overcoming fears

Bitten

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Create Your Own Visited States Map

The ever-cliche travel bug has dined on my skin somewhere lately, for better or worse. I say for worse due to the fact that I don’t have the money to travel, nor do I have the time… or a passport… or a comfortability with flying.

But the thing is, I will never have enough money or time or a flight that isn’t filled with heart-stopping anxiety. I will never be ready because no one ever is for anything scary or different or even exciting. Especially when that someone is on a way-too-low salary to even buy a new car or start saving for retirement. I don’t wanna retire anyway. Crazy, right?

So my priorities are a little different from others, and my savings plan goes to different things, and maybe that’ll end up being a huge mistake when I look back on my life. But I can’t deny the world out there I long to explore for the safety of home, for the “what-ifs” I’ve had since a girl. I will always worry, and things will always happen. But I am not going to NOT travel anymore because of those hypotheticals. What if they never, ever, ever happen? Ohhhhhhh, META!

My first step is to nab a passport so I can make my way to my sister in the Pacific and somewhere (anywhere) in Europe next year. And in the meantime? Well, I’m gonna try my hardest to fill in those white states up there by searching for deals, hitting up pals, looking for short-term work gigs, and dragging all of you (and maybe J) along for the ride.

Where have you traveled lately? Any tricks-of-the-trade, deals, or secrets I need to know, travel junkies? Talk to me!

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Gonnas: Loose Ends of 26 for 26

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Alright, folks. As of Saturday, I officially transitioned from 26 to 27. I had a great year even during the rocky moments of depression and all the complications that come with it, but 27 feels awesome. I feel healthy, happy, and ready to grow.

That being said, it’s time to reveal how I ended up faring in my 26 Gonnas for 26 that I posed as goals for myself last year before my birthday. Anything crossed through was not accomplished.

1. Wake up with the sun at least 180 days over the next year.
2. Fly to visit my sister in Japan. Money did NOT allow! 😦
3. Finish my screenplay.
4. Don’t let items I have gathered to create a project sit on my shelf for more than 2 weeks…ever.
5. Diagnose and solve my voice problems, then sing publicly when I have the all clear.
6. Get my teaching license.
7. Write one blog every week!
8. Learn to drive a manual car.
9. Make 50 YouTube videos.
10. Get over my fear of heights by climbing a lighthouse, ziplining, both, or more!
11. Teach someone something life-changing.
12. Make a Southern road trip to Texas and back. My bff S moved back, so I didn’t have to!
13. Finish writing a book with C.
14. Learn how to sew.
15. Go legit camping for a weekend with J and the pups.
16. Spend more time with my family.
17. Do some photoshoots (at least one!) with a professional photographer.
18. Get something published.
19. Raise $500 for my business, Southern Sheek. I am in the process of deciding how I want to move forward with SS, so I put this on hold.
20. Do a Goodwill-level cleanout every 3 months until I only have what I (for the most part) need.
21. Let go of toxic people in my life.
22. Make a weekend trip to a new place, any place.
23. Write and send fanmail to all those people who have inspired me along the way.

24. Meet a sloth!
25. Really make 10 people’s day – five of whom I know and five strangers.
26. Be thankful and say so at the end of every day.

I did less than I had hoped. A lot of it was user error because I was too afraid or too broke (by my own budgeting failures), but there were a couple instances a bit beyond my control. Nonetheless, I did some cool stuff. I sang publicly, even though I still really need to get to an ENT to do so properly. I did a massive overhaul of my belongings and pared down a LOT. I got two licenses for teaching. I made days of people I knew, and even started to do it for strangers as I slowly recovered from my depression. Best of all, I remembered what it was like to feel and give gratitude and how to be more positive overall. I might have failed in some eyes, but to me, this whole project has been a victory.

That being said, I think after I tweak the loose ends of this project that I really and truly, 100% positive, will not need the gonnas anymore. So here they are: the final list of gonnas to cover over the next 6 months before I part ways with the project that made me a productive woman and a better person.

1. Diagnose and solve my voice problems NOW!
2. Learn how to drive a manual car without getting mad at J while he’s teaching me.
3. Make it a habit to make videos for the blog and YouTube, but focus on quality, not quantity.
4. Learn how to sew.
5. Take a weekend road trip to camp or visit an unknown place.
6. Get something published and/or finish my screenplay so as not to overwhelm my anxieties.
7. Write letters to all the people who have inspired me in some way or another.
8. Of course, MEET A SLOTH!
9. Remember to be positive every day, to strive for greatness and gratitude, to become the person you know you can be.
10. Set the Gonnas go.

