Thursday, November 29, 2012

Never Give Up!

My mom shared this video on her Facebook a couple days ago. I just watched it this morning. I would encourage all of my blog followers to do the same. It is a short video clip about a disabled veteran who, when faced with insurmountable odds, refused to quit. When he first received his bad news, he did at first give up. He didn't believe in himself. He didn't take care of himself, and he was a sad and bitter looking man. I don't know the man personally, so I can't say how he was really feeling. But I can wager a guess. And I can wager that what his inner voice was telling him was unkind. I can bet that he felt hopeless, helpless, and useless. Doctor's told him he would never walk unassisted, exercises gurus couldn't help him. He turned to yoga, and they also turned him away, except for one guy. One instructor offered him a glimmer of hope, a short chance in the dark. And this man latched onto it. He gave it his all. I am sure he wanted to give up at times. I am sure he probably cried out in pain and frustration. I am sure he probably wanted to quit a million times. But that's not the important thing. The important thing is he didn't give up. He didn't quit. And he kept on keeping on.

Personally, I find this man an inspiration. I wish I could put into better words my thoughts on his determination. He is awesome. Since I cannot fully express myself as well as I would like today, I beg that you please follow this link to his youtube video. I don't often like to send people to other sites from my blog, but I think that this time is well worth it.

Thank you.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

"The Rope" Lesson

Do you remember back in gym class, when the dreaded section on "The Rope" started? I hated it. Essentially, in case you were spared this torture, a long rope was suspended from the ceiling of the gymnasium, approximately 25 feet in height/length, although, to me, it looked like about a hundred feet! This rope sometimes had knots in it, and sometimes it did not. The point of the exercise was to send each student to climb the rope, one at a time, while his or her peers watched. Because the rope was suspended in the middle of the room, there was nothing to use for leverage, other than the child's arms and his or her own upper body strength. 

When I was a young student, we had to climb up the length of the rope and touch the ceiling I-beam. Once we could do it, we didn't have to do it again. Unfortunately, I never reached the top. However, the memory of the climbing rope has far outlasted anything else I remember from gym class. 

As I have pondered some things recently about life, the recollection of the climbing rope again has entered my mind. I read recently (on a social networking site I believe) a 'meme' that said when you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. I thought about that for awhile, and then another contact commented (at another time) how she didn't want to hang on to the rope anymore, she wanted to let go. And one of her contacts responded, "Well, then let it go." What wise words.

In the climbing rope exercise, you can only hang on for so long. If you hang on too long, your arms and hands and body are likely to lose their grip, and you run the risk of a terrible fall. However, by choosing to let go, you can often pick where and how you land. With the climbing rope, I discovered that the best course of action was to move as quickly as possible. The slower I advanced, the shorter the height I was able to travel. However, there comes a point when you do have to stop and catch your breath and hang on for a minute. Then, you can continue the ascent. But, if you stop for too long, you will find that you can't go on anymore. 

So too, I think, is life. When we start into our daily lives, we are often thrown trials and challenges that we must overcome. It is best to face these head on and push on through them. However, some of our trials and challenges may be more than we can stand at once. Sometimes, the challenge or trial is a long drawn out affair. We set in to work through it, but find that partway through, we are tired and worn out. We may feel defeated and beat down. So we stop and hold on for a minute. Sometimes, that breather is all we need to build up our resolve and strength and soldier on again. But sometimes, we truly do need to just choose our landing spot and let go of the rope. It's hard, and it sometimes feels like we are giving up. But letting go of the rope allows us time to regroup. It allows us time to re-examine the trial. It allows us to step back and look at the bigger picture, and see if there is another way to attack the challenge. And sometimes, when we let go and step back, we find that that particular rope isn't the one that we have to climb. Oh what freedom! Sometimes, letting go of the rope, is the only way we can ever climb it. Sometimes, we cannot solve the challenge or trial, until we step back and re-evaluate it. And sometimes, the challenge that we think is ours to beat, actually doesn't have to be fought by us, or maybe it doesn't have to be fought alone, or maybe the challenge doesn't really exist, we just think it does. Picking our landing spot and letting go, gives us the chance to step back and decide how best to proceed. 

And so I say, when you get to the end of your rope, go ahead, tie a knot and hang on. But, if your arms begin to ache, and you can't hold on any longer, look around, choose your landing, and just let it go. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I Didn't Think I Would Be Grateful

Pretty much my whole life, I remember reading stories about people enduring and overcoming trials. I always thought, "how could they possibly be grateful for all they had to go through?" I didn't believe it, I thought perhaps they were lying or something. How could someone lose a child, and then later say they were grateful? How could someone lose a job, their house, etc, and be grateful? How could a person suffer from a mental or physical infirmity, struggle to live through each day, and somehow find that they were grateful?  I didn't understand it then.

Two years ago, no more than that, closer to two and a half or so, my family entered a really difficult time. I have struggled to understand. I have cried and yelled and fought back. When that failed, I wanted to give up. What was the point? If it didn't matter what we did, bad stuff was going to happen, then why try to do the right things? After awhile, a LONG while, with multiple trials and curves being thrown at us, somewhere in the midst of the hysteria, in the middle of the panic, I found peace. I found my precious unborn baby. I found that I loved this baby with all my heart, just as I love my kids and husband. I found that I could keep trying, because this baby and my family needed me. And I found that I WAS grateful, for everything.

