We all have stressful days. Some might even have stressful weeks, months or years. I don’t really know anyone who is stress free. But I believe that, like mourning, everyone deals with stress in different ways.
Some might be passive; hiding their stress until they erupt like Vesuvius. Some might be aggressive; letting out their frustrations with a hair-trigger and quick response. And as with most everything, there are those who are in between.
While I don’t consider myself to be an angry person, when I am angry, it can flash, but I think I’ve learned to not allow it to 1) define me; 2) let it take me over and hold onto it for too long, and 3) mostly important, I do whatever I can to never hurt someone in anger. And with stress, I tend to push it down; pretend it doesn’t exist and try to humor my way out of it.
After all, they say laughter is the best medicine, right?
No matter how stressed I get, I do try to deal with it. Not always in the most productive ways, but at least I try. But note that I said “try”.
I often joke that if I was any sort of a drinker, with all the stress, I’d be falling down drunk all the time. Thank goodness I’m not. So how do I deal with stress? That’s a good question. And sometimes I feel like I really don’t have any idea how to deal with it.
If you’ve been reading the postings in this blog lately, you’ll recognize a pattern. When I named one recent blog “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing”…I shit you not, I wasn’t kidding. So like with what seems like everything in my life, I don’t have a good answer for what I do to deal with stress. Most times, it seems, I just get to the point of frustration and end up crying it out. Which I hate. I absolutely hate crying about anything – good or bad. It tends to make me feel physically worse. So I’m not one for “crying it out” – at least as a remedy for myself.
So, I did some research to find out what “others” recommend for relieving stress. Some made me giggle. Some made me roll my eyes. A couple even had me picturing myself looking like a rolly-polly Buddha, as I attempt to find my “calm”.
I wish I could say I was inspired. I can’t say I wasn’t; but I’m still not sure. I have been wishing I could do yoga over the past couple of years. Hell, I even have a mat. Mind you, it’s still rolled up and hasn’t been removed from the cardboard that it holding it rolled up. But good intentions…
I’m not really made for yoga. Again, I wish I was. I have friends who swear by it. And I admit I had to look up what “hot yoga” was, but the end result is that I’m really just not very yoga-like in body right now, even if my mind is.
As with most everything else in my life, I’m not very disciplined. I often wonder how I even made it this far in life with such a hap-hazard way of living, but here I am…all the hamsters spinning on their wheels in my mind, trying to get to the finish. Here’s hoping my finish isn’t for a long time.
But I digress…
Discipline. Err…no…Self-discipline: the correction or regulation of oneself for the sake of improvement.
It’s really mind-boggling how much self-discipline can be, and should be, applied to so many facets of my life. From weight-loss, to house-cleaning, to exercise, to dealing with anxiety, stress and frustration. I wish I could say that I’ve mastered it in at least one thing in my life, but I’d be lying. So, no big pearls of wisdom from me (again. sorry!) on how to be more self-disciplined, but I will offer some things that can be done to deal with stress and anxiety that others have suggested, and some of which I will try to do for myself.
First…here’s a chart to help:
But for me…these:
- When you feel the stress/anxiety or frustration building, step out of the situation and take deep breaths…and count to 10. Repeat several times until you can recognize you are calmer.
- Realize you’re not perfect so stop expecting yourself to be (and others). Do what you can and be happy with the results. Try.
- Exercise is a great way to deal with stress. Even if you do 10 minutes more movement a day, it will have a great effect on your well-being. But certainly, try to get at least 30 minutes a day.
- Eat healthy and get enough sleep. Filling yourself with junk is only going to make you feel like junk. And if you’re tired from lack of sleep, you’ll only feel that much more worse. If you’re able, try taking a short nap during the day when you’re feeling a bit more tired than usual.
And the two biggest ones that I have to deal with (besides all of the above) are being positive and putting the things that stress me out into perspective.
I’ll start with the perspective one first. As I can be sometimes – big shocker I know – a bit over-dramatic or in many cases, over-think a situation. I easily jump to conclusions, thinking about the “what-ifs” and just add even more stress and anxiety to myself. I am a huge “feeler”. I live on emotions – good or bad – and I can quite easily send my own into a tizzy faster than you can say, “But-” I’ve talked before about the emotional roller-coaster and I’m one of its regular riders. I wish I could say that I’ll change but I’m not sure how or even if, so I deal with it as it comes. And often not very well.
So it comes down to asking myself, “does this really matter?” Is what I’m stressing about that big of a deal? Did I make it out to be a bigger deal than it really is? In the grand scheme of things, will this matter in an hour, tomorrow or next year? Most times, the answer is, of course, “no”. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that something stressed me. It’s just a matter of understanding that if it’s not as important as I made it out to be, I need to let it go (and quickly)…because life is too short to dwell in shit that doesn’t matter. Right?
And then there’s being “positive”. I’ve been trying to do this for so long. Invariably, it doesn’t last. I get sucked into the “pity party for one” vortex (by myself) and the next thing I know, I’m Chicken Little and the sky is falling. I hate that I can’t just be positive all the time. I know people that really seem to be. And I do hope that they really, truly are and that they aren’t “faking” it. And I really hate that I forget just how blessed I am. Too often I forget and need to be reminded. Nothing is wrong with that, per se, but I think people who are genuinely more positive more often, are the happiest.
When I said I live on emotions, I also meant that I take things personally. I don’t like when people don’t like me. I want people to love me. I want people to want to be my friend. So I take it personally when they don’t. Yet at the same time, while I know I shouldn’t live to please anyone but myself, I’m not wired that way. I tend to care more for others than myself.
And I’ve been told before that this is wrong. Yet, that’s what I am. That’s what I do. I spend a lot of time trying to help people I care about in different ways. I don’t always do it as often as I wish and sometimes that makes me feel guilty, and often, selfish. Which I know is absurd, but alas…we’re talking about me here.
So, for example, my birthday was recently. Without sounding egotistical, I did expect to see some Happy Birthday wishes on my Facebook. And I did. And I want to say before anything else, I was grateful for each and every one of them because it meant that those people took the time out of their busy/hectic/stressful/happy lives to send me their best wishes. While it might have only taken them 10 seconds to do so – I appreciated it more than they could know. Then there were those who wrote me longer messages, and those were so appreciated as well.
