Habits

Habits can either be good or bad and to break a bad one, you have to work at creating a new one.  A healthy one…..and for me that takes time.

I love articles that proclaim it only takes 21 days to make a change.  I say piffle to these authors.  I seriously doubt that my mother potty trained me in 21 days, so I no longer beat myself up on day 21 when I still have to remind myself to make my bed every morning.  Part of me wishes it only took 21 days before I adopted a change, but the truth is, I wouldn’t feel a sense of satisfaction noticing that something I hated doing is not only becoming second nature, but I enjoy the end result.

I also have a tendency to pick apart what I have yet to change, instead of remembering what I’ve accomplished.  I can’t imagine I’m the only person who does this, but I’m trying harder and harder to remember the accomplishments so I can remind myself everything is possible with a little time.  Okay, for me a lot more time.

Right now, there is about 10 minutes every morning when I first wake up where I feel no pain.  It’s wonderful, but then ‘poof’, aches and pains appear.  Some days in joints and muscles, other days my gut, and almost daily I have a headache within the first 1/2 hour of being awake.  It’s probably because I’m anxious and work in a group where the leader instills fear in its employees as their motivating factor.  However, even with all my issues, I find that if I eat the right foods, get the right amount of sleep, and drink plenty of water, I keep most of my pain at bay.  But the truth is, I’m just at the beginning of changing multiple life disciplines and it overwhelms me.

When I was younger, I believed the articles that told me it’d only take 21 one days to change or take on a new habit.  I’d try and try, but I’d always ‘cheat’ or ‘slack-off’ and then give up.  One of the beauties of getting older is realizing that everyone has their own journey and when they are ready, s/he will travel down the path that is right for them.  For me, my path is longer than most and I know I’m going to stumble, but  I remember tomorrow is another day and another chance to try again.  I’ve also learned that even when I’ve mastered the challenge and a new habit becomes second nature, it doesn’t mean the outcome is going to be perfect.  I’m not going to feel 100% better if I eat the right foods, get enough sleep, manage stress and exercise, it just means my journey is neverending.

This weekend I had all the intentions of cleaning and menu planning on Saturday and  food shopping and cooking on Sunday.  Guess what.  It just didn’t happen.  I was out last night and I’m learning that I need time to wind down before I can fall asleep (translation I was up till 1 a.m.).  Combine the late bedtime, some unexpected stress, and the rain this morning creating the perfect storm for me: every single joint and muscle ached.  I woke up and set alarm with Alexa for 2 hours thinking I’d feel better and I didn’t.  Instead, I cleaned my bedroom and kitchen, did some laundry and later in the day created a meal plan.   However, between cleaning the 2 rooms and creating a meal plan for the week, I curled up on my bed for a wonderful much needed nap.  Tomorrow I’ll set out to shop and cook, but I’m a bit overwhelmed by the amount of recipes I have chosen.  I know that I’ll need to batch cook the rest of my life, and I know that I’ll probably won’t be able to tackle all the recipes, but I’m going to try.  Last week I didn’t make everything and yet, I was able to have enough of the right food I needed to nourish my body.

The other thing I struggle with is admitting that if I decide to do something at night, like go to a movie or dinner, I’m not going to go to a bar afterwards.  Right now I’m overwhelmed with the feeling from childhood when my parents gave me a bedtime, or  I was only allowed out on Friday and Saturday nights when in high school.  So, I guess I’m feeling a combination of being a nerd and someone who is being punished. The truth is, I’m only punishing myself by trying to do it all.  I do know this is probably a temporary phase and once I realize that I’d rather feel better for 12 hours than possibly have fun  for 1 or 2 hours (no guarantee), I won’t feel weird saying no to things.  Right now, I feel like I’m back in high school when all my other friends had better curfews. I know as I become more proficient with batch cooking and picking up daily, I’ll be able to sleep in and won’t need as much time to tackle the chores I need to.  I am finally learning that every small change I make will eventually add up to a much easier and healthier life for me.

