She dreams in color…

This is my dog, Dora.

Doras begging face

She’s the best girl. My most favorite dog in the world. When she was a puppy I read that it was important to wear her out mentally just as much as physically. I didn’t understand this. How do you wear a dog out mentally? The books said to teach her new tricks and give her toys that would make her think, like treat balls. I still didn’t get it and I tried to wear her out with walks and playing, some days it worked better than others.

Now, almost 5 years later, I fully grasp what the puppy books and websites were trying to tell me. Using your brain for learning can be equal parts exhausting and exciting. Don’t worry, Dora turned out just fine despite my lack of understanding of puppy rearing. She’s incredibly well-behaved and very smart, dare I say, too smart. I swear she manipulates me regularly to get what she wants. She’s a good girl though so maybe I’m just a pushover.

In case you can’t tell, I’m a crazy dog person and it keeps getting me off track.

I had almost 5 hours of school today. The class was human anatomy and I thought I’d be smart and take an all day Sunday class rather than have to take 2 lectures with 2 labs during the week. I still think this was the right choice for me but by the end of, close to, 3 hours of lecturing, my brain felt like jello. What makes it worse, I started having serious high school flashbacks. The instructor was going on about cells and their structures and what they do and the bigger purpose they serve and another 10 minutes would’ve had me with my head down and a drool string hanging out of my mouth.

In high school I did terrible in science and math. The only thing I remember about high school biology is that I made a cake and used various sugary candies to represent part of the cell. For the mitochondria in the cell, I used sour gummy worms. That’s all I remember about biology, the mitochondria are sour gummy worms. If I were to go around saying that to people they would probably take away my admission to this school. “Yes, the mitochondria, also known as the sour gummy worm of the cell, really is a powerhouse.”

Man, I am all over the place. Let me wrap this up before I hit another ‘squirrel’ diatribe. Learning is fun, my brain is full and tired in the best way possible. All the parts of my brain that were previously dedicated to Kardashian pregnancies and replaying embarrassing life moments from 20 years ago, are now being put to better use. Yay!

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This is me…

I’ve been trying to come up with a new name for myself here. I’m not the introverted runner anymore because I only run when my knee lets me and even then, it’s just treadmill running which is not the same as actually running outside and don’t argue with me…it’s just not the same. For a minute I thought about going by ‘the gray haired college student’ but I died my hair to give the finger to those gray hairs. I’ll think of something that’s hopefully equal parts clever and adorable.

I have class all day tomorrow. Human anatomy lecture in the morning and then the lab in the afternoon, I was reading the first couple chapters of my text today to try to be the class know-it-all but holy hell it was dull! This is stuff I need to know since I’m going into the medical field but omg I could barely read a paragraph before my eyes started crossing and head started bobbing. I know the class will be much more interesting but I’m going to need a shot of something to take in this material outside of that.

I’ve officially started work with a nutritionist. We’re doing everything via email and an app but she seems lovely. She has me just measuring and logging my food right now, she wants me to focus on the macro’s rather than the calories and it has been eye-opening. She sent me the limits I should be staying in for protein, carbs and fats every day. If I wasn’t looking at macros, like I’ve done in the past, and just looked at calories, I would think I was doing pretty good. However, throwing macros in the mix just paints a clearer picture on why I struggle with my diet and losing weight in general. I exceed my daily carbs and fat by lunch and I barely hit my protein minimum before bed. I’m already thinking about little tweaks I can make to improve but I already know this is going to be a challenge…but I know I will look good and be better for it.

I’m a bitch…

I’m almost done with my first full week as a college student and it’s been…more good than bad. The campus is in the downtown metro area so parking can be a challenge. One of my classes got cancelled and we weren’t told until after we waited in an empty classroom for 20 minutes. I was fortunate that I was able to get into the online version of that same class at the last-minute (thank you God!) so my financial aid didn’t take a hit.

I’m not going to lie, the nights before my classes I would get nervous and even think about just not showing up at all. However, as I would head to the school, taking my time and just enjoying the drive, I would get this wave of exhilaration over the fact that I was doing this because it was my choice. No one is forcing, my parents aren’t paying for anything and Uncle Sam isn’t holding a contract over my head anymore, I was going to school because I wanted to and that filled me with joy beyond words.

It has also brought to light another, kind of unattractive side of myself. On the second day of my Intro to Psych class we were put into small groups of about 5 to 6 people each. The task given to us seemed really fun and easy, to me anyways. The other girls I was grouped with didn’t feel the same. They were talking about how stressed they were with class already and that this tiny hour-long project that we were working on had to be absolutely perfect. Mind you this was project was worth 4 points…out of 975, seriously, no exaggeration. They were talking stress and anxiety over this meanwhile I was running a list of things through my head that were way more stressful than this little group project. This list included things like doing a combat landing into Afghanistan in the middle of the night and hoping terrorists don’t see you and shoot the plane, being told that you’re deploying in 5 days, speaking to a room full of officers about why one of your programs is busted, stepping on a bus to go to the airport where you will be shipped for 6 weeks of training and people yelling at you for no reason, you get the point.

