Monday, June 13, 2016

Day 6: Our Worthiness

Day 6 Challenge: Read at a Cafe

This shouldn't be that hard right? I was grateful at something simple. It's hard going deep within oneself. Exhausting.

Now all I had to do was find the time! This was supposed to happen on Saturday but Saturday was, well, not a good day and yet an awesome day. It's not a day that I want to divulge the information about but what I can say about my Saturday is that I took charge of my life. I made a hard decision and I stuck to it. I made the world know I was serious and to be taken seriously. I'm done being used. I'm done being walked over. I'm done being controlled.

I asked my Mom to join me for my 'me' time. We headed off to our nearest Starbucks (no cafes really nearby). It was a gorgeously sunny day so I sat outside, sipped my drink and dove back into Brene Brown's Rising Strong. I love Brene, I wish I could be Brene. This book resonates with me. I gets me. It pushes me.

 I believe that when you are open to receiving them, the universe will speak to you. Signs are there, it's just whether or not we choose (or are ready to) receive them. I opened my book and laughed out loud not caring that I was around others.

"The most dangerous stories we make up are those narratives that diminish our inherent worthiness. We must reclaim the truth about our loveability, divinity and creativity." -Brene Brown

Heck yes Brene, I do need to. Message received!

Challenge Day 5: The Un's

Day 5 Challenge: 
Watch the Sarah's Next Video, Causes of Emotional Eating

This video got to me. Hard. I bawled and bawled. Sarah took a look deep within my soul and then proceeded to show it to me. 

The part that hit the hardest was when she urged us to go and nurture our romantic relationships. I was already crying and this just made me cry all the harder. I don't have a romantic relationship. For the first time in 16 years I'm standing alone. Just me. I don't know what my identity is. Who am I? Alone.

Unloved. Unwanted. Unworthy.

How could Sarah be so mean? She must know some of us are single. Doesn't she realize that I've just had my life and my heart ripped to shreds by the man that claimed to love me until death? Doesn't she know that it means I'm unlovable? That I'm destined to be alone. I'm never going to be enough?

The thing that hit me the hardest was when Sarah told us we needed to forgive ourselves. Forgive myself? For what? For never being enough? Pssht! We are supposed to do things now, stop waiting for the weight. Stop thinking we'll be so much happier if we just lose weight. We'll be more successful. We'll be more attractive. All things I've thought of time and time again. I hear her words and I know they are the truth but I don't want to have to believe them. How could I be happy now in this body? I'm not enough remember?

For further penance, I spent the afternoon in the company of the man that crushed me as I'm supposed to be cordial in my own home when he is present. That is NOT an easy task. He says things to cut me to the bone and he knows it. He's not been happy for 16 years. He's finally found happiness now that he's free of me, blah blah blah...I must truly be an awful and disgusting person. 

I finally got the brains to pull myself free and went with my Mom to tackle challenge 6 since I was behind on my challenges. 

After putting the kids to bed tonight I knew I needed to breathe. I've come to crave my alone time when I am putting my feet to the pavement. The rhythm of walking is contagious. I put on my runners and took off down the path. 

Terrible negative thoughts crowding in my head. Around and around about how Unlovable I am. Unwanted. Ugly. Unworthy.

Slowly as I got further along Sarah's voice crept into my head. Forgiveness. Forgive myself. I started to cry, tears streaming down my face as I walked harder and harder. Love myself. Forgive myself. Such hard challenges to do.

I realized the truth behind it all. I needed to forgive myself for the past two years. Two wasted years that I could have been finding me. Two years with a man that never had my best interests in mind, never. Two more years when I could have, and definitely should have, ended it at 14 years, not 16. I forgave myself for being a 'fixer', for trying to mend a marriage that was beyond broken to begin with. I forgave myself for those wasted two years. I forgave myself for trying. I tried and I failed. Or did I? Wasn't I on my way to happiness? Wasn't I on my way to finding me for the first time in 16 years?

The further I walked the more I talked in my head about forgiveness. I started repeating over and over in my head, 'I forgive you' and 'I forgive you for...'. I felt lighter, I felt a sense of calmness come over me and I finally whispered out loud, 'I forgive you'. I realized that I tried everything that I could to make my marriage work. I tried to save my family. I tried to save my kids from a broken home. But not once did I think of trying to save myself. How could I not have thought of what this was doing to me? How it was shaping me and draining me. I knew in my head that it was slowly killing me. I knew that I was with a man that I had no trust in. I knew that I was in a situation that was unhealthy. But not once did I think of trying to save myself. Put everyone else first. Help everyone else. Believe over and over again I'd find that man that I lost two years ago. 

Save. Myself. Save Myself. 

Part of me finally was able to let go tonight. It wasn't easy but it was rewarding. One step after another. Forward. To Me.

I choose Me. 

I will save Me. 

Most of all, I forgive Me.

Day 4 Pampering? Ugh.

