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

Epiphany!

Anyone who knows me knows that I can’t play games.  Not at all.  I can’t play sports, I can’t play board games, I can’t play card games, and I sure as hell can’t play video games.  And this isn’t for the reason you might think.  It’s not because I’m not coordinated, because I’m very coordinated.  It’s not because I don’t know how to win, because I do.  It’s not because I suck at these things, because I don’t.  I do, however, have a chemical imbalance when it comes to games that manifests itself in the most competitive energy ever, and it’s zero fun for any who encounter it.

As a child, the competitive streak served me well as a gymnast.  My ridiculous intensity allowed me to push myself a lot hard than any coach could push.  It also helped in school.  My complete obsession with being first in my class had me making As without having to be pushed by my teachers or my mother.  And as I got older, the goal of college, and going to the best school possible kept me focused and unphased by the normal things that distract teenagers.  This intensity, however, became zero fun whenever a ‘friendly’ game of anything came into play.  I don’t do ‘friendly’ competition.  No idea how to do it.  I don’t only want to win, because the win is the goal of course, but what feeds the competitive beast inside me is the annihilating you on the way to my win.  I want to destroy my opponent at all cost.  I want you crying, bleeding on the ground before I claim my victory.  Had I been a boy, this would have served me well in sports, I think, but being a girl, it was less than attractive.  A trait often pointed out by my mother as she tried to cure me of this competitive affliction.

One of my first memories is playing red light/green light with friends around the age of 5 or 6 and being so intense, and so intent on destroying them on the way to my win, and having my mother jerk me into the house and sitting me in a corner because, if I couldn’t play nice, then I wouldn’t play.  I wasn’t phased by this.  It got worse as I quit gymnastics and tried to play school sports.  My softball team, comprised of tween girls, mostly interested in how cute they looked in their uniforms as opposed to actually winning a game. Their lack of giving 100%, as I was, made me insane.  God forbid I struck out at the plate during softball, I’d come back, throw my bat, throw my helmet, and immediately incur the wrath of my mother. She didn’t understand this wasn’t something I could control.  I didn’t understand my peers, and how they could care less whether we destroyed our opponents or not.  And it drove me insane!  I quit playing because I couldn’t take their pacifying nature.

This fixation during games continued through high school and in to my first year of college.  And when my sorority played a ‘flag’ football game against another house during a charity game, I hit a tri-delt so hard, I knocked her out.  My intensity had actually hurt someone, and it woke me up, and in that moment I vowed to not play games any longer, since I couldn’t control my intensity and my rage.

Over the years after that, friends would often try to get me to play games.  Mostly board or card games, or invite me for game nights, and I’d go, and not want to play, and that makes other people very uncomfortable.  They don’t believe me when I tell them that my playing is disastrous.  One friend in particular pushed and pushed, and i finally decided to play scrabble, and when he got a huge scoring word, I may or may not have flipped the board up and at him, Teresa Guidice style!

As an adult, this plagues me.  I want to be able to play games with people, I want to be able to  play games with friends.  I want to just enjoy a friendly game of anything for once in my life, but I am incapable, and it’s so frustrating to not understand why I’m the way I am.  I’ve talked to a shrink about this, and after careful examination, it was deemed that this is just my wiring, and the healthiest choice I can make is to not play.  So that’s what I’ve done.  But that explanation never really helped me or satiated me.

The other night, I spent the evening with my best friend and a new friend who was waxing philosophically about some advice his step-dad had given him when he was young, and said that sometimes in life you play games for the joy of the game (a concept I don’t even remotely understand) and that sometimes you play games like you’re in prison.  Because in prison, you play to survive.  And the minute those words left his mouth, it felt as if he was describing me, and I turned to my best friend and said, “And I’ve always been in prison.”  And we had a silent moment and that epiphany hit me.

And I’ve always been in prison!

My beautiful pictureMy home town, if you’ve read my earlier blog posts, you know never felt like home to me.  I’ve said my whole life that I hate that place.  I ran from it at 18 as fast as I could to get to college.  But never did I register that I was in prison in that town.  The childhood I had was full of people at my house all the time, watching my every move.  These same friends, so connected to my mother, that I couldn’t make a move without one of them ratting me out.  She was my warden.  I was rapunzel in the tower.  I was always in prison.  I was never comfortable at home.  I hated coming home to that house.  I hated the neighborhood, I hated everything, and I see that, it was a type of prison for me.

It wasn’t a malicious thing, but it was a thing, and my survival instincts to survive that incarceration was to be the best I could possibly be so that somehow, one of my talents could get me out of there!  And when I went off to college, I really wasn’t free.  I was still on probation, having to check in with the warden daily.  And when the warden got sick, I was yanked back into the tower for another six year sentence.

