Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sadness and its counterpart

I get sad sometimes. At least that's what I call it. Other people, those with the degrees and all that call it depression. My sadness comes whenever it wants. I can be having a fabulous week with nary a care in the world, but I'm in a haze. I could win the lottery and while I care, trust me, I care, there's a shadow hanging over the world and everything is heavier and darker and not as easy. This is my depression. I can still laugh, I definitely can still cry. I don't lose my feelings or my mind, but life is not what it's supposed to be.

Sometimes I wonder if I should get someone professional to talk to. If I could get a pill or a philosophy to make life what it's supposed to be, what it is for most people, I would say it's worth it if my life comes to a point where my joy isn't taken away by my sadness. For what is life in the end? My life? I want my life to matter. It may not change the world and I may not win a Nobel Prize, but my life will be full of joy and love and wonder. Sadness will not hinder my quest for a full life. We all deserve a life like that. Not one where we struggle emotionally to make it through the day. We deserve to laugh and cry and learn and love. We deserve life.

I'm lucky about the fact that my sadness comes and goes. I can feel it when it's here and then I make efforts to get more sleep, allow myself time to cry and feel and to work out. Seems silly, right? Through my studies on myself I know that lack of sleep will bring about a phase of sadness faster than almost anything else in my life. I also know that when I push my feelings away, I just end up feeling hollow and eating everything. On that same note, working out brings me a peace and happiness that keeps the sadness at bay longer and longer. For quite some time I've felt almost normal.

I talk about this now after a decent talk with some family members last weekend, but also because it's a part of who I am. These feelings were held down so long by chocolate chip cookies and cinnamon buns, and my refusal to acknowledge them played a part in my eating and in how I felt about myself for too long. To keep my depression at bay I let it out in the open. I let my friends help, let my family know, and keep myself accountable.

If the time ever comes where these things stop helping to keep my depression at bay, I know I need to talk to someone. It won't just be a breath in, breath out, keeping going this will pass kind of a week or month. I will not put my life on hold when I can do something to help it along. I have to take a pill and it will correct this chemical imbalance I have? Great. Bring it on. I need to see a therapist or talk to one on the phone? What's the number? Life is hard enough when we're trying to live it with joy. I will not give up that joy, give up what is so important to me to struggle through this on my own, not when there are so many resources out there for me to turn to.

Attempt at life

This vacation was much needed. Not that I'm worn to the bone at work, they work me hard, but I enjoy what I do. But everyone needs a break from the routine. Work, wonderful as it may be, can wear on a person. So I started my vacation with what, more work! I canned, I baked, I made freezer dinners and oh my, I was tired. More on all the domestic activity at a later date!

This past week I got to enjoy some downtime with my family in Okoboji. Oh my was it lovely. We ate, played games, boated, and I even attempted to water ski. How blessed am I that I got to see so many friendly faces and laugh so hard.

So this was my attempt at water skiing ...

Oh goodness I failed. I definitely failed! I was "up" for about two seconds at least three times and after that, oooo, lake water. Lake water sure fills a girl up! At the end I was getting slightly frustrating because I felt so close to being able to do it! I'm not a huge fan of failure, I doubt anyone really is, and I so wanted to feel the water skimming under my skis while I held on for dear life. Alas, it was not to be.

As I came out of the water into the boat after my sixth or seventh attempt I was expressing my frustration. My mom took a moment and said to me, "You know Jess, last year you wouldn't have even tried this, and now you're out there!" (Okay, it's not verbatim, but it's definitely what she was saying!) Her point was to look at how my life has changed in a little over one year.

The day I decided to stop using food as a crutch this was in store for me. The day I put my health first in my life, this was waiting. The day I stepping out onto the road in a old pair of sneakers to try running for the first time, this, and SO much more was out there. My journey concentrates on the scale and how much clothes fit and all that other stuff that you think about while actively trying to lose weight, but that isn't the point.

