Another thing to think about

In a previous post, I reposted about you are not your mind.  Well here is number 2.

2. Life unfolds only in moments.

Of course! I once called this the most important thing I ever learned. Nobody has ever experienced anything that wasn’t part of a single moment unfolding. That means life’s only challenge is dealing with the single moment you are having right now. Before I recognized this, I was constantly trying to solve my entire life — battling problems that weren’t actually happening. Anyone can summon the resolve to deal with a single, present moment, as long as they are truly aware that it’s their only point of contact with life, and therefore there is nothing else one can do that can possibly be useful. Nobody can deal with the past or future, because, both only exist as thoughts, in the present. But we can kill ourselves trying.

 

Today I am living in the moment.  Heading to Iowa for a family reunion (not excited) and then to my 25th high school reunion.   I have not been to a single high school reunion since leaving high school.  I am not sure why I agreed to go now.  I need to talk myself into not feeling self conscious about what I look like (an old high school thought) and what people think of me (another old high school thought).  I don’t really have an explanation for what I have done with the last 25 years of my life other than live it.  I don’t have my dream job nor perfect house and family.  It’s just me  and K.  We live.  We laugh.  We love.  We mess up.  We clean up.  We live.  That’s it.  That will have to do.

So for now….have a great weekend.  See you when I get back.  Maybe I will have some pics.???

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Pondering Thoughts

When I was little I internalized a lot. I’m sure we all do. It’s human nature to take things people say to heart or to even read between the lines and perceive what they may really think or feel about you.

When I was about 9 or 10 I remember running in gym class. We must have been playing some sort of game or sprinting or something. The gym teacher began to laugh at me. It was an innocent laugh, followed by a “Julie, you just aren’t a natural runner, now are you?”  I heard that again in junior high when I tried out for track and field.  The coach said something very similar.  It continued into high school as well.

I don’t remember being particularly hurt by the comment. I didn’t cry or even care that I wasn’t “a runner.” I just absorbed the statement and assumed it to be true. All through middle and high school I’d shy away from activities that involved running. In high school, I often was late for volleyball practice because I knew the first few minutes was running laps around the gym for warm up.  But I did it when I had to.  But I could play volleyball.

I would love to run now.  That is one of my goals since weight loss surgery.  I still can’t run.  I jog a little.  My left knee is still horrible.  With  no cushioning in the joint, it makes me want to stay away from running.  But……

Anyway, moving forward a few years past school years.  During college, I really loved working with kids.  I thought being a teacher would be amazing.  So my freshman year, strangely enough, we had the chance to be placed into a classroom at the local school to just observe.  The first few days was great.  Then the teacher asked us to help teach.  That is when it all fell apart.  The particular teacher I was with told me after school that she didn’t think I was cut out to be a teacher.  Mostly because I didn’t have the heart to take control of the classroom.  I didn’t have “it”.  Not sure what “it” was…..I felt defeated to say the least.  Going back to my classes at college and having my professor giving me a C in the class was just as discouraging.  Now what?  I am still wondering.

The next trip down memory lane isn’t really a specific moment more like a sprinkling of one particular statement I heard throughout my teens and 20’s. It is one remark that makes my blood boil. Not that this phrase was uttered to me but that this phrase even exists in my collective consciousness.

It’s the dreaded “You’d be so pretty if…” statement. You know the one, right? Tack on any “if” at the end but it mostly involves losing weight or being at a particular size. I heard it in many forms growing up from a whole host of different people. Peers, adults, bosses. The one that sticks in my mind the most happened when I was working at summer camp just after my sophomore year in college.  I fell hard for another counselor.  He was amazingly fun and a great “christian” guy.  But he shot me down with the, “You’d be such a great girl if……”  OMG…are you kidding.   This is a Christian camp!  Broke my heart.  I just worked 2 1/2 months with this guy.  Got very close to him and most of the other counselors just have have this happen.  I wondered if all the other counselors felt the same way…..

I remember wearing swimsuits and raggy shorts and t-shirts (just like everyone else). I recently lost a few pounds (it was the summertime, always a consistent dip in the scale as per my yo-yo dieting cycle) I felt like a million bucks! I did my hair, wearing my staff shirt on that last day, walking confidently as we all were getting ready to leave to head back home or to college.  I, of course, laughed it off.  Now I could give a shit, but that’s much easier to say and mean at 43 then it was at 20.