But the “feelings” part of me…as ridiculous as this might sound, was disappointed somewhat that some people – some “friends” – didn’t say anything. No acknowledgement at all. Yet, I know they were on Facebook because I saw their posts, their comments to others’ posts etc. And I felt a little hurt. Then I felt foolish for feeling that way.
I don’t have friends because I expect something from them. And I do try to do my best to give some attention to everyone, but in all honestly, more so to those I feel closer to. And yet, just as when I lost my beautiful Ginny last month, or announced I was moving back home to Canada…my birthday passing with none of those three somewhat life-changing events being recognized by some, it felt…hurtful.
On top of that, many who did send me best wishes…some were from people that I’ve only just met (and most not yet in person), and they were more than kind. In some cases, those people acknowledged all three of those life events, yet as I said, there were some that I expected to hear from (or hoped) and got nothing. After the loss of Ginny and that happened, I told my therapist that I guess I have to realize that some people might be more selfish than others.
Now I’m sure there are many reasons they didn’t “say” anything. Maybe they didn’t see the many posts from others about my birthday, or Ginny passing, because they have many Facebook friends. Or maybe, just maybe, they don’t consider me to be a friend at the same level of friend that I do of them. I considered this and realized that if that’s the case, there’s nothing I can do about it and I have to accept it and move on.
So, one of the many things I need to learn, which adds in my stress levels, is that not everyone is going to see my worth. I have difficulty with this for myself, but I stress as much as I can to others that I care about, how much they are worth. To me. And to others. And maybe my expectations of others is too high. Or maybe because of my self-esteem issues that I feel this need to have as many people like me as I possibly can because it’s the only way I can feel worthy.
But how can I expect others to see my worth, if I don’t see it in myself?
And that there is the rub.
I posted this today on Facebook with the caption “Man, I wish I could just let it go. Not sure why it’s so important that I even care. But I do.”
And I do care. Probably far too much. About everything. About wanting to be liked, loved, admired, and seen as a great person. And some people will never see that in me; never feel that about me. And I have to learn to accept that. And to not care.
The absolute funniest (ie: ridiculous) part about that is that I am well loved by a very close knit group of people that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world, and I’m eternally grateful for each and everyone one of them…but my own feelings about myself won’t allowed me to say “that’s all you need” so I get emotional when someone might not like or love me back.
I’m suddenly hearing Barbra Streisand’s “Feelings” in my head. Grief. I’m losing it! I don’t even LIKE that song!
Till next time…
Blessings and love to all.
It’s been about six weeks since I last posted my tirade about not knowing what the hell I’m doing. All I can tell you is that I still don’t, but I’m more comfortable with that knowledge than I was six weeks ago.
This is the post I had started prior to the last one. But alas, you know how the saying by Samuel Johnson goes…”Hell is paved with good intentions.” In this case, no matter how often I wish to post, it just doesn’t seem to happen. And lately, I’ve felt like I’ve been a bit in Hell anyway. So, the quoted reference to Hell is quite apropos.
As I tend to do, I always start these posts with one specific topic in mind. If you’ve read any of my posts before, you know that I don’t always follow that topic very strictly. Be it the crazy roaming hamsters in my head, or that I just stumble upon a more pertinent subject, I really do try to stick to one topic.
This post is intended to be about getting back on the horse, so to speak. That is, when you feel you’ve failed or have been unable to continue with your journey and lost your way. Fall off the wagon. Fall off the horse. Whatever idiom you want to use – I know you know what I mean.
It’s not even to say that I’ve fallen off the wagon. I liken it to merely dangling over the side, where occasionally my ass hits a railroad tie. So there I am, holding on, bouncing around and unable to get a grip.
Yep, that about sums up my life of late. I wish I could say that I was only talking about my weight loss journey but I’d be lying. So aside from the wagon adventures, my life of late has been something akin to trying to thread a needle, while diving out of an airplane without a parachute, all the while trying to sing Puccini’s Nessun Dorma aria in key (which would never happen).
Normally my excuses for not writing as often are lack of a subject, lack of enthusiasm or general forgetfulness. Pick one. Pick them all. But I believe that for the first time since I started this blog that my “excuses” are actually more valid than those in the past. So, I’ll briefly (haha!) explain what they are before moving onto the actual subject of this posting: getting back on the horse.
So, those who know me personally have found out that I recently announced my intention to move back to my hometown in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. I’ve been living in the US since 1998 when I married an American. I won’t get into that any more, but I’ve been alone now for 10 years and am without my mom, family and my longtime friends – many of whom have been friends of mine since elementary school and/or high school. Once the decision was made, I had to start the logistics of when to move back, what to take back with me or not, what to do with those things that I’m not taking, and what is all involved with moving back to your homeland. One would think that it wouldn’t be that hard; one would be incorrect.
Okay maybe “hard” isn’t the correct word. Let’s say, confusing. At least to those of us who already have a head full of hamsters who are working overtime. I nearly broke down in a panic attack a month or so ago when I checked on what I need to do about moving back, including getting my car over there. Thankfully a longtime friend who works in the customs brokerage business has been a Godsend to me (thank you Susan!) – helping me with paperwork, what to do and when. I am honestly not sure if I could have gotten this far without her help. It probably wasn’t that hard but I was already feeling overwhelmed (re: my previous post).
On top of preparing to move – going through nearly 20 years worth of stuff by myself to see what I’m keeping and what I’m not – and only being able to do so when I could actually find the energy and my feet weren’t revolting. So, for what most people could probably do in a weekend, it has taken me months. While I’m not moving back until July, I need to have a yard sale to get rid of nearly everything so I have had to push myself to get through everything to be ready for that as well. Thankfully I have a friend who is going to help me with that as well.
Add to the pressures I’ve felt to finish my book with the fear that if I didn’t keep working on it, I would let it lapse once again and that terrified me so I’ve been plugging away at it when I can, knowing I still had so much more to do.
Then in mid-April, my beautiful kitty Ginny who had been dealing with diabetes for 6 months, fell ill and I had to make the hard decision to let her go. I didn’t want her to suffer any more – she was having seizures more often and it broke my heart to let her go.
