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Let’s Do This Thing

I had a weird weekend. Donnie was out of town and I’m learning not to set up any concrete domestic goals for the weekends he’s gone because it takes everything out of me just to keep up with my regular life without backup. I had to get his Mom to pick up the kids on Friday and cover me at Nikki’s practice on Saturday just so I could do the things I was scheduled to do. Any more big projects around the house or with the kids I knew would be impossible. I did get my yard work done, I mowed/weeded, but that’s it.

On top of that, when he’s gone we all sleep together in our bed and that’s not the best night sleep for me – as you can image. THEN! Nikki’s sinus/allergy crap culminated in some random puking/nausea around 3:30am Saturday (It hit Donnie like that last Monday, sinus drainage is rough on the tummy) so I had to cancel the sitter I had gotten for Wesley so she and I could volunteer and spectate our big triathlon here in town. So even keeping BIG stuff off of the list, I couldn’t even keep up the stuff that was already on the list separate from him leaving town.

It was a very unproductive weekend by many metrics, is what I’m saying.

Well, not entirely – the lack of sleep and curling up in bed with the kids did allow me to finish Season 1 of Blindspot which is this fantasy show that I love about the a girl with superpowers of persuasion helping out the FBI in an alternate universe.

What? You say it’s not a fantasy? Well, I say it is because it’s the only way I can allow the logical part of my brain to shut off an enjoy it. Otherwise I spend the whole time screaming, “WHY ARE THEY LETTING HER DO THAT? THE FBI WOULD NOT ALLOW THIS AT ALL. THIS IS SO DUMB.” So I’ve convinced myself it’s a fantasy show happening in an alternate universe where the FBI does NOT have it’s shit together and Jane secretly has magic powers of manipulation which is why they PUT HER ON THEIR TEAM WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING HER HISTORY.

So, yeah. Finished that season. I have many thoughts if there’s anyone else who watches it. I love it. But I hate myself for loving it.

But other than that? Nothing. Nada. And I have too much to do today to spend time catching up before work this morning. (It is a BIG DAY for me in my OTHER blog world. IT IS THE 3 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF MY BULLET JOURNAL!) And sometimes I wake up with my house in disarray and I hate myself because that means if someone calls for a showing I’m going to have to say, “I’m sorry. I need more than 2 hours.” (I need 2 hours just to get here from work and deal with the animals at MINIMUM.) And I know that’s not how you sell a house but A) It rarely happens and B) I’ve been keeping my house “show ready” for the better part of 16 months now, GIVE ME A DAMN BREAK.

I don’t want the fact that everything is not how it should be this morning (upstairs is perfect, as always, because we don’t live up there) to put me in a funk the rest of the day. Do you do that? Get so overwhelmed by how behind you are that you have trouble being productive at all because you get stuck in this mental wind tunnel of your anxieties and you push but make no progress forward? WE ARE NOT LETTING THAT HAPPEN TODAY, PEOPLE. DO YOU HEAR ME?

It’s going to be a great day. I have a million things to do today and not enough time to do them. Which is the PERFECT day for me to practice some of my selfcare mantras and my meditations and breathing breaks and basic checkins. This day is a recipe for disaster where I eat 12 donuts for breakfast and stare at kitty pictures all day. BUT NO! I’m going to break the mold, people! I’m going to take this day as a challenge to BE KIND to myself. To constantly check in with myself to see what I need to keep my head above water. I’m not going to rate my success today by the completion of my To Do list. Instead, I’m going to rate my success on whether or not I fall apart under the weight of anxiety. If I keep my head on straight and don’t curl up in a fetal position in the corner with bean dip and beer today? THEN IT WILL BE A GREAT DAY.

Here’s to reframing success and progress.

Here’s to simply keeping our shit together.

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The Shame Trifecta

In case you missed it – I wrote a SECOND entry yesterday. One I scheduled to publish to lighten the mood around here and then forgot about until the email notification came in that it had published and – not noticing what website it was from – I got excited someone wrote about bras! And then I realized that “someone” was me and I know NOTHING about bras so, you know, stupid blog.