Let’s do one more memory for humor’s sake. At least I find it humorous. Sophomore year of college was an exciting time for me. Still away from home. I was  smelling the air of independence I longed after for so long. I had no idea what I was doing but I knew I was in the right place.

The year was 1989. Computers were starting to become abundant but college was my first experience using one. We didn’t have the means growing up for our own and my small town school was proud to have the 10-12 word processors for it’s computer processing classes.

Regardless, one of the first classes I took that year was Creative Writing. I was stoked as my teacher was super cool. He embodied everything I thought a college professor should be. He was older, wiser, and very articulate. I really looked up to him. One day, in his office, I brought my little 3.5 inch floppy disk with my latest paper saved on it for a critique (terrified, I should add). I go to put the disk in and it wouldn’t fit. It’s upside down! Now remember, this really is one of my first interactions with a computer. He gives me a little jibe of , “wow, you really are computer illiterate, aren’t you?” I immediately agree and declare myself and techno idiot. Telling him I have no idea how to use a computer. I agree, I must be “technologically challenged” as he put it.

I don’t think my professor’s intention was to define me as a technology idiot but I wonder; If that was told to me when I was just a little younger and more impressionable would I have shied away from technology to the point of me avoiding it completely. And where would I be now if so?

My goal with this post isn’t to sling blame at people in my past for things I did or did not do in my life. It’s more about self discovery, confidence and spreading a message of self-esteem. Have you ever thought about how you define yourselves and possibly how you came to those conclusions. Do we live to others expectations of ourselves no matter if they are negative or positive. How much do other’s innocent words affect our choices and confidence.

I still have been doing some internalizing.  Things my young nearly 10 year old daughter yells at me, those internal tapes have found their way back into my head.  Forward and rewinding over and over.  It’s been really hard to combat all those negative messages.  My goal this week is to combat those negative thoughts.  Either by doing something physical or creative.  I gotta get out there again.

Just something I’ve been pondering lately. Please excuse the extra long wordy post. I felt like writing. 🙂

My “could care less”

kateys pink hair 2012

katers and me

 

This is my K. And I love her so much.  Then I sigh when I look at these pictures.

I sigh because of her elegance. It makes this mommy’s heart smile and it makes me proud. It makes me proud because she could care less if everything doesn’t match perfectly. She could care less if she looks ridiculous. She could care less what anyone else thinks of her outfits or her hair. (she loves them and that is all that counts) She could care less if it is a “bad” picture of her. If her smile is weird. Or her hair is messy.

Does any of that sound familiar to any of you? Familiar as in-exact opposite of our own thoughts. I’ve lost my flair. My could care less. I delete and delete pictures of me that just look awkward.

K is free from such inhibitions. She is happy with her looks. She is not concerned with how beautiful she is. She loves to put rabbit ears behind anyone and everyone’s head. She is just being herself.

And I wonder…how did I get from there to here?

When did I start to care how I looked in photographs? When did I start to see myself as fat or ugly? When did I start to compare myself with others?

And, how can I encourage her, my sweet girl, to stay in this frame of mind she is in? How can I tell her everyday she is beautiful?

How can we teach our girls they are beautiful-no matter what anyone may say?

We can help them cultivate inner beauty. I think LC is beautiful outwardly. But, it is her personality that makes her shine. Even more than personality, though, inward-character beauty, that is what makes a woman beautiful. Growing in love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self control. Those are what makes a girl truly beautiful.

I don’t think we can emphasize character development too much. But I also think that there is nothing wrong with complementing our children (girls) on how they look.

Christians have swung very far right (or wrong, in my opinion) in the matter of physical compliments. I was taught that complementing someone’s physical beauty was the worst form of flattery.  We don’t want to just emphasize the outward-especially at the cost of the inward. We don’t want to produce a bunch of vain idoits. But…is there a balance?

We can teach our girls to love their bodies and be confident in their looks, by loving our bodies and being confident in our looks.

By not shying away from the camera, nor deleting all the “bad” pictures of ourselves.

By not complaining about our fat bellies, and thighs, and butts.

By not resenting the stretch marks. Each and every one a mark of the blessings God has poured into our lives by way of our babies.

By taking delight in being a woman. Being feminine. Taking pride in dressing girly.

By taking care of our bodies-eating right, exercising, sleeping, doing our nails. All outward things, but all important. There is a belief, dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Let’s treat ourselves as beautiful, and we will be beautiful.

By not letting our brothers, or any other person in their life, tease them about their weight or any other physical feature. Just not tolerate it.

