Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I choose me...........

One of my favorite movies is Memento with Guy Pearce.  It's kind of a used up schtick now, but back in the year 2000, it was an unusual premise.  A guy with no short term memory uses notes, photos and tattoos to look for his wife's killer.  The movie was shown from different points of view from multiple characters.  You watched the same scene, told from multiple characters points of view, and you saw that each of them were right in their own way, but you were left thinking, "How can everyone be right?".  You wanted to know who was the liar, who was the good guy, who was the villain? 
So much of our life is devoted to convincing others.  Convincing them that we are right, we are decent, we are worthy of our place in the world.  We are hard workers, we are of desirable character, we are deserving of the love of our family and friends.
But the person that we most need to convince is ourselves.  Joan Didion wrote, "Though to be driven back upon oneself is an uneasy affair at best, rather like trying to cross a border with borrowed credentials, it seems to me now the one condition necessary to the beginnings of real self-respect. Most of our platitudes notwithstanding, self-deception remains the most difficult deception. The tricks that work on others count for nothing in that well-lit back alley where one keeps assignations with oneself; no winning smiles will do here, no prettily drawn lists of good intentions. One shuffles flashily but in vain through ones’ marked cards the kindness done for the wrong reason, the apparent triumph which involved no real effort, the seemingly heroic act into which one had been shamed. The dismal fact is that self-respect has nothing to do with the approval of others – who we are, after all, deceived easily enough; has nothing to do with reputation, which, as Rhett Butler told Scarlett O’Hara, is something people with courage can do without.".
A wise man once told me, "Everyone is the hero of their own story."  And I think that is very true.  Once again it goes back to how much time are we spending trying to convince others that we deserve to be listened to, understood, loved.  It's difficult to listen to someone elses experience if it doesn't match your own, it's almost a compulsion to convince ourselves (and others) that we are right and they are wrong.
After way too many years stuck in this pattern (and countless hours of therapy!), I choose not to convince anymore.  I don't have to convince anyone that I am deserving of their trust or love.  They either trust and love me, or they don't.  It's not about me, and it doesn't reflect badly on me if they choose to walk away from me.  It means that their reality is different than mine, and no note, photo or tattoo is going to change that.

Monday, September 2, 2013

No Excuse September

I just looked back and realized I haven't updated this blog since April.  Makes sense, because that's right about the time I fell off the wagon in my diet and exercise regime.
It really defies common sense.  When I was working out, practicing yoga regularly, and eating reasonable healthily, I felt happier, more mentally alert, and much more patient with my fellow human beings.
But once I started falling off the wagon, it felt impossible to claw my way back on.  This led to less energy to exercise or run.  So my descent continued.
I did find a new yoga studio that I like okay.  I still do want to try crossfit, but I'm afraid I will physically die if I try.
And I'm trying to decide if I want to try weight watchers with a friend, or if I just want to go back to My Fitness Pal, which was very successful for me before.
I absolutely hate people who are constantly getting super excited about the next big weight loss thing, only to drop off of it a week later, so I have tried just to not even discuss my setback and how blue I'm feeling about it.
I don't like to be perceived as feeling sorry for myself, and that's not really how I'm feeling about it.  More like, just irritated with myself because I know I can do it, I have done it, but I won't do it.
But I'm definitely working my mind around to doing it again.  I signed up with some really great friends to run the Princess in February so I need to get my head in the game.   Getting picked up by the "slow people" cart would absolutely suck.
The one thing I will say in my defense is summer in Arizona is like winter in the rest of the world, only backwards.  Too freaking hot to do anything.  But it's starting to cool down now, it was only 103 today.....so no excuse September is here.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

If you are what you eat, I should be tanner, like beef jerky.

