Stronger…Whatever It Takes!

Nothing will make you realize how out of shape you are like a KMS Bag class.  It’s hard.  It’s so hard.  It pushes you physically, but more than that, it pushes you mentally.  I’ve got three classes under my belt now, and one thing has remained the same through each class for me:  I’m stronger than I think I am…and I’ll do whatever it takes to finish!

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And it’s funny, you know, the thoughts that go through my mind when I hit those moments during class where my muscles are burning, my breath is shallow, and I feel like I’m going to puke.  With that level of exhaustion you’d think I’d be thinking, “Stop!  Quit!  Enough!”  But I don’t.  Those thoughts don’t even enter my mind.  Instead, what I think is, “One more!  Don’t Quit!  No Pain!”

I actually hear Rocky’s trainer from Rocky IV, when Rocky is training in Russia, and he’s doing that insane exercise where he’s holding on to a table, with only his shoulders resting on the table, and he’s slowly and with epic control lowering his feet to the table in slow, methodical reps, and the trainer just says calmly, “No pain.”  He says over and over with intense control, “No pain.”  And that’s what I hear in my head when I’m struggling to do one more rep, to punch one more time, to throw one more kick!  All I can think is, “No pain!  Finish!”  How fitting that the soundtrack under that scene is called Hearts on Fire.  And that’s how I feel during class.  It’s hard!  Really hard!  And yet it’s the most amazing thing, because I’ll do whatever it takes to finish!

And you know why I think that?  Well, it’s twofold.  The first is because, and I can’t believe how much I truly had forgotten this fact, but I’m a tough bitch!  When I set my mind to something, I truly can do anything.  No matter how much it hurts, no matter how long it takes, no matter how much I sacrifice, I will achieve my goal!  But the second, and the most powerful piece for me is that it’s the culture at KMS.  They make me want to push harder, hit harder, finish as hard as I possibly can.  They make me want to make them proud as much as make myself proud.  It’s a place of positivity, of encouragement and of community.  And to finish a class and have everyone congratulating each other for killing it out there, well, that’s just something amazing to be a part of, and I’m so grateful for every class.

kms200The last two days I haven’t taken a class, because my work schedule doesn’t line up for me to take a class.  And I find myself missing it.  I’m looking forward to noon tomorrow when I get to go hit stuff again!  I find my self getting into fighting stance while waiting for the elevator, or standing in line at the grocery store.  It’s pretty awesome.  It’s only been a week, but I already feel like I’m a part of KMS.  And when I signed up, I’m the 200th member, which was such a cool thing for both me and the owners!  It’s a big milestone for them, and a huge moment for me.   Every experience I have in this place just shows me that I found the right place at the right time, because I feel so good when I get there and even better when I leave!  If you like to hit stuff, and want a good workout, and you live in Seattle, you really should come join me!  I dare ya!

Ciao for now,

M sm

Krav Maga…aka, Awesome Workout aaaaaaaand I Got to Hit Stuff!!!!!!

Ikms-logon following through with my plan to check out Krav Maga Seattle, aka KMS, I got up early, ate a healthy breakfast in plenty of time to let it digest before I headed down to the gym.  It was really easy to find, and there was plenty of free street parking.  I walked in, was instantly greeted by Ally, who helped me get set up for my free week trial (this is usually $20, but there’s a special going on right now where the trial week of unlimited classes is free!  Can ya say kismet??) and I took a seat and watched the final few minutes of Krav Maga 2 class, and holy friggin wow!  That class was no joke!  The amount of self defense, combat training, and technique going on amongst these amazing athletes blew my mind!  I decided to just watch the Krav Maga level 1 class today, but was planning on taking the KMS Bag class, which I’ll get to soon.

