Home life.

Life at our house has been really messy lately. After our nice relaxing weekend, things have gone downhill. I am a big ball of stress and anxiety, and I really haven’t felt like writing a single word, or talking to anyone about it. I’ve had things swimming around in my head that I’ve wanted to write about, but I just can’t seem to find any inspiration to do anything right now except work on this problem, and feel upset about it. It’s all just stewing inside of me, so I just need to talk about it I guess.

Our pets are really an important part of our lives, they are our children. We’ve been having some issues with one (two?) of them, and it’s just progressively getting worse right now. The strain from these issues is causing strain on Michael and I individually, and on our relationship. It does not feel good. Nothing right now feels good.

The whole story of our animal children (it is looong): When Michael and I first met, he had 2 cats – Moose and Treble, and I had a dog. He lived in a 3 story condo, and I lived in an apartment with friends. I was working full time at a salaried job, and with commute, plus time spent in the city with Michael, I was not home enough for my dog. I was putting undue burdens on my friends, and I wasn’t giving him the attention he deserved. He did not get along with the cats at first, so bringing him with me during my travels did not work. So, he went to live with my Gram. He still lives with her, and they are both as happy as can be with this arrangement. This was heart wrenching for me, he had been my ally through lots of changes in my life, and I couldn’t imagine life without him. It was only because he went to my grandma that this all worked out. After this all went down, I ended up moving in with Michael, and despite my allergy to cats, fell in love with felines all over again. These two won my heart over, and it was awesome. But, it was an all male household, and I felt we needed to add another girl into the mix. So, we found a little girl kitty with extra digits on her paws who needed a home. Hemi came to live with us, and after a long while she came out of her shell and adapted to life with the boys. She is the sweetest girl ever, and it was a great match. Soon after we found Hemi, we started volunteering with the local cat rescue on weekends. We played with, cleaned up after, hung out with and worked on adoptions of kitties. This was a great thing, except that every week I found a new kitty or three that I wanted to bring home. Some of those stories are just so sad, how could I not want to save them all? To avoid becoming an animal hoarder, Michael (thankfully) had to say no to me on a weekly basis. We have a tiny condo, no more room for cats! This all worked out fine, until one Saturday when we went in to work and there was a teeny little 2 pound Maine Coon staring up at me with wanting eyes. He was a little ball of fuzz with hair sticking out of his whole being, like a pocket sized old man. He immediately melted my heart, and this time Michael couldn’t say no. He came home with us that day, and was named Seymour. He has since weaseled his way into every single nook and cranny of my heart. He is a total momma’s boy, and is my shadow throughout my day. He’s the most affectionate cat I have ever seen and he has the meow of a tiny kitten, even though he’s on his way to 20 lbs. Seymour is definitely not the brightest bulb in the box, but he isn’t maliciously bad. Just aloof.

      This is when we were giving him his first bath.  So innocent and tiny.

So here is the problem. He is about 2.5 years old. His older brothers are about 12+ years old. For the last couple of years, Seymour has bonded with his sister the most; they cuddle, and groom each other. The older boys never really took a liking to him. They are annoyed with his energy, and don’t really want him around. They usually keep their distance, but lately, Seymour has been harassing them more and more. Mostly Moose. Treble is the elder cat, and it seems like for the most part, Seymour respects that and leaves him to be. He feels some hierarchical/territorial/compulsive need to constantly challenge Moose. That looks like this: Seymour slowly approaches Moose, and sits down directly in front of him. Moose gets agitated and starts growling. Seymour feels like he should then touch Moose, so he reaches out slowly, and Moose gets louder. Eventually, Seymour will try to tackle Moose and it ends in a LOT of yelling.

For a while, this would happen occasionally. Then it started happening nightly. We would always be awakened by it, and usually would yell at them to stop, and go back to bed. It stresses us both out, because no one likes to be repeatedly woken up, let alone by something we can’t control. We also feel horrible for Moose, because it’s not fair to him, or enjoyable, I’m sure. So, there’s the squirt bottle, spraying them with water will break it up, as will going near them. That leaves our options limited. Getting up every 20 minutes to break up cats is NOT the way to get a good night of sleep. The strain from this was minimal at first, but over the last couple of months, it’s been growing.

In a rare moment of closeness, which I would love to see again.

