Tag Archives: self-care

Getting back out there… where have I been?

You guys, these past couple years have been nothing less than a shit show. Life came a knockin’ and it brought some gifts. Good, bad, really bad and finally exhausted and defeated decisions have been made as a result.

Since  2016 my revolving door consisted of starting jobs, quitting  jobs, starting a business, taking a break from that business to start and quit those jobs, trying new mental health treatments (some that worked and some that didn’t), moving out, moving back in, and a medical diagnosis that hit us out of no where.

Throughout this journey I have inadvertently invited people to judge me and to have an opinion about my life. I have distanced myself from family as I tend to do during down times, and I have managed to trim the access weight from my ‘friends’ list.

Ages 33-35 have been a blur of constant motion, trying to find a balance in my life all while watching everything I have worked for start to fade into the background. I was fading into the background of my own life. I was living this life in this body on autopilot for so long that I finally just lost my shit. I literally could not breathe; I was suffocating in this life I said I wanted. And I was freaking tired of being a big ol’ hypocrite.

It’s like after the newness wore off of motherhood I felt completely empty. I think becoming a mom was the last big accomplishment I experienced and I am one of those humans who needs to continue to grow, to learn, to set and meet goals other than new Pinterest projects, to feel important outside the house, to help people I don’t share DNA or a last name with… and I need to do all of those things on a regular basis. That is just who I am; and I have to accept that about myself and stop trying to fit into box not designed for me.

I remember I would lay awake at night and listen to my daughter breathe and in the same breath feel complete joy and complete ambivalence.  I started to feel ambivalent about motherhood, about marriage and about what was expected of me. That excitement and zest for life I felt as a photographer in the Navy, as a new civilian finding a spot for herself, as a graduate student, as a new wife setting up her home in a new state, as a new mom, it was all GONE.

Now, I don’t want to disappoint you, but I am not going to get deeper into details on this post. Even though I yearn to connect with others, tell my story and feel the weight lift off my shoulders as I usually do after a brutally honest piece of writing, there is healing happening here. There will be a time, but it not now.

But back to my disappearance from my writing; I may have continued to write every now and then but my heart left this blog somewhere around January 2017 when I was in full force life dismantle.

I was also deep into the vicious cycle of comparing myself to other women, which is like pouring acid on the feels part of your brain. I KNOW, I KNOW… I am like the spokesperson for telling people to STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS.  But dammit if it isn’t second nature to the female gender. We have to seriously work very hard to rewire this out of our normal thinking process. We see someone dressed like a human at drop-off the day we don’t even have shoes on and there it is, we start comparing ourselves to the mom who appears to have it all together. And maybe they do, but that has nothing do with you and what you are doing in your life.

I let so many things get into my head the last couple years but I also fought for myself. You know, none of asked to be here, and sometimes our inner dialogue doesn’t match the dialogue happening around us. There are a couple things I know to be true in this situation; you can change your inner dialogue to mimic the dialogue around you or you can follow your inner dialogue and try and change the dialogue around you.

Now that I started choosing the second version I am finding my way back. Changes are in the works and I am leaning into those changes in the most positive way I can. I have always found writing to be therapeutic, to be a way to connect with people, to tell my truth while hopefully inspiring others and to leave a legacy. So here I am I am, yammering away for entertainment.

 

XXX-Jen

 

Journey Continued…

Summer has a way of lapsing time, doesn’t it? The heat, the consistent summer storms, new adventures outdoors, repeat adventures outdoors and then playing catch-up indoors. With the rise in temperatures I find myself so exhausted by 1, that if I sit down for any amount of time in double digits I am asleep. Like for real. The heat sucks the energy out me; it’s a rough life!

I am not doing a very good job of keeping up my writing schedule either, with all this extra napping brought on my the overwhelming heat in the south. I have been so caught up with work and keeping up the new house I haven’t even made it over to meet the new baby in our little circle. Westin, I promise, I am coming!

Anyway, for me summer adventures include the outside pool, the sprinklers, the beach, and of course the new park (new for us) and mini-playdates if I manage to remember to plan one and then follow through. My kid loves to be outside and moving, and the poor girl gets the power sweats like I do. So we are often incorporating water into whatever we are doing. Somehow June came and went. I think I saw one of my friend’s so far this month. Oh, and she lives next door.

I am sure this is situation; toddlers tend to make the days seem like groundhog’s day. The attempt to keep a routine while creating summer magic for a tiny person who will never remember most of the days I spent planning for her is a constant struggle. But that is ok, it matters on a higher level.

In the past I would let this really get to me. The fact that I have not kept up with my writing schedule, let some of the chores go from time-to-time and have done zero product reviews and not stressed about until I lose sleep is pretty nice. I have let other things become more important like playing with my daughter on demand, sporadically baking something, playing with and loving our new kitten Mavis, and of course my favorite taking a long hot soak. If you follow me on Snapchat I am sure you are sick of seeing bubble baths.