With no control on that environment, with feeling like my life wasn’t my own, the one thing I could control was whether I was the best at what I pursued or not.  I was always in prison.  My new friend’s words hit me like a freight train, and the honesty of it overwhelmed me.  I’ve been having dreams that my mother is not dead, and that I have to go back to the tower, and I’ve been sleeping horribly.  After this epiphany, I went home, cried an unbelievably cleansing cry and slept peacefully the whole night through and woke up lighter emotionally than I’ve ever been in my life.  It might sound overdramatic, but with those words, this person, practically a stranger to me, changed my life.  Thank you, Zak, I’ll be forever grateful!

I woke up in the morning to this horoscope:

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And even the universe was letting me know that the right words had hit my existence, and that I should trust them and move forward!

Tears are falling as I type this, but not tears of sadness.  They are tears of freedom!  I am no longer in that tower.  Rapunzel has been let out, and has not been stepped on by the giant, and now, she now controls her own life and her own destiny.  She has no obligations except to herself!

So maybe, now, just maybe, I can release my choke hold on my need to dominate in a  competitive situation, and can just play for the joy of the game…..perhaps, indeed.

Ciao for now,

M

Forgiveness is the Key

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photo courtesy of peacelovewings.com

There’s a song by Savage Garden (I really wish they’d reunite, btw) that has a line that goes “I believe forgiveness is the key to your unhappiness.”  And lately I’ve come to realize that this is true.  Forgiveness.  So much power in one little word. Such a simple concept.  So, then, why is it so difficult to do?

I have many people I need to forgive in order to move forward, and that revelation is the latest bread crumb found on my journey to my new life.  It’s difficult when you sit down and list out the people who have hurt you in your life, and realize how many there are, and how many are still on your heart.  Let me step back, so…forgiveness is the key to my unhappiness.  How did I go about starting to forgive?

First, I sat down and made a list of people who had hurt me over the course of my life.  And sadly, it was a very long list.  I haven’t been treated well by many people.  And then, I went back over that list and crossed out the names who I had already forgiven, and that left me with a smaller, yet very powerful list.  Not because it was a reminder of all the hurt, but it was a revelation on how much I am still carrying around.  How am I to heal, if that many wounds are still open?  Answer:  I won’t.  It’s time to let them scar over.  It’s time to truly forgive, with the hope that I’ll be able to drop this dead weight on my heart, and move forward into happiness.

I need to forgive my parents, most of all.  Both of them.  Both human, both damaged on their own, and both selfish.  Both made choices that affected me, but it’s my decision if that affectation is permanent.  Childhood friends who treated me like crap, ex-loves who didn’t love me as I loved them, ex-coworkers who chipped away at my spirit.  Again, all their actions affected me, but it’s my decision if the effect is permanent.  And most importantly, me.  I’m harder on myself than anyone could be; allowing others’ opinions of me to sometimes shape how I see myself.  I haven’t taken care of my heart in a healthy way up to now, and it’s my decision if I want to continue that way or forgive myself…forgive all these people.  And I choose to forgive.  

Honestly, it’s just words right now, but I know, with enough affirmation (ha!  That’s the name of the Savage Garden song the quote is from!  Love it when that spontaneously happens!) this forgiveness will become real.  It will become truth.  It’s just a matter of time.

Wish me luck!

Ciao for now,

M

From the Tower to the Sanctuary

I know it’s been quite a while since I posted anything.  There’s a good reason for that.  It’s because I was stepping out of my last chapter and into my new one.  And there wasn’t time to sit and write until today.  And I’m so excited to share this with you guys.

I’ve finally moved forward!  I have finally stepped out of the tower that imprisoned my past and am heading, face first, into the glorious future that is mine!  100% mine!  And that level of accountability is no joke!

When I started my 2014 goals, I didn’t expect to be so far along in five short months.  There have been hiccups, and obstacles, and roadblocks, and frustrations, but I’ve come through them all.  A little battered…a little more scarred…a little more exhausted.  But you know what?  I also came out a little stronger.  Hell, a lot stronger!

The house I grew up in sold.  Someone else wants it, allowing me to finally move back to the last city I was truly happy in, where I made the last decision just for myself, before my daughterly duty took over.  And fittingly, my new apartment complex is called The Sanctuary.  And that is what this place will be for me.  It will be the place I start over.  The place I recharge.  The place I regroup.  And the place I truly focus on what I want out of this life; this ever precious life.  And of all the things I want, happiness is at the top of the list.

I grew up frustrated with my surroundings.  Hating that house from the time I was old enough to know better, walking from it at 18 felt good on a level I can’t put words to, but freedom often is tough to explain.  I had five solid years of freedom, and then, just as I was on the precipice of really spreading my wings to fly, my mother, in the expert way only she could, clipped my wings with one sentence.  “I’m in end stage kidney failure.”  Being the dutiful daughter I was, my dreams were instantly squashed; my drive instantly haulted; my light instantly extinguished.  