My Name is LittleMsBlogger and I Need to be on AIP

Ugh…. I’m so tired of feeling miserable most days.  The pains in my joints impact the surrounding muscles and when I go to walk, I resemble Rip Van Winkle after waking up from his nap.

I itch and shed from Psoriasis, and often taking a shower proves painful because the water burns my skin.  Baths with Epsom salt is supposed to help, but that means a renovation and money for a soaker tub that I’ve been known to search countless hours for on the Internet — one that will fit in my Barbie dream house (I should mention that my bedroom is 9×12.   I think people were much smaller the year my house was built in 1949).  I digress.  I’m tired of missing out.  Some days going to the grocery store is beyond me so I was ordering in far too much.  Not only did I have a reaction from the food, it hurts my wallet.  I’d rather keep the money and put towards my fantasy  Barbie dream house bathroom and relax in a tub with tea lights and bubbles and soothing music….ahhhh….

If I’m in a flare-up where my psoriasis is so painful (imagine someone searing your skin with a matchless lighter for hours on end and itching till you bleed) it will cause headaches, joint and muscle pain and my favorite ….digestive issues.  I become so constipated that my stomach bloats out and more muscle and joint pain happen.  This is then followed by relief, but it’s uncontrollable and it’s mandatory to be near a bathroom if you get my drift.  The relief process will last about 24 hours.  Before I forget, my muscles will tingle like I just woke up my foot up from falling asleep (ya know, the pins and needle feeling)

Several weeks ago, I had an eye infection and it started to travel down my face.  I’m fine now, but the point of my telling the world this, is that in 2017, I didn’t have an infection but in 2016, I was the queen of cellulitis.  One episode put me in the hospital.  It is also unfortunate, but when I’d get cellulitis, it would travel quicker than doctors liked to see.  I had 4 episodes in 2016, but in 2017, I made a change.  I started the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) which is more than Paleo on steroids.  Yes, what we put in our bodies is a major component, but reducing stress, having a strong support system, sleep, exercise and being in nature are all a part of it.  When I did it, I felt much better and the psoriasis I had on my head went away.  But, I looked at AIP as a quick fix, a temp solution; something you do until you’re better.  Now I know better.  While not every food group impacts my symptoms, some definitely do.

I’m at a point where I want to make the change.  I started making changes in other parts of my life, so I’m starting to look at things very differently.  I know I’ve been beating myself for far too many years over not being the perfect daughter, wife, friend, etc..  Guilt also consumed me for far too many years, and now I want something very different for me than what I have.  Different doesn’t mean changing everything, to me, it means engaging more in the life I have.  I made mention of Rip Van Winkle at the beginning of this post and there is a part of me that feels like I’ve been sleep walking far too long to avoid facing an incident that happened decades ago. I learned I can’t bury everything.  I had to face my own emotional Zombie, and I did.  I only shared my experience with one person, but facing/acknowledging it has begun to make a difference in how I look at things.  I want more than I have, and am willing to embrace the AIP lifestyle as a positive change.  It is going to take a lot of work in the beginning, but I know the results I get will outweigh the efforts I need to put in.

I realize that even if you have a solution to a problem, until you’re ready to embrace a change, it won’t matter.

I’ll post occasionally how I’m doing, but I also realize that while it will take work, this is only one part of the person I’m becoming.

Path to Intuition

I’ve read enough to know that everyone has the answer within them if they’re just willing to listen to their inner thoughts — their inner intuition.  Some people refer to it as listening to your gut, but in the end, it’s not as simple as it sounds for me.

In the past, I followed my gut and was glad I did because I trusted how I felt over the fact that my doctor was trying to tell me there was nothing  wrong with me and I was imagining things.  I kept pushing and proved him wrong.  I ended up being diagnosed with cancer [It should be noted that while being right, which, in this case saved me, I would have rather been wrong].  I still listen to my gut about my health and push back.  However, that is not what this post is about.

