Wednesday, July 19, 2017

AWARENESS

So, as my summer break winds down, and I anticipate the break-neck speed of another academic year, I feel like I need to go on record as saying that I need something to remind me of the work I've done this summer.

I need something that I can look at ... that jogs my brain when I feel like things begin to careen out of control ... when I run into the negative Nellies, the joy suckers ... when I feel like the light I see at the end of the tunnel is going to run me over and leave me for dead.

Melodramatic much?

Listen, if you know me at all, you already know the answer to that question!

So, what is that reminder, you ask?  

AWARENESS. That is my reminder. Awareness. The word that will ring that internal alarm and make me stop and think: aWaReNeESs

I need to be aware when I am being asked to put myself on the back burner for someone else's needs or wants, and I need to be strong enough to say no.

I need to be aware when I am feeling out of control and be willing to step back to keep things from spinning wildly out of gear.

I need to be aware of my body's need for exercise, for rest, for quiet, for de-cluttering, and I need to act accordingly.

I need to be aware of other people's attitudes and be strong enough to step away from the negative attitudes as well as to embrace and celebrate the positive attitudes.

I need to be aware of moments when I am being sucked into someone else's chaos, and I need to have the strength to walk away.

I need to be aware of the beautiful moments in my life and celebrate them, however little and insignificant they may seem to others.

I need to be aware.

Awareness ...




Friday, July 14, 2017

FEELING THE DIFFERENCE

"Wow!  The difference is amazing!"

"Really," I said, a bit unconvinced. "It's that noticeable?"

"Yes!  You hold yourself differently.  You smile more.  You seem more relaxed."

That was what I was told recently about my, apparently, noticeable difference in countenance during the past few months.

According to this individual, at the end of the year, I was barely making it.

I didn't realize that.  I mean, I knew I was tired.  But barely making it ... I didn't realize it.

As a caveat, she pointed out that I had a rough year.  I mean, I know it was rough, but I powered through it. I guess I didn't realize that it had weighed as heavily upon me as it had ... that it was THAT noticeable.

I just powered through it.

So, yeah, yeah, yeah.  Rough year. Powered through it. Exhaustion. I'm not the only one that has been there and done that.  Plenty of people power through it.

The biggest difference for me is staying physically active.  If I am not physically active, I lose control.

It's that simple.

Endorphins do amazing things for our bodies. but for me, it does AMAZING things for my mind.

That mind-body connection is for realsies, and I've been ignoring one or both for a long time.

For me, being able to deal with stupid people and silly people and insecure people and people who are not looking out for my best interest ... well, the key is to keep myself physically active.

I am feeling the difference. I am feeling what it's like to be of sound mind and body.

Strength isn't wholly physical, and it isn't wholly mental.  Strength is both physical AND mental.

This year, I will need to work really hard to make that connection stick.

Monday, July 03, 2017

BEING PRESENT FOR YOUR PRESENT

I did something huge yesterday.

Life-altering. Newsworthy. Noteworthy.

MONUMENTAL, in fact.

I went swimming with a group of friends.

Quite a bit of build-up for that?  Really?

I know, I know.  But for me. It was huge.

You see, last year, I had the opportunity to go swimming with friends, and I refused.  I sat and watched them have fun.  In fact, I made them feel uncomfortable about it.  I sat and stewed about it and was near tears about it and didn't have a lick of fun.

Why?

Because I was fat, and because I didn't want to show anyone my fat body and because it was just too embarrassing all that I was just SURE everyone would be thinking about me and my fat body.

Fast forward to yesterday.  I was fatter yesterday than I was last year. I was in a bathing suit in front of all these people, all of them more fit than I, and I just didn't care.  Because guess what?  I've come to realize that they don't care either.  They just want to hang out with me and have fun and relax and enjoy the afternoon.  All of which we did.

Something I am learning:
         We all spend entirely too much time worrying about what other people think or feel.  We spend an inordinate amount of time putting words into other people's minds.  What I mean by that is this, "Oh, they don't think I am a good teacher because every one else gets all these wonderful teacher appreciation gifts, and I don't."  Nope.  The real reason is that perhaps I just have a group of families that show their appreciation in other ways like service in my room or notes on Facebook or comments to other family members. Or maybe, this is just a rough financial road for many of them.  Their hearts are in the right place, but they just can't swing it.

Here's another one: "He would never be interested in me.  Look at all those skinny women surrounding him. Why would he be interested in me?"

What about this one: "She is talking about me to her.  I can only imagine what she is saying! That I am horrible and mean and not kind and just rude and ..."