Alright, folks. Six more months of gonnas and ONLY six more months. I can’t wait to see how it all ends up!

Be Fearless, Live Fearless

When my long-time friend Liz at FitnessBlondie posted that she would be doing a #BeFearless link-up today, I couldn’t wait to participate. It’s a beautiful thing she’s doing, compiling so many people’s stories about overcoming unimaginable obstacles and surviving at the end of the day. I thought about how many of these trying moments I have had in my life, and I have spent every. single. moment. since the announcement of this link-up trying to pinpoint my most fearless moment.

The thing is, I couldn’t. I still can’t. I cannot hone in on one moment I feel is particularly more fearless than the others because I have had so many of them. I started to stress last night and figured I would come to terms with whatever decision I made in the light of the early morning.

I finally realized upon waking that this lack of a single moment of fearlessness might actually be the best angle to approach the topic of fear (or a lack of it) for me anyway. About how it is so present in my life and so hard every day; about how even the smallest victories of fearlessness deserve a mention.

It’s important to me that this be a part of the #BeFearless movement, because sometimes, other people belittle our accomplishments, and that kind of negativity has to stop. It might be a really big deal for someone to just… wake up, and that should be commended properly.

So here it is: a list of my fearless moments — some big, some small — but all equally important. The most crucial aspect of publishing this list of mine, however, is that I want anyone who reads this to feel just how much your fearless moments matter, even if someone has tried to tell you otherwise. All of the moments you overcome fear are victories, and damn the cynics who belittle ALL of our accomplishments!

– – –

1. I had to choose to live again after losing the first man I loved to a horrible addiction, the man who had already asked my mother if I could one day be his wife. I had my struggles along the way, but I did finish college and started grad school. I did find another love. I did find my happiness and my faith again.

2. I overcame crippling PTSS and the accompanying violent panic attacks. It was hard. I had to fight for my life through therapy, through HELPFUL medicine, through many nights of anxiety and non-sleep. I had to fight against people who told me I was crazy, against people who don’t believe in mental illness, against my own brain’s disruptive and destructive behavior.

3. I had to learn to let go of two mentally abusive relationships in college. I loved the men in them with me so much that I was blind to the fact they were putting me down constantly, making me feel like I was not worthy, and trying to make me feel trapped by pushing away then pulling me right back. I finally realized I wasn’t a fish on a line, and it took a lot of work to let go of people I still had feelings for. The most fearless thing, I think, was letting them back in my life as friends, and I now cherish them both in that role.

4. One of the above scenarios involved me having to make the choice of whether or not I would go through with a pregnancy or not. This is something I have never publicly mentioned, and there are even some people in my family or friends of mine who may or may not know about this event, but in the spirit of this project, I need people to hear it. Since I obviously do not have a child, we all know the path I chose to take. I know it is a divisive topic, but it is a topic others may need support with right now, and that trumps everything else. I am being fearless in this moment of confession alone because what I have to say could save someone else’s life.

I need people to know that it was a horrific thing to go through, especially because I went through it without my partner at the time (another instance of mental abuse on his part). I need people to know that some of my friends were so judgmental that I had to lie to them about what really happened, further deepening my self-loathing. I need people to know that I had postpartum depression, a time my mother says she has NEVER feared more for me, despite all the deep places I’d already struggled through. I need people to know how important support was for me and could be for you. I need people to know I came out the other end realizing I had done the right thing for both of us. I need people to know it is something I will never regret. I need people to know that if you don’t agree with this or me or others who go through the same struggle that we can all still love each other; we can all still live in harmony even if our beliefs don’t align.

5. After ALL of that hurt and pain, I found the courage to love again. It’s cliche as hell, but now I’m in love with my best friend of three years, and I have never felt more appreciated, loved, or healthy.

6. I went, by myself, to a HUGE city I longed to live in and work in for the long haul. It was scary, but I had to do it. I also then made the decision to come back because I needed more time to find myself, to say goodbye, to find love, to spend time with my loved ones. I don’t know which is more fearless, but I know it took a lot of bravery to do both.

7. I finally admitted to myself that many of my health issues probably stemmed from being overweight. Now, if you know me, you probably are thinking “YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN OVERWEIGHT!”, and I would agree 100%. But my genetic frame is much smaller than what I had allowed myself to carry for so many years, so I worked my ass off to lose the weight I needed to to feel healthy. This has brought along a LOT of comments from others such as “Eat a cookie,” “You must be on Adderall,” “You’re too skinny,” each more creative and hurtful than the last. What they don’t understand is that now my heart, digestive, back, and mental health issues are ALL almost completely under control because my frame genetically needs less weight in order to function at its best. I am still learning to be fearless in the face of these comments, but it gets easier every day.

