Resolutions of 2012 (and what I learned from 2011)

Move forward or get stuck in the past

Choose, but choose wisely.

It is always something I enjoy doing – making my resolutions.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Resolutions are goals.  People who are like, “I don’t make resolutions ’cause it’s stupid” are likely to be the people with no aim or direction.  They probably float through life, accidental like, waiting for things to happen, rather than making them happen on their own.  I take issue with those people.  Now, conversely, if you’re the person who is constantly setting goals and re-evaluating them, then the prior statement doesn’t apply to you.

I’m not a fan of the cop-out resolutions.  Without defining, clearly, what your commitment is to, it’s easy to let them slip away.  If you go with the ones that are often broken (weight-loss, less debt, more family time, etc), you’ll find that you will have lost sight of them by March.  Because life happens and it’s easy to get off track.  Not that those goals aren’t worthy and/or easy.  They are *very* important and often difficult to achieve.  But, I guess I’m a bigger fan of goals that go deeper than that.

When I made my 2011 goals, my life was in a decidedly different place.  I stuck with many of my resolutions, but not all.  I’m okay with that.

I learned a lot from 2011.  I learned that things can change slowly, but you often realize the gravity of those changes all at once.  I learned that emotions that are bottled up for too long will find a way out.  I learned that my strength is a sleeping giant, but it will prevail.  I learned that, without direction, I am lost.  I learned that no one will speak better for me than I can.

So for 2012, here are some of the big ones:

  • I need to keep an outlet for my emotions.  A person or activity or both.  I need a place to vent, and I need an activity to safely process my emotions.  Currently, I have those.  I need to remember to use them and not feel weak when I do.
  • I will continue to focus on my physical health.  Not to lose weight, per se.  But to keep my body healthy by keeping my mind engaged.  I lost about 20 lbs in 2012.  And I did it through active participation from my mind.  I will keep that focus.
  • I will speak up when I have a concern.  But when I do, I will be insightful and kind.  It does no good to be hurtful.  I generally don’t do that, when I do say something.  But I find that the first step is speaking up.  I will speak up more often.
  • I will read more.  I read a lot during 2011, but I want to read even more in 2012.  It helps my subconscious process things while I escape.  Plus, it makes me a better writer.  Can’t argue with that.
  • I will be featured by WordPress at least once as a featured writer.  So, you hear that, WordPress peeps?  Pay attention to me, please!  I have stuff worth saying (most of the time).
  • I will be off meds by the end of the year.  So long as I am ready, at least.  I don’t want to take myself off them before I’m ready, but I will take the steps to try to be ready to do that.  Meds weren’t ever a long-term solution.  And although I am much more comfortable with my choice, now (thanks to my very dear friend who helped me through the decision), I don’t want it to be a forever thing.
  • BFF #1 and I will go blazing at least four times this year.  I value that time, so much.  And it gives us both an opportunity to express ourselves creatively.  That’s a good thing.  Plus, I got some kick-ass photographs this year.  I want that to happen again.

I have some others, but these were the biggies.  I have one more, though.  It’s one of the most important, I think:

  • I will take care of myself.  My mind, my body, my soul.  I will reward myself with things that make me happy without guilt and shame.  I will enjoy myself, and being in my own skin.
    I am a worthy person.  I know this, deep down in the cockles of my heart.  But I will practice it, in 2012.

What are your goals?  Do you make them?  If not, why?  And if so, what are some of them?

I hope you all have a wonderful, safe and exciting New Years celebration.  Don’t drink and drive, and move forward into a new year with love and determination to be the best person you can be.

I’ll end 2011 with a quote from my favorite movie, of all time: Forrest Gump.

“Don’t you just love New Years? It’s like you get to start over.  …..Everyone deserves a second chance.”

