Unique Spin

I’ve decided that at least until the end of school, I’m only going to post on Wednesday’s. That way I have a whole week to reflect on and write about. Today was another day of TCAP, tomorrow is our last day and it couldn’t come any sooner. The students and teachers have had about all of TCAP that they can stomach. I went shopping after work and bought healthy food. I went on a walk around the lake and cooked a delicious and healthy dinner for myself. I cleaned my kitchen and the bathroom and I did the dishes. I feel like I accomplished something and that feels good.

Tomorrow I start counseling. I’m excited, but  a little nervous. I know tomorrow will just be about getting to know each other a bit, but I know that there will be a time soon when I have to broach some subjects that I have successfully avoided for quite a while. I need to look these monsters in the eye so I can slay them, however, I have learned to be extremely skilled at avoidance. That no longer suits me, so I have to cross the moat and meet my fate in the woods.

I also joined Match.com again. I was on it once, briefly when I was 27. I updated my pictures, tried to come up with clever captions and tried to pretend that I wasn’t scared out of my wits. Last night, after much procrastination, I finished updating my profile description of myself and what I wanted.

It was very interesting to read what I had on there from five years ago. I was just finishing my bachelor’s degree. I was working a deadend job at the bookstore. I was revising my novel and now it is published. I now have a job that I love and am almost finished with my master’s degree. A lot has changed in five years.

It feels weird to try to write an advertisement on myself. I wrote clever, but cheesy sentences and then promptly erased them. I had the hardest time articulating what I was looking for because I kept trying to spin it in a certain way. Finally, I dropped the b.s. and just asked for what I really want.

Here’s hoping that something good happens. I’m trying to have an open mind and not have any expectations about what will happen. At the very least. it is another gesture to the universe that I am ready to change. I am still petrified of rejection, but as my friend pointed out, this is the best time for me to try again. I am starting counseling and I will be able to reflect on the experience (good or bad) with a trusted advisor to help me make sense of all of it. This is probably the perfect time.

Talk soon!

Stones in Pockets

I watched The Hours today. I have watched it once before, but I forgot how sad it is. I can’t get the image of Virginia Woolf wading into the river, her pockets full of stones, out of my head.

I have been filled with despair this weekend. Don’t worry. I won’t be wading in the water anytime soon, but this dark hole has reminded me of some old hurts that aren’t healed…not even close.

I have tucked away these feelings of unworthiness so well that I thought I had actually moved on and healed. I’m learning this weekend that my wounded heart is still beating, but this new gash brings my attention to the fact that I am still hurting. The good thing is that I am not in that protective coma anymore, but that is also the bad thing. I am feelings things, awful things and I’m not liking it. I want to return to my shell and hide REALLY bad.

I am having a ton of dark thoughts too – black strap molasses thoughts about my packaging and how it is less than desirable. What this really means is that I haven’t evolved and healed my negative body image stuff like I thought I had. I knew I still had work to do, but I am now painfully aware that I am essentially back at square one. I have to find a way to accept the person I am right now and know that it is enough.

I guess it isn’t fair to consider this a total reset – I am sitting in the discomfort. I’m not running away. I am not isolating as much as I would have in the past. I am establishing boundaries. I am trying to pick myself up and I will try again. Even though I don’t want to.

I’m sad and lonely. Even looking at that sentence depresses me. I want to erase this entire post and pretend that I don’t feel any of this, that everything is fine and I’m fine and to everything there is a season. I’d love to pretend that it all makes sense in the grander scheme and I have faith that it will be okay.

But tonight, it’s not fine. It wasn’t fine yesterday either. And it probably won’t be fine tomorrow. But on Monday it will have to be fine because I refuse to go back into the fallout shelter that was my old life. I will find a way to change my perspective and learn to love who I am, come hell or high water. But I will do it without stones in my pockets. I am stronger than I was before, even if I still feel broken.

Emotional Honesty and Exhaustion

Today has been a tough one. I went to a devastatingly sad funeral and I am emotionally drained. My eyes hurt and I will be putting myself to bed as soon as I click the “publish” button.

I also took my fate into my own hands today and committed a brave act. I am nervous about the outcome, but as I witnessed today, life is too short and I couldn’t just sit and wait any longer. There are still so many things I want to experience and it was time I looked my fear in the eye and took a risk.

I will elaborate more on Saturday.

Goodnight.

Back in the Saddle Again

Today was the first day back from break with students. It was a long day because I had so much to do since I really went on a vacation over break and did not do any work. I’m also dragging because I could not sleep last night. It was kind of like when I was a student in elementary school and it was the first day back to school. I finally got up after rolling around for an hour and did stuff around my house at 12:30 am. I got about four hours of sleep.