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8. I left a job I loved to start a career I was unsure I could handle. It was horrifying, and I woke up crying many days, but I have found so much happiness and reward in being a high school educator. I have had to be courageous in the face of students, other faculty, administration, parents, and even outsiders who have commented about my style of teaching or my salary. Still, I fought through to find a home in a career I may not have forever, but a career I will always love.

9. I overcame the tremendous mental block I had to go talk to my psychiatrist about my depression returning. I had to suck it up and say “I cannot do this without your help, or I will die.” It took so much effort and the process is still occurring, but without the fearlessness it took to overcome my pride and my illness, I would not be half the person I am writing this today.

– – –

I feel like there are so many other fearless things I could write about, like standing up at the karaoke bar and singing in public for the first time or finally choosing to sleep with someone again for the first time in two years after my heart was broken. I could mention the times I worked through my POTS attacks alone or underwent two horrifying surgeries in one week. I could talk about so much, because so much of what I do… of what we ALL do, every day, is from a place of fearlessness.

Never let someone tell you you aren’t brave enough. You are. You are.

#BeFearless

www. Wednesday

Have you ever had one of those days that ALWAYS felt like another day? Yeah, well, today was “Tuesday” to me… so here I am, realizing I almost missed www. Wednesday at 11:30 p.m.

+ The Skinny Confidential, who I only recently discovered, not only throws out some truth bombs about quitting yer’ bitchin’, but shows me that you CAN incorporate your personality into your blog, even if that personality happens to cuss a lot.

+ Grace Chon captures her son and her dog together in the cutest damn portraits you’ve ever seen. Prepare yourself for aviator googled babies and pets!

+ 25 things you should never stop doing for yourself. I think we could all benefit from reminding ourselves of these every morning! … though I will probably still wake up 15 minutes late after hitting snooze 79 times, so when will I have time for something that healthy and inspiring?

+ Just because this is an ad doesn’t mean it doesn’t hit all sorts of amazing soft spots in your soul. Watch these two women (who are strangers!) take their first flight together. I hope I can be like Ria all my life!

+ Fellow bloggers: someone’s been spying on us and compiled a list of how to avoid the trap that is laziness to stay motivated.

+ This bipolar article about Muppies really bothers me, which probably means I am one. What bugs me most is the coupling of the snobbish attitude of the author (talking shit about an entire generation of people, classifying us into categories half of us don’t even use or understand because we DO NOT FALL INTO THOSE CATEGORIES AT ALL) paired with her 180 degree turnaround at the end. I got whiplash. She went from saying we are little bitches wearing Lululemon (something I could NEVER AFFORD) to telling Boomers to “accept us for who we are” as “#innovators.” Yeah, we are hashtagging innovators who do things differently. And yes, there are plenty of Boomers, like my parents, who really ENJOY these differences among our generations. Generalization and flip-flopping, however, are not things either generation is a fan of. BUT in the spirit of TSC, I’ll quit my bitchin’.

+ And now, cute sloths squeaking.

From z-o-l-a.tumblr.com/

Gym-Specific Social Phobia

I’ve had a gym membership for three months.

I have been zero times.

Initially I couldn’t go because the new location opened RIGHT in the midst of the end of a quarter at work, a semester at school, and holiday traveling. The weeks following those consisted of me avoiding resolutioners galore.

But then as the month of January wound down, I found myself with the time and desire to return to my beloved workout circuit. I geared up, hopped in the car, drove the five minutes over, and……….

……….. kept going because there were approximately 1,894,600 cars in the parking lot. It was panic-inducing even from the road, and I realized the resolutioners were still around, not to mention that it was a peak gym hour. I couldn’t go inside unless I wanted to faint without even touching a weight or five.

The next couple of weeks consisted of me playing cat-and-mouse with the gym’s parking lot.

“It’s still too crowded. I’ll try really early instead.”

“It’s crowded in the morning, too! I’ll try in the dark of night instead.”

“Where did these assholes come from? Hasn’t everyone worked out already? DOES EVERYONE AT THIS GYM DO TWO-A-DAYS?!”

I realized there would never be a time there wasn’t a Mall of America-level population at the gym. It would need to be a problem I conquered instead of avoided, so I started asking people to go with me. My friends, my roommate, my boyfriend. “No time, no money, no workout clothes because YOU DIDN’T TELL ME BEFORE I CAME TO VISIT YOU, BABE!” were their respective excuses perfectly acceptable reasons.

