Friday, January 27, 2012

So here I am.

A new day.

Today marks 10 years cut-free and 10 years without alcohol.

I'm proud of myself.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I survived.

"A scar does not form on the dying. A scar means I survived." --Little Bee by Chris Cleave

We've all got scars from our past--some physical, some emotional, some hidden from all eyes to see, others are painfully obvious. When I was a youth minister, I was always looking for new ice-breaker activities for retreats and events. I remember one specific icebreaker sparked conversation by saying, "Tell the other person about a scar you have, and how you got it."

I have a scar on my wrist. When I was 6 years old my brother and I were fighting over who got to sit in the front seat of the car. We decided to race to the door, and whoever got there first would win. I ran with all my might--I was in the lead! I put out my hands to stop myself on the door and--my hands went a little too high. Our door was 1/2 glass and 1/2 wood, and I put my hand right through the glass. I remember all the blood, the EMTs coming to our house, the shot and 3 stitches I got at our doctor's office.

I have many more scars. At least a hundred. They're smaller, and less noticeable than the one on my wrist... but they're there. I see them every single day. Tiny reminders of a life that seems like a movie I watched more than something I actually went through. But the scars, they speak to me. I survived.

Ten years ago today was the last time that I ever cut myself. Ten years ago today was the last time that I ever had a drink of alcohol. Ten years ago, I didn't have the strength to stop myself from barreling down the path of destruction that I was on. But my friends did, and I am so very thankful to them for that. I would count the days that I would go cut-free. For the longest time 43 was my "record." But today? It has been 3652 days since I last cut myself. 3652!

I survived.

I didn't think I would.

I survived.

And I'm so glad that I did.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Who am I kidding?

This blog is for me. I'm not good with writing things down but I don't mind pulling up Blogger once per day to chronicle how I'm doing towards my goal.

I have a love-hate relationship with showering. Sounds weird, I know. I have the option of showering when I get up in the morning or at night before bed (after the kids are asleep). I don't like showering in the morning--it wakes me up, but it also means my hair is wet when I go to work (me and a blow dryer do not belong in the same room). I usually put it in a bun or twist if that is the case, but that results in my neck being cold and my hair still being wet when I get home. Plus, my office is an icebox. So if my hair is wet when I go in, I need to be wearing an extra layer of clothing to keep me warm(er). If I shower at night, I go to bed with wet hair. And helloooooo bedhead. It's hard to tame in the morning. Last night I opted to shower at night. I think the key is to do it AS SOON as the kids go to bed so that it's mostly dry by the time I go to sleep. Unfortunately, I attempted to do this, and it woke J up, because the headboard of her bed is against the wall shared with our shower. Hmmm....

So for today I decided to focus on my hair. I left it down. Doesn't seem like a big deal, but to me it is. I hate the feeling of my hair on my neck--the way it curls behind my ears and on to my neck, specifically. I usually throw it back in a ponytail but since that seems to be my "signature look" I decided to defy that today. I do have the front of my hair pulled away from my face, but I am suffering through my hair being around my neck.

Oh, and I'm hitting the gym after work. My first time since last week... but I had a cold and that kept me away.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Baby steps...

I already feel like this blog is lacking in direction. All my posts are just going to be a list of "I did this." I just want to chart new developments.

So this weekend saw me NOT working out as planned. Saturday was a juggle with a tired/teething baby and although I had time to go there were other things to get done so it got skipped. Dang it.

Yesterday for lunch I tried the 3rd new food since Jan 1st, 2012. Doesn't seem like a big deal but for me it is. But I'm trying to expand my palate. I've tried kale, arugula, and now brussel sprouts so far. I've got a whole list of foods I want to try.

I'm wearing different earrings to work today. Yes, big deal. I always wear simple silver hoops. In fact, I usually leave them in for months and months at a time. But last night I decided that today I would wear jewelry. I wear jewelry so infrequently that I discovered that ALL my necklaces are in one tangled pile, so I decided to forgo a necklace and just wear different earrings. It's the little things in life.

In other non-me-centered news, D and I moved L to his own bedroom last night. We still got a horrible night of sleep (he cried at 11, 12, 12:30, 1, and 2:00 but then slept through until 7:10), but hopefully in a few days we'll all be adjusted and it will go well. The crib freed up a HUGE amount of space in our room, and we're planning on "downsizing" our bed soon so there will be more room after that.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Much better.

Last night I was determined to try something new--to try to get our evening routine on a more even keel. I got home with J and L and had J sit down for a snack while I brought L upstairs to throw in a load of laundry. Then I put L in his high chair and gave him a snack while J did her homework. Once dinner was ready, we all sat down to dinner together. After dinner we turned on the music and danced/played instruments. L had a bottle and then we headed upstairs. J set up her animal figurines for us to play with while I dressed L for bed, brushed his teeth, and put him down for the night. J and I played with the animals for 15 minutes (until I knew L was really asleep), then I put the clothes in the dryer and we went downstairs to bake a cinnamon cake for an event we're going to tonight. While the cake was baking we went back to J's room and played Zoobles together. When it came time for her to put her PJs on and brush her teeth, I went downstairs and turned off the oven and took out the cake. I tucked her in for bed and snuggled with her for a bit until she was asleep. After she was out, I went downstairs and picked up the living room, unloaded and loaded the dishwasher. By 9:30 I was done with my chores, both kids were asleep, and I was feeling so relaxed.