I'm doing this to make my life better and to live with more joy. I wanted my life back. I didn't want to tell myself 'no, you can't do that activity, you're too fat and you'll get laughed at' when I really wanted to say 'yes,' even if I failed. I didn't want to sit on the sidelines anymore when life was calling to me again and again to get in the game. I wasn't going to sit there any longer and see others memories played out. I was going to make my own attempt at life. Pass, fail or somewhere in between, now I'm out there. And I am so full of joy.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I. Am. Brilliant.

I'm being hit over the head with a message. Over and over again, and finally last night when I was reading a blog and the message game through loud and clear AGAIN I finally threw up my hands and said, 'I get it, fine!' The message? I'm brilliant.

No, seriously, that's what it is saying. Let me do some 'splainin' (insert Ricki Ricardo voice here). At some point every day I look at myself and am unhappy with some aspect of me. I look at my hair and it's too frizzy, the bags under my eyes are too dark, that pudge is poking out too much. Whatever, self-destructive talk. Sometimes I think, 'Boy, my eyes look pretty today,' but that's about as nice as it gets.

So I've been reading and thinking and reading more ("Women, Food and God" for my book review last night and my fun loverly blogs) and message after message in all of them is that when we finally love ourselves, when we finally remember what is lovely and good and wonderful about us, and then start really living this thing called life, that is when so many problems melt away. When I love myself I don't think about my thighs. When I love myself I don't worry if my laugh is too loud. When I love myself, I could care less if a stranger likes me or not.

And then this quote, one of my all-time favorite, blows me away every time I see it, came into my head:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

~ Maryanne Williamson

It is okay to take pleasure in the way that I look and in the body that I have. I do not need to feel shame or to feel small because society tells me again and again that I am supposed to find things wrong with myself. And when I pay attention with myself and with my world, when I address what's wrong instead of reaching for that warm monster cookie I made to bring to a potluck at work on Friday, instead of hiding beneath the soda and the candy and whatever else I can find to stave off boredom or sadness or lack of life, I can feel, I can be okay. I can acknowledge that I like me, that I like who I am, loud laugh, big personality, funny words and all.

Don't get me wrong, I have issues. Oh boy do I have issues. I have anxiety and fears and sad times, but I'm ready to love me again the way I used to. Not when I lose ten more pounds, not when I get a raise at work, but right now, in this moment. I am brilliant and when I shine my light shines on others. I am energetic, and my love for things in life will not be hindered by my self-portrait on my stomach.

When I was a baby and new and fresh-smelling I was loved. I was ooohd, and awed and look at those toes! over. I was so worthy of love. Nothing has changed since then. I am worthy of my love. I can be comfortable with who I am and not have to apologize for being sweaty after working out. I don't have to apologize for loving me. I don't have to apologize for living a full and happy life. This may piss some people off, but I'm ready to fill a room with light and have someone smile because of it, even if that someone is me.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Every day another victory

This is my life. Sometimes that sentence brings boredom, dissatisfaction and and 'Ugh' escaping from my lips. Other times those words bring a smile to my face and a little bop in my step. Today, it's a bop kind of day.

This is my life. I am being healthy, I am being fit and I am loving it. We played softball last night on my work team. It was the last game of the year and we have lost every single game. Guess what? I don't care. I love playing! I rounded second on my way to third and, before the team started shouting it was a foul ball, I had such a moment of elation! Am I good at softball? Not really. Do I love it? Yes, I do.

A year ago I couldn't have said that. The thought of physical exertion, especially on a team of any kind, left me short of breath from something akin to an anxiety attack. I am not athletically gifted and am not an athlete in any way, shape or form, at least I didn't use to be. My gift of athleticism has not changed. I have other gifts, far away from a field of any kind. But my determination to be healthy and fit has changed and evolved, and "that has made all the difference." (name that quote!)I run. I play softball. I play volleyball. I lift weights.

When I do these things I feel so free it's amazing. My calves have a slight ache in them today, but I love stretching my legs and feeling them pull. I definitely didn't get enough sleep last night due to going out with the softball team, but the sound of laughter around that table echo through my memories. I feel likeI can do anything! I pretty much can. I might not be the best or the fastest or the most skilled, but I can play a sport. I can run a mile, and I can enjoy myself while I do it. That's a definite victory in my book.