Heya, Monster.

A SoberBlog by a TallWoman.

Girl.

Hey, Friends. This is a free-write I did for some equity and diversity training this past week. It was inspired by Jamaica Kincaid’s piece entitled “Girl.” I highly encourage you to read it. This is all stream-of-consciousness. No real edits or changes since I wrote it.

Caroline’s hair is so curly. Alex & Jonah and all the boys say girls don’t play baseball. But I do. I’m a good hitter. And I can catch. And throw. I’m the only girl who plays. I’m the only girl allowed to play. That feels special. That feels important. I get to be here. On the field. In the dirt. With the boys. One of the boys. Not a boy, but not a girl? Not seen as a girl? Something else? Something louder? Something stronger? Something bigger? I’m not like Jenny or Lisa. Caroline is ridiculous and fun, but only with me. Caroline’s hair is curly. I wish I was like Caroline. I wish boys saw me like Jenny or Lisa. But I’m not like Jenny and Lisa. Louder. Stronger. Bigger. Always bigger. Sometimes the Hayes boys play. Joe’s a good hitter. I want Joe to like me. To see me. I want to be rescued, but rescued from what? Watermelon seeds and mosquitoes and sprinkler drops and sun. Hours and hours and hours of sun. Left outside to be whatever we wanted. To do whatever we wanted to do.  The Boxcar Children. Violet is me. The only girl. Making dinner under the tree while the boys go do. Go hunt. Go gather. Go do things that are for boys. I stir and stir and stir. Pine tree needles and seeds and dirt. Delicious. Stirred with a stick. And mixed with boring. But this is what girls do. Melissa and I would get to play Barbies away from the boys. In the camper. By ourselves for hours. Inevitably the Barbies would be naked and kissing and doing sex. Inevitably that would make us giggle and wonder about our boyfriends. Always boyfriends. Only ever boyfriends. Always boyfriends and girlfriends. Mike Seaver always had a girlfriend or liked a girl. Mallory Keaton always had Nick. Would Joe ever like me like Nick liked Mallory? Mallory and Mike would make a cute couple. Or what about Denise Huxtable? She’s cooler than even Mallory. Probably too cool for Mike. Who was Smurfette’s boyfriend? Hefty and Smurfette should date. They liked each other. They should kiss. Kissing was adult. And grown-up. Girls want to be kissed. Boys do the kissing. Boys do the asking. Girls do the saying ‘yes.’ Girls do the prettying. The flirting. The preening and the catching. By how they look. By what they wear. By what they say and what they do – or don’t do. I don’t get that. I feel liike notagirl. Like I’m bad at the rules. The rules of being a girl are hard. And mysterious. And out of my reach. Joe never liked me. Never saw me. None of the boys did. I feel less than. Or not enough. Or unseen. Or unfeminine. Ungirly was always a badge to wear. Being myself is always disorienting. I want these things – seen, heard, cute, little, fun, but I am these things – LOUD. SMART. BIG. I’m good at stuff and I like being good at stuff. But I’m loud and smart and big. I’m a girl, but I’m not a girl like I’m supposed to be. I’m big. But I feel small. 

Day 2, 245.

-HM.

Do. Shift.

Hey, All.*

I am doing stuff. And doing stuff feels good.

Sometimes I sit way back and hold my breath and shut my eyes and pretend the world can’t see me while I process and worry and anxietitze over beginning or starting something. Doesn’t matter what the ‘it’ is, I just worry and fret and hem. AhemAhem.

But this summer? I’ve actually started the doing a bit earlier than I usually would. At the mo, I have started getting prepped and ready for this coming year. I am about 2 weeks ahead of my normal anxious-fretting schedule and am glad to have ripped off the bandage Now.

It’s fun.

I like what I do.

I really do, in all actuality? Love it.

Which? (New tangent FYI.)

I don’t always remember myself.