Following your intuition is sitting alone with oneself and being comfortable enough to listen and follow what your inner voice is telling you.  For me, it means I have to value myself enough to stop looking to others for the answers.   At the moment, I’m overwhelmed as there is so much I want to fix about my life that I’m drowning in a sea of thoughts.  Until I can recognize and appreciate my self-worth, and believe that I have value, I’m not sure I’ll ever be open or brave enough to really listen to my intuition and be the driver of my own life.  However, I’m ready to work on that…..and the first step is setting boundaries.

For me, boundaries is so much more than saying no, it’s creating a life where people know not to treat me like a doormat; or me not living in fear of disappointing another person.  It’s inevitable I will, but what I struggle with far too long is the guilt I feel when I say no and the person on the other end of my no is pushing to change my decision.  While I appreciate feeling wanted or needed, at this point, I still have this overwhelming need to put me last on the list to please them and my health is suffering.  The stress of not attending to my needs led me to wake up  yesterday with a bizarre red blotchy rash from the neck down.  When I stop listening to my needs, my body tells me it’s time to stop and listen.  I’m finally going to listen and establish a schedule for self-care that is completely focused on things I love to do.  I firmly believe until I nourish, care and take the time to do the things I love, I won’t be able to hear or listen to my inner voice.  Right now, I feel like one of the villagers  in Horton Hears a Who  who didn’t believe there was a village on a dust spec because they couldn’t hear them.  My real goal is to be Horton and to hear the tiny voice within me that knows what I need to be healthy and happy moving forward.

 

 

 

 

“Free Your Mind and The Rest will Follow” – En Vogue

After writing my post last week, it felt as if a large burden was lifted off my shoulders because I began to give myself permission to live my life the way I want to.  Oddly enough, this song just popped into my head for the entire week and as I write this post, it’s playing on my Alexa in loop mode.  I admit, I didn’t remember the lyrics other than the title, but the title captures so much for me, why do I need to know the rest.

The past week I began to think about what I wanted for me and devising a game plan of how to get there.  In the past, I’d be an all-or-nothing type of person.  My sister would repeatedly tell me to take baby steps.  I’d shoo her off and the stubborn part of me would find the need to prove her wrong.  With every project, I would, start, stop, start again and finally stop. It would be because I felt the need to tackle a project or life change by approaching it in a way that was completely different than the way I’d normally do things.   I strive for perfection and over analyze when I can’t do something the same way others do.  For instance, losing weight, I have friends that can follow a diet plan for weeks, if not months, and I’m good for about 10 days and  give up.  Not because I have no willpower, but because I get this overwhelming sense of deprivation.  Logically I know I’ll feel better eating the right foods, but I hate being told what I can or can’t do.  So many rules I have to abide by in society that the items I can control home, health, finances, I try not to impose any restrictions and usually end up with a toxic result.

The things I want to change: home (decluttered home, redecorated house), health (lose weight, more active and care for autoimmune issues), financial (debt free, travel more and create an FU fund) and lastly create more joy in my life (see friends, travel, explore interests and pursue passion).  I have been turning to others for answers.  I believe if it worked for them, it is the right way and I need to follow it.  A great example is facing the clutter in my house.

