Saturday, October 19, 2013

A little gratitude

I saw a picture of a friend today.  As I was looking at this picture, I thought about how absolutely in love she and her husband are.  They are so cute together, so much in love.  He finds her incredibly sexy and adores her to no end.  And you know what?  He's right.  But she is so much more than that.  She is a fantastic mother, a fabulous friend, loving and generous and kind and feisty and wonderful in so many ways.  Her worth is far greater than existing to make someone else desire her.

My friend and I are similar sizes.  We do not fit society's picture perfect mold.  We have stretch marks and scars and carry more weight than perhaps we should.  And we both have worth far beyond our physical bodies or other people's opinions of us.

Society would have us believe otherwise, that there is only one version of sexy, one version of a woman who is "worth" being, one 2-dimensional version of a person "worth" having.  Society would also have us believe that our only worth lies in the fact that another person finds us attractive.  You see it in magazines, on TV, all over the internet.  If you're bigger than __ or weigh more than __, you don't belong.  You have little to no worth.  You *might* be considered the funny sidekick, but you are never entitled to have your own love story or life.  It is all about society's ideal.

While I was looking at her picture and pondering (in a non-creepy non-stalker way, I promise) how much her husband loves her, it hit me like a ton of bricks:  My husband loves me just as much.  He does find me sexy.  He chose me.  He wants to be with me and wants to hang out with me.  He still chooses me, day in and day out.  We have been through a whole lot the last few years, but especially the last year.  And we keep choosing each other.  Neither of us is perfect.  Not even close.  But we are both amazing, in so many ways.

Last night, around 6:30 p.m., I was slammed with an incredibly painful migraine -- sparkly visual auras, nausea and vomiting, and lots and lots of pain.  (It's 1:30 p.m. as I'm typing this and I'm still in pain.  Not a fun day.)  It did not respond to any pain medication or antiemetic.  My sweetheart stopped what he was doing and took care of me and our children.  He put the kids to bed and went to the store at midnight and bought ginger ale and saltines (which is all I kept down until late this morning).  He brought me a cool wet cloth for my head.  He checked on me and the kids in the night to make sure they were in their own beds and letting me sleep as peacefully as possible without little knees and elbows injuring my aching body.  Today, he made sure the kids got breakfast and lunch and brought me food, too.  He laid in bed and cuddled and talked quietly with me while I rested.

His worth is so much more than what society might see in him.  I see a loving father and a caring husband who is trying his best to provide for and care for us in this moment.  I see a man who wants to be better and is doing more and trying harder every day to make that happen.  I see a man who is amazing, in so many ways, and I'm thankful he is mine.

Monday, October 14, 2013

My new favorite lip product

My lips crack and chap and peel and bleed every fall and winter.  I've tried a ton of products, ranging from all natural to full of chemicals.

This one is, hands down, the best.  It is thick without being sticky.  I have been using it for a bit over a week, and my lips have stopped cracking and are no longer bleeding.  They are soft even when I'm not wearing it, though I'm still using it a few times a day to make sure they stay healthy.  

Totally worth the price.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The effects of stress

A bit over a month ago, I posted a status on Facebook that tallied up how much I'd lifted that day.  I had just finished the first stage of the New Rules of Lifting for Women, and I was extremely proud of myself and felt really good about what I'd done.  I was feeling very strong and was ready to move onto the next stage and keep going, building strength and health.

And then I let someone else's statements and opinions and emotional upheaval affect how I felt.  This person posted body shaming statements on my celebratory post, and when I objected, it did not go over very well.  It was a very stressful weekend.

I am only posting about that because I let that incident affect me far more than it should have.  And the entire episode was very eye opening.

In the weeks after that happened, I was working on my health class assignments and came across some research that showed stress and emotional abuse lower the body's immune system and ability to recover.  As I reflected on that chapter, the incident I mentioned, and what was happening with my body at that time, I found the correlation to be very interesting.

I had been very sick with two different, pretty severe illnesses. I was too sick to walk across campus, so I missed over a week of school.  I fought a 2-week-long depressive episode.  I do suffer from depression and have had postpartum depression after each of my babies.  This time was the easiest time I've had with it, but still these episodes occur at times.  I consider myself lucky that this particular episode was only a couple of weeks.  I found it hard to focus.  At home, I fell down the stairs, wrenching my back and injuring my right foot and ankle. I dropped a  padlock on my right foot, and also dropped a jar which shattered in the sink.  I then sliced my finger open and did some other clumsy things.  (And no, Mom, I'm not pregnant.)

During the same time, I was working with my therapist on the emotional things and have gotten myself to a much better place, but I was not working out or exercising regularly.  I had gone to the gym about once a week, much less than I had been doing, and I had not made any progress with my lifting.  In fact, when I went to lift today, I found that I am much weaker than I was 5 weeks ago.  My balance is worse than it was 5 weeks ago.  None of it is back to where I was in the spring before I started working out, but I have had obvious strength losses.  On the other hand, I can run now, and that's something I couldn't do in the spring, so it is also obvious I haven't lost all of my gains!

Also at the gym today, I discovered I don't love some of the exercises in stage 2 of the New rules book, so I'll be mixing it up with stage 1 a bit longer, because it's more important that I love what I'm doing than following that exercise routine to a T.  If I don't love it, I won't do it.  And I'm so glad I know that about myself.

So I am back.  My family and I are committed to my health.  My husband and teen help with the little kids while I am at the gym, and we've all had a discussion about why this is important to me.  I cannot control what other people do or say, but I can work on changing how I respond to people, and I get to choose how much I allow certain people into my life.  While I am the only one who kept me from going to the gym and the only one who can get me back to the gym tomorrow and the day after that, the genuine loving support from my husband and children and other loved ones has really been encouraging and motivating.  I am *loving* the fact that I can run my intervals now, and I will be killing those squats and deadlifts again before I know it.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sometimes, I still don't quite get it right

It's been interesting the last few weeks.  Taking a facebook break was good.  I did go back to facebook because the crafting forum which I used to moderate was hacked, so I wanted to make sure the admin knew ... and have stayed for the time being.  That's not really owning me, but!!

At the same time, I have been able to deal more fully with other issues and handle things of greater importance to me.  My house is a bit cleaner, I've let myself rest and recover from a nasty cold without feeling guilty, and VOD and I have made some progress in our relationship.

On the subject of not owning one's own issues or saying something mean on the internet, I have done both of those things in the last month.  Sigh.  Sometimes ... this stuff happens.

I did manage to do something nice, too.

Being in school, sometimes I'm in a major hurry to get to the kids or grab a bite to eat so I don't wreck the car or something, and I don't always plan ahead.  So one day, I was headed to a fast food place and this little car cut me off.  Now, I'm sure there have been other times when I got mad, but what happened next was pretty great.

Somehow, *I* got in front of *them* in the drive up.

Karma, right?

Yeah, it made me giggle.

And then I paid for their lunch.

They stopped me from leaving the driveway and thanked me profusely for making their day.

I could have held onto the bad feelings from being cut off, or called them names, or whatever.  But doing a little service for those girls helped me let go of how I was feeling right then, and it made their day, too.  Because, let's face it, pretty much every driver has cut somebody off before, and it's not always intentional.  Sometimes we don't know we've done it, just like sometimes we don't know we're mean or how someone else has perceived our words or actions.  Taking a few dollars and helping a couple of other people that day really changed my perspective.

Sometimes, I get it right, too.