I’ve been thinking about this for the past couple of days…. As an artist who sits in the educational world, I am realizing I feel ashamed or embarrassed about what I do sometimes, or maybe mostly in my head. And I think it has to do with the fact I’m an artist who is a teacher and there’s that dumb-stupid-ridiculous saying that says: “Those that can’t do, teach.” Which again? Is DUMB. It should say something like: “Those that can teach, DO teach, and teach fucking well.”

At any rate, I think I’ve internalized this somewhat. And, as an artist with artist-friends in the community around me doing theatre for a living many of them…. I feel like I missed It, you know? The thing, that elusive thing or idea that hovers out there. That idea of ‘making it.’

And honestly?

I never made it.

Not technically.

At least, I don’t think of it as such.

And it makes me feel a little bit like a sham or a fake to my students and coworkers.

But then?

(And I realize this might sound ridiculous to many of you….)

I realized I’ve been thinking about it from the wrong perspective.

So.

I put on new glasses and changed my world.

I am a Teacher first.

And I love teaching. I do. I reallyreally love it. It makes me a better person. And my students? Brilliant beings.

But sometimes, I get stuck in thinking of myself as a fraud or as an artist-who-is-missing-out-of-her-true-calling-and-what-am-I-doing-here-I-should-have-been-discovered-already!!! sort of a mindset, and it brings me down.

I mean, stop it, Me.

Just stop it.

I am making a shift, Friends. I am embracing my love of teaching. I am celebrating the art and storytelling I get to do with awesome collaborators and students. I am going to celebrate being part of a regional company for 20+ years and not apologize for it not being suchandsuchBigImportantNameTheatreCompany. And I am going to revel!! Yes, REVEL in where I am and what I do.

No more apologizing – especially to myself.

Done with that whole shtick, baby.

So….

Yeah. *smile*

I feel lighter. Better. And more connected to me and what I love.

And that feels good.

Day 2,240. Take it away, Gals.

Contact.

Heya.

*smile*

’tis me.

Still here, and so are those monsters. Some in global pandemic form, while others are a bit more personal and catered to their host.

As a teacher I’ve been reverberating with this past year o challenges and working to just put my feet on the round. I am looking to recenter myself and re-solidify my purpose as an educator. Doing a bit of soul-searching, digging into things I love and that feed me – sewing, stitching, reading, walking, FAMILY, and all of it.

The other week as I was enjoying a morning of stitching, I put in the movie Contact with Jodie Foster & Matthew McConaughey. And friends, let me tell you, it is one of those movies I could watch over and over, and really? All for that moment at the end when the Chief of Staff says there is 18 hours of recorded static on the device. (If that was a spoiler, apologies. Although, to be fair, the film is now 24 years old. haha) I love the commitment Foster’s character has to the truth, juxtaposed with the commitment McConaughey’s character has to faith. I love the personal connections to her father and the way the Vegans create contact and begin to start the relationship which may take millions and billions of years to grow. I love the scope – of space. Of time. …. It is all so beautiful to me. So human, but in the context of being the ants or the less evolved species rather than the dominant one. I love the humility it brings within the scope fo the universe.

And? I was surprised to find that I actually love the movie adaptation more than the book as I read it for the first time this year. The first time that’s ever happened, I think. ha.

Along those lines of connection and repositioning one’s self within a greater context, I am working on doing that for myself in my classroom. I want to find my joy and celebration and commitment to the kids in positive ways this year as it feels like I’ve gotten stuck in the rules and the expectations the past few years. The complete oddity of this past year compounds my feelings of disconnect, and so I really do want to connect. To create and maintain positive and enriching contact with students, colleagues, friends, & family. …. It’s feeling like a tall order to this particular broad with anxiety tendencies, but if I lower my expectations and just do a little bit each day…. I’ll try to come up with a simple checklist, maybe three items long, that I can keep in mind each day.

Okay. I like that idea. I’ll be back to hammer it out. *smile*

For now, we have made contact now, too. I’m feeling a little rusty on ye ole blogge, but I’m sure the self-reflection and flow will kick in at some point. Again, low expectations. ha.

Day 2,237. Low & Slow, Baby.

-HM.

Still Here.

