the back half.

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As I sit in the back half of my 40s, I realize that I have been pretty unkind to myself over the years. Especially when it comes to my body. I’m not saying or thinking anything that anyone my age or older doesn’t already know of course. But I’m trying to take more mental notes in order to be more accepting of how I look these days. 

I need to change the way that I look at “aging” in general. Instead of dwelling on the fact that I seem to have rolls and lumps here and there that I can’t seem to get rid of, I need to realize that I have made mistakes with what I’ve decided to eat (and drink… IPAs, I’m looking at you). And that’s ok. I get the opportunity to make better choices. Instead of focusing on how slow my running pace has become, I need to be happy that I still have the ability to get out there and run. Instead of focusing on my poor eyesight and hearing, I should focus on the fact that I have health insurance and I can get the care that I need to aid these minor inconveniences. I need to work out to make my body happy and to strengthen it and insure that I live longer, not to make me more appealing to look at (because in all actuality, I shouldn’t really care if people like the way that I look or not). 

Human bodies are kinda cool. We have the ability to take nutrients out of food, heal our cells and grow a person inside ourselves, all without thinking. Our brains can process sounds and sights and language and smells. 

I often recall Dr. Masaru Emoto’s “Water Experiment” publications entitled “Messages From Water 1 & 2” and  “The Hidden Messages in Water”. The gist of his thoughts are…. 60% of our bodies are made up of water. In his findings, “he found that water from clear springs and water that has been exposed to loving words shows brilliant, complex, and colorful snowflake patterns. In contrast, polluted water, or water exposed to negative thoughts, forms incomplete, asymmetrical patterns with dull colors.” * I know, I know, some of you might think that all of it is just a bunch of hoo ha. But could you imagine, that if we are made up of mostly water, and if we treated ourselves more kindly, think of the positive implications it could have. 

Okay, enough of my middle aged ramblings. Happy 2021. And Happy Birthday to my twin this month.

*excerpt taken from https://whatthebleep.com/water-crystals/

that (one) time that i was a jerk.

So. It’s been approximately seven weeks since we were all told that we’d be “Safer at Home”. My son started online schooling (like the rest of the country) on March 18th and some time during that week, before it was mandatory to wear face masks in any public place, I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things. It was a funny situation, the “haves and the have-nots”.  Kind of like the Sneeches with Stars. Walking through the aisles of the grocery store, I found that I did not want to look the masked customers in the eye for fear of somehow being judged for not wearing a mask. I did not even own a mask and I did not know where to get one. The “six foot rule” was in place so I was trying to abide by that but there were still some other rules that I did not know about. Like “we can’t bag your groceries but you can bag them yourself” and some other places will just place your items in your cart and you can bag them yourself elsewhere. ***

Anyway, I found all of my items and I had my reusable bags all ready to go. I stepped into a lane and my first mistake was to not abide by the “SIX FOOT RULE”. I started to move forward to place my items on the belt when I was reprimanded by the cashier. I stayed back. I waited until I was called (allowed) forward. I placed my items on the belt and was reminded (actually told for the first time) that I was not allowed to have the bagger use my reusable bags for my items but I could bag my items myself. I was told this piece of information with what I regarded as an attitude. My ego took over and I assumed that I was being given attitude because I was not wearing a mask. The bagger was not wearing a mask either but she also seemed to be giving me attitude. At this point I was getting annoyed by their combined b!tchiness. I started to slam things down and I was acting bitchy myself (which I hated). I paid for my items and bagged them myself. I snatched the receipt from the cashier’s hand not because I was annoyed, but because when I grabbed for it the first time I missed it (I’m clumsy) and I was afraid to come into contact with her hand! With my snatchy grab, the bagger lady scoffed at me and I rushed out. I was frustrated, I felt bad because of my actions and I felt like “is this what shopping has become?”. 

After I got home, I thought about submitting an online survey to report the behaviors of the cashier and the bagger. I also wondered if maybe they were giving me attitude because they thought that I was above bagging my own groceries (which I secretly LOVE to do). I gave it a few days and decided not to say anything. Then I thought about going back to the store to apologize in person. I also did not have the guts to do this. 

Sorry for the long post (speaking to myself in the future) but I want to say one more thing…… I instinctively want to believe, like/love everyone. It makes me sad when others are mean to me without what I perceive as a “good reason”. I give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I am too trusting. I am too gullible.  I am too naive to think that people actually like me sometimes. Which, it’s ok if they don’t. I know that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. And I let myself down when I respond with anything but kindness to someone when my ego gets in the way. Sometimes I forget that a lot of times, peoples’ actions have nothing to do with me. 

I have since acquired a mask and I wear it every time I shop. I maintain six feet and I bag my own things.

This post is for newdadintraining who gives me neverending $hit about not posting things that I consider my online diary for when I am older.

*** A law was passed in the State of California outlawing the use of plastic shopping bags, because we are all Earthloving folk out here. So I use and have a $hitload of reusable bags stashed in my trunk. Thank you Surf City Marathon/Half Marathon for giving me one to use year after year. My sister, who lives in Arizona, makes fun of my “no plastic bag using state” and I’m jealous of her never ending supply of bags for scooping litter boxes.

in limbo.

Do you ever feel like you’re just waiting… waiting for the show to start. Waiting for the gears to turn. For things to be set into motion.

Or maybe things are already in motion and you just need to ride the wave. You aren’t in control sometimes and you just need to go along with whatever it is you’re going through.  Even when it sucks. Because the universe said so. Because it was meant for you to go through, and try as you might, you couldn’t stop it.

Do you ever feel like you’re here to help people out… to show them what NOT to do.  To give them examples of how life works so that maybe one more person won’t have to go through the trauma.

Do you ever feel like “I can’t wait to see what the outcome of all of this will be”… and even though going through the trench and the muck and jumping over all of the hurdles sucks, you’re actually somewhat excited to see how it will all turn out. But you’re scared too. The fear is always there. You’re anxious and scared and depressed about all of it.

But that’s what makes us human, right?

And sometimes it all really just sucks.

… 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?

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.

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.