We need to commit to loving our girls and making them feel lovable and beautiful-no matter how they look, no matter what they do.

We need to encourage them to be girls, to be princesses, all their lives.

We need to remind them of what they knew as girls-their worth and beauty is not defined by Hollywood. It isn’t defined by a certain color hair, or a small dress size, or a brand.

Their beauty is a inner beauty that spills over to the outside. Their beauty is character. Their beauty is spunk. Their beauty is individual.

“Beauty is not based on how attractive we are to everybody else, but how attractive we are to ourselves, for one cannot think other people think they are full of beauty unless they know they are beautiful too.”-unknown

 “What no beautician would ever tell a woman is that the secret to being beautiful is thinking the right thoughts.”-unknown

“He has made everything beautiful in His time.”
Ecclesiastes 3:11

” Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.”
Confucius

Approval vs. Affirmation

Love is within us. But often the need for self-affirmation is greater.  Once we take this affirmation for granted from one source, that source is often no longer stimulating. Our self-image wants affirmation now from another source and another, and another, and another, and another. Love is there, but often, it is not the motivating factor. Unfortunately, the need for affirmation is the motivator of most of our feelings and actions.

As a kid I never felt fully loved. For many years I substituted approval for love. I much of my approval for the many good things I did and, yes, it felt good at the time, but it never satisfied or lasted. Why?

Approval is based on what we do. Affirmation is based on who we are. Approval is a good thing when given and received for the right reasons, but when substituted for love, it can become another addiction to avoid facing the pain of not feeling loved.

Many of us suffer from this affliction. We only feel good when we feel needed. But deep down what we really need is to feel loved and affirmed at the core of our being—for who we are and not for what we do. Most of all, we need to experience love and affirmation from God the heavenly Father. Only when we feel so affirmed, can we get off the merry-go-round of doing things to get approval.

And how do we experience God the Father’s love and affirmation at the core of our being? First, by believing that God loves us because his Word says so.  Second, by sharing my total self (including my dark side) with one or two safe and trusted friends who will love and accept me just as I am—warts and all. As they love and accept me in this way, little by little, I come to love and accept myself, and in so doing, I open myself to accepting God the Father’s love and acceptance through them.

I am still searching most days.  My BFF is so far away from me now (distance-wise).  I feel very alone where I live.  Sometimes I wonder where I stand with God as well.  In my heart, I know He is still with me, but my head plays games with me.  That distance between my head and my heart seems miles and miles apart.

just surviving life

Right now, I don’t really feel like I’m actually living my life. I’m mostly surviving it.

I love my K, don’t get me wrong, but there are days or times rather that I just need a break from all the drama that comes along with her.  Seems the little things are HUGE in her life.  It’s hard to figure out what to say or do lately.  I just don’t know how to be or react.

Her acting out behavior has just gotten worse lately.   Today was a total meltdown day.  Her school behavior chart was almost all sad faces.  I just wanted to cry.  How can it go from mostly smilies yesterday to mostly sads today?  I just don’t get it.  I know we all have moody days, but with K….everyday is like this.  Maybe I don’t understand ADD enough yet.  Maybe I need  to read more or just hook with some other parents or something.  She also is  having some attachment problems.  Which I am going to start dealing with with her.  Found a really nice and knowledgeable therapist in the same building as Adam.  Her name is Peggy.  I will meet with her on the day we don’t have school.  She works specifically with attachment issues.  I need some hands on ways of dealing with K’s behaviors.  Cuz whatever I am doing is NOT working the best.

I feel inadequate. I feel defeated. Pills, therapy, exercise, just can’t and don’t fix me.  I hurt K by not being strong for her and not giving her everything she needs. I hurt myself daily with negative thinking and self loathing. I want to throw up my hand and give up. My family deserves better.

“Enough is enough,” I tell myself.

Stop the self-loathing. Stop the pity-party. My family doesn’t expect perfection. My family doesn’t need perfection. They just want me.

Enough with the idealization of what I need to be. Enough with the fears of failure. Enough with the should’ve, would’ve and could’ve.

My depression and inadequacies don’t define me. I define me.