I heard about this Japanese author who wrote the NY Times bestseller book entitled: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  Has anyone read it?  I started to and then donated the book.  She lost me when she was wrote don’t declutter your home room-by-room, but take all your clothes in every room and put them into a pile and sort through them that way.  She  suggested this for every type of item in the home and lost me with books.  My house has books-upon-books in every room and if I were to follow her suggestion, I’d be incredibly sore and too exhausted to sort through the books.  For weeks I’d walk by an entire room of books and cringe at the thought of the next steps.  However, kudos to her for taking her OCD and making money from it.  For me, I learned that decluttering my life is a room-by-room process, and because I tire out easily at this moment in time, this could take months.  In the meantime, I’ll chip away at learning how to declutter  and keep a neat home by creating small daily habits.  Every morning I make my bed and every evening I clean my kitchen.  I love waking up to a clean kitchen and pulling down the covers to climb into bed every night.  Do I like doing these things?  Absolutely not, but the feeling I get later on is becoming worth it.  These two habits now have me wanting to clean my home every weekend (yes, it takes 2 days at moment because of health, but that’ll change) and every time I clean now, it is easier and is quicker.  My biggest obstacle is my health, but I have plans for that.

I know that diet, exercise and stress reduction are critical to my well being.  I’ve started cooking more at home, but not enough.  I’d love to skip processed foods and amp up my cooking skills so I started a project of counting my cookbooks by cooking a recipe from each book and posting a pic of the book and finished recipe on Instagram.  Right now, I’ve cooked from 5 books, but you have to remember I live alone so leftovers are in my world and I haven’t embraced this project at 100%, but I will.  I find the rhythm of chopping is very meditative for me….I just wish the magic fairies cleaned up while I was savoring the meal.  However, I’m confident that over time, I’ll streamline the prep and cleaning process and the cooked meal will outweigh the time it takes me to clean up.  Seriously, my end goal is to have most every meal cooked at home because I can control what I put in my body.

As far as exercise, I need to start looking at it very differently.  Any type of activity at this point in time is exercise for me.  I exercised because I wanted to lose weight, but I realized this week the reason I should exercise is because I want to lead an active lifestyle for years to come.  I wasn’t thin when I walked a marathon, hiked the Grand Canyon or biked through Provence, but trained for these events.  I want to explore places through walking, hiking or biking, but right now I’m struggling at even walking 100 feet.  So, for the next week, it’s all about movement – parking far from the grocery store, or walking to get my mail daily instead of weekly.  Basically, I am just looking to get movement in and not worry about counting steps or exercising for a designated set of minutes.

Freeing my mind and forgiving myself for not being perfect has given me the permission I needed to being more creative to get from point A to point B and I’m thrilled about that.  Actually, what’s it really done is let me start listening to me instead feeling the need to follow the path everyone else has taken.

Till next week…..

 

Refresh, Restart…..Reboot

What is the age when someone looks at their life and thinks this is my path and I have to follow it no matter what?

Two years ago, I was writing about the dissolution of my marriage, people in my life and how I felt it time to date myself.  Unfortunately, I didn’t really date myself, but instead was incredibly vulnerable to people and did exactly what I said I would never do again — I got lost in someone else.  I tried so hard to please that person, even when the hope of a romantic relationship faded, I just wanted to maintain a friendship with him.  Normally, he’s a very reserved person, but when we were truly close, he was so passionate and caring that it was like a burst of wind had knocked me off my balance and I lost my footing.

As the relationship went down the path of friendship, I was still looking for that rush ….that feeling that someone truly cared about me.  It was easier for me to try to recapture that feeling from him than face my life, and face the fact, that I was, and still am, a lost individual.  I became the worst version of anyone: clingy and needy.  This past November, I didn’t recognize me, and eventually this person ghosted me over the holidays.  It crushed me beyond belief.

I always thought ‘ghosting’ was for people who had dated and we were friends.  I trust my friends more so than any intimate relationship with a man, so it crushed me.  I mean totally crushed me.  In early January, we talked and while we still talk on occasion, it is much different and for some reason I tread lightly.  I guess I’m afraid of losing the little remains of a friendship we have then admit I’m still putting the worst version of me forward.  Wow.  To see the words on this screen makes me wonder what happened to the person who grew up marching to her own drummer – hung out of trees; walked a marathon to get over her first marriage ending; hiked the Grand Canyon when I turned 40 and was a year of being cancer free.  I pretty much have always followed my curiosity and this has led me to people and experiences that are priceless.  Instead, I stopped listening to me.  I put all my energies into another person who called me a dabbler.  From his viewpoint, I didn’t stick with one thing.  I was so lost at that point in my life, that I thought he was right.  However, instead of pursuing one passion, I stopped.  I clung to him and began a year long process where I started to doubt everything about me.  I also stopped hanging out with friends, doing anything and my sadness I believe has a large part with damaging my physical health (well, that and the stress of job and being someone I’m not).

