Day 20: Vulnerability, Mermaids, and Jeans

Tonight I am celebrating embracing vulnerability, which managed to show up several The Sirenways throughout the day. It began with my 13-year-old mistakingly getting dressed wearing my jeans. As she realized that they were a size too big, but not unwearable, she begged me to borrow them for the day. Normally I let my girls borrow my clothes whenever they want, but I found myself telling her a very quick “No!” When she asked why, I instantaneously answered in full honesty, “Because I only have a few pairs that fit me right now!” Eeek! Did I just say that? Did I just admit I those were my fat jeans?!?

I could see the look of her concern in her eyes. “Are you ok, Mom? What’s going on.” I had just walked into the very discussion I had been trying to avoid with both of my daughters; the “I’ve gained 20 plus pounds and those are one of two pairs of fat jeans that I own. Oh and I’m struggling with my overweight body” conversation.

I was so terrified of sharing my own body image issues out of fear they too would take this burden on. I thought I was somehow be protecting my girls. But guess what, not only do they both have body image issues, they both suffer from emotional eating.  Go figure!

The recognition of a pattern that started with my own mother caused me to launch into a seriously vulnerable moment. To this day, I still harbor some resentment toward my mother for hiding various truths from me. I felt that I would have benefited from her knowledge over the years, but instead I inherited shame.

It was right in that moment that I knew I had to break the pattern and be vulnerable for the sake of my daughter and for me. Hiding my Truth from her was in no way shape or form protecting her from the struggles almost all women have. If anything, it may have made her feel more alone and  therefore worse.

On our way to school, I shared with her that I had gained weight and that I was mostly frustrated with how my body felt. I told her that I too have to work on body acceptance, and we shared our sadness of the fact that there was absolutely no chocolate in the house.

I mostly emphasized that as an adult, it isn’t uncommon to have weight fluctuation, and I knew that I wasn’t supporting my body with a healthy diet or enough exercise this winter. We talked about our most challenging emotional eating moments and started to brainstorm ways to support each other.

I feel horrible for passing emotional eating onto my daughter, but at least now, I can be vulnerable with her and share that I am nowhere near perfect, and I also struggle at times. It’s a delicate balance when dealing with body image, but lying just doesn’t cut it. Kids always seem to pick up on any major issues whether they are discussed or not.

The second and third place that vulnerability made an appearance today was in my painting and drawing classes. Both classes consisted of critiques of our last few assignments, and let me tell you, there is nothing more terrifying then displaying your art for open discussion. There is something so raw and exposed about this whole process.

However, I am extremely proud of myself for putting it all out on display, especially in my figure painting class, where we work from live models. In one of my paintings, I had screwed-up the legs and didn’t have the model to work from to complete the painting. So, I turned her into a mermaid. I flat out told the class what had happened, and was commended for my imagination as well as figuring out a perfectly logical solution.

My teacher explained that she would rather us add something in than leave the painting in a place that we were unhappy with. It felt authentic to share my process with the class. Perhaps it would help someone else in the future. Either way, I am glad that I mentioned it rather than smugly pretending that it was my creative intention all along. It was my Truth.

I used to think being vulnerable was telling truths about yourself in the form of stories from the past. This may be part of the picture, however, I am quickly learning that true vulnerability stems from living authentically and in your complete and total Truth, and then stepping out and owning it. It is not easy, but I have to say, it feels damn good. And that is something I am truly proud to model for my daughters.

With love,

Anatheia

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

 

Day 18: Ex-In-Laws, Black Tea, and Art Class

Today I am celebrating choosing integrity and self-nurturing as a start to my week. I survived my first coffee-free day without hurting anyone. The caffeine substitute of  black tea and almond milk wasn’t half bad, and no major headaches. My stomach seemed to appreciate shift as well.

The next aspect was helping out a former employer with her art class. She needed a last minute substitite, and although my Mondays are pretty jam-packed, I went in for an hour to help out. This experience was a superb reminder that I am on the right path heading to grad school. I instantly felt my energy drain as soon as the class started and loud, out of control students instantaneously went off task. I glanced at my 10-year-old, who had to accompany me, and she looked just as overwhelmed as I was. It was the perfect moment of, yep, this is NOT where I want to be anymore.

