health & fitness training and my time spent in self study and working with life coaches you'd think by now I'd have quite a toolbox of healthy stress relief measures at my disposal.

And I do. I just don't use them.

Instead I retreat into my shell. It's just me against the world. And since I don't know who I can trust I choose to trust no one.  Daily I'm reminded, and more often I remind myself, how scared and alone I am through it all.

Like a caged animal huddling in the corner I lash out and attack anyone who tries to help and comfort me. 

A few weeks ago a coworker returned from her vacation and gifted me with a jeweled anchor necklace. She told me she saw the anchor and thought of me because I'm the one that always anchors everyone together both at work and at home. I mean it when I tell her she's beautiful, the necklace is beautiful and the thought is beautiful.

But what I'm really thinking are anchors are the ones drowning on the bottom trying to keep everyone else afloat. I feel like I'm drowning here. I almost can't breathe I'm dropping so far down.

Who is going to save me? Oh yeah, no one.

Yet I continue on. Get up each morning, put a smile on my face, resist the urge to punch those who tell me how tired I look, try and make ends meet, and do what needs to be done to make sure everyone else is safe and healthy. 

Then this week two different people reminded me that I'm not alone and I need to take care of myself too. One was very nice and made me cry. The other yelled at me and made me cry. Since I didn't quite hear the message the first time I admit I needed the second one too.

One of my personal training clients is moving out of state. She has some unusual health issues that made her the kind of personal training client the other trainers didn't want and were afraid to train. But I love those challenges and we hit it off immediately. She made amazing progress and I'm crazy proud of her.

Before she left for her new home, she came in to the gym one last time. She had a box in her hand and she explained to me that during her time with the fire department she was part of a tradition. She
explained that fire fighters and other first responders will present one another with a gift to thank them for having their back in an emergency. 

When I opened the box I saw a shiny rescue knife. As I took it out of the box she told me, "you've had my back all this time. I want you to remember someone will always have your back too."

Someone will have my back? Really? I wonder who.

Then the phone call yesterday. Those closest to me know when something is wrong. They know when I'm struggling and when I'm not asking for help. They also know I sometimes need tough love. Some words were exchanged. I cried.  I finally admitted I'm exhausted and afraid. 

And here I am now. I've spent most of the day feeling sick. But I think it's more just wore out than regular sickness. 

As directed by my friend I finally wrote a blog post. And tomorrow if I feel better I will go to my first led yoga class in a couple months. It's entirely possible I'll spend most of the class in child's pose crying. And that's OK.

I've been receiving email reminders for a couple weeks now asking me to once again participate in a series of writing prompts that my fellow writer friends use to keep up with their daily writing practice. Day One's prompt is Set An Intention.

So here I go. My intention, no my need, is to stop drowning myself. To remember I have those willing to help if I would just ask. And to recognize those who do love and care about me and stop pushing them away, but rather hold on to them and not let go.

This post is part of #AugustMoon, a series of daily writing prompts found at Kat McNally Words To Soothe The Weary Soul.