Lastly, my job. I won’t get into the details but I have given my notice and my job has now been posted for candidates. While it’s my choice to quit my job and move back home, it is a bittersweet time for me since I’ve been with this university for nearly 20 years.
So, it’s been a rather emotional 2017 for me (on top, of course, many other things going on in my life and the world, but those were the highlights). This is, for the most part, why I feel partially off the wagon. All the overwhelming feelings I’ve had with everything that I was going through, the idea of trying to also be more strict with my weightloss felt like it would be just too much.
Now maybe that’s another excuse, but if you’ve ever gone through several things at once, you know that you’re not in the right frame of mind to concentrate on everything. I felt as if I was being pulled in a hundred different directions and so I made the choice to go a bit lax on the weightloss. With that, I also made the choice to not berate myself for my decision – no matter the result.
I haven’t stepped on a scale in some time. Mostly because right now, the damn scale is covered in stuff for the yard sale – as is most everything in my apartment – but I do intend to step on it tomorrow or Monday. Regardless of the results, I’m going to try to be more conscious of what I’m putting in my mouth from now on, but I still have two months of mega-crazyiness to get through so all I can do is try and not freak out while doing so.
If only it was this easy:
Now having just had another birthday, it’s another year filled with some regrets but also some blessings. I do hope to check back sooner rather than later, but I do hope you’ll understand if I don’t. Till then…
Love and blessings to all.
Well, once again I’ve been remiss in writing more often. Life has a way of getting in the way of the things that we really want to do. Case in point, I had planned (hoped) to finish my first book Kiwi Kiss and have it published by Christmas. That is more and more likely not going to happen. Working full time (and often extra time), preparing for my trip home for the holidays, etc, all just seem to get in the way of finishing the book.
And unlike some writers I know, I am not yet quite disciplined enough to force myself to find the time and just write. Honestly, some of it is mental for me too. If those crazy-assed hamsters in my mind don’t slow down, it’s very hard for me to sit and concentrate on writing my story. Regardless of my excuses, it has been some time since I’ve written and for that, I apologize.
I know I have probably mentioned in past postings the fact that during the summer months here in North America, I suffer. Greatly. I don’t do well in the heat, especially when there is a lot of humidity. I can’t explain why – I’ve always been like that. That I’m covered in layers of fat probably helps with that as well.
But this past summer in New York State was atrocious. The heat and humidity were so bad that as I stated in my last couple of posts – I felt like shit. October turned out to be a much better month for me; ditto for November. I managed to drop 10.5 pounds in 4 weeks – the first time since late Spring that the scale was finally going down.
The cooler weather meant I could breathe better, albeit whenever I exert myself in the slightest, I am breathing heavy – but at least I can breathe better just merely sitting, whereas in the summer I couldn’t do that. Of course, I had a cold 3 weeks ago – the cough is still lingering and I’m not able to rid myself of it yet. I’m on antibiotics for the oral surgery I had a month ago but they are not helping with the cough. I swear sometimes I feel as if I’m a smoker.
But I digress…
While I’m still tired often, I’m not as exhausted as I was in the hot summer months. I’m able to move a bit better, feel a bit better physically but also mentally. Clearly I need to find a place that is relatively cooler all year long and move there. I don’t know how many more summers like this past one I can handle.
So Winter is my friend. I hate the snow. Someone as clumsy as me is never safe in snow or slippery conditions. I mean, I’m the person who fractured two bones in her foot just from bowling. Bowling! But I feel 115% better in the Winter than I do any other time of the year and while most people hate it, it’s really the only time I feel alive.
And I can wear big winter clothes and not feel so “fat” and exposed.
So I continue making baby steps, doing what I can without overburdening myself so I don’t lose the momentum. The best thing I can hope for is that I drop enough this winter that by next Spring when it starts to warm up, I’ll be down enough that the heat of the summer months won’t affect me as bad as they did…but more importantly, it would be a great start to continuing on my journey and having it be a successful one.
I am continuing my fight. I have the best supporters in my family and friends and people around the world I’ve never met – and I’m grateful for them all!
I’m never giving up. I’m going to keep on…keeping on (Thanks Brandon).
Peace and blessings to everyone, especially as we enter the holiday season. May you all find your joie de vivre.
I have to give mega kudos to people who have had to deal with physical disabilities who still manage to not only get out of bed every day, but live their lives to their fullest, and are often accomplishing so much more than the rest of us mere mortals. No joke. I’m in awe of these people. Their immense strength. Their never-give-up attitude. Their abilities to overcome so much.
I envy these people.
That’s certainly not to say that they don’t have their bad days, but their spirit just doesn’t allow them to pity themselves for very long before they are up and moving again. I sit here and think about the pain I’m in right now, which realistically I know is nothing compared to others who live every day with even more pain, and I feel sorry for myself. And I really shouldn’t.
Not just because I don’t nearly have the physical problems that others have, but also because unlike so many others, I can actually do something about most of my pain issues. By losing weight. By moving more. By fighting through the pain, which in most cases is temporary, and just do it. I’ve been told there isn’t much I can do about the neuropathy pain in my feet (nerve damage from diabetes/hereditary), but I certainly can perhaps alleviate some of the pain by having much less weight for these tiny feet to lug around on a daily basis.
Yet instead, especially of late, I’ve chosen to do nothing about my weight and it shows. Both on the scale, but more so how my body feels. And honestly, it feels like shit.
I can barely move most days. My knees scream. My lower back revolts. Getting up out of my office chair or the couch is an endeavor of great strength – of which sometimes I just don’t have. This morning I feel back onto the bed (in a sitting position) when I stood up and my knees said, “Yeah…nope.” And boom…back on my ass on the bed. Thankfully I landed on the bed. And don’t even get me started on how something as simple as taking a shower or going to the bathroom turns into an Olympic-like event whereby I end up sweaty and out of breath.
Two weeks ago I hit the highest weight I’ve ever been at. I’ve been wallowing in the shame of letting myself get this bad, to the point where I’m so aware of trying to breathe, trying to move or heaven forbid, trying to sleep – which has eluded me most nights for months.