Heya, Friends.*

Here’s my semi-somewhat-every-once-in-awhile check-in to say I’m still here. Thought about sobriety quite a lot the past few months, considering the possibility of scrapping it and being frustrated that I didn’t have an outlet to just let go. I was feeling kind of low and, of course as is usually always the case, didn’t know it while I was in the thick of it. But? I knuckled through it, joking every once in awhile with the hubs the ‘What if?’ To which he would say that would be dumb, or a bad idea, or why, or don’t be stupid, or not for you….. And he was always right, and I knew it. Glad and lucky to be living so close to the Voice of Reason. *smile* I reached out to my therapist – it usually happens about once a year or so now. When I saw her a week or two later, the cloud had passed. She reminded me to reach out sooner next time, so hey. If you’re someone like me, here’s your wake-up call to reach out Now. Don’t be a dummy (says my dad). Do it NOW. You’ll feel better. Seriously. I generally have to learn a lesson twelve to seventy-nine times before it really sinks in, so you can be sure of a similar anecdote in another year or so. hee. I’m doing better now. The sun has come up. Glad I didn’t cave or give in or throw it all over in a stupid, rash decision. It still sucks sometimes, which I think is really my bipolar depression looking for a little comfort and soothing. So not the addiction exactly, if that makes sense? But still, not a monster I want to wake-up by any stretch of the imagination.

Happy March, Dear Ones. ❤️

Day 1,737. Aw, yeah.

Oh, Those Monsters…..

They just keep showin’ up, don’t they? *smile* I guess they’re just a normal part – and will forever be a part – of being Human. You kick one of their asses, and then, whoop! Another ass appears. Wahwah.

This one, well, I’ve probably talked about it before, and it will probably not come as a shock to anyone really, as it’s so common. The Monster’s Name is Food. And moreso, how I attempt to reward myself with it. ….. I think it’s slowly crept into mindless behavior, particularly in the evening during ye ole witching hour…. The one I used to pacify with loads and loads of wine. That YOWH. Now (and for the past 3 years) it’s Food. In the grand scheme of things, not bad. Just substituting one addiction for another. …. Again.

As someone with an addictive personality, am I just sentenced to a life of perpetual realizations that now ‘this’ is the problem? I feel so silly. My brain keeps playing tricks on itself and I keep falling into the same trap again and again. What a nut.

‘How am I going to crack this nut?’ you ask. Welp, with a little bit of mindfulness and a lot of chutzpah. Here’s what’s been goin’ on in the kitchen (as it were)……

  • I’ve been circling around healthy body and weight-loss communities for the past few months. (Change is slow. My brain has been considering the need/desire for a change for quite some time. No rush. It takes what it takes. No need to beat myself up about it. (Learned this from my therapist. She’s a rockstar.))
  • Have had a few friends take the plunge into Noom over the past half year. Decided I would try it out for myself 2 weeks ago.
  • Signed up for Noom and began the free-trial period. I started logging my weight daily, reading articles, and tracking my food.
  • Right away, I noticed my food choices weren’t always that healthy, so started substituting healthier options. I also started taking my vitamins again (after 6 months off), so my body is feeling better.
  • I replaced our broken treadmill with a second-hand elliptical, and have been on it a number of times these past two weeks.
  • I got a little nervous about the money-commitment to Noom on Day 2 or 3, so went online and checked out some reviews. There are some pretty bad ones out there, which freaked me out, so I started paralleling my tracking on my FitBit as well, because it’s Free.
  • I’ve told several people about my new foray into better choices.
  • I found another community at halfsizeme.com, which has great podcasts and awesome assistance programs, to help with different roadblocks along the way to losing weight (that’s my first goal – to let go of some of this fluff). Their biggest push, though, is maintenance and understanding your body when it’s in maintenance. I really like the mentality and also the good-not-perfect approach. I can’t tell my sober friends enough times how much the verbiage echoes that of the sober journey. It’s all about being kind to yourself, recognizing your accomplishments however small, forgiving yourself for mistakes and moving forward. I feel like I already know the community because there are so many similarities to my sober journey.
  • Today is my 2-weeks-in marker. I’ve logged every meal, even if I wasn’t proud of some of my choices. As an extrinsic reward, I am going to go to a fabric store with my daughter and pick out either a new pattern or a new cut of fabric. (I stopped going about 3 weeks ago as a measure to save money.) I’m very much looking forward to it, and think I could definitely do another two weeks from today. *smile*

How have I done so far?

