I’m Not Sorry…Anymore

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Plus, I can still bake cakes!

I still mourn over breakfast. I used to make elaborate breakfasts and invite family and friends over. I loved cooking early in the morning. It is a remarkable confidence boost to pull off a delicious breakfast. You have to time all the dishes so they are hot at the same time. You run back and forth with the flapjacks and coffee. It is a meal that I relate to showing love. Momma always makes a hearty breakfast. I come from a long line of people who work with their hands. Breakfast is a stick to your ribs type affair and Momma does it up. I used to too. Since I started getting fibro flares every morning, I wake up in severe pain. My feet and hands don’t want to move, and a lot of the time hubby has to massage them before I can walk or hold things in my hands. The rest of my body isn’t doing so well either, with the aching and stiff muscles and sometimes severe pain in my hips and shoulders. This really does not make me in the making breakfast mood.

My husband is the greatest in the entire world. He makes breakfast most of the time before going to work. For a while I felt intense shame, guilt and yes…mourning. I was sad I couldn’t entertain like I used too, I couldn’t show love like I used too. Luckily, husband isn’t here for my breakfasts. He loves me for my cuddles, my adoration, my conversation, and my wit. He loves me deeply and without breakfast. Every morning I was apologizing to him for not feeling well. He would say, “I know, but you are sick. I understand.”

There is only so many times you can wake up to feeling bad before depression sits in and you don’t want to do anything at all, all day. Also, saying you’re sorry over something you have no control over is also pretty debilitating. I say I am sorry for my body more times than I can count. I am sorry I am sick. I am sorry I didn’t clean today. I am sorry I am depressed. I am sorry I am emotional. I am sorry I don’t have enough energy to make breakfast. I am sorry I can’t walk there. I am sorry I can’t make that coffee date. I am sorry I can’t meet my volunteer commitment. I am sorry I can’t spend time or energy on this or that. Pain has no understanding of my schedule. Pain doesn’t care what I want and it sure as hell doesn’t care what anyone else wants.

So, I am not apologizing anymore. I’m done. I will say thank you, when my husband takes the reins on meals, when he does more than his share of chores, or applies his healing hands to my painful muscles. I will say thank you for understanding when my friend isn’t upset because I am going to miss a coffee date. I will say thank you when I have to beg off a call because the fibro fog has taken over and I just can’t deal. I will say thank you and value the people in my life who help me when I need it. I will continue to be a good friend and partner, but I will not…say…I am sorry…anymore.

I will not be sorry for my genetic makeup. I don’t believe anyone who has chronic pain, a disease or syndrome should. There is no cure. There are only treatments which slightly lessen my pain and even that seems random. I can’t fix it, you can’t fix it. Saying sorry makes me feel deficient, lacking. I don’t believe that anyone in my life would say that I am not a good friend or family member, even if I feel like it all the time. I am trying to break myself from feeling hopeless. I can’t continue to feel like I am inadequate.

To my friends and relatives: If you catch me feeling sorry for myself or saying sorry, call me on it. To my fellow fibro sufferers: You are enough. I hope you understand just being a human and friend is enough. You don’t have to bake the best cookies for your loved ones to love you. You don’t have to be at every event in their lives for them to care for you. You don’t have to show your love in the same ways you did before. The ones who truly love you, will still love you when you stop. Just find a new way to show love. Believe that you are worth being cared for when you need it, and taking a time out when you need. You are not alone.

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Also, my garlic bread is still the best in the world. Breakfast Smeakfast!!!!

My Momma Always Said…

Look at me with the clean kitchen!!!!
Look at me with the clean kitchen!!!!

Okay so I am about to tell you something and you are not allowed to tell my mother I said it. She was right. It is not like me to admit it, I promise, but lately I have been thinking of all the ways she is right. Not just her but the other women who have entered life before me.

