Half my Life

So, this past October I turned 30. I wondered what the first year of my 30’s would bring.

So far: stress, exhaustion, carb loading, yoga, sunsets, pictures, peace, revelations, and lots of feelings.

Today those feelings bubble to the surface like hot grits over the side of a pan, ebbing and flowing as the steam inside waxes and wanes.

15 years ago today my father died.

As I reflect on what that has meant to my life and who I have become, the tears and anger come back to me like it was yesterday and I wonder if this pain ever really goes away.

I have healed over and over, in different ways about him missing graduations, relationships, smiles, tears, birthdays, and celebrations.

But what stuck out today was he has missed half of my life. To live half your life without a person who makes up half of what you are (genetically at least) leaves this whole in your identity, no one else can ever really fill.

The emotional me thinks about:

The first time I saw a picture of my dad as child, I sobbed for hours, because it was a picture in a box of things he would never get to show me. Or finding a letter he wrote to my mom, and wondering what things means or who he was at the time he said the things he said. The questions I would never be able to ask and the person I could never understand. Or the fact he will never walk me down the isle or hold any of his grandchildren. The emotional me knows, while he physically misses these things, parts of him are here and present, from his handkerchief I carry to the pictures next to my office, somewhere here he still exists.

The rational me thinks about:

How much pain he was in, how his feelings drowned him from being the man anyone ever knew to being the half human I grew up with, how the only thing I ever wanted was for him to be free from everything he kept inside and I can only hope that by not being here somehow that is possible for him. The rational me know, he was not here living any kind of life, he was here dying slowly in a way no person deserves and letting him go, was the only way for him to find relief from all the things which caged him.

So for the last 15 years, these emotions and rational thoughts have been at war.

Who wins?

On the less emotional days usually the rational thoughts, who remind me the good days for my father were few and far between. And while he did his best not to show it, there was a place in my little existence as early as 4 which knew he could not be saved, and I watched and waited, knowing he would not be here for very long.

On the days where every tear falls heavy like rain, my emotions gather the best of my heart into a little cup and tip it over, so some part of me cries out and lets him know he is still missed and needed and wanted. Even though he cannot be here, the child who still lives inside, screams for the parent she will never know and the person she will never meet who once resided in the man she looked up to and the person in so many ways she would ultimately become and have to overcome.

Today, I know the rational and emotional are no longer at war, but trying to learn to co-exist. To allow for each truth to own its place in my life. Neither one is wrong, both have a place in my being, in who I am and how I honor and value the relationship with the man who meant the world to me without ever really knowing him.

Being Single Focused & Present in a Multi-Tasking World!

There comes a time when you just learn to be present, in the here and now, and let everything else fall away!

In today’s world it feels as though each person wears 100 hats a day. From parent, worker, student, partner or spouse, soccer mom, non-profit volunteer to writer, baker, mail man etc. The list of labels and roles could go on FOREVER!

With this growing list of “jobs” which take up our time, it seems as though we are more and more expected to be in multiple places at the same time. We are meant to multi-task and get it all done while looking fabulous and being “present” in everything we do.

This feels so unrealistic.

Over the last 10 days, I have put down the Facebook & Twitter (most the time), My blog, and other electronic distractions to be more present in each activity I am experiencing! Rather than capturing a picture to post or a memory to “share” I have let go of the constant updates and the who is doing what “feed” to try and get more present in the lives of those I know. This has allowed me to not only be more present in the lives of those I care about, but also in the relationships I have with my job, my spouse, and my school work.

I have read mean articles about what getting rid of your Facebook can do for you and not that I was skeptical at all, but I had to try it for myself.

Granted, nothing huge changed. I just noticed I was able to focus on one action at a time, rather than trying to always do more than one thing at a time. I found I did things better and more thoroughly. I also noticed I had more time to do other things because I was more effective at what I was doing. I made to go to the lookout point with some friends, talk on the phone to my God-Father and write a letter to someone I hadn’t talked to in a few years.

