Monday, January 26, 2015

"Maybe you've just been on sabbatical," Joisey said as we wrote love letters last week.  

I suppose I have been.    I like how some self employed people say, "I take two full days off then I feel fully recharged."  Wow, I needed like two whole months.  And I'm practically unemployed.  

Ladies and gentleman, I am calling my blog absence a sabbatical.   I am labelling it so for my own benefit.  I didn't stop thinking about it, I just couldn't put anything out.  Did I miss it?  Well, I missed being able to put thoughts into words.  I missed the urgency I had to work lines through in my notebook.  I missed the compulsion to explore a thought, engagement in a new business or product I discovered, and the ability to breeze in and out of a party without double booking my evening or feeling really tired. Anxiety came for an extended visit, and I hated myself for it.  Books and magazines I wanted to read piled up.  Articles I was working on became lost in an actual pile.  I was even physically ill most of the time.  So yes, let's call it a sabbatical.  I needed one.  A sabbatical from writing, but more so a sabbatical from me, from my circus of a mind, which sounds pretty pathetic, but it is what it is.  My sabbatical has been very helpful though.  Really good for me, and I feel, with some serious prayer, exercise, excellent nutrition, and warm hugs, I am coming around again.  

I'd say my sabbatical started in the fall, so that is way more than two months.  To explain what makes it a sabbatical to me, would be to simply state that for a while I was dealing with persistent physical discomfort I talked a bit about here, which really messed with my mind, or maybe it was also my mind that messed with my body.  This prompted me to go into "coasting mode":  taking things in and thinking about this and that, without knowing or feeling that there was a bigger purpose I was moving towards.  

A big part of my dilemma is feeling guilty for being so unsettled in spite of having a life that is safe, loving, steady and truly full of the best people I could have ever prayed for.  There are naturally very stressful moments that I work through and then need to retreat from.  There have been disappointments and trust lost in some people very close to us, for whom the saying 'blood is thicker than water' may carry no meaning as I painfully accepted.  

I know that I am an adult, but it was huge for me to come to terms with it this Christmas.  Learning the ropes of my mother's latest routine from her staff while seeing first hand how Alzheimer's is changing her steadily over time was not something I could ignore.  "Okay, we're doing this.  This is real, I am in charge now, and if I mess up, a lot is at stake, but if I don't man up, even more will be." 

During my sabbatical, I wondered why I wasn't interested in anything that used to make me happy.  My therapist said it is because there are lots of uncertain things happening simultaneously.  That I am not investing my heart into anything partly to self protect and partly because I am not sure of how I feel about anything.  I then realized when the fog lifted that I am tired of this holding pattern, this safe place where I have been sitting.  Hanging from a rafter, swinging not here nor there, untouched, unbothered.  Over the weekend my husband and I were discussing some serious things ahead and he asked me, "Are you ready for it though?  Do you think you can handle it again?"  And to him I said with some tears in my eyes, "I will never be ready if I give myself the allowance to constantly over think it.  But being here, in this holding cell, where I am not choosing to do this nor that, where I am protecting myself by not making choices... it's really no life at all.  And I don't think I want to live that way anymore."  

I am scared out of my wits.  But life has always been good to me, and I always get through things.  We all do.  If there is one thing I know it is that we all have our s#^t.  Everyone has some kind of demon to fight or mountain she must climb, and you just do it.  You do it because you have to.  And you do it because no matter how uncomfortable and uncertain it is, you know you need to and you want to be somewhere that isn't where you currently are, because that place you've been living in doesn't suit you anymore.  

So that's where I have been.  That's where I am.  

I have always wanted to be the kind of woman with focus, drive, and vision.  The kind of woman who doesn't have it easy, but has the self belief that what she creates and the way she contributes herself to the world matters deeply and should be taken seriously.  This woman has passion in everything she does.  She brings her A game every day, even when hours earlier she pulled the sheets over her head and wanted to sleep through the day.  She takes care of herself before taking care of others.  She inspires other women to do the same thing.  I have always thought that woman was someone else.  I have secretly hoped for years that she could be me.  Maybe to someone else I already am.

I read a post by Eden Hensley of The Road to The Good Life, and there was a specific line in there that made me feel determined.   One day soon I will write this line myself, but until then, I set my sights on it, knowing I am headed in that direction, just as I am today, post-sabbatical.

Made with Studio by bp.  Original text: Eden Hensley (source)

Don't Forget Me Though I've Been Gone

Thursday, January 1, 2015

There was a dirt hill exiting the woods leading down to a path across a rickety wooden bridge at my neighborhood playground.  I remember this hill being very high and steep.  It was challenging, exciting, but never dangerous.  I remember running down it each time we wanted to reach the park, but do not have any recollection of falling down or slipping.  There was no fear or hesitation in my steps, and because of it, I was able to successfully get from point A to B each and every time.