I stayed in my city for another eight years, but when she got worse, my chains got shorter.  I moved back to the town I loathed, and gave my mother everything she ever wanted: me at home with a ‘good job’.  She could see me whenever she wanted, and I, unknowingly, was like Rapunzel who, even though she finally got out to see a bit of the world, was being pulled back, strand by painful strand, into the tower, whether she wanted to go or not.  

Looking back now, and doing the work I’ve been doing with literature from amazingly inspirational people like Lisa Nichols and Jack Canfield, I realize that, I wasn’t being pulled back by a manipulative mother.  I chose to go back.  I need to write that again so that I fully embrace it.  I CHOSE to go back.  I chose duty over freedom.  I chose my mother’s needs over my own.  And I need to embrace that and stop blaming her for my choices.  There’s an amazing breadcrumb to find, if ever there was one!

So, back in the tower I chose to stay until the tower sold.  And as my best friend pointed out, I could have just put my clothes, and my dog in the car and left, but i chose to stay.  So, choosing to stay came with so many challenges.  Cleaning out 61 years of Solano history out of the house and garage all by myself…packing up my entire life to move somewhere new….deciding where to move to…working with a realtor and dealing with all the stress that comes with keeping a house show ready…being worked over by the buyer’s bank over and over again during the selling process…closing delay after delay….realizing how little of the money you actually get to keep….moving before the closure of the sale and living off credit cards…adjusting a dog to apartment living and jerking him out of the only home he’s ever known.  Yeah, these all sucked.  But I chose it.  I attracted all of this to me.  I had to go through all of that to get here.

To get the call at 4pm, that the buyer arrived to sign the paperwork.  That the sale would close today!  That the money would be to me tomorrow.  That I’m finally done!  I’m finally out of the tower!  The tower is no longer mine to be trapped in, no longer mine to deal with, no longer mine.   Period.  And it feels so unbelievably good.

This freedom, this unbelievably delicious, beautiful freedom that I have been craving for years, yet wouldn’t choose to take for myself, I can finally take.  And I can take it with the knowledge that I was the best daughter ever!  That I didn’t desert family when it got hard, or when she got mean, or when I was so miserable, that they only way out seemed to die right along with her.  That I’m a good person, whose shadow days are behind her.  

All the choices were always mine.  I just didn’t see it.  I see it now.  And now, for the first time in 15 years, I choose me.  I choose happiness.  I choose life!  And I plan to live it hard and wild.  I plan to take the chances I never thought I could take before.  I will no longer have ‘have-tos’ in my life.  Only ‘want-tos’ will be in my reality.

As angry as I’ve been at her, I need to thank her, and the insane, awful ancestors who came before her, because they helped shape the woman I am today.  A strong woman who didn’t break under all the pressure of the last 15 years.  A woman who will celebrate her scars with pride.  Who will transform the negative into something positive and make a mesmerizing life from here on out.  I thank them for my strength.  I carry it with me every day.  Literally, on my arm is a chaotic circle with Forza in the middle.  Forza!  Italian for strength, that is me.  I had strength in the chaos.  

The tower is sold.  I’m out.  I’m free.  And now, it’s time to spread those wings I’ve spent the past 15 years re-growing.  No one will clip me this time.  

It’s my time to fly!

Ciao for now,

M

I Can Do It Myself!

Evidently, when I was a young child, according to the many stories I was told growing up, my favorite phrase was, “I can do it myself!”  My favorite of these stories is when I was just learning to tie my shoes, and my mom and I were heading out to go somewhere and we were running late.  On the floor I sat, meticulously working to tie my shoes all by my independent self, and my mother was begging me to let her do it, to which I responded vehemently, “I can do it myself!”

I believe these countless stories I was told, because I grew up to be a very independent teenager, and into an even more independent adult.  I’m the queen of ‘not needing anyone’ and have become a jedi master when it comes to handling life all on my own.  But the events of the past 9 months have made me wonder, has my independence cost me a support system?  Is my independence actually a hindrance in my ability to have people want to be there for me? Is my ability to stand on my own strength keeping me from people offering to help me?  And I fear the answer might be yes.

My best friend said the most profound thing to me one time.  He said, “You never let me care for you.  You’ll let me care about you, but not for you, and that’s weird for me.”  He’s the ultimate care giver.  So, being someone who didn’t need caring, I’m sure was strange for him.  There were times, after something hard was over, I’d make an offhand comment about how it sucked doing that alone, and friends would say things like, ‘I’d have helped, if you’d have let me know.”  And that’s a true statement.  I don’t often let people know when I need help until it’s too late.  Is that their fault?  Nope.  All me.  How can people help you if you don’t ask them.  And as the Bard so beautifully had Hamlet speak, “Therein lies the rub.”