Day 4 Challenge: Take a Bath and Pamper Oneself

I woke up today feeling awful. Not sick, just awful. I didn't want to get out of bed, I wanted to hide away and just be. I'm not sure what happened between going to bed the night before on my lipstick high to then but that's how I awoke. This roller coaster of emotions I'm on is hell. I realize that I have to go through all of the stages of grief for a life that I thought I had but it still sucks. I get bounced back and forth between anger (oh how I'm angry) and despair sometimes within a matter of minutes.

My fellow Challenge sisters urged me to get going and put the red lippy (as my British friends say), back on but I just couldn't do it. Who was I to think that I could possibly be attractive? Who was I to think that I could ever be wanted for myself? Who was I to think that I'd ever find happiness in myself if I couldn't find happiness in the world around me? Why would anyone want me??

My whole day dragged. I spent a lovely day pretty much full of self hatred. It was capped off by yet another day of anger filled texts back and forth with my ex husband. I was more angry with myself for letting him get to me. Again. And. Again.Who knows your weakest most vulnerable spots other than your ex? Nobody.

I forced myself to drive to the store and look at something for the bath that I had to take. I was grumpy about having to pamper myself. Seriously grumpy. I was trying to figure out what to do to pamper myself when it hit me. I don't know how to pamper myself. I don't even know what I like! How very sad is that??

I need a pedicure something awful but I just can't justify the expense so I looked over the foot stuff but nope, didn't do it for me. Too much damn work. I did however find some wonderful lavender bath salts and was happy with that find. 

The reality of this challenge day was that I really don't know how to care for myself anymore. I'm so used to caring for others that to tend to myself is foreign to me. I need to not only find myself but I also need to figure out what makes me happy. I'm so used to pleasing others that I don't even know what I like anymore. It saddens me. I'm used to my role as a caregiver and I'm comfortable in that role. Taking care of me? It feels selfish and awkward which is really ridiculous. 

Hello me, I'm here to take care of you from now on. No one else is going to do it so you better get used to it! 

Wine? Check. 

Good book? Check. 

Bath salts? Check. 

Okay folks, I'm going in. Wish me luck!

Okay Sarah Jenks! Message received painfully loud and clear!!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Day 3 Rocking the Red

Day 3 Challenge: Red Lipstick Day

This day wasn't at all a stretch for me, I looked forward to it. I don't often wear red lipstick at all but when I do I tend to feel an odd sense of self. How can one small tube have such an effect? Red lipstick makes me feel powerful. Beautiful.

I took my time to get ready and dressed in something I felt appealing in as well. What else does a woman do when she wants to feel confident and sexy? She puts on her red underwear to match her lipstick! I never think of wearing nice underwear for myself. How sad is that. The reality of it is that we should ONLY wear nice underwear for ourselves! Who cares if someone else sees it? If it makes us feel good and sexy why the hell not?

I donned my red lipstick and walked downstairs. The first person I saw was my Mom who said....she hated it! I just laughed. Her honesty didn't bother me in the least because she would never dream of putting such a colour on herself. I have often befuddled my Mom with some of my fashion choices so why stop now in my 40's? 

I felt attractive, I felt happy and I felt like a million bucks and people noticed. I've had a few times in my life where I've felt truly confident and attractive but when I do it seems as though the world around me notices. Confidence is a powerful thing to watch and an even more powerful thing to have.

Confidence begets a feeling of happiness in me that I don't often find but I'm sure as heck going to go looking for it more often now. 

I was laughing with some of the other women on this challenge when they asked what I was up to for the day. My day existed of running around and my yearly mammogram. I joked that every woman should don red lipstick for their mammogram and go into it feeling powerful!

As it was the mammogram tech was wonderful and kind and put me right at ease. It had actually been a few years since my last exam so I was feeling guilty about it. When you have a Mother that has had two types of breast cancer, one shouldn't mess around with their tatas!

I laughed and told the tech about my challenge and why I was wearing the red. She told me that she thought I looked so great when I walked right in and thought to herself that she wished she could carry off a colour like that. She went on to tell me that I suited me very well and that I should even go brighter next time! What a compliment. 

I laughed the hardest though when my ex husband came to the house after work that day and his comment was, 'Well someone obviously had a lunch date today!' The concept that I would do something so wonderful for ME was not one that would even cross his mind. I just smiled demurely and didn't answer. Compliment received.

Generally I'm not one to draw attention to myself, basically the opposite. I'm never good enough, remember?? I was so thankful to Sarah for the challenge and taking me out of my comfort zone. I got seen and it wasn't awful. I got more smiles from people because I was smiling! 

So Mom's opinion aside, I'm feeling like I rocked this one Sarah!! 

Day 2 Love Thyself

Day #2 Challenge: Watch Sarah's First Video

In Sarah's first video she talked a lot about how we view our bodies and how we can get trapped in our 'body jails'. I have had a love/ hate relationship with my body for longer than I can remember. 

I remember starting to gain weight right around grade 5 (hormones anyone?), and I couldn't understand it. Was I active? Yes. Was I just a regular kid? Yes as well. I look back now and I'm certain that is when I started feeling so different. My sisters weren't gaining weight, why was I? 

