Monday, March 2, 2015

Thirteen Year Old Pee Sticks

While trying to find something under the bathroom sink…found these.  I knew they were there. The memories of infertility do not go away.  They are pregnancy tests with ten and thirteen year old urine on them.  (Yes, pretty gross!)

And yet, I still can't let them go.

I did throw away three of them and kept just one from '02 and one from '05.  These sticks represent two years of trying to get pregnant.   I peed on a lot of sticks waiting for lines to appear that never did.  I waited and waited.   I even peed on ovulation sticks that would not turn positive.

These sticks were so disappointing on so many levels.

They never worked for me.

And that was the problem.  I didn't ovulate.  So I went through a lot of treatment to work to make my body ovulate.  I have indentations in the creases of my arms from all the blood draws.  It was a tumultuous time.  There was a lot of emotional upheaval.  There was a lot of grief for the loss of what wasn't occurring. And that was hard for me and for other people to understand.
I was not an easy person to live with.  Poor George would walk through the door to see what state I was in.  If I was laying on the couch, not good.  If I was upright, then it was better.

Will I ever be able to let them go?  I don't know. Still not ready yet.  I haven't gotten rid of the insurance or prescription paperwork from the same time either.

Maybe one day.

A Little Planned Screaming Is A Good Thing, Right?

I have been on Girl Scout cookie overload for the last week.  As the cookie mom and co-leader, 1200 boxes of cookies were ordered and disseminated a weekend ago and this most recent weekend, we had two cookie booths selling out each day.  It was fun but tiring and there was a little pressure to want it to go smoothly, etc.

On the way to the first booth, I was a little tense and frustrated getting it all together and running late, and that never helps.  So I announced to the girls, that I needed to have a little scream.  It's been a long while since I've done this.  I want them to understand that it's okay to get frustrated and yet, figure out how to handle it without taking it out on other people.  I want them to know it's okay to feel all feelings, that is so NORMAL and try to allow the feelings through but without harming others, or harming the house.  (You know what I have learned up close and personal the last 6 years)

So I counted and then screamed for a long time.  It felt so good.  I have learned not to do it too hard because I can strain something in there that makes things more painful but it was a good release and I hope, a good example.

Then on to this Monday morning, Mallory realized she had forgotten some things regarding school and she complained about how the cookie booths had taken up our whole weekend.  I had to pivot really hard here, because twice I had asked her about her school assignments for the weekend during the weekend, but she was too involved in game playing to plug in.  Yet, I have to cut her some slack, she is only nine.   So I told her, empathizing with her that yes, the booths took up a lot of time and I too was frustrated this morning at what I did not get done.  At some point, she threw her binder down and started kicking it.  I said, with no judgement, just empathy, we can't kick the binder.  We have to find another way to get our frustration out.

And then Riley piped up and said, there will be no screaming in the car.  LOL  Evidently it is a little unnerving for her to hear me scream even though I announce it and laugh about it before and after.

But this is what I'm so excited about - I'm so ecstatic that we have these kinds of conversations.  It is now open for us to talk about how to handle our feelings.  What is the best way to allow them through?  I have learned so much but it has been hard for me to speak up and share these truths with my children. The inability to voice my thoughts is still difficult, but…this area is breaking wide open.

It felt like such a solid moment.

So freaking happy to have this moments.  


Thursday, February 5, 2015

How I Got My Cookie On (My Rookie Year as a Girl Scout Leader)

Last year, I stepped up and out of my comfort zone and led my oldest daughter's Junior Girl Scout Troop.  I had never stepped up to lead anything in my life except to be a guide in VBS and it took me years to learn how to do that comfortably.


I learned a lot about myself during this year.  It was a transformative year of growth which was anxiety provoking, painful and frustrating yet pushed me to do things that I was very much capable of.  The person who I thought was going to be an active co-leader with me, was not.  It took about 2 months of waiting for her to call, email, and text me back to realize, she wasn't going to be as active as I had anticipated.  I was very angry at the situation, but knew someone had to lead and that someone was me.

So I learned how to lead over time, sometimes painstakingly.  There were lots of uncomfortable moments and sometimes hours.  But I did it!

Girl Scouts requires lots of paperwork. LOTS! I learned to stand up and speak.  I learned the art of communication with parents to get what I needed. I learned how to set up a Sign Up Genius Account. I learned that the Girl Scout organization responds better to emails than phone calls.  I learned that the Scouts I led did not want to take the 5 Girl Scout steps and "talk something out" to earn a badge.  Fourth and Fifth graders just want to have fun. They want to be hands on.

I learned.

I learned that people love Girl Scout Cookies and selling them is really no big deal.  I learned to listen to my intuition.  I learned that the child who annoys me the most is the one that I can learn the most from.  I learned even if you accidentally put all of your paperwork (including signed parental forms and uncashed checks) in the recycling, you can recover.  It is just a blip.  And I learned there is no Girl Scout Police.  I can break the rules including moving the Cookie Booth to a better location so that we sell more cookies.

So yesterday, I had to finish putting Riley's badges on her Junior sash. She could care less but I am proud of each of these badges.  I earned every one of them!!  I am proud of them.

And now I am co-leading Mallory's Brownie troop.

But after this year, no more.  The learning needs to be in a different area!

