… the world of yesterday …

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If anyone knows me, they know that I love Disney. My obsession began when I was a senior in high school when my class had the opportunity to travel to Walt Disney World.  I have always loved art classes and I was constantly drawing and creating floor plans all throughout my school years, so naturally I was drawn to animation. I immediately fell in love with MGM Studios and the animation exhibits that they had on display.  I can remember seeing cels for the animated version of Beauty and the Beast. Chip and Mrs. Potts and all of the other characters. Also at that time, Aladdin had not yet been released and I can remember the parks talking about the story and the characters of that film.  I couldn’t wait to see the real thing.

When I got home from that trip I immediately sent a letter (yes, back in the days before email) to Walt Disney Studios Imagineering.  They gave me detailed instructions on how I could join their team and an application to apply. I can remember how excited I was to get that letter from Glendale, California. It seemed like such a faraway place at the time.

You now know that I never fulfilled my dream of becoming an animator for Walt Disney and instead pursued a career in architecture.  Although it did get me to Southern California, architecture never satisfied my love for all things Disney.

Flash forward to 2011. I was lucky enough to purchase my first Disney Annual Pass. I was in love. Over the next several years I would annoy everyone with my daily posts from the parks (I feel certain that I had a lot of people “unfollow” me during that time).  Lots of times I would just grab a coffee and sit in front of the castle, or sit in those chairs on the porch on Main Street. I felt like I had found my “place”. One of the real reasons that I loved going to the Disneyland Resort properties? I loved to be around all of those families having fun and making memories.  I would watch people laugh and smile and I loved the energy surrounding that. I even became friends with a lot of Cast Members that I would see daily and I still keep in touch with them. And I still get chills as I pass underneath the train bridges into the park.

Some days I wish I could go back to “the world of yesterday” and fill out that application. I wonder where I’d be now if I did?

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mistakes.

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When you make a mistake, how long does it take for others to forgive you?  How long does it take for you to forgive yourself? Do you forget about them easily? Do you learn from them? Or do you repeat them until you learn you lesson?

Some days I just want to scream and say ENOUGH! I GET IT!  But my brain is damaged.  I force myself to relive my past mistakes.  I replay the images over and over in my mind and think about what I should have done differently.  I torture myself with the feelings of failure and disappointment. And that’s what mistakes feel like to me.  Failure.

I don’t know why I torture myself.  Life is hard enough. I constantly beat myself up about what I’ve done wrong.  Don Miguel Ruiz says that “True justice is paying only once for each mistake. True injustice is paying more than once for each mistake.”  www.choosebetterlife.com says “….we [still] reject ourselves and others for not being perfect. We suffer guilt, shame, and fear. We try harder. We hide, we pretend, and we still fail. Even more heartbreaking, we pay countless times for each mistake we make. We don’t just acknowledge them, learn, and move on. There is no forgiveness. We relive each error and suffer anew each time we remember or are reminded of it. And we and society have excellent memories for such things.

Everyone is fighting their own battles.  I guess that I just choose to continue my battles in my head.  I’m jealous of those who can live life and say “no regrets”.  Because I have lots of them.

Everyone is fighting their own battles.  I guess that I just choose to continue my battles in my head.  I’m jealous of those who can live life and say “no regrets”. Because sadly, I have lots of them.

changed.

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I have no idea who I am anymore.  Whoever said “Motherhood Changes You”, boy they weren’t kidding.  I’ve changed so much over the last 12 years.

For one, my body.  It will never be the same.  I fear that I’ll always be thick around the middle (….. I know, I know, beer is really to blame……).  All women experience the same things though.  Larger feet. Expanded rib cage. Wider hips. My freaking organs were all mashed together.  My bladder isn’t the same. One arm is stronger than the other from carrying that awkward freaking clip in infant car seat thing.  And you know that we all put it in the shopping cart where we weren’t supposed to.

Let’s talk about the mental changes now.  My brain runs non. Stop. Like, I have to be constantly multitasking at all times or else I feel restless.  I know that I was like that in the architecture world, but now it’s like, exponential.  Before, I used to be talking on the phone, while drafting a floor plan while looking up files on a health department submittal.  Now, I’m thinking about the socks that I have to buy my son with sensory processing disorder while loading the dishwasher and filling up the water filter reservoir and making a grilled cheese.  And in the background I hear the washer finish its cycle so then it’s thinking ahead to the clothes that I need to iron and fold and put away……

Most days I feel like I’m on a merry go round and I can’t get off.

