Category Archives: Fear

A Walk in the Woods

Yesterday I took a hike in my favorite park, Wildcat Den near Muscatine. I cut my hiking boots on that park. I grew up with it and love it, from Fat Man’s Squeeze to the Grist Mill. Despite being a particularly beautiful day, I didn’t run into many hikers But that’s okay. I was on a thinking mission, and think I did.

Every September, there is a 5K through the park. The year of my divorce, I won first place in my age group, much to my shock and surprise. Since then, I have dreamt of doing that again. But the year of the big D I lost 20 pounds or so (starting from a lower number than where I am now, sad to say), so I think all the working out I was doing at that point had a lot to do with my win.

So, now that I have been thinking a lot about re-making myself, I am setting a goal for that race again. Not necessarily to win my age group, though that would be awesome. Rather, to at least place (which means in the top three). So, to that end, my new goals are to hike the park twice a week, following the race route. After I lose ten pounds, which I know is possible, then I will start running the route twice a week. I must set my goal and work to achieve it.

And there is the problem for me lately. I really wish, wish being the operative word, I could lose the weight I need to lose with no work. That’s the difference between a wish and reality. In reality, it’s actually hard work to lose weight. At least it is for me, and probably for anybody else who has more than five pounds to lose. So I have to stop being lazy and start making short term goals to hit the long term.

The long term? I’m not sure I want to actually write it down in public like this, but I suppose I ought to in order to make myself more accountable. My overall goal would be to lose between 40 and 50 pounds. I don’t usually tell that to people out loud, because then I hear all kinds of prattle like, “Oh, you don’t need to lose that much,” or “You don’t have that to lose,” Indeed, kind reader, I do. I know where I used to be and haven’t seen that number for a long, long time. And now, if I want to get close to that number again, I have to be strong. I have to be steady. I have to work hard every single day, with as few slips as possible. There will be slips. I know this. I would be naive to think otherwise.

But I know that I have to not just work on my body, but my brain, too. I find it hard to look in the mirror sometimes. But I especially find it hard to look at myself in photos. That is why I never take “selfies” aside from the fact that I find selfies annoying and childish. But I imagine if I got closer to “the number” I might consider it. But I have to work on being kinder to myself and liking myself, or all of this will be for naught. I can’t keep hating on myself and be able to reach my goal.

So, I will physically work hard. I will plan and organize my food. I will continue to practice meditation and yoga to help keep me mindful. And I will continue to work with my therapist so I can redirect my anger and frustrations into more productive channels.

I will re-make myself into the person I really want to become!

Huh! All of that revelation from a 50 minute walk in the woods. Thanks, Mother Nature!

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Speechless

This morning, part of my crazy day began when I read a copy of a reference letter a friend wrote for me for a job I am applying for. She is a former school board president and I had her son in my class about a million years ago. We are, as we both agree, kindred spirits. To that end, we get together for lunch or coffee sometimes, but not nearly often enough for either of us, I daresay, being kindred and all.

And her letter today left me speechless. Part of me was thinking, when I wasn’t crying, who is this person she is writing about? This shining pillar of a person who loves kids and who is good at what she does and really should get that English position at the high school, thank you very much. Speechless, except when I replied to her e-mail, between spots where I told her I was weepy with gratitude and stunned by her view of me, I said the principal would probably read that letter and hire me without the trouble of an interview. Yes, her letter was that wonderful.

Which makes me think about how I view myself. I have never been one to brag. I don’t like to do that, particularly. I know I’m smart. I consider myself nice enough looking (there are days when I think I am pretty, but then there are plenty of those other days). And that’s about where it begins and ends, unless I’m having one of those down days, where I get angry at nothing and anything. Where I have no patience with myself. Where I yell at myself and tell me that I’m so stupid. I know these are all falsehoods. But that’s where my head goes sometimes. Actually more times than I really like. Which is to say “never ” – I never really like it to go there, but go it does.

And then I read this letter. (sniff, sniff)

I told her that I struggle with how I view myself, which is true. I spend a lot of my internal time second-guessing myself, doubting I am good enough, and I tend to put other people’s thoughts into my head (“Oh, good grief, what is she thinking? She’s so stupid.” “Why is she wearing that?”). I have to remember, as I read somewhere, “Other people’s thoughts are none of your business.” True, so true. And yet…

And then there is this lovely, wonderful letter.

So, I think what I need to do is print out this letter from my dear friend and read it every morning when I get up, just to look in a different kind of mirror that I never knew was there. Or maybe didn’t want to think was there. I like this mirror, mirror. I guess in Snow White the mirror does reveal the truth. But I never knew which mirror to look in to see the real me, or at least the me my friend sees, which I would like to hope is the real me.

Illness and Perspective

So, I think all the stresses of the past several weeks have finally taken their toll. Yesterday I came down with something. Not sure what it is. I don’t get bronchitis or sinus infections really now, thanks to my CPap machine. No this was something different. A twisting in my gut that would not let up.

