Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: expectations

Worth Something

The anxiety started yesterday – a combination of things. The over-stimulation of NYE, lack of sleep, moon in Leo, the holidays (and vacation) ending. But my schedule today wasn’t supposed to be crazy. I planned to ease back into things. So why did I feel so panicked?

I didn’t know. I could give you the above list and 10 more items, easily, but it wouldn’t change the fact that I felt anxious.

I talked it out: with my sister via text, my mom via phone and with H in person. And I gave myself a break. It wasn’t easy. I’d just spent 9 days at home, reading, sleeping, running, relaxing, so why on earth would I need another lee-way day, another nap, another hour of reading? Didn’t I have enough rest? Couldn’t I get my ass moving faster? Wasn’t there something I was supposed to be doing?!

But I gave in. Instead of dragging myself through errands, we went out to lunch. And when the taco place was closed, we ordered pizza. I was along for the ride, giving myself space to feel shitty.

And magically, I started to feel better.

Of course, these moods don’t go away with a snap of the fingers. I wasn’t surprised when that grey cloud was still following me around this morning, but I figured I’d go with it.

I stuck to my morning routine – vitamins, water, morning pages, and a run.

Since H is still on vacation, he could take care of the dog, giving me the morning to run alone. The schedule said 3 miles. I didn’t want to skimp, but last night I told H “I don’t have any idea how I’m going to run 3 miles tomorrow”. Bah. I felt tired, thought I’d eaten poorly and worried my feet would be a mess from wearing 4inch high heels for 8 hours on NYE.

But I wasn’t going to miss it. After 40 days of running, I’m addicted to that high again. In the entire span, Thanksgiving to today, I’ve never once regretted going out for a run, even if the run itself was shit.

In my morning pages, I wrote:

So many open loops, but I’m trying. Life is an open loop, but I’m making progress. I am ME. That’s all that matters. I’ll feel better after 40min of running, I’m sure. Life is good. I am blessed. But that doesn’t mean I can’t feel cranky. I can be as cranky as I want. I can feel what I feel – it’s all gray scale anyway, right? Excited and apprehensive about my run. Knowing that coffee with a friend this afternoon will make me feel good. Onward really – the days flowing by. I just need to float on, wade a little, and get those miles in. And as Patti Digh says: Lower the bar. You’ll feel better

So, I went out for my run.

And don’t you know, it was the best damn run of the last 41 days. It was chilly and bright, I was alone with my podcast and my feet pounding the pavement. I went a little bit more than 3 miles, feeling fucking amazing the entire time. I would’ve gone farther if I didn’t have work.

And after that I felt better. No more gray clouds, no more weepy feeling. In fact, the rest of the day I felt invincible, best I’ve felt in days. Unbelievable. You can blame runner’s high, I know, but I think what really did it was two things:

  1. Allowing myself to feel what I felt, no pressure or beating myself up to feel a specific way
  2. Keeping to my routine

This up and down of my moods is something that worried me in 2012 – leading to panic that something is wrong with me if I don’t feel awesome. But what I learned is that each day has it’s own reasons for being the way it is. I don’t need to understand that on a logical level. My job is not to analyze or perfect, it’s to live. And so much of life is a gray area, a mixture of feelings that is tightly knotted together to the point where we don’t know what we feel.

And then we worry what we’re feeling is wrong.

And then we think something is wrong with us.

Nothing if wrong with you. I repeat, nothing is wrong with you. You are allowed to feel what you feel, and feel it deeply. There are things in this world our brains can not possibly explain to ourselves the way our body or our feelings can.

If I learned anything in 2012, it’s to trust that what I’m feeling needs to be felt (not wallowed in or attacked), but just felt. And that what I feel is worth something.

Tweet Tuesday – Not Thinking

The most jarring thing about planning a wedding is how much other people put into it – both in a positive and a negative sense.

On the positive we have people who keep answering our calls for help, volunteering their time, flying on airplanes, taking time off from work, gifting us their services or even just gifting us money to support the whole event. I’ve been touched, baffled and feel quite indebted for and by all of the above.

On the negative though, it cuts equally as deep. People have assumptions, expectations, wants and needs that I am so unaware of, I am caught grossly off guard each time. Speechless. Mentally slow to react, explain or smooth over misunderstandings. Honestly, nothing about my decisions or lack of communicating some detail was ever meant to hurt anyone. I mean, people have been in tears, myself included.

Where do you start with this? How do you reconcile?

