A happy new year…

It’s new year. A time that doesn’t equal new beginnings, it’s just a convenient time to consider new beginnings. I’m working on getting back into the swing of my self-care which is something much easier said than done. I’ve been re-reading my most favorite self-help book for maybe the 7th or 8th and I’m determined to really put into practice what’s in this book. The author talks about doing exactly what it is that would make you happy and chasing that. However, what if you don’t know what that is? I’ve heard people say ‘what did you want to be when you were a kid? That’s what you should be.’ What did I want to be as a kid? Depends on the day. Some days I wanted to be a princess, some days I wanted to be a fairy, some days I wanted to be astronaut, some days I wanted to be whatever was the cool show on television.

I guess if we want to get a real for a minute, the thing I most consistently wanted to be was a mom. I know, I know, social programming but as far back as I can remember I had a baby doll of some kind and I would carry it around, feed it, put it in its cradle at night. If I’m going to be embarrassingly truthful, I had a cheap collectors doll well into my late teens, maybe 20’s that I would sometimes wrap in a blanket and hold like a new-born when I needed to feel maternal. Maybe that’s what I’m supposed to do, be a mom. Of course, that’s something I hate to admit to people because it makes me look sad and…old-fashioned, I guess. Maybe the reason I struggle to find a career path I really want is because I just want to be a mom.

I don’t know if that’s enough though.

Most mom’s are great but I want more than that. I think that’s where being a P.A. comes in. Work a couple of shifts in a clinic or hospital during the week and then take care of my kids. Do I really want my own kids though? I mean, the worry and the stress will never end but…yeah, I guess I do really want my own kids. That’s what my gut is telling me right now. Okay, things got very real, very quick. Figuring things out is hard guys.



Ready to run…

Well, it’s official: my treadmill is the best money I’ve spent in a long time. Even though it was a headache to put together and then have to wait for an additional wire, it was worth it because I love it. I’ve been on it every morning for the last 4 days and it’s just such a nice way to start the day, even if I’m just walking at an incline. I have started using it for running. I’m still on program 1 of the pre-set weight loss workouts and this morning I did it twice which meant 16 minutes of running (2×8 minute runs at 5 mph and, yes, to some people that may just be a jog but for me it was a run and it was amazing!). I am now officially worn out. I will get on it again tomorrow but will stick with walking on a small incline so I can have some active rest.

I had an interesting moment last night. The Super NES classic edition that I have been ogling ever since it’s release in September was actually available on Amazon for it’s retail price of $79.99. It was in my cart, my credit card info was in, all I had to do was hit ‘submit the order’ and I could have had it in my living room today. Which means I would have spent the day sitting in front of the t.v., controller in hand, hunched over, probably a little drool coming out the side of my mouth. Okay, that’s how I spent a few hours today anyways but, regardless, it just didn’t feel right. I thought it was because money’s tight and, with shipping, it would’ve cost close to $100. It was something else though. As much as I do want the Super NES classic, it’s not top of my priority list. I want a punching bag. The one I’ve had my eye on for the last few weeks is $300 but the smaller version of it is only $139. I want it and I will have it after Christmas (on the off-chance someone got it for me as a gift, I doubt it but I’m erring on the side of caution). The moral of this story: I passed on getting something I really want but would just keep me planted on the couch for something else that I really want but would get me moving and make me healthier. This is significant progress people! Yay me!

‘Uh huh, I’m worth it…’

For a long time I was my own worst enemy. Seriously. The inner dialogue running through my head was awful, things I would never say to someone even if I felt they seriously wronged me. It would range from ‘you’re so ugly, who could ever love your ugly face’ to ‘you’re such a fuck up, of course you did that stupid, typical Dawn.’ Terrible things, right? That’s how my brain was wired. Several therapists have asked me whose voice is saying those things, I’m assuming to unlock the deep seeded Freudian mother issues. Don’t worry Dr. Freud, I have plenty of mother issues but it was never her voice in my head, it was always my own. I wasn’t raised in a positive household and only one time do I remember my mom being encouraging. I got a good grade on something and I was excited and said ‘I can’t believe I did it, I didn’t know I could do this!’ In her motherly, know-it-all tone she replied simply ‘well I did.’ She never said I could though, before or after that moment.

