Sharing a Story is Not Casting a Stone.

This is a really quick blog/brain dump about sharing and reacting.

I realize the power of sharing your story. I have a story to tell you all and I’ve done an okay job so far, but I definitely need to keep going, and to go deeper.  I’m learning more about myself all the time. We all are, and I do believe that when we share openly and honestly, we all benefit.

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I shared this photo in January and happened to reply to a comment. My friend since Kindergarten remarked that I look “lighter” now in spirit. True. I commented that she’s correct, I was very depressed and angry at that time in my life. True. My mom, over a month later replied that she and dad did the best they could. She replied in a way that showed she was very hurt.

The last thing I ever wanted to do in the sharing of my feelings and my reality at that time was to upset anyone.  But, I did. I got sad about it and then it made me mad. I don’t want to have to censor myself when I tell the story of my own life.

I was depressed as a teenager. My parents had nothing to do with it. I didn’t know I was depressed. They didn’t know I was depressed. Now, with the wisdom of therapy and time, I see my depression as it developed throughout my life.

I need to tell my story for myself and for anyone who relatesto me. But I can’t be held back by worrying about hurting someone’s feelings.  It’s a hard one to navigate for me.

No One Gets to Make You Feel Bad.

I did some personal development courses over the last couple of years and it did make me feel more bulletproof.  My biggest take-away from that aspect was that no one can hurt your feelings.  Feelings aren’t something that is injured.  You can choose to not allow anything to make you feel bad.

I still struggle with feeling bad.  I haven’t reached bulletproof status yet.

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One thing that I am really guilty of doing is hiding things that really upset me. That doesn’t really do any good but I find myself embarrassed by what happened and what my response was.

Earlier this month, I went on an outing by myself.  I was walking around a small downtown area enjoying the day, enjoying my own company, and enjoying my thoughts.  Even extroverts get some good stuff from a self-date.

I was minding my own business, walking, watching, thinking, when men in a car that passed me by decided to yell out their window at me.  How do I know it was me?  The street was deserted.  Their chant was negative and it regarded my weight, my appearance and how  I was porcine-like.

I responded by doing nothing. Oh, I heard it.  I’m sure my cheeks got red because I don’t have great control over my autonomic nervous system after all.  I just walked with the same peaceful look on my face and categorized the encounter as one of those ones I wish I could forget. I texted a friend as soon as I ducked in to a shop.  I just told my husband tonight.

This isn’t the first time a stranger or even an acquaintance decided to make a statement about me, at me, to get my attention in a malicious way.  The first time I can remember was 5th grade.  There were times in high school, college, being at the mall, and last year when I did a lot of street running when training for my half marathon. These were never “woo hoo, you go girl” genuine cheers.  These were always meant to be taken negatively and designed to make me feel bad about existing in this world and looking the way I do.

Street harassment isn’t a new thing and it certainly isn’t something that has stopped being discussed. In our culture, we are opening our eyes to how men and women experience different treatment. One viral video shows a woman confronting her harassers in sometimes very funny ways. When we think of street harassing women, we usually think of cat calls. Even for people like me, who try to be enlightened, can think of it as a very misplaced way to compliment someone in a knee jerk reaction, when it happens to someone else.

The truth is, there isn’t a lot of difference between someone cat calling someone on the street and yelling something derogatory at them. They are both unwanted. Neither one come from a well intentioned place. Both are only slung to elicit a response. Both make the issuer feel power over the target. And since we live in the United States, both are completely protected by the first amendment of our Constitution.

But just because speech is protected, doesn’t mean you can’t be viewed as a first class jerk for having said it.

I honestly don’t know if I can do anything about this. How could I have changed the outcome of that occurrence?  If I was a Marvel Superhero I could have stopped the car, jumped on the hood, and made a speech and made them poo their drawers.  But this is real life, I’m not a superhero. I was a pedestrian, they were in a car, and I could have been liable to any damage jumping on the car would have done. (I love how working in insurance has since colored so many of my revenge fantasies with reality.)

My mom always told me to ignore teasing. This isn’t really teasing. This is taking ownership of my body away from me. This is gross. And though it’s perfectly legal, it’s not okay.

The only thing I can think to do is not be silent.  So I’m writing this piece and I’ll see how I feel afterwards.

My Average is Awesome

Once in awhile I get stuck in “The Wallows.” I usually come out of it just fine, but whether it is hormones, the phase of the moon, the length of the days, I can count on it making a brief cameo or an extended contract appearance in the normal sunshine and rainbows I try to cultivate.

(And instead of banishing The Wallows, I’ve decided to let it happen, confront it and learn from it.)

The latest installment on The Wallows has been a pretty typical one for me. My friends. My relationships. And usually the song is “No One Likes You Anymore.”

I’ve seen through this one a little bit.

