Day 19: Caffeine Withdrawal, Emotional Eating and Wind

Today marked a small step in a huge and constant battle of mine. Late this morning, upon returning from my class, I noticed that I was feeling rather cranky. I had no idea why I was in such a fowl mood, but there is was. Perhaps it was a bit of coffee withdrawal, or the fact that hurricane-force winds were still blowing through my neighborhood for yet another day. I decided the reason was unimportant, and that I just wanted to feel better.

Normally at a time like this, I would find something chocolatey to eat, or quesadilla-ish. My massive accomplishment was consciously choosing to leave the kitchen and ignore the siren song of my pantry. Instead, I leashed-up the pooch and braved the blustery outdoors. I wanted to walk a little longer than I did, but it just didn’t feel safe for my 8 lb. dog, and quite frankly, I’m not a fan of the wind.

Anyway, it was a major shift from my usual pattern of emotional eating, and I am in full-force celebration of this baby step. As it turns out, after the walk, I picked up my paint brushes and worked on a few painting assignments for the next few hours. By the time the girls got home from school and the sports practice driving chaos began, I was in a fairly decent mood and ready to support my daughters with their emotional issues for the day. It is always much easier to be fully present when I am in a good place.

With love,

Anatheia

 

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Day 16 & 17: Free Coffee, Daylight Savings and Old Couches

I guess my weekend trend has been missing the Saturday post, and that is ok. I amcoffee and the pooch celebrating that I chose to lay in bed last night, reading and finishing up an assigned book for my coaching class (only four more books to go!). I chose sleep over writing, and that is a good thing.  So, my weekend wins and celebrations are lumped together here, because they also fit nicely together.

Yesterday I spent the morning in pjs, lounging on my old beat-up couch, reading and relaxing. This couch is literally on its last thread, with a ripped back cushion that is centimeters away from dislocation, and ass-grooved pillows that sink inward, forming a deep valley in middle. For months I kept fantasizing about getting  a new couch, which is definitely not in the current budget. And yes, I find myself saying that a lot lately, and that too is ok. But yesterday I truly appreciated this marvelous over-loved couch. It was the first piece of furniture I purchased after my divorce, and has served many happy years since.

As I sprawled out and cuddled with the pooch, I began to feel a deep appreciation of all that I had. Yes, I have been struggling with money and stress and weight gain and depression, but here I was, in this beautiful house with comfortable furniture that wears as many battle scars as I do. I finally felt true gratitude for all that I had in this moment.

Today, I made the decision to get out of bed early, when I could have easily slept another hour. I did this for the mere reason to claim my free cup of daylight savings coffee and Caribou. It seems a little ridiculous on one hand, but last night when I realized I was out of cream, the magical free-coffee text came through, with the angelic chorus “ahhhhhhhhh!” All I had to do was show up at the drive thru by 9 am, which was technically 8 am with the time change. You can appreciate why this was indeed a Sunday morning triumph.

As I was reclined on my well-loved couch, with my pooch snoozing on her perch, I noticed the writing on the cup. I don’t usually pay attention to these cute notes as there is normally a sleeve covering them, but today they ran out and the words of wisdom remained exposed. And there is was…”Life is getting up an hour early to live an hour more.” I stared at my kismet cup of coffee, smiled, and made the decision that this would be my last cup for a week or so. My body told me it could use a little break from the caffeine and cream, and take a little time to reset.

I’m not going hard core and saying I’m giving up coffee forever, because I know how that story ends, but just for a little bit; a respite. I enjoyed my last sips, finishing yet another book for my class and knew that this was going to be a good day.

With love,

Anatheia

Day 13: Sunsets, Art and Perfectionism

I was trying to decide what to celebrate tonight, and at first could only think of the beautiful sunset tonight. It was a very typical Colorado spring sunset, filled with vast colors and clouds, ranging from fluffy white to dark and heavy, with the potential for rain. Just witnessing this symphony of colors put me into a serene mood. All of my issues seem completely minuscule compared to the vast sky.

As I sit here in bed, I also realize that I wanted to celebrate myself as an artist. I have been harshly critical for far too many years. Critical of my lack of skill, my lack of creativity, and even my lack of making space to attempt to create.

I am now halfway through my semester of three studio classes and am rediscovering my passion for art, not only as therapy but for creative expression. I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone, created beautiful pieces that I love, and not so beautiful ones that I enjoy as well.  Most importantly I have been able to let go of the need for perfection.

One of my biggest challenges of painting and drawing is knowing when to quit. I have a tendency to overwork my pieces because something doesn’t seem quite finished. I have truly embraced the ability to walk away and be pleased with imperfection. Although I have plenty to learn and always room for growth, I am pleased with where I am in the moment.