So, Krav Maga Level 1….yeah, not for the faint of heart!  The pre-workout, good gawd, I got sore just watching the class.  And after about 10 minutes or so, they all partnered up and started working on punches.  There was every kind of body type, fitness level, skill level, and intensity out there.  The first timers to the class were well instructed and people were so willing to help them do things correctly.  The veterans were friggin inspiring.  One chick in particular, she had dreads and a black bandana and she was a beast!  Her technique was impeccable, her focus was formidable and her intensity was inspirational!  They moved on from punches, to working on knee strikes.  They then worked on getting out of a hold if someone grabs you around the neck from the back and tries to choke you.  I just loved everything I saw, and can’t wait to take my first level 1 class.  Ally taught the class with help from a few other instructors, with the owners keeping watch and shouting out words of encouragement and inspiration throughout.  Everyone gave 110% in that class, and it was a powerful thing to watch!

An hour after that I checked in, grabbed a pair of boxing gloves from the loaner bin, and headed to the mat for my first KMS Bag class.  And Chau, one of the owners started us off.  We all grabbed a jump rope and jumped for 5 minutes.  That doesn’t seem like that long, but when you haven’t jumped rope since the 80s, yeah, it was so long!!  I instantly realized how out of shape I am, but I fought through the pain.  Fought through the burn.  And lasted the full 5 mins.  After that, we did some across the floor work, engaging our core, warming up the entire body.  I felt slow, and weak, but I pushed through.  Then, Ally took over the class and we strapped into our gloves and all grabbed a heavy bag.  And that’s when the magic happened for me!  Not only was my body already sweaty and exhausted, but it was invigorated and craving more!  And this is what I was craving!  I got to hit on the heavy bag!

Working in 2-3minute intervals on different punches, it felt so good to get back to working on a heavy bag.  My body instantly remembered the form I need for accurate, effective punches.  I heard my grandfather’s voice in my head telling me to center, engage my abs, use my hips, keep the punches at shoulder level, and exhale.  And I did.  And it felt great!  All was well until we had to drop down and do sit-ups, and that quick change of level send the first wave of nausea and dizziness.  Coming off of 65 days without sugar made it tough because my body was low on fuel!  My pace may have been a lot slower than the rest of the class, but ya know what, I didn’t quit!  I went at my pace, but I didn’t quit!

I got back up and pushed through.  More dizziness came.  More nausea.  The coaches checked on me, I slowed my pace, but I didn’t quit.  And somehow, at the end of class, I was able to complete a pyramid series of punches, roundhouse kicks, and splays and did so without puking all over the gym!  It hurt.  It burned.  My brain and muscles were screaming for me to stop.  But my heart was too far into it.  My soul was too hell bent on finishing.  I remembered that I have the word Forza, which means Strength in Italian, on my arm for a reason!  I am stronger than I’ve been lately.  I am one tough bitch when I want to be, and I was NOT going to give up!  And when I finished, not only was I so proud of myself, but all the coaches gave me high fives and congratulations!

For the first time, in a long time, I felt so welcome somewhere new.  It felt like I finally found a place I belong!  And even though my heart was pounding out of my chest, I was breathing harder than I have in a long time, and my entire body was shaking, I felt such elation, I can’t even tell you!

I am going to finish out the free week, cuz why not, but I can tell you right now, I’m already a member of KMS.  I am so stoked to workout at this place 5 days a week.  And the best part, it’s friggin walking distance from my office!  No excuses!  This was meant to be on so many levels.

I got to my car, checked in with my best friend so he would know I survived.  And then, I cried.  I cried a release of tears I didn’t know I needed to cry.  The release I got today from all the tension I have been carrying around for the past 6 years finally felt like it was letting go of me.  The weight I’ve been carrying felt lighter.  Yes, I’ve tried yoga.  Yes, I’ve tried diets.  But none of that gave me the endorphin rush, the fulfillment, and the sense of personal accomplishment that this KMS Bag class gave me today.  Some people run. Some people yoga.  Some people crossfit.  Me?  I like to hit stuff.  I like to spend an hour with a heavy bag. I like to learn to defend myself while getting fit.  I’ve found the place that is going to help me reach all my goals, both fitness wise and nutrition wise.  How’s that, you might ask?  Well, because they have a nutritionist there that I am going to work with to ensure I’m fueling and recovering properly for this level of pushing my body.