So this week, I (again) renewed my resolve to keep going. I am very tired of “trying” because that’s worked so well for me up until now [insert sarcastic facial expression here] but I also know that I have to keep trying. No matter how much I want to swear to high heaven whenever someone says that to me. I know they mean well. I do. But my frustration at myself doesn’t alleviate by such words of encouragement, no matter how well meaning they are.
So this week I’ve been eating better, trying to move more but it seems that whenever I do this, I invariably have to deal with something “extra” that really makes it hard to keep going sometimes. In this case, besides the usual aches and pains, my sciatica has been acting up for the past couple days. Shooting pain from my butt down my left leg like someone is pulling on the muscles in that leg, whether I’m sitting or laying.
But I have to be honest. This morning the pain was enough that I wanted to just sit and cry and had thoughts of “why bother”. But then I see people like war veteran/hero Derek Weida who is missing one of his legs. He’s a hulking big man who works out regularly, does video posts on FB and tells it like it is. [https://www.facebook.com/derekweida/?fref=ts}. He often posts about his “down” moments but then he kicks himself in the ass and gets going. I’ve watched his work out videos and I shake my head in amazement because he does so much, despite missing part of a leg. Things that I probably couldn’t do even if I was in shape. He’s an inspiration, but he seems humble enough that he’d say he wasn’t.
Photo credit: Derek Weida
So going back to what I said about envying those people with physical disabilities who have had to deal with so much more than me. I’m talking about people like war veterans who have missing limbs (like Mr. Weida I mention above), people who are born with issues that prevent them from walking, talking, seeing etc. There are so many inspirational people out there who, despite whatever their “issues” are, they don’t let it define them. They don’t let it beat them. They continue to fight, especially when they have their moments they don’t want to fight anymore. But they do.
Another great example of someone making the most of their life is BT Urruela. [https://www.facebook.com/BTUrruela/?fref=ts]. BT is a very handsome man, but also a war veteran and hero, who lost part of his leg. He now writes books, models, and travels the country on speaking engagements. He’s also a personal trainer.
Photo credit: BT Urruela
I want to stop wallowing in my own self pity and take a page from their book. Because as I said, unlike them, I can do something about my issues. Yet despite both having lost a leg, they don’t let it stop them from doing anything. They’re both so inspirational in their own ways.
I do also hope that neither of them take offense of my using them in this blog posting in any way other than in my admiration of them. I know they inspire so many others and wanted to give them the credit they deserve for their tenacity and inspiration.
I was told that I need to work on being more positive. In some ways, I think that is probably nearly as hard as losing weight, especially when I really have no idea how to do that. I can say the words. I can post the “positive” quotes and want to believe them, and maybe for a brief time, I do believe them, but then something happens and I invariably fall back into the negative vibes.
And I hate it. I really do. I don’t like to be so negative. I want to wake up every morning and look forward to the day. Look forward to another having lived through the night. To look forward to just living.
And I hate being this big. I hate not being able to do such simple things. And most of all I hate that I can’t seem to do what I need to do to fix myself. But I’m trying. Again.
My tattoo says “Joie de vivre” The Joy of Living.
Because that’s what I’m really striving to do.
Warning: I use the “F” word a lot in this posting. I use it a lot normally so if you know me, this won’t be a surprise, but this is just a word of caution to those who might not care for the word…
I think maybe I missed my “calling” and should have been an actress. I’m almost always pretending to be someone else; something else. It’s gotten to where I’m not even conscious of doing it most times.
You know that old joke that if a woman says she’s “fine”…
Yeah, that. But while that’s funny and is normally meant more to make fun of men’s inability to understand women, there’s also the more serious side to when a woman’s says she’s “fine” which is the completely opposite. She’s not fine. Not at all.
Some of the times, I really am fine. I’m okay. I’m good. Things are going okay, or well. And I’m okay. Sometimes.
But sometimes if I say “I’m fine” I’m really not. But I have this incessant need to not have everyone know it. No one. Not my therapist. Not my mother. I just don’t want to “share” because if I say how I really feel (which isn’t always clear to me either), it opens up everyone to have to discuss it. And there are times, most times, when I don’t want to discuss it. Talking about it doesn’t always makes me feel better. It really doesn’t; makes me feel worse.
Sometimes, for brief moments, I forget that I’m really not fine until something happens that reminds me. It could be weeks where I really am fine, but most times it’s mere hours, and if I’m lucky, a day or two.
I post jokes. I respond to posts with smiley face emojis. I try to mask everything I feel with jokes, sarcastic comments and sometimes even that helps me to forget. Briefly.
So I say “I’m fine” in hopes that people will just take the hint and move on. Some ask and don’t really care how you feel – it’s a nicety only. And there are those that ask because they really care, but I never really want to have the discussion with them about why I’m not fine.
Because most of the time we’ve already had the conversion. It’s like a fucking bad case of Déjà vu. Because most of the time the same fucking thing that had me upset before, is the same fucking thing that has me upset then.
My weight. My fucking weight.
That’s not to say that I don’t get upset or emotional about other things. I surely do. My job. My lack of a social life. My ridiculous feelings for someone I have zero chance with. One of my pets being sick. You know, the usual stuff in life that gets to you. That gets to everyone. Normal shit.
But my weight is not normal.
Worse is my apparent lack of ability to do anything about it. Sure, I do something for a day. A week. Maybe many weeks. I worked with a great woman who got me on track and then I went out on my own. At the time I was positive based on what I’d learned to strike out on my own and succeed. I even felt a weight lifted from my shoulders that I didn’t have to be accountable to someone else so I could avoid the anxiety of feeling I had to please her. But I didn’t keep succeeding. As with every other time in my life, I invariably fail.
Every. Fucking. Time. And you know what makes me more upset about that than anything is that I have no idea why. Why can’t I do it? Why can’t I get motivated? Why can’t I say motivated? Why do I give up? Why do I sabotage myself? I have NO idea. No one does.
There’s no one in the room with me. There’s no enabler here. It’s all on me. All. Of. It.
I’m not a stupid woman but I have to tell you, sometimes I feel like the most stupid woman on the planet.
