Day Something, Year

I have a stabbing pain in my lower left back area. Seems alarmingly kidney-like. I’m not panicking yet.

UPDATE: I Googled kidney disease symptoms and I think I’m in the clear. Loss of appetite? Solid no. (I didn’t have any of the others either aside from this weird pain.) Thanks, Dr. Google.

I’ve had an on again off again wrestling match with Weight Watchers for almost my entire adult life. I remember being like 130 lbs. wanting to get down to 120 and I bet the middle aged women in there wanted to punch my face. As a current middle aged woman who SHOCKED herself with her last weigh-in, I know my eyes would ache from rolling.

I saw a number I have never seen outside of LATE pregnancy on the scale on Monday.  I’m talking like 7-8 months. And I had a huge 9 lb. baby at the end of it. ANYWAY, it was a real eye opener for me. I am happy to report that I have had no bedtime snacks for the past 2 nights. That is enormous for me.

As a chronic over-indulger, I was eating literal boxes of cookies and bags of chips – not the snack size, the regular bag you buy for several people to eat over a period of time. For me, this is going to be all about habit breaking. Luckily, I have quitting drinking under my belt to PROVE that I can do this fucking thing. I counted like 3 different times I almost just mindlessly went grazing in the kitchen. I did have an evening snack of mixed nuts and olives (I’m a freak) but it was within my “points” and it consisted of whole foods.

I think, since I have no idea what moderation actually feels like, I get very extreme about portions. I’m either going to eat so much that I’m almost in pain – OR I’m going to attempt a ridiculously restricted diet. Surprise, neither of those things work.

I know it’s only been two days, but the flashback to that fucking scale has been serving to keep me in check. I’ve also been tracking my dinner and lunch at the same time – meaning I’ll track what I’m going to have for dinner BEFOREHAND so I don’t get wishy washy and eat an entire pizza because it’s easier than thinking.

So yeah. I’m hoping to have some success with that.

Another fun “quirk” is that there are like 500 books I want to read and I get really jazzed thinking about reading them and then I never read them because I worry about spending too much time sitting and reading. Yet, I’ve binged like 20 shows in the past 6 months.

In other news, I wore a real bra for the first time in 6 months and wow, the team looks great.

I’ll see myself out.

Day 234, 2020

I had such a great time yesterday at our dinner picnic. I brought the Pupper and she was cool at first until she got terrified by the sound of the train and ran. I caught her. I could tell she was making sure I was behind her. Poor little thing. I zipped her up in my sweatshirt for most of the rest of our hang and she calmed down. It was SO nice to see people and talk about things. We each had our own picnic blanket and brought our own food. It was PERFECT. I am hoping we do more of those as this progresses.

I also reached out to my therapist who I haven’t really worked with since this all began. I’m looking forward to talking with her about everything that’s been brewing over here. There has been SO MUCH.

I guess I don’t have a ton to talk about today.

The sun is out

Some things.

  1. I am OBSESSED with visiting and/ or moving to Maine. This came out of nowhere and it came on STRONG. I have never been there and I’m already looking at houses.
  2. I joined Weight Watchers again because I have no self control and for some reason I still believe that throwing money to a corporation is going to make me skinny. Definition of insanity. But my follow through has been pretty good lately. And my inspiration vibrating high.
  3. I just joined a sculpture studio. It’s a co-op near my office with great supplies and working artists. I’m so excited to dive in and get learning. I also signed up for a painting course at the local community college because the art therapy program requires 12 studio credits. I should be there after this semester.
  4. I’ve overhauled my website and put a store up with my original paintings. Oh, right. I’ve been doing a lot of painting. Like A LOT. The quarantine productivity level is crazy. Also, I feel like I’ve finally found my voice in painting. It just clicked a few days ago with faces on moons and suns and stars. I took an online class with an artist I admire and I think it helped loosen me up. My first few after the class were very similar to hers but I was able to incorporate my specific style and really make them my own. I am feeling very happy.