ANYWAY. This one is another heavy one so I really wanted to point you in the direction of the lighter one in case you’re sick of the heavy stuff.

So…I think about shame a lot. There are a lot of my social anxieties that revolve around feelings of shame. Shame about that time I did say the wrong thing leading to FEAR of shame that I might do it this time. Or DO the wrong thing. Or just BE the wrong thing. And all of the shame fears are founded in past experiences which I relive in perpetuation for hours afterwards.

But there are several types of shame.

There’s the shame where you are vulnerable and then embarrassed or unsure if you should have revealed that vulnerability. That’s a tricky thing about therapy, even though it’s a safe, judgement-free zone, there’s still that instinctive shame that ripples through my body when I get really raw and vulnerable.

There’s the shame when you have to be corrected professionally. Maybe there are some people who have never experienced that shame, but I have unfortunately. And sometimes it’s warranted and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s just miscommunication, other times it’s entirely my fault. Either way – it’s such and embarrassing kind of shame because it’s like being a child being reprimanded by a teacher or a parent.

Then there’s the social shame I spoke about before. It’s definitely the most common in my life. That realization you said something wrong. Or maybe something you did was interpreted wrong. It’s not always in the MOMENT you process it. For me, it often comes with confusion related to a reaction from someone else. Like, “Wait. That was not the reaction I expected.” And then upon reflection and replay you hear how your words came off or how your intention was misunderstood and then suddenly you hear or see your words/actions from another perspective and understand their reaction but it’s usually long past time to correct yourself. Even if you had the courage to do so.

Those are the types of shame I experience in various degrees with various levels of frequency.

But yesterday? All in one day, baby. I got a 3-fer. A shame hat trick, so to speak.

I got raw in therapy (DRINK!) and battled feeling shame all day (I know. Right? So counterintuitive!) and then screwed up something at work and then fumbled the ball socially and then sat up last night replaying it ALL IN MY HEAD and feeling like THE WORST HUMAN IN ALL THE LAND.

I tried to remember BrenĂ© Brown and the importance of vulnerability to make those important connections. I knew I’d vomit the experience out on my blog this morning and I figured that would help me be more vulnerable which tends to take the power out of the shame. And allow connections with others who we share our vulnerabilities with.

But y’all? It just sucked. I just want a do-over, you know? I don’t think I’d change anything about therapy, but I’d not make the mistake at work, and I’d definitely keep my mouth shut after work and do a little more “thinking before I speak” so I make sure my words and my tone and my timing carry the intended meanings. I’d definitely fix those moments. I was wallowing so bad last night I even did that thing I used to do as a kid where I momentarily wished for a real do-over. Like that was possible.

I wish.

Today is an insane day. I knew I needed to write here to clear out the funky deposits yesterday left on my soul. And I know I need a run (not as long of one as I truly need, but I’ll do my best) so I’m heading out in a bit to do that. I’ve got a few hours of work before I do some more volunteering for one of the two races we have this weekend (end of the season!) and that always revives my spirit. And then I plan on curling up in bed with the kids tonight and watching a movie and doing a lot of self care to heal the wounds from an exhausting week where I fought demons galore.

Thank you all for encouraging me on this journey. It’s not easy, but it’s very important.

Mala

Let’s Talk About Bras!

It’s getting a little heavy around here, don’t you think?

So. Let’s talk about bras. It’s closely related to my favorite subject: Boob Sweat. But a little more mature.

I got my first training bra from K-mart when everyone else in my class got one in 5th grade. I’m not sure if the parents discussed it or what, I just remember we all did it at the same time even though I didn’t really have boobs until I got pregnant at 18.

I was raised by a man who knew nothing about bras, but he was kind enough to send me to the mall with his credit card so I could buy bras sometimes, but I still didn’t really learn much. I just kinda guessed at my size and moved on with my life.

25-30 years later I discovered sports bras and I threw everything else in the garbage because I LOVE SPORTS BRAS!