My awful inner dialogue came because it was easier to believe negative things about myself than positive because that was a majority of the messages around me. I was such a screw up, everything was my fault, I was a nuisance, I was costing too much money. I don’t remember anything positive to counter act it. My mom wasn’t a monster and I don’t mean to paint her as one especially knowing now that hurt people, hurt people. It’s just that. while we did all these fun things together there was never positive reenforcement in it, no ‘you’re so smart, you’re so funny, you look so cute.’ So, as I got older and had no evidence to the contrary, I became nastier and nastier to myself. In high school I was that really needy kid that was always fishing for compliments and talking about hurting myself so someone would say something nice to me.

I know, this is depressing, I’m sorry, here’s the good stuff…

I’m turning all that shit around. I got so used to being mean to myself that it was my comfort zone, where I would go to, mentally, to find safety. Since I’ve increased the regular self-care I’ve started doing affirmations twice a day along with practicing gratitude through out the day and reading a self-help chapter every day. I also meditate and watch a positive YouTube video, usually about the law of attraction. It is all like a breath of fresh air to my soul, especially the affirmations. Telling myself every day that I’m loved and I’m worthy and that good things are happening to me has been revitalizing. I’m becoming my own friend and it’s changing everything.

I still have bad intrusive thoughts but I’m getting better with catching them before they completely take over my psyche. When I catch one popping up I pivot to something positive, I say an affirmation or I start thinking about everything around me that I’m grateful for or I think about graduating or how happy I will be when I have my farm. I just feel good and, really, that’s all I want out of life, is to feel good because if I don’t feel good then nothing matters much.

I’m not naive, I know myself and I know that sticking to things can be a struggle for me but I pray every night to God to give me strength to stick to it and He is delivering ten fold. I’m working hard to create a new reality for myself and it’s amazing. There is still a lot I need to improve on like not letting little things upset me and knowing how to better take care of myself (i.e. avoid the hungry anger). I’m getting there though. This is significant progress and I’ve worked hard for it. I am worthy of it.

You’re my wonderwall…

Well the treadmill earned its keep today. Since I got it up and running I’ve only been using it to walk on an incline. This is partly because I’m worried that I’m too out of shape to run and also because the console wasn’t secured yet. I secured it last night and decided to do something different this morning and try out one of the pre-programmed workouts. I started with the very first one since that just seemed logical. It was a 20 minute workout with no incline at 3 mph. It was basically a mall walker pace for me but I could feel it getting my heart pumping so I stuck with it. I was surprised then when it picked it up 4 mph and then 5 which, for me, was steady jog, almost run. I held it for 10 minutes before it went back down to 4 and then 3. It felt great! My knee was sore at the beginning but then it subsided. I started a second round but I felt a side stitch coming on so I cancelled the program and walked at 3% incline for 15 minutes which was a nice ending.

I lost my mojo over the weekend. My mom and I traveled to Pennsylvania to meet up with my brother and his fiance to have our own mini Christmas. I took everything I needed but between the lack of alone time and privacy, I didn’t stick with it. Monday I was tired from the weekend and Tuesday had the momentum of apathy pushing me forward but I could feel the unhappiness of bad habits creeping in and I just can’t let that happen especially since good things are starting to occur like job interviews. So this morning, after sleeping in until the glorious hour of 8:30 a.m. (I can’t remember the last time I did that). I put my ass on the treadmill and it’s been great day ever since.

While I get back into my self-care checklist I am also working on being more grateful which is something I’ve worked on in the past but I feel like I’ve taken it to a whole other level now. I know in the past I’ve struggled to come up with just 3 things to be truly grateful and that seems completely absurd now. I look around me and there are countless things I can be grateful for: my house, my furniture, my electronics, the food in my kitchen, the sunshine, the money I’ve had to get all this with and, most importantly, the people who have worked so hard to create and make these amazing things for me. I’ve ripped my heart open to gratitude and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Upgrade U…

I thought this transition would be so easy. I thought I would flourish under the freedom of a civilian and employers would be knocking down my door to hire me, a veteran. I am humbled. If I’m going to be 100% honest, after my first big push of resumes I received leads on three possible jobs. On was teaching english to chinese kids via an online platform. I turned it down because I want to work with the VA one day and that may require a security clearance which I definitely won’t get if I have to say that I took un-taxed money from China. I also got a phone call and voicemail from a lady about a medical scribe position which would have been perfect for someone wanting to be a Physician Assistant. we played phone tag for a couple of days and I didn’t return her final call because of a lame laundry list of anxiety filled excuses. I got another phone call that I didn’t answer and they didn’t leave a voicemail. When I googled the phone number it was for another place that I had sent a resume to. I didn’t bother calling back because they didn’t leave a voicemail so obviously they didn’t want me that bad, yeah?