I don’t want to brag, but I am getting the hang of this life thing. My house is clean, I am checking off all my to dos daily, my hubby is happy with me, and I am even keeping up with eating well and doing yoga! I have never been able to juggle my responsibilities efficiently until recently. I am usually only good at one section of my life at a time. I eat healthy one week, write well another and keep my house clean another. This week it is like I have found the key and all those locks are clicking together at the same time. I have opened harmony!!! Woohoo! I rock!!!! Right now I am secretly doing the “I Rock” dance over the keyboard and smiling.

My exciting foray into Pork Lomein. Husband is jealous it turned out so good!
My exciting foray into Pork Lomein. Husband is jealous it turned out so good!

Part of that is finally cashing in on all that good advice people like my mom and Aunt Nicole have told me. These jewels of wisdom are as follows:

  1. It is best to go to bed with a clean kitchen. Waking up to dirty dishes, when it is my job to keep the house clean, leaves a deficit in my “to do” list already. I already start out with something in the negative column when I leave them. This week I have tried to do them before I go to bed and it has helped. – Thanks Mom
  2. Dishes are easier if you do them as soon as you make them dirty. Doing breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes at the same time is overly tedious. However, throwing them in as you go only takes a couple minutes at a time, which means you I have to keep the dishwasher empty. –Thanks Nicole
  3. Set a minimum time for something and I will more than likely spend more time on it than I originally planned. Two hours of writing is the minimum I set this week, I have gone over many times. I have gotten so much done! It is amazing what just “starting” can do for me.
  4. Be clear about what I want and need. When hubby was making banana bread I told him, “Ya know, the dishwasher is empty-hint, hint.” -A tip from me. Also, when you are hinting to your husband you have to say, hint, hint. My husband doesn’t get the hint without it. (He is the smartest man in the universe but isn’t too clear on subterfuge.)

I have ignored these things my entire life. I usually just clean heavy on the weekends, choosing to just watch TV after work. This may have worked when I was only home for five hours every day and on the weekends but saving all my cleaning for just one day is really is depressing. I have tried to get creative in a space that also holds my dirty dishes and moldy laundry. What happens is that I sit in front of my computer but really I am thinking about all I have to do. It is hard not to be distracted by dirty dishes in a one bedroom apartment.

Spicy, healthy food is easy when the kitchen is clean.
Spicy, healthy food is easy when the kitchen is clean.

Now I get things done as I go and as a result I am loving being able to have head space clear to do other things I enjoy. I am writing more, and it is allowing me to put those little finishing touches on my apartment I have been putting off, like hanging up my husband’s light saber that’s been sitting in the package for years. I am having an easier time cooking healthy meals because of these tips. I am really just feeling like I am working with all my moxie right now. Thank you Mom, and Aunt Nicole. Thank you for giving me all the advice I have ignored for so long.  I am finally having what I have always wanted, and that is harmony in my home and the confidence to accomplish my goals.

Think of all the Unsaid Compliments…

I got my hair cut. I did it mostly because I am frustrated with the heat. I felt like I was wearing a long hairy blanket on my head. While sweating is my summer normal, I didn’t feel I should encourage it any further. I hate sweating. I also felt like a change was in order. You know, the wild thought that starts in your gut that says, change yourself and the easiest way is always your hair. It is a cultural phenomenon. I don’t know if the reasons are consistent. Could it be: I am bored, let’s shake my life up a little; I will get a haircut? Or: Here I am everyday looking fabulous and no one notices; I will get a haircut, that’ll shock em? OR: All this “changing my life stuff” takes too long; I will get a haircut.

I cut my hair for probably all those reasons.  In my earlier blog I explained that I have been feeling stuck in a rut, so there you go. I went to my trusted Hair Queen, Shannon, and told her I wanted something short- as short as I could go. With my fat face I can’t really go pixie, if you know what I mean. In this heat though, I was thinking about a full on Sinead O’Connor. It isn’t just the pasted-to-my-neck hair of this heat, it is the maintenance. So I went before work one day and consulted Shannon, and this is what she came up with.