A fellow soldier was out of the question, though I knew if I could find one, that would honestly do the trick. I realized that my best friend S, though in Texas, could be my gym accountability buddy. I could text her whenever I felt the urge to run and she would say “NO, RACHEL! WE HAVE TO GET IN BATHING SUITS IN LESS THAN A MONTH FOR GIRLS WEEKEND. GO TO THE GYM!” Perfect. I would be working out in no time!

No time is an accurate description in that I have spent no time in the gym. I talked to S tonight and admitted my sins. She cut me some slack before I admitted that all of it has centered around this inexplicable gym-specific social phobia. It’s not that I care what I or my workout look like to others; it’s just that being around that many strangers makes me want to vomit all over the shiatsu massage chairs. We both lamented the fact that our benzos make us too uncoordinated to workout properly because there would be no issue if I could just dose myself and dive headfirst into the sweaty crowd of exercisers.

I have around 20 days to redeem myself before our aforementioned girls weekend, and I’m running out of ideas. That is, until I came here, typing so desperately that there is now some sort of Macbook burn on my forearms.

Here it is, folks. Isn’t the first step to recovery admitting you have a problem? HEY, READERS! I have social phobia of my perfectly fine gym. Please send paper bags and whale noise soundtracks.

Recount

Midnight // NYE 2012/2013 // The Avett Brothers

Ah, it’s that time of year again when all us bloggers recount whether or not we stuck to our guns and actually completed our resolutions. As you know, this is a blog about getting things done…….. so here’s hoping I haven’t royally screwed up and completed, say, ZERO of my resolutions.

At the beginning of 2013, I resolved to do only slightly more than a handful of things. Here’s the entry, but if you’re not one to muck about in archives, here’s a quick recap of the list:

1. Be a better adult.
2. Stay a better friend.
3. Have more patience and understanding.
4. Overcome MORE fears.
5. Be even more efficient.
6. Accomplish all my little goals in between without resolving to do them.
7. Just be.

Wow. Lofty goals, January 1st Rachel. Talk about setting high expectations for myself. Never one afraid to fail, I normally push further than I should. Let’s see how I fared, shall we?

1. Be a better adult.

I am by no means a model adult. I may not even be a mediocre adult, but I have damn sure come a long way this year. I’ve learned so much about reliability, and even more, how to BE reliable. I’ve learned to keep running, even when I’m knee-deep in heavy Carolina clay, knowing I have to reach the other side. I’ve taken jobs I didn’t want, left jobs I wanted to continue, and doubled-down on school and work, putting my social life lower on the list than in years past. While I’ve mentioned I’ll always be a “family/friends first” kinda gal, I finally figured out how to maintain that moral of mine while accomplishing great things and being responsible. I even have some money! ………. for now.

2. Stay a better friend.

I am a yo-yo better friend. There are periods of time in which I have a LOT of free time to spare; others where I barely have enough time to eat and sleep, let alone make some phone calls. I could do a better job, but I think I haven’t slipped TOO far back into yesteryear when I was always not such a great friend. Better to maintain than fall behind, even if I wish I could’ve hit this one out of the park. There’s always next year when I get out of my Master’s program!

3. Have more patience and understanding.

Oh, lord help all of you. Whereas I have gained so much of this in the career arena in my life, I admittedly have lost a lot of it in the personal domain. I’m sorry if I’ve been snippy or bitchy, perhaps spacey or annoyed, but I have poured all of my patience and understanding into over 100 kids. They need it most right now, and I am going to work very hard to squeeze some of that patience over to my loved ones in the coming year. Now that I know HOW to be patient, I have to learn how to BALANCE that patience. I have to understand others in the ways I always hope they understand me! But hey, I hope my students can at least attest to the fact that I almost never lose my temper. And when I do, they know weird things like town hall meetings will occur.

4. Overcome MORE fears.

Thanks to my newest project, 26 Gonnas for 26, I have definitely been visiting this resolution time and time again in 2013. I’ve sung publicly at karaoke bars; I’ve gotten back into modeling and ENJOYED IT; I’ve publicly and privately let go of toxic relationships. There have been a lot of fears I’ve conquered that aren’t even on the 26 for 26, which brings me to…