So, here I am…letting a couple prime possibilities pass me by and wondering why I’m not getting any responses on my resumes. I’ve still got one big pay-day, one small pay day and then a tax return before things get potentially desperate and I have to break into what retirement savings I have. My anxiety isn’t through the roof, I’m having stress dreams and I think I’m feeding off my mom’s anxiety but I’m trying to put my faith in the timing of the universe since I’m asking for that right job that’s everything I want and need.

Anyways…miracle of miracles today! I got in the new wiring for my treadmill and I now have my own person hamster wheel! I’m excited to hop on tomorrow morning and break it in while getting a much-needed endorphin boost. I’ve also been sticking to pretty closely to my self-care checklist which has been a life jacket these last few days. I’m reading this posting and things must sound kind of bleak, huh? They’re not…well they are when I think about the worst case scenario but I think I’m far from that so we’ll focus on the best case scenario because the Universe is good and I believe that It will lift me up from the ashes like it always has.

Don’t let the bastards get you down…

Tomorrow is a day that has been over eleven years in the making. Tomorrow is my last day of military service. Monday morning, I will wake up and no longer be a Technical Sergeant but a Miss or, simply, Dawn. The government collar will be off and I will no longer have to worry about shipping off for 6 months to a middle eastern desert or even back to the Korean peninsula. That is liberating. I will also no longer have a regular paycheck or health insurance. That is terrifying.

On January 10th, 2006, I was a mess. A 22-year-old kid getting on a bus who was having severe anxiety about leaving her mother because it had always been my responsibility to look after her, make sure she wasn’t alone. I completely understand the irony of the fact that I left home, left her only to come back to where I started, living under my mother’s roof. I’m not the same person I was when I stepped on that bus though. If you were to chart a line from who I was then to who I am now, it would be all over the place. It would drop to the lowest of lows to the highest of highs. When I was in basic training I was walking with a fellow trainee who gently chided for walking with a slump. ‘Put your shoulders, hold your head high, you’re in the Air Force’. I did as instructed but my slumping walk was never far away, it kept me hidden.

The Air Force made me strong. It gave me a sense of pride and it gave me a reason to get out of bed on days when I just wanted to hide from everything. The people in the Air Force became my family and friends. They cheered for me as I walked across the stage to get my associate’s degree. They comforted me after my dad died. They made me get help when I didn’t know how to ask for it. I have so many good memories that when I think about them I try to remember the bad ones too because I know there were many, many of those as well. The funny thing is though, I don’t remember the details of the bad nearly as vividly as the good. The bad is like an old film negative while the good are in HD. It almost seems silly to think that I could get so worked up about something and now, 1, 5 or 10 years later not even remember the specifics of it. It just goes to show that you shouldn’t let the little shit get you down, because you probably won’t remember it anyway.

And the beat goes on…

My treadmill arrived as late as possible on Monday. All day I was like a kid on Christmas morning, just waiting to get the box that had the puppy. It arrived and it was huge! Any thought I had of putting it together that night were dashed when I realized I couldn’t lift the 100+lb base out of the box without help. The next day, the guy next door came over to help me. He left after the heavy lifting and proceeded to put the beast together. I tightened the last of the screws, plugged it in…and nothing. It didn’t work. I was furious.

The next day I called the manufacturer and they did some trouble shooting with me on the phone and determined that it must be a bad wire so they were going to send me a new one. I’m still a little disappointed that I don’t have a working treadmill to get on first thing in the morning but, hopefully, this wire will fix it. In the mean time, I’m doing small workouts in the morning to help me get going, with the help of a thermogenic. However, rather than taking three pills before breakfast and in the afternoon (per the directions) I just take one before I work out and it gets me moving. So far so good.

I’ve also built a daily self-care checklist for myself to help keep myself on track since I’ve lost almost all structure in my day. I used said checklist on Wednesday and felt great. I didn’t use it yesterday, because I was cranky, and didn’t feel great. I’ve been using it today and I’m having another great day. This may not fix everything but it’s definitely a step in the right direction!