I was grateful for a horrible boss. That horrible man, who treated my husband like dirt, who insulted him, micromanaged him, maligned him, kicked him when he was down, falsely accused him, led him to believe that he knew nothing and that his degrees were worthless (although superior to the boss's education), and finally arranged to have him fired. I could be grateful in spite of all that, because it motivated my husband to find other work. And the new job came with a boss who was kind, caring, a true leader, respectful and encouraging. I am grateful for a horrible boss, because he taught me how to be a better wife. He taught me how not to treat the good, humble, sincere man I married. He taught me that words alone can destroy a person. I am grateful for these necessary lessons, lessons which I needed to learn. I am grateful.

I am grateful for the long commute my husband has each day. Although it means we needed to purchase a second car, with it's accompanying insurance and fuel costs, it allowed my husband time to unwind from work. Also, through a car pool with two good men at two different times, my husband was given some really good friends, men with whom he can connect and discuss topics of religion, politics and philosophy, etc. This has been so good for him. Even though the commute, and the time difference between his employment and our home means he is gone from 8 am to after 7 pm, I am grateful, because my husband gets that necessary time to connect with people outside of work, something he rarely had before. I am grateful.

I am grateful for the unexpected blessing of this unborn baby. I wasn't ready, we weren't ready to welcome any additions at this time. And at first I was angry and anxious. But I am now grateful, grateful for the way that this tiny angel has already touched my life, for the way this baby has touched my family. I am thankful for the lessons I have learned, already, from being this baby's mother. I have learned to accept things in God's time. I have learned to trust that it's going to be okay. I have learned a little about how to live in the moment. Our lives, life in general, is really just a blink, we never know when our last day, or a loved one's last day may be. We need to treasure each moment as it comes, to look for the good in every second, because it might just be our last chance to be with someone. I am still learning this last lesson, but I am grateful for it as it is being taught. I have learned to hold my children close every day, to make sure that they know that I love them. I am grateful.

It hasn't been an easy two and a half years. Some parts have been extremely difficult, and all of it has been long and hard, but looking bad, maybe it all wasn't so bad. I still have hard days, and there are more hard days coming in the future. Some days I still struggle. But I know that I will be grateful for these days too. If only because they are days that I and my children and husband lived, there will be reasons to be grateful. And I am grateful.

I am grateful for hard times, financially. I am grateful, because I have learned to not be so judgmental. I have learned that things aren't always what they seem on the outside, and that only God knows the whole story. I am grateful to have struggled in this economy, because it has taught me to think more charitably of others. It has taught me to reach out and try to help more people. Because I know that I am struggling, that we are struggling, I have learned that others must be struggling too. Our own financial troubles have helped me to widen my vision, and truly see other people, and not be so absorbed in my own problems. I have been able to open my eyes, and see that trials are all around, people are suffering everywhere, some of them much more than I. I am grateful for the lesson on charity. I am grateful to have learned to give selflessly, to give without judgment, and to serve without pretense nor grumbling. I am grateful.

God is in control. I cling to that hope and knowledge, that somehow all of my trials and hardships will be for my good. And even if the only good is that I learn a valuable lesson, well then I guess that's good enough. There are people out there who have it harder than I do. And I am grateful that I have not been called to endure their trials instead of my own. I am grateful to have my own trials, given in their own time, and in the time I need them. I am grateful.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Always Learning

I have not written much lately, largely because the last several months have been in turmoil, and I didn't know how to say what I felt. I also didn't want to share the emotions and feelings I had been experiencing, because I felt guilty for what I felt. I didn't want people to think I was heartless or somehow a bad person. Even with the anonymity of the internet, I was worried about what you all out in inter-space would think of me. But I realized that that didn't matter anymore. What I felt was real, and to a degree, continues to be real to me. And so, I share it, albeit with hesitation, because maybe someone out there needs to read it, and realize, hey, you know what, it's okay to feel. It's okay to experience the dark feeling. And if she could get through it, then maybe I can too. And maybe it will inspire that other person to try again, and to keep going. Now I also realize that not everybody can relate to what I have been feeling. And I realize too that there may be some people who are angry with what I have to say, and may feel hurt too. Please know, that these are just my feelings with my situation. I realize the pain and struggle your own experiences may be, and I wish you all the success in your journey. At the same time, I ask for understanding on my end too. Our experiences in life are not at all the same, what may be a trial or a difficulty for one, may be a blessing to another. Just as we are not the same, neither are our trials, blessings and experiences. The following recounts my experiences with a difficulty in my own life. One that began about 5 months ago. One that slapped me upside the face with shock.