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I am never very good at the selfie

Cute right? I had a vision of walking into work with an imaginary fan running in the background and some sort of techno music over the top. People would wave and give a thumbs up in my direction. Looks of bright eyed surprise and then smiles in slow motion, and maybe even pats on the back would be in order.

Did any of that happen? Of course not. First off, I work in chat technical support. Not only is that mostly men, but most of us don’t really talk that much anyways. Secondly, we are all busy doing stuff. About an hour after I got to work, I got a text from a coworker who knew I was going to get my hair done. “Turn around, let me see your hair.” She said then said it was nice. Another coworker stopped me in the bathroom and told me it was pretty. Two compliments are still not too shabby, but I was hoping for more. I know as a thirty-something woman I shouldn’t be needy for compliments, and in a way I am not. I love my hair, it is my favorite feature. I am a confident woman who is super cute and got the good hair combination of my mom and dad. It does what I want, but I want adoration too. I am greedy.

Talking with my best friend, after she saw it and complimented me right away, I told her how everyone was underwhelmed. She said, “I don’t think Idahoans give compliments.” I thought that might be true because she and I are both Midwesterners, who, I have to say give more weight to outward appearance which is a double-edged sword. The people here who have been most complimentary to me here have been from the East Coast, take that as you may.

I don’t think it is the only reason people don’t complement each other.

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It even looks cute curly!!!

I think it is how overwhelmingly awful we are at taking compliments. I mean I’m not, I am awesome, but most people are really hesitant to hear something nice. I was in the elevator with a young, lovely, olive-skinned beauty. I said in open-eyed wonder, “You have beautiful skin.”

Her immediate curt reaction, “No, it’s just the make-up.”

We argued about this the whole elevator ride up with me explaining to her skin like that doesn’t come out of a jar, and her telling me how hideous she was. Finally I stopped the whole thing and said as if speaking to a four year old, “Wait a minute, let’s start this over. You have beautiful skin, now what do you say?”

I mean seriously, children. If someone tells you how awesome you are, say thank you already! I don’t know how your momma didn’t teach you that, but I am now. Also, I don’t take time out of my busy day to bullshit you. I am an adult with things to do. Soak in the nice words; believe them, because I mean them. For goodness sakes, stop arguing with whoever complimented you, for my sake as well as yours. I mean, if you are a bitch when someone compliments you, they might not want to compliment me for fear of the worst.

 

Everything is Beautiful, in it’s own way

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At home with friends, where I feel the most confident.

This weekend I was complimented on my confidence. I have told you before I was sort of born with it. My mom jokes I came out and said, “TADA!” In other words, I have been blissfully unaware of my place in the social order. I just assumed my place was high and went with that. I get that from my father. He was a free spirit, bless his soul, and never met a person that didn’t bend to his will or laugh at his jokes. It is sort of in my blood to relish spot lights; to sweep into a room and strategically take it over. Overbearing sometimes, I have to turn off my power (obnoxiousness) so that people get a word in edgewise. I am the proverbial puppy. I saddle up to you, jump on your lap and start licking your face from minute one. Not only that, but I have the audacity to dance like no one’s watching because most of the time I assume they aren’t. At this wedding, they apparently were, hence the compliment.

This is again just to remind you that I am sort of a confidence expert. There are two tips I would like to give anyone who wants to have more confidence in life. One, be oblivious and two, have more joy in life.  By be oblivious, I mean forget all the stuff that people think about social structure and how you should behave.  Do things that give you joy without any thought to the way people will think about you. Raise the roof in a mosh pit. Wear shorts to a formal party. Give a ridiculous speech at a function. Do what gives you joy.

If you have any doubt that this will give you confidence, think about how sexy joy is. Have you ever been to the park and seen a man in his forties who is not your type at all, but you see him playing with his child. He is making silly faces and dancing goofily and you think Wow, that is so sexy. The joy and unabashed love he has for his child is so attractive.