This evening I’m meeting some friends for a socially distant picnic. I’m heading in right now to make some iced tea. I have no idea what else I’m bringing. Maybe popcorn? Hard boiled eggs? LOL. How do I have friends?

Waking up…

I woke up feeling a lot clearer thanks to writing down my thoughts last night. I am reconciling the fact that I do not need to impress anyone. I do not need to abide by anyone’s rules. My job, as an adult woman, is to fully be myself and as much as I have been talking about giving myself permission to do that, I finally feel like I believe it.

I was on a Zoom call with my friends last night and looking at myself wearing a turban and tie-dyed overalls. For a soft moment, I liked what I saw. My sense of style is very unique to me and to my way of living. I am an artist in my heart. I love colors and practicality. The turban keeps my hair (and sweat) off of my face. The overalls are comfy and have big pockets. I like this me. I don’t give a fuck about convention. I always kind of knew this but living it out loud feels really good.

On the call, a friend was talking about an acquaintance who is a dance therapist and I swooned and then I thought why the fuck not me? WHY can’t I just go through and finish my art therapy degree?? It’s a fucking calling. I would be DAMN good at it. I LIVE it. I LIVE art therapy every single day. I also have two big projects in the works and I am just going to put my head down and dive in because I don’t give a fuck anymore. I don’t give a fuck who is going to disapprove. That’s their business. And that’s ok. But this is my life.

Cue Billy Joel?

Nah.

Cue this.

That’s my fight song.

Loss of Power

I am feeling big feelings and I’m going to write them. I have been crying. I honestly cannot tell you the last time I cried. Really cried. Mournful, soul-pulling, crying. This feeling is terrible, but I know it’s important to acknowledge them and see this through to the other side.

We lost power on Tuesday and my husband, son, dog, and I stayed with my parents until it came back today. A series of incidents occurred that made me reflect pretty hard on what it was like living there as a teenager. My feelings were too big for my skin and I felt explosive, misunderstood, and alone – like most kids that age. Experiencing this as an adult, though – this prolonged, high level anxiety of messing something up – gave me more empathy for myself. Without going into detail, my mother did not speak to me, my husband, or my SON for the entire last 24 hours of our stay.

Every day, I take an antidepressant, a mood stabilizer, and anti-anxiety medication. I am a recovering alcoholic. Looking back, I have definitely pulled the passive aggressive silent treatment in relationships. I think back to those times and shudder. I forgive that person now because processing emotions was never really modeled for me growing up. My father is even keeled 90% of the time but would sometimes pivot to a complete sudden rage. It was rare, but it was terrifying. My mother, on the other hand was very loving to me when I was a child but as soon as I became a teenager it seemed she wanted less and less to do with me. My hindsight analysis is that this was because I was having more mood shifts. Front that point on, I was mostly met with digging remarks or silence. We often have nice chats, but when we do veer into any kind of depth, it is made clear that she knows best and my opinions are too lofty.

As I entered into my teens, It felt like I became dirty and unlovable. I carried that into adulthood along with a total inability rationally deal with my feelings. I’ve learned a lot since then and am mostly content with my actions and reactions to difficult things. I’ve been through many, many years of therapy and even studied Psychology and Counseling in college. I have found my spirituality and read about it every single day. In my recent life, if disagreement or discomfort arises, I often want to nip a problem in the bud with honest conversation. With my son, I truly try to teach him that it’s ok to have big emotions and that he can talk to me about anything. My dad did that with me but the abandonment I felt from my mother affected me in such a spider web of ways that I am still digging through them.

I am a 42-year-old, grown-ass woman who is not about to blame my parents for problematic things that they, as human beings, may have done in raising me. Right now, at this moment, I often think about what I’ve already done to completely ruin my son’s adult life because I have no idea what I am doing. I extend that compassion to them as well. Parents are not perfect. They are not saints or deities. Parents are people who have no idea what they are doing. I acknowledge that these actions cause issues that are up to me to work through. I have to do my fallible best to do better.