I don’t know if we can. Maybe it’s part of the process of building your own relationship separate from your family and friends, of taking your commitment as the priority in matters, of hearing people out but then doing what is right for you and your significant other.

None of this is written with a grain of salt. No matter how much you believe your wedding day is about YOU and your MARRIAGE, it is really about everyone else’s expectations of their own involvement and how that measures up to your love of them and their place in your life. People do not do this intentionally, but they very much find themselves in this position as the planning goes on.

Not once did I think my choice of venue, cake, invitations, songs or DJ would affect anyone personally, but I was wrong. Just because I see these items as logical and fun choices to cross off my To Do list – where intuition about what I like and what it says about “us” as a couple are taken into consideration –  doesn’t mean that someone else didn’t think we’d do it differently.

As in, “That’s what you picked? But that’s so.not.you.” aka “That’s not what I had in mind for you”

Which in a sense can be equally as polarizing, putting you in a position to not only defend your choice, but also question if this person even knows you and, more so, if you really know yourself. Because if they’re a close family member or a best friend, maybe their comment plants a small seed of doubt, and holy shit, maybe you’re not a bird-cage-veil girl and instead you’re panicking that you’re showing up to your wedding as a complete fake without integrity.

Marriage, and the wedding planning that may go into it, are not for the faint of heart. I now know why people elope (and why that probably would’ve put more emotional pressure, not less, on my fiance and I). I do not have the answers. I can’t not read minds. All I can do is keep moving forward (18 days and counting) and hope that, once we’re all dressed up and a few cocktails in, things will roll on as relaxed and happy as H and I truly are as a couple. Because that’s what matters right? The couple?

Tweet Tuesday – Patti Digh

If you don’t know Patti Digh, here’s a great little tweet from her. Her book “Life is a Verb” and newly redesigned website  37days.com are supposed to be awesome, but to be honest, I don’t get over there much. Mostly, I receive her newsletter and have inhaled any interviews I can find via podcasts. You can tell her work means something to me, though, if I’m affected by it without actually delving into it (yet).

I love how she’s productive, determined and really, truly is a walking example of making up one’s rules for their life and living by them completely. 

And the below gives me permission, for sure:

Chicken Scratch

I don’t know if I’m following my intention or escaping but I did a bunch of doodling today. It really does help me relax – I hit flow and lose track of time… and the dog… and dinner. Oops.

My day wasn’t fantastic. I don’t know how to write about it without beating myself up for beating myself up. I recognize the feeling now. I’m subconsciously picking on myself somehow, like a bully who constantly flicks balls of paper at your head but never gets caught.

My day wasn’t fantastic b/c I wasn’t fantastic. I could blame it on a lack of sleep, soda with dinner, hormones, lack of exercise, guilt, boredom or anything else. Who the f-knows? I’ve always focused on the cause, some semblance of control… I’m sure the cause matters, but I want to take a different approach. Now that I can name this feeling, what can I do to ride it out or change it?

The worst part of this is that my mind goes blank on options. I forget what makes me happy, my lack of oomph keeps me from experimenting, and I basically sit and stare at nothing while my inner self stands before a firing squad. All day. I force myself to stay away from wallowing completely (read: go back to bed) but I seem to expect Super Productive Self to swoop in and save the day.

She doesn’t.

I think, “Yesterday was so so good. I had energy, I got a ton done and I felt happy.” And then I start whining, “Why can’t I feel like that everyday!?!?” AKA “What is wrong with me?”.

I’m beginning to realize that this is ME. Just in the way the world isn’t black and white, I can not expect to have every day be negative free. I can’t expect my emotions to be smooth and easy. It’s silly to place that expectation on it. Very hard for a perfectionist to accept. I am trying so hard to do everything perfectly to avoid the very emotional state I end up in.

It’s exhausting. But, as always, awareness is the first step. Now it’s on to changing behavior and thought patterns, to find better ways to love myself in these instances. Today I made butternut squash soup, called someone who cares, doodled and journaled, but it’s all too shallow. There’s more down below…

Well I looked at the granite markers / Those tribute to finality – eternity / And then I looked at myself here / Chicken scratching for my immortality. ~Joni Mitchell

One Blog Post Away

I started posting hours ago and then my draft disappeared. Gone. (Stupid Mercury retrograde) It had something to do with the mental struggles of my day – how on paper my job looks like a precious gift that I keep trying to return. How I have co-dependent tendencies. How today I tried to disconnect from the pressure I put on myself to do something when there is nothing to be done. And I feel a whole lot better.

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