Saturday, March 29, 2014

Rest up!

I hadn't posted much lately -- for lots of reasons. One, I wasn't sure I really had anything of importance to say. I wasn't sure that anyone really wanted to hear my story, my struggles, my failings, just my triumphs and successes. Part of me would think, "No, that's not right. People need to know that you can bounce back, that it's okay to have dark moments of the journey....." and then this other part of me would think, "But I *can't*!!!! You don't understand!!! I have to be 'on,' all day every day!"

Warped, huh?

Without going into laborious detail, there's a lot on my life plate that has very little to do with weight loss, with body image, etc. and yet ties into it on a very intimate level that only those of us who struggle mightily with it can begin to understand: how we can feel so put out by things that actually are not in our control so we work hard to control what we can -- but end up creating more stress when those plans don't necessarily work out to our benefit. And so it has been with me. Between my own things that really are not within my control and things I can control but either choose not to or feel that I cannot because of other reasons/excuses...... well, vicious cycle of emotional roller-coastering ensues here.

But hope is always present. Faith and courage are always beside me, even when their faces are shielded or blocked by doubts and cowardice. And love, love for myself, love from my friends and family, love and support from those dear to me, is always underneath, girding it all. It is love which binds my wounds and also applies the stinging mercurochrome when necessary.

Most of you know I'm definitely an introvert -- I can operate well in the world and be friendly and sometimes even outspoken, but the introversion/extroversion measurement has little to do with that, and more from where we derive our energy. I like people but I can only handle people situations for so long before I have to withdraw and recharge. I have to be alone, I have to ruminate, I have to allow things to be thought out thoroughly in my head. Make big decisions with ramifications on the fly? The very idea makes me almost apopolectic on a good day. When I'm really stressed, I get moody and very withdrawn and unable to think straight, let alone make the best possible decisions.

Finally, I spoke with a couple of friends who said, "Enough. Enough. You need to stop, you really need to care for yourself. NOW." So I am doing just that. I am taking real, active, concrete steps to do so. Part of it is that I have stopped swinging.

Now..... does that mean I have stopped fighting? Have I taken off the gloves, had Mick throw in the towel and conceded to Apollo Creed? NOT IN THE LEAST. Never!!!!!!!!!! I can assure you that I am never ever ever ever ever going back again (to mishmash Lindsey Buckingham and Taylor Swift; please forgive me). Been there, done that, ain't returning. Bought a ticket out. One way.

What it means is that it's in between rounds. I am sitting in the corner, I am catching my breath -- sweet precious breath -- and I am strategizing. I am trying to clear my head having been sucker-punched repeatedly over the last two years or so by a variety of things, all of which are things over which I had very little control but which I allowed to take up free space in my head. It means even Muhammad Ali took at least 60 seconds out every 3 minutes when he was in peak physical condition to rest. He knew his body needed to rest and regenerate. He knew he couldn't keep up if he didn't rest up.

I love this blog. I love sharing the journey with people. I have hated, hated, hated, feeling as if I have disappointed my readers (1) for not blogging as often as I should have and (2) for feeling as if you'd hate me if I didn't act "up" all the time... if I wasn't perfect. If you've never had that loop in your head say, "You just wait until they find out you are a fraud," then God bless you..... it's a negativity tapeloop that you NEVER want to have. And there are times it runs in my head more than you can guess.

But I'm still around. And I will post when I can and I will come out fighting and swinging for all I have in me..... and know that when I'm silent, it's because I'm in the corner, plannign the next thing and catching my breath for the next round.

One last thought for you:
Never ever regret your struggle. EVER. It has helped make you who you are.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Do you deserve it?

Do you deserve to be happy?
Do you deserve to be healthy?
Do you deserve to be loved .... no, I mean, really loved by the one earthly person who can fill the gaping hole in your heart that is waiting to be filled with love that you give to yourself?

WHOA. Where did that come from?

Please, let me show you.....
(from Lissa Rankin, MD; blogger at owningpink.com 
and author of Mind Over Medicine)

Stop. Stop, really. Just read and read and re-read, and let it sink deeeeeeeeep into your soul. 

That was something where I saw it, read it, re-read it, and had to get up and walk off for a minute. It amazes me sometimes how easily we forget this -- we forget to take care of ourselves. We're taught that we always have to put others first. We are selfish if we dare to consider that we are worthy of our own time .... that the needs of our families, our community organizations, our churches, our extended families and friends always are far more important of our own .... that we are not allowed to say "I need some me time" or "I need space for myself." It's perfectly okay for our hubbies or sons or significant others to build a man-cave or have boys' night out .... but if we need a spa afternoon or girls night out, or want a "sewing room" (or anything for ourselves) it's a massive imposition.

No. No. A million times no.

It does not matter if you are married with 8 children and 14 grandchildren and surrounded by family and a slew of friends, or if you are single for life, no children, no spouse and looking at middle age as a double-barreled shotgun: You are the only one who can take care of you.

Your spouse cannot.
Your children cannot.
Your friends cannot.

It is you.

So when are you going to start filling that massive hole in your own heart with love for yourself instead of donuts or chocolate or that second helping of whatever? Or the leftover crumbs from your children's plate because you'd be thought of as a bad mother for "wasting food"?

Get your mother's voice out of your head, and a little more love for yourself in your heart. Don't force your kids to eat more than they want, and don't eat it for them to have a clean plate. After a while, your grocery list will self-adjust. 

Have you heard of the H.A.L.T. method? It's popular in many circles and do you know why? Because it works. It makes sense. Basically, HALT is this: a reminder to stop (hence, HALT - ha!) and ask yourself:
* Am I Hungry?
* Am I Angry?
* Am I Lonely?
* Am I Tired?
If any of those apply, don't make your decision .... ask yourself more questions. The most important will be "What do I really need?" If it's a food decision, and you are hungry -- and I mean true physical hunger -- then there's your answer. But if hunger is not the question, guess what? Food is not the answer! So then you go to the next..... you find which emotion is about to drive your behavior and address that need. And ONLY that need.

If you're hungry, eat (and again, true physical hunger). If you're angry, find out why and address it. If you're lonely (and this could include boredom), figure out something to do to address that need. If you're tired, maybe sleep or rest or self-care is just what you need. 

And think about the example you're setting for your daughters or the girls in your life..... you're telling them that it's okay to put yourself way down the list. The same time your lips are telling them that they matter, your actions are telling them that none of this is true. You should always put yourself near the bottom, that you don't deserve to love yourself and give your wounded soul the love it needs most.

Let's all think about that one for a while. Let's start a revolution in ourselves that say, "I matter. I matter enough to care for myself. I matter enough to need my time, my space, my own love. I matter. You do too."