Three years ago I started learning more about how to be a effective Beachbody Coach. The training includes a ton of personal development exercises and honestly, really just kicks off a lot of development that never actually ends. But, trust me, it’s a good thing. One of the exercises was to identify the Top 5 people you spend time with in your life. Why? Because you are the average of the Top 5 people you spend your time with. The Top 5 people you give energy and attention to. We were challenged to consider if those Top 5 people were good, positive influences that would support you in your life, and if they would help you become a success. I easily identified my Top 5. My Top 5 people were people that I freaking loved, and they loved me. And I knew that it would never change.

It did change. Of course it changed. That’s what happens. My Top 5 in 2014 are not my Top 5 in 2017. Three years of stuff and change and experiences have happened for me and for each of them. The problem was part of my brain was holding on to the dearly departed members of my Top 5 squad. I have a massive fear of loss. And I attributed the perceived loss to being my fault.

Members of my former Top 5 were people who are great friends, but did not share my enthusiasm for my Beachbody business. In fact, I think my ridiculous enthusiasm was very off putting to them. Which made me feel like crap because, why weren’t they supporting me as blindly as I expected them to? They just weren’t. And what I see now is, that’s totally okay. No one is required to buy into your dreams. And if you can’t convince them, it doesn’t mean you didn’t do a good job and it doesn’t mean your dreams don’t matter.

I made a few really lame attempts to talk to a few of my friends about my big dreams and my love for what I was doing, but honestly, I was scared to hear anything negative and my idea of a big heart to heart basically was a couple of mumbled sentences and change of subject.

Honestly, I don’t know what I expected from them. Maybe I wanted them to listen to me, enraptured and join my team of coaches and go full on Beachbody blue. My dreams aren’t everyone else’s. My interests aren’t universal. And I’m starting to be OK with that. Really I am.

These friends were easy targets for The Wallows. I’ll give you a taste of the kind of things my unfriendly voices would say. “They don’t believe in you.” “No one believes in you.” “You are a joke.” “You’ll never be a success.” “This is a scam.” “Your business cost you your friends.” “They think you are dumb.”

I’m a fierce friend. I’m the kind of person who is almost a Stage 4 clinger. I love you hard. I love you without reserve. But not everyone is like me. And sadly, people I loved stopped showing up for me.

I stopped being sad about it because I realized that even if people don’t show up for you, it’s not because they don’t love you. It just means that you aren’t their priority right now. That’s not a judgment, that’s life. Things and people are more important at different times because no one has the bandwidth for it all.

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Without realizing it, I created a new Top 5. I created a new Top 10. Last year I wanted some help with my goals and accountability. I wanted people to talk to honestly, and I wanted to get new opinions. I created a group of women for that mutual support. It has been fantastic for all of us. That’s the kind of support I had been craving. I think they were, too.

I’m sure The Wallows will still prick me from time to time when I see people on social media hanging out together doing fun things without me, but I am reminding myself with this post and going forward that I have everything I need to be successful and happy. And I wish everyone else the best, too.

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I see a therapist.  She’s fantastic.  I’m not the least bit embarrassed by that.  I usually don’t mention it more often because it makes OTHER people more uncomfortable to hear it, but honestly, I’m not going to break.  A little over a year ago I started seeing her again regularly and it’s been a life line for me.  Sometimes I can clearly see where my depression is taking me and I can take steps to stop myself from going there.  Other times I need some direction.

I can’t do it all alone.  I’m not a superhero.  Plus, I bet superheroes would have therapists.

My session today was basically 50 min of me telling her all the things that happened over the past 2 weeks.  I have some very GOOD news, more on that in another post.  But I had a lot of bad things to talk about.  I’ve had a lot of struggles that, even though I identify them, they keep fucking with me anyway.  For maybe the last 2 minutes of the session she was able to summarize what all this crap was about that I couldn’t seem to stop from killing my mojo.

I’m not connecting with the people I care about and it’s hurting me.

I miss some of the people in my life incredibly badly.  It scratches my soul.  Maybe I see people, but I’m not connecting the way that I need to.  I’m reluctant to always go out of my way and talk to the important people in my life when things are dark and broody.  There are maybe 3 people I know I can go to.  Unfortunately a couple of those are very difficult to get a live line to sometimes.

Life moves fast, and I acknowledge that I’m not the center of the universe. (Sadly.)  People’s life changes happen INDEPENDENT of my wants and needs.  It doesn’t mean I don’t want to be in the loop, and it certainly doesn’t mean I don’t care.  I do.  Even when something GOOD for someone else is a negative thing for me, I want to cheer with them, cry with them and to just KNOW.

I’m not a difficult person to love.  And I love to go deep with people about their stuff.  When I am comfortable, I have no problem going deep with my own.

