Category Archives: Panic Button

In Which I Explain Catcalling to my Kid

Last week the kid had a dentist appointment, which meant we were done with work and school a little earlier than usual. Left with a couple of extra hours in the day, we headed to the library to return some books and pick out a few more. At which point I found myself in the decidedly irritating position of having to explain catcalling to my six year old.

A group of 20-something guys, 2 or 3 of them, were hanging out in the library parking lot smoking. Whether it was that or something else that set me a little on edge, I don’t know. But the moment I got out of the car it started.

Hey, beautiful.

Smile for me, pretty.

Hey, miss thing.

Hello? Come on mama.

I ignored it, wrapped her in my arms, and carried her into the library. Which isn’t something I’d normally do, but I already didn’t feel safe I guess. We got all the way through the doors before she said anything. She’s a perceptive kid.

Why were they saying that stuff, Mommy? Why didn’t they stop when you didn’t answer them? Why do they think you need to smile?

And there it was. Me, standing in a public library children’s section, explaining catcalling to my daughter. Explaining that it’s not about attraction or kindness, but about power. Explaining that men who can’t or won’t pick up on the cues that you’re uncomfortable are, for better or worse, something we have to be afraid of. Explaining that it’s happened to me for most of my life.

Will boys say things to me too like that?

Yes, honey. Probably.

Should I ignore them?

Mommy? What if they get angry because I won’t answer them?

What if they do? I had to admit it was a possibility. I told her I’ve generally had decent luck with ignoring catcalls, that it’s more than once brought on an onslaught of insults but I’ve been lucky enough to never come to harm.

Find a safe place, I told her. Go into a business. Stay where people are. Get on the phone and call the cops. Call me. Make noise. Be seen.

Protect yourself. You aren’t a prize to be won, an object to be controlled. You don’t owe anyone anything. You don’t owe strangers a smile, and you don’t have to be “polite” or make other people happy, particularly when they’re busy making you uncomfortable.

It was a necessary conversation, I guess, but one I never thought I’d be having with my elementary schooler. I guess it’s good that I did. She hasn’t talked about it again since. She needs to sit with things for a while. I’ll be interested to see, in a few days or weeks, what bubbles up.

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My Secret

Hi fitbloggers –
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This is me.

I can do this:

and this:
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and this:
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I made this!
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I’ve been to FitBloggin every year but one, and I’ve loved every single one. I’m already planning what to pack and who to hug this year, because I know I’ll be surrounded by unconditional, judgement-free love and support.

But…
I’m terrified.

Because this is also me:
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It’s not something I’m supposed to know because it tends to drive me to unhealthy places, but after months and months off the scale, I got curious. And it’s….the biggest number I’ve ever seen.

I don’t think I’m okay.
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And it’s not about the weight entirely. It’s also about always, always feeling anxious these days. I don’t sleep enough.

I was meditating this morning, which I’m also being uncharacteristically inconsistent about, and I was prompted to think of my biggest current stressor. And the thing is, its still not my weight. Its job pressure or mom guilt, or a number of other passing stress issues.

So then I was prompted to imagine myself doing something where I felt free from stress, and it’s on my yoga mat. When I’m there, I don’t feel it or think about it or care. Which led to a torrential cry.

The thing is, I’m scared. I’m scared of how I’ll be perceived, or that I’ll spend the weekend feeling uncomfortable in my own skin.

And then? I think about this, and I know everything is going to be just fine:

And if you’re looking for a hug? I’m your girl. I’ll likely be fangirling over some of you, and also bacon.

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In Stillness

I want…space. Space to breathe, to stretch, to create. I want lightness, ease, and more time to cuddle.

I can choose to be aware, or I can cruise through life mostly checked out. Lately, I’ve been checked out. I’ve been telling myself it’s because I’m just so busy…but whether that’s true or not, I can’t afford it anymore.

I’m fighting real anxiety these days, with physical hints of panic attacks just below the surface. I constantly feel like I’m barely holding on, and I can’t keep doing that to myself. I let it spiral in April, and now I’m midway through May and trying to pull it all back together.

I want truth. I want to be honest with myself, for myself.