Today, I’ll let myself be sad that no one rubbed my back and said it’s ok. I’ll take this floating-away sensation as the final tethers being cut. I am my own person and nothing will change that. I am totally cool with it. I mostly like myself now. I do, however, want to grab Teenage Me’s bony little shoulders and pull her in for a hug.

I often mourn my relationship with my mother. I’ll never have a relationship with a mother who is unconditionally supportive and emotionally open. It’s sad to think about, but I am not alone. All through life, we find mothers in our friends, partners, teachers, and mentors. I hope to be that mother, not only to my own son, but to other fledgling souls I encounter along the way. That’s life. All I can do is try my best to be the things I wish I had and to find those qualities in folks I choose as family.

Day 216, 2020

I am having a hard time today. I woke up to an almost comical sequence of messes and irritations. I am making light of it. It almost broke me fro the day. I’ve not been sleeping well. My jaw hurts all the time from holding tension.

I spent all day on the iPad yesterday researching avenues for my art online. Literally all day. I took pictures, re-sized them, taught myself how to use Lightroom. I spent all day in my head. I get physically sick if I spend too much time thinking. It feeds my anxiety and the next thing you know, I am fried and frazzled.

I have resolved to do some serious yoga today and to focus on getting at least a small session in each day. Yesterday was super productive, but out of balance. I am feeling very out of balance today.

When I woke up in this state of almost-panic and dismay, I jumped in the shower and took deep breaths. I let the water run on me for a long time. Counting 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4. My text alarms were going off. My email notification was ringing. 1-2-3-4. I am thankful that I now recognize that the boundaries need to be pulled WAY up when I’m having a moment like this. I put my phone on Do Not Disturb and that is where it has remained. I’ll check in on it, but I think being 100% accessible to everyone all of the time is wearing me the fuck down.

I think the 24 hourness of family life is cracking me as well. Again, being 100% available 100% of the time. My husband bickers with my son. I feel like I am constantly running interference with them. Part of it is because I can’t believe a grown man is fighting with an 8 year old and part of it is because I am a control freak and need everything done my way. Acknowledged.

I feel my blood pressure rise. I joke that they, (mostly my husband) are going to kill me. I also worry that may be true. The jaw pain is almost unbearable at times.

Back in my body

Back in my body.

Back in my body.

Root to rise.

Bless and release

I’m not crazy about the word “bless”. It and “journey” connote a fakey “Live Laugh Love” brand of quick spirituality… in my brain at least. That being said, the process of acknowledging behaviors that don’t serve us well is a valuable one. My life experience has been more of the “ignore it” or “get over it” variety. Bless and release encourages you to recognize problematic things in your life and empowers you to let them go.

I’ve been reading Eastern Body, Western Mind which is now officially my favorite book. The third chakra, solar plexus, is all about will. The root chakra is about being/ existing, the second is about feeling, and the third is about taking that stuff, being your own person, and going into the world. This is where I’ve been stunted all along.

I’ve often lamented my past seeming inability to take risks. Staying in situations long past their “best by” date because the devil I know is at least predictable. The third chakra is all about intention-driven action. Mindfulness. Responsibility. Not just blowing wherever the wind sends me.

I have Imposter Syndrome which is not a real syndrome but a cycle of thoughts and perceived reinforcement. I rarely think I’m qualified enough to be sitting at the table. This has plagued my work life. I am smart. I’m a good worker. I am easy to work with. But I doubt myself and tend to be deferential to those I perceive to be in a higher position than me.

I’m not so bad in the music realm. Most of the folks I work with swim in the same pool. We are good at what we do, expect our cohort to be up to speed, and we deliver. Singing professionally is one of the areas in my life that I do not feel like an imposter. I will sing your face off. Just don’t ask me to read sheet music because then I will crumble. I make light of it. I’ve come this far so it is what it is. But I somewhat secretly ashamed because I am supposed to be good at everything.