I more than found a breadcrumb today.  I found a lost piece of myself that I’d forgotten about, and was so ecstatic to find.

Ciao for now,

M sm

You Gotta Listen!

So, one of the things I do to keep myself grounded and healthy is to do Reiki.  I have a wonderful woman who performs Reiki on me, and I truly do love it.  (If you’d like her details, let me know).  Anyway, of all my sessions, one thing she says to me every time is, “Your spirit guides are always trying to guide you and give you hints, and you ignore them.  You need to listen to that voice inside you that is trying to guide you.  Yet, you discard things that show themselves to you every day, and if you’d stop doing that, and pay attention to those things, it would help you find what you’re looking for.”

And I believe that she’s right.  However, hard habits are tough to break.  So, that being said, I’ve been trying to listen to that little voice more, and pay attention to signs around me.  And holy crap, if it isn’t working!

The past two weeks have been tough for me on this crazy high protein diet I’ve been on.  I’ve had no interest in eating.  I haven’t felt well.  I’ve been moody and cranky.  I have had no energy, and have been battling myself with wanting to quit.  I’ve been arguing with myself because I saw the urge to quit as a weakness.  As my giving up on a tool that will help me lose weight and get to a healthier, slimmer me.  I didn’t want to quit yet another diet.  I wanted to finish what I started.

But no matter how often I argued, that little voice inside got louder and louder.  And it wasn’t saying ‘eat junk food’ or ‘you need to stop!’.  When I took a breath and listened, what it was saying is, “This isn’t the right path for you.  It got you started, which is great.  But it’s time for you to move!”  And that’s what I’ve been feeling.  I am really wanting to workout, and this diet plan doesn’t allow for that.  And while it’s an extreme fix for an immediate health concern, I really need a plan that allows me to move!  And I heard my body loud and clear on this yesterday.

I had to carry a bunch of stuff from one building to another at work yesterday, and by the end of the day my arms were so sore.  I’m not used to being that weak!  I’m not used to getting out of breath from a 10min walk, slightly uphill from my car to my office.  While I might be getting thinner, I’m definitely NOT getting fitter, and I’ve been feeling this way for a few weeks.

Now, on my social media newsfeeds, one thing kept popping up over and over again.  A link to  Krav Maga Seattle.  It’s been everywhere, and last night, I clicked on the link.  And something told me that this is where the next phase of my path to a better, healthier me is supposed to go!  Not only do they teach Krav Maga, which I’ve always wanted to try, but they offer heavy bag classes, HIIT training, and yoga!  It’s like one stop shopping for all the workout types I love.  And as many struggles as I’ve had lately, being able to smack the crap out of a heavy bag as many times a week as I need/want to, sounds awesome!

I spent last night soul searching.  Should I shift from Ideal Protein to Krav Maga?  Is this the right move for me?  I emailed my doctor, who of course wants me to stay on Ideal Protein.  is convinced that’s what I need to do.  And when I woke up this morning, this horoscope was waiting for me:

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My hope is that my doctor only has my health in mind, but that is one expensive diet plan, so that may be a motivator as well.  Either way, my gut is telling me it’s time to find a better solution.  One where I sweat!  one where I eat balanced meals for every meal.  One where I feel good every day and not bored, frustrated, weak, and lethargic!  I’m not abandoning my plan to get healthy.  I’m just changing my course of how to get there!

My first class is on Saturday. And I’m really excited to start this new journey.  I am going to listen to the that inner voice.  I’m not going to regret changing my mind or tactic!  If nothing else, this journey is teaching me to trust myself more.  That’s what my Reiki Guru is always telling me.  To trust myself more.  So, that’s what I’m going to do.