Lastly, I am celebrating reaching out to my ex-in-laws. We generally get a long, but communication is fairly limited to dealings with their grandchildren, and is usually through my ex-husband. The reason for the call was to let them know that my daughter’s volleyball tournament would be in their neck of the woods this weekend. It may seem like a small gesture, but I’m sure it was appreciated.

Not too bad for a Monday.

With love,

Anatheia

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 14: Sunshine, Teen Angst and Daffodils

Today I felt the warm sunshine uplift my mood and spirit. Daffodils are making their first spring appearance and splashes of green are beginning to break throughdaffodils the brown dormant grass. Although these first inklings of spring could be covered in a blanket of snow at any moment, I still want to revel in the pure joy and serenity of almost-spring.

Although I have mentioned this celebration before, I also wanted to acknowledge how beautiful my relationship is in this very moment with my teenager. She is at an age where I could lose my street-credit at any moment, and she still chooses to open up to me and seek advice. She is struggling with one of the worst aspects of 7th grade- friendships, being nice to people who aren’t, and trying to fit it. I mean really, is there anyone out there who doesn’t have some sort of scaring experience from 7th grade?!? My heart bleeds for this sweet girl and her struggles.

As we took the pooch on a warm afternoon walk, we discussed how she was feeling and came up with strategies to feel better about herself and how to handle the most difficult of situations at lunchtime, when the middle-schoolers are at their worst. I quoted words of wisdom from Brené Brown and Liz Gilbert, my life coach, and other poignant reminders that I needed to hear for myself as well.  She told me how amazingly wise I was and that I should write a book. Ha! If only there wouldn’t be copyright issues from my powerful women-gurus. It was a sweet, tender and beautiful moment.

I thought about how I wanted to feel over the next week and beyond and decided to take a cue from the lovely daffodils. They are such simple flowers, yet full of life, color and joy. That is what I want for me. And after two weeks of writing every day and noticing celebrations and wins, I feel closer to settling into more ease in my day to day life. And I am grateful for this.

With love,

Anatheia

 

 

Day 12: Ceramics, Patrick Swayze, and Solar Eclipses

Today’s celebration has do with kicking some serious butt on the wheel in pottery class. I am taking a college level ceramics class as a prerequisite for my graduate program in art therapy, and have been fumbling along  for 7 weeks now. Today we transitioned from hand-building to throwing on the wheel, and I finally found my groove. It was very inspiring to be the one in class that other students were wowed by. All that was missing was Patrick Swayze behind me with Unchained Melody playing in the background.

On a completely unrelated note, there was a very powerful new moon/solar eclipse today. This is a very auspicious time to set new intentions or start something new. It is very serendipitous that I happened to pay the deposit to reserve my spot in grad school. I’m also continuing with my intention of finding joy and nursing my body and soul back to her former glory!

With Love,

Anatheia

Day 7: Joy, Radiance and Blogging

Today I am celebrating finding joy and radiance for 1 week straight–and of course blogging. There have been several nights where I just wanted to go to bed and do it in the morning. But I already am starting to feel better with this experiment and so proud to stick to my commitment of self-care and self-love.

Have a beautiful weekend.

With love,

Anatheia

Day 6: Playing Hooky, Jamba Juice and Awesome Mom-ing

Today I am celebrating teaching my kids fabulous lessons and at the same time, opening them up for deeper learning, by allowing them to make their own choices.

To start with, my 13-year-old…Last night she was close to tears around 10:30, in exhaustion, with still more homework to finish. I cut her off and pointed out the fact that her brain was done for the night, and it was better to get to bed and wake up early to finish up. She woke up this morning even more exhausted and overwhelmed, so I gave her the choice to miss school and get caught up on rest and homework.

Some parents (i.e. her father) might be a bit judge-y about this decision. However, I think it taught her a valuable lesson in self-care. Now granted, this daughter hates to miss school and is overly responsible, therefore I didn’t feel like she was taking advantage of the situation. I probably wouldn’t have given this same offer to her younger sister, who has faked some of the finest ailments in her ten years on this planet.

My teen felt tremendous amounts of guilt and shame for essentially playing hooky. I assured her this was actually a thoughtful decision in the sense that she needed to give her body and emotions a day of rest and this can sometimes be the most responsible thing a person can do. And if she didn’t rest, she could end up a whole lot worse and miss even more school- my personal favorite, “It just hurts, everywhere!”

Although she spent several hours on the couch watching TV, she wrote a beautiful paper, emailed all of her teachers to catch up on missed work, and  finished her day refreshed, caught-up and ready to finish out the week. I feel proud as a mom to impart this wisdom on my beautiful daughter at such a young age.