I want to dress in ways that make me feel lovely instead of invisible. I don’t intend to abandon my nerd shirts, because they’re very much a part of my honest expression of self…but I want to be better about pushing the limits of what I think of as ‘comfort’ when it comes to my appearance, because what I really mean by that is that I’m choosing what’s easy, what’s familiar. It’s like I get dressed every morning and choose between feeling pretty and feeling comfortable, and I don’t think both is an option. It’s confusing and weird. I ordered one last Stitch Fix (that’s a referral link!) even though I haven’t had great luck with that, just because I’m hoping for something that works for me. I’m also considering Gwynnie Bee when our finances improve a bit.

I want to feel like I’m aligned with my own personal truths, with who I really am. I’ve felt aligned before, but right now I’m not even sure how to find that path, let alone get back on it.

I need to feel stable, to feel safe. I need to stop feeling the world unravel around me. I want to stop lying in bed, worried about a thousand things that will never happen. I want to strip away all of the unnecessary things that surround me every day and circle in on the things that matter most.

I want to make and consume food that lights my fires, that excites me again. I want to spend time in the kitchen with the kid, crafting things just because we can.

I want to walk in the sunshine more than I sit under fluorescent lights. I want to meet myself on the yoga mat every day. I want to close my eyes and find stillness, explore the me I don’t always share, and find the touch points that allow me to embrace her entirely, every day.

I want to sleep more, because I’m a better me when I’m rested, and because sleep fuels everything else that happens in my day. Sleep returns me to myself, as I undoubtedly become lost through the course of the daily trudge.

I want to be right here, right now, doing only what I’m doing – not allowing my head to spin off into the other million things I might need or want to do today. I want more play and less work, more love and less tension, more air and less stress.

I want fresh produce and fresh air. I want to lay in the grass, giggle with my kid, and not always feel exhausted.

So it’s time to lay out what that takes for me, at least to start.

  1. In bed by 10pm
  2. No caffeine during the work week
  3. Yoga 4-5 times a week
  4. Meditate every day
  5. Cook one real dinner per work week
  6. Cook two real meals on the weekends
  7. Wear something that makes me feel pretty at least once a week
  8. Document the things that light me up…the foods, the outfits, the moments

(as inspired, so often, by Mara)

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Heartbeat

heartbeat-163709_640Hey there, friends. How’s it going?

What’s new?

……..

I have a thing. It’s making me scared. I don’t know how to talk about it here or even if I should. But this is my blog, and I’ve always shared it all.

So…starting sometime around last Tuesday (2/3) I started having a weird fluttery feeling in my chest. When I checked my pulse, it was skipping a beat when the flutters happened. By Thursday it got enough worse that I went to the clinic. They did an EKG and then sent me to the ER “just to be safe.”

The ER. For my heart. I cried. I called my mom and asked her to come with me, since the kid was already sleeping at her house.

We sat in the ER for hours. They took blood, pee, a chest xray. They asked a lot of questions. They did another EKG. I finally saw an ER doctor, who told me I was “probably” fine since I’m not having any of the symptoms of a more serious heart problem. I might have just developed an arrhythmia, and it could go away on its own, or be my new normal. My blood pressure was up too, which isn’t normal for me, but he thinks it was stress doing that. Which, yes. Stress.

His theory, which could make sense, is that a combination of fatigue (not enough sleep), dehydration (not enough water), cardiac stimulants (too much coffee), and decongestants (I was sick and took Mucinex D on Sunday/Monday) likely came together to make my heartbeat erratic. Still, “just to be safe”, he referred me to a cardiologist.

I see her on Wednesday. And I’m scared.

I haven’t had any caffeine since last Wednesday. I’ve stopped drinking any alcohol too. I’m trying to be really good about my water intake. I’m meditating and focusing on my breathing to keep from feeling anxious about the whole thing.

And I’m scared.