I take degrees very seriously. College degrees, not temperatures. I am constantly seeking graduate and doctoral programs that cost insane amounts of money and when I really soul search it, I’m just looking for a permission slip. I think I’ve talked about this before. I’m looking for a permission slip to sit at the table. Permission from WHO? I couldn’t tell you.

I also collapse at the idea that my parents aren’t constantly beaming with pride over me. Deep reflection has revealed that this is a big messy one. I need to consistently reach goals to check in with them and make sure I am still good enough. My inner critic has the tendency to be very judgmental and overbearing when it comes to what I should be doing, where I should live, how I should raise my son.

In my extended family, I don’t even know how to act. I’m 42 and I still feel like a child. I think it is because I feel that I cannot appear to have any cracks despite being full of them for that very reason.

I want to be clear that I am not blaming my parent(s) or family for any of this. I am a grown ass middle aged woman who is responsible for my own life and happiness. My parents are human and I am human and to throw a tantrum over things I may have done differently would not benefit anyone. That being said, establishing boundaries with them is extremely difficult. I find myself wanting to keep everyone happy and still feel unable to truly be myself around them. I hide my feelings because I do not have the strength to hear how I am wrong about them.

There is some regret in my life – not traveling and exploring more when I was young; staying in long relationships that were not serving anyone well; not really TRYING at music; going with the flow on so many music projects with bossy, obstinate people. I regret settling for the office job that I never fit into. I never fit in because I was never supposed to be there. I was too scared to take a risk and follow my creativity at 25, 30, 35 and here I am.

Here I am.

I can engage in a cycle of wasting more time mourning lost time and losing the time spent mourning. But I’m not going to. With each step forward I will focus on acting from within myself. I exist. I feel. And that’s all that is needed to know what is best.

I bless and release anything that stands in my way.

Day 190, 2020

I am feeling disjointed today. All over the place. I’m in my office now which is nice. It’s very, very quiet. I am very happy.

I am someone whose brain never stops. I mean… we all are. Mine generates ideas a mile a minute. Some are good. Many are very lofty and impractical. The lofty and impractical ones are the most exciting and feel the most genuine. The ones like passing an SEC exam for my job for no real reason except redeeming my failure last year, are less appealing.

Passing the exam doesn’t have much to do with my job. It’s something everyone else at my firm holds but their roles require it. Mine does not. I decided to take it last year as a step toward becoming a compliance officer and making my resume more marketable. My boss intends on retiring in the next 2-3 years and holding this Series _X_ would make me more valuable to whoever buys us out.

The thing is… I’ve more or less decided that I’m going to use this time to gear up for a career change. A career change that will likely result in an enormous pay cut. And no benefits. And now I’m panicking again.

Ok.

(I’ve been attempting to write this post for about 3 hours. I can’t even focus on completing it.)

ANYWAY… a thing I’ve noticed about myself is that if there is any dichotomy in my life, I shut down. Case in point, the Series _X_ is (from my perspective) in direct opposition of the studies I’ve been doing in yoga, art, and psychology. I guess the disconnect I am having right now is – why would I waste any of my mind grapes on Finance when the Transpersonal self-studies I’ve been doing energize me from the inside? Why not focus on the path that is lit up? You know?

As a side-note, I am also having a VERY difficult time giving ANY energy to music even though it very much falls under my creative umbrella. The project we are trying to release has become an albatross. This is not the fault of anyone working on or with the project, I’m just fucking over it. I like writing and performing and I LOATHE everything about releasing a record. I don’t want to agree on a font everyone likes. The hours spend talking about a website that I’m not sure anyone will ever visit is making my skull ache. It is the actual worst.

So back to the original point, the practical side of my brain keeps telling me that if I look at studying for the Series _X_ during work hours and as part of my daytime job, it should not eat into my creative brain space. The big, loud, colorful side is saying fuck it. Focus on the shit that feels right.

Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.