Breadcrumb definitely found!

Ciao for now,

M sm

What Do I Do With That?!?!

Sitting around a table at a dive bar with two men, one of whom is young, and the other is a little older  than I am, the subject came around to dating, mostly discussing the young one’s dating life, because as he’s young and pretty, has the most active dating life at the table.  I made a comment about my lack of dating life, and how I’m cursed to always land in the friend zone no matter what, and this is where the unsolicited free advice started.

“I would argue that you get friend zoned because that’s where you put yourself,” said the young one.  And as I blinked at him, he added, “You’re a beautiful woman, and my guess is that you don’t believe that.”  He’s not wrong.  I don’t see myself that way.  Never have.  And again, before I could respond, he goes, “You’re really fun to be around and one of the most interesting people I’ve met, and so I think in order to not get friend zoned, you’re going to have to open yourself up more.”

As my best friend, the older, and wiser one at the table just cackled, I couldn’t help but squint at the young one, because these are almost the same verbatim words that my best friend has said to me on numerous occasions.  Additionally, getting this advice from a young man who has never even once made a pass in my direction, has no desire for anything other than friendship from me can sit there and so quickly and easily blame it all on my is a bit bizarre.

So, in finally finding my voice I say to the young one, “I agree.  You’re 100% right on all accounts.  The problem is, I have no idea how to do what you’re suggesting.”  And the quizzical look he gave me showed me he didn’t believe me.

I tried to explain to him that, the time in life that most people figure out how to maneuver dating is in high school.  That’s where you should be cutting your teeth on learning the dos and don’ts about navigating romance.  I, however, wasn’t given that option.  My mother had me programmed to never see myself as attractive.  And God help any boy who even remotely found me so, as she’d figure out a way to run them off.  Whether it was forcing me to break up with them once summer hit because, “I was too young for something that long and serious” or talking a boy into breaking up with me because “I needed to focus on school and not boys” or manipulating all of my guy friends to act as body guards to ensure that no other boy ever looked at me as anything more than a friend.  And when all of that is happening without your knowledge, you learn to see yourself as nothing more than the friend.

This has continued into my adult life.  I can be at a party, gathering, event with single men, and while they might enjoy talking to me, and might laugh at my wit, they never ask for my number before they leave.  They never want to get to know me better.  They never pursue me.  So, in explaining this to the young one, he blatantly says, “Yeah, but that’s because you don’t seem open to it.  You have a logical way of looking at the world, compartmentalizing everything into a neat little box, so you aren’t open to being pursued.”  My best friend adds, “They can see your ‘Keep Out’ sign that is tattooed on your forehead.

And I’m baffled.  What the fuck are they talking about?  I have no idea what they’re talking about.  I had no idea that’s how I am perceived.  When I meet new people, I always try to just ‘be myself’ and I’m now realizing, that in doing that, I’m some how also giving off an unavailable vibe.  And i have no idea how or why that’s happened, so with all this very honest advice that I’m getting, as I sat at that bar staring at them, all I could think was, “What do I do with that?!?  How do I fix a problem I don’t even know I have?”  It’s not that I don’t believe them.  I’m sure they’re right.  I’m sure they’re telling the truth.  But how the hell do I fix it because I don’t see it?

I have no idea how to do things differently.  I have no idea what personality traits I”m supposed to hide, or which ones to make bigger.  I have no idea how to navigate this in any way, shape or form.  Mostly because when I do meet a guy I find attractive, I do try to get to know him, but the way I do it always lands me in the friend zone, so in addition to not knowing how to be pursued, I clearly don’t know how to pursue either.

And it occurred to me.  How is this completely all on me?  How is there not a guy out there who would see past the ‘keep out sign’ that is supposedly on my forehead? Back in the day, I’ve learned since my mother died, there were quite a few guys who wanted to pursue me, but didn’t for either fear of my mother or fear of my friends.  As an adult, only two men dared try to be with me, both not giving a crap about my mother’s tactics to run them off, but i was too obedient to choose them over her once the ultimatum was thrown down by her.