I am a mother of an amazing daughter that is so much more than her diagnoses.
I am a literacy tutor.
I am a blogger of sorts.
I am an advocate for my daughter.
I am a friend.
I am a reader.
I am a crafter.
I am a daughter.
I am a sister.
I am an aunt.
I am a fighter.
I am me.
When I start to question my “enough,” I remind myself I am so much more than I realized. I don’t need to strive to be more, because who I am seems pretty amazing

Hurt and the holidays

black-and-white-lonely-sad-Favim.com-452607This morning  I realized how much hurt I had let get buried deep inside myself.  To be honest I don’t really have anyone in my life that I feel comfortable opening up  to and I know that is no ones fault but my own. I do have a very good friend, who just recently moved back to her home in Kansas.  I talk with her everyday by FB and Skype, but it’s just not the same.

I was the one who let myself shut down.  I am the one who slipped into a deep depression and anxiety and let it take total control of my life for a long time.

I started building walls all around me.  At that time, I don’t believe I realized what I was doing, but I can understand why I did that.  I was hurt deeply by the people I was supposed to be able to trust the most.  Somehow I had to find a way to survive especially for my daugher.  She needed a parent to take care of her that she didn’t have to fear.  I had to do anything I could to  protect my heart.   It was, after all,  already severely broken and I didn’t feel that it would be able to take much more.  So what did I do?   I started to avoid people, even those I loved.  I was still friendly to anyone and everyone I’d come across, but I always kept them at arm’s length so they couldn’t get close to me.  But then I lost her too.  They made her go to live with my mom for the past almost 3 years.  Then I stopped going places that I had once enjoyed but the worse was when I started going out of the house only when I absolutely had to.  I went to therapy.  I went to the grocery store.  Even tried to continue to do the college thing.  But felt like a total failure and sometimes still do.  The guilt I feel it totally overwhelming me.

I feel there is only one way I am going to ever truly heal.   First I need to knock down all the walls I had built so high.  Once done, I need to open up some of the old wound so I can let them drain and heal properly.   I have done a lot of that in the place where I used to live.  Angie.  The therapist I truly trusted.   The only way I think I can successfully do that is if I start opening up about the past, write about my experiences, how they made me feel and any lesson that I learned from them.  I have a new therapist, Adam.   I need to learn to stop always being the caretaker and realize it’s okay to let others  take care of  me.   I think that will end up being the hardest part, but I know that it’s something I have to learn to do and the sooner the better.  I still have a very hard time letting people in.  Letting them try to take care of me.  Asking for help is painful.

cropped-il_570xn-337809855.jpgMy name along with K was put on an Angel Tree for this Christmas.  We have 2 families that are bringing Christmas to us.  I feel some shame.  Ok not some….A LOT.  Not even good enough to be able to provide a decent Chrstimas for K.  I am trying.  The bills keep mounting.  I paid my electric bill, so the shut off notice will go away.  It’s paid for now.  Next to tackle my phone bill and my cable for my internet.  I also have doctor bills that I need to catch up on.  I have the bill at Argosy that I need to figure out how to pay before I can continue next term in January.   I hate bills.  Sometimes I really hate being a grown up.  Responsibilities suck.

I need to get  my mind out of what once was. Avoid making dead-end scenarios from past experiences, you know, “what could have, should have, would have, if only he/she/I had/had not….” I gotta meet myself where I’m at and not where I THINK others want to see me as (not necessarily where they praise you to be). People crave to be seen for whom they are, yet they refuse to let go of others thoughts of who they once were, or should be, so they find great difficulty in accepting themselves. I  find difficulty accepting myself for what is, others develop jealousies, ill will, hatred and pain and such toward others—they forget about “what goes around comes around” —until they are experiencing those very pains and more.  I experience those pains daily.  I feel the “judgement” by the folks I work with.  I feel it with my family.  This causes dread with the yearly holiday get togethers.  One is coming this Saturday.  Not sure what I will say or do.  Probably just do what is expected of me.  Paste on my smile and act as if…..

fineYou’d be surprised; I am working on one degree while receiving welfare and hope to continue while working after that degree. I kept those this  journeys’ a “secret”; all while others, including my family, mocked and chastised me and categorized me as a “welfare baby momma”.  Especially my sister, of all people.  People often are “taught” (usually on the vein of a musical beat or some culturally unconscious movie) to project whole creations of self-destructive “trigger words”, like “baby-momma” or “baby daddy”, to the masses reality; to their self-destruction. I still can’t say for sure what that word constitutes (it depends on the beholder). It’s one of negative vibration of being mocked, envy, and anger—and needs to be put out of existence.  But it effects me more than anyone will ever know.  Still another secret, that not many know.

That must be done by those who created it or fate takes over. That’s another conversation.