These things were small, but when added up, I spent 10 hours of time doing things which meant something to me, rather than spending time doing more than one thing at a time (like working and checking my Facebook, or tweeting in class). By doing less, I actually did it better and had more time in the end.

So how can you be more present or single-focused? Yes it is hard, but well worth it!

Customer Service – A personal Perspective

I work in the beloved (sarcasm much) customer service industry, where the current standard appears to be the customer is mostly wrong, and you help those who contact you as it benefits the company you work for more than the user of the product or service.

I also see a lot more companies hiding the details of contracts or agreements, making it harder to know what you are signing up for unless you read every word. Which from my experience I DO RECOMMEND READING ALL THE DETAILS, before signing on the dotted line and providing someone your personal information. 

On the flip side of this, I also tend to see and hear a lot of consumers not being informed on what they are signing up for. Reading all the details in important for everything. In the land of recurring payments and auto-debiting, it is so easy to lose $500.00 bucks on auto renewals because you did not check your bank or the terms of the services you use, and there usually is some clause which prevents you from getting refunded. While the company is out to get money, you should be prepared to protect yours by being informed. 

Being in the realm of online services offered, mainly used by college students, I deal a lot with young adults 25 and below  who do not pay attention to what they are agreeing too and their parents (since they often are the ones footing the bill on our services). While there are many times we have younger customers who are rude, there are times where I wonder more about the parents of today than the younger generation. 

For example, today on the phone I had a parent who thought it was appropriate to cuss me out and call me names because she was not aware of a policy or the terms her child signed up for. Rather than to grant me some understanding as I was trying to help and explain how the situation occurred, she would rather get disconnected due to verbal abuse. 

I do not think at any time it is appropriate or necessary to use language of this caliber to achieve your “aims”. The funny thing is, I have had more parents get irate and verbally abusive than anyone else, in the almost year I have worked for this company. 

So what does this tell me about their behavior and teach their children? It is appropriate to speak to someone in a demeaning or demanding manner in order to get what you want or think you deserve. Or to play the childish game of name calling and nasty remarks to belittle someone into giving you what you think is fair. 

It makes me wonder if the reason for the shift in the way customers are handled has to do with their behavior toward companies and the growing rise of credit card disputes and Better Business Bureau complaints. Rather than contacting a company and asking for a refund, they would rather file a dispute and contact the company and be nasty after they have been denied the bank claim. 

On a personal note, as a consumer, I believe the customer should be treated as though they are right, and I do my best to practice this, even with those who test my patience and try my nerves. I try and treat people how I wanted to be treated, even those who do not reciprocate. I wish this was a stance more companies took, rather than just the people who work for them. 

I am not saying this negative treatment or stance is the case for all companies, including the one I work for, but I see this growing trend of places being more and more financially minded, rather than toward the consumers who have helped build their empire. However, we as consumers do not demand more from the companies we buy from, in terms of how we are treated, so as long as we continue to buy, they will continue to provide service in the same ways. 

49 Facts for Friday!

Thanks so much Rob for post this on your blog Weight2Lose2013! Here are 49 facts about me, since it is Friday!

Hope everyone has an amazing weekend 🙂

 

1. Your very first car?  His name was Rufus! 1998 Chevy lumina

2. Your first friend?  Adam, and his dog married us in his back yard when we were 4! 

3. Item you have that you have had longer than anything else? A picture of me and my dad from when I was 6

4. What you order the most at Starbucks? I rarely go to Starbucks, and if I do, I usually order a Passion Tea Lemonade 

5. Body parts that are double jointed?  None 🙂

6. Name a shortcut that you take in your daily routine? Always wear by hair up so I do not have to blow dry, curl or straighten it. 