You cannot imagine the surprise and shock I felt at this news. I was pregnant. And for the first few days I was completely numb with the knowledge. And then I got mad. This was not what I wanted right now. That is not to say that we never wanted anymore children, because we did, just not right now. I was thinking maybe late fall/winter of 2013 or so. This just did not fit in with my plans. I was in the process of losing weight and getting healthy. My husband's future employment was in question, our finances are/were completely strapped. Our house is too small, our car is too small. We were not ready to do this again. And on top of that, I had what I would consider a traumatic birth with my 4th baby, and had not fully healed from the injuries I suffered. I wasn't ready to even consider birth again so soon. But here I was. After I was angry for awhile, I started to worry. I worried about finances. I worried about my husband's job. I worried about how I was going to handle 5 kids. I worried about where I was going to put another baby. I worried about how I was going to be able to afford clothing, supplies, and other things for the baby. I had given away almost all of my baby stuff to other people who needed it, thinking that it didn't make sense to keep all this stuff that I didn't need and wouldn't need for awhile. We had our ultrasound and that just make things more real, this was actually happening to me. I hadn't just imagined it.

I thought seeing my 'jelly bean' would help me feel more secure, but I actually felt more anxious about things. And I was really worried about the future birth too. And then I got to 15 weeks, and I started trying to feel baby movement. Every other baby I have felt by 15 weeks. But this one, nothing. I waited and waited and waited. And finally, just short of 20 weeks, I felt a little wiggle. And then a thump. Relief flooded through me, and I thought, maybe I can do this again.

I still worried though, and I stressed myself out with anxiety and all of the what-ifs and how-tos. Right at 20 weeks, my husband felt the baby kick. And I smiled, as I remembered how much fun this feeling could be, and how much I have loved it every time before. Yesterday, we had our fetal anatomy scan, and I was amazed, again, at the beauty of the unborn child. I marveled at our baby's perfect little nose, their adorable, dented upper-lip. I stared in wonder at their tiny hands, perfect feet, and sweet, little ears. And in that moment, I realized how much I loved our precious child. Yes, they were coming to us in a time that we weren't planning, yes, things were not perfect here. And yes, I still don't know how we are going to make everything work, but this I know: I love my baby. I would do anything for my child, and somehow, I know it's all going to turn out okay. Somehow, we will make it work. These last couple weeks, at different times, my husband has worried or stressed over something, and I have found myself repeating to him "Just do your best, and let God deal with the rest." And I find that I actually do believe that myself. I am grateful for this new baby, and for everything I have learned so far. I am grateful for the trial of this surprise, because I have learned so much. I don't think I could have learned so much if not for the surprise, the unknown, and at times, the struggle. What will be, will be, and even though I still get scared and worry about the how-tos and the what-ifs, I know, somewhere in my soul, that it's going to be okay. All I have to do is try my best, take each day one at a time, and focus on what I can do and not what I can't.  And so, today, I focus on how much I love my children, and how blessed my baby will be to come to a family that loves them so much. Our needs will be met, and maybe we won't get as many of our wants as we'd like, but we have each other, we have what we need, we have friends and family, we have our faith, and we have a whole lot of love to give and share. And with ALL of that, do we really want for much else?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

You Are Broken Beyond What You Can Repair

The other day I talked to my mom. I consider my mother to be one of my truest friends. Somebody who isn't afraid to give it to you straight. While I may have not always appreciated her brutal honesty as a child, now, as an adult, I trust her deeply because I know that whatever she says is the truth. This does not mean that I necessarily agree with everything she says, because all people make mistakes and are wrong. However, I do trust that what she says is the truth, as far as she can see it.

Anyways, I was talking to her the other day about my last post here. She listened and then said some things that at first shocked me. She said (essentially), "You feel broken and messed up, somehow completely damaged beyond repair. And you are right." Ouch! Suddenly some of my deepest fears had been confirmed by someone I knew and trusted. Ouch, Ouch, Ouch! Then she continued on, "You cannot fix it. That is why you need God."

As I thought about different parts of that conversation, and did some reading last night on the subject, I have come to the conclusion that she is right. I have said before that I don't like to rely on anybody else. I have been let down by people, so I don't trust them to have my best interests at heart. I think I can do better than they can.  I don't rely on friends, family, my husband, or God, because I believe that they will somehow mess it all up and fail me or leave me. So I trust nobody with my life, but me. Going back to what my mom said, if I were perfect, I would have no need of the Atonement, of Christ, of God. I wouldn't need them. If I were perfect, there would be no point in this life. I realize that the way I have been thinking is a form of pride and self-righteousness. Thinking that nobody (including God) can take care of me better than me is prideful, and sinful. Thinking that I am completely beyond repair, and all of the trials and difficulties I have faced, I think, have been attempts to humble me. I guess I needed to be humbled to learn to turn to and lean and rely on the Lord. By blocking Him out, I was saying that I was better than He. When I relied on myself, I shut Him out, I turned away from Him. And not only did that not help me, it made everything worse. And I realize all at once, the vast infinity of His creations. I realize what a tiny speck I am in the grand scheme of the universe. And I am humbled that even though I am such a tiny, nearly imperceptible spot, He does care, and He does notice. I have not held up my end of the bargain.

I have been studying the scriptures (Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price), past Ensign articles, General Conference talks, etc, the last few days, looking for answers regarding "trust in the Lord," "happiness," and "joy in the Lord." Last night I read about "happiness." Everything I read listed prayer, scripture study, and service as necessary to finding happiness. I was angry, for a time, because I thought, "that is far too easy. It's too simple. I don't want to do that, it can't possibly be enough! There must be a secret somewhere."