I have spent a ton of time researching what could be done, and honestly, there isn’t much that I’ve found. The solution most cat trainers recommend is clicker training, or operant conditioning. I’ve been working on this with Seymour. He’s doing very well at it, but honestly, so far it does not help him to stop pursuing his victim, and I’m not sure HOW it’s supposed to help him. The thing that works best is when I can get him to lie in bed with me at night, but since he is a cat, this is a challenge. I usually wake up as soon as I hear him moving, and beg him to come back to bed with me. The minute I hear them start to growl, my stomach tightens, and I tear up. I know that Michael is going to be stressed and upset, and I know that we are getting closer to a point that I don’t want to reach. Every time I hear Michael wake up or get mad at the cats, the knot in my stomach tightens. We have even more challenges with this, in that our condo doesn’t have any doors except bathrooms. I can’t very well keep a cat in a bathroom all night in good conscience. Basically, we’ve been having a lot of sleepless nights. I don’t like to punish, or even use the squirt bottle really, and while reading about this training, it advices against these actions. So, I have stopped doing anything about it when it happens, except asking him to come to me instead. It seems like this is making it worse, and it’s reached a point where we can’t take anymore. I don’t think not doing anything is helping, so maybe a squirt bottle is helping to at least keep it tamed more.

Solutions: In my research I found that cats do a lot better with sorting this stuff out if they have vertical territory to work with. We don’t have much to offer in that area, so we’ve ordered a nice 6 foot tall cat tree. We’ll get another one if this helps at all. Also, we are playing with them more, so that Seymour is not as inclined to expend his energy on chasing his brother, and, more likely to be tuckered out. Our toys have all broken, because apparently our cats are beasts, so we had to order a bunch of new ones. As mentioned, I am working on clicker training him. He’s doing great with it, but right now we are working on sitting. There is a long road ahead before I can expect him to sit, and stay, and ignore the lure of his brother (I’m not even sure if I can expect that to happen). Since we don’t have doors, my solution was to put up 2 baby gates (stacked) so that he would be separate from his siblings at night. Michael was reluctant to try this, because it would be a pain to deal with every day. We tried this approach last night, and I must say, it was not ideal. I felt so sad and trapped when we put those 2 gates up, and so did my little furry friend. I set him up with a litter box, food and water, but he was not thrilled. He was pacing, and whimpering, and wondering why the hell I was holding him captive. Not to mention the other cats were not happy about it. Moose stood by the gates and yelled for a long time last night. Eventually Moose became quiet and Seymour calmed down and slept by my side, but I know it was not fun for him. He’s nocturnal, he doesn’t want to be trapped in a room all night. I feel sad that I had to do it, and when I fed them all breakfast, everyone was sullen and quiet. This is not a long term solution, and I didn’t really get any more rest. But there was no fighting.

I have been searching for a good animal behaviorist, but haven’t found too many people that work with cats. I called our vet, because they say they do work with behavior issues. Well apparently they don’t think that cats’ behavioral issues are solvable. Which I think is total crap. Our vet’s office put me on the phone with a nurse who would ‘be able to help’. She told me that Seymour is just trying to push Moose’s buttons, and dominate him. Duh. She said to put them in separate rooms, and when I said we actually don’t have rooms, she told me to make him an outdoor cat, or find him a new home. I told her that her solutions were REALLY crappy, and I started sobbing. I have basically been crying for 2 days straight, and it doesn’t feel very good. This is my baby, and I honestly don’t think I am capable of giving him away. What does that mean for us right now? It means that Michael and I have been fighting for the last 2 days. It means that everything is a struggle. It means that I’m getting no sleep, and barely functioning, let alone taking care of myself. I don’t know what the future holds. I feel like someone is stomping my heart into pieces.

So that is my life right now. Searching high and low, for any possible solution to this issue. Watching the toll this is taking on my relationship with Michael. My heart is sinking, my stomach is tight, and I feel like I’m lost. I’m scared, I’m exhausted and I’m sad. I’m eating horribly, and not working out enough. I’m not enjoying this right now, and really hoping we can figure it out soon. If we can’t, I don’t know if I can handle saying goodbye to my little man. I hope it never comes to that. Right now it’s tough to get perspective, all I can see is exhaustion and frustration. I also feel a huge amount of guilt and self-blame. I was the one who wanted another cat even though I knew we didn’t have much room. I brought this on, and now I feel like I must make it better.

He’s a mess, which is why we get him shaved regularly…

If anyone has ANY suggestions about this matter, please send them my way. This guy and his humans would appreciate it:

My sweet boy, post lion-cut.