7. Lets say you become the opposite sex for one day. What would you do? LOL! I had this conversation with a friend once, and I think I would pee standing up first

8. Craziest place you had sex? In a park, at night

9. What was/ is your favorite subject in highschool? English or Photography 

10. Your very first pet? The family pet was a dog, but my first pet of my own was a cat named Shiloh 

11. The first toy you have memory of? Mud pies, if those count 

12. What do you spend most of your day doing? Even mix between Studying and Working

13. What channel on TV do you watch the most? History

14. What friend do you miss the most? I don’t know that I really have friends I miss (who are no longer in my life), I have the philosophy about the people being meant to be in your life, actually being in your life. However, since I have moved away from the people who were longtime friends, I can say i miss Chrysa, Christi, and Leti the most. 

15. What is your favorite holiday? Halloween! I like spooky 

16. What would be your ideal day? Waking up in a tent on the beach, playing in the water, eating a corn dog and chocolate covered frozen banana, riding roller coasters and laughing till it hurts. 

17. Tennis shoes or sandals? Flip flops or bare feet

18. Favorite alcoholic beverage and why? I do not drink alcohol at all.

19. Slow dance or fast dance? Fast. 

20. what was/ is your best age so far? I think it has yet to happen, but this past year at 29 has been pretty amazing!

21. Who is a celebrity you hate?  Hmmm, I don’t know that I hate anyone, especially someone I don’t really know. But I am not a fan of Angelina Jolie or Jodie Foster

22. Name your favorite crime show? Sons of Anarchy

23. Who do you wish would show up at your door today?  A UPS guy with a box full of cash

24. What do you put in your taco? mmmmmm, I love tacos! I am pretty simple, ground turkey, cheese, tomato and lettuce of some kind. Ohh and if I have mango salsa on hand!

25. What is your best trait?  Physical: My eyes    Personality: Willingness

26. What is your opinion of Peewee Herman?  Ummm… NO!

27. 50 Shades of Grey anyone?  Never even picked it up off a shelf at the bookstore 

28. What is your guilty pleasure?  Bras and Underwear, I have an obsession that if I die suddenly, I want my undergarments to be fabulous! 

29. How many times have you been in love. Explain? Hmmm, I am always in love with something. Like right now, it is cooking, and a month ago it was making art. My love is not limited to people, but if we are talking person to person love, I have truly loved 3 men in my life and a handful of women who have carried me through hell and back. 

30. If you could choose between 20 new pairs of sweatpants or 2 new pairs of dress pants which would you choose? Sweats!

31. How much do you know about your neighbors? Except for a few select people, not much, surface information really. 

32. How much do your neighbors know about you?  Not a whole lot, except I am a bad ass cook. I am always testing recipes on them!

33. How do you organize your underwear drawer?  I dunno, my honey puts them away and I just pull them out and put them on. 

34. Earliest childhood memory? Most of my childhood is kinda bits and pieces, but I remember playing with the wood oven my dad built for me and my sister in the playhouse in our back yard

35. Where is the best place you have lived so far? I am loving Portland! 

36. What kind of car do you drive and where do you drive it? I have a 2005 Honda Civic named Ruxbin (and no not after Teddy Ruxbin the toy) and I drive him mostly to school and the gym

37. If you won the lottery who would you share it with and why? If I won the lotto I would walk around handing out bags of food and clothes to people in need. I would donate to homeless shelters and children’s museums. I would become a benefactor for a library and spend my time volunteering rather than working. 

38. What is your karaoke song?   The only song I ever sang at Karaoke was by Jewel ‘You were meant for me”

39. How old do you feel?  30

40. Massage, shopping trip or fishing trip?  Massage!

41. What is your go to comedy show? Kinda old school but 3rd rock from the sun!

42. What do you hum/ sing around the house?  I don’t really hum, if the radio is on though I belt it out to whatever is on

43. Spend 2 hours at Walmart or 30 minutes online shopping? (Anti Walmart person) so 30 minutes online. 

46. Spring or Autumn?   Autumn. 

47. Tell about a bad dream.  Ohh the last one involved drowning and bowling balls 

48. Book you read as a child?  American girl doll books and goosebumps series 

49. Most embarrassing moment?  My bowling game…. and usually anything involving a mini golf putter

Series of preparations!