I considered the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. At some point, the people fell into disobedience. Snakes entered their party and began biting. People who were bitten, fell ill and died painful deaths. The people saw their family members suffering, and asked Moses to ask God to forgive them and save them. Moses prayed and was told to make a brass serpent statue and affix it to a staff. He was told to tell the people that all they needed to do was look upon the brass snake and they would be healed. The people scoffed and cried it was impossible, because it was too easy.They thought "there must be a catch, a secret, something else you are not telling us." But there wasn't. All they had to do was look upon the brass serpent, and be healed. All I have to do is pray, read my scriptures, serve others, and keep the commandments. I have to do the right things or I will never be happy.

I confess, I do not read my scriptures much. They are confusing and hard for me to understand. I also admit that I do not pray much more than "Oh God, why me?!" and yelling towards Heaven, essentially kicking against the pricks, lying down and playing dead when life doesn't go MY way. This is not true prayer. This is what is referenced to in Mormon 2:13-14 "But behold this my joy was vain, for their sorrowing was not unto repentance, because of the goodness of God; but it was rather the sorrowing of the damned, because the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin. And they did not come unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits, but they did curse God, and wish to die. Nevertheless they would struggle with the sword for their lives." Ouch again. I realized that I have been cursing God for my troubles, that I have (at times) wished to die, to just be done with it all. I wasn't sad because I had made mistakes and some sins. I was sad because life wasn't what I wanted it to be. I was sad because I wasn't getting my way. And to a point, like my mom said, when life didn't go my way, I packed up my toys and refused to play anymore.That hasn't worked before, and it's not ever going to work.

Happiness does not mean that hard times will never come. It doesn't mean that we will avoid trials. It doesn't mean that life is a bowl of candy, and is always going to be sunshine and flowers. It means that we will have safety and security (which the lack of is what upsets me most) in the knowledge that we are doing what we are supposed to, and knowing that we can know with a surety that no matter what, God has our best interests at heart, and it is going to be okay eventually. As horse people say, "This too shall pass."

As so, I am committing myself to try again. I need to learn to rely on the Lord. And I can't do that if I don't know the Lord. And the way to know Him is to seek Him. And the way to seek Him, is to read of Him, study of Him, pray to Him. And so, that is what I must do.

There is a painting of the Savior standing outside a heavy door. There is no doorknob on the outside, He cannot open the door. He stands outside knocking, waiting for us to let Him in. And so, WE must open that door. He doesn't leave us, we locked Him out. It is our choice to let Him back in.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Don't Want To Anymore

I don't want to eat healthy. I don't want to exercise. I don't care anymore.

I am tired of trying. I am tired of crying.

I don't like who I am, or who I think I am inside. I don't like myself, and I don't like that I don't like myself. I don't like the way I think other people see me.

I tell myself that I am fat, lazy, worthless, bad, stupid, useless, a waste and incompetent. I see myself as fat, lazy, worthless, bad, stupid, useless, a waste and incompetent.

Being healthier, skinnier, less fat, etc, DID NOT CHANGE MY MOOD. It did not change my problems. It didn't solve my problems, it didn't make the issues I have go away, it didn't magically make my life happier, better, etc.

I constantly get onto my husband to find a better paying job, thinking that that will make me happy. I want lots and lots of money. But now, I don't think money will solve my issues either. I think my personal issues are bigger than any problem I have in life.  My personal issues are bigger than having no money, bigger than my kids' health issue, bigger than the confines of a tiny podunk town with no opportunities for me and the kids, bigger than a church that doesn't support it's stay at home moms, even though they stress the vital importance of such work. And I feel that none of my issues will be solved by losing weight and being healthier, and addressing all of these problems listed above won't fix it either. I fear that I am incredibly messed up. That there is something inherently wrong with me. I feel like a broken, worthless piece of junk. Unworthy, and undeserving. And when I feel like that, the entire world caves in on me. And I have nothing. I feel abandoned by God. And I resent Him. I feel like every new problem is punishment from a vengeful and hateful Father. I feel like He is only punishing me as I deserve. And every trial is just further evidence of His disappointment and dissatisfaction with me.

And then there is a tiny, tiny voice inside that cries out that I do deserve to feel loved, that I do deserve to be taken care of, that my needs are important, that I matter and am important.  And yet, that small, insignificant voice only serves to make me feel worse about myself. If I do deserve happiness, then why don't I have it. What is wrong with me that I am not getting what I deserve, what am I doing wrong? If I deserve to be happy, then why aren't I?

And so it goes, on and on. An unrelenting barrage of demeaning and hateful thoughts coursing through my mind, raining down on my soul and dragging me down further and further. I want out. I don't like this. But if I can't indulge in the sugary, numbing respite, then what else is there? If I can't escape into a momentarily pain-free world of binging, then where can I go? I am startled because I can see how easy it is for people to become addicted to drugs, because I am addicted to food. Food is my drug.

Eating, binging, allows me to feel numb, if only for a moment. It destroys my body, but for that small moment, I don't have to deal with everything else. That world is powerful. I miss it. And I confess, I have been revisiting it. Which is why I have gained 15 pounds.

I find myself sneaking food, so that nobody sees it. I find myself thinking about when I can get more food. I contemplate what I will eat next, while I am eating now. And when I am not eating, I am plotting how, where and what to eat next.

