Weight Loss Progress

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: 5k, 5k, Dizzy, Dizzy, Exercise, Half-Marathon, Health, No Whining, Vestibular Migraine, Weight Loss

Today I busted through a milestone weight. I honestly cannot remember the last time my weight was this low, no foolin’. It was definitely before Naughty Bear was born.

It’s been a lot of work and a big sacrifice since I started back up again in September. I had gained somewhere around 20 pounds back after I got hit with the vestibular migraines and the medication had me drugged and sleeping a lot. That on top of the now inherent fatigue kicked my ass. I still tried to eat healthy, but gave up on South Beach during that time because I felt like I was just eating and sleeping all the time.

While I still believe that the maintenance phase of South Beach is the best way to eat long term, I just couldn’t keep it up anymore with the slow creep of weight gain that was occurring.

I started eating carbs again, although not pigging out or going overboard. I know their effects on me. I get sluggish, puffy, sleepy and am quick to hunger again. But having them limited for so long, I dove straight into whole grain breads and pastas. Om to the nom!

I finally got fed up and started the Couch to 5k program again, which naturally led me to watching what I was eating. Eventually I made my way to Weight Watchers Online and haven’t looked back. Since I started that I’ve lost 24 pounds, surviving Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays and other excuses to gorge. I definitely did some backsliding, but have come pretty closely to finding a balance that works for me.

After successfully running an entire 5k on Thanksgiving, I felt amazing and motivated to do more. About a week after that, my medication changed and it literally knocked me on my ass. I was unable to really get moving again until January when I eased into walking again. My running started again with the Runkeeper training program that fellow runner Mur Lafferty told me about. I really love it, but will go into that in another post.

I’m now training for a 10k in June. It’s difficult because I never know from day to day if I’ll be able to run, since the migraines make it impossible. I’ve found I can run dizzy, but I can’t run with a migraine. So I’m registered now for two 5k’s and one 10k and I don’t know if I’ll be able to run all, or any of them when it comes to race day.

I am also prone to getting migraines after a tough run, but I figure I’d likely get one anyways so don’t let that deter me. I always am dizzy after a run, to varying degrees. And dizziness is less noticeable when I have a migraine, so there’s a silver lining, right?

I think my motivation is driven by being out of control of my life. I can’t control how I feel, at least not yet. My current doctor feels that if this treatment doesn’t improve things, short of tweaking dosages there is nothing else he can do for me. I’ll be seeking a new doctor after we move to an area with a wider pool of medical specialists. Not being able to control how I feel means that I can’t control if I can work. I already discovered that college coursework was nigh impossible due to memory and comprehension problems I’ve developed. I’m hoping these are due to medication, because it is very troubling.

I decided to embrace the things I can control – what I eat and whether or not I exercise. So I do what I need to in order to reach my goals, and so far it’s working. I’m not saying I’ll make it all the way to my goal, but I’m nine pounds from where the doctor wanted me to return to her for a health evaluation to see how much more, if any, I need to lose. My own goal is ten pounds more than that because as I look at myself I find it impossible to be only nine pounds away.

No, this isn’t bragging or lecturing or my telling you what to do to lose weight. I’m not that arrogant. This is just a post I wanted to write for my own blog, so that when I begin to slip I can remember how I felt at this moment in time. I’m not embarrassed to say that I’m humbly proud of myself. When I finally reach my own goal, I’ll have lost over a hundred pounds. I’ve grown tired of using my illness and near constant fatigue as an excuse. I feel more energized after a workout, and feel better emotionally afterward so it’s no longer an excuse, it’s a lie.

I did this. Me. No weird pills, no crash diet, no tricks.

Sweaty, breathless, aching, exhausted and sore, I did this.

Baking healthy desserts instead of the fat and sugar laden ones of my childhood.

Trying one bite, maybe two instead of a whole serving.

Tracking everything I eat and drink, and every calorie I burn during exercise.

Trying healthier alternatives and exploring vegan and vegetarian meals, thus bringing more and more variety into my life that keep me from getting bored and stopping at (gag) fast food restaurants. (More on this in another post.)

I. Did. This.

And I can keep going until I reach my goal, unless I get in my own way. I’m refraining from posting ‘before’ pictures until I reach my goal. It feel presumptuous otherwise, so that will be my reward. Well, one of them.

No more excuses, just forward motion.

Flooded And Contemplative

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Family, Friends, Household, No Whining, Our Kids, Soulful

Because we’ll be going into a smaller home, I’ve been going through each box and doing a major purge. I’m finding things I haven’t seen since my kids were babies, and am also packing up things for my Ex as I come across them. I don’t believe there is much of that stuff left, since I’ve done searches in previous years. I keep finding myself teary eyed as I find a story or piece of art work from my sweet boys and am keeping the most special of those. I hope to scan them later, as some are really gorgeous.

