Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: andrea scher

#30daysofdresses – day 27

(Written Monday 10/27/14)

What happens when I have a mocha for Sunday brunch (first latte is weeks), plus watch Walking Dead before bed and then our fire alarm goes off at 4:45am on a Monday morning??

Ssstrrrreeeeesssssss.

But hey, look, the moon is void all day today, work is lame, and I have new boots. Paired with this cute dress my mom picked up for me at Christmas 2014. Because when I wear black it’s actually black and white in a cute pattern. See also day 15.

Yes – I went out with Jessica on Saturday for one last shopping trip before we do.not.hang.out.in.this.capacity again for at least 6 months. On the list: black boots and a jean vest.

Due to some awesome sales, I also picked up burgundy boots from Clarks and black jeans from American Eagle. And braved this huge mall at 1pm on a Saturday. Twas a good thing I spent the previous 24 hours alone in my apartment so I had the energy reserves for that chaos.

People are nuts.

I wanted black boots, but each time I see black boots I think they’re cute and then wish they were brown. Or tan, camel, navy, burgundy or sand colored. Anything but black. It felt like the smart thing to do was to purchase maroon boots — these would go with all of my navy colored clothes and be interesting enough that I could justify spending the money on them. See, style people, I’m learning.

But today, as I write this, I’m wearing the black ones. The fringe detail and the fact that they’re a different matte black is what gets me. So cute. Also, buy one get 25% off at Clarks this weekend AND I had $100 gift card from Christmas (thanks Mom!).

Yes, I hoard gift cards.

Did I mention I buy expensive, well made shoes and then wear them for 8-10 years?? #justifyingthecost

American Eagle was also having an amazing sale of buy one get a second item 50% off. When I put the cute jean vest on the counter, the cashier said, “If you grab any other item under $50 and not on clearance, it’ll be 50% off.”

“Fifty?” I repeated.

“Fifty” she nodded her head.

“I can do that,” I said, and took off looking for something I needed. Maroon boots? Check. Hoodie? Check. Cute dress with little flower print? Check and check.

But what do I love at AE if not their jeans… and after Jess asked if I owned a black pair of jeans (I did not), it was as simple as pulling my size and trying them on quickly in a dressing room.

(Also, their stores do not have mirrors anymore expect in the dressing rooms, where the mirrors are 11feet tall and 4feet wide. WTF?)

That’s it for my shopping on a Saturday story. If you’re about over this challenge just like I am, watch this video of Shoshana, the character on Girls who makes me laugh out loud every episode, and then re-read this post as if it’s her voice saying it. Today marks T-3 dresses weeeeeee!

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Returning Home From The Retreat

Your car, barreling down the 5 at 70mph. The last hour, torture.
The dog a whirling dervish of wiggles, following at your heels as you go back and forth
One, two, three times
to lug all of your shit in. Bags of clothes, food, camera and paintings.
Paintings.
Putting your hands in the wet acrylic pain. Was that just yesterday, a mere 36 hours ago?

It feels as if a lifetime happened at the retreat, and since.

Not a single thing is cleaned up or taken care of. Unscrewing the broken toilet paper holder from the wall, changing the garbage bag in the bathroom, stripping the bed and putting on a duvet cover – knowing that, even if the apartment is filthy, clean sheets will make you happy.

You already feel rusty.
Feeling the weight – the shoulds and responsibilities – come raging back. Not one load of laundry folded. Not one sink cleaned. Feeling like you have to do it all.

Then, you remember your practices, shooting photos on a walk with the dog – the golden hour, captured. Your heart beat calms.

Returning home from the retreat, you talk to Mom, eat leftover chili, watch football on in the background, text your sister, eat 5 Oreos, wait for a locksmith.
Get a new door knob.

Returning home from the retreat you see the sticky, dusty residue on the counter tops. Feel crap from the carpet stick to your toes. No one’s watered the plants so you pour water from the dog bowl over them.

Returning home from the retreat you can already feel the magic slipping away – bright and calm self squashed under the realities of “home”.