Doing so makes me feel like a bad person, like I am just lying to everybody. Which is true. I am. And liars are bad people, so I am. But, I also don't think anybody truly cares. I shouldn't "be airing my dirty laundry." Or, 'since I go to church, I am fine.' Or maybe, I am just a big whiny-butt, and people have heard it over and over, and no longer care. I just complain too much. I am big wimp for not being able to handle normal life. Since my son doesn't have diabetes, I have nothing to complain about. Since none of my children have died, life is a joy ride for me. Since I have a home to live in, (even though I can no longer afford it, and need to sell it, but can't because we owe more than it is worth) I am sooo blessed. Oh, and I have a husband, I have the perfect life. If that is all true, then why am I so miserable?

I am tired of trying. I am tired of crying.

I am tired of fighting it. I am tired of hiding it.

I am messed up. How can a person whose life is so perfect, possibly feel miserable.

And so I struggle on. Trying to resurface in the drowning deep. Struggling for that next breath. Reaching for just one more handhold, then one more foothold, as I try to climb the cliffs alone. Resentful, angry, sad, alone, abandoned, and lost.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Starting Over

I have been awful at this of late. This morning I realized I had put on 11 (ELEVEN!) pounds :( So sad. But every bit deserved. I quit working out, I quit watching my portions, I quit eating healthy. So yea, totally expected, but not happy. This morning I finally fit in a workout. It's hard. I have four kids between the ages of 1 and 6. My hubby works long hours. We don't make much money, so I can't afford a sitter or a gym membership. Plus, the nearest gym is 40 miles away. So it is difficult to find time to work on me. But that is no excuse. So this morning, I put the baby in his jumper, sent the 6 year old off to school, told the other two I was going to exercise, and got to work.

Have I mentioned my love for Richard Simmons?

He is an amazing man, just amazing. He is close to 70 years old now, and is STILL conducting weekly classes at his gym in California, and putting on his "Cruis to Lose" cruise program every year! I have a few of his videos, because I just love the way he leads the workout, the way he encourages and strengthens people. I would love to be able to meet him some day. Is it silly that that is a dream of mine, LOL Who cares. The man has inspired me. Do you know that he was once an overweight young adult? When he decided to lose weight, he went to several gyms and was turned away because his weight was an insurance liability. Appalling! So he started his own gym, and he never turns people away. I find him an inspiration. He marches to the beat of his own drum, and I love it! Anyways,  I put in a Richard Simmons tape (love that man), "Dance Your Pants Off!" I finished it just a bit ago. I am so glad I did. It felt so good to do a little workout.  

It wasn't easy, I had kids who want me to play with them instead, but you know, taking this 45 minutes a day for myself isn't going to harm them. I was with them the whole time. But not taking this 45 minutes a day, could one day kill me. I want to be there when my kids graduate college. I want to be at their weddings. I want to see my sons serve missions for our church, and our daughters if they so choose. I want to know all my grandchildren. And I can't do that if I die from preventable issues. Obesity is preventable. Type 2 diabetes is preventable. Stroke (to a degree) is preventable. High blood pressure, high cholesterol are preventable. If I don't take care of my body, get healthy, stay healthy, etc. and I die from a weight-related illness/disease/issue, then it is MY FAULT. I imagine the guilt of that would haunt me forever. I see it as little different than a parent who walks out on a child's life. So I am striving once again, to hit the ground running. Here we go!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Another Step in the Right Direction