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How I Get What I Want

What do I really want?
1. To go to FitBloggin in Denver
2. To work from home at least one day per week
3. To become a yoga teacher
4. To compete in one strength competition, ideally the Disney Fit Challenge

How do I get those things?
1. Save money. This means I have to stop spending money on toys, incidentals, eating out, and unnecessary clothing purchases. Time to tighten the purse strings big time.
2. Work hard all the time. Meet or exceed deadlines. Take more initiative when it comes to learning more about the company. Come up with ideas and share them more often.
3. See #1, but also get back to regular daily practice as a priority. My time on the mat is necessary to being in the right mental and physical space for teacher training.
4. Keep up with my NF training. It will also help with yoga!

This weekend someone I care about spent several hours in the ER and, in fact, is still in the hospital. The person in question is alright, and wasn’t there for something anyone could ever claim was brought on by bad choices or unhealthy living or any such thing. Still, as I waited out that first night, my stomach a mess from a combination of stress and bad food choices, I couldn’t help but think about choices, health, the passage of time, and about all I want from this life. There are no guarantees, not ever, but maybe there is power in choices. Power to say you’ve done all you could. Power to put out into the universe the right energy to attract what you desire. Power to make a difference, however small or temporary, in the quality of your own life.

I’m caught up in thoughts about the importance of really listening, of making a connection with my true needs and honoring them above all else. It’s a path I’m already on, though one I stray from more often than not. So this week, I’m scrapping the big specific goals in favor of one single goal. This week, I will strive to live the life I deserve. I will do this by making choices that bring me genuine, lasting joy. I will listen to my body every chance I get, and I will remember that one moment or day or week of choices out of line with this path is simply another chance to learn more about how to more fully align.

I’m also working hard to align myself with things that matter, and that get me closer to the goals I have of aligning better with real joy. In part, this means forging relationships with some companies that are pretty dear to me in one way or another. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have found a few things that help make living actively more enjoyable for me, and one of them is finding the right gear. Two years ago now I finally bit the bullet and spent real money on a real sports bra, instead of wearing 2-3 of the ones I found at Target or Walmart. The bra? An ENELL. Now I’ve been lucky enough to be chosen as an ambassador for the bras, and I can’t say enough. They’re the only ones that have ever worked for me. They’re super supportive, incredibly comfortable, and the only reason I can do a shoulder stand without suffocating.  More than that, it’s a company out there saying that just because I have a body that doesn’t fit a particular mold, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have the chance to successfully and comfortably move in a way that really, truly brings me joy. THAT’s something I can really get behind. The more I thought about the ways I love to move, the ways that make my body truly happy, the more I realized how much of it was possible thanks to the support of this sports bra. Walking, yoga, strength training…it’s all so much easier with something that’s made for MY body, with the added bonus of doing less laundry since I’m not wearing 2-3 bras for every workout.

In the spirit of reaching out and moving more, I also reached out to be a blogger for Jost Running. I haven’t heard back on their decision yet, but I’m excited because it means extra motivation to get up and moving several times a month. Jost hosts virtual races every month, offering beautiful medals and donating proceeds to a different charity every month. I’ve signed up for their races before, and loved the bling and the donation. Now I’ve applied to blog for them for a few months, which means extra chances to encourage others to get up and moving, and great motivation to get me off the couch/office chair as well. And that should be perfect timing because…I’m probably walking a half marathon in December.

I haven’t signed up for the race yet. I want the idea to percolate for a while first, because I have a tendency to jump into these big plans without thinking them through well enough. I did look into a walking half training plan though, and even found a fellow ENELL ambassador who’s fairly local and might be able to meet me for the occasional training walk! I’ve always wanted to complete a half, and when running was no longer an option for me, I figured I would never be able to do it. When I found a local holiday-themed half that accepted walkers, it got me thinking again about finishing a half. If I decide to do it, my training plan would start in early September. I’m thinking I’ll stick to my 2-3 strength training workouts a week, alongside the 4-5 walking workouts for the half training, and scale my yoga back to shorter sessions on a more consistent basis instead of getting in 60-90 minutes but only once or twice a week.

I’ve also been sort of tracking my food lately. I haven’t tracked any amounts or anything, but instead have just been recording what I ate, when, and what thoughts or feelings were part of the choice. I found very quickly that my stress levels and boredom are the two biggest triggers for bad food choices, but that the other key was access. I won’t go buy bad food if I’m at work. I won’t leave the house to go get something bad for me. If, however, it’s already there…I’ll probably consume the entire bag/box/package. So as long as I’m a little more careful about what I keep nearby, I should have an easier time (particularly at work) with controlling emotion-fueled food intake.

