Saturday, July 31, 2010


Today, I tried something new which I have been avoiding. You know that idea that makes sense and their is a tugging that you should do it but you let it go because you are not ready to go "there" yet. I sat and ate my breakfast without any media device along with it (or people.) No television, no lap top, no Words with Friends. It wasn't an especially remarkable experience because it didn't take me long to eat my breakfast, and Mallory came into chat and I could hear Phineaus and Ferb in the background the whole time. But I started and that was the point. Baby steps. More focus on the food that goes into my mouth. I have come a long way but still have to be intentional, every day. Twenty four seven.

This work towards healing my relationship with food (code for healing my relationship with myself) is so hard. At times it is such a struggle. Right now I feel a little stuck and I know why. I actually know that I have made HUGE strides but the struggle continues and that is what is important. Intentionality. It is SO important to keep going. One of the things that I realized is that the difficulties will keep coming and they do. I had an "interesting" (that's code) powerful phone call from someone important recently and I am still processing it. It was wrapped ugly, but I was able to do something that I had been wanting to do for a LONG time and the "ugly" gave me the opportunity that I could not do on my own and I took it. It wasn't perfect but it finally happened.

The difficult "stuff" keeps coming, it's how I handle it. How I stand up for myself, how I frame it. I have to think out of the box. Let go of the old loyalties and keep the new ones, feel the emotions that I want to run from. I will make mistakes, other people will make mistakes and I will keep going. I just don't want to use food anymore.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I can conquer VBS!!

Some aspects of life are becoming easier with all of the work I'm doing and working Vacation Bible School is a signpost. Over the years, I have volunteered in mainly 2 different capacities: as a guide who is responsible for taking the children around to their activities for 3 hours and then the other with helping the children with their craft for 4-5 twenty minute sessions. I analyzed the two jobs to the Nth degree because I had a horrible week of VBS 2 years ago as a guide. I hated every moment of it. I became paranoid and despised the craft people because their job was soooo much easier. I wanted to know how they got that job, who did they sleep with??!!! Yes, I was having a really bad week, a little PMS was going on amongst other things.

It just happened to be unfortunate circumstances, where basically I was left alone with 12-15 first graders and I really didn't like being around kids at the time or know how to entertain them or keep them from misbehaving. My co group leader's child became sick, my one youth worker fell ill, and I was left alone with: boys who were acting up, a boy who was inquisitive and disappeared from the group and a mean girl who made the other girls cry. I didn't have the skills or know what to do.
Flash forward two years later, I volunteered to be a guide again(!) yet requested a younger group. I now know to keep them active and engaged, be firm yet loving. I know to play games. I know to call the active child out and sit by them and give them some attention and discipline even if it is Vacation Bible School. I know to ask for help and keep asking if it doesn't come. Some of this has come with experience but some of it has come about because I am more comfortable in my own skin now. I have moved from feeling like a victim to having a voice and using it assertively.

The biggest signpost to me that I am thinking differently is that I realized...I don't HAVE to work VBS. I have volunteered for 6+ years and I can take a break. That thought had NEVER entered my mind. This is thinking out of the box, finally! My list of "supposed to's" is really being evaluated.

VBS went so much more smoothly this year. Everyone was well, I've got a good group of cadets including my own daughter. My co guide is fantastic! The youth workers are helpful. I know better what to do and maybe our bright safety orange shirts keep me alert! It is exhausting work but I am not feeling overwhelmed and desperate. During the week, I got a babysitter and enjoyed some quiet down time because I needed it. I know how better to take care of myself in order to take care of my children and be able to volunteer for VBS and retain my sanity. I can conquer VBS... or not!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The real way to relax

We are driving back to Baton Rouge from the Destin, FL area and the way we do it takes hours and hours but the thing that just occurred to me is that THIS is the most peaceful part of the trip. The children are glued to DVD players, George is driving and for hours, I am on my own. This is better than the beach or the pool!! George doesn't mind driving, he probably prefers it as this leg of the trip I'm not making him listen to the Geneen Roth CD (although he WAS getting something out of it). I can read, play Words, play my Rhapsody music, check FB and for the most part, I am left alone. I've got 3G coverage in most places on our drive. At the beach or the pool, or at the Flat, someone needed attention ALL the time. This is an area of parenting we need to work on. It's mainly the eldest that needs the most attention as she received a LOT in the beginning and still expects it. At the pool one afternoon, she was whining and complaining unmercifully and then asked me why we had to have Mallory. Clearly, there isn't any sibling rivalry going on (!). I learned in therapy, that the sibling relationship is one of the most defining of our personalities in our childhoods. Fascinating stuff, right?! Well, it is to me.

Back to the peaceful drive. So, how far can we drive next vacation?!? I'm loving this.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

We are at the BEACH!!!

We are at the beach in Florida. We changed our summer vacation destinations about 3 times. Long before the dreadful oil spill that has destroyed a way of life in the Gulf, we had been excitedly planning our trip to the beach. Last summer, we were unable to go. The girls are getting older and I think I could actually sit and watch them swim and play and possibly make it through a magazine. I have bought two books with high hopes. That is probably reaching.