A couple of months ago my therapist told me that if I can’t do this yet it’s because I haven’t hit rock bottom. And I have to tell you. I cried at that. Then I left her place and I cried. A lot. Because if this isn’t rock bottom, I don’t want to know what is.
And you know what happened? Nothing. Well, that’s not completely true. My weight did change. It went up! As I write this, I am at the highest weight I have EVER been. Ever. Every time the scale goes up, I lose a bit more of sanity. My heart breaks a little more. My anxiety about my failures goes up and I wonder how long do I have left to live.
And it’s all on me.
And apparently the fact that I can barely move and that this summer the heat and humidity have made me feel more like a bigger blob of shit than any other time hasn’t been enough. Apparently that I can barely breath some days, and when I lay down to sleep hasn’t been enough. Apparently when I sweat just struggling to do the simplest things that most people don’t even think about hasn’t been enough. Nothing has been enough. And apparently this…
isn’t fucking rock bottom.
But let’s get this straight though – I’m not depressed. I’ve been depressed and this isn’t it. I’m not breaking down. I’m not depressed.
I’m angry. I’m pissed. And I’m upset with my life, how I’ve lived it (for the most part) until now and how I’ve let my health get so far out of control that I’m now struggling to just live.
So I act like I’m an Academy Award winner that everything is just super and most people, if not all, are none the wiser. And that has been just fine with me because otherwise it only reminds them, and me, of what a failure I have been up till now. And everyone will say to me…
“Oh Dani, you’re not a failure.”
“Just keep going”
“You can do this”
“Don’t give up”
And sometimes I believe it myself. But it doesn’t last.
I know losing weight is hard. I fucking know it. I’ve known it for 30 years. And it’s not getting easier and never will. And I wish I had some magic pill that would just fix the problem but there’s no such thing.
And the worst feeling is feeling like I can’t do this just because it’s hard. How do you not feel like a failure then? How do you not get to the point where you stop trying to do anything because if it’s hard you won’t do it?
How do you think you look to others, but most especially yourself, when you won’t even try to work hard to get what you want? I can’t stand people who float through life and expect they deserve everything they want. That they don’t have to work hard for it. But I don’t work on losing weight and I’m then surprised when I don’t and get mad at myself. There’s a word for that:
And you know what I dislike most of all? Hypocrites. Ergo, I don’t really like that I haven’t been able to walk the walk. To work hard to get what I want. It’s not even that I hate myself. I don’t think I really do. I hate what I’ve done, or not done. I hate my actions, and inactions. I hate that I can’t seem to do everything in my power to fix something that scares me to death. And may be the death of me, sooner rather than later.
Someone once told me that I won’t lose weight until I really want to. I argued that how could I not want to? How can I feel like this day in and day out and not want to lose weight? And I guess the answer is that I’m not willing to work hard enough. But I have no idea why.
So I’ve been concentrating on getting my book finished and published. So I can finally feel like I finishing something. I accomplished something. Anything. That I actually did something. And to be honest, I am grateful for the great things I have in my life. My mom, my family, my amazing friends. My cats. That I have a nice car, a roof over my head, money in the bank and a great paying job. I’m grateful for all of it.
But it’s not enough. Because none of that make me work hard to lose the weight. None of it.
It’s. All. On. Me. And we know how well that’s worked out so far.
I’m tired. Physically I’m exhausted. I can barely move. I can barely breath sometimes on really humid days. The pain in my feet get so bad some days that just walking to my car makes me cry. And mentally, I’m just trying to figure out what to do next.
Depending on who you speak to about weight loss, and everyone has an opinion, many will tell you to ignore what the scale says. Other will tell you that it’s important to weigh yourself – even every day.
From my experiences, there are three particular things that stand out to me regarding the scale:
- I don’t like to weigh myself every day. The reasoning, as told to me, is so you can see fluctuation from day to day to help you determine what you might have done “wrong” the day before. Ate something you shouldn’t have, for example. I don’t really subscribe to this method for two reasons. 1) You become obsessed with what it says – good or bad. 2) And if it’s bad, you stress and freak out because you had a gain. When just sometimes, the gain isn’t really anything you did wrong. But the perception is there. GAIN = FAIL
- Some have told me to ignore the scale all together. To go by, for example, how I feel or how my clothes fit. I can’t really subscribe to this either. I need some sort of tangible thing to tell me how I’m doing. For me to feel better, I have to drop quite a bit of weight because right now, I feel pretty sucky. As well, I wear all of my clothes at least 3 sizes too big because I can’t stand having fitted clothes against me; I feel like I’m suffocating. If you’ve been around me enough, you’ve seen me even yanking on those looser fitting clothes because I can’t stand the restrictions. But fear not – I will not be running around naked. Ever.
- The scale is an evil bitch who shows absolutely zero mercy to those of us who struggle at weight loss and look for some shred of hope that all of our sweat and tears – lot of tears – is for naught.
I think the key is to not let the scale define me. Yes they are just numbers, but important numbers, especially to someone who has to lose as much as I do. But I know I’m so much more than the numbers on the scale. I know I’m not that scale.
I’m a good person for the most part. I’m loyal to my family and friends to a fault. I do whatever I can to help and support them, even if sometimes I feel like I act selfishly. I feel passionately about things like protecting animals. I think I’m funny even if no one else does. I’m fascinated with history, learning about everything and anything. I love my cats. I love my mom. I miss my dad.
And I know I have to learn to love myself as much as I love them. After some conversations with my therapist, I’ve realized that I don’t hate myself. I hate what I let myself become, but I don’t hate myself. I’m just really disappointed in myself. There’s a difference.
So of course, anytime that I step on the scale and there is a gain – no matter how little – it does affect me. It hasn’t always been a good thing. I had a 3 pound weight gain one week and seriously lost my shit. And maybe people didn’t understand. Yes, a lot of people know the struggles of losing weight.
But when you have as much to lose as I do, a three pound gain screams EPIC FAIL because it could take weeks to lose it again and then you invariably feel like all you’ve lost is time.
After years of struggling, I still have those moments where I feel like I’m lost. Like I haven’t accomplished anyway. And it is very hard, as many of you know, to not feel like you’ve failed. To not feel like you’re going backwards.