I am definitely going to bed soon! The kids were super sleepy today and I was yawning right along with them.

I have been working on my house a lot and it is looking like it’s an extension of myself. It has been homey ever since I moved in, but it felt kind of empty when I took down my Christmas decorations.  I hung a bunch of artwork last night and I am really enjoying seeing it up on the walls again.

I am still reading Mark Nepo’s Book of Awakening as a daily meditation. Today’s entry was very profound to me and reflective of my 2011 journey. The essay talks about a woman who found a hardened sponge and walked out into the ocean. She let the sponge soak up the salt water and watched as the sponge unfolded and a fish came alive and swam out to sea. The secret of life, as Mark Nepo writes, is to awaken and free what has been asleep. It really is too beautiful to summarize so here goes:

Everything remains hard and compressed and illegible until, like this woman, waist deep in the ocean, we take our sleeping heart in our hands and plunge it tenderly into the life we are living – Mark Nepo

A big focus for 2012 is to keep finding ways to open my heart and  be aware and present everyday. I want my heart to soften like the sponge in the salt water. I want the peace and joy of a soul unencumbered by anything hard or compressed.

Goodnight 🙂

Hang the Stocking With Care

I ordered a bunch of Christmas presents this morning and I’m getting into the holiday spirit. Elf is on right now and that is helping with the spirit as well.

I thought I would have a lot of time to get my laundry done and write today, but sometimes life has other plans. I was glad to be a help and luckily everybody is fine.

I gave up dairy almost two weeks ago. I had a severe milk allergy as a child and over Thanksgiving break I did some research and was shocked to discover that most of the things that have ailed me since my teen years can be attributed to a milk allergy. I decided to give it a try and it really hasn’t been that tough. I miss cheese, but it was clear that milk products are like poison to my system. In 11 days my skin has cleared up, my cystic acne is gone, my dark circles have vanished, my nails no longer have ridges, my energy is up and my singing voice is clear and strong.

I have had some pretty nasty headaches as part of the detox process, but those are getting better as well. I read some pretty gross detox testimonials online and I haven’t had it as bad as some folks. Lots of congestion the first week, it was like my body was finally able to clear out all that junk. I have also lost some weight, which is a nice by-product. It’s a bit challenging to eat out. My options have shrunk, but it isn’t impossible and feeling better is worth it.

I am also planning to adopt a new dog in the next couple of weeks. She is a sweet girl who worked her way into my heart pretty quickly. My mom met her tonight and fell head over heels for her too. I think bringing her into my home and heart is a big step in the right direction to help open up my heart even more.

I have been thinking a lot about this final month of the present project. I am reading a couple more books, doing an online course on self-acceptance and I am considering subscribing to Match.com for a month. I also think I am going to continue this journey next year. I haven’t accomplished all that I hoped, but this year has been very powerful and I have changed so much for the better.

We’ll see.

Beginners Luck

Well I survived my big night. I got my hair cut and unfortunately my hairstylist just made a mess of it. I had to race home and try to comb out all the bird nest motif and try to straighten it. I was doing good on time, but then I couldn’t find the shoes I wanted to wear and I started to second guess my outfit. I ended up getting there about twenty minutes late, but people were just drinking and having appetizers anyway. I almost went back upstairs and out to the parking lot, but I marched myself to the bathroom and gave myself a pep talk. It was two hours of my life and I was already there…

I had two missions with this experiment:

1). Make a gesture to the universe that I’m interested in meeting someone and I’m willing to put myself out of my comfort zone to find them.

2). Be authentic and in the moment, whether I wanted to or not and not have any expectations – just try to have fun.

I was able to accomplish both last night.

Most of the men there were significantly older than me, but very nice. I am more than willing to be with an older guy, if he is the right guy, but some of these men were closer to my father’s age than my own. That said, there were a couple of cute guys, one in particular. We will call him Harry. He was cute, but painfully shy. He had two friends with him, who I am sure had good intentions, but they were more like bodyguards. I tried to talk to him a couple of times and he gave me some good smiles, however nothing much else. I ended up speaking to everybody, I had some nice conversation, a bit of flirtation and surprisingly some fun. I also won two of the prizes.

I met a nice man as well, who was funny and kind. We had easy conversation and I was proud of myself for being my authentic self with him especially. We will call him Will. Will was great, but there just wasn’t a spark. Once the event was over, I was trying to chat up one of the bodyguards for a better chance to chat with Harry, but then I started chatting with Will and before I could react, Harry and the bodyguards were leaving. I learned a good lesson, to take the time to pursue what I am interested in, because you don’t expect when the clock strikes midnight and you are too late.