I was having a conversation with my honey one morning at breakfast and he explained this really interesting perspective his Grandfather had shared with him once upon a time.

He said:

Life itself is a series of preparations. Events occur in our lives to prepare us for other things which are yet to come and prepare us for how to acknowledge or recognize when opportunities arise.  If we are not prepared for the opportunity presented in each moment, these moments will pass us by.

He explained that all things in life provide learning and preparation for what tomorrow could hold and if we do not take advantage of what is in front of us, we might not be able to accept what will come later.

This reminds me to stay rooted in where I am, and focus on what I can, rather than what might be. Today, has been a day full of challenge and frustration.

I am doing the footwork to try and generate the best possible outcome, but the truth is, I am only preparing myself for what is meant to be and what will come.

 

 

Food : Relationship -vs- Power Struggle

The last few months have been emotionally and physically challenging on this journey I started a little more than 6 months ago. Honestly, I am not where I wanted to be at this point, but I have made progress which is better than standing still.

I injured my right leg twice, pulling my Iliotibial Band, flaring up my Sciatic nerve in the process. This left me out of the gym for multiple weeks and a bit depressed about delayed process. Through this time my power struggle with food returned.

In my constant change in my relationship with food I have come to know, my connection with food has always been more of a power struggle, than a relationship.

Last night while laying in bed I had this epiphany, or “ah ha!” moment about my childhood, which I never attributed with any connection to food before now.  While I attribute these childhood issues to my relationship with food, I in no way blame anyone else for the choices I have made around food and my body. I love my family and know they did the best they could, even with their faults. This is not about blame, this is about how I got to where I am in order to move forward.

As a small child I was pretty emotional, having what some would call over exaggerated feelings or emotions. I was very sensitive, not only to my own feelings but had a heightened sense of what others were feeling as well. I felt like these feelings were mine and part of who I was, and was surprisingly content with them.

I came from a family of people who were not emotionally available and treated me a certain way in hopes that I would not continue to be this way emotionally. But the truth is, changing the fact that I had feeling was not possible and the power struggle I began to feel within myself about who I was and who I felt like others needed me to be, also became part of who I was and carried over into my relationship with food.

My relationship with food seemed normal to me, but to others it was problematic. No one discussed why, but solutions were often forced onto me.

I remember being put in a medical weight loss program in the 5th grade and I never remember being asked if it was something I wanted, it was just something I needed to do. It had become clear my weight and relationship with food was now a family problem. My truth about that, is I was easier to focus on, rather than the other things which happened in our house. Not that I was a scapegoat, but I was the softer gentler focal point that was needed, because focusing on the tough stuff was not possible for everyone in my family.

Over time I constantly felt like I was not able to be myself and needed to hide who I was and how I felt, in order to get by in a family of people who did not understand. I often stuffed food in my mouth to keep from talking, because I felt like no one listened to me. I felt as though when I did express myself it was brushed aside and I was left feeling invalidated, so I again turned to food to fight the battles I never felt like I could win anywhere else.

I could always win the battle against food, because it never fought back, it never argued and it never asked me to be anything except who I was. Food was my friend, my confident, it was the one thing I could count on, over and over again to listen and not have to hide from. Food began to hold all my power. Food became my power, the only thing I could control and yet the loss of control I had with it was devastating.

So how have I changed this power struggle to a relationship… well it is still a work in progress. But today when I feel like I am eating for emotional reasons, power reasons or reasons other than being hungry I think about it, I write about it, and I talk about. I express myself, even if only to myself. So those feelings which I once ate around, no longer control the new relationship I am having with my body and what it requires for energy.

Today, it is not a perfect science, and I don’t do everything right, but me and food are on the road to recovering a healthy relationship and I can live with that.