there is an upside

I’ve had one of those days today where my emotions have been up/down/up/down/up/down. REPEAT TIMES 1,000. I’ve been so “up” that I’ve giggled with satisfaction of a big win, and I’ve been so “down” that I literally almost passed out because my adrenaline dropped from anxiety/stress over other news. Yeah, it’s been a day. But it reminded me of one thing I’ve failed to tell you all lately. There is an upside.

I’ve written a lot over the last few weeks about how I’m struggling. It is no secret, I’m still struggling. I probably WILL be struggling for a while. You can’t fix years of emotional conditioning in just a few weeks. But I don’t want this home to just be a negative space. I’m not really sure why it seems easier to talk about the ugly stuff, but it is. In a way a success seems…braggy?

In the last 6 weeks I have seen and felt change in me. Maybe not in outward appearances, but inside. I’m smiling more. I’m talking more. I’ve intentionally taken myself out of my comfort zone time and time again and it hasn’t hurt me yet. I’ve even let a few people see the real Sarah and they haven’t run away. They’ve run toward. I’ve given up control in some areas and it’s helped immensely.

I think once I accepted that I’m at the bottom, I realized that everything I do that brings a smile to my face or helps me sleep at night, can be considered a win. Every win brings me closer to not carrying around the backpack of anxiety, to being ashamed to look in the mirror, and to feeling unworthy.

In a day full of ups and downs, I’m going to celebrate my ups. I’m also going to celebrate that recovered from the downs (and didn’t just live there! And didn’t eat a pint of ice cream in the process.)

To all of you who have been interacting with me privately, I hope you’re celebrating today too. Find something to celebrate. All these little wins add up.

TODAY I LOVE: the smell of honeysuckle
SONG OF THE DAY: “Below My Feet” by Mumford & Sons

identity crisis

For some reason lately I’ve started every conversation with the greeting “Yo.” Or “Heyo.” I have no idea where it has come from, but when you get a “yo” from me instead of a “hello”, welcome to being my friend. You want to know something funny? Every time I say it, and I mean EVERY TIME, this goes through my mind:

Song: Aaron Burr, Sir Musical: Hamilton

And I even sing it. It’s crazy and I kind of love it. I bet you have it in your head now too, right?

So anyway….Yo!

What’s been happening with me? Well, work has been nutso, but I work for a humanitarian aide organization so nutso means helping people in their time of need. You pull yourself up from your boots and get it done. At one point last weekend I thought I had broken something in my foot. I’ve WAY overspent my personal budget and need to get my butt in gear. But in that overspend I FINALLY replaced the record player I lost in my divorce and itmakesmesohappyIcouldscream.

At any rate, this weekend was a good one for me. It did have some strange thoughts that I’m puzzling out this evening. It’s really made me realize I have GOT to figure things out about me. Let me explain.

Last night I spent the evening with my best friend and her family. Her place is so pretty. They’ve worked very hard to make it a gorgeous and serene place. And they have a pool! Anyway, summer is not my favorite because I hate shorts because I hate my legs and I just feel uncomfortable. So for like an hour before I went to her place I just stared into my closet. “What is going to make me look the least fat?” I said it over and over and over. In the end I chose a t-shirt dress that wasn’t the most flattering but it was comfortable. And I had to do self-talk to myself all the way there, telling myself that they like me for me. It is hard work and exhausting fighting your own mind all the time. But I’m willing to do it in order to win in the long run. So, I’m batting that, and how I see myself…

This was my sixth week attending a church in town. I really, really like it. I’ve already met some great people and I think it’s a place that I can find community. I look forward to getting more involved. Anyway, today I met the campus pastor, officially, for kind of the first time. No joke, within probably 3 minutes I’d already blurted out in the most sloppy way that I’m divorced and blah blah blah. I was mortified.

I’m sitting here reflecting on all these things and the only thing I can ask myself is “who the crap am I????” Why am I letting myself have an identity of the fat, shy, embarrassed, divorced, unworthy girl? Why am I wearing the Scarlet Letter of all the things that have happened (or I’ve let happen) in my life? And I’m just playing into it. It’s almost like I’ve accepted this is my role and I should just go with it. (I’ve watched way too much Westworld lately. Just call me Dolores.)

I HAVE to change the script. I have to. Unless I break this wheel I’m never going to see true progress. I’m going to try some new things beginning this week and see if they can help change my behaviors. I’ll report back if they work. Or even if they don’t. This whole blog is about honesty, right?

TODAY I LOVE: my new record player
SONG OF THE DAY: “People Need a Melody” by The Head and the Heart

but then I stopped.

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN, Physical video, circa 1981-82

I’m writing this during the day. ON MY LUNCH BREAK. Yeah, I still can’t get over that. 🙂

So this morning I did something that I wanted to write about. You want to know what it was? I didn’t go to the gym and I didn’t feel guilty about it.

At first glance that sentence probably doesn’t mean very much to you. So what? I didn’t go to the gym. I don’t go to the gym several days a week (rest days.) It is the second part of that sentence that makes me smile. I have all the excuses for wanting to sleep: it took me a little while to fall asleep last night, the cat woke me up sometime in the middle of the night yowling as he was chasing a bug (I had to get up and make sure George wasn’t dying or anything), there was a thunderstorm early this morning and it was lovely to sleep to…and when my weekly alarm went off at 4:30am I was sleeping so good that I just turned it right off and went back to sleep. Again, it’s the part AFTER I’m most proud of.

Usually when I make the decision to sleep in and miss a workout, it’s almost a moot point. I will lay there and beat myself up for giving in, for being weak, telling myself that this is why I’m fat, etc. I have very, very ugly self-talk early in the morning. And then I don’t end up benefiting from the extra sleep because I’m so mad at myself! And I didn’t do that today.

Don’t get me wrong, old habits are very hard to break. I started to let it all wash over me. I started thinking about my friends seeing my LACK of Apple Watch activity and thinking me lazy and fat, I thought “Sarah, this is only slowing your goals,” I thought the gym regulars and my workout partner would think me wishy-washy and uncommitted, I thought myself ugly. BUT THEN I STOPPED. I really can’t tell you how hard this was to do, but I did it. I stopped all the thoughts and I redirected them. And I went back to sleep.

Maybe I’m finally putting some parts and pieces of my old Psychology degree in place, and maybe I’m recalling some old tools from counseling I’ve had, but it is slowly working.

Do I still have those ugly thoughts? Yep. They’ve tried to creep up on my several times this morning. And I have to actively and forcibly stop them. After sitting here and unpacking it all (after I journaled it), I’m realizing that I have a lot of internal things to work out, but I also seem to have a big hangup of others judgement of me. And it’s not by their doing – it’s my own mind. I need to think some more on how to help me change that setting within myself. I shouldn’t be having these thoughts to begin with, much less fighting them 24/7. Baby steps.

In the end, that extra sleep was ah-mazing. It was well worth it. It makes me no less of a person because I didn’t get up and go to the gym this morning.

TODAY I LOVE: sleeping during a thunderstorm
SONG OF THE DAY: “The Place Where Lost Things Go” by Emily Blunt (from Mary Poppins Returns)