I’ve been there. I have no doubt I’ll be there again. And I’ve said before, I wish I had some great pearls of wisdom on how to deal with it. It’s easy for someone to say, “Just forget it and move on.” It’s like also saying, “You know what to do, so just do it.”
In any case, the point to all this blabbering is that for the first time in nearly 2 months, the fucking scale is giving me some hope.
I’ve lost 2 pounds since last Sunday.
And I’m going to take that as a win because frankly, this summer has not only knocked me on my ass but it’s dragged me around behind its car for a few thousand miles. The weather has been brutal on me in so many ways. Water retention, swelling, heat rashes. It’s affected me physically to the point where there are days I can barely move. Sleeping is a luxury most nights. Case in point, I was awake till nearly 3am this morning because I couldn’t get comfortable. I couldn’t breath properly. It’s just been a nightmare.
Unfortunately, it’s only the beginning of August. This weather shit can go on for another month, or two. So I’m doing what I can to fight it but I honestly have to say that this is the worse summer for me that I can every remember.
When you have a hard time breathing just walking a short distance outside and your lungs feel like they have water in them – yeah…that’s not something I want to feel every again.
So I’m taking the 2 pound loss for the win because given the past six weeks or so, I deserve it.
So here’s to telling mother nature yet again – fuck you – and fighting on. Never giving up. And…
Blessings to all. Thank you for being with me on my journey.
The best thing about making a mistake, in most cases, is that it isn’t fatal. It might not even be as big of a deal as you might make it out to be. And that’s so me, so often. Over-exaggeration. Worse-case-scenario. Over-the-top dramatics.
We all make mistakes. As my friend Brandon Auret tells me,”We human.” And being part of the human race means that we all invariably screw up. While I haven’t yet mastered the ability to not, as some would say, “freak the fuck out” when I do goof up, I have gotten better and have been learning to not let it get to me. At least for not very long. It’s in the past. Learn from the mistakes, and move on.
So whenever I fall off the proverbial weight loss wagon, I try my best to not let it threaten all that I have worked for up to that point. I try to put into perspective that 1) we all make mistakes, 2) it doesn’t mean I’m a failure, and 3) I just have to work that much harder to make up for the misstep.
It’s not easy to get back on the wagon again. It’s a struggle every day to even stay on, so when I fall off, I have to work that much harder to climb back up and keep going. It’s hard. I’ve said that a thousand times before.That hasn’t changed. But what has changed?
I’m stronger than I was six months ago. I’m stronger than I was a year ago. I’m not the same person. And for every mistake I’ve made, I’ve learned something that will help me on the next go-round.
Does it get tiresome? The falling off and climbing back on? Sure. But someone reminded me recently that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Of course, we’ve all heard that adage. But this one is the one that resonates with me the most:
So while I don’t relish the idea of failing at losing weight and getting healthy a thousand times, the meaning isn’t lost on me.
Keep trying. Learn from your mistakes. And succeed.
Starting tomorrow I’m back on the wagon. I hope I won’t get tossed off, but hope that if I do, I will be better prepared to deal with it, move on and climb back on.
Tomorrow is #GreenMonday. If you’re like me and have never heard of it, it’s a world-wide movement that tries to education everyone about healthier plant-based eating, but also its affect on the environment by doing so. Similar to “MeatlessMonday”, a vow to participate in #GreenMonday means that you’ll eat only plant-based foods all day on Mondays, with no consumption of meat, milk or eggs.
For more information (and some recipes as well), this link:
brings you to the South African site for #GreenMonday. South African Actor/Singer/Screenwriter Benedikt Sebastian introduced me to #GreenMonday through some of his posts and I vowed to be Green on Mondays. You can too. Thank you, Benedikt!
Certainly this isn’t to say that I (or anyone else) will become a vegetarian like Benedikt. But I believe more and more that as we try to reduce our consumption of meats, and increase plant-based foods into our “diets”, we are not only helping the planet, but certainly ourselves. Our bodies. And our minds.
For the time that I was eating so little meat, I not only was losing weight but I felt better.I felt cleaner. And in all honesty, I just felt like I was doing something right.
So here’s to my first #GreenMonday. My climbing back on the wagon. And to finally feeling better about myself. Something that’s been missing for a while now.
Blessings to all.
^^^ That’s for my being remiss (again) in not writing sooner.
No excuses, really. But if you are a writer, or know one, you’re probably aware that while most of us feel we need to be inspired to write, many of us struggle to do just that – even when we feel that we have nothing to say.
It’s been 2 months since I last write on this blog. To my utter surprise, the hits on here have not only been consistent despite my not providing any new posts, but they’ve increased! Typically for the first day or two after I post a new blog posting, the number of visitors it receives is high,then gradually it fades. I don’t have a huge following; in all honesty, it was never my intention to have a large following. Not because I felt no one would want to hear what I had to say, but more so because I’m not really a well known person and I’m not actively marketing this blog. And frankly I wasn’t even sure if anything I was writing would even be of interest to anyone. I’ve since learned that people are indeed interested and that makes me very appreciative, but also inspires and helps me on my journey all the more. In fact, many of the visitors of late have been from all over the world, including places where I don’t actually know anyway.
But I digress.
Today’s post is dedicated to someone we all know. Someone who some of you might love, or if you’re like me, mostly feel like this:
Now I’ve dealt with some bitches in my life but this one…I’d like to punch her right in her ovaries.
For as far back as I can remember, I have never done well with the heat and humidity of summer. My favorite season has always been, and still is, Fall (or Autumn depending on where you live). Most people I know, but not all, prefer the heat. Love to be out in the sun, roasting to a savory brown tan like the last Thanksgiving turkey. Me? I don’t tan. I go from one-shade-darker-than-an-Albino to burnt and back again. Sure, my arms will somewhat tan just simply from being in the car driving, but rarely, if ever, will you ever catch me actually out in the sun during the summer.
Think of me as your vampire friend Dani.
Let’s be clear. This isn’t about a little sweating. This isn’t about some frizzy hair due to the humidity. This is about me being physically sick – nauseated, sinus headaches, rashes from sweating no matter how many showers or how much powder I use. This is about being so fucking uncomfortable that I often feel like I’m losing my ever-loving mind.