My younger daughter’s lesson wasn’t as dramatic, but perhaps for her personality, just as important. Today she was given the gift of trust and independence.  After school she asked for three dollars, which she promised to pay back, and if she and her girlfriend could ride their bikes to Jamba Juice and split a large smoothie. Of course when I was this age, it was pretty much a given that we would ride our bikes all over town. Sad to say, but times have changed and this was a huge step for her.

It was the furthest she had ever been on her bike, without adult accompaniment, and ordering and paying on her own was new as well. She was concerned that they wouldn’t take her money, because she was too young. I assured her that the teenager working the counter at Jamba Juice couldn’t care less about her age. Upon returning, she felt proud, self-assured and most importantly, a sense of accomplishment. And I didn’t even worry about her the entire time (a gold star earned for mom).

It is so easy as a mom, to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and want to shelter our children. Sometimes we forget that we are raising young women (and men) and preparing them for the real world, which will sadly be here before we know it. I am proud to help these two amazing human beings take another step in their growth and development.

Today I feel like an awesome mom!

With Love,

Anatheia

Day 4: Yoga, Back Spasms and Skipping School

While today was another celebration of self-care, it happened in opposing ways. It started off with dragging my ass to yoga after my 3-hour class this morning. I really didn’t want to go, and would have much rather gone home to eat lunch and possibly take a nap.

I went anyway.

And this time, instead of judging myself in the mirror, I found a spot with a beautiful view of the mountains and nowhere near a place where my reflection would distract me.

After class I was able to go home and eat, and eventually rest for a bit. I was glad I gave myself the opportunity to move my body and then the reward of some relaxation time.

Later that evening my back began to spasm a bit, an issue I’ve been dealing with for the last week. I made the decision to care for myself again and skipped my evening class. At first I felt the twinge of guilt seep in, but was able to recognize that sitting in a class for 3 hours was not going to help the situation.

Staying home and resting my back allowed for a pleasant evening. Instead of cramming food in my mouth, while frantically trying to get out the door, and feed the girls some semblance of a balanced meal, we sat down and savored our food. I also enjoyed time reading, albeit it was catching up on homework, while my daughters worked on theirs.  Again, I was able to slow down and skip the chaos of leaving a 10 and 13 year-old home to fend for them selves- eat, do homework, wash up and be in bed by the time I return. Ha!

As I sit in bed writing this, still heating my back, I appreciate not having to continue chaos until late into the night. I still may be up for awhile as my teen finishes her math, but at least I know that I took the best care I could of my body today…and that is a win worth celebrating.

With Love,

Anatheia

Day 2: Workshops, Co-Parenting and Blue Toenails

Today I shocked myself as my fear of not having anything to celebrate was quickly replaced by having too much to celebrate, and only being able to pick one.  I found myself looking for the positive in everything that happened, just so I’d have something to write about. What a transition from yesterday and my somewhat depressing post! Maybe it was the fact that the sun was shining and it hit 70 degrees, or maybe it was the fact that it was the first Saturday that wasn’t jam-packed with events. Whatever it was, today was a great day.
I decided that all of my wins fall under that category of self-care. So here they are:
  • Had coffee in bed and listened to a coaching call that happened on Dec. 31, 2015. Yes, it was two months late, but it was actually perfect timing
  • Took the pooch on an early morning walk

    The Pooch

    This is the look I get everyday when I put shoes on

  • Had a great day co-parenting and collaborating with my ex. at my 10-year-old’s soccer game, and then a little more later in the day
  • Did all my Costco shopping on a Saturday (this is unheard of for me)
  • Listened to two more course calls/workshops that I have been putting off for the past two months (I am officially caught up)
  • Had a my first and very successful virtual feng shui/coaching call with a client and helped her in a tremendous way
  • Took an epsom salt bath at 3 PM
  • Went on another walk with the pooch
  • Lovingly emptied the dishwasher
  • Painted my toenails blue and shut out the inner mean girl when I struggled to reach my toes
  • Blogged today’s wins.
It is now 6:53 PM, and I haven’t turned the TV on once. I may in a little bit, but it will be to watch one or two of my guilty pleasure shows and that’s ok. I will get a good night’s sleep and enjoy tomorrow with more self-care and celebrations.
With Love,
Anatheia