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Sometimes we all need a good push of the reset button in life. Just a break, to completely refresh us. This weekend was just that for me. Last week, as I mentioned, was crazy. The week before that was crazy too, but last week was the high point of insanity. So, it was perfect timing for a long weekend.

Michael and I are not religious people. We do not celebrate religious holidays. If I was up north with my family, undoubtedly, Easter weekend would come with big dinners, family functions, lots of candy, and travel stress. Thankfully, we never go anywhere or do anything big for most holidays. They usually serve as a nice little retreat from life, and are very welcomed as such. This weekend was no exception. We had a few things we wanted to get done, but didn’t have much of an agenda.

We’ve been having some anxiety about taking our sailboat out, as we haven’t had it out since last year, and we had a horrible accident with it last summer. We finally got good weather, and spent Saturday out on the lake; it was awesome. I’ve always been a person who loves the water. I had to be practically dragged into the house each night in the summer when I was young, all I wanted to do was swim in our pool. I could sit and stare at the ocean for days, any water really calms me. I had forgotten all this, or pushed it to the back of my mind, in lieu of worrying about boat stuff. The accident we had still replays in my mind, often enough that it sometimes worries me that I won’t be able to stay calm in an urgent situation on the boat. Michael had similar worries, and all winter long we wondered what we would do. Would we be okay enough to keep the boat, or should we just sell it? The longer we didn’t sail, the more confusing it got. Anyway, it finally all got sorted out as soon as we got out onto the water. All went well, and while a final decision has not been made about our boat, it felt great to just step past all of the worry, and just do it.

This is a shot of our boat – Space Cowboy – last summer, the day of our accident.

So our weekend highlight was the sail, and other than that it included sleeping in, brunches, coffee, bike rides, cleaning, shopping for hula hoop supplies and lots of quality time with the kitties.

It just feels so good to have 3 full days of no agenda. It seems like a weekend is just not enough time to fully decompress sometimes. Saturday is usually spent with chores, and by Sunday, I’m already feeling bummed that the weekend is over. Give me 3 days any time! I found myself saying more than once that I ‘needed’ to go for a run, or do some yoga. But I didn’t actually do it when I thought it. I did what I wanted to do, and for me, that was other things this weekend. It was like a mini-staycation.

These are the things that are my reset button. Getting outside, sleeping in a little, having brunch and coffee, bike rides, spending time with Michael, and our kitties. It’s so good when life allows me to do all of this stuff without the stress of what else needs to be done, or what is waiting. I am making an effort to bring this attitude back into my daily life. Even if my outside time is just my walk to my car, I’m taking it slowly, and enjoying the warmth of the breeze.

I feel revitalized, and refreshed. I am sliding deeper into the groove of listening to my body. Moving it when and how it wants, feeding it what it wants, and really enjoying the benefits of how all of that feels. Right now, it feels amazing. I am excited to continue on this path, just doing what feels right, instead of what I think is right for me.

In other news, I got my new glasses Saturday, and they are really nerdy. Like, I look like Rick Moranis. I need to take pictures, once my sunburn heals up. Pretty good stuff. Michael and I have been having a good laugh about it for the last few days.

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My crazy.

Sometimes, I have these ‘bad days’. But bad day seems to be an understatement to what feels like a nervous breakdown. They don’t always look the same, but they always feel the same, and they always end with me sobbing, and doing a lot of apologizing, and wondering what is wrong with me. During this time, Michael is usually left staring off into the distance, wondering why he just got smacked upside the head with a crap-storm of crazy. Maybe there is a word for this other than mental breakdown (some sort of anxiety attack??), but that’s what it feels like to me.

I never really understand what brings this on. It’s not my normal emotional/bad day where I’m just bummed or crying at stupid sitcoms. It’s beyond that, it’s like having an out of body experience, where I feel possessed by emotion. I feel like a child who needs comforting, like I need someone to make it better for me, but no one does – because no one can – and in the moment, this infuriates me. It’s always full of stress and anxiety, and it’s like I can feel it building in my stomach all day long.

It usually starts out okay, like maybe I mess something up at work, which is not a huge deal normally. But on the ‘bad day’, it’s the first pebble of many in a giant pile of ick. It just keeps building, every tiny thing, adding on and on and on. It’s like I’m actively looking for things to pile on, just so the pile will collapse. I blame every little thing on myself, at work, at home, with relationships. I replay all of my problems, over and over. Things that aren’t even problems become problems. The amount of blame and shame I place on myself is enormous. It’s not fun. Combine this with a sweet, unassuming Michael, and it always results in a huge argument. I then blame myself for the argument, and feel shame, and worry, and frustration, and the cycle continues. The conversation in my head is usually something along the lines of: ‘What is wrong with me? Why do I ruin every single thing I touch’ on a loop. It’s usually an all night affair, as I like to drag out the pain and inflict it on all the innocents.

