Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gerald the Giraffe

January 18, 2017

Tonight after coming home from daycare and watching "a snowman," Mr Z actually said "no" to watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse... which is a miracle in itself. It was too early for bed time and it was bath night, so I brought him up early to hop in the tub with his other favorites, Nemo and Dory. After we ran around and chased each other all over my second floor while the tub filled up, he took a long (and bubble filled) tub.

Its really one of my favorite times of the day. I take him out of the bath, we giggle while I kiss his little feets and tell them they are "my feet." He is all warm and snuggly and smells like Johnson Bubble Stuff... his eyelashes are still a little damp and hes sleepy in his eye after a fun energy filled day. We lay together in his bed (the twin bed in his room), he makes sure he is positioned just right in the bed with his head on his pillow as tight to my side as he can be... legs crossed (always) and we read books. Sometimes he reads along with me when he knows the book... its awesome.

The last book of the night is always The Little Blue Truck, at the end of that one, he says "night night truck" and he gives kisses and hugs and I put him in the crib. However, tonight I decided, since I had a little extra time, to read him another of my favorites, "Giraffes Cant Dance." My cousin Melis gave this book to me and "The Little Monster" at my baby shower, there is a hand written note inside the front cover telling him that there is "always time to dance!" It makes me smile every time I look at it.

The book is about a Giraffe named Gerald who "cant dance." He is embarrassed, at a party,  in front of all the jungle friends who of course, can dance. They make fun of him and he leaves the party. In the woods he talks to a cricket who teaches him a lesson and the next thing you know, he is dancing... and one of the BEST dancers around! He is soon surrounded by all of the animals in the jungle asking him how he did it... in the end he explains that anyone can dance... they just need to find the right song.

When Gerald talks to the cricket in the woods is where one of my favorite lines occurs... "sometimes when your different, you just need a different song." This phrase brings me right back to when I was a little girl and my mom sat me down to pep talk me when "the popular" girls made fun of me, I didnt feel like I belonged anywhere. It makes me think of every moment since when I have felt insecure or unsure of myself in any situation or when trying something new... it reminds me of the struggle of trying to "fit in" when really, you dont have to fit in, you just have to "be you" and that should be enough. If people dont like you, thats ok too... they dont have to.

I hope to teach my son that its ok to be different. That being different is what makes you awesome. That he should always stand up for himself, be brave and be the best he can be. Some days will be sad, some days will be harder than others, some days will feel like nothing will go his way... but... If I can teach him what my Mom and Dad instilled in me, that He is amazing, He can do anything he puts his mind to and He can be anything he wants to be... then I will be doing alright!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

When it Rains... It Pours

January 17, 2017

When it rains... it pours...
Misfortunes or difficult situations tend to follow each other in rapid succession or to arrive all at the same time.
Yeah, that sounds about right... it sums up the last 5 days of my life. Its funny how things seem to happen that way. It really feels like a common occurrence for me. Its the reason why I have such a hard time looking a the "bright" side and being optimistic. I am constantly looking for the giant bomb that is going to drop on me... then burst into flames... the sink into the ocean... then get eaten by a whale...

I hate that I am that way. I hate that once things start to spiral, I feel like I cant get out of my own way then suddenly there are now 5,000 things "wrong." Certainly makes me feel like throwing in the towel and hiding in my bed with a bag of chewy sprees crying my eyes out.

In reality. I would never, could never, do those things... rather, I stand tall and face whatever it is that is happening with my feathers ruffled and feet planted in the ground. My little guy has made it even more clear to me that facing these obstacles head on, is the way to go. Nothing can get in my way and really... each "thing" that happens is just that... an obstacle... an obstacle in the giant race of life that we are all racing to the finish line of. Why? Im not sure. Maybe we should all slow down and take it all in... might make the road a little more enjoyable.

The most important thing to me in my life is that my child is happy. In order for him to be happy, I have to be happy. I have to be happy at work, at the gym, at home... not "sing songs" and "rainbows and butterflies" happy all the time, because that is just not logical. However, overall, general happiness with the choices I have made, and continue to make, the things that I do and the perspective I have on things... those are what assures I am happy. My happiness will translate into his happiness. You cant fake that. Hes almost 2. I dont need to tell him that I am happy, he has to FEEL that I am happy.