Is this how addicts feel – free from their programs, but not their minds? Is this when the “real work” starts? And what about soldiers? How do they leave the monotony, the camaraderie, the danger and go back to driving automatics and waking to an alarm?

All of us women scattered. The retreat a dream we once had – the magic and the calm dissipating – like ripples on a still pond.

Plop. One pebble after another.
A handful of rice tossed into the air on a wedding day.
A fist of balloons, released.
(It is everything and it is nothing an echo says)

Driving back into LA, you pine for the pines. The leaves falling. The sun at a different angle, less harsh. Cleans pants and a/c that works.

And you know you can build your own little world right (write) inside here. A nest or a hovel or a den. The way animals settle in and dream.

Returning home from the retreat.

Kindness

I was reading Andrea Scher’s post This Is Me, Looking Into My Own Eyes with Kindness and I thought about my own self-kindness journey. About the stories I tell myself.

I’ve learned:
When I am feeling shitty it’s because I am saying not nice things to myself. I can’t tell you what these things are, there are no articulated words in my head, but I feel it. A spark in my brain to a negative feeling resonating in my wrists and down my calves.

When I am feeling awesome it’s because I am taking care of myself. When I’m addressing myself with the same voice I’d use for a child or my dog. When I allow myself to do the loving things I’d suggest to a stressed out friend. When I follow my energy levels instead of my To Do list for what I can accomplish. Or when I follow my intuition for what I should work on next.

When I listen to myself, things flow. And when things are flowing, they’re oh-so-good.

And yet, there’s still a voice in my head saying, “You’re taking advantage” and “Don’t you think that’s a bit too much now?” Too much rest, too much playing, too much fun…

I am learning. Each day I try to turn the volume down on the meanness and dial up on the kindness. I listen to myself and I hear. I have rituals that feel 100% self-care for me, like writing in the morning, flossing my teeth, and taking photos. There is no pressure because self-care is more than a mani-pedi. I am focused on learning what I need. Not what anyone else tells me I need. Important distinction.

I have yet to get to the level of comfort that Liz Lamoreux’s e-course aims for in Water Your Soul. But both Andrea’s post above and this e-course suggest there is something to self-portraiture… that it is a way of seeing ourselves.

And if we can see ourselves, then certainly we can take concrete actions to care for ourselves.

What do you do to care for yourself? xo

 

What A Week

This week was packed and yet, doable. I am so proud of myself for handling all of it so well. So you’ll excuse me a moment if I need to list it all out to reassure myself I am pretty f-ing awesome.

  • Felt anxiety but turned to running, podcasts and good internet blogs to buoy myself
  • Watched Brene Brown on Oprah (omg!)
  • Organized an event for students visiting LA on spring break. Didn’t get home till 11pm.
  • Terrible noise from car’s rear driver side. Bring it in.
  • End up working from a Starbucks for 5+ hrs. Turns out, the need a part from the dealer and they’ll keep the car over night. Bah.
  • Manage to get a ride from a neighbor’s husband. Thank goodness for nice people.
  • Ride my bike to the grocery store for food for the next day’s event. My job should reward me for being the most resourceful & committed employee… ever.
  • Unload groceries. Walk dog. Shower & change.
  • Hitch a ride with my colleague to second event of the week. End up hosting over 150 people (biggest turn out yet for this event). Snag a ride home with an alumna.
  • Sleep less than 7 hours and get up to run events 3 & 4 this week. Hitch a ride to work with my sister. Arrive by 8:45am, which is the earliest I think I’ve ever shown up to the office since the start.
  • Run event 3 while inhaling tiny croissants, strawberries and orange juice.
  • Deal with event 4 and a student with an ego.
  • Wait for my ride home. Latest I’ve stayed at the office for no reason.
  • Go to Wurskutche with H & my sister. Needed that brat.
  • Manage to wake up and run 3m to the car place on Thursday – exercise the dog + car pick up in one. Boo-yah.
  • Meet an awesome friend for early lunch. Do more work. Finally get some rest.