Well, my biggest victory is not being afraid of the scale any more. It says what it says, and that feels like quite an accomplishment. I’ve fluctuated between 3 pounds this whole time, which is pretty cool. On the whole, I think I’m down 2 or 2.5 pounds. Woot. Like I said, my food choices are better for me, and I’ve tracked everything. (Wow.) And I’ve become mindful of eating for the most part. I don’t zone out and just eat whatever. Instead, I notice what it is I want, determine the portion size (as best I can), and then enjoy it …. And notice that I’m enjoying it.

Yah-hoo. Big things to me, even though they’re small.

Anyone else on this journey – either Sober? Eater? or SoberEater? *smile* I’m looking for company, as I am sure it is the SoberCommunity that helped me get sober…. Probably my biggest weapon is all of you. I’d love to walk another trail with you, if you’re up for it. *flex*

Day 1,524. Heya, Voltaire.

-HM.

download

 

Here.

Hello, Friends.

I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. It’s the summer, and this is the time when I began my sober journey. Still on it. *smile* Still chuggin’ along.

Summer has finally started (after some sicknesses in June – boo to that), and we are all feeling good. Went up North to visit my parents and friends (hoo-rah!), and returned to sunshine and yard work and a new lawn mower (hoo-rah! again).

I love being outside. I love the air and the breezes and the smells and the critters – mostly insects. I love waking up to the fact there is a whole helluva’ lot going on in the world around me – right in my own backyard. I love having the time to dig in (literally) and really see it all. And be part of it all. Very healing. Just from the regular run-of-the-mill Life stuff that happens to us all….. And sometime in comes in heaps, and sometimes it comes in teaspoons.

As I said in my last post, I am also sew-sew-sew-sew-sewing. I lost a bit of momentum this past week because of traveling and then my Perfectionism kicked in a bit and has kept me busy with other side-projects (i.e. yard work and reading delicious, yummy books, oh. And writing this blog post. *smile* Ha.). So after this, I am going to dive back in and address a couple of projects that have been (again literally) hanging over my head. *smile*

I love sewing. I love the thread and the fabric and the textures of it all. I love the sound of my machines – Nora & Ernestine, respectively. I love the movement of the fabric and the different weights and the way it moves. I love the ease of making the needle go slowly or quickly, and then sticking it in to hold my place and spin the fabric to face a new direction. I love folding and rolling and hemming. I love machine-work and hand-work. I love patterns and the assembly of it all. I’m working on loving finishing. *smile* But oh, how I do love the finished pieces and the feel and look of my makes. There is so much pride and love in each piece. Oh! I love (the most) making makes for other people and thinking of them with every stitch. It makes the world a little smaller and brings my loved ones closer to me.

*lesigh*

I’m grateful. That it’s summer. That I have something new and creative to invest myself in. I love creativity. I love digging into the dirt. And having time with my children (who are growing like weeds (cliche, but true)). I am happy to be sober, and am glad I started the journey.

4 years.

That finally tilts my sober time in my son’s life as being more sober than not. And in my daughter’s life, I’m now at 50-50… 4 years tipsy and checked out, and 4 years making and doing and being and Living.

Day 1,507. Here’s to being Here.     images.png

Drink Dream

Hello, my Friends. In my long absence, I would like to wish you a Happy Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas-New-Year. *smile*

Things here are going pretty well. Much better than I’d been feeling in the past year.