It was such a GREAT night. And the best part? We didn't turn on the TV or computer at home ALL DAY yesterday. I'm thinking that needs to become the norm. When I pointed it out to J, she was surprised, in a good way. Of course, this morning she came down stairs and immediately turned on the TV. But we turned it right off....

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Two steps forward, one step back.

Martin Luther King day meant D and J had the day off while I worked and L went to daycare. They took advantage of the "lazy day" and did pretty much nothing all day. OK, J did pretty much nothing. D doesn't know how to relax, so he vacuumed, cleaned his car, did some house organizing, etc. He swears he did relax, though.

There was a movie J wanted to see--D had already taken her to see it once but she wanted to see it again. I knew D wasn't a fan, so I offered to take J to see it on Monday night. It was nice to go out, just her and I--we don't do it very often. We watched the movie (which was meh, but she loves it) and then had a great conversation on the way home. I admit, my relationship with J is one that I need to work on. A lot. As she has gotten older we have butted heads more and more. I've gotten caught up in the "to do list" and busy-ness of our nights and have neglected her more than I should. But moving forward...

Then last night comes around--the usual, getting both kids fed, homework done, both ready for bed, etc. all within an hour and a half of time. J was doing her homework while I cooked dinner and L sat on the floor at my feet whimpering because he was hungry (this is typical, but giving him a snack fills him up so he doesn't eat dinner). She finished her homework just as dinner was being set on the table. We all ate together, then I got L ready for bed while she watched Phineas and Ferb. When L was down for the night and her show was over, I got her bedtime routine started. Put her to bed, tucked her in, went to clean up the dining room table and took a glance at her homework. 80% of it was done wrong. She just does not read the directions. Not at all. And she's lazy--she wants to get it done so she does it in a hurry. One assignment she had to look up a word of her choice in the dictionary and then write the definition. She wrote the word (misspelled it) and then wrote her own definition. Misspelled the word 3 different times in her writing. Then she had to re-write sentences using abbreviations. (Like write "Mister Jones went to the doctor on Tuesday." as "Mr. Jones went to the Dr. on Tues.") Well instead, she wrote, "Mr. Dr. Tues."

This is not the first case of her doing only the bare minimum, and it's also not the first time she's said homework is "too hard" when it's not. (As soon as you read something to her she "gets" it.) And this also isn't the first time I've discovered homework not done correctly, meaning more homework to do the following night. And I just sat down and cried.

I'm so far in over my head some days, it seems. I'm juggling too many balls in the air. It's affecting my health (I've been sick--AGAIN--for the 2nd or 3rd time in a matter of weeks), it's affecting my mental health, it's affecting my relationship with the kids and D, it's affecting my job performance.

D came home and was rather frustrated with her homework as well. And he sees it--how burnt out I'm getting. I have been doing this all "on my own" for so long now. Even when people are around to help I don't know what help to ask them for because I have no idea--I just do it all. I never signed up for this to be a lifetime thing. D working a 2nd job was supposed to be temporary. But here we are, married for 8 years, and he's still doing it. He's burnt out, too. He told me last night he wants to drop one shift per week. I'm hoping he does it, but I'm not waiting with baited breath. We've been here before. I've heard these words before.

Two steps forward, one step back. This is a nice little salsa we're dancing...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Point B

I decided to give myself a few days after writing my "Point A" post to really think about my destination ("Point B"). What do I want out of life? Where do I want to be? How important is it to change EVERYTHING? What gets priority?

The few days off thinking, and just living life, were helpful. Last week's grieving gave me a lot of motivation for change, but it was the processing I've done in the last few days that have helped me look at what true changes need to happen.

Physically--I need to start paying more attention to myself and my body. I've never been good at this--whether it's from selflessness or lack of confidence, who knows. I just don't take care of myself. Physically, I'll consider myself at Point B when I'm working out at least 2x/week, showering daily, keeping up with good hygiene better, and going for physicals, dental check-ups, etc. regularly.

Emotional/Attitude--I need to address what is causing me to feel so overwhelmed and come up with solutions to feel less stress. Yes, de-stressing is a goal of mine. I also need to start taking advantage of my "me time" as time for ME and not for doing other things.

Spiritually--I want more. More than I currently have. More than where I am. In the last week or two it has come to light more than ever for me that I want to be connected more to the Bible. It seems to me (in my experience at Catholic parishes) that there is an emphasis on the Mass (which contains scripture readings) and the sacraments, but not as much attention to God's Word, the Bible, as there is in other Christian denominations. I work on a daily basis with the Bible and my unfamiliarity with it (despite having a degree in Religious Studies) astounds me. Sure, I know the basic stories but not much more beyond that. I don't just have a desire to be connected more to the Bible, but to also pray more often. I've gotten "too busy" to pray. I "don't know what to say." I'm not a fan of rote prayers. So my goal is just to deepen my spirituality in a variety of ways.