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The dairy-addiction saga continues

Firstly, I’m fine.  I’m not blowing hobos in dark alleys for a pint of Skim Milk (and yes… I totally get the implied joke here, but I’m deliberately avoiding it.  Just so you know.)  Now, in the spirit of full-disclosure, I *am* writing this while I drink a glass of milk.  What? I *like* milk.  I swear I do!  It has nothing to do with anything else but I like it.  A lot.

As for my previously mentioned breakdown… I’ve put all of that back in the box that was in the far reaches of my mind, again.  I don’t want to feel it.  So I’m going back to pretending I don’t know.  For now, it’s the safest thing I can manage, for my own health.

So here I was, minding my own business, surfing the internet when I stumble upon this:
Cheese addiction is real! This chick says so!

But then, I see this:
 Another site about cheese addiction!

I’m not even kidding, folks…. this might be an epidemic.

The moral of the story? Despite what you may have not believed in the past from my previous post about dairy addictions, it’s happening.  It’s real.  Ones upon tens of people succumb to their dairy addiction every decade or so (give or take a few years).  But 7 out of 10 million tell the real story.

So when you see that girl who looks strung out and sad wandering aimlessly around the grocery store, point her toward the milk.  That’s what she’s there for anyway.

Figuring it out, and why I wish I never did

They say that knowledge is power.  But I tend to think that ignorance is bliss.  Not knowing that you don’t know is a wonderful thing.  Sometimes knowing the truth brings pain…. I don’t always think that knowledge is power.

I had a good holiday, for all the right reasons.  I enjoyed time with family and friends.  I got to spend the days with my daughter and the hubs, and togetherness is truly what Christmas is about, for me.

But… in one fell swoop, I was suddenly reminded why I have a sincere disdain for the season.  I don’t want to share all of it, but it was related to the sexual abuse I endured for years as a child.  Suffice it to say that I really had no memory of the awfulness until Saturday night.  And it all came back to me.  With one swift movement, I went from trying to enjoy the day to really being consumed by the memories of one of the worst atrocities I’ve ever lived through.  It hurt.  I hurt.  I still hurt.  I cried and cried and cried.

I went on, through the weekend.  I mostly slept.  Besides still being on the recovering end of bronchitis (which is, in itself, exhausting), I just felt like sleep was the better choice.  I was tired. But I tried to be amicable.  Cheery was probably more than I could manage, but pleasant was as far as I could make it.

Xanax has helped control the mood swings.  Thankfully.  But unless there is a pill that makes you forget things, I sort of have to soldier through it, for now.

I fall between anger and sadness and guilt and self-loathing and disappointment and emptiness.

In a hole_Courtesy of Amy Holsinger

This is what I feel like.

For any of you who have faced depression and anxiety,you know what an oppressive companion it can be in your life.  I’m trying not to listen to the terrible things that are playing in my head.  But coming to terms with the terrible things that others have done to you can be a challenge.  I get the whole “forgiveness” thing.  Truth-be-told, I don’t want to.  Forgiveness is defined as releasing someone from retribution or debt; concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake.

Here’s the thing: I won’t ever stop demanding retribution.  I won’t ever release him from it.  I won’t ever conclude resentment.  I won’t, and I will not.  I know all about the bullshit, “Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.”  Nope.  Forgiveness is also something you give to someone who deserves it.  And he doesn’t.

And I’m angry about it.  Still.  Knowledge isn’t always power.  I was fine in the blissful ignorance that I kept company with.  As far as I was concerned, I just didn’t like the holiday.  It was fine with me.  But now I know.  I wish I didn’t.  Knowledge isn’t always power.

“They say time heals everything, but I’m still waiting.”

P.S.  My apologies to my readers.  How much does it suck to read this boo-hoo sad story?  I’ll get back to semi-normal soon.  I promise.

I’m just not that into you

I’ve been having a pretty good week. Riding this wave of contentment has felt great. I haven’t been looking for reasons to be dumpy, and when some reasons have presented themselves, I’ve dismissed them and moved on. I’m not sticking my head in the sand, I’m just comfortable with not letting anxiety and depression take hold of me. It’s been great.