We live a handful of hours away from beautiful white sandy beaches, or what were beautiful white sandy beaches. I couldn't make up my mind about where to go. Our first plan was to hit Orange Beach until we learned there was definitely oil. I had a hard time spending the money we would spend and not be able to get in the water. So we considered Moody Gardens in Galveston (man made beach), and San Antonio Hill Country (no beach, Lazy River, family friendly) and then we worked our way back to Florida. All along that is what I really wanted to do, and had been looking forward to for more than a year. I had to let go and if there was oil, there would be oil, and we would go to the pool or find other things to do.

So far, so good. I can see there are some things I'm very controlling over, and I'm learning to release. The beach is very relaxing, sort of. The kids still need heavy supervision. It takes a few days for the family to get in a groove with "being on vacation." George and I have to work out how to share parenting, chill time, activities, etc.

This morning, I went to yoga for the first time in a couple of weeks. It was AWESOME! Rosemary Beach where we are, is a 5-7 minute walk to anywhere you want to go - beach, pool, town center with restaurants, shops, etc. I rode my bike to yoga. Then headed to the beach to be with the family. It was a fantastic way to have balance. I felt like a new person. Prior to the last year or so - I would have never A) found my way to yoga or B) separated from the family. And that is exactly what I was needing to do. Recharge to tackle the ever present needs of children and husband.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sitting with the Feeling on Independence Day

The theme of this past week has been about pain. Feeling the pain, accepting the pain and breaking that pattern of eating when not hungry. Today is the Fourth of July. Happy 4th! Independance Day. I'm sitting with feelings that I would like to avoid but they're here. Starting new traditions and letting go of the old is hard. For all the years I can remember, I have celebrated holidays with my family of origin, and that has changed bit my bit. Now, I celebrate with the family that I originated, just the four of us and our menagerie. There is some sadness, some freedom, and some peace. I don't have the big ugly cry waiting to come out but there are sad feelings that want to permeate my consciousness.

So I sit with them. I clean. I pick up. I look after my older daughter who has mild fever. I play Words with Friends. I plan for our vacation next week that I am SO looking forward to. Maybe I will sit in my closet for a few moments of meditation. I await hubby and younger daughter to come home from church. I think I need some endorphins. I have my running shoes on and I'm hitting the treadmill. I'm feeling the feelings but moving. I have a tendency towards inaction and despair. I used food yesterday to cope, today I don't want to do that. I want my visa back. I will be gentle to myself, I will be nurturing, that is what I need most.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Pottery Lesson with Victor Frankl and Steel Magnolias thrown in.

I went out on a limb and extended an olive branch to an important person whom I use to be close to but am not anymore. We have had a cordial relationship with no bumps as of the last two years or so. The olive branch was denied and I wasn't expecting the devastation. It felt like a huge rejection and I have had many ugly cries to accept the situation as I have had to for many years now. I extended the branch on the spur of the moment for a couple of reasons, specifically as we had experienced a positive encounter last year and I thought, let's try it again. Let's make it an annual event! What was different at this time was although it felt so personal, I KNEW this time had to do more with this persons's situation than any past problems we had encountered. Although it felt like this was entirely about me, it is not AND I can see that. It doesn't make the pain any less but my understanding is clearer to help with moving forward and what action or non-action to take.

This past week, my seven year old daughter Riley went for her first pottery lesson with a person who lives down our street. The teacher used pottery lingo which I am not familiar with at all, but she said that Riley did a great job with centering (holding the forming clay as it is spinning). And that was great because it....wait for takes a lot of pressure to become centered.

What did she just say? Pottery lingo has now been interjected into my oh so personal journey of wellness!! Wow. It does take a lot of pressure to become centered. And when you are in the midst of accepting the pressure and pain, an analogy with pottery just makes so much sense. It was a most unusual experience for me to hear her say these words. It was like time stopped, and as she started describing, I knew what she was going to say was going to make complete and utter sense. The words just leapt out at me and I was rising to meet them, they melded over my body into my consciousness. It was like coming home. My new home.

Along those lines, I was reading an older blog of Geneen Roth's this morning, and she quotes the Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, who survived the Nazi concentration camps as he said “what is to give light must endure burning." I understand the fire, the pressure, the pain so much more clearly now. I had fire and pressure and pain before but now I know not to deflect it or avoid as my defense mechanisms kick in, it but to take it, whether I have to get up off the ground and stand back up again and again but to take it and accept it. AND I have experienced glimmers of the light. My mechanisms for coping are so much stronger than before. And this is the kicker, the pain, the fire will keep coming. I use to think oh, I made it through this, I made it through that, nothing else "bad" can happen. It will and it does. That is not pessimism but the reality of life. I see the joy all around me, but it is intermixed with the pain. One of my favorite movie lines is from "Steel Magnolias." (Do you see how I quoted Victor Frankl and now I will put a Dolly Parton movie quote in the SAME paragraph?? ) After an immense cathartic meltdown at the funeral of her daughter and then laughter occurs, Sally Fields character is eventually told by Dolly Parton's character, "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion." It struck me back then, and it strikes me now, so bittersweet, and so true for me too.