Today Ed has been dosing me with Pepto, which seems to help. I thought I was curing myself this week with a Facebook and a national news (mostly) blackout. But here I am, sick all the same. Ten hours of sleep on Friday night and on Saturday night. Feels like all I want to do is sleep. But I suppose that is okay. If my body wants sleep, I will sleep.

I have been trying to shift my perspective, though. Focus on things I can change. With the help of my Daily Stoic book, which gives me something to consider each morning, my new sun lamp (15 minutes every morning to give me a little shot of what the sky has not been giving us over the past 3 months or so — how is it possible for the world to stay so completely and unendingly grey for so long?), and my new therapist, I am slowly trying to make some changes.

Depression is such a lousy pit. Combine that with SAD and fear that the world is going to end, and that makes a bitter cocktail. So, I decided to try to make some lemonade from all those lousy lemons. Right now I’m doing some squeezing. Soon I hope to add some sugar. But being sick makes it hard to pull myself up. So, I guess I just have to let it all go for a few days.

The ubiquitous “they” say that February is the worst month (I think it far crueler than April, Eliot be damned). I don’t want to believe this, because if I haven’t yet seen the worst, how much worse can it get? So, today I’ll just turn on the heating pad, make another cup of tea, read my book, journal a bit, and pray that I start to feel better, at least physically. Because, from my perspective, that’s at least one place to start.

Back to the Blog

It has been far, far too long since I have posted. So I have decided it’s time to get back to work at writing. For the past year, I’ve been doing less writing and more crawling into my own shell, which is not good for me. All stress and no play makes me a dull person, at least in my own mind, which is what has been guiding me the past year. So now it’s time to stop all that dullard nonsense and start getting down to business. And now it begins.

I will pledge to post at least once a week for the foreseeable future. I’d like to say for the next year, but a year seems like a long time. So I’ll hedge, which is what I’m really good at. Hedge; don’t commit.

Okay, so nix on the hedging. Here goes: I will post on my blog at least once a week for the next year. End of discussion. By every Sunday evening, there will be some word from me here. If there isn’t, feel free to send a search party.

Love you!

Knit Wit

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Oh, happy day! I finished knitting my new cowl. I finished it exactly a month after we got back from Seattle. I found a great yarn shop there, saw the sample project, fell in love with it, had to find different colors (because, naturally, the ones in the sample were gone) and then came home and began knitting.

This NEVER happens! No matter how many times I get inspiration from Alicia Paulson’s blog, where she shows pictures constantly of some wonderful project in the works on her circular needles, I never manage to take the inspiration to the next level and actually do something with it. Except this time I did!

I am always afraid to start a new project because I am afraid I will mess it up and then it will lie in a tangled heap, never to be heard from again. But, for whatever reason, this time when I began, I started with the sample to get gauge (people really do this, I understand). Though, I confess, the needles were bigger than the pattern called for, so I abandoned the swatch and got the right needles and just went to town. Even though I had to rip out 45 minutes worth of work a couple times because I messed up, it didn’t seem to bother me. It was totally Zen knitting.

And did I ever knit! I knitted for almost an hour at a time. I knitted as long as I could till my eyes got fuzzy with squinting (new glasses should arrive this week – bifocals, argh). But I did it. When I tried it on, in the end, it seemed a little taller than I really wanted, so maybe the next time (there will be a next time) I’ll knit two rounds rather than three. We’ll see.

So, why do I never knit more than I do? Fear. I think this is a pattern in my life. No. I know it is a pattern in my life. It may not appear that way to other people, because I usually do crazy things and jump in with both feet (sometimes without looking, which gets me into trouble occasionally). But I often hesitate to do things because I am afraid of the outcome. Doubting Thomas syndrome? Because I don’t want to look stupid? Probably both. Also because I am sometimes (many times?) too lazy to do the legwork ahead of time to do something new.

So, time to change. It’s summer, so I have time to try to work this out. This week Ed is on RAGBRAI (I was supposed to go, but opted out after our little bike crash caused me to bum up my shoulder; shoulder is better, but not the brain, so here I am at home). But this is okay. I am purging closets and shelves and the house in general. I am making appointments at the resale shops, finding charities for items and moving on this.

I feel better already, and a little less fearful. Though I stepped into the Heart of Darkness yesterday when I had to go to the city to apply for a electrical permit for the sunporch (apparently you need one BEFORE the work begins – shhhh). But I did it.

And today is another day, as Scarlett reminds us. So I am going to work like mad and get a lot done. But I will start off with Yoga for Stress (a great class – went last week for the first time and loved it). I will even take the dog for a walk at Sunderbruch today. I got a retractable leash on Saturday and figure she needs a daily walk for her mental and physical well being, as do I.

And I shall quilt. And I shall clean. And I shall weed. And I shall purge.

Amen.