Happily Ever Afters Are Messy

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I can put together a pretty kickass pity party, I can really steep in it sometimes. I find myself quickly trying to turn that pity into a positive, cause who the hell doesn’t have struggles these days. I’ve met a huge amount of people in my line of work,  each one has a life struggle, major or not it impacts them in some way or another. What I’ve taken from these amazing poeple and thier life stories is that “Happily Ever Afters” are messy.

You never start out with the intention to lead a diffulcult life. We don’t grow up wishing for things to be tragic, so why do some of us find it diffucult to look on the bright side. I’ll never be certain what is in someone else’s head or how they interpret the world around them, if I had to make a guess, some of us got it wrong.  We are searching for a not so messy “Happliy Ever After” like the one in the movies. Spoiler alert! We ain’t ever gonna find it (not how we think that is). It’s like Santa, a great legend that brings us smiles and hope, but isn’t tangible. (Nothing against Santa, I love the holiday!)

Changing your mind set can be a powerful thing, now there is no need to lie to ourselves and say everything is coming up roses, but could, when the negitive recordings go off in our brains, it be possible to talk ourselves off the “my life sucks” ledge…

Could we train ourselves to be brighter side of life people…

Could that brighter side be the “Happliy Ever After” some of us think we are missing…

Can we be taught that happy is not perfect, it’s messy…

Can we learn to love our mess and think of it less as a struggle and more like a journey, not a journey that will end, but one that will continuly change…

Can we accept the moving pieces of change and be happy with that…

I vote yes! I would much rather live a life looking at a messy “Happily Ever After” than no “Happily Ever After” at all. Besides a pity party really eats into my much coveted free time.

My Dog Trainers, My Therapist, and Paris France Taught Me Something

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With the passing of my sweet boy Brody in Jan I was left with an indescribable void. The love of a dog is like no other, my  husband and I did not take the decision to bring a new dog into our home lightly. For the sake of a reality check I will share that the CON list far out weighed the PRO list when it came down to adding a new dog to the mix. So when our gentle giant arrived in March it is needles to say the CON list was kicking us in the ass. With much guilt and determination I started my search for a dog trainer. Side note~ There are a lot of screwed up folks out there passing themselves off as dog trainers. Some of the Jerks I ran into think it’s best to humiliate the human and call that good for the dog. This is so not how it works. Stressed out and nervous we employed a great group of people who are as lovely to us dog owners as they are to the dogs.

This November will host my 40th year, instead of tamping down the usual “I’m aging” crap I turned my efforts to finding and utilizing a very talented and lovely therapist. As I approach this years birthday it has been blindingly obvious that I need to make some changes. I’m clear that I have not the tools nor the knowledge for the mental and emotional overhaul that has to take place.

While all of this life is happening my little family of three was gifted a trip to Paris France. Yes this is on the top five most generous gifts we have ever received. I’ve never owned a passport. I would have told you being a world traveler was a retirement dream, but here it was, the trip of a lifetime. They say Pairs changes you, that Paris stays with you.  Who ever “They” are, “They” were right. Calm, quiet, respectful is in every aspect of this citys life. Paris opened my eyes to a space of leisure I thought could only exist if I were independently wealthy.

So here is how these folks and this city changed me.

Self awareness came when Ben and Mike, our dog trainers, explained there was no need to raise your voice, dogs respond to quiet and calm commands. My quiet calm voice got results, Knox listened and learned. Huge light bulb moment. They explained my guilt was what would turn my dog into a badly behaved pup, not my dogs inability to be well behaved. I took pause and put that advice into immediate action. No surprise that our dog is a super star in his puppy training. Calm, quiet, guilt free actions, practiced over and over again, yields positive results. Go figure.

Self reflection came when Jaime, my therapist, asked this simple question “What can I help you with?” She has had some extraordinary insight into why I feel sad, over worked and guilty. With her guidance and advice it has finally sunk in that a calm, quiet minded me can accomplish far more without feeling boxed in and crazed. I found a space where it is ok that it is about me, (awkward) where I calmly and quietly control what I’m comfortable doing. Brilliant!