And then there’s the weight gain.
Unlike most people who are more active in the summer and tend to lose weight, I am the opposite. I wish I could say that it’s just because I’m a stubborn bitch and I like to be rebellious, but alas, that isn’t it. Not at all. This also has nothing to be with my being Canadian. Contrary to popular belief, not all of Canada is a tundric ruin. In fact, where I come from (which incidentally is the only Canadian city SOUTH of a US one – look it up), they pretty much have the same weather that we get here in Ithaca. The only difference is the topography – Windsor being a epic flatland and Ithaca being a hilly nightmare (in the winter).
So I wish I could say that my childhood growing up in the “Great White North” was filled with cooler summers and ridiculously colder winters but I can’t. Sure, it got cold in the winters. It got to be what I like to call…brace yourselves…”snot freezing weather” but for as much as I often felt I was wearing tissue paper for pants…
I FELT ALIVE!
I am in my element in the cooler weather. Give me 45-65 degree weather all the time and I would be in Heaven. And as I said above, most people are more active and tend to lose weight in the summer…I don’t. I put it on. And put it on.
The heavier I start in the warmer months, most often the heavier I will get until the tides shift and we welcome in October. It’s then that I am more active; more pep in my step. And I start to lose the weight. During the summers, no matter how much water I drink, I swell up like a dead body the CSI team found in the lake – that had been there for 6 months or more. My hands, especially my fingers swell up to wear I can’t wear my rings. And they ache – my typing such as this blog, to even just flexing them to drive or any sort of movement.
I also having trouble with eating in the hot months. The idea of turning on the stove, oven or even using the BBQ gives me fits. But I also struggle with just being able to move around. To do the normal things around the house – cleaning, laundry etc. And forget about exercising.
And then there’s my feet/ankles.
If you’ve read this blog long enough you also know that I have foot pain nearly all the time. Unfortunately, running shoes are the only shoes I can wear that are supportive and that I can walk in. No flipflops for me. No pretty sandals that would show off pretty purple painted toenails. I don’t even wear shorts out in public because of how “deformed” I become (and because of the self-esteem issues). So no matter how uncomfortable I am due to the heat, I wear jeans and running shoes. When I am at home in the evening from work or on the weekends, I wear Orthoheel slip-on shoes. I can’t wear them outside because I cannot walk properly in them due to not always being aware of my feet due to the pain and numbness. I’m clumsy.
This is what my feet look like every night (dry skin aside and my apologies – I do not have pretty little feet):
The darker red band is the normal size of my foot. The swollen part above it (below my toes) is the open part of the orthoheel shoes. Below that band is all the swelling to above my ankle. This is just from sitting. With no compressing, hot running shoes on. I don’t have A/C in my apartment; I can’t have A/C in my apartment.
Worse is in the past two weeks or so, the humidity in the air has had me having breathing issues. I used to get slightly winded walking up my walkway, up the road and down the driveway to my car. Now I am only half way up my walkway and I’m gasping for air. The moisture in the air is so thick sometimes, not only do I get huge headaches but as I said, lately I’ve been having trouble breathing. It became most noticeable to me when I realized that I wasn’t having that issue in my office or like last night at the mall – until I go outside.
I liken that I have a harder time with the heat because of my size. After all, I have a lot of fat (blubber) on my body which acts as an insulator. Think of a whale.
And I’m by no means being derogatory to myself. It’s a simple fact of biology. And unfortunately, while I wish I could just sit here and wallow alone aboard the self-pity train, I really don’t think I can wait until the Fall. I will never succeed in losing all the weight and getting healthy if I can’t get through the summers. I just can’t.
I certainly hope people understand now that when I complain about the heat that I’m not doing it just for the sake of whining about something; that it’s understood that it’s something that affects every part of my life – my body and my mind – my health and my everything. I have the tools and know what I need to do but the weather is messing me up – big time.
And believe me when I say that the fact that I have a hard time breathing in this humidity is scaring the ever-loving bejeezus out of me.
tomorrow RIGHT NOW, I’m renewing my determination to fight through this. To do everything I can to get back on track and succeed. I have to. I’m feeling lost in this gigantic dome of weather-related health issues and honestly, I’m scared. I don’t like feeling like I’m suffocating. I don’t like feeling so swollen that I can barely move. I don’t like feeling that I’m failing. And I really don’t like feeling like I’m dying.
Fuck you Mother Nature!
So here’s to another determined push to get through this and be successful. I could certainly use some words of encouragement from the masses on this one. I’m feeling so lost…
Thank you all,
And by “masses”, I mean an enormous group of people.
And by “enormous group”, I mean a lot of people.
Okay, it was really just one person.
One person suggesting that she was “pretty sure” she wasn’t the only one waiting on a new blog entry. I don’t claim to be a wordsmith. Okay, maybe I do. But she didn’t sound very convincing. But given that I’d somewhat promised to not take so long between posts, and my last one was a month ago, I guess I deserve to only have one ardent “fan”. Er…reader.
Perhaps I have my first stalker!
In any case, many posts ago I apologized for all of the future times that I would be remiss in posting in a timely manner so I will refrain from doing so again. We all know by now that I’m not fooling anybody. No matter how much I love to write, there are times I just don’t have anything to say.
Okay. You can stop with the laughing now. And don’t deny it; I can sense a disturbance in “the Force”.
So what, you might be asking yourself (or not) what I’ve been up the past month? I have to tell you, it hasn’t been an easy month and it does beg the question whether now was a good time to go off of the depression meds. But I felt it was time, and I also realize that 1) they were never that strong that they had that big of an affect on me and 2) they simply cannot stop every emotional “shit fit” I might have. They weren’t even strong enough to have dampened that down. Trust me. For the most part I’m convince I might as well have been sucking back aspirin.
I mentioned before in previous posts how hard this journey is. Some of you understand; others can only imagine. And if you’ve been reading this since the start, you also know that I’m upfront about my thoughts and feelings – warts and all – to some degree. That is, I’m not lying to anyone and I may leave some more personal stuff out, but the bottom line is that I have been struggling. There’s no easy answer for why. It just is. And I have to tell you, if you haven’t already guess from my previous posts, I don’t handle being “human” very well. That is, I don’t handle my mistakes very well.