I have had therapy, and still go to therapy, and the only things I’ve figured out in reference to why this happens to me is that I’m too hard on myself, and I have trouble letting things go. When things aren’t going well, sometimes I try to keep them to myself, so I don’t stress anyone out with my problems. I know this doesn’t work, and I try to not do it often, but I still do it. I don’t really think this is the root cause of my problems, but I do think it makes it worse. I don’t know why I’m so hard on myself. So what if I mess something up at work? So what if it’s my fault we’ve been arguing all night? Or that I missed yoga because I’ve been crying on the couch for 2 hours?  Is there anything I can do to fix it? I CAN LET IT GO.

Michael and I were in the throes of this mess last night. He never knows what to say to me when this happens, because anything he does say is just going to be thrown back at him. Almost always, when I’m starting to calm down, I tell him he doesn’t deserve this, and that he should move along and find someone less crazy. This is the point where I go from hysterical to weepy, and apologetic. I apologize for everything until I’m blue in the face, and he just keeps telling me to let it go. Last night, it finally dawned on me, I don’t really know how to let it go. As much as he says it, and I agree to do it, I internalize it. I hold it all in, as further proof that I am no good. That I am not good enough at my job, or my relationship, or at being an adult. And by keeping all of this stuff inside of me as proof, I somehow validate the fact that I don’t deserve to be happy. This is crap. It’s all crap.

I told Michael that I don’t really know how to ‘let it go’. He was all like, wait, with the yoga you do, and teacher training you’ve had, you never really learned how to ‘let it go’?? I agree that this might seem odd, but on some level, I’m still working on that. I can cry it out in child’s pose with the best of them. I can lay in pigeon, and let the tears come, and go. But on the inside, I think I always still think there is something wrong with me. So I made myself a little sign. I put it on the coffee table as a reminder.

I’m working on figuring out exactly where in this process I can find the space to breathe, and distance myself from my reactions to prevent a full meltdown. I usually feel this coming on, but feel powerless to it. There are some things that I do know help, and I sometimes just need to remind myself to do them, even if it feels like the opposite of what I want. I’ve seen what happens when I don’t do them, and that certainly is not working out for me, so I’m going to try something new.

Allow it to happen – if I stop myself, or bottle it up, it will grow, and explode even more. Even though it’s not pretty or fun, if I vent, or yell, or cry, it gets out. It leaves my body and the pressure is gone. I have tried to refocus my feelings through other things, like exercising, or art. While these help lessen my feelings, they never help them go away. The only thing that helps them go away is for me to get rid of them. Maybe I can start making a disclaimer on those days that people should steer clear of me, or they are likely to end up with a pile of emotional garbage thrown at them.

Breathing – focusing on my breath, and letting thoughts fall away.

Yoga – always, always, always helps. Just plopping down onto the floor, and being with myself, even when I feel so on edge that I can’t breathe fully.

Being present – focusing on what is going on in the moment, and not the cycle of shame and guilt that I feel about what has happened before OR the frustration and stress about what lies ahead of me.

I know that these help, even though in the moment they feel miles away. I always turn to someone for comfort, instead of comforting myself. I wonder why no one is there to take care of me, and make it all better. Yet I’m not being there for me, so that is certainly not fair to anyone.

After all of this, when my emotions have exploded all over our house, and I’m left whimpering with shaky inhales like a little girl, it’s calm. I feel empty, and cleansed and I always have a headache. I don’t like what it takes to get there, but when I get there, I feel new and good.  Each time this happens – which is not that often, thank god – I learn a little bit more, and become slightly more aware of what is happening in my body. Over time, I hope I can learn to let go, and be present and maybe lessen the severity of these emotional episodes. For now, I’m learning to accept that this is part of what goes on with me. After 10 years of fighting it, and not wanting anyone to know that this happens to me, because they will think I’m broken, I’m just telling everyone. It hurts, it’s embarrassing, and I don’t like myself when that happens. But it does happen. I have learned many times that something loses the power it holds over you if you talk about it…even if you think people can’t handle it, or will judge you. So, that’s my plan. Being slightly crazy is apparently a part of my life,  so I’m accepting and loving it for the gift that it is. It teaches me new things, and I am learning more and more about me…so thank you for that, crazy. It teaches me to surrender, and that I don’t have complete control over my life…sometimes bad things happen, and I have to let the dust settle, and pick up my pieces and keep going. It teaches me that expectations (of myself and others) are dangerous, and only set me up for disappointment. So, that’s my flavor of crazy…feel free to share yours!