6. Accomplish all my little goals in between without resolving to do them.

Yeah, I know. I skipped 5, but we’ll get to that’n. Six and four pair well together like a good cheese and a fine wine, ya heard? There were so many moments this year that I found left me feeling so bold, so brave, and so utterly proud of myself. Overcoming fears, some of which I didn’t even know I had, was a lot easier in 2013 than in the past. Maybe it’s because I was so successful at resolution number one, but pushing forward into the unknown was just not as horrifying in ’13. I’m not saying it wasn’t sweat inducing to call my favorite co-workers ever to tell them I was offered a new job, and I’m not saying it wasn’t horrifying to meet, learn, and teach over 100 strangers in the middle of the school year… but I am saying that it was exponentially less disastrous than it would have been a year ago. And you know what? I found out I’m a lot BETTER at most of the things I’m scared of than some of the things I feel “safe” doing. What’s more is I didn’t feel the urge to tell anyone about these things (well, until now). I didn’t feel like I had to make a list, at least not publicly. I didn’t feel like I needed to have support to overcome my fear, something that is altogether new for me. While there are still some giant hurdles like flying and singing in public without a cheesy backup machine that WILL require a little hand-holding, learning to go solo into fear this year is what got me over the need to publicly resolve to accomplish every tiny morsel my brain cooked up.

5. Be even more efficient.

Welcome back, five! You tie into resolution one pretty well, sir. While I believe there’s always room for improvement when talking efficiency, I truly figured out and utilized it this year. If you remember, I started to see some vague progress in this field when I resolved to be efficient in 2012. This year, though, I really FOUND efficiency like it was the god damn Lost island I’d been screaming about returning to. (Lost reference anyone? Anyone?) I am much more organized than I was a year ago. I even have plans for further organization, some I utilized earlier this very week. I used to shy away from changing my methods for better ones for fear they’d be worse; now I trust my instinct and know the HUGE list I have for improvements will all work out, and they will all be better, 100 fold.

7. Just be.
Herein lies the crux: how can I just be if I always see so many things I must resolve to make better? Is it possible? Or must the two forever be at odds? I like to think I’ve just been a little more than I was in 2012. That’s not to say it has been a meditative, peaceful-as-fuck kind of year. Actually, it was pretty hectic… but there are some things this year I have let go of that I wouldn’t have DREAMED of getting past 365 days ago. It’s hard, being forever anxious (medically), finding out how to just be. And even though I didn’t complete this goal, I’m happy to say that over the past three weeks, things have been falling out of the sky and into my lap in regards to what I need to finally, truly just be. I’ve been finding answers to questions I’ve had for a long time, and I’ve been finding inspiration, reinforcement, and even new standards for myself I will not budge on… ever. And that, ladies and gents, is what I believe the first step to just being is: being yourself.

I’ll be back after the first of the year, hopefully with amazing tales of New Year’s festivities, a list of resolutions, and… drumroll… big news about the blog and its future.

Have a magical transition from 2013 to 2014! I’ll see you on the other side 😉

26 Gonnas for 26: Number 21


Open Letter to the Toxic Ones

Dear You,

I don’t know how to begin this. By writing instead of telling, am I engaging in the coldness of passive-aggressiveness I hate so much? Perhaps. I really just can’t contain what’s been on my mind so much over the last 2… 3…. er, 5?… wait, maybe longer……….. years.

This has been a long time coming. Maybe I’m too sensitive for my own good, but after a long, somewhat-objective look at the state of things, I think I might be a little justified and that’s enough; I don’t need the totality of 100 percentness.

I am a giver. I always have been. Of course I take, but I really do find a joy in giving. I have told many of you over the years I wish I’d fall into a lot of money somehow so I could spoil you rotten. I have given even when my body has fought me. I have given when you have betrayed me. I have given when you have given nothing back. And until now, that’s all been mostly okay because we were young. But here we are, on the door of adulthood, and the scale of give and take is still uneven. I’m still drowning in a sea of sadness, created with the waters of unfulfillment.

I thought time would solve things. I thought I would never have to point out the lacking pieces of our relationships because surely, with just enough time, wisdom, and experience, things would even out. I would feel less and less like my soul was being sucked from me, and start to feel like pieces of it were starting to be poured back in, even if it were as slow as molasses. But time didn’t do the job I thought it would, so now I’m faced with doing it myself. I should have dealt with the task from the start, and now that I have to, I’m not sure how to do it at all.

It’s not everyone. It’s not all the time. Even those of you who are guilty don’t do it on schedule… but it does happen. (Hell, I’ve written about it before. More than once.) It’s not a delusion, as much as I wish it were every day. This has happened as long as I can remember, and it continues to happen, despite my internal wish for things to change. But I guess you can’t bring forth change without saying or doing something, so this is some kind of bumbling, probably awful start.

I know I’m not perfect. I’ve done things wrong, I’ve shut people out, and I’ve been inconsistent with contact. And while I take personal responsibility for my faults and my own selfishness, a lot of my behavior over the years has been a reaction to yours. That doesn’t mean I don’t need to work on things, but I would love it more than life if you worked on your things, too.