Here is another example: you’re at work looking at pictures from a coworker’s vacation. The normally buttoned up, starched person is wearing a swim suit, hair is wet and messy, fresh faced and slightly burnt but with the biggest most remarkable grin on their face, and for the first time you think Wow, he/she is beautiful.

Joy makes you beautiful, especially when it is unabashed and full. Shameless joy can wash away any flaws. Still not buying it? Go out onto the dance floor of any club and watch the dancers. Just watch. The people who are having the most fun- they are the ones you’ll be attracted to. The reserved person in the corner, the one who is worried about how they will look to others, or the one in the middle of the dance floor making very specific moves in order to impress- they aren’t the really sexy ones. It is the one who is dancing with abandon, arms and legs flailing, grinning to the sky, that is the one you want to hang with. That is the person who has it figured out! If you remember joy is sexy, then you can have confidence. Just concentrate on your joy.

KHAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

And so it goes that if good impulses begat good impulses, I must inform everyone that bad ones are a slippery slope. Not that you didn’t know that. If you’re reading this it’s probably happened to you too. This weekend my fiancé and I decided to make a conscious choice to indulge. That’s the lingo, you see, we made a choice. We didn’t cheat, we made a choice. This is so that I take responsibility for my actions. So this weekend we had a little get together. We were good all week and this actually was a pretty strategic decision. I was pretty happy with myself. We made guacamole, which is pretty healthy and good for you. We had pizza but not too much, but Brad and I made brownies. I ate a lot of brownies over the course of a weekend. Then for dinner we had Chinese food and I made a sensible choice of shrimp with vegetables. I woke up the next day bloated and feeling guilty on the brownie issue, but really not that bad.

However, the bloat and the fact that I didn’t sleep very well made me particularly grouchy. Then I get to work and immediately someone says something snarky to me. I am not one to hold my tone so I snarked right back and that is how my day began.

I was good with my preplanned lunch and my snacks. I don’t think I packed quite enough because I was ravenous when I finally got off work. I had a head ache and I had that tension in your forehead that even when you try to release your wrinkles and deep breathe it doesn’t go away. I plopped into the car when Brad came to pick me up and exhaled into his loving warm arms. And do you think that was enough? No, because eventually he had to drive and let go of me, but mostly because I didn’t feel like waiting for Brad to prep the grill for the healthy pork shops that we had planned. So Brad offered to take me to my favorite fast food in Boise.

Bad Boys. The name is so perfect. I love their French fries. Their wonderful large, hand cut, fresh, hot almost every time, perfectly salty- French fries with fry sauce. Ah, the fry sauce is like the perfect compliment too, it has not too much mayo or too much ketchup. An order from Bad Boys is a little piece of heavenly grease in a paper bag and they live about four blocks from my house. So as you may have guessed by now, we stopped by on the way home. Just the thought of these fries brings me joy. Writing this right now makes me want them so bad; I can literally imagine the taste of these fries. I was already disappointed with myself, but the idea also brought me glee. Like when you have sex with a man who you know is a player, but is really good in bed. You do it anyway cause its fun, but the whole time you know there is going to be repercussions. As we sat in line at the drive thru, I was being cuddled by my honey and he was making jokes, and between that and the promise of fries I was starting to feel a little better. So on the way home we joked together a little and I told him about all the evil hedonistic people I had encountered that day and he listened.

When we finally got home, I gathered all of my trappings from the day: my purse, my backpack, my lunch pale, my spill proof cup that I drink healthy water in, and my portion of dinner a cheeseburger and the exalted fries. I trudged inside feeling the weight of all this and another wave of tiredness hit me, but at the same time a slight oh I am finally home feeling that brought on a large sigh. I headed inside and put my burger and fries on the table and my lunch pale and my purse and finally took off my backpack and as I did, the backpack pulled down the lunch pale that brought with it the bag of magic fries.