It’s been almost 24 hours since all this truth was laid at my feet, and still, I have no idea how to fix this problem.  No idea how to ‘be more open’.  No clue whatsoever.  Perhaps the curse of the friend zone is my fault.  But since I don’t know how to fix it, I guess it’s just going to have to stay as it is for now.  Maybe an epiphany will come to me.  Although, it does suck that being myself isn’t enough.  It does suck that who I am, who I know myself to be, and the things I like about myself aren’t enough.  That I somehow now have to figure out some way to be more.  I don’t know that I want to do that.  But I don’t want to be alone forever, either.

No breadcrumb, this time, sadly.  Instead, I fear this conversation and the emotions and frustrations that have come from it have led me down a new path of self evaluation that is taking me further away from the life I’m meant to have.  I probably should stop this path, and just go back…but I don’t know that I can just ignore it now that it’s out there.  Truth. What do I do with that?

I have no idea….

Ciao for now,

M

Changes

So, I’ve been focusing on what I want, as per my last post, but just last week came up with a plan to finally put into action!  My health is a major concern.  Combine a 50 hour work week with diabetes and sprinkle on unhealthy snacking cuz there’s a Bartell’s five feet from my office and you get a very unhealthy M.  My latest labs scared me to death, and when I got home from the appointment, I looked at myself in the mirror and said to myself, “Self…you’re looking an awful lot like your mother.  Do you want your kidneys to fail, too?  Do you want to have to inject insulin into your body for the rest of your life?  Because last I checked, you did not have a daughter to give up her life to care for you when your immune system dissolves into a bag of dialysis fluid.  Wake the fuck up!”

And I did.  I spent a few weeks trying to get hard workouts in after work, and I did.  I also meal planned and ate well.  And yet, very few pounds dropped.  And I started the self-critical path towards bowls of pasta and bags of chips, and thank god for that image of turning into my mother, because I sat down to try to figure out why the hell my plan wasn’t working.  And it hit me.

Cuz I’m trying to fight against years of neglect of my health, while I was focused on my mother’s health, and I work in a demanding, exhausting job, and by the time I get home, the last thing I want to do is work out.  It’s a chore, and I hate it, so I had to find another way.

A few years ago I did a high protein diet that worked for me.  I didn’t stick to it, because I didn’t have the best support system at home.  But it worked.  It worked wonders!  It balanced by blood sugar, gave me energy, and the food wasn’t bad.  So in doing research, I decided to go back to it, because on this diet, exercise isn’t a key factor until you shed the pounds.  And if I time it all out right, by the time the pounds are gone, I will have moved closer to work, and the energy suck that is my current commute will be gone, and I can use that time to tone myself up.

It’s going to work.  I can feel it.  I started a separate blog to track that journey, and feel free to check out Ideal Michele if you are so inclined.  This is the first time in my adult life where, rather than just giving up on the problem of my health, or ignoring it, I took stock and realized what my current lifestyle is like, and found a solution that works with it.  I’m pretty damn proud of me.

Crumb so unbelievably earned and found!

Ciao for now,

M

What do I want?

What, Mr. Gosling, do I want?  What do I want?  This scene, from the Notebook, one of my all time favorites, not only because it’s epically romantic, but because his delivery of the line “What do you want?” that he says over and over is so perfectly acted.

“Would you stop thinking about what everyone wants.  Stop thinking about what I want, what he wants, what your parents want.  What do you want?  What do YOU want?  WHAT do you want?  Goddamnit, what do you want?”

I’ve watched this movie  a million times, and never before tonight have those lines rocked me to my core.  What do I want?  What do I want?  Just me.  No one else.  Not my friends.  Not my boss.  Not my coworkers.  Not my parents, more specifically, not thinking about what my mother wants is such a foreign thing to me.  But she’s not here anymore, so what she wants no longer matters.  What do I want?  What. Do. I. Want?