When the rain starts to fall... I look at his sweet face... then, even as the rain increases and it begins to pour... I remember, I am his Mama. I am the world to him right now. I help influence his every minute. He can feel my pain, my sadness... turn it around. Smile at those little brown eyes as he asks "Mama, you comin'" and show him the best possible life he can have.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What Scares You?

January 11, 2017

I love this. I love the feeling that I get right before I do something that "scares" me. The uncomfortable jostle of my stomach. The feeling of my heart beating a little faster. The hair standing up on my neck and arms. That moment when I close my eyes, take a deep breath and then approach whatever it is I have to do. The uncertainty. Its refreshing to me. It reminds me that life is for living and shouldn't be boring and predictable. That not everything comes easy. Reward takes risk, with risk, you get reward. Kind of amazing.

As we get older we sort of land somewhere in the world of "everyday life." We do the things we do the way we do them... because that is how we have always done them. I fold my clothes a certain way because I worked in retail for a lot of years and it just comes natural to do it that way. I do my laundry a certain way, because that is how I was taught, might not be the same way you were taught... but in the end its the same result. We take the same roads to get from A to B (both physically and hypothetically) because its a "risk" to do it any other way. We are comfortable with the way we have "always" done something.

By "scary," I'm not talking about walking on a tight rope or jumping out of an airplane (however, if faced with those two things I would probably do them)... I'm talking about simply doing something that makes you question just for a split second, if you know what you are doing... Maybe its something you've never done before, talk to a client, present an idea that is outside the box, lift a weight that you've never attempted, take a country western dance class when you haven't danced in years, take a new way home, wear your hair in a different way than usual... hell, buy a pair of skinny jeans... just do SOMETHING that keeps life interesting, fun and moving forward.

Risk the failure. Risk the embarrassment. Face the uncomfortable. Feel the pride when you succeed.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Good Morning

January 10, 2017

Geepers, I found myself at the end of last year suddenly accidentally dating things 2015... and this morning I typed 2018. Slow down time... haha! I am certainly not ready for it to be 2018, we just got 2017 off and running.

I stopped blogging way back when, because I felt like everything I needed to say, I had already said. I didnt want to repeat myself, be a broken record or bore anyone (not that I really know if people read this anyway). Over time, I would see something and think, "I could write about that." However, I didnt have the time or the mindset to get back into blogging. Now, today, I saw something and it hit me. I needed to write about it and if its a repeat, youve heard it from me before... or whatever... I am sorry. Though Id be impressed if there is someone out there (aside from my mom <--- HI MOM) who reads my posts every day.

So, here we go. I saw this this morning.

It hit me. It hit me right in a place I needed to be hit. Over the last few years, especially since I have become a mom, I have consciously been working on facing every day as a new day. I try to go to bed and shed the days bullshit, let anything that is bothering me go. It is the only way to get a good nights sleep. When I talked to someone about how to do this, three or so years ago, they told me to lay on my back in "corpse pose." This is a yoga pose where you just lay flat on your back, arms to your sides, palms up, head neutral, and take long deep breaths. I do this on nights that I am feeling tense or frustrated about something. Sometimes it works... I might even fall asleep like that. Others, I have to roll to my side to sleep. Either way, I can usually ground myself, rid my brain of the crap from the day and get ready to start the next day.

Funny how much our actions, mood and attitude affect other people. Each day, if I start new and let the day unfold, I feel like I am much more likely to have a "good" day than bad. That is not at all to say that by 6:00am... after I trip down the stairs, endure -3 degree weather or have to clear snow off my car... or by 7:00am have had a shitty workout and forget my bra and underwear for after my shower... or just been up all night tossing and turning... cant happen. I just have to be strong enough to turn it around and know that all of these things are so very small in the grand scheme of the day and life in general.