First things first: I confess my sins.

1. I have made grave mistakes in friendships over the years. Most of them I made when I was younger, but I made a handful of horrid ones in my older life, too. However, the mistakes I’ve made have made me the grown-up I am today, trying my damnedest never to do them again and wishing, wishing, wishing you all would stop making them as well.

2. I DO shut people out, namely you, because when I consistently have expectations shattered or unreciprocated, it’s easier just to bow out and guard my heart. I sit back and find people that do seem to want to give as much as me, who want to meet those expectations, and wait for the rest of the group to catch up. The only problem is, these people never do. And every time I give them a chance, give them the opportunity to live up to my expectations, they break my heart all over again. It’s too much to cry every night about another forgotten call or text, another birthday missed. It’s for my sanity that I pull away long enough to regroup and heal.

3. Mostly my inconsistent contact has to do with outside factors. I move a lot; I work very hard during the school year; I have graduate school to finish; I have to save my money. But you all also need to remember something I have ne’er argued and always confessed: I hate the phone. It brings me some anxiety, and it’s just an annoying form of contact. But there is a small part of me that thinks some of that anxiety, which didn’t begin until later in my life, comes from the inconsistency I’ve learned to expect in return.

Second things second: I explain.

1. You are not reliable. I know that sounds awful, and I’m truly sorry, but you aren’t. You can be good people. You have been there in bad times and good, but not really on a constant basis. If we make plans, you often are late or cancel last minute. It would be okay if it were for something important or understandable, but when you just decide to bow out because you’ve found something more fun or are just too lazy, that’s rude and insulting.

2. You don’t care. I say that in the most general sense. You don’t care about my life if it doesn’t involve petty, pretty, easy things, but more bothersome is that you don’t care about your own life. You don’t care if you succeed, if you will have enough money for bills, if you find a job you love, if you find your own happiness, if you won’t be too hungover to make the appointment we set a week ago. You don’t care about finding yourself or finding the whole version of that self. You don’t care about anything except initial satisfaction, often found in booze, drugs, gossip, or shallow bullshit. But I care. I care about everything, and I need my friends to care, too.

3. You turn it around on me. On the occasions I HAVE said something, my past has been thrown in my face. That’s to be expected, I suppose, but those who have known me long enough can see the evolution I have made. And you know what? It’s old. It’s not effective. I know where I am well enough that the argument is invalid. We’re talking about the people we are now, and the better people we should become. We’re not talking about some dumb ass girl from two or ten years ago.

4. You don’t understand. You don’t understand the time constraints and responsibilities of adulthood, let alone the effect the intricacies of an individual has on both of them. For example, I have a problem with the fact you call bullshit on my health when I have cried and tried and worked and fallen and gotten back up about it over so many years. You haven’t sat with me during a tachycardia attack, walked in on me crying on my floor in visceral pain, listened to me on the phone as I breathe for dear life, or felt the heavy weight of the fatigue I carry every day, yet still push through. I also have a problem with the fact that you don’t respect my calendar, as if I’m an asshole for wanting to and making plans well, well in advance. If you make plans for something a week in advance, even then may be too late. I hate I can’t be there for you, but if something is important enough that you would like me to be there, make sure you send me a reminder as soon as you think of it. You need to understand my health. You need to understand my calendar. You need to understand everything, and how everything changes when we’re adults. With that understanding will come a respect that just isn’t there with us right now. What the hell is friendship without respect?

Third things third: I’m sure I have done every single one of these things to you in my past, and for that, I am truly sorry. But I have been on a journey to wholeness for a very long time, and I cannot be whole by perpetuating this bad behavior myself. It has mostly ended for me, but I will say right now: it ends for me all the way today. However, that also means I can’t surround myself with people who will not end the cycle themselves. I need to feel whole instead of drained, happy instead of constantly heartbroken. I need to be able to be the full me, and I can’t do that unless you do the same.

As I mentioned when I wrote about this before, I’ve been mourning over this whole change for a really long time. Now I see the only way I can truly move on from my grief, and hopefully see a few of you there on the other side, is to set the truth free. I still love you, Toxic Ones.