I have also been expanding my year-long journey of self-improvement to include reading and learning from literature that folks I find inspirational have published. I am almost done with Kate Hudson’s book Pretty Happy and I just got it. That says a lot since my extra time is usually spent driving, napping or bathing. I am learning so much and finally have a spiritual path that I find to be alluring for my lifestyle. More on that later, of course.

In the past couple months at work, I have worked hard on talking less and listening more. Listening to my customers, co-workers, management, friends and family. They may not all agree, but I am giving it may all! Anyway, I found that there are a couple personality characteristics that really turn me off; which hit me deeply because I can recognize some of them in myself.

Negative people. The folks that are complaining the majority of the time and like to trash other people. I work with too many negative people, and I have noticed that negative people are toxic. I mean they have a tendency to suck you in and set the tone in the space that they are in. The constant complaining can become catching when you are frustrated and or having a bad day/time. You follow suite and then you pass that negative vibe onto someone else.

Folks with a superiority complex. I only ever come across these people at work; customers who frequent O’charleys. The tend to talk down to me, don’t make eye contact with me, talk over me and have zero manners. I don’t understand this, on any level. Talking to someone any way you please because you feel superior in some sort of way. In my experience, it is usually retired civil servants and white middle-aged women from a state more northern. I don’t want to get too specific, and I am only speaking from my experience. I can’t help but think that the attitude comes from them feeling superior to me because I take their order and clean their mess. Sometimes I get the sad eyes. This poor girl is here waiting tables, I wonder where her life went wrong?

I know I need this journey because my first instinct is to always get defensive and start spouting out my resume to anyone who listen. It is such a waste of energy, and my getting upset and letting me myself get spun up shows me I have a long way to go.

One thing I have learned and incorporated into my life so far into this journey, is that I am in total control over how I use my energy and what energy I project into the world. I have become a more positive person so far and I have a new vantage point on the people I surround myself with. Sometimes we have to be in the company of negative people or people who are just ugly inside, but when you let your positivity shine it changes the situation entirely.

I hope I can inspire you!

To be continued…

That time I took a 3 hour nap…

Yesterday, Thursday, was the day I set aside every week to post something new. AND I was a productive lady this week and started early, on Tuesday. But then I took a nap, a glorious three-hour siesta with my main girl.

Which got me thinking a little deeper about naps and why I find them so important. Even when I don’t get to take one regularly, my body eventually gives up the fight and falls into a day-sleep. A day-sleep is how I describe a three-hour nap; too short to be called ‘going to bed’ but too long to be categorized as a nap.

To set the scene, this week I was recovering from last Saturday when I didn’t have to work because it was so dead and when we went to dinner. I got sick, because that is what happens to people who do not normally leave their habitat. They get sick. I thought the two cocktails I decided to try and drink did it at first. Then I realized the problem was actually something I ate. I don’t want to go into detail as to what I consumed and what exactly took place because my intestines are still pissed at me. But anyway, back on track… I was trying to rehydrate my body and realized that when I finally stopped to take breath it had been like 6 hours since I had pee’d last and wtf is that about?

Why am I letting myself get too busy to drink water and to use the freakin’ bathroom? I can’t really blame my child; she is 2 and pretty much is cool as long as she is invited. Can’t blame my husband because, well, I am 33 years of age. It is not really his job to make sure I drink water and pee regularly. At least not yet.

So this weekly post is inspired by that experience. We simply cannot give the best of ourselves if we are not taking care of the vessel we were given. After all, we nag our offspring to hydrate and to pee when they have to. Why does this simple example of taking care of ourselves escape us once we reproduce? Well, I have a theory, but I will share my theory at the end of this post.

I know women who will argue until the death of them they that don’t need to do things like manicures or massages or take a bath. They don’t need to work-out, watch a movie alone or get really stoned, watch Dateline and Snapchat. They say stuff like “I just don’t have time for that”, or “must be nice that you get to do those things.”

I realized this week that I was running on fumes, both figuratively and literally. I was dehydrated, crampy, grumpy, tired and still putting myself on the back burner. It happens to the best of us. And it will continue to surface it other areas in your life when your load gets to full and you have nothing left to pull from. You get short with people, you get lazy, you get preoccupied with things that do not matter to you, you fall behind in life… So for the love of your friends and family, take a nap, take a bath, get a hobby or eat a damn Snickers bar sitting in your closet wearing your favorite heels.

My theory as to women fall short in the self-care category is because we have brainwashed over time to feel some kind of way about doing stuff for ourselves. Some kind of way meaning selfish, shameful, embarrassed or just plain nonchalant. To have hobbies other than gardening, sewing shit or working out to keep our bodies acceptable for society to look at were looked at as risky behavior. I mean seriously, through-out history our place has been in areas of domestication. Until recently, and I don’t mean like 2015 recently either. Open a book sometime, check out what people with vaginas have been up to.

It’s ok to be happy throwing down a delicious meal in the kitchen and also being totally interested in going shooting at the range. It is also ok to fall asleep for 3 hours and miss a self-imposed deadline. I am sure I have my critics out there who think maybe I am little self indulgent. And you know what, I am.

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