The permission to be happy came in a the 9th arrondissement as Brad and I strolled the streets of Paris. My very wise husband mentioned I should adopt the city’s calm, quiet, leisurely ways. That I could benefit from a slower pass. “You lived the first half to please others, now live the second half to please yourself.” he went on to explain he understood why I am the way I am, but that those closest to me will understand a much needed shift of focus. I hear ya babe, I hear ya.

How do I implement a better understanding of myself and refocus my days you ask…  I quiet my mind, I say much less, listen a ton more, and move calmly through hard moments not allowing myself to feel guilty. So hard to do, it will be an ongoing process, that will take a ton of practice, but I’m committed.

This is what my dog trainers, my therapist, and Paris France has taught me. Live quietly, calmly, gulit free and it will produce a happier me.

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Buck Up It’s Not That Bad

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Side Note: I often reflect on a terrible time in life (mine or others) by wrapping it in positives. I think it’s in part how I process it all.

This time it was hard to make my positivity sandwich. It started more than a year ago. My misdiagnosed tendonitis would bring me to my knees. Turns out I broke my collarbone at the shoulder joint. By the time I had gotten myself to an orthopedic surgeon I was missing an inch of it. I know what your thinking… If I hadn’t seen the x-ray myself I would think I’m crazy too.

The confirmation that I was actually broken (and it was not all in my head) came as a relief. Yes my heart filled with joy knowing I had broken a bone. Has anyone ever looked you dead in the eye and called you a liar… Me neither, but when the words “Buck up it’s not that bad” came out of the PTs mouth, I felt like he did just that… jerk. The blind trust I had for a so called professional quickly became a life lesson. I know me best, not anyone else. Always go with my gut.

Who would have thought a year plus of chronic pain could leak into ones total being and chip away at it. It started as a slow drip and ended as a raging waterfall of what I can only describe as awful. With that said I have a whole new respect for folks who live with incurable chronic pain.

The last six weeks before surgery were a struggle. I was irritable with a short fuse. Tired, because the pain didn’t allow me to sleep. I thought I was loosing my mind. I was sad, unfocused and over caffeinated. I often felt confused, unable to keep a thought in my head. The last 2weeks before surgery I was the kind of depressed that lead my thoughts to death. I cried more tears from the depression than from the pain.

Scary, for so many reasons.

Flash forward, waking up in recovery at the surgical center with my zombie arm, the awesome nerve block was to thank for that, I felt a relief I hadn’t before. The hope of “no more pain” rushed back into my life. My nurses all said how cheery I was and how quickly I was up and ready to go home. I couldn’t help but over share how excited I was to get my shit fixed and be in a new kind of light at the end of the tunnel pain. I couldn’t thank them all enough that day. They mentioned they wished more of their patient were as excited to get fixed as I was. I wished them the same, can’t be easy dealing with us cranky, depressed, broken people.

Nine days later I’m feeling like myself again. My break is fixed and healing nicely. I’ve gotten back my happy and have been sleeping like a baby without pain killers. I can remember tons more stuff and haven’t cried once. Woo!

To know we have it good sometimes we need to know the bad. I’m thanking my lucky stars I have another chance at the good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Hate That The Number Matters

I’m 38 (so close to 40). 5’2″(with my shoes on). I wear a size 10 pant (31 in a fancy brand). My shoes are a 6.5 (small feet make for poor balance, but a great selection at the store). I’m 148 lbs (on any given day could be 154 lbs, I get super bloated). I know it shouldn’t, but some of  these numbers bother the hell out of me.

The 38 thing really doesn’t, it’s only when doctors start talking about the new an exciting things that have to be done because I’m aging, then I’m bothered.

5’2″ well, that’s a tough one. Somedays short is where it’s at, other days I’m spending $200.00 to get my new pants taken up. I’d rather be spending $200.00 on more pants, maybe a top.

Size 10, now there is where we hit complicated. The world media is telling me I should be a size 4. My very wide shoulders and hips are saying nothing smaller than an 8 for me. It’s enough to drive me crazy. I’ve learned to ignore the numbers in my clothing, it’s better that way.