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The BFG

I’m $230 away from my goal for SATURDAY’s ! Help my brother & I support . Any amount helps. 

I haven’t been posting much, or talking much, or writing much. I’ve had ten million things to do and think about and handle, and I’ve been pinging off of my stress maximums for a little while now. Finally, things are officially, and so I introduce the source of much stress and much joy.

The BFG.

DCtoFLThe Big Florida Geo-relocation. Yes, it’s possible I made up that last word just so I could use BFG.

So…we’re moving to Florida. Like now. In fact, we’re moving in a little over two weeks. I gave notice at my office. I found an incredible new job I’m super excited about. Evi is enrolled in a great school. This week I’m trying to arrange movers and storage space, since we’ll be crashing at parents’ for a week or two until we can see some apartments in person. We have to sort and trash and clean and pack and stack and donate and sell. There’s a ton to do, and almost no time to do it in. I’m trying not to freak out, because the truth is that the move is a wonderful thing for us.

The move was initiated thanks to a region transfer at the husband’s job, and it meant we had a lot of flexibility around where we’d live. So thanks to luck and circumstance, we’ll be less than half an hour from my parents, my sister, and my new job. The only really tough part is that we’ll also be moving away from my incredible brother. Evi in particular will take some soothing when she doesn’t get to see her beloved Unkin every Wednesday. Thankfully we’ll have so much time with my sister and parents that she’ll be just fine, and we’ll see my brother more and more as we all have time to save up money and fly him down.

So… things are crazy. Everything is hectic and right now and go go go, and I’m trying to stay afloat and get everything done. Once we move, find a place to live, and get settled? It’s kind of going to be awesome.  Florida, here we come! Now I just need to figure out how to survive a 14hr drive with a 5yr old and a dog.

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MFP & BP

As of this morning, I’m back on MyFitnessPal. I’m not sure how long it will last or if it’s the absolute best choice, but for the moment I feel alright about it.

I hate tracking and, generally, it produces anxiety for me. I’m in a place where there’s a fair amount for me to juggle on any given day so adding a nearly guaranteed source of anxiety, however small it feels right now, seems counterproductive, right? So why did I log in this morning, create a new account, and dutifully enter my breakfast coffee?

I’m scared. Maybe it’s not even legitimate, but it’s there. Essentially, I’ve always had FABULOUS numbers. Weirdly low resting heart rate, great blood pressure, etc. it’s something I’ve always been proud of. Lately I’ve had a few higher readings. Both were just barely high, and both happened when I was suffering from SEVERE issues, first acute bronchitis and then a serious sinus infection. I brushed aside the minute clinic blood pressure cards because it’s incredibly normal and reasonable for your blood pressure to go up when you’re super sick, particularly if you’ve been taking decongestants. I had been taking them both times.

Last night, on a whim, I sat down at the blood pressure checker in the grocery store. I was exhausted, but otherwise healthy enough. No decongestants. Same borderline reading. This time it was 123/86, and my resting heart rate was 68.

It’s nothing earth shattering, and before I make myself crazy with concern I need to get a regular checkup with a real doctor to confirm my actual numbers. That being said, now I feel a push.

I’ve been letting my food be a stress reliever instead of thinking about it from a place of body love. I’ve been eating too much sugar and not enough produce. I’ve been doing pretty well with yoga, but strength training has been inconsistent at best. I can’t change everything all at once, but I think tracking will help me. I’ll get an idea of my macros, particularly my sugar and sodium averages. Right now I’m looking at it as a tool for understanding better where I’m at right now so that I can figure out what the right next steps are. Meeting the goals set by the MFP site is secondary for me right now; my main goal is jut establishing a baseline.

Again, I WILL be getting a real checkup to determine my numbers accurately. I also allow that a lot is probably feeding into this potential BP raise. I’m under stress right now. I’m really not sleeping enough. I’m getting older. My food choices have been lacking. Now I have the chance to address those things as much as possible because I will not be a thirty-something taking blood pressure medication.