As I sat in my favorite spot on Cannon Beach, Oregon tonight, I watched the waves gently crash on the sand as the sun slowly dipped below the water, and I thought to myself, “What do I want?  What do I really, truly want?”

My first reaction was ‘I don’t know.’  I’m so lost, I let go of everything I wanted so many years ago, how the hell do I figure it out now.  And then I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and let the clean sea air fill my lungs, and as the tears stung my eyes and rolled down my cheeks, I let it be ok that I don’t know what I want.  I let it be ok that I’m still lost.  And in the instant I forgave myself for not having it all figured out, clarity came to me.  And here’s what I want:

  1. I want to be happy.  Which is tough, because the last time I was truly happy was so long ago, it took a few moments to summon up that feeling.  Remembering where I was when I felt true happiness and bliss.  It was on the stage of the Playhouse at UW when I sang an oversolo for Seasons of Love and brought the house to their feet.  And it was because in that moment, I was truly in a moment of being who I was supposed to be.  I was performing.  Which leads me to:
  2. I want to perform again.  With my new job, I’d let myself give up the dream of performing.  With my love of writing taking over, I’d forgotten how much I love to perform, because when I’m in a good show, with a good cast, and a good director, my soul sings, my heart is full, and I’m at peace.  Guess it’s time to dust off my monologue collection.
  3. I want to stop hurting physically.  My health is in my hands, and my hands only.  I’ve been flirting with life changes in this area, but have yet to commit.  It’s time to stop fucking around with my health, and to get serious.  There are no more obstacles to blame.  It’s all on me.  And I’m done letting me down.
  4. I need to start saying yes to more things.  No is so easy for me.  The ‘responsible’ choice has been necessity.  And now, I can afford to enjoy life more than I’ve been doing lately.  Time to start saying yes.

I want to be happy.  Dammit, I want to be happy.  I want to be happy.  I’m going to be happy.  Knowing what I want is going to help me, hopefully, find the rest of these breadcrumbs so that I can finally get to the life I’ve dreamed of for so many years.

I was sheltered and isolated for so long, so focused on someone else’s wants and needs, it’s taken me this long to realize that I’ve yet to focus on what I want.  Old habits are hard to break, but as of today, this habit is breaking.

Breadcrumb very emotionally found.

Ciao for Now,

M

Is My Mirror Broken?

Anyone who suffers from self esteem issues, or who is going through some sort of self-improvement physically has those days where you look in the mirror and thing, “Ugh.  I’m hideous.”  And I’m no exception.

However, lately, I’m having the opposite experience, and it’s kind of tripping me out.  For example, I HATE to have my picture taken.  I’m not photogenic.  Never have been.  It always takes hundreds of shots from random angles to get just one shot where I don’t look like quasimoto who has been on a drunken/drug induced bender for 18 days.  And godless digital photography and all filters and tweaks one can make to photos.  It’s helped me a ton.  Anyway, I digress.

Whenever anyone wants to photograph me, I always say, “Oh no, I’m much better in person,” and I say that because that’s truly what I think.  The live show is much better than anything anyone could catch on film.  But it got me thinking, why is that?  Why does the image of me captured through a lens not look at all like what I see when I look in the mirror, because in the mirror, I think I look pretty damn good.  Is, somehow, my mirror broken?

broken_mirror_by_E_NigmaDesignMirror Mirror on the wall, who’s not looking too bad today?  This chick!  Or at least that’s what I will think when looking at my reflection and if it’s good enough I think, “I should snap a pic of me, I look great today!”  Take a pic and look at it on my phone, and poof!  Happy moment shattered as I look at the not so cute reflection staring back at me, and I’m baffled.  I look back in the mirror, and things still look good.  Is my mirror broken?  Is my perception of myself so unbelievably off?