Biggest item – I appealed to my psychiatrist to put me back on the medication that made me feel good. Her hesitation was the complication of my heart arrhythmia, but I had felt horrible, sad, depressed, and hopeless for at least a year. I wanted to take the risk. At the beginning, when I first started the meds, I found I had 5 out of 10 days when I felt more like myself. Happier, optimistic, laughing. As cliches go, it felt as though a HUGE weight had been lifted off me. I had had no idea I had been struggling so much, nor for so long. I am still chugging along on my meds and feeling good/happy/ME. Phew.

…. I was inspired/compelled/thought it best if I popped on here today, because as the title above says, I had a drink-dream last night. I don’t think I’ve had one for over a year, so its showing up really surprised me. The drink itself surprised me, but the main theme of the dream keeps my head turning over what it might be about. Here’s the dream –

I walked into a bar (classic joke set-up), went up to the counter and sat on a stool next to a man on my right. I thought for awhile and wasn’t sure whether I should or shouldn’t – knowing full-well I was sober – and then finally thought, “It will be fine,” and ordered a Summit. I actually had the thought in my dream to be proud I was from Minnesota. Silly.

The beer was delivered and I started talking to the man on my right. Meanwhile, another man to my left was trying to tell him not to talk to me because of what had happened when he brought me home one night. He claimed I had walked into the apartment and got sick all over my parents’ bed, which was right inside the door. (What? So weird. Especially weird because I was remembering it as he spoke.). I was embarrassed by my past drinking behavior, but shrugged it off and took a sip of my beer.

Sitting at the bottom of the pint glass were 3 long sewing pins and a needle. (I’ve been doing a lot of sewing lately.) I had the thought that if I’d drank them, my intestine would be perforated and I would die. As I fished out 2 of the pins, I said to the man on my right, “People can be horribly cruel.” I figured the man on my left had slipped the pins and needle in when I wasn’t looking. The man on my right seemed to be somewhat okay with me still being there, so I turned to the room and asked to bum a cigarette.

A woman handed me one just as she was about to light it herself (clearly smoking was allowed indoors in this dream world). I lit the cig, and smoked it in about 3 puffs. I had the thought that I was being ‘bad,’ because of the beer and the cig.

And then I woke-up.

Not epic. Not even zany. The subject matter of cruelty is what really sticks with me upon waking. Curious about it and why it showed up the way it did.

Hm.

At any rate, I’m not really disturbed the drinking bit. It was a dream. The needle and pins were a little creepy. The man to my left was a little scary. The quick passing of time with the cigarette was disconcerting. It almost felt like the beer was my subconscious reminder that it was a dream, because I just don’t drink any longer.

So? That’s good. I’ll have to ponder on the other elements for awhile longer. Again, hm.

Alright, well, that is all for now. The babies are good. The hubs is good. I’m good. Starting a new show. Still teaching, and now with the med fix, remembering how much I like teaching on a mostly daily basis. *smile*

I hope you’re all well and wonderful. I will see you again in 6 to 9 months. Maybe a year.  *smile*

Day 1,341. Heya. *smile*

p.s. Here’s a cute little pic with cute sewing notions to try and cancel out the sinister image from my dream.

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p.p.s. I’ve been trying to turn my mind back to my original Word o’ the Year from long ago (4 years ago), because I really was good to myself for that year in ways I haven’t been and am usually not. So I am re-embracing the word ‘Kindness,’ and just trying to remember to be kind to myself. It’s a good little goal, I think. I hope you’re all being good to yourselves.

p.p.p.s. Love. *smile*

Eyes Open.

My eyes are opening about a bunch of different things lately. First, I had a huge realization at work, in which my privilege – both being white and from a Christian background in the United States – had been clouding my vision about a certain matter. Things are moving there, and I’m glad I had the ‘aha’ moment, even if it felt embarrassingly (to me) late in the game.

And I have moments – moments which feel like eons/swathes of Time/months/years even – in my Life, in which I am walking around with my eyes closed to Myself. How and why do my body and brain do this to me? How can it happen every single time? It’s sort of funny, like, ‘Oh, body, you got me again!’ Cue studio audience laugh. And at the same time, so frustrating because I can’t see it sooner. Hrm. Does anyone else experience this kind of muckety-muck in this way?