The Great Awakening

The Great Awakening is how I’ve been referring to this time we are living through. Energy is churning and shifting and a lot of shadows are being revealed. Things need to change. The light being shone on our unfair and unequal system is causing a scurrying of cockroaches. We see now.

I am looking into my ribcage at all of the uncomfortable shit. The very real latent responses that I still have. Shining the light.

There has been more space to THINK and digest and research and discuss issues that have been bubbling under the surface for our entire lives. There has been more space to act and take a stand. Families are literally forced to be together and I am hoping this has helped solidify what is important. Love and humanism. Compassion. Passion. Rage.

On a more personal note, working on my plants and in my garden, and really fixing up my rooms have given me a new connection with being here. I think I never really took ownership here. I felt like I was living under my husband’s roof despite the fact that it is just as much my home. He can be obstinate and bossy. I can too but I am typically the one who moves to compromise for the good of the household and the day. Claiming my spaces, organizing them, and keeping them in order has done wonders for me. I’m finally taking up space rather than living as a victimized pair of eyes.  I spent so much of my life watching it happen to me and feeling powerless. Always needing permission. ALWAYS. Even when I’m out at a store or walking the dog, I am always cognizant about not being in anyone’s way. While it’s nice to be considerate, I think the preoccupation with it became problematic. This likely stems from my desperate need to be liked and seen as a good person.  I’ve been slowly evolving but I am finally feeling good about taking up space.

Being here with the family has been nice. We’ve gotten into arguments and short fuses but I think as a whole we have tried to be more understanding with one another. This bizarre time has allowed us to be sensitive to the fact that we each may need a break or some slack. We are working more like a team which is all I ever really wanted.

Time is the most important thing. I was always wishing for more days in week to get more done. I like to be busy. Now, time spent out playing gigs, going out with friends, and even in the car has been gifted to me. I admit I’ve spent too much time on the internet – it’s almost like I’m waiting for a quiet moment when I can focus entirely on me or what I am studying. It makes sense. Anyway, this time has given me space to THINK and to react less.

My main issue is that I’m feeling the pull towards a career change. This could be par mid-life crisis, but it has a term for a reason. My firm will likely be absorbed by a bigger one and that will likely affect my job and whether I’ll still have one. I’ve liked working at my firm because everyone works independently and I have a direct line of communication with my boss. Once he retires, I don’t know that I will enjoy it as much. The idea of starting over fresh with new coworkers is not appealing to me. I like what I do and that is mainly because I am in a situation where I can work where I want and when I want as long as I hit my deadlines and keep everything running smoothly. It’s ideal for a creative spirit like me. If that ease of schedule changes, I’ll be miserable.

And also, at this point in my life, I’m ready to embrace who I am fully and use what I have to make a difference in the world. Much like art therapy, I am intrigued by the concept of spiritual psychology. I am so deeply interested in spiritual matters and psychology. This paired with intuitive art, creative workshops, Reiki, writing, and herbalism all fits nicely under the umbrella of Soul Space. This is what I want to do with my time. I want to help people heal holistically.

I’ve been searching out degree programs that fit this goal and though I have found some, the accreditations of the schools seem a bit sketchy.  This gets me thinking about my need for permission. Finishing my college degree was important to me. I needed it to feel value. I’m wondering if my NEED for a degree in what I want to study is based on the same. If I have this, you’ll have to take me seriously. If I don’t you can write me off. Many of the workshops I want to run do not require a degree so I feel that I may be looking for something to show people to prove myself. I would need it to practice actual counseling so I do see the value in it. But counseling isn’t technically what I want to do.

I’m just noticing I did not mention music. Its becoming tiring. All of the legwork for releasing our record. I haven’t even written a song in at least 2 years. I am not feeling inspired by it. I do miss performing though. I did a good job of narrowing down my music engagements to things I actually feel energized by over the past few years. As of this minute, I am not feeling motivated to do a damn thing. That’s ok. The country is in chaos, I have a lot on my mind.