It's never fun being the 'fat kid', in fact it is painful beyond belief. I wasn't able to put to words then what I felt but looking back now I think of how lonely I felt. I was surrounded by awesome friends but that didn't mean I felt whole.

I even went so far as to join a weight loss group with my Mom when I was in gr.6 and I can remember going to the doctor beforehand to talk about it and he weighed me...102 lbs. I was SO ashamed. I was over 100 lbs. The doctor told me to simply stop gaining weight and it would all even out...okay?? What the heck did that even mean?? The weight loss group focused on calories...what friggin 11 yr old wants to count calories???

My weight has fluctuated over the years and I always swore I'd get it under control...and then something would happen and I'd emotionally eat and the cycle would start again. Lose weight, not be able to cope, eat, gain, repeat.

Being a very emotionally driven person made it very hard at times to be able to cope. I am an emotional eater through and through. Emotional eating never once filled that void in me nor did it ever quiet that voice that LOVES to tell me that I'm never enough. I'm not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not kind enough, yadda yadda! That's just it. I've never been enough...for myself. 

I always thought that if I were loved unconditionally then I'd be able to love myself. Nope. I did seize my life just over two years ago and started exercising and losing weight with the help of Isagenix. I loved the program and I found it easy to use. I felt the best about myself then I have in years...and then my life literally crashed and burned in front of me. The life I thought I had? It didn't exist. Betrayal and hurt consumed me and I immediately stopped loving myself. Why after almost a 50 lb weight loss the man that I loved with all my heart could hurt me so deeply was beyond my realm of thinking. If he couldn't even love me then how in the heck was I supposed to believe that I could love myself any longer. I.was.not.enough...

Do you know it has now taken me two years, TWO bloody years to finally get back to trying to find myself again? I put myself through two more years of torture, heartache and betrayal. Two more years of self loathing and pain. Two years until I finally figured out that, wait, I'm not the one with the problem, HE is. 

Sarah's video was inspiring to put it mildly. I can't say that I'm there yet as far as loving oneself would go but I'm sure as shit on my way!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Day One: No More Rear View Mirrors


Day 1: Buy yourself flowers, make a beautiful bouquet

Here we are, day one of Sarah Jenks Live More Challenge and I'm trying to jump into this head first. It's been two years since I've written. Two years of stagnation and just an overwhelming feeling of not having any control of my life and my purpose. I saw the link on Facebook and thanked the universe for sending me such a clear message to join. Things seem to come when you really need them most and I'm now trying to keep my eyes wide open. 

Is it fate that it's come right close to my two year anniversary of my life falling to shreds around me? Hmm. I think not. I've been battered and I've been bruised and it's now time to start cutting the ties and finding 'Me' again. 

How is it so easy to lose yourself? Who you are? I have this spirit inside of me that doesn't match the current body it is in or the current outlook on life of that body. We get so caught up in our jobs, our children and such and start to simply identify as so and so's Mom etc. When are we just us? I've now been a medical Mom for over four years and so much of myself has been simply 'B's Mom' at the Alberta Children's Hospital. I've fought more battles in this role then I ever thought I could possibly find the strength to. I've worn more hats in this time as 'experts' on subjects that I never would have associated myself with years ago. 

I'm worn out. I'm torn down. Honestly? I'm just really bloody tired.

So Me. Where are you? How is it you became so entrenched in everyone else but your own identity?

Today's challenge was to go out and purchase flowers, arrange them and enjoy. I had a typical day in my life right now, a huge fight with my now ex husband as we are navigating this lovely 'separated' life. Needless to say it brings out a lovely amount of frustration in both of us. I felt so defeated and lost most of the day. It is so painful when only a few small words uttered can alter your entire day. It was a day that I only wanted to hide in bed after laying awake and crying most of the previous night (I may be bouncing through the grief cycle between despair and anger!). I did finally get some sleep in the early morning but then realized that the day needed to start. I'm still recovering from surgery (two in the past few months) so my blessed Mother got the big kids off to school.

The day itself passed, as it usually does with much to do and never enough time. I forgot about the challenge in the midst of my self pity and being 'Mom' when I realized that at 10 pm tonight I'd forgotten what I'd signed up for...ME. 

There was no time left to run out and buy flowers let alone arrange them. I was feeling more than a little annoyed that I'd already failed the first challenge when I looked up. I saw the gorgeous cutting off my rose bush that I purchased this year and realized that I did in fact have my flowers! It may not be following the challenge to a 't' but I think many things are open to interpretation right? I did in fact pick out the bush and purchase it for me. I bought it for the very reason in front of me, it's beauty. Roses always remind me of my Grandmother and they always bring a smile to my face. 

So here we are, already actually into day two by a few hours, but I did complete my first challenge. I took my first steps to becoming Me, to finding that woman inside that's been stuffed so far down that it may take all 30 days to find her. I'm feeling a sense of motivation and a sense of energy that I've not felt in a very long time.

Tomorrow is yet another day, another beginning. Butterflies have been showing up everywhere in my life lately. I'm taking it as a sign that this girl's cocoon is breaking open and maybe one day I will once again find that I am free.