Fries spray across the dining room floor. Without thought, I immediately sunk down to my knees in a puddle of sadness. I cried out worse and far more intense than William Shatner’s, KHAN.  My Ohhhhh knowwww had not only that kind of anger, in it was a sadness that included the whole entire day. It was whiney, long and sad and in the end -tears began to fall. I am so lucky my fiancé doesn’t carry a camera phone.

He graciously offered to sweep up the fries off the dining room floor, but I just walked deflated into my room to put on my pajamas and cried in the fetal position on the bed. It took 30 minutes for me to come out and finally eat my contraband.

Kelly’s ideas for finding joy

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”

― Alice Walker, The Color Purple

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My Friend Kelly

I had a meeting with a very dear friend of mine Kelly. She is one of the kindest hearted people I know. I contacted her because of my new getting healthy initiative. I was getting over being sick, and Brad and I had been eating healthy and I felt no stress. I knew when I went back to work I would fall into old habits because of stress, so I wanted to talk to her because we are so similar. I really felt because we work together, we both struggle with being healthy, we both have husbands that do too, and our history is similar, that she would provide me with some support and suggestions.

She did. My discussion with her did just what I thought it would. It made me feel better and excited to do more. I asked Kelly what she did to motivate herself. I asked her what helped her find the joy in everyday when we have no choice but to be where we are. I am sure about 50-60 percent of the people who read blogs are in the same circumstance. Most people didn’t dream of being a customer service rep, or a factory worker, or ditch digger, but people have to do those jobs. I want to get a discussion going about how you find joy doing these jobs. I want to find the joy in my everyday life. I want to feel blessed. I mean, think about this for a minute, there are people who live in poop filled shacks, and have no food to eat, but I am not happy? Why am I not kissing the ground, thanking the Lord everyday for my existence? I am ungrateful and I need to learn to be grateful. I need to learn like Celie, to enjoy and celebrate The Color Purple. How do you do that?

Kelly, the beautiful, she told me when she first started working here in the Boise Valley she wanted to buy a house, her first house. So what she did was she put a picture of the house she wanted to build on her computer and when any call got stressful she would look at that picture and remind herself of the goals that she had. I love this idea. It is visual, it is emotional, and I too have dreams. I am going to cut up some pictures of all the places I want to travel and I am going to paste them all over my computer. This will bring me hope and a purpose. I mean, yes, eating, air-conditioning, and a nice home are all the basic utilitarian reasons I work, but those aren’t really the fun reasons. This will be more fun to dream about. Daydreaming, that’s an idea and a coping mechanism I can get behind!!

Kelly also asked me if I took delight in those people who are really happy when I am done helping them. We then over our coffees regaled all the examples of people who were just overjoyed with our work. Kelly told me of an elderly couple who were so happy they wrote an email to her supervisor. I told her about a guy that was so happy, he asked if I could make rainbows, asserting that if I could help him with this I must be that magical! I think this is a great practice. So many times I am turning around in my seat telling everyone about that frustrating customer, the one that called me names etc. Why aren’t I regaling all the good in humanity? I need to keep recounting all these stories. Focus on the good, not the bad.

I love these suggestions. I am going to put them into practice. Kelly and I still think this just isn’t good enough. I want ultimate joy. I want to wake up in the morning excited about my day, like I am on the weekends. I need to not be rolling around in the culture of self sacrifice that I am used to, God wants me to be happy right? Otherwise he wouldn’t have created those beautiful purple flowers.

Gratitudinals

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1. I am so grateful for that smell right after it rains. I went out on my break and I watched people and breathed in the cool dewy air. It was really nice.

2. Someone (Ross) brought in these beautiful flowers today. So nice, just handed them out!

3. I am grateful for my facebook friends that help me laugh at what goes wrong during the day.