And then there’s my taste in movies.  I used to love gory horror flicks. I used to love Quentin Tarantino movies.  Now that my brain automatically goes to CATASTROPHIC MODE, I can’t stand to watch people get maimed, hurt, killed or otherwise.  ESPECIALLY if kids are involved. I’m not saying that I have to watch only romantic comedies or dramas or anything.  I just can’t shut the mom/protector part of my brain off.

Now that I’ve been nothing but a mom for almost 12 years, I don’t know who I am anymore.  I kinda feel like I’ve lost my identity.  Like, what do I even like anymore? What am I doing?  Whatever it is, I’m sure that I’m doing it wrong and will cause my adult child to endure years of therapy. I honestly have no idea what I’m doing.  And I’m so sick of being clueless. But I guess that that’s a part of motherhood too.

So here I am, middle aged and still trying to find myself.  

Thank you, https://newdadintraining.wordpress.com/ for getting me off to a new start.

the sisterhood of the screening.

Cold.

Uncomfortable.

Painful.

And certainly no place for modesty.

This is a mammogram appointment.

I was lucky enough to have my annual mammogram appointment last week. I realize that without a doctor’s written order, you can’t get one covered under your insurance. If you’re lucky enough to have insurance. I didn’t get one last year. With packing and moving and the end of the school year coming to a close, I let it lapse. But with a history of breast cancer in my family, I decided that it would be a good idea if I went this year. It’s not that I avoid it, it’s just uncomfortable.  

The holding room looks like this: women of all ages, all races, all in blue hospital gowns that open to the front. We’re all nervous. We’re all wondering what our results will be. We’re all women brought together by one cause. To stamp out breast cancer.

Cancer doesn’t care what color or race you are, or what sex you identify with. Cancer doesn’t care if you drive a Range Rover or a Scion. Cancer doesn’t care of you live on Lido Island or Wheeling Island. But we can all come together and get our screenings done. We are all equal in the eyes of cancer.

i want to fall in love……

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AirCatcher

(photo credit: favim.com)

…… with running again.

It’s been so long since I’ve gone on a run.  It’s been so long since I’ve gone on a run and actually liked it.  It’s been even longer since I went on a run and loved it.

I remember how I used to feel while running.  I remember the freedom that I felt. The energy that I had.  The belief that anything was possible. How thankful that I was for everything in my life.

I remember the runners highs that I used to get.  I remember the buzzing feeling that I would get at the starting line of a race.  The feeling of accomplishment as I crossed the finish line.

And now I don’t know how to get back there.  I feel like I’m lost. And now that I’ve gained so much weight, I feel like I’m going to be starting all over again.  And that’s pretty damn depressing.

I think the thing that’s holding me back is the fact that I’m so damn slow.  I mean, I was slow back when I was actually IN shape.  Now that I roughly resemble a pear with stubby legs I’ll really be embarrassed by my pace.

I’ve always said…. When people ask you what your finish time is, or what your pace is (and they will)  …… always lie.  It’s been my experience that when you’re slow and you actually tell people what your pace is, they remind you of how lame and mind numbingly slow you are with their responses.  

So I guess you could say that it’s the opinions of others that’s holding me back from being a better version of myself.  Which is stupid.

How do I get past this?  How do I start over? Again?  Without being embarrassed? How do I not care what my runner friends think?

I want to find myself again.

 

family?

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When I was in my mid and late twenties, if you asked me if I ever wanted kids, my answer would have been…..

No way dude……

Then of course when I turned 32, all of that changed.

I never thought too much about what having a kid later in life would do to my son’s family life.  I also didn’t realize what moving across the country would do to me as a mother with no local family support.

Long story short, I’m jealous.  And I know that that sounds horrible.

My son will never have cousins his age to play with, take vacations with, have arguments with or look forward to seeing at family get togethers.

My son doesn’t get to see his grandparents (my parents) weekly, take vacations with them, or have sleepovers at their houses.

I don’t have the luxury of being able to just have my mom or dad come over to help out if I have an appointment or if I have to work extra hours.

But I suppose that there are a lot of others like me.  I moved to the west coast for a new opportunity. I had my son later in life when I felt more mature (ha ha).  I chose not to go back to work full time after I got laid off so that I could take my son to physical therapy and occupational therapy and cognitive therapy and speech therapy (and I didn’t have my family nearby for the moral support that I so desperately needed at that time…..).  Geez. Bitter much?