First, the lesser realization, though still quite major, is that I am and have been Depressed….. Significantly Depressed since about November of last year. All of the crapola at work and my health just struck me down. I have been chugging along, and doing my Life, but nothing has felt good or right. Nothing makes me happy, which is awful to say…. And maybe not entirely true. There are definitely moments of happiness – like holding my niece for the first time, and getting to know her and her sweet nature and her awesome communication skills. Seriously. Brilliant baby. (Good job on that one, Sister.) But other things which are supposed to make me happy – time with my kids and family, sewing, theatre, baking, Summer Vacation for crying out loud!!! (I’m a teacher) – Nothing really filled my void. Lifted me up. Not all the way.

I feel like I am forever searching and searching for that thing to fill me up and make me feel good. …. Which tells me I am prone to looooonnnnnnnnnggggggg periods of Depression. Because when I’m good, I’m great. But those times feel rather like wee little windows of time. And especially in the perspective of this past year, the windows have all been shut. (How many metaphors can I use in one blog post, do you think? *smile*)

So, yep. Depression. Solid, sun-blocking Depression.

But? I’m not a quitter. Fuck that.

One good thing about a new med I am trying (to help me with the bi-polar, while also not making my heart condition worse), is that it doesn’t knock me out for days at a time. I have been getting up on the reg and exercising. In the past 3.5 weeks, I have exercised 22 times. Holy shit, who am I? *smile* That feels good, even when it doesn’t. And even though it doesn’t change my whole day necessarily, I feel good when I’m doing it, so good. I like that.

I’m also moving along at work and doing good things, even with my first above-mentioned realization. Administration feels supportive. I’m confident in my job. I Love my classroom time. I feel like a Good Teacher, which is one of the best feelings.

I gave up coffee in early July, which was necessary for my ol’ ticker. Going to see how things improve at my upcoming appointment this month. Fingers crossed, but not feeling Certain things will be better. TBD. … But that to say, it’s another thing I tackled despite the Depression.

I’m trying out my mantra on occasion, when I remember. “I’m okay.” It just popped into my head shortly after my last session with my therapist. She said I need something to combat the self-talk which is just knocking me backwards and down repeatedly, and it just popped up. It’s not like the ‘I’m fine’ thing we’ve almost all been programmed to say when someone asks us in the hallway or on the sidewalk, ‘How are you?’ Nope. It’s like I’m okay because I’m like other people. I’m okay and I don’t need to be Wonder Woman right now (even though I am enjoying herbal tea from my WW coffee mug at this mo). I’m okay and this work can wait a day. I’m okay and what I got done, I got done, what I didn’t, I didn’t. I’m okay to not have energy right now and just be with my babes and husband. …. There is this magical version of Me which calls out to me to be the best and be amazing and be incredible all of the time, which usually makes me shut down, call myself names, worry about all the other amazing women doing amazing things in their amazing lives, and just stop and not do anything – all while hating myself because I’m not doing anything right. Saying ‘I’m okay’ helps me remember there is probably someone else in the world with some piles of papers needing to go through, or dishes to be done. I’m okay. Seriously. I am. Right now. I’m okay. …. And that is so healing when I remember to use it. It’s a lovely pivot point to move from.

Last eyes-suddenly-open realization hit me last night around dinner time. Not sure why it took me a few years to see it. I was getting dinner ready and kind of kicking myself and reaching for that magical-wish-I-was version of myself (i.e. thin, in this particular instance) in my head, because of all the exercise I’ve been doing, but still am so Fluffy. Like a marshmallow. Just fluffy. And I can’t shed it. And as I was wishing and reaching for my 10th pre-meal bite of whatever it was I was making, it dawned on me that it was dinner time. Witching hour. My old drinking/stomping grounds. Familiar territory, in other words. All too familiar.

I saw myself reach for the food. I heard myself use the words ‘Treat’ and ‘I deserve.’ …. All in hopes of filling a hole.

What the fuck does that Hole want anyway, and why can’t I fill it up?