I’m not sure why this keeps happening to me, but it does.  Often.  Makes me think something is wonky in my brain.  My friends compliment me a lot, my best friend especially.  And I trust his opinion on all things, yet have a hard time trusting his assessment of my physicality because a photo doesn’t lie.  But, neither does my bestie.  Yet the two images don’t add up, so one of them must be lying.  Or maybe it’s my self-loathing flawed moments that are lying.

Perhaps it boils down to photogenic vs. non-photogenic, and nothing more than that.  But wow, would it be nice to just have a quick photo snapped and love how it looked.  Perhaps when I get a better hold on my insecurities and remove them from my life, perhaps how harshly I judge myself in photos will lessen.  I know I have a lot of work to do on myself still, and am happy with my progress so far.  And maybe, just maybe, the way I’ll know when all my breadcrumbs have been found is when I can take a pic of myself and simply like the image I see staring back at me.  Maybe.

The search continues….

Ciao for now,

M

Awaken Your Joy!

awaken your joy

I had an unbelievable experience on Saturday night that I have to write down so that I don’t forget it.  I went to this event with my best friend.  It was called Sea Compression, and the theme was “Let Them Eat Cake!”  It being October, it was a full costume party at this amazing Seattle location, and we fully dressed up in the spirit of the event.

Now, it’s important to note that my best friend and I go out quite often, and inevitably, something goes wonky during the outing.  Sometimes the wonky thing is a huge deal breaker and ends the night before it begins, and sometimes it’s just a small irritation, but never do we get a smooth, easy, drama free night.  Until Saturday night, that is.

I arrived at my best friend’s house where he was ironing the last bits of his costume.  With me in my black corset, black leggings, over the knee leather boots, full bustle floor length skirt in the back, and my cute tri-corner mini hat with its cheeky hot pink feather securely pinned amidst my mile high hair in true Marie Antoinette fashion, and my bestie in his leather pants, white vest, blood red collared shirt, and black velvet calf length livery coat, we were quite the pair.  Another friend joined us, and perfectly clad in her leather corset, and donning one of my venetian metal masks, off we went to this mysterious event.

We arrived and found a perfect parking spot one block away.  My bestie chose to leave his phone at home, so we were not interrupted while out having fun.  We met nothing but wonderfully nice and friendly people, and as we were there quite early, we didn’t even have to stand in line to get inside.

My best friend is one of the most amazing people I know, but he’s also very introverted most of the time.  Rarely liking to be touched by those he likes, and almost never wanting to be touched by strangers, his wit and sass often make him the most sought out company in any arena, whether he likes it or not.  And being an introvert myself, there were A LOT of people at this thing and it was slightly overwhelming.  At one point, my bestie said, “I’m feeling really exposed, I wish I’d thought to wear a mask.”  To which I said, “Well, why don’t you wear the one our friend here is wearing,” and she agreed wholeheartedly and gave him the mask.  And when he tied it on, something magical happened.  And that thing…..is joy.

Donning that mask awakened the joy inside him somehow, and even here, two days and many hours of processing later, I am still not sure what was the trigger.  But the minute the mask was on, he became a different person.  He was open, and happy, and friendly, and dare I say extroverted in the most beautiful way possible.  I’ve known him for so many years, and never in all that time had I ever seen him full of so much joy.

And that joy was beaming out of him like a lighthouse, calling all of the other joyful people home, as his magnetism and happiness attracted many people to come say hello, share a dance, or simply introduce themselves as they complimented our costumes.  He was the belle of the ball, so to speak, and it’s a mind blowing experience I will never forget.  And from the moment we left his apartment to the moment we returned, the evening went smoothly without one hitch, and each moment was linked together by one thing:  his joy.

As someone who is in constant search of happiness, not knowing where to find it on a consistent basis, and often only finding it in false idols and half truths, to watch someone have their joy fully awakened and embraced got me thinking:  what will awaken my joy?