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Bathing Suits!

Yeah, I said it!

Work has been INSANE this week. Seriously, I’m starting to go to a place of anxiety and stress that I don’t like. So, I’ve been daydreaming about vacations, summer cookouts, and honeymoons; all light and happy stuff. Straight up rainbows and kittens over here.

As I’m thinking about sitting on a beach, with a good book in my hand, and my sweetie at my side, I realize that I need a good bathing suit. Like, a really good one. Not one that is too small. Not one that makes me feel ashamed or like I need to cover up. One that rocks, and when I put it on, I can’t wait to go swimming in or show off. Is that asking too much from a piece of clothing? I don’t think so. I used to think so, but that ship has sailed.

If I’m rocking the radical self acceptance, then I need to walk the walk, and accept it all. I absolutely love swimming, and the beach, and there’s no reason I should have only ill fitting ugly bathing suits.

In my life, I’ve had some bad suits. When I was a teenager, I found some self confidence hiding in a corner of my closet (only after I got a boyfriend….) and I rocked some bikinis. Then, when I gained weight around the age of 20, I bought a one piece, that was just flimsy, and I think it was too small. NOT flattering. Then, I discovered working out, and how to not eat DiGiorno for dinner every night, and I lost some weight. I then bought another bikini, a more high quality one from J.Crew. I loved it, and I still love it, but it’s not the best for my body now. I have since gained back a lot of the weight I initially lost, which tends to happen, and I no longer love how that suit fits me. So last year, I found a suit at TJ Maxx that was cheap, and cute, so I grabbed it. It SO does not fit me. I wore it to a friends house for swimming, and it’s just too short, and digs into me. So, it’s time for a suit that fits. I’m actually pretty freaking excited to find a suit that I love, that fits my body. I’ve spent the last few years trying to squeeze into those suits, and it’s not good for my confidence, comfort or happiness.

Alas, it’s time to shop. Now, it’s kind of hard to find a suit online in general. You never know what will end up fitting. But, it’s also kind of painful to try on suits at a store. Could that be any less flattering?? So, I figured I will find a suit online that has a free return policy, and hope it works out. It is also tough to find any larger suits that aren’t old lady like, with big hibiscus flower print and skirt attached. Not that those aren’t a valid option for lots of people, but I know that I would not feel my best in those suits.  If you even try to look up plus size suits, this is typically what you find…and what I’m referring to:

Photo is from this site: www.swimsuitsforall.com which has a lovely selection, just not my style.

So, this left me on a quest to find super cute suits, that I will love to wear. And that quest landed me at one of my favorite places. ModCloth! They have a really cute selection of normal and plus sized suits, including this, that I love!

This Beach Blanket Bingo suit is adorable, and comes in lots of sizes, but the reviews make me worry that it won’t hold up…

I also like the two-piece version of that suit, so cute!

I love the trend of more old cuts in bikinis, higher rise, more coverage.

I have to keep looking, but I’ll be ordering something soon.

If you have any suggestions of larger suits that are great, and not too retirement home couture, I’d love your suggestions!! Yay summer!


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Wedding Weight Loss.

Where he proposed…

About 2 months ago, Michael and I got engaged, and ever since, there have been tiny little ads and articles popping up. Perhaps I’ve just been noticing them now, and they’ve been here all along.

“Lose weight for your wedding”,

“Slim down for the big day”

“Lose the weight, fit into your gown”

“Avoid heavier ever after” (I don’t really even know what that means.)