Will asked if I had made a match and I confessed that I had been interested in someone, but that he had just left. We kept talking and I was open and warm – all the things that I had wanted to be. I was proud of myself for being brave, not sabotaging myself with expectations and flirting in good faith.

I didn’t think that Will liked me, but that became clear a bit later. I felt like I had led him on, but that hadn’t been my intention. I was just having fun with a nice guy…in hindsight, I should have spent my energy on a guy I was interested in.

For all intents and purposes, it was a very successful night. I can’t say that I have a date scheduled with a man who I like, but I can say mission accomplished and I finally feel more confident about putting myself out there again.

My favorite book is The Alchemist. In the book, Paulo Coelho writes about beginners luck. When someone commits to their personal legend or destiny, the Universe conspires to help them with beginners luck so that they have a taste of success and keep moving toward their dream. I felt that last night was just the hint of success that I needed to proceed.

I also unfortunately had to have a hard conversation with Will today, but even that was successful. I wasn’t sure what to say and I didn’t want to hurt him. I just said what I would have liked to hear. I was honest and that is always the best policy.

I recently finished the book  Meeting Your Half Orange that I had begun a couple of months ago for this project. Amy Spencer talks about the spout. That meeting men who are not exactly right is actually a clue that your on the right track. Like beginners luck, a sprout is a man or situation that proves to you that a great guy is out there. Will was a sprout for me. He was nice and fun, he was complimentary and affectionate – just not the right chemistry. I am grateful that I met him. He made me feel like a catch. He helped to believe that I am. Even though he wasn’t a perfect fit, he was proof that I am on the right track.

I am not sure what my next move is. I am not exactly sure I want to try online dating again, but I do know that I’ll be more open to the romantic situations that arise. I am going to keep being my authentic self and having fun. The rest will figure itself out in time.

Finding My Way Home

Hello blog!

I have had so much to write about and just haven’t found a free minute to get it down. I don’t think I will get it all down in this one post, but it was time to jump back in.

I am loving my new job and my new home. I feel like my whole life has turned upside down, in a wonderful way. I haven’t been this much at peace in a long time. I am still a bit nervous about money, but I know that fear is connected to old days. I think I need a couple more months of success under my belt and that should help show me that those days are over.

This has been a stressful week, but just in the sense that I have had so much to do at school. The pace has definitely picked up and there is no stopping this train. I am grateful to be on the ride.

I am enjoying being on my own again. I love my mom and dad and I am thankful that I had a place to land, but it is SO wonderful to be in my own spot.  I have felt stuck and slipping like I was living in quicksand for  years. It feels good to have seen some reward from the hard work these last two years.

Moving was more emotional than I expected it to be. I think seeing all the mess from my old life was too much. At first, I wasn’t sure I would be strong enough to go through all of it again, but I realized quickly just how much I had changed since January. I was able to easily let go of all sorts of stuff – clothes, books, shoes, kitchen stuff. Anything that didn’t suit me anymore had to go. I had an easy time letting that old me go. Like shedding my skin, it didn’t fit anymore and it all fell away. I am the changing leaves of fall, I am letting the past die to make way for new buds of hope.

This last weekend I was able to go to Buena Vista. I wanted to catch some of the autumn leaves, but we had a cold snap on Saturday. It was still beautiful and made for some interesting pictures. It was unbelievable to experience multiple seasons at once. I also got some good rest. That mountain house is like a sedative. I think my soul just recognizes that I can unwind when I walk through the doors.

I have been making good decisions about my own care. I have been eating well, exercising and getting at least 7 hours of rest most nights. I will say that this is happening more often than not. I also am being super brave this weekend. I will be attending my first singles event here in Denver. A lock and key party. It is very Freud and I hope it will be very fun. I will post all about it this weekend.

I’m going to wait to post until Sunday this week because of the event. I will be posting regular again starting now. I have missed documenting my journey here. I know I have been missing in action, but I have still been evolving!

Talk soon.

The Rain is Gone

My parents have been up on the western slope for a week and I’m super jealous. I was only able to go up for two days this summer. I think I am going to go up for Labor day which will be nice.

I thought about posting on Saturday and never did get on the computer to do so. I ran a bunch of errands and went shopping. I took myself to a movie.

It was a nice weekend, but I’m sorry I forgot to post. I need to get back to my grid in September. I kinda let some things fall away in late July/early August  but now that I am settling into my new teacher life, I think I can get back to some of the things I was tackling with this project.

I can say that I have been making healthier choices for myself and that feels good. The fridge is stocked with fresh fruits and veggies and I have been sleeping better.