We tell ourselves lies all the time. We listen to the voice inside our heads.  That voice comes from a place of insecurities and ugliness and inaccuracies.  That voice doesn't really know what it is talking about.  That voice doesn't really KNOW us.  

Yesterday, I hung out in the pool for almost three hours.  I laughed, I talked, I floated and listened, and I soaked up time with some of my favorite people and enjoyed the present. I watched birds fly overhead and listened to the sounds of the rural habitats that surrounded the pool. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and didn't give two hoots about what other people thought of my body.

It's so cliche, but it's so true.  We only get this one life. It is such a waste watching it all slip away from you when you are an observer and not an active participator in it.

Instead of anticipating all the depressing parts of  that "UGH, I HAVE TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL SOON," thoughts, I want to make sure that I am enjoying the NOW.  The sounds of birds in the air, the gentle breeze on my face, even the oppressive humidity for which this area is known.

I want to make sure that I am soaking up all that this day offers and the next day and the next day after that.  So, that when I go back to school, I can say that I truly made every single moment count.  Every. single. one.

We all need to start being present in the present.

Friday, June 30, 2017

SUMMER BREAK GROOVE

Since getting back from Michigan, I've run head-long into some of my more "major" projects here at the house.  Cleaning and laundry were my top priorities, and those seem to be relatively under control.

I wanted to get that cabinet done, which I did.  It is moved in, and now, it just needs to be filled.  Folks, no worries there.  I WILL be able to fill it.

I've done some much needed weeding (that is an ALL THE TIME project, am I right!?), and, as an added bonus, I've run into TWO poison oak plants.  I sprayed the snot out of them and am now waiting for them to die an ugly, horrendous and well-deserved death.

I still need to score my ugly wallpaper in the hallway and get that down.

I still need to clean out the garage.

I still need to clean out the basement.

I still need to figure out how to clean the mildew off of my lawn furniture.

I still need to clean out my office (that place becomes the dumping ground of all STUFF I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH, I swear!).

But those things will come.  I know they will. A project a day ...

Today, I wanted to start the new tradition of getting out on the deck each morning and writing ... something, anything.

I've needed to get into some sort of groove for a while now.  My life runs better when I am in some sort of groove. It just does.

Helter skelter doesn't work for me.  It never has.

I feel like I am starting to get into a groove.  A summertime groove.  The sad part of it is, once I finally get the groove going, it will be time to go back to school.  SAD!

Yet, still, I will attempt to enjoy it while I can. Soak it in.  Appreciate it all for what it is, a well-needed, well-deserved break.

Off to continue my morning time, summer time groove.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

START PRAYING NOW!

Apparently, when I was out of town, vacationing in Michigan, work was being started on the house formerly owned by Hairy Man.

Let me back up.

It's been three and a half years since Hairy Man and his weirdo family moved, rather unceremoniously, out of the house behind me.

They lost the house, which I would never wish on anyone. But it happened.  And they moved out just a weekend before Christmas. Sad, really.

I know this because my neighbor told me.  Her lawn man told her. Her lawn man is now my lawn man. He gives me all kinds of scoop. But I digress.

In that three and a half years time, it's been put up for sale, sold, torn apart, resold, torn apart again, semi-put-back-together, Work Stopped Due to No Permits, torn ALLLLLLL the way apart, had a man die in it, and then worked on some more.

In that time period, with all those things going on, there have been great amounts of time ... HUGE amounts of time where NOTHING at all is going on in that home.  NOTHING.

Grass has grown really long and then cut rather haphazardly.  Bushes have been ignored. Scrub brush has grown up. Countless sketchy characters have come and poked around looking for a good bargain.

I didn't notice it Saturday, but on Sunday, I realized that A.) the car port had been completely cleaned out. All the garbage that didn't fit in the industrial dumpster they had sitting in the driveway forever, got left in the car port. B.) The rose bush I always scammed the roses from was gone.  Torn out.  So sad. C). The old, dead tree that the woodpeckers made nests in and raised babies had been taken down (I'm praying the babies flew the coop before their home's untimely demise.

Then, on Monday, a group of Hispanic men came with painting materials and spent the next three days painting every surface in that house, one would assume.  They also brought their own microwave to make their midday meal, which tickled me greatly!  Their mamma's didn't raise no dummies!

Now, today, we had power tools and dry wall and more people in and out.

We need to start praying now, y'all.  Praying for that good-looking single man who is going to move in when they FINALLY get it all finished.  Preferably, this good-looking single man should have the ability and willingness to do stuff around the house of the single girl that lives just to the south of his newly renovated house.