Okay, I have not admitted this to many people, because I am embarrassed about it. But here goes, I have massive dental anxiety. Borderline panic attacks even THINKING about a visit. I think it is probably because I have always felt ashamed about my teeth, and I feel guilty, and at fault for having poor teeth. My teeth are, I guess, just genetically weaker and more susceptible to cavities, decay, etc. Because I didn't take the best care of my teeth that I could, my teeth have had further issues because of it. But growing up, when my mom would take me for a cleaning, every time (without fail it seems) I would have at least one cavity, or would need a retainer, or something that would no doubt cause me pain. So over time I equated all dental visits with loads of pain. Pain that I couldn't escape. Pain that I had to suffer through and deal with. And somewhere along the way, I guess I learned that I deserved the pain, and that it was somehow punishment for being "bad." (I really am messed up, huh?) Anyways, so when I grew up, I quit going to the dentist. I lived in fear that a dentist would discover my "badness" and I would be "punished," and everybody would know what a "bad" person I was. So the only time I went to the dentist, was when I had a problem. I lived with an impacted, abcessed wisdom tooth for WEEKS before I called a dentist, because I was so afraid of the pain (because that made total sense at the time) that the DENTIST would inflict. And naturally, since I was only going when I had a problem (read, every other year or so), every time I went, something painful had to be done. So I was proving (wrongly) that dentists hurt you every time. Now, I realize this may sound silly, it may sound stupid. And to those of you who think that, please turn and thank God that you have never suffered from dental anxiety. You don't know how fortunate you are to have missed out on this.
Now, I refused to give this anxiety to my kids. I have not taken them to the dentist as often as I should, but I also only speak about the dentist positively. We talk about all the tools a dentist uses, what they are for, and I emphasize how the dentist wants to help our teeth and our mouth. The whole time I was freaking out in my mind even thinking about it. At any rate, last week we were told that my hubby's company was cutting our dental insurance. So, I frantically raced to get the kids appointments before the end of the month. J-Dogg had an appt last week. He needs massive work done, under a general anesthetic, to the tune of $7,000 upfront. Yeah, so we aren't sure when we will be able to do that. I mean, we are like most people, we don't have $7,000 laying around, shoot, we don't have it period, that's over 2 months of salary for us! But, we are working on it, and praying, and hoping that something comes through. We don't know what, but I have to believe that because we are doing what we are supposed to, that we will be blessed somehow. Today, the other three kids had cleanings scheduled. L did great, she has been to a dentist before, and had fillings before. Unfortunately, she needed three fillings, two had worn/broken/fallen out and needed to be replaced, and she had a small cavity in the back. Because all three were rather shallow, she didn't require novacaine, and was wonderful. B needed two fillings, also shallow, and did beautifully. And Baby R? His teeth are perfect. At the last moment, I noticed that the office did walk-ins, so before the kids appointments, I asked if they could squeeze me in. This was unheard of for me, but in a way it was actually easier, because I had no time to mull it over and think about it beforehand. After the kids were finished, I had my hubby take them all back out to the play area. I knew I was going to be anxious and whatnot, and I wanted to be able to concentrate on just myself. Plus, I didn't want to frighten the kids, should I be in pain again. And it was painful. I should have known. My mouth has been sore for months. I have had bleeding gums, sensitive teeth, pain when biting, etc. So I KNEW there would be pain involved. Surprisingly, there were no cavities. The dentist said my teeth looked healthy. However, my gums were in horrible condition. He wanted to do a deep cleaning, also known as a scaling and root planing. That did not sound pleasant. I was told I would need novacaine. Now I KNEW it would be painful. I hate shots, I hate needles. I mean, I have given birth four times and never received an epidural or anything else, because of my fear of needles. Come to think of it, I would rather give birth again, than visit a dentist. The anxiety and fear are that strong. Plus, after you give birth, you get a baby. After you visit the dentist? You get a sticker, and a new toothbrush. Hmm, easy choice here to see which has the better reward ;) Anyways, I accepted the deep cleaning, knowing full well the pain it would involve, not only today, but for a couple weeks afterwards. I practiced some visualization techniques, and the dentist did a topical anesthetic first (praise him for that!) so I guess it wasn't TOO terrible. I received 12 or 16 injections, waited for my lips to fall off, and then began the procedure. It was uncomfortable, and at times it was painful.  But you know, overall, I am glad I got it done. I would like to keep my teeth for awhile, so I guess it is a fair enough trade, right? And I feel so blessed to have had such a wonderfully caring and gentle dentist and dental assistant. I have had dentists before who were very rough, and straight down to business. I really feel like this man and his assistant were concerned not only about my oral health, but the rest of me too. What a difference that made!

It Doesn't Work

The last month (or two or three) have been really difficult for me, which is why I have not written. But believe me, I have been mulling over my thoughts heavily, and feel I should at least get them out, even if they are not perfectly organized.

I realized that being thin/healthy/skinny/less fat will NOT make my happier. I had lost all of this weight, 63 pounds man! And my life didn't change. The things that upset and stressed me didn't go away. The excuses/reasons/stressors that "made" me want to eat, didn't magically disappear, and I was not suddenly able to handle everything coming at me. I mistakenly thought that if I lost the weight I would be happier, when I got healthier, I would be happier. THIS IS NOT TRUE. If anything, my life today is much more stressful than it was, say, 6 months ago. I never found something to replace the binge eating. I never replaced the eating with something else I enjoy. THIS WAS NOT A GOOD IDEA. And so, even though I am thinner now than I was thin, I am not happier. The same things that stressed me out then, stress me out now. The same things that I used to binge about, are STILL around now. And I have not learned how to deal with those issues outside of self-medicating with food. I don't know how to self-medicate myself to not feel the fear, the stress, and the panic that I do. I don't know how to escape the anxiety, the anger, and the rest of it. I feel like I am ruining my life, like I am self-destructive. I lash out at my husband, at my kids, and sometimes my friends. Maybe I am trying to prove to others that how I feel about myself is how I am. I feel I am a horrible person, that I am seriously messed up. What kind of a person sabotages their own happiness? I know how messed up I am, and I know others when they see it, will leave me. They will all abandon me when they see what a mess I really am, when they get to know the "real me," everybody will disappear. And when they don't, I think I start to self-destruct and treat people bad. As soon as I let anybody into my inner circle, I start turning into a whiny, grumpy, unhappy person. And I think on an unconscious level, I do it on purpose. I don't want to be an unhappy person. I don't want to complain all the time. I tell my husband it's his fault. If we lived somewhere else. If he made more money. If our church family was more open and inviting. If he really loved me. If we had more money. If we had better insurance. If we had . . .  If HE did this . . . And I realized that all of these thoughts put the power onto someone else. And the more I think about it I realize that while life might indeed be easier if somethings were different, the fact of the matter is that it's not. Life is what it is. And I can't just refuse to be happy just because things aren't going the way I want it. Since when is life fair? Haven't I lived life long enough to realize that life isn't fair? And maybe life isn't about waiting for things to get better, and hoping/praying/wishing/believing that they will be better someday. Maybe life is about learning to be happy in the moment. When everything else is just plain crap, when it all (to quote my mom and sister) just "vacuums," maybe we are supposed to find joy, even then, even in the midst of sorrow and trial. It doesn't mean you give up completely. It doesn't mean you quit believing that God loves you (although I struggle with that daily, I believe He loves my kids, my husband and everybody else, but me, I am working on that, daddy issues, etc) , or to believe that He wants your life to vacuum and be difficult. It means that life can be downright hard, nasty and challenging, but it is what it is. It is MY choice to be happy, or to not. I am in control over what I feel. And even though it may be (and it is) REALLY HARD to find joy in the midst of the trial, I still believe that that is a choice anyone can make. And it is not my husband's fault that I am not happy.