So…Who am I?

I have no fucking clue.  I was raised to believe that you go to college, marry and raise a family.  Many of my friends did that.  Hell, I married twice, and maybe it was a blessing in disguise that I couldn’t have children instead of leading them down the rabbit hole I find myself in.  However, I’m tired of not truly knowing who I am.  If I were a computer and either got held up in a program far too long or got the blue screen of death (I think most people have experienced that), it’d be easy, I’d just reboot my computer.

I need a total reboot.  The only way I’m truly going to find my passion, is to let every negative preconceived notion I have about myself that fills my head go and begin living with no expectations.  I also need to put me first and stop believing making another person happy is going to make me happy.   Great if it happens, but I need to start being to true to myself if I really want to discover who I am.  I’ve known for far too long that I try to please others because I don’t know what will or what happens once I am happy.  In certain facets of my life, people have taken advantage of me for their benefit.  No more.

So how do I begin to discover who I am….and make peace with who I’m not?  Well, there are so many articles on how to be happy — should I declutter my life?  Exercise? Eat better? Take classes? Redo my home? Meditate? Travel? Garden? Find a new job?  Better yet, find a new career? So many choices and all that I want to explore.

Here’s what I know about me….I react slowly to things, but when I do it stays with me a very long time.  I also procrastinate on things I hate to do, and I really detest the saying “Just Do It”.  I want to bitch slap the next person that says that to me.  I do get to things, it just takes me time.  Far longer than others, but ya know what, I live alone and, at the moment, in a lot of physical pain.  I’ve also never been one of those individuals that a new habit is formed in 21 days.  Depending upon the habit (translation if it is something I hate doing like cleaning) it could take me up to 21 weeks before it is a habit.   Even if I get joy from doing something I stop because I don’t think I deserve to feel happy.  Not anymore.  I’ve rebooted and have given myself permission to set boundaries and feel happy.

I have some thoughts where to begin and will check in next week to give an update.  I’m not sure anyone will read this, but by putting this out on the Internet, it does hold me accountable…..and right now I need that to jump start my adventure into finding me.

 

Bag of Cheetos

While in therapy this week, my therapist broke down a life-long habit of mine into a very simple concept:  a bag of Cheetos.

Last year I decided to enter into therapy to figure out why I couldn’t have a successful relationship.  While my second husband is an extremely nice guy, I was incredibly lonely, and admit I was shocked that I was as lonely the second time around as I was in my first marriage.  Honestly, I thought I was lonely in my first marriage because I had married the wrong person, but truth is I’m attracted to emotionally unavailable men.

After my session, I called my sister to talk about what was discussed and her comment was my a-ha moment.  She said – I’m not surprised you’ve always been attracted to men like daddy.

There is a saying that you have a tendency to marry a man like your father and while my dad is quiet, polite, and everyone likes him, I spent my youth watching my mom trying to get his attention and then my adulthood trying to figure out why, after many years of doing things together, he could never connect with me.  Our conversations are limited because, as hard as I tried, he never really wanted to know who I was.  If the conversation didn’t revolve around him, golf, his job or an interest of his, he tuned you out.  To this day, my dad is 94 and only asks how my husband is and if I still work at a particular company.  Over the years I’ve gotten divorced, was unemployed for multiple years and almost died from several infections contracted due to surgical complications, but none of this was talked about.  In addition, until my sister told my parents that there was a high possibility I was going to die, neither parent thought it important to visit me in the hospital.  I think when raised by 2 narcissists, you long for a connection, but instead I’m attracted to what I know – the emotionally unavailable.

