Thursday, July 27, 2017

Massage

I had a deep tissue massage after work the other night and it was amaze-balls! I fell asleep through part of it but I'm assuming that part was just as amazing as the rest of it. I have a lot of chronic muscle tension issues that far exceed that results of poor posture or sitting at a desk all day so I'm always "tight" and feel tense. I constantly have to remind myself to relax and the worst part is, I get chronic tension headaches that can last for weeks at a time because of it. Chiropractic care and OTC drugs seem to have done little to impact this as of late, but thank heavens for deep tissue massages and my girl, Elizabeth! I seriously feel 10 years younger when I walk out of the spa. It's amazing. Can't wait til my next appointment!



What have you done for yourself lately?



Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Make Good Choices

Last night I begrudgingly attended a fitness class at Orange Theory Fitness. My friend signed me up for it, probably knowing I'd never get the motivation to do so my self. She was right. I've been struggling with some poor health habits as of late and she took charge. I'm thankful for that. The class was fun, surely a challenge, and felt like an accomplishment to complete. It was a great mix of cardio and weights, just what I need. I left feeling refreshed (tired and sore, but somehow refreshed) and feeling like I could tackle the world.

The workout schedule that will work best for me, is probably Tuesday and Thursday nights. That's when I will have a gym buddy to help keep me accountable, and those days generally don't/shouldn't interfere with other on-going scheduled items. Except, for tomorrow. Of course. I'm currently signed up to volunteer (for the first time) with the local Park District, which is something I've been struggling to add to my schedule. Volunteerism that is. And sure enough, I now I find myself conflicted with competing priorities. Gym, or volunteer?

Ok, sure, there are other days that the gym is open. But I can tell you right now, the volunteer spot is getting the boot. I definitely feel guilty about cancelling but I also feel like I need to strike while the iron is hot and get myself on a solid workout schedule. Not sure about you, but motivation is a fleeting commodity in my world. So, that's that. I've just cancelled my volunteer spot in order to go to the gym. 


I'm sure a "normal" person would have kept their commitment, and went to the gym a different day. That seems pretty logical. But the fact is, I know what works for me, and this is it. So I'm putting my health first. In reviewing my calendar of "to-dos" and "want to dos" this brings up an entirely different, but related topic. There's simply not enough time and availability in my calendar to do all the things I want to do. 

As I cancelled this volunteer shift, I searched for a replacement opportunity. There are numerous upcoming events but none that fit my current schedule. At this point, I'll be lucky to volunteer by Christmas. (thinks to self, maybe I can be an elf? Ugh.) Sure, I keep myself busy with planned activities, but there are also a lot of responsibilities that preclude me from doing a lot of things I'd like to. And that, quite frankly, sucks. Yes, "adulting" sucks. Oh well. It's life.

Cheers to a good workout.
Cheers to putting myself first.
Cheers to figuring "it" all out someday! 


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Beautiful

It's been a few days since my birthday and for the most part, it was extremely enjoyable. There was one shadow and familial overcast to the day, but if I've learned anything in the past two weeks it's that I have nothing to feel guilty over (did I ever?). While camping I got an overwhelming feeling that something was wrong with a family member. I am not sure what I was channeling, but it was strong enough to make me reach out to this person. For my effort I reached out and while their return was cordial, there was seemingly no interest in a conversation, much less any type of outreach for resolution or a future. So I'm once again leaving this situation/person in the past knowing my feelings of needing to distance myself from them is/was/has always been valid. 

Since that "conversation", I've completed a week long family camping trip to Door County and a weekend road trip to St. Louis. Camping, as always, was hard work (setting up, cooking, tearing down) but had it's enjoyable moments like; star gazing, soaking up some sun on the beach, and playing catch, boating and tubing on the lake. St. Louis was much more city-centric; touring the town via feet and riverboat, seeing a game at Busch stadium, petting a Clydesdale at the Anheuser Busch brewery and catching the sunset from the top of the arch. But most of all, each trip gave me some time to reflect on life. 