Perhaps this is why the fiery sunset skies appeal to me so much. There is chaos and simplicity wrapped up in the awe of its beauty. Maybe if I can learn to breath into my art as I do when gazing into the sky, I can truly be free and just be content in the moment.

Day 1: Depression, Chocolate, Yoga and Maltipoos

As I sit down at my computer tonight, I realize that I have drifted away from my main purpose of this blog. I originally set out to chronicle my journey not only as a healing process for me, but to share my vulnerability with others and remind you that it’s ok to not be ok. What has resulted is  months of paralyzing perfectionism. Writing became a chore, because I didn’t want to post anything that was less than stellar. And of course there were the images…Every post needs to have amazing copyright-free images. Believe me, this process is even more time consuming than Facebook. Then there’s the editing, re-editing and editing some more.

So tonight, I am taking a stand against my true Virgo nature and saying fuck it! The truth is I have hit a pretty low point in my depression and I am sick of feeling stuck in a dark hole. This may not be my best writing and there may be errors, but if I don’t start writing again or doing things differently, nothing will change. In fact, I’m writing this straight on WordPress and not as a safe document in Word or Pages. I will tap into my new love of photography and use my own photos or none at all. No copyright issues there. I release my perfectionism…well, for now anyway.

To catch up on my 40th year thus far:  While I have maintained my celibacy and isolation from men, I have secluded myself from other forms of fun and joy in addition. I have disconnected from friends who seemed unhealthy (which isn’t a bad thing), but at the same time have completely cut myself off from the social world. My search for a job has been met with many rejections in a variety of fields. I have been officially looking for work for a year now, with way too many versions of my resume and cover letters to count.

Food has become my numbing agent and the gym is but a distant memory. I’ve gone back to school 3/4 time to work on prerequisites for a graduate program, which I’m waiting on pins and needles to hear my fate of acceptance or rejection, and am working on a coaching program. In my spare moments, I am running kids to sports and school, dealing with teen drama and binge watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix while I step away for more chocolate intermissions than I would care to admit.

My depression has taken such ahold of me, that I have not only gained over 20 pounds, but I am lethargic, out of shape and mopey. This is not who I am. This is not what I want to model for my girls. I feel so out of touch with myself that it only makes me want to eat more chocolate. To make things worse, I am supposed to travel to Mexico with my uber weight-judgey family in 5 weeks and cram my plumper self into a bathing suit. Sigh…

As I sat on the floor trying to motivate to do something today, my incredibly sweet, fluffy and healing Maltipoo sat beside me and gave me a knowing look. She gazed at me with unconditional loving eyes and jumped up to lick my face. She didn’t care that I was overweight. She didn’t care that I have gone into serious debt or am unemployed. She saw me for love and love alone, my true essence. If she could see me this way, why can’t I? I dragged my ass up, got dressed and went to yoga for the first time in many, many moons.

I’m not going to lie, it was hard. My overweight body argued with every pose, feeling more awkward than ever. I had to constantly reign in the mean girl thoughts every time I looked in the mirror (they should really cover mirrors in yoga) and winced at this unrecognizable body. I had to constantly remind myself to be gentle when I couldn’t even hold poses or get into them comfortably. Something I’m not used to.

After all of this internal struggle, I left class feeling refreshed. Today I made the choice to leave the house and chose movement instead of napping or eating or shaming myself. And although it will take some time to feel good in my body again, I took the first step today, and that is huge.

As the day wore on, I still battled with 3pm exhaustion and emotional eating. I gave myself permission to be ok with that, and am fully aware that the one baby step of going to yoga is monumental.

And so it is that I have decided to embark on a 21-day Bringing-Myself-Back-to-Radiance Adventure. I decided to not call it a challenge, because the word challenge itself is just that, too challenging- a sure-fire set up for failure.  And why 21 days, you might ask? I don’t know, it seems to work for Deepak and Oprah. Oh and I guess there’s that whole 21 days to change a habit thing. Let’s face it- it just sounds good.

Each day I am celebrating one thing about my day and sharing it here. If I try to change everything at once, I will fail, backslide and the shame spiral will continue. If I only do something active once everyday this week, that is a start. The food can come later and I’m ok with that.

If you have ever been in this situation, I would love to hear your success stories in the comments. I would love to hear your failures. I want to hear it all and celebrate you too. This is such a challenge for women and we need to support each other in community. Being raw, vulnerable and real is my gift to me.  And so I share my adventure here- unfiltered and only re-read once for editing.

With Love,

Anatheia