So…. I’m trying to look at things differently, so that the things that I look at will change.

We are healthy.  We have a place to live.  We have amazing friends here.  My husband and I both have jobs.  We have food to eat and clothes to wear.

 

But darnit it’s just so hard sometimes.

to start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you.

Secure your mask first, then offer assistance to those around you.

We hear it every time we fly.  We know it by heart and we hardly ever pay attention to the flight attendants if we are seasoned travelers.  Although I do, because it’s a common courtesy. No matter how many times I’ve heard it, I always stop and listen and look them in the eye.  I let them know that someone cares about the mind numbing motions that they go through a gazillion times a day.

Everyone deserves to be listened to.

Which brings me to a point.

I had a conversation with an amazing friend recently and they brought up the idea of “self care”.  Self care is not a new concept for me. I used to do it years ago and I recall my life going much more smoothly than it is now.  I was thinner. I didn’t feel stressed. I didn’t feel the burden of the day to day that comes with motherhood. I meditated. I ran.  I actually ate and drank whatever I wanted.

But here’s the thing that I found with “self care” ….. the universe wants you to be your best self.  And if you can’t even care for yourself, how can the universe give you what you want?

Put another way….. If you don’t feel that you’re important enough, no one else will either.  We all have our own agenda. And that’s ok. We need to make sure that our own needs are being met (but we shouldn’t be assholes in the process).

Today was a glorious example of self care.  I haven’t had a day like today in a long time.  I got up early and was able to make my son breakfast, lunch and snacks and help him off to school.  Since my husband took our son to school I was able to relax a bit, catch up on things, drink some coffee and work out.  I then proceeded to catch up on a tv show I’ve been wanting to watch. I understand that not everyone is able to relax in the morning as I was able to today.  And even I don’t get that luxury every day. But a funny thing happened, because I was able to make time for myself this morning, the rest of the day flowed by so smoothly.   People were pleasant to me. I was more patient. I felt more confident.

I think that I need to be more selfish more often so that I can be a nicer person in general.  And I owe that to myself.

mom guilt.

(DISCLAIMER: If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, you might not want to read this…..)

 

Mom, I wish I had a sibling…… or someone close to my age in our family….

This.  This is the thing that keeps me up at night.  This is the thing that makes me cry in the middle of the day.  This is the thing that makes me think that I have ruined my son.

I always thought that I would have two kids.  It didn’t matter if it was a boy and a girl….. Just two.  To keep each other company.

I had a relatively easy pregnancy.  Other than a couple of episodes of bed rest, I had no morning sickness, no problems with hypertension, no real food cravings.  My son even came before my due date and my water broke on its own.  I had some complications during delivery, but other than that, everything seemed fine.  Until it was time to really become a mom.  I had no idea what I was doing.  I was afraid that everything that I did was wrong.  I know that I had postpartum depression, but did nothing about it, because I was supposed to be happy.  I was supposed to have the mom instinct.  I was supposed to have everything under control.

Then at 9 months old, I learned that my son had developmental delays.  We started with physical therapy.  A year and a half later we were going to cognitive, speech, oral and occupational therapy 3 times a week.  I was overwhelmed.  What did I do wrong to make my child like this?  Did I eat something wrong? Did I not stimulate him enough? Read to him enough? Play with him enough?  You see, as a new, self conscious, second guessing mom with no self esteem, I felt that I was the one to blame.  I blamed myself horribly for all of it.  I didn’t know who to talk to.  I thought I was supposed to be happy.

When my son was almost three, I got pregnant again.  I was both happy and scared.  “What if?” I kept thinking.  I let my fears subside and let myself be excited.  I had my first ultrasound.  I remember waiting in the waiting room for an extremely long time and I really had to pee (when you get an ultrasound, you have to drink a crap ton of water, and you can’t go to the bathroom until after the procedure is done…..).  I was feeling really uncomfortable and then I realized that they had forgotten about me.  I finally got called back to the ultrasound room and the technicians were unusually quiet.  I thought that they were just trying to be nice because of having to make me wait so long.

The time came to visit my OBGYN to hear the baby’s heartbeat.  I thought that it would be a great time to let my son know that he was going to be a big brother.  I was excited for him to hear the “woosh woosh” sound coming from mom’s tummy.