My only sadness I have around my 6.5s is if they were more like 7.5s would I be less clumsy, just a thought not a complaint.  🙂

148 lbs is where I loose it, I know if I feel good in my clothes the number shouldn’t matter, I hate that the number matters! For years I obsessively weighed myself each morning. The out come of my day sometimes rode on that number. I had to brake up with my scale, it’s been freeing. But I’m back on the crazy train.

I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to have lived in the Marlin Monroe era where curvy and mature were sexy and sought after.

I was out with a friend recently, so excited to see her, when it came time to order she order veggies, she is a vegan, and I ordered a fish dish and we each ordered wine. No apps, we passed on the bread, the waiters response was “Watching what we eat ladies”, he had the biggest grin on his face, as if he’d just won a round of trivia pursuit. What an ass! So two sized 10 women ordering delicious fish and veggies gets perceived as two big ladies who need to drop a few lbs. I had to dig deep not to tell him to shove it. “NO”, was my brilliant response. It’s a hard truth to swallow that 5’2″, size 10 women are considered to be large. I believe if we had ordered apps, bread and big meals he probably would  have  thought to himself  “those big ladies need to ease up on the intake”. It shouldn’t be this way. There is no way around  hearing peoples perceptions or opinions, but I would love it if those perceptions and opinions had a broader scope on women’s body types.

I’m sad that my struggles will one day be my daughters (efforts and fingers crossed it won’t be). I wish the ideal women was portrayed larger and curvier than a 12 year old boy. Slender and svelte, I am on your side. Tall, tight and toned, I get it, that is beautiful. But could short and wide join the ranks of ideal beauty, PLEASE.

P.S.

We were both, my friend and I, wearing fantastic outfits, our hair and makeup was flawless. That waiter has a lot to learn on how to get better tips. The art of giving compliments should be his next college course.

I Ran Till My Legs Hurt More Than My Heart

Today the memory of a painful moment in my life came rushing in. I have to admit I was a bit taken back by its timing…

I’ll never forget, I was carrying the clean laundry, I had just set foot on the first step to head up stairs. He was yelling, we were always yelling at each other, I stepped back and put the laundry basket on the floor, sat on the first step and laid my head in my hands. I had been so unhappy for so long there wasn’t any fight left, I stared at the hard wood floors wondering how we got to this point, wondering when I lost myself, hopping he’d stop yelling. I chuckled to myself, as if I had just seen a funny Saturday night live skit, then the weight of realty hit my chest, my heart was pounding, I got flush, couldn’t breath. I looked up to see my running sneakers next to the front door, I put them on, I dragged my panicked self out the front door and I started running. One block, two blocks, three blocks with every pounding step the realization of my situation and the action I needed to take became clearer. Ten blocks, eleven blocks, I don’t want to live like this. Nineteen and twenty blocks, I’m not a yeller, how did I get like this!!!! What’s wrong with me? Can I be saved? Wait, I don’t want to be saved… Get me off this crazy train!

I ran till my legs hurt more than my heart, than I ran till my toes went numb. I fell to the ground, gasping for air, tear filled eyes and told myself “Get up, the owner of the yard I’m laying in will call the cops. Get up, don’t let this take you down. Get up, you need to discover what happy feels like”.

As I rounded the corner back to the house (my lungs burning, my legs hurting) I could see him waiting for me on the front porch, befuddled and confused he shouted out “You alright?” I didn’t respond right away. He repeated him self. Now, just a few feet away from him, I swallowed hard and blurted out “I want a divorce, I can’t live like this!”.

My ex-husband and I did’t separate because we didn’t love each other, we separated because the reasons we got together were no longer there. If you love something set it free. I didn’t like who we’d become, who I had become. I no longer felt the joy when I looked at him. Smiles were replaced with scowls, laughter with yelling. No one should live like that. I had stood in the silence of our dark secret for far too long. It was time to start dealing with the real issue at hand. His addictions.

I’ll never forget that day, the day I took up running.