This is What Mothers Do

My nine year old is taking violin lessons which means…

I'm taking violin lessons.

I am sitting in on each and every 30 minute lesson every week.  So I can help remind her what to do when she practices if she is confused.  The teacher said I can do other things while I sit there (yet still know what was going on?)  I can't do that.  I have to sit and pay 100 percent attention and… ask questions.  Even though I played piano for five years, I know nothing of the violin.

And I have withheld from laughing every time the teacher says G-string. (smile)

I have to remind my daughter EVERY DAY to practice.  Some days her father does. Thank goodness.

This is what mothers do.

I didn't know this is what I was signing up for.

This is what mothers do.

I have to go get dressed to go my our lesson.

This is what mothers do.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Easy Blog to Make 60 Posts for 2014.

This is a cheap shot so that I will reach 60 posts for the year!  But I do like what it says.  
Steps I have down pat: #2, #6
Steps with good progress: #1, #3, #5, #7
Steps to really focus on: #4

Blessings to you dear reader.  I look forward to 2015 with you!

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Way I Look At Myself in the Mirror

The truth is the mirror has always been a really hard place.  And I NEVER, EVER, NEVER thought it would get any easier.  Yesterday, I read a sentiment of a female looking at an old picture of herself and she wondered how had she thought she was heavy at the time of the picture.

I've done the same thing.  I thought I was heavy in high school, and college, and in my thirties, etc.  And in the past, I have looked at those pictures and thought, wow, if I could only be at that weight now.

I could fly with that weight.

So evidently, in my teens, the body image distortion was already in place and thriving.  Negative thoughts about myself were abundantly flowing.

I have been wanting to really write about body image for 2-3 years now, but something has been holding me back.   I feel like I shouldn't have a voice because my BMI is higher than I would want.  Yet, I have been in groups of thin and average sized women recently and was startled to hear complaints that they are fat, and worried about how their clothes look, and they shouldn't be eating this food, etc.

Body image distortion (and issues with food) are abundant and pervasive.

And I think, "Well, I'm not the only one."  And then my critical self thinks, "Yes, but you do have some weight to lose so you have no right to an opinion." In years past, I felt it was necessary to announce to anyone that would listen, that I knew I needed to lose weight and how I was working on that.  It makes me shudder to think that I thought so little of my self.  The self that an abundantly loving divine presence made.

And Love is the answer after all.

After many diligent years and intentional work of learning to love myself unconditionally, the result has been a shift in my core belief and the thoughts in my head.  

Weight does not equal self worth.  I am not my weight.

Ohhh, I've hit a nerve.  Tears sprang to my eyes when I wrote that.  Coming to this truth has been so hard.  My therapist says body image is one of the issues that takes the longest to heal.    It's a booger.  (smile)  If you look at any media, there it is.  We as women, at every turn, are told we need to lose weight, look younger, defy aging, have larger breasts, etc.  That is one of the reasons I avoid commercials, among other things.

One way that I know that I'm healing my body image is by putting on a form fitting long gown and going out to a formal occasion.  This was a huge step.  I have done it a few times in the last few years and it was uncomfortable each time, I hesitated to go.   Yet at a point during the evening, I think, wow,  I'm having such a great time how can that be?   Even though there's more of me than I would like.  Am I allowed to have fun even though my dress size is double digits?  Am I allowed to have fun even though the local boutiques don't even carry something to fit me? 


(Pardon my French, the point just didn't seem the same without the swear word - Thanks Mr. Big!) 

Another way I know I'm healing is my yoga practice.  I have been choosing to go to yoga because my body wants to move.  (or walking, or bike riding, or turning on the music and dancing!)  I have to be very careful about making myself do any particular activity because "I'm supposed to."  As I have worked to diminish the crappy "supposed to" thoughts in my head, I have learned my body tells me pretty much every day that it wants to move.  And I'm hearing it and responding on most days.  And it feels delightful, empowering, joyful and strengthening.  So different than when I did it because I was "supposed to."  It's coming from a much healthier vantage and one that I look forward to instead of dreading.  (And my body will also tell me what food it needs for fuel as I have shed the diet mentality and supposed to's in that area as well.)

While practicing yoga in different studios, there tend to be large mirrors.  Form fitting clothing works best for yoga.  I unconsciously or consciously refrained from going many times because of the fear of the mirror, or what others would think, etc.   Here's the flummoxing part: in practice at a mirrored studio, in my head with my eyes closed, I feel lean and strong.  And then I open my eyes and the mirror does not match what's in my head.  This startled and shocked me the first few times it happened and it still does even now but to a lesser degree.

As my body has wanted to move and I listen, I have been practicing more regularly and moved up to the harder class.  Through this repeated exposure, I've been making friends with my appearance in the mirror.  Slowly, ever so slowly, over time, the thoughts that I'm not enough have been fading and ones that I am enough as I am have been forthcoming. And even with aches and pains here and there in my body, over time, the predominant feeling that has been emerging is one of strength.  The practice of yoga is not only strengthening my body, but my mind and my spirit.  It feels so freaking good to move through the positions, and it feels like a solid flow, as well as shaky, sweaty, catching, breathing hard and muscles aching.   I try poses even for just a few seconds that my head tells me I can't.  I hold that harder position and my body and mind grow.  The I can't begins to fall away.

I am flying in this body.