Walking, Writing, and Working the Weight Away

Some of you may remember that many moons ago I declared I was going to “Write Myself Right” meaning that I would use my writing as a tool to help me achieve my personal health and weight-loss goals. As often happens, my good intentions lasted only a short time as I found myself trapped into the vicious cycle which goes something like:

self-doubt–>boredom–>depression–>eating out of boredom,depression and self-doubt–>feeling fat and ugly–>self-doubt–>

It’s really an ugly cycle that just got uglier as my job search lead to dead-ends, my writing felt like it was empty, and my confusions about what I want to do with my life grew. Somehow writing myself right became too hard, and I simply tried to write my way out of the slump I was in, without worrying about what my body did.

Over the past month, however, I faced some brutal realities, and shifted my attitude. It was not an easy month, as I took on the role of single mom, while Nathan went ahead to his other home, a place where I have yet to find my place. The month apart was emotional for many reasons, but I began to realize that I am the only one who can change my destiny, and that I was tired of succumbing to the depression. I took strides to give myself a break. I blogged less, but wrote more. I took myself for walks. I cleaned and reorganized the house. I signed up for webinars to help me clarify my personal career goals. I worked on establishing better boundaries and understanding between myself and my daughter, so that she could see me as an individual as well as her mother—in other words, as a person who is not simply the protective extension of her existence.

It was a month of learning, growing, and crying.

Now we are here in Iowa, at our “summer home” where I am always torn about being here. In some ways I love it, but in others I become frustrated as I have yet to find my place here and end up feeling frustrated and guilty half the time.

In my new favorite movie, Brave, Princess Merida asks the question “If you had a chance to change your fate, would you?” I answered the question for myself this week by taking a few simple steps.

Literally.

Sarah had swim lessons every morning this week. I took the time during her 45 minute lesson to walk on the track, adding some oomph to my workout with the help of wrist weights. On Thursday morning, before her class, I took my first ever Pilades class (and I still feel it in my stomach) so I swam a little and soaked instead of walking. I also walked around the theatre lot all week in search of props and helping out here and there. I tried my best (in a place where eating healthy is sometimes challenging as the food is plentiful and decadent) to eat lightly and right. I also gave myself a break from the emotions, but sleeping, writing, and basically trying to just be in the moment.

This morning I put on some short pants that I bought last week to bring with me to Boji. Pants that I wore last weekend. Pants that were a little snug when I bought them.

Today I feel like I  need a belt.

I don’t know what the scale will say. I don’t know if the weight is just water weight. I don’t know if this is a permanent change or what.

But it really doesn’t matter. I feel like something has shifted inside myself, and something good is about to happen. I still don’t know what it is, but I am excited to face it.

One step at a time.

The Monster

It loves to creep in when you are sleeping, oozing into your dreams and manipulating them to promote the utmost confusion and terror. Of course, then those dreams wake you up, and the rest of the night becomes one of tossing, turning, insecurity. “To sleep, perchance to dream” but without sleep the dreams hold you hostage>

The monster has been there.

Next it weighs you down in bed, making you tired and unable or willing to get up. But to stay in bed means to sleep more and to sleep means to dream. A vicious cycle.

You wake up and begin to write. Three pages. Morning pages. Pages intended to get the monster out of your head and enable you to face the day with energy and creativity. But the monster grips your pain, making each stroke painful. The monster whispers in your ear, “It’s futile. This won’t help. You can’t escape.”

Somehow you write the pages anyway. The monster hasn’t completely won.

Perhaps you get up, but the monster has not let you out of its grasp. No, it tricks you into thinking that everything is good. That you have defeated it and sent it back into its dark and stinking lair. You try to greet the day with cheer and a positive attitude, shaking off the grip of the monster.

“I’ll make my own breakfast.”

“These eggs taste funny.”

“Do I have to?”

Harmless words that have nothing to do with you. But, the monster twists them, using its power over language so that you hear this instead:

“You don’t know how to cook.”

“Daddy makes better eggs.”

“You are such a nag.”

The monsters niggles and pokes until every moment of being awake is almost as torturous as the moments of the dream. The sun refuses to come out, because it too is afraid of the monster.  Words circle around you and suffocate you. You try to escape in the words of others, but that only allows the monster a new form of attack. “That writer is better than you. You have no original ideas. That person is more popular. . . ” The comparisons that hold you down, away from even trying.

You take a shower, hoping to wash the monster’s slime off of you. To cleanse away the tentacles and claws.

For a moment it works, lulling you into a false sense of security. You feel your breath ease. You begin to relax. Your eyes begin to close, falling into the comfort of a new kind of sleep, after the disturbances of the previous night.

But the monster knows how to get in once you sleep.  The cycle begins again.

I want to get out a torch and slay the monster. This is not the beast of Beauty and the Beast, trapped in the form of monsters by his own ego, but basically innocent. This is not the Hunchback of Notre Dame, hated for a deformity and because of people’s ignorance. This monster is invisible and hurtful. This monster is terrifying and powerful. This monster grips many of us in its grasp and will not let go.

I’m ready to fight it. Lisa the Depression Slayer is on duty now, and she intends to win.

 

A is for Attitude Check

As I begin the A to Z Blogging Challenge, I thought I should start with an Attitude Check since my attitude has  not been the best lately.

I conduct attitude checks often when I am working on projects with large groups of people. You call out “Attitude Check!” and the group responds with the appropriate hand signal. I have asked Sarah to help me demonstrate these complicated symbols.

Excellent!

Meh!

Boo!

If anyone is still unclear about these signals, Sarah volunteered to dramatize them more clearly.

A double thumbs up day is extra awesome! Sometimes we even have quadruple thumbs up, which involve toes.

Some days just are . . .

Life is truly horrible on a double thumbs down day.

Of course there is one other Attitude check option that is only used on extreme occasions, by “mature” adults. I apologize in advance to those readers who might find this offensive, as my posts are usually family friendly, but I would feel remiss if I did not include all options.

So what is my Attitude on this April Fool’s Day? That actually is a complex question to answer, forcing my hand to waggle through signals in an exhausting manner. I’ll try to explain:

I gave myself a much needed blogging break yesterday, which has left me feeling somewhat  more in control of this blogging habit.

The Idiot selected me as Blogger of the Day yesterday, which is truly an honor, but also problematic in the fact that I didn’t really have much of a    post, so anyone who might have wandered over would have though “Meh!” at best.

 

The Alphabet challenge is making me a little nervous because I feel I have to be more organized about my posts.

 

 

The next two weeks (starting tomorrow)  are going to be very busy, and I’m not going to see very much of Nathan.

 

 

I’m playing hooky from my class today (with Nathan covering) so that I can attend a workshop on Drama Therapy which I am very excited about. It will help me prepare for a workshop I am teaching next week with Special Needs Adults.

 

And, the class that has been making my semester a true horror took a plunge even deeper into the depths of hell yesterday, and one of my students is writing a letter of complaint (about other students, not me) to the powers that be. The situation is so ugly in that classroom that it has made me doubt my ability as a teacher, and leaves me in tears on a regular basis. So, you can guess which finger I would show for that Attitude Check.

But, all in all, I feel good about this little post. So today could possibly turn out to be a double thumbs up day. 😀  I woke up this morning with this song in my head

 

My year seems to be being measured in words.

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