Ahem. How about just buying a gown that fits your body? I just stumbled across this post (hilarious), in which one woman is quoted as saying:  ‘I’ll get married in a blanket before I buy a size-16 gown!’ says the 5′ bride.” [For the record, it’s distinctly possible that I will wear a size 16 gown, depending on sizing, and I would way rather wear that than a blanket…in fact, I’d be thrilled to find a dress I like at all]

Really? That’s the biggest concern that women have about getting married? The size of the dress they wear? How they’ll look in photos? As that post mentions, none of this is for reasons of health, just aesthetics. I find this to be incredibly sad and frustrating. I have NO intentions of losing weight before we get married. I plan on continuing to enjoy my life, and marrying this wonderful man who loves me just like I am. If I gain or lose weight before some specific date, this is not somehow going to ensure that we will have a nicer wedding, or a better marriage. What will trying to lose weight (that I don’t ‘need’ to lose, because I’m already healthy) ensure? That I will be stressed/unhealthy/running ragged/cranky/possibly injured or sick by the time we say ‘I do’. Not to mention, it will cause me to feel like I must meet some external goal in order to be deserving of a wedding or my husband. I will then gain it back on our honeymoon, and feel like a failure, and who doesn’t want to feel like a miserable failure then? This guy! If the man I’m spending my life with does not love me, appreciate me, and think I am beautiful just like this, then I wouldn’t be marrying him.

Getting married, planning your life with someone, having your friends and family there to cherish this time with you; these are beautiful things, and they are privileges at that. This is supposed to be a celebration of LOVE and a time to be grateful. Torturing your body, neglecting your health, starving yourself, etc; those things are not what you do to someone you love nor when you are grateful for what you have. If a wedding is a celebration of your love together, then it should also be a celebration of your love for yourself. In my experience, you cannot fully love anyone unless you love yourself.

If we’re practicing radical self acceptance, then it’s a beautiful thing to open up and extend that to our partners as well. I accept Michael just the way he is, as I would if he ever gained or lost weight. I want to be with someone who is just as accepting of me (and he is). I cannot imagine spending my life with someone who had a conditional love for me. If I were ever told that I had to slim down to get married, I would like to think I would walk away. I understand that most of these women, and sometimes men, put these stringent conditions on themselves. It’s usually not the significant other doing it, but I also think that it does happen sometimes. In my mind, it’s the same, if I put those rules on Michael, it’s just as bad if I’d do it to myself.

I have a lot of compassion for people who feel like it has to be this way. It is the same compassion I have for people who look in the mirror and think that they are willing to do anything to lose weight (including taking diet pills, starving, killing their body by working out well beyond healthy means, endangering their lives for plastic surgery,etc.). I am not here to judge, and I’m certainly not saying my way is the best way. It is the best for me. I know what will make me happy, and that is acceptance, unconditional love, and transparency. My heart goes out to the girls who buy a smaller dress, and vow to lose X amount of pounds to fit into it. I even saw one article that said that if you don’t lose the weight in time, you might want to postpone your wedding. Postpone?! Crikey. There will most likely be family members, friends, and acquaintances who will be witness to how you look on this day. There will probably be pictures, maybe even video to remind you of how you looked on that one day, and that can be a scary thought. But wouldn’t you rather have an accurate record of you, at that time? If you keep wedding photos around of you at an unrealistic weight that you fought tooth and nail to arrive at, is that really the best reminder to see every day of your life?

Here’s the thing about losing weight for your wedding…it’s just one day. Of all the days, in all of your existence here on this planet, in this body, your wedding is just one day. You can work your ass off and starve yourself for months so that in your mind (because honestly, that’s where this all takes place) your family and friends will think you look perfect. Or, you can spend that time figuring out the best representation of your love, and the most fun way to celebrate that. I cannot recall ever attending one wedding where I thought, or said, ‘Gee, if that bride had buckled down and lost a few pounds, she’d really shine today’. No, it’s a wedding, it’s a joyous celebration, and you will be bright, shining and beautiful, without having to lose any weight at all. You’re already beautiful. Say it with me: I’m already beautiful. Anyone who gets to marry you is lucky, and will be honored to have you on their arm. You don’t need to shed weight to be worthy of anyone’s love, I swear. People will be looking at your glow, the sparkle in your eyes, and admiring the love you two have for one another. They will not be looking at your waist size. If they are, fine. It’s their loss to be focusing on something insignificant and petty, when they could be partying with you. There is nothing wrong with getting married just as you are.

If you want to look good in your pictures, spend the time leading up to your wedding figuring out what makes you glow. Get some fresh air, a little bit of sun, some exercise. Splurge and buy yourself something to wear (that fits!!) that you love and feel amazing in. Spend your wedding day soaking up every single ounce of love that is there from the support of your family and friends. If you do these things, I am sure that people will do nothing but talking about how gorgeous and happy you look.