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Changes

I originally wrote this post in Italian during the breaks in my management seminar…

Big changes are coming. In fact, they are already here. Everything is moving so quickly, and I’m as scared as I am excited.  Many positive things are coming, but the negatives are frightening. What happens if I can’t do this? I’m afraid to be alone, to lose patience with Evi.

Commute time, so drastically reduced, is going to be incredibly liberating and will go a long way to reduce daily stress … but on the other hand, being a single parent for most of the week, I am worried about my parenting skills. I’m also worried that I will miss my husband too much, that we won’t be able to replace those countless small, seemingly insignificant moments that we share.

I know that am I strong, and I have to believe that I will make the best choices for my daughter, my family, and myself. I have to work more to be in the moment. I have to push for better focus and immediate connection so I am doing my best work in each of my roles. I have to fight to maintain my inner peace. I need to embrace my incredible strength, and place value on my own needs as much as others. I can’t always put myself last, but instead must remember that taking the time to balance myself means I’m better prepared for everything else I am responsible for. I promise to continue on this beautiful path to self-love and self-acceptance, cultivate the love and light that can only expand to everything I touch.

I promise to reach out, to ask for help, to find new solutions, and (especially) to be gentle with myself. I promise to celebrate the little things in life, experience all the little moments, and appreciate every moment as it happens. I will recognize the love and strength within myself and all around me, stay mindful of the incredible positives in my life, hold close all the love in my marriage, and never stop learning and growing. I will make every decision on the basis of radical self-love, eradicating negative self-talk, and honoring my personal brand of brilliance and shine.

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Oh. Well, huh.

Intimidated

Yesterday I was talking to my coworker about how I’ve been struggling lately. I was trying to point out the when and why of it all, trying to figure out what triggered this slide away from my longest ever successful healthy streak. She is struggling too, so together we came to the conclusion that if we can manage to pull out of this intentional nosedive like RIGHT NOW, we can still call this a successful journey instead of looking at it as yet another failure and restart. After all, life happens. Illness happens. Kids stop sleeping sometimes, work stresses you out, and you eat your face off for a few days and gain five pounds. It happens, and it’s alright.

I figured out something else though, thanks to her. “It was after you came back from that conference,” she said. And then, there, finally, it hit me. Total mental lightning strike.

FitBloggin scared the sh*t out of me. Instead of letting the inspiration and acceptance and love of the conference follow me out of my hotel room and home to my normal life, I let it turn ugly. I let it become a nearly overwhelming sense of inadequacy. I let my head spin it into all of the reasons why I wasn’t as good or strong or successful as all of those amazing people.

I know it’s ridiculous. I didn’t feel that way there.

Oh God. Oh God, I did. I did feel that way there. I didn’t want to feel that way, but the truth is that I did. I listened to every beautiful, inspiring, sad, awesome story… and instead of turning into an inspiration, a reason why I, too, could be successful, I let it fuel my inner critic. I let it magnify. I let it intensify. I let it become a terrible inner voice, an awful and continuous loop, a constant reminder of how many people had done something bigger, better, more.

Softly, quietly, I began to beat myself up inside.

You didn’t lose anywhere near as much, and you don’t even have as many kids.

You ate more than she did. You drank more than he did. I bet they saw you eat that cupcake.

You didn’t go to all the workout sessions. Other people did. Bigger people did. Older people did. But you? You didn’t. You’re lazy.

You could have worked harder. You should have tried harder.

You’re pitiful. You’re a terrible role model.

wrong… bad… lazy… stupid… embarrassing… ridiculous… pitiful…

not strong enough… not dedicated enough… not wanting it enough… not trying enough…

not enough

not. enough.

notenoughnotenoughnotenough

And around and around it went.

Writing it all out like that hurts. It hurts to admit to how I treat myself sometimes. It hurts to see how I internalize every perceived failing. I thought I was pretty far removed from all of that. I thought I’d fixed things inside, that I wouldn’t turn on myself so easily anymore. It took me a month to see it for what it was, to finally put together the pieces of the slowly building wave, find its source, and swim out from under it.

And here I am. Staying ahead of the wave… for now… barely.

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