Fast forward to now when sometimes I need something other than a sports bra because I’m 41 and a grown woman with an office job and once in awhile I wear non-workout clothes. I kept trying bras from Target (because that’s where I buy everything) but I hate them all because underwire! Padding! Ugg.

Then I went to Twitter (as you do with all of your personal undergarment questions) and asked Twitter for advice. And Twitter introduced me to something called a “bralette” which is basically a nicer bra but with no underwire or padding! So it feels more like a sports bra! And it’s evidently been around forever and I’m just dumb.

AND MY LIFE HAS BEEN CHANGED.

I still haven’t found the perfect one yet, BUT I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR THE KNOWLEDGE THAT THESE BRAS EXIST. The ones I have bought have made my life SO MUCH BETTER.

I can wear something “nicer” under a blouse and I almost feel grown-up but without the terrible sensation of underwire and padding.

This post serves no other purpose other than to share the wisdom in case any of you are in the dark to the world of bralettes like I was.

You’re welcome.

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Spiritual Nutrition

There are two big groups I volunteer with in town – officially serving on the board in both groups to manage their websites – but also randomly for races put on by the two groups. This weekend is a big triathlon in town that I have never done, but I adore because it attracts all of my favorite people both as racers, and as volunteers.

I was planning this week on my calendar 2 weeks ago (I’ve gotten to the point where I’m “planning” 3 weeks ahead which is unusal for me and a sign of how busy things have gotten.) and I worried about my mental health with no nights open and so many volunteering. I’m conditioning myself to notice these weeks as they’re warning signs for my mental health. But then I remembered an important factor:

These people build me up.

Now, I’m not naive enough to say, “Oh! Filling my days with people that build me up is fine!” I’m aware that I still desperately need free time. But holy crap, I needed time with those people this week. And I needed the reminder that I’m not alone. Some days I feel tired and the fight is hard and I’m just not sure why I don’t just curl up in bed and veg out on Blindspot (It’s so bad. But I’m so addicted.) until I fall asleep every night. But then I remember – because I have a tribe of people who make it all worth it.

I’ve had moments in my life – in the pre-agoraphobia years – where I had groups of people I’ve interacted with who took my energy instead of built it up. Where there was gossiping and criticizing, insulting and mocking. Where we spent time making fun of people instead of expressing concern or empathy. I was not an unwilling participant, I laughed and mocked meanly with the rest of them. But I now know what a tribe looks like. I have sincere love for these people and they care for me and for each other. I just sat there last night, quietly doing my job, but soaking up the energy they all had. They all work together for a greater cause. (Put aside the fact that one of the benefactors of this race is the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation – and my Dad died of MM.) They all want nothing but the best for each other and it’s simply amazing.

I don’t know. I guess I’m struggling through this fog and trying to find patterns that work for me and some days I get overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities on my plate and I feel like the solution is to clear it completely. But then I remember why I sign up to begin with. Because it’s so rejuvenating to feel a part of such an amazing group of people. It gives me purpose. It gives me energy.

So I need to remember the simple and obvious thing that I often forget. The key is balance. My life as a homebody was lacking something beautiful that I have now. I was lacking my tribe. My running tribe, my book tribe, my Tri tribe. The key is understanding that balance. That I need people AND peace.

I don’t know for sure that balance yet, maybe it will change week to week. But I know that I was overwhelmed and tired and those people rejuvenated me this week. Tuesday night with the running club and last night with the Tri club. And I have a meeting tonight with a lovely group of women and my book club next week. I expect the same from them.

Balance. I don’t know the balance, but I know life before – with a plate clear of responsibilities – starved me. So I’m grateful for those obligations and the energy they put into my life. I just need to keep my finger on my own pulse, I guess.

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Teach Me How To Say “No”

I’m working on saying, “No,” as I struggle to keep my head above water with my current load of responsibilities. And I’ve been doing great! Sort of. It’s more not saying, “Yes,” than it is saying, “No,” but the end result is the same.