And manage all of this with hardly any tears, no major panic issues, and lots of self-love. Constant reassurance that “I got this” and “I’m really not that busy“. Lots of trust in myself and in things working out just the way they should.

And that brings us to today…
Where I walked the dog, Skyped with my mom, did a bunch more work, finally ordered my Project Life photos from Persnickety Prints, and now I’m chilling on the couch with H & Carter Cash. H is just starting his spring break and I’m looking forward to the weekend together.

Hope you are yours are well xo

Tweet Tuesday – Jen Lee

Currently I’m enrolled in Andrea Scher’s Cultivating Courage class. And the above tweet seemed quiet appropriate. I found out above it back in November. Thankful for my past self setting this up.

So far I have drafted a spreadsheet to deal with a bill issue, emailed a coworker, went through all of my events without drinking, taken must needed rest and met a neighbor (who I will be having lunch with tomorrow).

That is all. 🙂

Ask for Space, Receive It

Today was a doozy.

It probably started yesterday, when I was already feeling cranky about too many social obligations. But, the morning coffee date helped with a latte and conversation and then a hot shower put me in a good enough mood that I rallied.

At the bbq, I laid low. Sat outside away from the game-day noise, rocking on a chair with a friend. But after three beers and the games ending, I wanted to leave. My husband did not. He wanted to stay for a round of card games. We had a small tiff as he went so far as to ask what we’d do when we go home – read a book?

Uh, ya. I was craving rest and alone time. Once we finally got to leave, and I drove us home, I took advantage and worked on my Cultivating Courage class. I sipped tea and doodled and sat in the quiet.

In bed, though, the beer, food and tea all equaled grossness. I was caffeinated, sugared-out and uncomfortable. Sleep took forever.

5am – BANG. A terrible sound jolted me from my dream. It sounded like someone was banging a bat against metal.

Crazy homeless person in the alley? Nope. It was my sister’s rabbits thumping in their cage on the balcony. I tried dealing with them myself and then woke her up to bring them inside.

By 5:30am I was wide awake, on a Monday holiday, feeling my 3m run slip away and f-ing cranky.

H suggested we get up. I suggested we walk the dog at the beach, sunrise-style. We were at the beach by 6:15am. I was cold, hungry and pissed. This was not the way I’d pictured my day off before a hell-week of work.

But now that I’m learning (and relearning) and paying attention, I went with it. Foggy head, tired eyes, cold body. I wasn’t happy, but I didn’t struggle. I snapped some photos, listened to the waves crash. We decided to drop the dog at home and go out for breakfast, husband’s treat. I inhaled eggs mondaire and coffee.

Back at the house, I crawled into bed with a heat pack and laptop. I felt too ill to sleep, too tired to do anything. It sucked. I wanted to cry. Instead, I just gave up, and went back to sleep at 9am.

It was bliss. For the first hour I just laid there with racing thoughts, but once I fell asleep, it was the boost I needed. And then I laid in bed some more, wrote morning pages, checked email, went on IG and asked to be left alone by my family (which was my courageous act of the day).

And somehow, the rest of the day, was great. My sis and I video chatted with mom quick. Then we all packed up and went to the park where H and I played roller-hockey and my sis hung with the dog. Then we hit up Trader Joe’s. Returning home, I had more work crap to deal with (apparently the Universe didn’t understand today was a day off) and when the work stuff didn’t pan out, I gave up… and did an hour of yoga. I mean, really, who AM I?!

Yoga. Hot shower. More e-course work and then dinner, prepared by my husband. And now I’m here – sitting in an arm chair in our living room, relaxed and sleepy, ready to go get a solid 8 hours of sleep. Today was like three days rolled into one, but I am grateful I did two things: asked for space and received it.

I’m learning…

 

Ths Grateful Season – Ambivalence

I had coaching call with Randi Buckley back in April. I didn’t write about it then. And I’ve been participating in her Maybe Baby course since the start of October. And I haven’t written about it here either.