We are spending our time still figuring out what we want from a wedding, and I’m sure I will post some things on here as I pinpoint our plans. I would much rather spend this time planning our future, our family, our home, even our honeymoon, than I would planning how I’m going to get rid of as much body fat as possible to ‘impress’ the people who already love me, just like I am. I’m ready to get married, just like this, and I know it will be a beautiful day.

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Doctors, venting about them.

Is it completely absurd that I actually LIKE to go to the doctor? Probably. But hey, I’m weird. I went to my pediatrician until I was 22, and I only stopped because they made me. I would totally still go to her if I could, just like that episode of Friends with Ross and his pediatrician. She knew me and took care of me, even when I would just go in and tell her I was ‘dying’ because I couldn’t put my symptoms into words. It felt like she really cared about my health, and that’s how it was with my other doctors as well, eye doctor included. I went to the same guy my whole life until I moved to NC, and he knew me, and it was easy and safe. I like easy and safe, I’m very sensitive, and I want to feel like people care about me.

Is it completely absurd to expect that when I do in fact go to a doctor that I be treated like a human being, not like cattle?? [Not that I encourage cattle to be treated poorly, I love cows, and would treat them just as well as I would any other person. But, you get the point of the expression, I’m sure.] I had a horrible experience at the eye doctor yesterday, and this is really how I felt. Like no one there cared about me, or my well being, and it left me feeling really sad about the state of ‘health care’.  I wasn’t sure what to do with this anger, so I’m funneling it all into this blog post, a vent-y one. Not in the spirit of complaining, but, in wondering why the medical field seems to be evolving into this revolving door of apathy, where everyone is just a number.

I have been looking for a good eye doctor for the past 5 years. It’s so weird to me that I cannot seem to find good doctors nowadays.  I had a recommendation from a friend, but instead I decided to make an appointment with a big reputable office in town, hoping that this would finally help me find someone that could really be great. I don’t have huge expectations, really. Kindness would be nice though. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by nice health care professionals?

When I recover and go shopping, I want glasses similar to this fine (cheap) pair I tried on in Urban Outfitters. Yes, I realize how attractive that facial expression is, and how low quality the photo is, but you get the gist. I’ll take a proper photo when I get good glasses and post that!

I’ll spare you the bazillion little details about what made it bad, and I’ll just summarize the highlights. Low lights? Bad things, I’ll summarize the bad things that happened:

The people there just didn’t care. I can’t put it any more bluntly. From when I walked in, to when I walked out 2 hours (!!) later, I only encountered one person who listened to me, and tried to help me. I was tended to by at least 6 people.

The technician did all the work. The doctor came in after, and just double checked her work. He didn’t introduce himself to me, shake my hand, ask me a single question about anything other than the letters on the wall, or even make eye contact with me. He spent 5 minutes with me.

I was all but laughed at for not knowing all the details of my previous prescriptions, and also for having such bad eyesight. It’s never nice to be made to feel small, let alone in a vulnerable setting like a doctor’s office.

My well being was never really taken into account, I was given some incorrect solution to put my contacts in during my exam (it was hydrogen peroxide solution, which is part of a contact lens cleaning kit, but is NOT meant to be a quick lens storage solution like saline. This was a huge error on her part). Afterward, I was left alone, and told to put my contacts back in, then find my way back up front to the contact fitting place (where the only person who was kind to me was waiting). After trying to put my contacts in and being in the most severe eye pain I’ve ever felt in my life, I was lost. Alone, unable to see, and with no one to ask for help.  I was crying, because my eyes were in pain, because I was mad, because I felt like they didn’t give a crap about me, and because I had no idea where to go. I blindly stumbled through the hallways, passing nurses/techs/reception people and no one offered to help me, or asked me if I was okay. Again, maybe I’m expecting too much. But if someone was walking around my work crying, and looked like they were in pain, and needed help, I would at least see what I could do. I was at a doctor’s office, not a prison.

The rest of the visit followed suit. Thank god Michael was with me. I wandered into the waiting room, hoping he would see me, and he found me and helped me finish up, and get the hell out of there.  Once my contacts are in, I will not be returning. I spent the rest of my evening on the couch with a headache and watery eyes. Good times!

Sadly, it seems like this is a normal day for them. They were unfazed by the fact that I was upset, and more and more doctors that I see are the same way. When did this become okay? We have a nation of people who are unsure about how to tend to their own health, shouldn’t these be the people we turn to? I want to find doctors that I feel comfortable with, that I look forward to seeing. That make me at least feel cared for.