Right now I am driving about an hour both ways so I am hoping to find a place much closer to school and move in September. A friend lives in a great apartment complex not to far away from work and I’m going to go check it out this week.

It’s an amazing peaceful feeling to have things in my life falling into place. I am much more at ease these days then I have been in a long time. I’m also having an easier time setting boundaries with people in my life. I still care and love them, but I am not running in to put out their fires any more. The part of me that used to be is not quite gone – I still feel a bit of guilt about not rushing to the rescue, but that part of me is getting smaller and smaller.

I am still dealing with the disappointments of another unrequited love, but it is so much more complicated and simple than what the stereotype of unrequited love implies. There are moments when we are together when I know without a shadow of a doubt that someone even better is headed my way, but there are also other moments when I am shaken by how much I care for him and I am floored by our connection. The beauty of it is that we found each other this time around and I believe with all my being that we will make our way back to each other again.

In the Book of Awakening, Mark Nepo talks about getting bogged down in disappointment of any kind – Sometimes we can’t get what we want. While this can be disappointing and painful, it is only devastating if we stop there. The world thrives on endless possibilities. In contradiction to the endless number of eggs that spawn a fish and the endless number of cells that blossom to heal a wound, we can hold out the one thing we want as the only food. From here, crisis and desperation are a short step. It becomes a sorry occupation, beating oneself up for the one seed that didn’t take. For once we pour ourselves into loving another person, it seems as if they take who we are with them when they go. In truth, they take a deep part of us, but what feeds the heart from within is endless, and everything that is living heals.

It is a prophetic truth that even the most broken eventually heals. I am healing in deeper ways than I expected.

Shame On You

Shame – noun

The painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another: She was overcome with shame.
       I’ve never really thought much about shame until this week. I understood what shame meant, but in a distant arm’s length way. Like stealing or lying were actions to  be ashamed of, stuff like that.  This week I have come to understand shame in a new, personal way. I feel that the book The Gift of Imperfection  has been a gift. I’m learning about belonging and my quest and sabotage of love in my life.
       According to Brene Brown, shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging. This definition of shame rings true. I have been experiencing deep shame for a long time. She goes on to explain that shame keeps our worthiness away because we’re afraid that people won’t like us if they know the truth about who we are or even if they realize how wonderful we are – sometimes, she adds, it’s just as hard to own our strengths as our struggles.
      Wow.
       I have been thinking about how, since the fifth grade, I have been comparing myself to everyone around me and measuring myself in a constant battle of okay/not okay. My lips are nice and I have soft hair, but my stomach is too flabby and skin hangs over my elbow unless it’s extended…I could go on and on. I am now seeing that this is shame. Shame and fear preventing me from ever seeing or experiencing my truth.
       I think understanding shame and learning how to break out of this shame cycle will be a huge leap for me. I feel like the light has been flipped on finally. Shame, who knew? I’m excited to keep reading and applying this gift of a book in my life.
       Also, I have not crumpled under the pressure of my online profile. I’ve even made contact with someone, which is still scary and I’m trying not to retreat back into my shell. I actually think I will be reactivating another profile soon. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe today.
       I watched an awesome speech by Bill Cosby this morning, that was funny and touching about being authentic and not falling into the shame that is beneath you. It’s a bit long, but worth watching if you have time. You can link to the video here.

Breaking New Ground

I can’t believe it’s already July. I applied for a handful of new jobs today. I’ve been a bit frustrated lately, but I had to remind myself today that I am doing all I can do. I must have faith that I will wind up in the right spot.

I’ve also been reading The Gift of Imperfection and enjoying it a lot. I just started the chapter on worthiness and I’m hoping to find some helpful strategies. Even though I’m still working through feeling worthy right now, I’m feeling the fear and doing it any way.

I have been online and have been brave. It’s funny because the site I am on makes you message people before you can complete your profile. I am being pushed by the Universe and a computer program to step outside my comfort zone.

I’m also going to reactivate my profile on another site, mainly because I need to give this a shot and I am less busy this summer than I will be in the fall. It’s a good time for me to give this a try.

I met with a friend for breakfast yesterday who told me that she had recently read through my old blog posts and said it was fun to see my growth.  It’s harder for me to see it as an outsider might, but that’s one of the reason why I wanted to do this blog. It keeps me honest but it also serves as a record of all of this as well. I’m excited to sit and look back over a whole year of my life once this is over.

I know that it will never really be over, not for me. I am always growing and that’s a good thing.

Brene Brown writes, Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. Because this yearning is so primal, we often try to acquire it by fitting in and by seeking approval, which are not only hollow substitutes for belonging, but often barriers to it. Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.

I am working toward truly belonging and presenting my authentic self to the world.

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