I do the work, or at least remind myself to get going and do the work. I chug along.

But now, I find I have a food addiction. Probably a minor one in comparison, but the same exact pattern and mindset. And it’s not even an addiction to a certain type of food. Nope. It’s just any and all food. And it’s all about deserving. And treating. And trying to make myself feel better.

Which is probably all wrapped up into this gigantic Depression-monster I have hovering around me. And perhaps as I work to lift that, the hole will feel smaller? Maybe? Question mark? Hopeful eyebrow-raise.

I have a feeling it all has to do with balance and decreasing the pressure and hate for myself. ….. That felt awful to write. ….. I don’t know why the hate-voice is there, but I think it must have to do with all of the perfect, magical lives I imagine everyone else is leading. And I used to feel magical, or at least, I thought I was being magical when I led a life that emulated what I saw on TV. I’m so prone to suggestion, it’s ridiculous. Now when I think of leading those magical lives – and I want to – I just feel old and tired and resentful that it’s too hard to lead lives like those, and how the hell is everyone else even doing it?

Cue mantra.

I’m okay.

Other people aren’t leading those lives. They’re leading normal, regular lives that aren’t perfect, nor do they look nor feel perfect. They’re messy and not great at everything. They’re good at some things, but not everything. They’re okay.

Just like me. I’m okay.

Maybe the hole I’m trying to fill has actually swallowed me up. I’ve got work to do – depression, balance, food, exercise. And I know, eventually, I will be able to pull myself out of here. I’ve done it before.

Day 1,181. Looking up from the bottom.

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Reality Check

And I’ve got egg on my face to boot.

Update: I sent an email to admin (not a frazzled one like my post) asking for a meeting so that we could talk about my concerns with my schedule. I then itemized those concerns. They got back to me pretty quickly and clarified things. Turns out? The online program I rely on for my schedule was incorrect. Things got ironed out over email and we are moving forward. Good.

And? I’m embarrassed. Not in front of admin, but in front of all of you.

I feel, I react. I charge forward. I am the bull in the adage.

Anne was right – I’ve got lots of anxiety, and it’s all ready to boil up and over at the drop of a hat.

Wendy is right, too – I need to prioritize my health for mine and my family’s well-beings.

How do I walk in when I know the slate isn’t exactly clean? That’s the issue right now. I am the problem. My hackles are up and I’m ready for a fight – because I’ve been conditioned to fight at this point.

I’m working on the anxiety. First, I’ve been exercising more, which feels good. I start tomorrow with back to work and am going to work my exercises into my early mornings. That’s the plan as of this mo. Second, when I see my therapist tomorrow, I am going to propose to her that my anxiety is its own issue. There is still the possibility it’s an off-shoot of my new meds, but even so, anxiety is my middle name and I would love a life with far less of it. I’ll bring it up to her, and then I will call my shrink and see what she says. Meds are my concern now, because they could be exacerbating some of my heart issues, which stinks, because I think I do better on meds and have done better these past few years. It would stink if I had to cut them out. That, however, can be figured out as we go. Get back, Anxiety! Down, boy.

Okay, so that’s it. I just felt like I should come clean. I go back tomorrow and all of this pent-up anticipation/anxiety crapola should die down once I get back into it.

Day 1,163. It’s not you, it’s me.

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Climb Ev’ry….

There must be a step I am skipping.

I can see my goal – happy, carefree, no-stress, low-cortisol levels, did I mention happy? Easy, breezy (beautiful CoverGirl)….. Enjoying my work (my dream job) and being happy to be at my school, teaching what I love, and having both my babes with me at the same school. No more self-pity! (Gah. I am so bored of hearing myself talk about it over and over.) No more ‘Woe is me.’ No more crying. No more anticipatory stress. No more feeling sorry for myself. I’m really sick and tired of it.