I know that these people are probably underpaid and overworked and have their own problems, and some whiny girl with eye pain isn’t their biggest issue of the day. But that’s the thing. I should be their biggest issue. I want people looking after me who want me to be healthy, and happy, and live a long life. These people were less kind to me than the woman who checked me out at Target last week.

I am sure there are great doctors out there, but I seem to be unable to find most of them. Where are they??

Do any of you have this problem as well? Just being treated as number 4322232, and not a person? I’d love to hear!

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Challenging myself, gently.

I struggle with the illusion that there is only a fine line between pushing myself too hard, and being a complete and total slacker. As I mentioned, if I push myself too much and fall into my icky cycle of doom, I end up just crumbling and rebounding to the opposite end of the spectrum. The balance of challenging myself and being kind to myself is one I am still seeking out. So, each time I agree to a challenge, or new endeavor, I get a little bit of anxiety. It’s abuse in either direction. Either I’m physically abusing myself by pushing too hard, or mentally abusing myself if I’m not pushing too hard.

I have encountered this with different kinds of challenges in my life, but most often, with fitness or eating related things that I try. These are the areas where I feel most vulnerable, so I try to tread lightly. Even something simple like saying I’m going to practice yoga on my mat at home, for 5 minutes every day. At first it starts out great, and I think ‘Yeah! I’m rocking this challenge!!’. Then, one day I’m sick/work late/hate yoga or whatever it is I’m working on, etc., it doesn’t matter. Then I feel guilty, then I feel shame, then I give up. I don’t allow myself to have any room for anything other than strict adherence, or complete sloth. That’s crazy, right?? I feel like it’s crazy, but it seems like I’m powerless to this cycle time and time again.

I love riding my bike. Love. It. Michael and I try to to ride as often as we can once spring rolls around, and usually stick with that until it gets to be late fall. Winter weather for me is just a little too extreme. It sounds like something I could handle, but when the temps drop below 40, I’m usually more of a stay in and hibernate with restorative yoga and tea kinda gal.

So, when I saw a little mention the other day about 30 Days of Biking, it caught my eye. It’s pretty basic really, just get on your bike, every day, for 30 days. It seemed pretty doable, so I signed up. I figured that even on days when I’m tired, I can do a gentle ride for fresh air. Michael was hesitant though, he knows my cycle, and what signing up for a challenge usually ends up doing to me, but I did it any way, because that’s how I roll. So far so good, 6 days in, and I’ve gotten on my bike each day. I have done this because I want to, not because I feel I ‘should’. It’s spring, I feel like being outside, and it is what I feel like doing at that moment. I have not been getting on my bike out of guilt, or shame, or anything negative. That is why this feels different. Normally, I think the issue is that I set these stringent expectations for myself. “Self, you have signed up for challenge xx. Go forth and conquer.” It’s not that neat and simple, so I’m always disappointed in myself for ‘failing’ at things that I attempt like that. I’m trying to allow myself some room to breathe on this one. If I am sick or I work late, or I just don’t feel like taking a ride, fine! I’m not going to beat myself up, at all. I’ve been so happy with how it’s going, and how my perspective on this ‘challenge’ has been different, that I’m selling my bikes and buying myself a nicer one. Not as a bribe, or even a reward. Just because I love to ride my bike, and I deserve to do things that I love.

This is one of the bikes I’m looking at, from Trek. I am aware it’s a men’s version, but, the women’s one doesn’t come with disc brakes, because apparently those types of things don’t matter to us women-folk.  We have just started looking, but this one makes me drool, so, hopefully I can get something close to this awesome!

The truth is, I’m unsure of how I feel about ‘challenges’ in general. If I want to ride my bike more, I should just be able to just ride more without signing up for something to keep me accountable to strangers. If I want to meditate daily, why will agreeing to do it every day for a month make it more of an ingrained habit for me? Challenging myself to do it every day seems more like setting myself up for failure, because inevitably, I will not be perfect. No one can predict if they will get sick, or break a leg, or feel like riding their darn bike every day. It sounds nice to want to, but life gets in the way, there are days where I just wanna watch Glee and eat guacamole on my couch. I’m definitely not aiming for perfect with this, I’m just aiming for happy, on my bike or off of it!

I’m hoping that this is the beginning of a new outlook on goals/challenges/changes/habits for me. Taking it gently, with some compassion, and letting myself do it my way. Challenging myself, gently.

Do challenges help motivate you? Or do they set you up for disappointment? Do you have the ability to be kind to yourself while also pushing yourself?

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