Socially--Oh boy. "My friends are inside my computer screen." That couldn't be more true. So many friends are far from me. I'm so dependent on Facebook and various message boards for friendships. I'm not very outgoing, I'm not very good at networking, but I am realizing more and more that I have GOT to find a way to make friends around me. And I think one of the main ways of doing that is to decrease my dependency on the people "out there." That doesn't mean leaving friends behind, but it means I don't need to know 20 times a day what everyone is doing wherever they are. My focus needs to be on the here and now.

Sooo.... those are my goals. I know that I need to make specific objectives for achieving them--but I'll get there eventually. Now that I've listed out where I am and where I want to be, the future of this blog lies in what I'm doing, how I'm doing, etc.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Point A

In order to define where I want to be, I should first define where I am NOW. I'm not sure how to define it, so I think instead I'll just define the areas of my life where I know I want to make changes.

Physically--I am what is considered to be of average weight for my height. I'm not overweight and I'm not underweight. My BMI is 21.9. I'm not sure I can attribute this to being health-conscious or active. Instead, it's more due to the fact that I have so many life-threatening food allergies and various food sensitivities that make my diet restricted and rather blah. I have dental issues that go a long ways back--I hate the dentist ever since I fell down a flight of stairs when I was 14 and knocked my 2 front teeth out. It took extensive dental work to fix it, and up until the time I turned 18 I went to the dentist regularly and didn't have a single cavity. Unfortunately, that's no longer the case. I have many, many cavities. And my fear of the dentist is so strong that I went once in 2006 and then didn't go back again until 2009. And that was to get my wisdom teeth pulled--I wouldn't even allow the dentist to attempt to deal with my cavities.

Emotional/attitude--Emotionally I think I am pretty stable. At least, I know I am compared to years and months past. With the exception of, ahem, certain times of the month. At work and at home I always feel overwhelmed. At home I'm juggling too many things in short periods of time. At work I have a pretty healthy workload but I am always getting detoured by my thoughts. I feel pretty scatterbrained at work and at home. Sometimes I definitely get the feeling that I'm a shaken can of soda just ready to explode... but not nearly as extreme as I used to. One night a week is my "night off" to do things for me. Unfortunately, I usually wind up doing things like shopping or making returns. I never know what to do with myself.

Spiritually--We are parishioners at our local Catholic parish. We attend Mass as a family every Sunday. J is enrolled in Religious Education and is preparing for her First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. I am a member of the Mom's Group, but because they mostly do things during the day, the only way I participate is when I make a meal for a new mom.

Socially--I am friends with my co-workers. We have kids around the same ages. We occasionally (like 6x/year) will do something outside of work together. Maybe go see a movie, dinner at someone's house, etc. They all have other local friends, though. Besides my co-workers, all of my friends are far away. I use Facebook and message boards a lot to keep in touch with family, friends, and even complete strangers that I've befriended. As I mentioned above, I am also in our parish Mom's Group but I "know" very few of the members due to being unable to participate in most events.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Better late than never, they say.

Today I am 31 years, 10 months, 2 weeks, and 1 day old.

I rang in the New Year, and was determined to avoid any and all "resolutions".

I don't really believe in them. Or so I told myself. Resolutions were silly things that people made in the beginning of the year, and forgot about entirely by February. (Or in my case in the past, by January 3rd.)

Yet in the last 11 days, quite a few things have changed. Little thoughts or stirrings in my heart have suddenly bubbled to the surface.

I no longer wish to be the person that I am.

I'm not a criminal. I've never touched an illegal drug in my life. I'm a wife. I'm a mother. I'm a daughter, a sister, a friend. So, why, then, do I want to change?

9 years, 11 months, 2 weeks, and 2 days ago, I was given a gift. A gift that, at the time, I resented at the same time that I welcomed it. I was given a second chance at life. Not something everyone can say. And in those 9 years, 11 months, 2 weeks, and 2 days, my life has changed drastically. I got my first "real job," I graduated from college, I moved 3000 miles across the country to a place where I only knew one person, I got engaged, I got married, I became the mother of two children, I got my first "real" full-time job, I paid off debt, etc. Major life moments. A whole cluster of them. All pretty much within the last 10 years.

Many people will say, "Well, that's your 20s for you." And pretty much, yeah, that was all in my 20s (and some in my early 30s). When I look at that time line, though (and there are so many "smaller" details missing from it), all I can think is, I almost didn't have the chance to live any of it. I almost WASN'T HERE for any of it.

I'm not making light of the last almost-10 years. They were big. They were monumental. I'm proud of my accomplishments and of what I have done.

But the impending 10-year anniversary of that "second chance" and the recent death of someone who was standing before me so full of life only 2 weeks prior, has really prompted me to take a look at the life I'm living, and to take inventory of who I am now and who I truly want to be.

So this blog is going to be about just that--my journey from Point A (where I am now) to Point B (where I want to be). But first, Point B must be defined.