That, and it feels like the Universe is sending me all these messages the past few weeks with others’ stories to put mine better into perspective. I know our hurts and our pains and challenges are not comparable, but I when I am listening to others’ stories (and comparing), I can’t help but think, ‘Why the hell can’t I get over my stuff/myself?’ Seriously. So many stories of people being amazing in the face of adversity and challenge and heartache and loss and life changes….. And then there’s the poor-old-boob-Me who can’t get over the fact her job is hard and her bosses aren’t great. (A bit of a generalization, but really, when it comes down to it, that’s what it is.)

I feel like a whiny schmuck who can’t get over it already.

And then the worry and anxiety comes in and that’s unsettling, because it doesn’t just unsettle me about the job, nope. It unsettles me about everything else, too, so that everything is bad or scary or insurmountable.

I am not that person.

I am a doer and a get-shit-done-kind-of-person. This continued anxiety is making me feel

  1. Not like myself
  2. Weak
  3. Alone
  4. Like a cry-baby
  5. Fragile and frail

And then, as I continue to bubble up with worries here and there, I also feel like I keep spilling it out on those I love, which makes me feel even more frustrated with myself.

I can see the oasis that is calm and serenity ahead of me. I can even get to it for a few brief moments at a time. A blogger used the image of an open hand the other week, and I love that idea in regards to my situation. Yes, the crap is here, but if I keep my hand open, it will pass. Right now, it feels like I am clutching onto all the crapola and I’m the one not letting things go.

And yet.

There is incompetence and disregard for my job as an arts teacher. I just checked my schedule and found I am given 10 preps (fine), but four of the classes are scheduled to be quarter-long instead of semester-long. What about content/curriculum? What about students getting adequate instruction time? Will students receive half the credit, or am I expected to cram a semester’s worth of content in for the students’ sakes? Why was none of this communicated to me ahead of time? Why was I not asked? Would you ask an English teacher to run their classes like this? Why am I? …… My heart just picks up right where it left off and runs like gangbusters for the hills. I’m worried returning to work is going to set my health back again and I’m going to have to have a more serious procedure to fix my heart problem (caused by my job), which further compounds the stress and the damage. …. Anyway, I’ve asked for a meeting, but seriously. Why am I my only advocate? Why does no one else see how their choices affect me, a teacher in their school? Plus, when I send off that old email, I further compound their perceptions of me as well. I’m the woman who can’t be happy or satisfied or content with her job. The woman who doesn’t know her place. The woman who is loud. The woman who dredges up problems, who sees trouble where there isn’t any. Etc. I want to quit, but I also want to push through and get through to the other side and be happy doing what I love to do.

I was bucking myself up the past few days because I go back to workshops on Thursday. I’ve been telling myself everything will be okay (Thanks, PapaBear), and that I can do this *flex* (Thanks, Rosie the Riveter), and that this year can and will be different because the past is in the past (Thanks, Elsa).

I’ve been to therapy a few times and am going again this week. I’ve been checking in here and reading and connecting. I’ve seen girlfriends and spent lots of time doing things to engage with others. I’ve started that new drug (which I’m not loving, but going to give it a month). I’ve exercised 4 times in the past 8 days. I’ve eaten (a lot). I’ve spent time with my babies and with the rest of my wonderful fam (Hi, Sister & NewBabyNiece). I got the heck out of dodge.

I’ve been doing the work and I still feel like Shit, and I’d like to know why.

Am I on the verge of a breakthrough? Or a breakdown? At this point, both seem probable.

I feel better as a person, but the Job is looming and this scheduling thing does not bode well, nor sit right, nor feel good as I begin another year. I just keep thinking that this year cannot be the same as last year. I cannot go through and lose myself, my health, and my family time the way I did last year. I’m clutching to that idea/goal, and then my heart begins to race and I feel sad and defeated.

I’m going to keep taking the steps, Folks. And I’m going to keep doing what needs to be done for me. I’m going to set boundaries and take things back a notch where I can. I’m going to prioritize my physical and mental health, my family, and my Time. I’m going to stand up for myself when and where I need to, even if I continue to be the Problem Person.

Day 1,161. Are we there yet?

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A Majestic Woman Climbing a Small Mountain by Caitlin Connolly

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