Except that’s not what happened.

I walked into the doctor’s office with my husband and son and the receptionist quickly lost her smile when she saw me.  She said to me “Didn’t they tell you? Didn’t they call you?  Your baby doesn’t have a heartbeat.”.

Again……. What did I do?  WHAT DID I DO WRONG?!!?

My doctor told me that within two weeks the baby would abort itself.  He said wait two weeks and then come in for a follow up.

Except nothing happened. (I am crying now as I type this by the way……..)

A week went by with my baby inside of me, not living.  During this time I had my son’s third birthday party.  I walked around the party in a daze, knowing my secret.  Wondering what I could have done.  Wondering what I did wrong.

After the second week, I finally had to have the procedure, to remove my dead baby from my body. I remember crying the entire time until the anastesia took effect.  When I woke up, I felt numb.

I still wonder why.  I still feel guilty for not giving my son a sibling.

So when people ask me if I’m going to have another…… I just smile and say “no”.

why do you want to be fast?

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PR

…. my good friend and co-worker asked me at work last week. I had told her about my excitement with my latest PR from my most recent half marathon. I was so happy that day that I cried. I have been working hard lately trying to get myself in better shape, and to see the results of my minimal training made me extremely happy. I have only been running half marathons for three years and the PR made my 20th half very special.

That is until dinner that evening, when someone that I had just met that night asked me what my time was….. “What was it?!” he said, “were you under two hours??”. Right there. Someone who didn’t even know me slapped me back to reality and made me realize how slow I am and how much work I still need to do.

Or do I?

The question my friend asked me last week made me wonder, why DO I want to be fast?

I actually said “You know what? I don’t even really know”.

Self doubt, comparison and social media can be brutal. Do I want to be fast for myself? Or do I want to be fast so I can show other people how fast I am? I have never been a competitive person. Growing up with a twin was enough. People compare the two of you whether they admit it or not. So a part of me tends to shy away from competition because people will either see me for who I am or make up their own minds about who they think I am. And the people that don’t really know me…. Do they really matter? Why should I be concerned about what Joe Schmoe thinks of my finish time? Why should I be concerned about what people on social media think about my finish times?

(I’m not saying that these feelings of slow inadequacy will go away, I’m just trying to figure out how to deal with them….)

So the question to myself still stands…Why? Bragging rights are certainly nice, but then again, there will always be someone faster, better, stronger than you, so again, why? For the photo on Instagram? For the better corral placement? For the feeling of accomplishment? For myself? Am I afraid of being judged for my lack of speed? Or am I just too lazy to even want to try to become faster? Am I afraid of the challenge?

No matter how old you are, there is still something to be learned about yourself, isn’t there?

“You’re never satisfied. That’s what life is, it’s just this ongoing, neverending vacation adventure, you see. You can’t get it wrong and you’ll never get it done…..” – Ester Hicks

running on stress and depression.

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Three years ago I was dealing with a substantial amount of stress and depression. Every day after I dropped my son off at school, I would run. Not fast. Not far. But I would run (…. away). I would take off and just listen to the music in my ear buds. Zero thoughts crossed my mind. I ran away from the boxes that needed to be packed. I ran away from the thoughts of failure. I ran away from my son’s trichotillomania. And I was able to deal with it all. And I was able to get through it. Little did I know that it would just be the beginning of my love for running.

Flash forward to my new state of affairs. New problems. New stress. Same old depression. I went for a run yesterday and I found myself back in that “place”. That place of zen. That place where you just zone out and just GO. My body was tired. I was hot. I was thirsty. My legs hurt. I wanted to stop and walk. But my brain said NO! So I didn’t. And I was ok. Something seriously turned off in my brain and it made me “just go”. I felt nothing but the desire to keep. going. And to tell you the truth, I’ve never even felt that in a race before (which I guess is why I always perform so poorly in races, lol).

I am no stranger to depression. I can remember those creeping thoughts as early as seventh grade. I had my ups and downs in high school, followed by some serious downs in college. I felt like I had to have it all figured out. I felt like I didn’t fit in. I felt like a failure so I almost changed my major the semester before I was supposed to graduate. That particular year was the worst (let me tell you, you don’t ever want to be forced to drink a cup of activated charcoal).

But now I am not older. I am better. I am stronger. I am a role model for my son. And I will. Not. Fail.

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