Hoping you’ll join me for the ride,
(it’s gonna be a real honest, but fulfilling one),
Rachel

2012 Resolutions: A Recap

On the morning of New Years Day, J and I sat down and made some resolutions. I’m a person who forgets absolutely everything if I don’t have it written down, so a list was a natural step in the process. As I’d never really seriously given weight to making resolutions until 2012, I thought it’d be a fun (and scary) project to see if I actually stuck to them. Here goes nothin’…

2012 Resolutions
1. Healthy lifestyle
While my healthier eating habits have slacked of late because of too little money in my bank account, I can proudly say that for the most part of 2012, I lived a healthier lifestyle than I have in years. I have worked out more consistently, been more aware of my diet, taken vitamins regularly, and lost 20 pounds. I gained back the extra five lost after my stint in the hospital by choice, and I finally have a grasp on what is important to me, body, mind, and health-wise.
Resolution status: complete.
2. Be more efficient
Efficiency and I will be at odds for many years to come, but I made great strides this year – thanks in part to my resolution partner, and then of my own volition after enough schooling. I have a long way to go, but my belongings have been cut in half, those still around are more organized, and I finally see shortcuts for making life easier that I wouldn’t have prior to making this resolution. (It helps when you have someone willing to call you on your inefficiency as well! Ha.)
Resolution status: complete, but will make another appearance on the list this year.
 
3. Stop procrastinating
This is another one of those things I consistently battle with. While I’ve made improvements with the help of lists, friends, and even an occasional moment of self-motivation, I still have days upon days of utter procrastination.
Resolution status: touched upon, but will make another appearance on the list this year.
4. Overcome fears
YEP. Yup. Yes. Uh-huh. I found it in me to buck up to anesthesia twice, and though the prospect of being put under still doesn’t sit well with me, it no longer looms over me with a gloomy weight. I’ve started singing in front of a small group of people again. I’ve exercised through scary moments due to my heart issues, knowing it would make it better in the end. I’ve taken up caffeine again in small amounts for the same reason. There are more fears to overcome, but I can feel my confidence in defeating them growing inside me everyday.
Resolution status: complete, but I will overcome more in 2013.
5. Accomplish a big goal
I had to think about this for a while because I really didn’t feel like I’d accomplished something grand this year. Everything got increasingly hard as the year went on and tragedy and heartbreak hit both close and far from home. I felt bogged down by the weight of the bad things, only to finally be saved by remembering the good. Remembering that I’d done something daring and big and maybe a bit crazy…
This year, I let go of a job that made me feel mentally battered in every possible way to focus on myself and what I really wanted. And guess what? It worked. I truly know what I want from life and how to get there. The not knowing had spilled over into all the other parts of my life, the more important parts. Now that I have direction, drive, and excitement, I feel like I can truly give myself to those other fantastic parts of life all the way. Now the only problem is waiting for life to catch up.
Resolution status: complete. Here I come, Masters degree!
 
This is my last post of 2012. I’m wishing everyone a happy 2013, and I hope y’all have great NYE fun! Most of all, I hope you have the faith I do that we can all make this next year better for ourselves and each other.
I’m hopeful for the happy ending. I’m crossing my fingers, universe. Are you listening?

Gonnas: Well, Well, Well…

Make sure you’re sitting down everyone. I know I’ve made a lot of promises regarding this issue, but I finally did it. I finally made an appointment for my wisdom tooth surgery. I sure am going to be one fun, giant ball of anxiety until the moment of sedation!

After a lot of nudging from both personal and professional sources, I finally called for a consultation. I woke up bright n’ early this morning to head to the oral surgeon to see what he had to say.

I got there and was greeted by delightful staff and a very lovely, tech-savvy office. I watched Obama make some jokes on Leno while I filled out my patient information. A cute child tried to pet my leopard flats.

“This isn’t so bad,” I thought. “You have been building this up for no reason. It’s not like you even hate the dentist. What if you get back there and he’s like ‘LOLZ, U DON’T NEED TO GET THESE TAKEN OUT!’ What if he lets me stay conscious? I can do this! I can conquer the world!!”

My overly nice dental assistant got me comfy, despite the fact that my view was kind of disorienting. It’s weird looking at your own mouth on the big-screen.