Over the past few months in therapy, I had talked about a ‘friend’ who I’ve mentioned in recent posts.  Initially I only shared how we had a friendship that was growing, but in the end I admitted to having a very intimate friendship with someone one day, and then 4 days later it just abruptly ended by him.  All our talks about a possible future together just disappeared.  While he was able to flip his emotions off towards me like a light switch, I can’t.  We have a work relationship and I really like him as a person.  I enjoy our conversations and still want to finally meet him….but on my terms.  I wasn’t going to come to him this time (we live in different states), but he was going to come to me.  Now, I’m rethinking it all after my conversation with my therapist and sister.

My therapist pointed out how this person was emotionally unavailable and while like a bag of Cheetos, which is yummy; it is unhealthy for me.  She had a valid point – when have you ever brought a bag of Cheetos in the house and are able to just eat a handful?  You always finish off the bag no matter how hard you try to control yourself.  She told me my attraction to this individual was like my bag of Cheetos.  She was very cut and dry and insisted that I needed to keep the bag out of the house if I ever wanted to open self to the possibility of a relationship with someone who was willing to be emotionally available. I openly admit that I somewhat argued with her and I think it’s because I didn’t want to admit she’s probably right. We even talked about how I was resisting her suggestions because I’m not ready to say goodbye to him.  I really don’t want to, but I know I shouldn’t feel so much pain because I’m left wondering if after the way he ended things with me, if he really wants a friendship with me or if he’s just being polite.  Self-doubt has no place in any healthy relationship and I know, with the right person, what I have to offer will be welcomed.

After this session, I thought I’d tell him – lay it out on the table – basically, let him off the hook for having to meet me.  I realized the only reason I wanted to tell him these things is because I was longing to hear that he really does want to meet me, that I do make a difference in his life, but that is my imagination working overtime on a person who could easily take or leave me in their life.  Instead, I am not going to hurt self any longer and do what is easiest for me:  just slowly and quietly disappear.

I told my therapist how I really like Cheetos so I wanted to know what’d I get if I didn’t bring Cheetos in the house any longer….she told me a wonderful banquet would be waiting for me.  Obviously, I have been repeating the same mistake over and over so I guess it’s finally time to stop traveling down the snack and chip aisle.

100 Days

I think there comes a point in everyone’s life when things become overwhelming and you need to step back and look at what you can and can’t handle.  For me, it’s recognizing that I was trying to do it all and still making myself too available for others.  Over the weekend I started to feel as if my head was going to explode because I was doing too many things, but nothing really for me.  I made the decision to figure out what I really wanted for myself and started to carve out this time for me.  Unfortunately, this made me notice that some of the people in my life, who I thought were good for me, left me feeling annoyed and aggravated.  I tried saying something and it fell on deaf ears.  Here’s the point:  if I tell you I’m uncomfortable then just stop doing it.  Don’t turn it around on me.  Don’t make me feel guilty because I’m voicing my needs and what I’m asking of you is no big deal to you, but to me….it’s huge.  I no longer want to walk away from every conversation feeling annoyed.  A friendship should not leave you feeling angry towards the person… or inadequate.  I’m done.  I no longer feel this need to impress anyone or have this need for someone to like me.  I want friendships of mutual respect and if that means walking away to get the right relationships in my life – I will.

In the meantime, I’m going to spend the next 100 days putting me at the very top of the list so I learn to create relationships that are nurturing and healthy for me.  Basically, ones where there is a mutual respect.  I can no longer be there for everyone….basically, I’m in desperate need of boundaries…I can no longer be saying yes to everyone and everything.  It should be an interesting 100 days – at the end I look forward to being in the right relationships and no longer feeling the need to please everyone at my own expense.