I’m not just an extrovert who needs to be around people.  I’m not just a needy person who wants to be the life of the party or the loudest person in the room.  I’m a human who craves connection, and I’m not getting enough of it.

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Feeling Sassy.

I’ll be up front with you all.  I’ve been on a roller coast of emotions for the last 6 months.  It hasn’t been pretty at times.  If I had known what I was in for when I decided to go off The Pill and go with Natural Medicine, I’m not sure if I would have thought it was worth it.  I do think it is though.

I’ve been having normal periods on my new plan.  I take herbs and I get customized intramuscular shots twice a week.  A test result showed I am deficient in inositol and I think that the supplementation has made a difference.  I feel good – I have more energy.  I have periods but they aren’t heavy like they were pre Pill.  The only thing that I’m having trouble managing is my emotions.

It’s a tricky thing for me.  On the one hand – I’m really emotional anyway.  I’ve been known to cry during a musical montage on a TV crime drama.  I’ve started crying when having difficult conversations with professors.  Bosses.  I didn’t look very professional.  Premenstrually, it was always worse.  I’d cry because my husband wouldn’t have lunch with me.  I’d cry because I heard a sad UB40 song.

On the other hand – I’m on antidepressants.  Most of the time, I’m not able to access my emotions when I want.  It keeps me from getting too low, but it also keeps me from getting too happy.  Sometimes I’m laughing and smiling on the inside but it’s resting bitchy face on the exterior.  Sometimes my insides are on the spin cycle and I just need to have a good cry and make it work.  But at the given time, my neurotransmitters decline that invitation, so I stay bottled up.

I never seem to have a hard time with the anger emotion.

Since being off The Pill and treating my PCOS naturally, I’m not getting typical about-to-start-my-period blues.  I get unexpectedly blindsided by a small rebuff.  It sends me in to a 3 day stupor of feeling like shit. I wake up on a seemingly random day and want to punch everyone in the esophagus.  I feel irritated, like my skin is too tight.  Nothing makes me happy.  Then, poof, it’s over.  Instead of having the feeling that someone is running my body and I’m a passenger, it’s more like I’m getting tossed around in the storm with little awareness to what’s going on until it has passed.

However, today I’m feeling Sassy.

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I’m taking my moods and my symptoms with a period app, because, well, there is an app for everything.  Let’s see if I can figure out some sort of pattern to the madness.  I’ve added some moods and symptoms and Sassy is one of them.

Feeling Sassy is a good one.  My filter pretty much didn’t exist today and I was freaking hilarious.  I had swagger.  My hair was on point.  My makeup – really good.  My workout was over first thing in the morning and I felt like a champion the whole rest of the day because of it.

I’ll take feeling Sassy over sad or mad.

Digging out of the hole.

I’ve had a pretty rough couple of weeks.  I’ve mentally felt pretty damn terrible.  It isn’t the way I normally feel nowadays, so it was very strange.  But, it kicked me hard and it felt nearly impossible to get out of.

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There are reasons for sure. I had a few arguments with my partner.  I was frustrated that the large goals I had set for myself and my business weren’t really working out.  I had no momentum going. I am in month 4 of being off the Pill. I had finished up 21 days of restrictive eating.  I wasn’t getting shit done, and I knew it. I had taken a long, harsh look at some things that are very important in my life and I entertained the thoughts that they may not be what I had thought they were.

I have dysthymia.  I was probably born with it.  I live with it everyday.  Basically, dysthymia is chronic depression.  My normal state is like Eeyore, I guess you could say. I cultivate a very careful positive bubble around myself to protect me.  Sometimes that bubble is a little Pollyannaish.  Sometimes that works, and some times it doesn’t.  Instead of denying, I let myself feel a little bit of the sting.  It sucked me down a little bit.

This is what I learned this time around: I was in a hole.  There actually is no getting out of the hole that is dysthymia.  I’m going to have to live with this for the rest of my life. I’m always going to climbing, I’ll probably never see the real top. The measures I take to dig out are important.  I will always have to be the one climbing.  I can use tools, like medication, therapy, positivity, environment to make things a little better.  But these won’t be solutions, just safety measures in case I start to fall.  I won’t fall as far.  I can have as many safety lines as possible, but I’ll always be doing the work.

So, this is also an apology for the people I picked fights with these last few weeks.  The people I ignored. The people I hid from. The people I obviously lied to when I said I was fine. The people I turned away from when I felt like the tears started to well up.  This is a thank you for the people who let me randomly text them and vent.  The friends that took my phone calls.  The people who dished out a serving of REAL.  Maybe the past few weeks happened because of dysthymia and circumstances, but in the end, it was the way I reacted to things that made them suck.  Understanding of the big picture is going to help me get better at dealing with these little drops.  They are going to happen.  Life happens.  Shit happens.  I just have to make sure I can still climb upward despite everything.