I told her it might be scary in there since my teeth have been bothering me off and on since January. She boosted my confidence by noting they see a lot of “meth mouth.” Sorry for the addicts, but not so sorry for finding a dental assistant who scratched my huge “Breaking Bad” itch. Again, what had I been worried about? THINGS ARE GOING TO BE FINE, RIGHT?!
The surgeon walked in and was beyond pleasant. He looked professional yet friendly, certainly capable of ripping my teeth out of my face bones. He kind of poked around my mouth for 30 seconds and then used my mouth map to tell me what was up.
“See these teeth here, here, and here? They’re all covered in bone. Oh, and behind this one? That’s a cyst, and we’re going to have to test that to make sure it’s not something worse. Because of all this, you’re going to have to be asleep via an IV drip.”
I replied with some nervous laughs and let him know I’d done way too much research, so I knew that tumors could develop because of your wisdom teeth. EHEHEH, IT’S SO FUNNY, I’M DEALING WITH THIS SO WELL, DOC! Inside my head though, my optimism was crashing and burning as my cynicism screamed “DID YOU REALLY THINK YOU’D GET OFF THAT EASY?!”
I chatted with him about my overwhelming fear of anesthesia after he let me know there was no way around sedation. The assistant had taken my blood pressure and instantly commented about how low it was, so she was there to back me up. He assured me about as much as anyone could ever hope to, and mentioned that the medicine would even make my blood pressure rise. He also promised a 20-30 minute surgery. Come on, little body, we can hold out for that long, can’t we? Pretty please?
So I discussed price (JESUS.) with the insurance coordinator and made my appointment for the earliest time slot available on Halloween. I figure the juju of my favorite holiday has got to count for something.
I spent the remainder of my day starting to make arrangements for next week and trying to convince my dad to film my post-op jokes in the recovery room. He’s not really a huge fan of the idea.
I’ll probably say my farewells to everyone, make a last will and testament video, and cry a lot about my ultimate demise, but when I wake up on the other side four teeth and a potential tumor less, I’ll feel like a big ol’ dummy. A BIG ‘UN! Especially since it looks like Hurricane Sandy will kill all of us that week anyway.

Gonnas: Gonna What?

While waiting patiently for some dentistry coverage war to fizzle out, I haven’t really known which of my harder hitting gonnas to work on. Sadly, I haven’t the money for most of them. Others of them need tons of preparation, both mentally and physically. I pondered over my little list, which hasn’t grown at all – oops? – and realized I’ve already done one of them.

I know, what? Like why haven’t I been toasting champagne to myself in celebration?! Why am I not lying on a chaise lounge, being fed grapes by lots of admirers from the far ends of the earth? Because I didn’t even realize this gonna was on my list. My bad.

See, I’d kind of slipped it in there in this extremely vague fashion. The bullet “Bad health” with some indecipherable-to-everyone-but-me notes parenthesized beside it could mean a million things. Do I want bad health? Is it the name of a shitty little rock band I love?

Though I’m sure you’ve picked up on my myriad of health issues, and the anxiety it’s caused me, and the hatred for most doctors I now have, and my inability to do anything I want, AND… anyway, I digress. The point is, I made it a gonna goal to FIX what I deemed as my “bad health.” While I have miles to go since I was so deep inside the pit that is rock bottom, I’m happy to say I’m now bivvying on the mid-side of that pit. Inadvertently, of course.

It all started after a holiday season of overindulgence. J and I were tired of looking at our newly transformed bodies, despite the fact my mouth still watered thinking about all of the awesome food we’d ingested over the months prior. We decided to do something about it, and it didn’t take us too long to arrive at the inevitable conclusion of gym membership.

We signed up in February, and though we’ve had our fair share of obstacles here and there, we’ve done pretty well keeping up. We aren’t there everyday (yet), but I can see the changes, and oh man, can I feel ’em.

The fact I have to pace myself due to my ever-sensitive heart gets me weird, judgy looks from gym snobs, but I don’t really care because I’m feeling so much better. I’ve found what works for me and will continue to work at it ’til I find the optimal regimen. Oh, and just because I pace myself, Tapout Frat-King, doesn’t mean I haven’t lost almost 20 pounds, toned my muscles, increased my strength, and decreased my heart issue flare-ups. Suck on that, penis breath.

In addition to working on strengthening my body inside and out, I’ve been trying really, really hard to kick my sugar addiction. The one food I crave all day long is ice cream, and I could literally eat an entire quart without feeling regret or nausea. Not only did I want to move off of my toning plateau, I wanted to stop waking up with the shakes for birthday cake every morning. I still nab some sugar on special occasions, but otherwise, I keep Stevia in my cupboard and only take shots of juice instead of my favored Big Gulp serving.

So with the help of some lean protein, a pretty nifty little gym, a distinct lack of sweets, and cutting out all of that gross-but-I-love-it food I randomly crave, my once fragile little body is actually kind of normal again. I can run sometimes! I can help my boyfriend lift huge boxes without straining! I could challenge Michelle Obama to an arm off! (She would win, but I’m almost there, thanks to her inspiration.) Rawr.

Ladies and gents, another gonna off the list. However, this is one I’ll always be working on, and I’m starting to love doing just that.
Health, love, and happiness… or some shit like that.