If I can't get the good-looking single guy, I would settle for a cute elderly couple. A couple who don't like loud parties or stupid crap in their yard or who have grandchildren.  Children are loud ... and they do stupid stuff like fly down the steep hill in front of your house on scooters without wearing helmets, or walk across your yard.

Yeah, I'm one of THOSE neighbors.

Y'all better pray hard!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

ORGANIZATION MAKES ME HAPPY

It is almost 2 p.m.

I've still not showered.

In fact, I am still in my pajamas.

But it's not what you think, though.

I've been cleaning since about 9:30 a.m.

I've been making homemade bread.

I've been doing laundry. And folding laundry.  And putting laundry away.

I've been organizing those items that get pushed to the back of your cabinets that you can't find until they are gross and unrecognizable.

I've been organizing coffee.  Heaven help me, I have a lot of coffee!

I've been simplifying and rearranging.  I've been reinventing and rethinking.

Some people like to spend their days in front of Netflix killing tons of brain cells.  Me?  Organizing and decorating and re-imagining things ... THAT is what makes me happy.

I will be spending my afternoon outside.  I will be rethinking a cabinet. Trying to shape it to the purpose I would like it to be.

I will be doing some more writing.  And some grilling.  Mmmmmm, I love the idea of grilling! I am doing all those things that fill my tank ... that make me smile ... that help me gain balance again ...

Pardon me while I go organize something.

Monday, June 26, 2017

YOU MIGHT BE AN OLD FART IF ....

Y'all.

I love social media!  I do.  Sadly, I like it so much, I am on it probably way more than I should be. I need to be more present in my own life and less in your alls.

But that is a post for another time.

Anywho ...

Social media has created a monster.

The monster has a name.

It's called The Over-Sharing Monster.

The stuff I've read on social media in the last few days.

I mean, decorum, people. Decorum!

I say some pretty stupid things on Facebook.  Usually, it's for a laugh ... or because my life is such a collective laugh.

I've been mean on Facebook.  I admit it. But I made a point a long time ago to be positive and upbeat, utilizing the Bambi Rule: If I have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Some of among us?  Not so much!  Sheesh! Some of things people are posting....none of us need to know that stuff!  NONE OF US.

Y'all are putting people on blast. You're sharing your dirty laundry.  You're updating me on personal stuff. You're showing pictures that make me cringe.

I like to keep up with my friends. In fact, I usually only keep FRIENDS as friends. I live far away from my family and friends.  Facebook allows me to keep tabs on all y'all.

But keeping tabs doesn't mean I want to know about absolutely EVERYTHING.

Don't mind me.  I'm just going to clip my toe nails while I nibble on my homemade brioche rolls while waxing ...

Grumpy, old woman, party of one.


HOME FROM VISITING HOME

I busted outta town just as soon as school was out.  Okay, maybe not AS SOON AS school was out.  In my infinite wisdom, I scheduled a dental appointment AND an allergist appointment the week after school as well as just having to deal with Closing Day activities.  However, as soon as I could, I packed up the car and the cat, and I busted a move to The Mitten State.

I needed room between me and this academic year.  I needed perspective.  I needed REST.

Y'all.  I LOVE my job.  I love every part of it.  But this was a hard year.  A good hard, but hard nonetheless.

At some point, I am going to work on school stuff.  However, right now?  Well, I needed to get out of town and re-calibrate.

So, I went home. I soaked up my parents' love and attention. I sat. I napped. I went to lunches and dinners.  I walked main street, and I sat on the deck and soaked up the sun.  I went to breakfast with a dear, sweet friend -- we picked up right where we left off (the beauty of sweet friends). I toured museums and beaches and wandered gift shops and junk shops and antique malls.

I hugged old friends and nodded at some enemies as well. 😁

It was good to be home.

Home is where the heart is ... home has nostalgia ... home has memories ... home has familiar scents and sights and sounds.

Home also provides perspective.

I remember years and years and years ago feeling like I was drowning ... like I was in a dead-end spot with no way out. I prayed for something different. I prayed for a new start. I had no idea how that was all going to happen, but I prayed for it. Then, without realizing, I was forced out, and I landed in Kentucky.

Eleven years later, this is home ... or my new home.  It's also where my heart is.  I have precious friends here, people who have adopted me into their families ... we've created new families ... I have a wonderful job that challenges me and frustrates me and fulfills me and makes me want to be a better person every single day.

It was a bittersweet day leaving Michigan.  It always is.  Yet, I was excited about getting home to Kentucky.

I am now rested and relaxed and ready to spend the summer, short as it is, recharging, doing things I want to do, digging into my hobbies, living in the moment, and just being.

I am home from visiting home.

It is always good to go home.