So, take a que from the note above. Dont be a shitty person today. Understand that you have no idea what is going on in anyone else's life at any given moment. The guy that just cut you off might be headed home from work in a rush because his kid is sick. The woman in line in front of you at he grocery store who is moving at a snails pace might have just been diagnosed with breast cancer. A person you work with may be in a horrible mood because they just found out their health insurance is going up and they dont know if they can afford it. Maybe someone had a miscarriage, or someone knows someone who died, has a addiction... or any of the million other things in the world that can happen to someone and if you were that person, you would be doing the same thing.

Remember, the smile that you glance at someone and give, the "good morning" you toss out or the joke you tell... it might make a difference in someones little world. Dont be a shitty person today.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Life Lessons from a Toddler

January 9, 2017

My son Z. He amazes me every single day. The way that he looks at things, the way he smiles at things, the way he tries to figure out how things work or why they are doing whatever they are doing… He is constantly learning. Every day new words and phrases like “have a good weekend” and “mommy wake up” come pouring out like they have been trapped in there waiting for the perfect moment to make us laugh. There were days where I thought he would never roll over or crawl… and now he is a running, jumping, climbing machine! I have absolutely loved every single moment of these last 22 months as “Z’s Mama” and wouldn’t change it for the world.

One year ago today, my 10 month old started swim lessons. We signed up for a parent/infant class and had no idea what to expect. My goal is to assure that he is safe around a body of water, as I 150% feel that all kids should know how to swim at least enough to stay safe in the case of an emergency. I do not want him afraid of the water. I grew up with a swimming pool in my back yard. I learned how to swim at a young age and while I am not winning any metals at the Olympics, I was able to pass a lifeguard level swim test at girl scouts when I was 13 and I can certainly hold my own in a body of water. Z took to the water instantly and loved “swimming” with me and singing songs and splashing about with the other infants.

This is us at Z's first lesson 1 year ago. 

As with everything in life, time is flying by quickly. My 10 month old is now 22 months. He has since “graduated” to the parent/tot class and proclaims, “going swimmin” when I put him in his suit.  He shouts “the poooooool” as we drive up to MWCC on Saturday mornings. I am no longer wrangling a slippery infant after class, but a little boy is quickly emerging before my eyes. However, he is a toddler, he is curious, he is unpredictable, you never know if he will want to play with whatever it is that is presented that day or if he is going to just want to ask for the ball (that Mr D hands out at the end of class) for the entire 30 minutes. It’s a crap shoot. However, its one bet I am willing to take week after week to assure he learns how to swim.

This Saturday morning will hold a special place in my memories. You see, we haven’t been to swimming in about a month. The last class of the last session was canceled due to snow, than we had Christmas and NYE fall the following 2 weekends. We arrived, got changed and headed to the deck as usual. He sat like a big boy as we waited our turn to get into the pool as other kids were pulling their parents to the edge. I got in the pool and told him he had to “safety slide” into the pool like we have been practicing week after week. He sat on the deck, put his hands to the side of him and slid right in like a pro. He laughed as he splashed me and Mr D showed us the barbell we were using for class. Then he reached for it while it was in his hands. Mr D took a que from that and grabbed his hands and I let go. I watched my little man kick his little feet and get pulled around with his arms over the barbell. As Mr D spun him around to see that I was not holding him and his face lit up with a huge smile as if to say “Im doing it Mama!” my heart melted. He is such an inspiration to me. He was so proud of himself… and so was I.

We spent the rest of the class kicking and swimming with the barbell. Then we practiced climbing out by himself and safety sliding in. Once we did that a few times I let him do a few of his favorite jumps from the edge. He stands all by himself and we say “one, two, three… JUMP” and he jumps off the edge into my hands!! Such a big boy!!

The whole experience makes me look at things that are going on in my own life and put them into perspective. My boy, my 22 month old boy can take weeks off from swimming and then just face the challenge like a champ. He jumps right back in and shows confidence and drive… then the pride that he has from “doing it…” even if its not perfect, even if he takes a few guzzles of pool water… or jumps on 3 rather than when I say jump… he is still doing it… he is so awesome. I can only hope he continues to have that trait for the rest of his life. That he keeps on dreaming, keeps on setting goals and keeps on fighting for what he wants. One thing is for sure, Mama will ALWAYS be in his corner.