I’m not a perfectionist. Far from it. But I have a degree of lunacy that is so ingrained in my mind that it’s actually harder for me to forgive myself when I make a mistake – or twelve – than it is to actually lose weight. I’ve been doing that yo-yo thing again and felt so disgusted with myself that I had to momentarily push some people away or hide it from those closest to me. I might have whined and bitched a bit but I didn’t have a full blown meltdown until a week ago. And I have to tell you. That feeling.
It sucked. It sucked harder than a Dyson.
I felt so helpless. But I also felt so ashamed. And sad. Frustrated. Angry. Alone. And then…
Around I went again. And again.
And it’s so very hard to be strong – to be the kind of strong that you HAVE to be to do this very hard thing (or any very hard thing) – so when you can’t be, you feel lost.
And I felt so lost. I felt so many things that I didn’t even know what to do. And it wasn’t just about my weight though that was a big part of it. Pressures from work have also been piling on. And I said this to my friends and family in my private Facebook group (the group is about my weight loss journey):
“I’m trying to not just be bitching and whining about everything because I don’t know about you guys, but I’m pretty sick of hearing me whine about something every time I mess up.”
The funny thing is that my group – that’s sort of what it’s there for. For me to express my feelings – good and bad – on my journey. To talk about my frustrations, my triumphs, the joys, the sorrows and the fuck-ups. Yet I sometimes feel guilty that I’m dumping on those family and friends. It’s then that I shut myself down, get quiet and suffer mostly in silence.
And you know what?
That’s just as messed up of a thought process as they come. Invariably I end up sabotaging myself and I find myself wondering if my friends and family aren’t rolling their eyes at me and thinking, “Holy shit, here she goes again!”
Maybe I’m right about that. Most likely I’m wrong. Most likely my over-active imagination and those damn hamsters are over-thinking it. But it’s hard. It’s really hard to express yourself without feeling you might be judged or worse yet, ignored. And that scares me because as I’ve said before, the importance of the support I receive from everyone cannot be minimalized or trivialized. If anything, it’s those times – when I’m feeling the worse about myself – that I need people that most.
Because I haven’t yet learned to treat myself well. To respect myself. To love myself.
When I have these setbacks, it’s so easy for me to use myself as the scapegoat. It’s absolutely easy. I want to stop it, I really do. And I really have to be honest when I say that I’m not sure I will ever get “there” until I give up the idea that I will not only make mistakes but I will make some mammoth ones. And it’ll still be okay.
So until that time comes, I’m going to have “moments”. It’s during that time that I hope that people will still be there supporting me. And they know that no matter how I might feel about myself at any given moment, I will always be there for them.
Brandon told me once in my group: “I am proud. I said if one person got on board with me its all worth it. Thank you champ.”
And I feel the same way. I feel that if I can help even one person, even if for one specific thing or even as a continuous supporter of whatever their journey is – it’s worth it. So if my struggles help anyway, they make them all the more worthwhile and helps me to keep fighting. To keep going.
To keep on…keeping on.
So here’s your post my “masses”…er…Anne-Marie. Perhaps you’ll have to suggest that you’re “pretty sure” you’re not the only one waiting on a blog posting. I believe a fire has been lit…
Blessings to all. Be back soon…
Those famous words are part of a longer quote by Frederick Douglass. So as to not pull it out of its context, here is the full quote:
In the end, the intent is still the same. One can’t expect progress, such as losing weight and getting healthy, without a struggle. Without trying. And in most cases, intense struggles. Even some “holy hell I’m never going to get through this” sort of struggles.
And there are times, just like with other instances in our lives, where something just seems to be impossible. That we won’t survive. But you know what? We do.
I’ve had my share of some pretty awful things in my life. I remember many times when I though that things just couldn’t get any worse. Later, I’d realize they might have, but even if they did, I always survived.
Of course, as life goes, we know that not everyone believes they are strong enough to get through and they give up. On themselves. On their lives.
And that’s heartbreaking to me.
But for the rest of us, it’s that survival instinct that helps us. We learn from it. It makes us stronger. It proves to ourselves (and others) that we are not broken. That we aren’t weak, or pathetic, or even useless. It is an enormous testament to the human heart; its drive to keep going, no matter how hard it gets.
And that’s sort of what it’s like to struggle to get healthy and lose weight when you’ve gotten so far out of control.
So while I might bitch and moan about how hard this is, I haven’t given up and I’ve kept going.
Et hoc transibit.
This too shall pass.
As with my many mood swings, I will have my good days and bad. I’ve been learning to not let the bad days take me so far out of the equation that I struggle to get back in. And with each passing day, the struggle – while never really ebbing – does somewhat feel easier. At least for that day. And you know what? That’s pretty great too.
Brandon Auret, whom I’ve mentioned often in other posts and is always so supportive (and it’s very appreciated!), always has the right thing to say to me that gets me going. That tells me to pull up my (literal) big girl panties and get to work. I sometimes feel like he’s the best kind of drill instructor. Imagine a deep, heavily-South African-accented voice telling you (and as I stated in my last post):
Hey chill shit happens we human. Ok!!!
Keep on ……..
To which I reply …keeping on. And I do. I keep going. I keep on…keeping on. It’s become my motto of sorts. I could also hear him saying:
But that’s not to say that the things that others have said to me have meant less, or have impacting me less. Every supportive comment is felt deeply and taken to heart. Even those that seem a bit scolding, like an unexpected spanking. It’s all good. It’s all chill.
The biggest take-away from all of it is that if this was easy, everyone would be doing it. And not everyone is. Do I wish it was easier? Sure. For the most part, I’m a bit lazy. But I’ve also learned throughout my life that if you really want something. REALLY want something. You work for it. You work hard for it. Or it’s not worth having.
So as I continue to struggle, I’m finding that my struggles, in part, are helping others. To keep going. To not give up.
To keep on…keeping on.
If I can help someone do that, well, it makes my struggles all the more important to me. And all the more worth every ounce of pain, frustration, heartbreak and heartache I go through. Because I also know that I’m not alone.
I’m never alone.
Blessings to you all.