Asking for help.  Well, to be frank, I suck at it.  I’m so used to doing things for myself, by myself that asking for help is as foreign to me as a conscience is to Frank or Claire Underwood.  I can count on one hand how many times I’ve done it.  Ok, maybe two, but no more than that.  I don’t know how to explain what comes over me when I can’t accomplish a task on my own.  I feel, well, I feel weak.  And if there’s one thing I was taught never to be, it’s weak.   I loathe weakness in myself.  I don’t particularly like it others, especially don’t like it in women, but in myself, yeah, that’s not an option.  So, there must be some part of me that equates asking for help with weakness, and in living that way, I’ve surrounded myself in my independent bubble, and now, at the point in my life where I do need help, I don’t know how to ask for it, and so I’m struggling.  And I’m struggling alone.

The last man I dated, while on paper the absolutely wrong man for me, but the feelings we had for each other were so intense, it was like nothing I’d ever felt.  And for the first time in my life I wanted to be taken care of; let me rephrase, I wanted to be taken care of by him.  He was so strong.  So unbelievably strong, and for the first time in my life, he did things for me without my having to ask.  Before we even dated, I had a problem with my mom’s house, and without my asking, he sent a buddy to fix it for a fraction of what I’d have had to pay otherwise.  On a cold morning, when we were dating, he started my car, and put one cup of coffee just the way I liked it in a to go cup in one cup holder, and a cup full of apple slices and banana slices in the other.  I remember that day like it was yesterday.  How amazing it felt to have someone take care of me without my having to ask for it.  And when my mom died, and he asked me what my priorities were first to start moving forward, I mentioned three things, the most important being the ramp in front of the house I had built for her, that I wanted to have that removed.  Second, I wanted a new home for her cats that I was too allergic to to take care of, and third, I needed her car sold.

The next day, I came home from work, and the ramp was gone.  The wood was stacked on the side of the house neatly, and he was nowhere to be found.  Two days later he showed up with a cat carrier, said he found a home for them, and whisked them away.  A few days after that, he arrived with his brother who needed a cheap commuter car, and that was gone as well.  I’ll never forget how all that felt.  All that caring.  So, with all that, why, you might ask, is he my ex boyfriend?  I asked him that once.  And his answer left a scar.

He dated a woman after me, and even proposed to her.  They had decided to take a break, and he and I became good friends.  Platonic, good friends.  And one day I asked him why, through all the ups and downs with the woman after me, why would he put so much effort into her, when after we broke up, he wouldn’t even give me a second chance.  He, being the cowboy that he is said, “M, it’s like having two horses in a pasture.  One is stunning, and healthy, and independent, and sure, she likes it when you’re around, but she can find her own food, her own shelter, and she can take care of herself.  She doesn’t need me.  The other one, well, she’s got health issues, and she’s a little scared of life, and she’s more fragile, and she depends on me for food and shelter, and needs me to take care of her.  Which horse do you think will get more of my attention?”  He said it so matter of factly, I didn’t know what to say.  And I always know what to say.  I didn’t that day.

So, what do I do?  Do I start being more needy?  Do I have to erase this independent, take care of myself attitude in order to be cared for?  Maybe.

The past few days have been really rough.  I’ve been cleaning out my mother’s house, and it’s no small chore.  I could have used help.  I did ask a few people, but I’m starting to think that maybe no one takes me seriously when I ask for it.  I’ve been chastised a lot in my life for not asking for help, well, when I do, it’s often not well received.  I could easily put that on the other people, but the more I think about it, the more I think, maybe it’s just me.  Maybe I’m just seen as so damn strong and so damn independent, that if they don’t help me, they know I’ll be ok.

So what do I do right now?  Well, right now I want to scream this from the rooftops:

But that won’t change anything.  I have to do some more changing.  I don’t need to be helpless for people to help me, but I don’t have to be all by myself.  Don’t wanna be all by myself, annnnnnymoooooooooooooooore!

Seriously, though, as I move through 2014, hopefully to my next chapter, I think in order to have a more fulfilling life, I need to stop living from a “I can do it myself” place.  I think I need to allow myself the ability to let people help me; to let people care for me.  Cuz, man, when the ex did it, I’ve never felt so good, or so safe.  Maybe it’s ok to let more of that come into my life.  Maybe I don’t need to walk this world alone if I don’t want to.  I guess what I’m figuring out is, just because I can do it myself, doesn’t mean I always have to.  And that doesn’t make me weak.  It makes me human.  And that’s ok, too.

Ciao for now,

M