But What Do I REALLY Need?

Part of my journey towards peace is trying to be in tune with what I need in any particular moment. Do I need to mop the floors? Or stay in bed an extra 45 minutes playing Pokemon? Considering how crazy my life has gotten in the last month, I often times know I need the later of those two options just to give my mind time to heal from the anxiety of every day life. But then there’s the fallout…the floors aren’t clean. And because my house is on the market, they need to be clean so now I’m just stuck having to do them at night before bed when I’m really tired and wanting to sleep.

It’s a fine line, because satisfying what I need “now” all the time will eventually backfire on me and I’ll find myself up at 1am mopping floors and putting up laundry.

I’ve not been blogging every morning like I used to. Some mornings it’s because I’m trying to squeeze in a run, other mornings it’s because I’m trying to sleep more. Either way – there’s a part of me hurting at not having that start to my day. I really need to write in the mornings in many different ways. Do I need it more than a run? Or more than sleep? Probably not. But damn if my life isn’t lacking on the days I miss that creative and cathartic release.

It all – of course – points consistently to me having TOO MUCH TO DO. I’m really aware of this now more than ever and am hoping a lot of my responsibilities will lighten up with the launch of a website I’ve been working on for a non-profit I’m involved with. It’s been taking all of my free time lately, so much so that I am actually missing my book club this month just because we’re less than 10 days from our hopeful launch and the non-soccer nights are rare and I need to get work done. Once that launches? I truly hope a lot of my responsibilities will drop back and I’ll have “free” time again. And that goes doubly for when/if we ever sell this damn house. Selling the house. Launching the website. Those two things will clear up SO MUCH TIME.

But until then I’m having to pass on things that may be spiritually healing in order to knock the tasks off the list that will help me accomplish those two goals: Sell the house, Launch the website.

It’s a balance and I’ll be honest: I’m not handling it well. I’m sleepless (I got 6 hours of sleep the other night and was overjoyed at the indulgence) and emotional and longing for time with my running buddies and my blog and my book sisters. I know that this is temporary, I have a better handle on what I should be juggling and if I could just get these things conquered the rest will be an easier load.

But until then…I’m just treading water. I’m doing my nightly meditations which helps me fall asleep but I inevitably wake up at midnight and stare at the wall panicking for an hour or two before dozing off again until my 3am wake up time. I’m squeezing my runs in when I can but it’s not often. I missing my Dad. Oh, jeezus I miss him so much. The harder my life is the more I miss him, which says a lot about our relationship when he was alive. He was the one I called when life was too much, and when it gets that way again I miss him the most.

I’ll make it. I know I will. I have a better tool set to understand my anxiety and I have an understanding as to what I need.

I just have to hang in there for now. Right?

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.

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.

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.

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.