That may have been confusing to get through, so if you missed it, the entire point of ^that^ up there, is that life is hard. It just is. I think everybody struggles and has had or will have hard times. But we can still choose to be happy anyway. We can choose to be happy in spite of the trials.

Also, if we are (or rather, were) friends on Facebook, you may have noticed that I deleted a LOT of people, possibly even you. I went from over 250 friends (I think it was in the 280's) down to less than 100. This was not a personal attack on any person. I spend too much time on Facebook. I used Facebook as a means of trying to feel important. I was trying to fill a void in my life. I don't feel like I have many friends, and I often feel like the few I do have, are too busy to have much time for me. And I think that that's true.. They are too busy. They actually have lives to live outside of our friendship, and while on the one hand that's kinda painful to realize, on the other, DUH! They have LIVES!!! And yes, I think I am jealous that they have things to do, that they actually have places to go and OTHER people to see. And I realized that if that upsets me and makes me feel somehow unimportant and inferior, then that is my problem, not theirs. And so, I purged my list of friends to people I actually talk to on a regular basis. I even deleted some family members, some because I don't even know them, and some because although we are family, we aren't really "friends," so to speak. And I also deleted most (if not all) people who were underage for Facebook, and for the adult things I post from time to time. I also deleted people who have posted offensive material or comments on my wall about things I post on my wall. This does not mean I deleted everybody who was liberal, democrat, non-mormon, etc. In fact, I considered deleting a couple people who are conservative, republican Mormons ;) Nevertheless, I wish all of my old friends well in their lives. I just think it is best to have fewer friends that I really care about, and not a huge list of people I barely interact with. Make sense? And here goes another spiel. I realized that I am desperate for human interaction. Even people who treat me poorly. Even people who are supposed to visit and teach me, but refuse to come for one reason or another. Even people who flat out don't like me. I realized that I am so desperate for human interaction that I beg, literally, these people to talk to me. I invite them to my home repeatedly. I am not going to do it anymore. If somebody doesn't like me that is THEIR choice. They have chosen to do so, and there probably isn't anything I can do to change their mind, and in fact, attempting to do so, probably just cements their feelings about me. So I am not going to do it anymore. If we are friends, then we are friends, and I have to trust that those who are my friends will call and contact me.  I don't have to call, pester and annoy. And I am not going to anymore. People who aren't my friends? Well, I am not going to waste time on them anymore. It's just not worth it to beg people who don't like me, to talk to me. What is the point of that? I used to tell my husband that I wanted to move so badly, to another town, a bigger town, anywhere. Because then, when we moved it would be like starting over, I could be a different person. I could be happier. I could be cheerful. I could be outgoing. And then I realized, why do I have to wait to move to do that? Why can't I start now? So I am going to try that. No, I am going to do that. I am going to be more cheerful. I am going to try to be happier on the outside. This does not mean that life is going to be magically better for me, or that things are going to be suddenly easier. It means that I am accepting that life stinks, especially mine at the moment, and while that really "vacuums" and I hate it, I can't do a thing about it. It is what it is. Resenting life for being what it is, is somewhat ridiculous, don't you think? It doesn't change things, it doesn't fix it, it doesn't make me a happier person, so it's rather stupid. As the great John Wayne said, "Life is hard. It's harder if you're stupid."  Well, I'm not going to be stupid anymore. Does this mean I am going to bottle it all up inside and never let anybody know the pain, fear and panic I feel? NO! That would not be a good idea either, as I may, in fact, spontaneously combust under the pressure. But I will be more selective about who I relay things too. I will no longer be posting depressing things on Facebook. I will no longer seek advice from people whose opinions do not matter to me. I will carefully select from my close inner circle, my hubby, my mom, and my penguin-bestie (she knows who she is). I am going to strive to be a happier, more laid back mom. I am going to strive to be a better housekeeper and a better wife.

One last thing (I think), I have realized too that several of the choices I have made in the last couple weeks have been made because I felt forced. And because I felt like, I didn't have anything better to do. For example, I agreed to babysit a sweet little boy. He will be two years old in March. Yes, because I needed to add another small child to the mix! I have had two one year old, one three year old, and a five year old for the last week. Even though this little boy is indeed a very sweet, quiet angel, it is still another child in my house everyday. And it is just more than I could do. So I will be telling his mom she will need to make other arrangements. And, while I feel like I am breaking a commitment, and that I am letting her down (and that's true, I am) I cannot in good faith continue to overwhelm myself when my own family needs me so desperately. And that includes other things too. I will be saying "no" to things that take away from strengthening my family. If it is detrimental to my family's health (and my own), I will not be doing it.