Today, I would likely see that hill as slippery, unstable, dangerous, and intimidating even if it is smaller to an adult as it was to a nine year old.  I can just see myself today, trying to scale down it sideways and still slipping while kicking up enough dust to fill an ankle boot.  In my attempt to be cautious, I would surely risk more injury than if I used secure but large and quick strides to come down.  

I have thought of that hill often.  I have thought of going down it each afternoon, but instead of showing up as a carefree girl wanting to get to the park, I am an adult who worries about tumbling down it accidentally.  Where it was once a tiny adventure to leap across a weathered bridge I now think about how it can collapse beneath my feet in a split second.  All of the things I was aware of but didn't bother with then are the things that hold me back now.  Is older always wiser?  I just want to get to that park.

Isn't caution to be thrown to the wind?  Why do I hold onto caution with a vice grip as of late?  So ready to stop over thinking.  I know I haven't written at all lately.  I am so sorry.   Don't forget me though I've been gone, okay?

Not in Sweatpants

Friday, December 5, 2014

Two months ago, my neck froze up, my traps were knotted tightly, my right shoulder would not rotate, and my wrists and hands burned from carpal tunnel tightness.  Daily indulgences in very refined gluten and dairy free versions of bread, chips, and muffins with small cartons of coconut ice cream on the side plus  a dip or two into a very verboten take out box of carne asada fries later, I woke up one morning completely in pain, sick to my stomach and knowing (in a very Gwyneth way - natch) that my body was saying, "This has to stop. Clean it up or keep getting kicked in the ass by your own ass." A series of physical therapy appointments alternating with acupuncture, modified yoga and barre mix classes, a new prescription vitamin supplement and two sessions with my beloved cognitive behavioral therapist later,  I am on the mend.  

Feeling less than normal, it would be very easy to start schlepping around town the way subjects in PEOPLE Magazine do at the gas station and in hypermarket parking lots, but I think that the best way to make yourself feel worse is to look in the mirror and have the sad state of your appearance frowning back at you.  I had to have some basic standards during this crazy period.  My mantra this whole time, "Not In Sweatpants"  

Ugh,  I need to walk four blocks holding market bags of bok choy ...
Not in Sweatpants

This errand I need to run in the rain ...
Not In Sweatpants

I will go makeup free today ...
Not in Sweatpants

I'm just going to meet with her really really quickly ...
Not In Sweatpants

I am just going to sit and people watch after physical therapy ...
Not In Sweatpants 

I will hide my under eye circles with sunglasses, and I may be walking around with my shoulders all knotted,  I just won't do it in sweatpants.  My hair might be undone and I can wear Converse instead of shoes all week, but if I am in sweatpants, it's like saying I don't really care about myself, when in fact, though imperfect, I still do.  We all need some limits, and unless I am coming from an actual work out, I can do anything in any mood I am in, just not in sweatpants.

Wiggle Room

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Me:  Any chance you're free that night?

Her:  I work those nights ... 

Me:  ...it just means we'll have to make plans for another time ...

Her:  ... but I was going to ask if you are free at all tomorrow?

Me:  (thinking) yes I am ... around 3 or 3:30?

Her: We can go here so you can finally meet him.  I'm excited!  

Me:  SURE!!!! (emoji of two girls dancing)

Her:  ... is there an upper limit to your free time tomorrow?  Maybe 5 or 5:30 so she can join?  That would make my week!!!

Me:  (looking at schedule) Will do Barre at 1pm then.  5:30 it is!

Her:  She's in!  6:30?

Me:  (postponing something else) Schweet

Her:  These plans sure changed fast haha!  That work?

Me:  YES! 

Her:  Yay!  So happy this all fell into place!

Me:  When it's important and there is a little wiggle room time wise, we make it work. (smiley face with kiss)  See ya!

This is an actual text message exchange two days ago minimally adapted and shortened with no names.   Yes, we made it work.  It was so worth it.  I woke up dehydrated and slightly hung over this morning, but at least I applied my creams before bed.  Priorities, ladies.    

Here's to wiggle room.  We don't always have it, and when we do we need to spend it wisely.  There are so many tasks or commitments in the day and lots of people we want to see, but when the time is right, and it is simple enough to make a few tweaks here and there to our schedules, I am happy to dip into my Wiggle Room account and spend that currency when I can afford it.  What about you?

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