But it’s funny how it can sneak in a back door, when you least expect it.

So there I was, minding my own business, working on a Christmas present for my dad (I’m giving him a framed family portrait of our whole family – but having to Photoshop some people into it, which is somewhat time-consuming). I was browsing through old photos so I could find the people I need and I stumble on an old portrait session of myself with my mother. And I was thinner. And pretty. Wow… I was so pretty.

Now, two things happened:

  1. There is a really great picture of me with her, but I didn’t want her in the photograph with me. At all. Like….not.even.a.little. So I pulled it up and removed her, digitally. Which kind of messed with me.
  2. Spending that much time on a picture causes you to actually *look* at it for a while. And the whole time I’m looking at my face thinking, “You were perfect back then. Look at your face shape and your eyes and your lips. You were stunning.” Were. Was. And then….that messed with me.

And so the pain took hold. And for a while I was stuck with it. I was remembering how painful that visit from my mother was. I was remembering the emotional turmoil I was in. And then….I was remembering how it felt to feel pretty and desirable. To be fair, that picture was taken only 15 lbs from where I’m at now. But those 15 lbs might as well have been 150 lbs last night.

I remembered the mistakes I made that led me to disordered eating. I remembered the damage I caused my body. I remembered the damage I caused my soul. I started recounting all my mistakes. Friends I lied to, horrible things I said to myself….the selfish way I neglected my husband and child. I knew, in my head, that the girl in that photo wasn’t better than me. Actually…she was way worse off than I am. But she was me. And I am her. Last night, I just couldn’t escape that.

I went to bed and had very restless sleep. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, I had a nightmare. Among other, very personal things that happened in the dream, there was an ugly little tar-covered demon chasing me. I kept trying to get away from it, but it was always right there, just reaching out to get me. It was scary. And sad. I woke up screaming and terrified.

I was awake for a while after that. And thought a lot of about what that dream meant. And it occurred to me: that demon was *inside* that girl in the picture. But not in me now. Sure, I have to be vigilant against it. If I let my guard down, it’s too easy to slip into bad habits. But that thing isn’t in me now. And it’s clear that I don’t want it.

I did fall back asleep, finally. And woke up this morning feeling a little relieved. Although it was scary, my subconscious was reminding me that I’m not in that place anymore. I’m just not that into you, Bulimia.

And then, I was reminded that I was beautiful, and real. And human.

It’s probably a break through for me. I was able to feel the pain, and move on without it. That’s a big deal in these parts of the world. It feels good to be able to move past it. Yay for me.

When you’ve got nothin’, you’ve got nothin’ to lose

**Just to start out, for those who’ve visited my blog before: check the sweet new logo I designed. I also messed around with the background, too. I’m super happy with it. And now my blog feels a little more like mine. I thought of it in an anxiety-riddled sleepless night. Yup…this is what I think about at 3am while I’m wide awake staring darkness in the face: logos. I actually think of other things, too. People… but that’s not this post.

This post is about my job. I haven’t documented how awful my job is, because it really isn’t. The reason I am looking for a new job (unsuccessfully, so far), is because the pressure of what’s expected of me has been too much to bear. So you might be wondering what I do. I’m in marketing (and design), trying to expand a business that’s been slowly dying. Additionally, I haven’t been given the time or tools to be successful. And the worst part is that I actually hold myself accountable to those unrealistic expectations.

But now I’m starting to lose my hold on my give-a-damn. I just don’t care, anymore, about that place. It’s so unhealthy. And today, I told my boss that I was taking meds so I could handle working there. It was somewhat liberating. He said, “We need to get you off Xanax. You shouldn’t have to take that.”