Sunday I competed in my first solo comp since October 2013. Since then, there have been quite a few pairs competitions, same sex and male/female as well as regionals and even a threesome. For some reason, I just didn’t feel the “need” to get out there on my own. After having Z, I have competed with Hubs in male/female pairs, then SH in a same sex pairs, than again with WS in a male/female pairs… it was time to get out there, get back on the horse and compete alone. After signed up, I cannot lie. I had some anxiety about competing alone. There is no one to rely on, there is no one to help. When the workouts get released, its all on me to lay everything I have on the table and do what I can. Alone. Did I think about withdrawing… yes. I did.

When workouts are released for a comp there is always a moment of doubt. You have no idea what they are going to be. You also don’t know how many there are going to be, what the time caps are, what the competition is going to be like, what the conditions will be like or how you are doing to be feeling that day. You don’t know if they will announce a workout then have to change it at the last minute. You don’t know if there will be finals, or how many people will make finals, or if everyone will do four workouts. However, it is important to remember that everyone is facing the same exact conditions you are. There is no “luck” involved. One workout might be in your wheelhouse, and another in someone else’s. That’s the beauty of crossfit. I might feel more confident in a workout that dosent involve a pullup bar or running, but because there is none of that in a workout does not make me lucky… Likewise, if another athlete has a 3:00 Fran… and Fran is the workout, she didn’t get “lucky” that it was programmed, she has that time because she works hard and is efficient and amazing at those skills.

I had my ups and my downs of the day. Had my #1 cheerleader in my corner with me who dragged her ass out of bed at the crack of dawn to drive to Revere. I kept thing all day long of my little guy. How he got in that pool and got pulled around by someone other than me… kicked his feet and had a big confident smile. After a disappointing first workout, I had to pull myself up. I had to work 10X harder and prove to myself that I could do this. I was there to lay it all on the line. Get.It.Done. And that’s what I did. I worked hard, I pulled the confidence that I was a strong competitor from somewhere within. The clock started for the remaining 3 workouts and I left everything I had right there in front of me. I needed this.

The end of the day, I stood on the podium, for the first time as an individual competitor. The box I was standing on was for me. The metal, the handshake, the “swag bag” and most importantly… the pride. Its mine. I didn’t have to share it today. 

...and guess what. Luck had nothing to do with it. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Everything is Going to be Alright.

January 6, 2017

Everything going to be alright. 

I am a worrier. I worry about all sorts of things. Rational things, irrational things... you name it. I realize that it adds stress to my life that is often unnecessary, as worrying is really a waste of energy. Things in life are going to happen. They are going to happen exactly as they are, whether I worry about them or not. I feel like sometimes, my anxiety is heightened by life experiences. Most of the time, things dont happen to me "gently." Good or bad. So, in my brain, I just think the worst sometimes... and feel like if something is going to happen, its going to be traumatic. Im all for "got big or go home" but not in that sense. Psychologically, I have the worse case scenario playing in my head pretty quickly, then my anxiety skyrockets and I am off the charts. Good times... I understand people dont want to be around me when this happens. 

I am trying to work on this. I am trying to rationalize my thoughts and not waste energy on worrying about things that are out of my control. I am trying to take any situation and understand that really, in the grand scheme of things, more often than not, its not THAT bad. There is a solution... and as Dory says in her new "Finding Dory" movie... "There is always another way." <--- clearly I watch WAY too much Pixar. 

Realizing, that I really create more stress for myself if I worry... and consciously not worrying, is not easy! Its a behavior that will take a long time for me to change. I also realize, that I am a mother. That I will worry about my son, if he is sick, if I am doing the right thing, where he is, what he needs, is he happy... for the rest of my life, but I think I can do it in a much healthier manner without jumping to the furthest extreme. 

Having a plan helps. That "white picket fence" that I talked about yesterday. That is going to help me to make this change in my life. If I have a goal and a plan that I can stick to... it will take some of the extra stress away. The worry about money, where are we going to live if we move, will we move, do we want to expand our family? While that plan might falter at times, I can not worry that it will, I have to be confident in our plan and reach for the goal at the end. 