I am sorry that that was long. There are a LOT of issues going on at the moment. This post only touches on a few of them. I have a lot of things to work through, and I am striving to do so. Therefore, there will probably be LOTS more posts on these subjects, so stay tuned. You will notice that I did not say much about weight loss in here, so here are the brief facts. I am not working out, I have been binge eating, and I have gained 10 pounds. I am not happy with that, but I have not taken steps to fix that. I feel kinda' like I need to work a bit on my mental and emotional health first, and in so doing, I will be taking care of my physical health.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Doing The Next Right Thing

This is something my mother told me the other day. You see, life is hard, and mine is no exception. While I could spend all day figuring out how many millions of people have it harder than me, the crux of the matter, is MY life in hard for ME. I am not living starving in Africa. I am not living in India where women are little more than possessions of men. I am not living in a drug-war infested country. I have not struggled with infertility, homelessness, severe illness or disease, the loss of a child, etc. Nevertheless, my struggles and trials are still hard for me. Knowing that other people have suffered worse things, does not change the fact that I have trials. Knowing that I have healthy children, an adoring husband, and a roof over my head, does not change the fact that life is just flat-out hard. Having said that, having these trials, and struggling with how to move forward through them, also does not make me ungrateful for what I do have. Admitting that things are rough, that times are difficult, doesn't mean that I do not appreciate the blessings I do have. I do have many blessings in my life. I recognize and thank God for those blessings. I enjoy spending time with my children. I enjoy taking care of them and raising them. I love my husband.  I feel I must say that, because there are people in this world who believe that if you complain about one thing, if you admit you are struggling, then they are compelled to tell you how "it's not that bad," "be grateful for what you have," etc. This is neither necessary nor helpful to the struggling individual, or maybe it is just not helpful to me at this time?

At any rate, "Do the next right thing," I do not know what I am supposed to do from here. I do not know what I am supposed to be learning from this experience. I don't know why life is hard for me right now, and why my family is called to suffer and struggle thus far and continue to do so. But I do know what the next right things are. I don't know if my husband should quit his job. I don't know if he should join the military. I don't know if we should stay here for the rest of our lives wasting away in a town with no opportunities nor prospects (I sure hope not!) But, I do know what the next right things are. I do know that we need to continue to pray and study our scriptures. I do know that we are supposed to continue going to church, even though I feel isolated and alone and unnoticed there. I do know that I am supposed to continue doing my visiting teaching, (even though I feel like mine doesn't care about me, and I feel like I am just another number to her. Even though I have asked for visits repeatedly and continue to feel neglected). I do know that I am supposed to continue keeping up with (or trying to) the housework. I do know that it is right to love and raise my children. And so, even though I don't know what the big choices are RIGHT now, I can choose to do the smaller ones. I can choose to do the next right thing, even in the midst of my struggles and trials. And maybe in doing so the way will be made clear to me. But even if it isn't, I will know that though I struggled and nearly drowned, I choose to keep on going. I refused to stand still in the dark whining. I choose to press on and not quit. And somewhere inside, I have to decide that doing my best IS good enough.

And now a quote (on Facebook, I don't know who said it): "Keep your chin up. No one expected you to save the world, otherwise you would have been born wearing a cape and tights. Just do the best you can."

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Screaming In An Empty Room

Some days I just feel like this:

Yeah, because that is how I feel today. This blog is not solely about weight loss, or getting physically healthy. It is about getting mentally and emotionally healthy too.

You know what? It is okay to be mad and frustrated and stressed and upset. And sometimes the only way to relieve to pressure is to blow off some steam. So if you feel you are about to explode, let it out! Scream if you have to, punch a pillow, write a nasty letter to whoever is bugging you. Then, breathe, smooth that pillow out again, and destroy the nasty letter. The point is not to hurt someone or something, the point is to release the pent-up tension before you blow your ever-loving mind. If you keep tucking things down inside you, if you keep stifling the stress and anger inside, and you never let it out in a controlled way, then the tension is going to mount and build, until it releases itself in a non-controlled way. Here's the thing, letting yourself scream for a moment, or choosing to punch a pillow, or write that letter, are all things that YOU choose to do. YOU are the boss of YOUR choices. When YOU choose to not take care of yourself, then you begin to lose that control. You begin to move into a place where the contained bad energy HAS to escape somehow, and it is not going to be controlled when you do it. This does NOT mean that you are excused from the consequences, or that you are not responsible for what may happen. You will be responsible for the outcome, because you chose not to deal with an issue until it was too late.

So when you feel the tension building, choose your vent. Do you want to go into the bathroom or bedroom or outside and yell it out? DO you want to go punch your pillow? Do you want to write a scathing note to that jerk of a boss who treats you like garbage? Once you decide what you want to do, THEN DO IT! I promise you will feel better. And when you feel better, you can tear up that mean note (you aren't really a mean person), you can smooth out your bed (see, the house already looks better) and you can breathe again, (ahhhh, Oxygen!)

Bye Bye!