…..At first I could feel the irritation creep up my back and take residence in my neck… but I simply said, “You’re right. I shouldn’t. But we should take a break from the ideal world we think we should live in, and look at the reality we actually live in.” Score one for me. And that empowered me. I actually felt better than I have in a while. I told him, plainly and directly, that I didn’t blame him. I don’t. But that my limit had been reached a while ago, and it’s not acceptable for me to live with the pressure and unrealistic expectations and slowly lose the battle everyday. Until that changes, I have to do what’s best for me. And I’m proud of that.

A special shout out to the amazing friend that always believes in me. It’s been because of that love and support that I’ve been able to continue and push through some of the deep, dark places I’ve been in.

The last couple of days have been better. Knowing that I have direction has released me from some of the weight that was crushing me.

That and……… I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been drinking my fair share of milk, lately. Yum. I see a new ad campaign ahead for dairy farmers:
“Milk….it keeps you out of the loony bin.”

The battle resumes

I’m back to the battle. It’s been a tough several days in my part of the world. But in the last week or so, I’ve made some pretty big decisions.

Part of the reason I have been struggling so much is the sheer unrelenting stress that I’ve been under at work. I’m a sticker-outer. I’ll wait, in a holding pattern, for a very long time when I’m unsure about something. Although I tend to be spontaneous with little choices (like, jeans or slacks today?), when it comes to the bg stuff, I’ll wait it out. Often times, I wait too long.

In the case of work, I allowed myself to wait too long. And last week, on my little break from work (6 glorious days off!), I made the decision to start looking for a new job. It wasn’t/isn’t to make that choice, but I had decided that I’ll never get better when things aren’t improving. All I’m doing is masking symptoms with the meds. And… I don’t want to be on meds forever.

Mediocrity has become the acceptable form of performance at my office. That isn’t something I handle well. I’m not tolerant of people who choose not to put forth their best efforts. Every now and then? Sure… we all have days when we decide that we can’t focus on things too long. But all the time…every day, this is how it is. I can’t handle it anymore. Their shortcomings become my responsibility. And I literally can’t take on any more.

So… there we are. I re-did my resume. I started job searching. I’ve sent out a few. No responses, yet.

There is a little bit of fear in that. I’m pretty fragile, right now. I’m putting on a very tough face for the world, but I’m breaking underneath. Hopelessness… it’s the worst. And when you’re putting yourself out there to be judged, personally and professionally, it is a little scary. So… I’ve been really struggling, inside.

I’m afraid of many things. Truthfully – they’re all the unlikely things. I’m afraid of falling down stairs. I’m afraid of zombies. I’m afraid of boogeymen under my bed. Turns out, I’m also afraid of failure. Which I realize is a very real thing for most people.

We make choices based on pleasure and pain. But pain is always the stronger motivator. And for too long, I’ve tried to justify the work ethic in the company I’m with. But now, the pain has become too much and I’d rather face judgement and failure from prospective employers than the misery at the office.

I’m praying, hard, every day. God… show me the way out. Give me strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Give me grace. He’s listening; I’m sure of it. And He’s sending me angels, and support, everyday.

It’s a slow process.

If you’ve been in this situation, you’ll understand that.
But know that you’re not alone. And be careful of allowing yourself to isolate. You may think that people are tired of hearing about it. You may feel like you’re a burden. You may even be tired of talking about it. That’s okay. First – the people who love you will never tire of helping you. Second – the definition of burden is “a heavy load”. It is heavy to *you*, but they have the strength to help you carry it for a while. And third – you don’t have to talk about it to talk. Just be sure you’re talking. Silence has a tendency to fill up with the very worst things.

If you haven’t ever dealt with depression or any other mental illness… maybe this will help:
There are good days, and there bad days. Everyone has those. But my bad days seem worse. And personal. Like, something goes wrong and it’s like everything in my body is screaming at me what an idiot I am. And then, because I’m already feeling like crap, every little thing that happens reinforces what a terrible human being I am. The ability to “let it go” and recover is hard.
If you’re watching someone go through it, be patient. Support them. Remind them that they are a wonderful person, even if they don’t feel that way. Ask how you can help. They may not know the answer, but it’ll mean everything that you asked. Take it one day at a time, and remind them to do the same.