Which actually led to the deeper question of, is there joy hidden somewhere inside me at all?  Do I have joy to be awakened?

And the reason I ask this is because after the event, in reliving the details, my bestie said, “I used to be this joyful all of the time.  I don’t know when I lost it!”  And I had to admit to him, as we keep no secrets from each other, “I don’t think I’ve ever had it.”

Joy and happiness are not things that come easily to me, and not emotions I remember having either as a child or as an adult.  Ask my friends to describe me, and I guarantee you, out of all the wonderful adjectives they choose, happy would not be one of them.  Loyal, funny, sassy, sure, but not happy.

I don’t remember being a happy child, I remember being a disciplined, serious child.  Not a child at all, really, I was always just kind of a little adult.  Always making the responsible choice, always focused on the future, so much so that I never fully enjoyed the present.  A good example of this is high school.  I was so focused on getting good grades and excelling so that I could get into a good college and out of that podunct town I grew up in that I didn’t take the time to really enjoy myself and build and develop lasting friendships.

And since then, not a lot of joy has come my way, and I’m wondering if it’s because when it did arrive, I had no idea of how to be grateful for it and enjoy it, but instead would just worry when it was going to leave.  How have I survived living like this all these years?  And how the hell did I never realize this before?  I think the answer is, until Saturday night, I had never seen joy in it’s purest form.  And now that I have, I want to feel it for myself.

In all this processing I’ve done over the past two days, I am so happy to say it has brought me to a new breadcrumb, in that I need to learn to live in the NOW!  Enjoy and be grateful for the things I have NOW!  I must stop rehashing the past in my brain and trying to make sense of all the things that didn’t work that I can’t change even if I want to change them, so as Elsa says, I need to let them go.  I must also stop worrying so much about the future and what is possibly lurking around the next corner.  And I must start living in this moment.  In every moment.  I think enough moments have been wasted.  It’s time to awaken my joy, which I now know, has to be inside me somewhere.

Breadcrumb very emotionally found.

Ciao for now,

M

Release

I’ve started seriously practicing yoga.  Joined a studio.  Bought a matt and a grippy, aka yogi toes, towel. And have spent three days a week the past two weeks trying my hand at candlelight beginner yoga.  And last night, in my sixth practice session, I struggled.  I couldn’t focus.  Couldn’t keep my mind clear and open.  It constantly filled with minutia and stress and fear, causing my poses to be less than stellar.  I strained through the twist sequence.  I struggled through the balance section.  And the core work threatened to kill me!

And then we got to the end.  To the Shavasana pose, also called corpse pose.  And in laying my hands out at my sides, and stretching my legs long, and centering back into even breathing as sweat dripped down my face, I heard my teacher, Gus, say the words “When you’re ready, release…”

And there may have been words after that, I don’t know, because I took a deep breath, exhaled, and released.  And something in me, deep inside me, released, and I truly let go.  I felt tears well up in my eyes under my closed lids, I felt my breath fully even out and happen with ease.  I released a release I didn’t even know I needed.  And it felt amazing.

I have been through so much over the past year or so, and I thought I’d let most of it go.  But last night, I let go of something I didn’t know I was holding on to, and it made me wonder.  What else am I holding on to?  When will I sense it so that I can release it?  What am I hiding from myself, or more honestly, what am I hiding from?

Now is my time to shine.  Now is my time to explore.  Now is my time to be anything I want to be, and yet I still feel so stuck most of the time.  But not last night.  Last night I felt free.  Last night I felt release.  And as I said, it felt good.  And I want more of that.  Line a glass of good wine, or an amazing orgasm…..I want more of that.  I. Want. More. Of. That.

And damnit, I’m going to get it.

Ciao for now,

M

“Whether you th…

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” ~Henry Ford

This quote has been resonating through my soul since my latest experience with The Secret.  I wrote about it on Yahoo Voices, and you can find it here.  Mr. Ford was so very right.  And I think I can!