Holy Hell, I haven't posted in a long time.  And there has been a reason for that.  I have fallen off the good eating wagon.  For a while, it was just a "taste", or just a "little cheat".  Then pretty soon, I was still counting calories but eating crap (but I'm still under my 1500 calories, so it's okay if it was all in Ruffles and french onion dip, right?).
But today was a banner day for me in bad eating.  Seriously, it was like if I wasn't putting something in my mouth with at least every third breath, I wouldn't survive.  Today, Hershey's Kisses were apparently my substitute for a ventilator.
This feeling is always so weird.  I'm not hungry, in fact, I get to the point where I'm actually nauseated and feel like I have filled my gullet up with food to the back off my throat.  Like it's chimney packed solid.
I'm sure you think I'm exaggerating so I'm going to list everything I shoved in my pie hole today.
I started with a Venti Skinny Frappacino at Starbuck's because I was using my reward for a free drink so you have to take advantage and order the largest size, right? It's only financially savvy.  Then I got a piece of lowfat cinnamon swirl coffee cake, because if I wasn't paying for coffee, it would be cheap not to order something, right? The lowfat label must mean that the 340 calorie count that My Fitness Pal gives this obviously healthy treat (duh, remember I said "lowfat") is incorrect.
I got to work and felt a little pudgy, so the answer to that is to start cleaning off my desk.  This is when I discovered that I may be a hoarder.  I had 4 tiny size 00 mac and miller blades in my overhead cabinet.  Did i think I would be intubating a newborn in between typing up corrective actions and granting PTO requests?  What ever made me think this was something that I needed to have nestled between my copy of "Good to Great" and a box of tampons?  I had a baggie full of 1.5" 20g IV's that we use for ultrasound.  I do sometimes start lines for my nurses, but I'm not sure I need my own private supply kit, tucked behind a bag of trail mix that looked suspiciously old.  I found my professional portfolio next to a box of hospital maxi-pads.  I must have anticipated a water leak in a pipe to need the 4" inch thick hospital pads that absorb absolutely nothing.
Well, these findings began to stress me out.  Why was I keeping this stuff, why was it all so dusty, why did the hospital cut housekeeping so now I have to take out my own trash? Obviously, the only thing that would make this better was a mouthful of gobstoppers. 
I keep bowls of candy and gum for my staff.  Normally, I can resist but today it was like the jelly belly's were coated with a light dusting of crack cocaine.  I was chewing gobstoppers when I realized I had a meeting.  I started walking down the hall unwrapping a Dove chocolate, when I realized my mouth was full of gobstoppers which I needed to at least FUCKING SWALLOW before I started preparing the new piece of candy to go in my mouth.
Because I'm trying to be healthy, I wanted to make sure I got my protein, so I made sure to alternate my chocolate with Teriyaki beef jerky.  Obviously, these are two tastes that are meant to go together (at least for people like myself,  with multiple personality disorder.)
Whatever, I moved on.  Went to my meeting, like a champ, then wandered to the cafeteria to see what slop they were passing off for food today.  Because even though it's disgusting, I didn't want to miss it.  Lo and behold, they were in the break between breakfast and lunch so I couldn't do any harm, but I did see they were serving corn chowder soup for lunch.
I moseyed back to my office and did some paperwork, all the while popping gobstoppers in between typing.  Then I looked up and saw a half hour had passed and my corn chowder would be available now.  Okay, here's the thing, our hospital used to have great soup.  Then the old lady who made it retired, so now it sucks.  But it doesn't stop me from eating it everytime, and then acting surprised that it still sucks.  It's like having your second child and acting like it's a big shocker when it hurts to pass a watermelon through your innards. The new soup lady lets me down everydamntime.  But I keep filling up my bowl like a damn Charles Dickens orphan, like I've got a diagnosed short term memory problem.
Anyway, as I'm eating my soup, my friend says that the guys went out for Taco Bell, do I want anything.  I'm like of course, get me a Doritos Taco.  Now, as my friends know, I DON'T EAT TACO HELL!!! I freaking hate Taco Bell, with it's hepatitis, long fingernailed workers (yeah, I'm looking at you, Dekalb).  And, I'm eating a corn based soup, with chunks of potatoes.  So obviously, that couldn't possibly be filling with the three packets of crackers I've crumbled into it.  I MUST have Taco Bell or I will die.
I eat the Taco Bell, and honest to Christ, I'm so full, I can't even make it go down my throat.  It's literally packed down my esophagus like a goddamn Thanksgiving turkey. Gobble, gobble, motherfucker.
Off to the rest of my day.  Cupcake for a staff member's birthday? Of course, I'll even go across the street to buy the rainbow colored messes. Handful of candy for the drive home and is that a Cadbury egg I see in the pocket of my purse?  Yum yum, piggy piggy.
Then I'm obviously not full, so I decide to take the kids to P.F. Chang's, where the waiter walks over with free lettuce wraps for us because he is obviously a caring individual who sees that I haven't eaten a thing all day. A spring roll, Mongolian beef and brown rice later, and here I am sitting by the pool, wondering how many days it will take to digest the absolute mountains of food I consumed today.
I'm hoping this mental/verbal purge will get me back on the right track tomorrow, otherwise, I fear I will have to be rolled into work like the blueberry girl from Willy Wonka..
Please tell me I'm not the only Violet Beauregarde here.............

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Change the record....what's your soundtrack?