The goal isn’t to only have good days. The goal is to have less bad days and more good days. The goal is to be able to identify when you’re overwhelmed and handle it in appropriate ways. The goal is to be able to recover.

You may have to make changes in your life to allow that to happen. You’ll do this when you’re ready. And when you’re ready, trust me, you’ll know. Until then… be patient with yourself.

My BFF said to me, “It’s okay to lose a battle or two. It’s fine. Don’t lose the war. Keep fighting.”

I will. I am. This war has only one victor – and that’s this girl. And you can quote me on that.

Magical pathways (and why I shouldn’t be allowed out of the house)

Stay tuned for the actual point of this post, but here’s the “is-she-crazy-or-not” update.

That really great feeling from a few days ago?  It’s gone.  But I’m not quite buried in the fog, again.  I’m just…neutral.  Thanksgiving was nice.  No pressure.  I cooked.  We ate.  Watched football.  It was lovely.  I was feeling a little anxiety early on, but by the end of the evening it had passed.  Now I’m neither up or down.  Just… I’m here.  And I’m content with that today.

Christmas madness has begun.  I don’t do the whole “Black Friday” thing.  I’m pretty sure that buffets and Black Friday bring out the worst in humanity.  There’s no social order; it’s total anarchy.  Plus, don’t even get me started on all the Christmas music you’re forced to endure while shopping with all the other wackos.

I did go out, but it wasn’t until 1pm.  That’s a normal hour of the day to shop.  In my opinion, at least.  Which leads me to the topic of this post:

So there we were at The Great Indoors, which is closing in our neck of the woods.  Maybe they’re all closing?  It would make sense – I saw a robe hook for the bathroom door that cost $44.  For $44, I will drape it over the toilet like everyone else. And that was where the ridculousness started.  That place was bankruptcy waiting to happen.

At any rate, the hubs and I are walking around the store and half-snickering, half-actually-looking at the “closeout prices” of random items.  I put “closeout prices” in quotes because I’m certain the prices we saw were their sales prices.  Who pays $20 for a towel?  A regular, white bath towel?  I rubbed it all over and a genie did *not* pop out and grant me three wishes. Not even one wish.  A genie didn’t even pop out and scowl at me.  Bottom line: considering there was no genie involved, the towel was clearly over priced.

We continue on this adventure, making mostly quiet snide comments about robe hooks and the $7000 round hot tub that was “clearanced” from $8000.

Then, we stumble upon this gem.  This beautiful wardrobe closet.  I’m marveling at it, and say to the hubs, “You think it’s the path to Narnia?  Or maybe the Mirror of Erised from Harry Potter?”  At this point, the sales person came over to inform me that this sweet little piece of furniture is 125 years old, and was originally priced at $22,000.  The good people at The Great Indoors are willing to part with it for only $7500.  I say, with the straightest face, “Do you think it is the path to Narnia?”  She looked at me, at first, like she *thought* she heard what I said, but couldn’t believe someone would ask such a thing.  So she says, “Excuse me?”

Me: Do you think this might be the path to Narnia?
Her: (blank look) Um….
Me: OR… it could be that mirror from Harry Potter.  The one where he sees his dead parents in the mirror.  I don’t have dead parents.  So all I see is me.
Her: Um…. (still looking at me like I have a cat on my face)
Me: I’m going with Narnia.
Her: (gathering her whereabouts at this point) *clearing her throat* It is from France. (it’s cute… she’s trying to stay collected and professional)
Me: Hmmmm… Narnians could be French?  I suppose anything is possible.
Her: …..Maybe?

At this point she literally walks away *just* before I asked her to open it so I could investigate the passage.  Too bad.  It could’ve been a whole new adventure!

And this is why I shouldn’t be allowed out in public.