Today, I'm back to reality. Okay, so I never really left it, but it's Tuesday and I'm back at work and find myself wondering what will I do to make this 41st year of mine more meaningful, different or improved upon from the past? And the fact is, I have no idea and seemingly little motivation/mental energy to make big vows or to set big expectations. And you know what? I'm okay with that. I don't need a second set of new year's resolutions mid-year, but I think birthdays are always a cause for reflection and projections. With that said...

I downloaded Audible in effort to make better use of my time in the car. I am currently listening to David Ross's book, "Teammate: My Life in Baseball" and in the few chapters I've heard so far, I am even more in love with this guy than ever. The gist is that, upon being told he had a bad attitude and was getting a bad reputation while playing for Boston many years ago, he decided to change his life and become a better teammate, and ultimately a better person. During his last year (2016) of playing professional baseball as the Cubs' catcher, he chose to make it the best year, personally and professionally. He chose to appreciate those around him, actually see the cities he visited while on the road, spend as much time with family as possible and take in and appreciate what life had to offer him. In the meantime, he was building relationships that would last long after he retired. And it was that same relationship building skill that kept him in the game long after talent said otherwise. 

I wish I could say I've invested time in building relationships as of late, but I haven't - well at least not at work. And sadly, because that's where I spend most of my time, I often feel isolated. Major environment shifts at work have caused me to withdraw socially, and I most often feel alone - for 40 hours a week, ugh. Thankfully, my birthday was a reminder from many that I am cared about, even if I don't choose to connect with them (co-workers) like I once did. It's been a major adjustment to say the least. 

I do however, work to stay connected with my chosen few, my close circle of friends outside of work who I love and adore. It's just never easy with all of our varied schedules. I guess in reflecting upon these past two paragraphs and what is written here, of course I want to be rich in relationships and appreciate life just like David Ross, and I guess in some ways I am achieving that, but it's hard to feel it when the majority of my time is spent in a semi-toxic environment. Ahh, and there's the revelation and difference between David Ross and me. He loved what he did (and as a result of, who he worked with). I'm sure this thought process will lead to more personal actions for me to take, but just not at this moment...

Unfortunately the situation above aides in low self esteem, among other issues, but I read this quote yesterday and it stuck with me. "Beauty is what you feel about yourself, not about what you see in the mirror". I don't know who said it, but it stuck with me, and not in regards to my appearance, versus being a "beautiful" person on the inside and feeling good about myself. So how do I make myself feel "beautiful" when such a large part of my world is "ugly"? Until I'm ready to take a leap and change the "ugly" all together, here's what I am doing to feel good, and to get back to feeling beautiful...

I'm signed up at the urging of another to get my CCC - my Canine Conditioning Coach certification. I am looking forward to the workshop in September and getting to work, hands-on with some dogs because as of now, I don't get to do that often! Eventually, I may possibly take on more training classes - but that is TBD. I am at a crossroads with training so we'll see where this takes me. Additionally, at the end of this month, I'll be volunteering for the first time with the Park District. Let's hope it goes well as I am missing making a difference in the world! Oddly enough, it's a Canine Carnival - nothing like working with dogs and volunteering to help "kill two birds with one stone". And finally, after much mental debate, I have signed up for a 5K in October. This gives me time to get myself back into better shape for the event, and hopefully allows for some hiking time in between now and then. 

All the things above make me feel valid as a human, they make me feel valid as me. And when I feel the most me, is when I feel beautiful and on top of the world. So here's to continuing on with the things I like and making the 41st a "beautiful" year. Who knew that downloading a book on Audible would lead to all this thinking and typing!




Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

30


30 Signs of Emotional Abuse
By Barrie Davenport

Nothing is more damaging to your confidence and self esteem than being in an emotionally abusive relationship...