We've been experiencing artic temperatures here (39 degrees when I wake up!), and I have really slacked on my running.  But my 5k arrived last Saturday and even though I wanted to hide in my bed and pull the covers over my head, I laced up and headed out.
I arrived at the park and realized that I forgot my fitbit, my flipbelt and my earbuds so that I could listen to Jeff Galloway coach me through my race. Not a good start.
The race started and without my app in my ears, I didn't follow my normal Galloway method of a 3 minute warm up.  Big mistake, because I felt my legs start getting tired early in the run.  Galloway says the first mile is the most important time to do measured walk/run intervals, and after this experience, I believe him.
About a mile into the race, I told my friends to go on ahead of me (they hadn't stopped training like this dummy so I didn't want to affect their times).  As I jogged along on my own, I looked up and saw a heavy girl walking back towards the start line.  What struck me was the angry, defeated look on her face.  I was so bummed for her, because it wasn't the physical run that was stopping her, (she could have very easily walked the rest of the race) it was the voice in her head that was telling her she couldn't finish.
So I kept plugging along, even though I was beating myself up in my head for slacking on my training.  I  kept thinking about how I could be running faster, how my legs shouldn't feel so heavy, about how far ahead of me my friends were.....you name it, if it would make me feel worse, it was going through my head.
When I came to the final bridge to run over, I was feeling pretty bad about myself.  Then I looked up, and my friend's husband and his parents were standing halfway on the bridge cheering for me.  And her husband came and ran that final bit with me, pushing me to the end.  And finally, my inner voice shut up.  Because I realized that even if I wasn't the fastest, even if I struggled the whole way, I finished.  I had some great friends that were there cheering me on, giving me their support.  I didn't turn around and allow my negative self voice to win the battle.
So the next day, I was all dressed up, feeling like I looked reasonably cute when I ran up to Safeway for a few things.  I was over in the bakery aisle, looking at the bread when a cute guy bumped into me.  He smiled and said "excuse me", and I smiled back, opened my mouth to speak when the dairy commercial playing overhead let out a "MOOOOOOO".  FML.  I just turned and walked away without saying anything.
I couldn't stop laughing as I walked out to the parking lot, and of course shared this with my friends, who were anything but amused.  They didn't think I should have automatically compared myself to the cow in the speakers.  But that negative voice in your head has been playing a long time, and they know just the words to say to get your attention.
I need to learn how to change the record, but it's definitely something that you have to actively practice, just like running or healthy eating.  I hope I'm up to this challenge!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Finding a new yoga studio......

I'm losing hope that my old yoga studio will reopen, so I broke out of my depression and forced myself to start looking around for other options.  I found that in a few weeks without yoga, I was becoming increasingly negative, having trouble sleeping and losing motivation to run or do any other form of exercise.
So I took my sad ass out this weekend, (thanks, Windee for marching along beside me! You are a trooper!) and tried two new yoga studios,Yoga Breeze and Yoga Pura
I really wanted to love Yoga Breeze because it's closer to my house, and I did like the studio and the two teachers I tried.  However, it's in a busy strip mall, and in my first class, they didn't utilize their music in a way to cover up the outside noise, which ended up distracting me. 
I even tried Yoga Breeze a second time (I wanted to love it that bad!), and when I walked in and hear music playing, I was pretty relieved.  Until I realized that the same song was on repeat for the entire class. I wanted to roll my head up inside my mat after the fourth time it started over.  Then for savasana, she just turned the music completely off, so we listened to the conversation of a couple of preteen girls outside the window.  Not a bit relaxing for this mother of girls.  During savasana, I like to tune out my real life, not be reminded of how annoying teen girl conversations are. I kept trying to tell myself if I was keeping my mind quiet, these things wouldn't bother me, but it was no use, I was irritated.
On Saturday, we went to Yoga Pura.  It didn't look like much from the street, just a storefront set into a little strip mall.  But when I walked in, it looked like a yoga studio, it smelled like a yoga studio and they were welcoming like a yoga studio.  I felt great when I left there, although I would have to say that this teacher didn't utilize music very effectively either, but we were able to hear the gongs from the other studio, so that was cool.
I think for me, yoga is more than the physical stretching, it's the emotional stretching.  I have a pretty stressful job, and it's easy to get overwhelmed and bogged down in the negativity.  When I go to yoga and they start talking about the theme of their class that week, it's a time for me to open my mind and allow positive thoughts to flood me.  I find if I can allow a positive phrase into my brain, I can use it all week.
One of the things said this weekend is that "You are the sky, the emotions you feel, the bad moods of others are the weather.  And the weather always passes over the sky, it always changes, it never covers the sky for long.".  I've heard it expressed another way, that you are your own ship and everything around you is the ocean.  Will you allow others to capsize your boat? Or will you steer it into safer waters?
And for me that is true.  I'm very influenced by the moods of people around me.  If they are stressed, it's easy for me to become stressed.  If people are unhappy at work, I feel like it's my job to fix it and it stresses me out if I can't.
But if I go to yoga regularly, I am able to have a much more zen approach to other people's feelings. I don't own them, I can't fix them, it's not mine. All I can do is live the best life that I know how, and for me that means laughing as much as I can.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Winter Blues............