The other things... well, I just have to stop. I have to put an effort forward to not worry about things out of my control. I have to step away from Dr. Google and all the misc information on the web that tells me how many hours my kid should be sleeping at night or what he should be eating... I have to let life unfold and remember that things are just things... that I am more than those things. That I dont have to check that I unplugged blow drier three times before I leave the house... or drive back to my house because even though I know I locked the front door, I might not have... and I should just check. Basically, I have to stop creating more things to worry about, by worrying about things... 

Everything is going to be alright. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Roots of Power

January 5, 2017

One of the articles I was reading in regards to "minimizing" things in your home, talked about starting at the bottom and working up. If you clean your basement first, when you clean out the kitchen, a closet or a bedroom upstairs, you arent going to want to dump the pile of things you arent sure of into your basement, it will be way to clean and organized for that. You will have to make a choice what to do with the items at the exact moment you pick them up. "Do I want this?" "Do I need this?" "Where can I store this?"

I really like this thought process and I am certainly going to use it in my quest to minimize my belongings. I am however in a time crunch to get everything out of my basement so the process might be driven by the fact that I am going to pay for a storage unit until I have a place to put things. Pretty sure thats the only way this is going to happen, as it is going to take a while to dig through it all. Maybe if I bring it back piece by piece and make hard decisions as to where I can store things once I see how much storage space I actually have... it will be easier. Maybe I am just fooling myself, but I am sure that I will not want to pay into a unit for any longer than I have to.

If you think about it. This can be a process that can be applied to a lot of things in life, not just cleaning your house. Right away, I think of the basement as the "root" of the problem. So if the root is healthy, the rest of the tree is going to be pretty well nourished.

I have been through some pretty tough times in my life. No, to some, the things I have been through might not even scratch the surface, but others can sympathize. I was/am lucky enough to have very supportive and strong parents as well as other roll models in my life to help me get through these times. They act as the "roots" to my life. They nourish my mind to help me keep healthy and strong. I can sympathize with someone who has gone through a tragedy (or multiple) in their lives. I know what it feels like, I know the burn, the pain, the fear. Its terrible. However, I made a choice. The choice to stay rooted, to stay strong and to keep nourished.

I can not say that my life is all roses. I am not an easy person to live with or rationalize with. I have a strong head... and maybe, just maybe thats why my roots have stayed strong.  I have melt downs. I have anxiety. I am human.

There are some people in this world who are not as lucky. Their roots are not as strong. No matter how many times they are nourished, they can not stay grounded. It is so unbelievably hard for me to comprehend... but it really makes me think about how lucky I am, that even in my darkest of times... I can still see the light. I personally, have never been clinically depressed... nor have I had an addiction. However, I have been surrounded by it my whole life.

In the last two days I have learned of two deaths that really hit home with me. A very good friend of mine had a lifelong friend commit suicide. The "life of the party" the "fun guy" with "so many friends," decided that it was time to end his own life. It makes me to sad to think how much he hurt inside to have done this to himself. That his roots were so weak that he didnt know what to do anymore or how to restore them, not by anyone's fault, including his own. He couldnt see that his friends and family all thought the world of him and loved him.

Another, a young woman, a mom, a sister, who just like me lost her big brother tragically at a young age, taken by addiction. No matter how hard she tried, she couldnt get those roots to dig into the ground so they could keep her healthy and strong. She was sick. She suffered from an addiction that made her feel good and made the burn, the pain and the fear go away. This is just such a tragedy for her children, her parents and her remaining living brother. My hear aches for them. I pray for their whole family and those children... that their roots stay strong and they are able to overcome such a difficult disease to understand.

I deal with depression in my life daily with more than one person. It is so hard to understand from the outside. It is so hard to bring back life to roots that have been damaged, but I really in my heart of hearts, feel like the person to whom these roots are connected to has the power somewhere within to make a choice. If they can get the help they need and not succumb and let it slowly bring them down they have a chance to grow stronger, healthier and live a long life.

Please, help someone, anyone you know who has an addition or you think they are suicidal... help them reestablish their roots...
Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 800 273 8255
American Addiction Hotline - 877 743 1468