The most obvious scenario for emotional abuse is in an intimate relationship in which a man is the abuser and the woman is the victim. However, a variety of studies show that men and women abuse each other at equal rates.* In fact, emotional abuse can occur in any relationship — between parent and child, in friendships, and with relatives.
What Is Emotional Abuse?It involves a regular pattern of verbal offense, threatening, bullying, and constant criticismas well as more subtle tactics like intimidationshaming and manipulation. Emotional abuse is used to control and dominate the other person, and quite often it occurs because the abuser has childhood wounds and insecurities they haven't dealt with — perhaps as a result of being abused themselves.
They didn't learn healthy coping mechanisms or how to have positive, healthy relationships. Instead, they feel angry, hurt, fearful and powerless.
Male and female abusers tend to have high rates of personality disorders including borderline personality disorder(BPD), narcissistic personality disorder(NPD), and antisocial personality disorder(ASPD). 
Although emotional abuse doesn't always lead to physical abuse, physical abuse is almost always preceded and accompanied by emotional abuse.*
The victim of the abuse quite often doesn't see the mistreatment as abusive. They develop coping mechanisms of denial and minimizing in order to deal with the stress. But the effects of long-term emotional abuse can cause severe emotional trauma in the victim, including depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder.
1. They humiliate you, put you down, or make fun of you in front of other people.
2. They regularly demean or disregard your opinions, ideas, suggestions, or needs.
3. They use sarcasm or “teasing” to put you down or make you feel bad about yourself.
4. They accuse you of being “too sensitive” in order to deflect their abusive remarks.
5. They try to control you and treat you like a child.
6. They correct or chastise you for your behavior.
7. You feel like you need permission to make decisions or go out somewhere.
8. They try to control the finances and how you spend money.
9. They belittle and trivialize you, your accomplishments, or your hopes and dreams.
10. They try to make you feel as though they are always right, and you are wrong.
11. They give you disapproving or contemptuous looks or body language.
12. They regularly point out your flaws, mistakes, or shortcomings.
13. They accuse or blame you of things you know aren't true.
14. They have an inability to laugh at themselves and can't tolerate others laughing at them.
15. They are intolerant of any seeming lack of respect.
16. They make excuses for their behavior, try to blame others, and have difficulty apologizing.
17. The repeatedly cross your boundaries and ignore your requests.
18. They blame you for their problems, life difficulties, or unhappiness.

19. They call you names, give you unpleasant labels, or make cutting remarks under their breath.
20. They are emotionally distant or emotionally unavailable most of the time.
21. They resort to pouting or withdrawal to get attention or attain what they want.
22. They don't show you empathy or compassion.
23. They play the victim and try to deflect blame to you rather than taking personal responsibility.
24. They disengage or use neglect or abandonment to punish or frighten you.
25. They don't seem to notice or care about your feelings.
26. They view you as an extension of themselves rather than as an individual.
27. They withhold sex as a way to manipulate and control.
28. They share personal information about you with others.
29. They invalidate or deny their emotionally abusive behavior when confronted.
30. They make subtle threats or negative remarks with the intent to frighten or control you.
The first step for those being emotionally abused is recognizing it's happening. If you recognize any of the signs of emotional abuse in your relationship, you need to be honest with yourself so you can regain power over your own life, stop the abuse, and begin to heal. For those who've been minimizing, denying, and hiding the abuse, this can be a painful and frightening first step.
The stress of emotional abuse will eventually catch up with you in the form of illness, emotional trauma, depression, or anxiety. You simply can't allow it to continue, even if it means ending the relationship. A licensed counselor who is trained in abusive relationships can help you navigate the pain and fears of leaving the relationship and work with you to rebuild your self-esteem.
Can an emotional abuser change? It is possible if the abuser deeply desires to change and recognizes his or her abusive patterns and the damage caused by them. However, the learned behaviors and feelings of entitlement and privilege are very difficult to change. The abusers tend to enjoy the power they feel from emotional abuse, and as a result, a very low percentage of abusers can turn themselves around.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Adventure

I've been told by many that I inspire them. That they wish they could be me. That they live vicariously through me. That they want to be me when they grow up.  This is mostly based on my sense of adventure and the activities that I enjoy. Lately though, with life changes, the W.I.L.D. has changed. 