Raise your hand if you've hit a winter slump.  Back when I lived in Illinois, I was usually in the depths of despair by February from a lack of sun and failure to be outside.  Since I moved to Arizona two years ago, I don't remember having my seasonal depression hit.  But it has made a surprising comeback in 2013.
I have to admit that I've hit a rough patch.  Due to the intense cold in Arizona (some mornings is was 36 degrees!), I stopped running at 5am before work.  But I felt like it was okay, because the 40 day yoga challenge had started and I had just done 12 straight days of 75 minute yoga classes.
Then I suddenly received news that my yoga studio was closing (hopefully, only temporarily) due to financial issues, so on a Friday morning, I found I had nowhere to go after work.  I am not a person who enjoys change. I've been going to yoga classes at least three times a week since last June.  So to suddenly have this gaping hole in my routine really shook me up.

Now I'm sure you would think, "okay, dumdum, that's your cue to get your ass out there and run again!".  But you would be wrong (you knew that, right?), because I suddenly found myself too tired to get up early in order to run before work.  This was really bad timing, because last Saturday, I ran my first 5k, the Color Run. 
I've been training for this 5k since October.  So it was weird that in the week before the race, I totally lost my drive. The more I stayed in bed longer, the worse I felt.  And I knew that not running was making me feel worse, but I felt helpless to change it.
The Color Run came on a very un-Arizona like day.  It was rainy, cold and miserable out.  I felt completely unprepared and like a complete poser even being at a 5k.  Thankfully, I had three friends (Windee, John and Andrea, you rock my socks!) run it with me because without them being there, I would have stayed at home with my head buried under a pillow.
So, not to say that I'm still not struggling with the blues, but this past weekend I did a 5+ mile walk/run interval, and I've run twice this week.  I don't want to do it, but I keep telling myself that even though I still feel blue, I'll feel even bluer if I don't get some endorphins moving.
Whenever, my brain gets to this point of glum bitchness,  I think about this scene from, "City Slickers". 

But like Billy Crystal, I just keep trying new things and hoping to find my smile.  Hopefully, it won't involve birthing a calf.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

If your students leave crying, they probably aren't coming back.....

The other night I was walking into my yoga class, when I passed a young yoga teacher speaking pretty intensely to a visibly upset student, who wasn't meeting her eyes.  She was telling the teary girl that "exercise is supposed to be hard, you're supposed to hate it and then when you're done, you are glad you did it.".  The girl was sniffling and nodding, and looking totally defeated.
I skirted around the drama and went into my class with my usual teacher.  But I couldn't get this scene out of my head.  It made me think, "Am I doing something wrong?  Do I have to hate my workout in order for it to be effective?"
For me the answer is no.  I don't enjoy being forced to do things that I don't want to do. I can try to talk myself into it, but I pretty quickly move into "dig in and resist" mode.  I loathe feeling forced into doing things that I don't want to do or spending time with people who make me feel stupid (I spend a good portion of my day feeling stupid, no assistance is required, thankyouverymuch!).

I was very fortunate when I started yoga at Blissful Yoga studio, I took classes from some awesome teachers who encouraged my practice from the ground up.  Teachers who supported and guided my practice, but still made me feel as if I was doing well (even if I now know that I started out horribly inflexible). 
I still go to Intro to Yoga classes simply because I love the teachers.  And I continue to learn from them as I improve my poses in each class.  A great yoga teacher encourages progress, while altering each class to match the level of the students, offering modifications so that no student is left feeling badly about themselves.
If I were to give any advice, it would be for you to find the exercise that makes you happy.  Yes, there are days you just don't want to work out, but it's even worse if you have to force yourself to do a workout that you hate.
I don't love to run.  I don't always love getting ready to go to yoga class.  But I feel good about myself while I'm doing it and after I'm finished.  And I believe that is the key that has finally kept my workouts consistent.