The first thing I had to do to develop this power (because I know we all struggle with it) is to look realistically at my life one week…two weeks…or a month in advance and ask myself, Can I handle anything else this month? And I mean really look at things. Do I have at least one (but ideally 2-3) week nights with NO obligations? Do I have hours to loaf on the weekends? Are there some mornings I won’t have to run? Because – here is what I’m trying to value: FREE TIME. So – I look into the future and get a gauge: Do I have enough free time?

And if the answer is, “No.” Well, then I should take on absolutely NO OTHER OBLIGATIONS.

But here’s the kicker: I have to decide that and then STICK TO IT. No matter WHAT arises.

And y’a’ll? That’s hard. Because it turns out a lot of stuff that seems small pops up a lot of times in our lives. Have you noticed that? Maybe you have and maybe you find yourself overwhelmed now, too. But here’s the thing: Small things still take up time. Even if it’s just one hour, one night. And when something small pops up, maybe it’s cooking a meal for a friend, maybe it’s organizing the snack schedule for a soccer team, maybe it’s a social gathering…you think, This is small! It will barely take an hour! Of course I can do that!

But then 3 hours of your free time that week – that you didn’t have enough – of ARE GONE.

And I’m retraining my brain: My free time is as important as a meeting with the boss. As a doctor appointment. Maybe even more-so. Because it turns out that when I’m GO! GO! GOING! – I emotionally collapse and panic attacks ensue. Free time in my week is necessary just like rest days are in my ultramarathon training. If I run 10 days in a row, I’m going to get injured. If I go several days without any free time, my brain gets injured.

So I say “No” to everything, even if it only takes an hour.

Well, like I said before, I don’t really say, “No.” I just simply don’t say, “Yes.” And it’s come up several times recently for several “small” things but I keep telling myself, No. You can’t do that, Kim. You are already teetering on the edge. Small things can push you over.

And so far, so good.

But – let’s get to what I keep repeating: I’m not saying, “No.” I’m simply not saying, “Yes.”

Like when the coach asked that someone just print up a game schedule so people could just sign up for snacks. I just looked the other way. Or when an email went out about a social gathering…I just ignored it.

Because here’s the crux: I don’t know the right way to say, “No.”

I’ve been the one recruiting volunteers and attendance before and hearing, “No,” is so difficult when you’re trying to get help with something. So I feel like I need to say, “No,” and then follow up with the nine million other things going on in my life keeping me from doing that one thing.

But I know what they’re thinking! Because I thought it too! It’s just one hour, jeezus. You can’t spare that for this important cause?

And then there’s the people who complain about how busy they are but they’re not really and it makes everyone roll their eyes. I DON’T WANT THEM TO ROLL THEIR EYES AT ME!

So I just ignore everyone and talk publicly about mental health hoping they’ll put 2 and 2 together.

But that’s shitty.

I need to find a way to say, “I’m not taking on any extra responsibilities right now, no matter how small, at least not until we sell the house and get settled into a new one.”

Because truthfully, that’s the biggest burden right now. The house.

And I need to tell myself that anyone who gets bitter or rolls their eyes at that is not a person I care about. Right? If they’re going to be an ass about things like that (like maybe I used to be?) then they’re not someone whose opinion should matter. RIGHT?

But it does matter and remember: I traced my difficulty in saying “No” to some unknown abandonment issues. WHAT IF THEY LEAVE ME? WHAT IF THEY ARE NOT MY FRIEND ANYMORE? WHAT IF THEY DON’T EVER ASK ME A FAVOR AGAIN? I NEED THEM TO NEED ME!

And man, that poor Zoot – the one scared of being abandoned by everyone who might be asking for her assistance? She’s hard to deal with.

So for now? I’m ignoring requests and not quite braving saying, “No.” But at least I’m not taking on any more responsibilities, right? That’s the end result that will give me more free time, so for now? I’ll take it.

But if you guys have any advice on ACTUALLY saying, “No,” I’d love to hear it. Ignoring people is kind of rude. đŸ™‚