Life gets in the way, ya know? Relationships change, time gets allotted to other activities and quite frankly, I don't have the same energy (mental or physical) to take on the level of craziness that I once did. Yes Virginia, adulting is hard. 

I've noticed my decline in individual activities but take mental note to still do enough "me" things to make me, me. But I was proverbially slapped in the face after having recently posted a comment about an upcoming individual adventure on social media. Someone came up to me in person and commented along the lines of, "There's my girl!". Meaning, that the old adventurous me has been absent far too long. Well, let's take a look at this, shall we?

Perhaps it's true, that these days I have new group adventures that don't inspire or appeal to the masses, but they are adventures none the less. Come on, ever seen how adventurous life can be trying to get an unwilling participant to take medicine they don't want to take? What about figuring out how not to break a leg or twist an ankle while jumping on trampolines with fearless children who are doing somersaults and back-flips, that's definitely an adventure. Taking on any craft activity with children that includes paint, dye, glue or frosting is surely an underrated activity bordering on insanity.

But, because these adventures are far more common in the average household than say, snorkeling with manatees, I can see why some might think I have a "lessened" quality of adventure these days. And they would be wrong. Every day is a new adventure (yes, insert lame optimism here) if you allow it to be one. Most people get in a lull of dreading the activities that you "have to" do versus seeing the day as an opportunity of things you "get" to do. Perhaps because I'm new to the family life, I haven't yet become bitter or learned to take time with them for granted. Whether we're involved in big, exciting activities, or just going for a car ride, I enjoy it for the adventure it is, big or small.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Strong

I'm currently managing a lot of new relationships in my life and while not all of these relationships are ideal, the fact is, they simply have to occur. The effort of learning how to balance emotions, stick to facts, live in the moment and maintain boundaries can be stressful even on the most perfect of days. And we all know, most days aren't perfect. 

My life these days is pretty complex, perhaps even complicated some days and usually way more stressful than I'd like. People wonder why my life is "so hard", and ask me, "Shouldn't it be easier?".  After all, I've had a rough past at times so don't I deserve a break? 

My response is, I'm given this life because I can handle it. A simple statement, that at times seems passive, but is truth. I know that other people could simply not handle the life I have or what I've been given. That is not to say that I am better than anyone, or that  I have a bad or rough life. It's actually a pretty wonderful life. But lessor people would have thrown in the towel long ago. 


In looking at how I've gotten to where I am today emotionally, I see how years of dealing with crappy people helped build patience, tolerance and perseverance. It helped show me how not to treat others. It showed me all the things I would never want to have happen to, or inflict on someone else. I felt the pain of broken relationships with friends, lovers and even family and endured it. Dare I correct myself to say that I survived it, because while it has taken years of work and mental re-programming, I feel like I can finally say I'm on the opposite side of it (the pain) now. 

Having finally put an end to older, broken relationships I had to wonder - have I traded one set of "broken" for a new one? The fact is, the new relationships I'm working on are indeed hard work and can drive me to tears some days. But, the hard work pays off in many unseen and unadvertised ways. I actually get something out of these new relationships, and that makes me happy. And when I realized that, I immediately stopped questioning myself on the issue. 

I recognize that the relationships of my past, volunteering in an educational program for children, teaching dog obedience lessons to humans of all types of mentalities and ages for over ten years in a classroom setting, and learning the psychology that comes with dog training itself, has prepared me for the life I have today. It is because of these life experiences that I can confidently say, you couldn't handle my life. You weren't meant for my life because you simply haven't walked the path I have in order to get here. I was given this life because I am strong enough to handle it. 

I used to think the tough things in life were some form of universal punishment and would ask "Why me?". But when you can learn to see past the pain of the moment, and know that in some odd way, whatever you're going through now will prepare you to handle some other situation later, you learn that everything in life is a blessing - good or bad. These lessons, no matter how easy, long, or horrible they are to get through, eventually blend together to teach you the skills you need in order to lead strongly, the life you were meant to lead.