I already knew my age would set me apart from my new peers but I, naively, forgot about the unique experiences I’ve had because I’ve waited so long to go to college. I just couldn’t take their complaints of stress and anxiety seriously because that wasn’t stressful to me at all. I don’t want to be that bitch that is condescending and diminishing of everyone else’s feelings though. They will not understand my life experience¬† and I don’t know theirs so I need to be the bigger person and validate their feelings…which is so hard because I am struggling to take them seriously. Actually, I think the hardest part is just going to be finding someone to relate to in the sea of youth. Ugh, I miss adults.

Girl you earned it…

I’m what some people would call, broke (financially speaking for the sake of this writing). I’m also, technically, in debt. I’m no where close to being destitute and I know that I have money coming to me, I just don’t know when exactly it will get here. I’ve got just under $1000 to get me by until that next magical money deposit appears. I had enough foresight to set aside money last month for rent and utilities, the only bills I have left for this month is my car payment and insurance which will take quite a chunk. As for my debt, it’s way better than it’s been in a long time, if it wasn’t for my car payment it’d be almost non-existent.

So why am I rehashing my financial standing for the whole internet to see…all 3 of you that will stumble in here. I’m relishing this moment. I’m probably the most financially insecure I’ve been in a decade and I’m about to put myself further in the hole intentionally and I’m very, oddly, calm about it. I met with a life coach today, I liked her and I think I’m going to work with her for a few weeks on getting my head in the right place to succeed in school. I’m also going to work with a nutritionist to get my diet and body where it needs to be. I find nutrition to be extremely overwhelming especially when you get into all the diets and everyone out there with their own opinions, it’s too much. I’m going to work with someone to figure out what is best for me to get me healthy and get my body to where it should be. I’m going to put all this on a little plastic credit card, that I’m grateful to have at my disposal, and consider it a strong investment in myself. I don’t think there’s anything better to invest in.

I can’t go for that…

Yesterday I cracked under the pressure. I was got so overwhelmed with trying to figure my life out right that moment that I tossed and turned with a growing to-do list building in my¬† brain. Today I feel more, together. I’m not in the same happy place that I was a few weeks ago but I’m focusing on self-care and tomorrow I’m getting out of this igloo and meeting with a life coach so I’m hoping that will be the energy bolt I’m in need of.

This morning was day 2 of getting my life back on track…and I almost gave up…on day 2. If I would have given up it wouldn’t be the first time I walked away from hard work on day 2 and I told myself as much. Then I asked myself, ‘don’t you want to get beyond day 2? What will day 3 look like? What will day 7 look like? What will day 30 look like?’ I really want to find out. I made a list of all the things I want to manifest and the basic steps I need to take to make it happen. This list included getting A’s in all my classes, find the right part-time job, find a good man and good friends, lose 20 lbs and have $50K by July 4th. Easy peasy lemon squeezey, yeah? I wish…

I’ve written before about how much I dislike hard work. There’s no reason to deny it, I just don’t like it especially if it has to do with something I don’t find interesting. I could sit and do a self-analysis of how being raised as the only child in the house with an absent father who used money and things to replace his love spoiled me and made my life easy and I’m sure on some level that’s accurate. I have a decent work ethic and I wouldn’t consider myself entitled (does anyone though?) I just struggle in shutting off the laptop and getting off the couch.

Well no more!

I cancelled my Netflix account, this weekend I’m cancelling Hulu (I’ve got a few more things to watch, don’t look at me like that) and I’ve given up the kindle that has Candy Crush. I’ve also spent the last couple of days with the laptop out of sight so it can be out of mind and I can do things like read or do a puzzle, build up the gray matter!

What’s odd though, is in typing this I’ve realized just how scary this all is. seriously. The self-help author I’m reading right now likes to use the phrase ‘decisive action’ which means to jump in to something with both feet and your whole heart, never looking back, only forward with the eye of the tiger…the thrill of the fight…I digress. I’m sure you’re getting the picture. My problem is that I don’t know that I’ve ever jumped into anything like that. The scariest things I’ve done in my life was because the Air Force made me. It was live in foreign countries, speak in front of 100 people, get your Associate’s degree or ELSE! Spoiler alert: ELSE=discipline and punishment, potentially jail depending on the situation, so I was inclined to just do as I was told.

I said good-bye to the Air Force…with my middle finger. So I have to do this shit on my own now.

I feel like I always keep one foot out and one foot on the couch so as soon as something uncomfortable happens I just leap back onto the couch and throw my blanket over my head and say ‘well, I tried, back to hibernation. maybe I’ll try again next year.’ Even with going back to school I don’t know if I’m all the way, 110% invested. In the back of my mind is always ‘well I can half-ass it to my degree and find something with that.’ That runs through my head way more than ‘I’m going to hit these books hard, maintain a killer GPA and make it damn near impossible for any P.A. program to deny me a spot, fuck yeah muthafucka!’ I’m so scared to invest heart and soul because deep down, I feel like I’m already failing…and with that I may as well be, yeah? I can be better than that.

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.