I have always been ambivalent about motherhood, so much so, that I thought I was on the “no thanks” side of the fence. And then I started to get my shit together, my mom and I healed our relationship, I got married and the hormone switch when ON. Like, blaring fog horn in my body on, which was extremely confusing.

Who did that make me? A slave to my body? A hypocrite? Was I becoming one of “those people” who check off the list of adult accomplishments and after marriage realize the only next step to take is “babies” and they leap off that cliff with no detailed plans?

No, not at all. I am allowed to feel out both the “yes” and “no” and everything in between. The call with Randi 7 months ago allowed me to speak this inkling out loud for the first time… and I got excited, and scared, and nervous all at the same time. What did it all mean?!

Today I practiced feeling out a full-on YES to motherhood. And I realize that my own ability to conquer the world, to know that I can kick ass (even at motherhood) waxes and wanes with my mood. And man, has my mood been mercurial lately. It sucks.

But then I read posts like this and this and this and I know, like Brooke says:

“Sometimes it feels like everyone else is doing it better, you know? Like there’s some secret I’m a little behind in knowing.

I keep hearing There’s no easy answer.
And that seems to be true. It’s even a little of a relief, because maybe I’m not missing anything at all. Maybe it’s just…like this sometimes. And times’ll change and things’ll become easier and definitely the thing to do is to see the small steps, the small positive changes and to continue on as well as possible and to do the best we can.”
And that’s where I am. Still ambivalent – my soul leaning towards a “yes” the way our feet search out warmth under the sheets or our hands massage the puppy’s ears – but at the same time it still feels impossible. How can I handle a child when I break down some days over how filthy the house feels or that I can’t possible fathom the energy for my entire to do list…?
But people do, every day, and life goes on. So, a toast here to the good work Randi does (this woman is so.much.fun to chat with), the good work I’m doing for me and my future and the honesty to know, I need to allow myself to sit in this ambivalence. While it’s not the final answer at all, it is part of my path, and I’m learning to embrace all aspects, even those that are unclear and uncomfortable.

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For the month of November, I write each day about something I’m grateful for and call it Grateful Season. It’s my way of reviewing the amazing year I’ve had and helps me focus on blogging during the crazy holiday season uptick. Feel free to join me – just make sure you let me know!

Side note: to be honest, I feel like I’m coping out on these posts somehow. I wanted to use them as an review of my year, but instead they seem to be just daily posts. Since I invented this series, there is no “wrong” way to do it, but seriously, I was hoping to get a tad more in-depth by now.

This Grateful Season – Distance

Yesterday, I was finally feeling better. Such a relief.

And this morning I felt groggy but comfortable, tired but awake. Like functioning throughout the day wouldn’t be difficult. But then that old dread hit me – I don’t know where it came from, what thought or instance set it off again.

And I thought about how this feeling correlates to the pressure I put on myself, and I thought, “pick one thing… and start”. Ok. I can do that. “Take your time.” Ok, I can do that.

So, I did. I walked the dog, listened to an awesome interview with Andrea Scher (lots of serendipity here), cooked breakfast, took a hot shower, read a few blogs, called my mom while I drove to work, and started organizing and throwing out piles of paper when I got in.

My life is pure luxury because I have a job where I control my schedule, my tasks and even my goals. Of course there are reviews and projects, people to report to (though less lately), but I have more freedom than most. It is a major blessing.

Especially during weeks like this, where it seems everyone who works on site is cranky and uncommunicative, office politics running high. Where they feel resentful and unappreciated. Where the anxiety levels are turned up to 11.

I have the luxury of distance. 3,000 miles lay between me and the person in the next cubicle. So I can just put my head down and do my work.

____________

For the month of November, I write each day about something I’m grateful for and call it Grateful Season. It’s my way of reviewing the amazing year I’ve had and helps me focus on blogging during the crazy holiday season uptick. Feel free to join me – just make sure you let me know!

Side note: to be honest, I feel like I’m coping out on these posts somehow. I wanted to use them as an review of my year, but instead they seem to be just daily posts. Since I invented this series, there is no “wrong” way to do it, but seriously, I was hoping to get a tad more in-depth by now.