I find myself puzzled with what to do with some of my memorabilia. I’ll be scanning newspaper clippings and the like, but some things, like my ballet costumes from elementary school days? My baptism gown and candle? The wedding dress, album and cards from my marriage to the father of my children? I’ve got all the jewelry put away for the boys in case they want it, but I don’t think they will EVER care about that other stuff. Photographs are scanned or being scanned as part of a project for my entire multi-thousand photo family archive, which I know will some day mean quite a lot to them. But it’s not like I have daughters, and there’s no guarantee that even girls would want to inherit my old tutu’s.

Looking at the ballet costumes, I wonder if that’s where my love of fairies and Italy came from, as my ballet class did performances representing both. Sadly, I no longer have my white jumpsuit from my tap and jazz performance of “Disco Duck.” I loved the dance classes, but gave them up because the ballet toe shoes intimidated me, and I wish I could go back and tell that little girl to balls up and give it a try. After seeing all the classes that friend Laura Burns is taking, I’ve added ballet classes to my wish list. We can’t afford them now, but … some day.

On Saturday afternoon, overwhelmed with another migraine and our house in complete disarray, we decided to skip the box-by-box purge for now. As I mentioned previously, it’s now about speed to market. I’m hoping to be moving furniture on Monday or Tuesday at the latest, with help from my son and nephew (I hope!).

It’s 1:30 in the morning, and I’m taking a break from packing. I’ve had a migraine most of the day, and it finally eased. Chooch and Naughty Bear are asleep as normal people should be, but I am playing catch-up for lost days due to the migraines (yesterday and today).

The break is not due to physical need, it’s because of emotional need. I’m surprised at how much difficulty I’m having as I pack up the little things: gifted fairies, figurines painted by our family, Serenity figurines, books and all the things that make this house our home. I knew it would be tough to pack away photos of loved ones, especially those no longer with us. I am keeping my digital photo frame, so I can turn it on when I’m missing the personality of the place and keep it off the rest of the time.

Part of it is seeing the mix of things from before we started podcasting and entered this amazing community, and things after we met some amazing people that now reside in our hearts. Adding to the shelves over the years was fun, be it books, figurines or memorabilia from conventions and gatherings. Seeing these items spread out is fascinating. It’s like finding the dividing line between layers of rock, there is a clear delineation of these times in our lives (like after a comet smashes into the Earth).

I look at some of the items that I’ve had on display for years with new eyes and wonder if it truly fits who we are today. Nothing will be gotten rid of yet, we’ll make those decisions as we unpack at the next place. It is interesting to see how much and adult can evolve in six years. Changing interests as my experiences changed and allowing more of my own personal style into the backdrop of our home where once I hid it away as being “too feminine” in a house full of males. Amazing what a supportive mate can bring out in you, as I look at some of these things and know that they represent events, people and experiences that would have never, and I do mean never, happened without his influence.

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Edit: It’s now Tuesday evening, and the initial, main-level packing is done. The furniture has been moved and I do not like it. The time until we (hopefully) sell will feel like forever, as this is not the home we’ve built up over the last six years. I’m bummed about it right now, and shocked every time I move from room to room. I know that will fade, especially when we finish moving things around and add generic touches.

Still, I miss our silly belongings. They seem oh, so, silly, compared to the decor in friends houses. But we love our toys and our webcomic statues and prints. Having a signed box by the dev’s at Lord of the Rings Online? That resided in a place of honor on our bookshelf, right next to the “Cardboard Tube Samurai” and “Big Damn Hero – River” figurines. That shelf was directly above the one a half shelves of signed books, CD’s and DVD’s from podcast authors, signed authors, musicians and creatives. THAT was hard to pack away as well.

And I miss the faces of our friends and family with all the pictures down. Generic only, remember?  I’m updating the digital photo frame and will keep it on when I’m home so I don’t lose my place in the world.

Seeing Kaylee move around in our space and watching her try to make sense of the changes is strangely reassuring to me. Our little piece of the world has changed, and hopefully it will lead to better things. I don’t mean to be emo, just reflective of how silly it is that these material items being a couple miles away in boxes can throw me for such a loop. Gonna have to examine that, methinks. Lord knows, there are bigger things afoot in the world.

 

Move Update, aka Progress

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Household, No Whining, Soulful

We have a realtor, and I’m so glad I asked for three to interview instead of the standard two. The first two had pros and cons and were very nearly exact opposites. The third one hit all our important issues, experience and personality that made us way more comfortable then we had been with the other two. We’ve made the Goldilocks comparison more than once.

We’ve signed the paperwork and our house is a wreck right now as I’m going through and depersonalizing and staging the house for listing. The point of depersonalizing  is to remove your presence (photos and “personality”) so potential buyers can imagine their own family in the home. For staging, the first step is to declutter, which follows the depersonalizing nicely. You remove excess furniture to show how much space is available.

My son and nephew were here for two days to help out, but I ran out of things for them to do until either the weather turns sunny or until I get more boxes purged. We’ve already made a big difference in the basement and have some things moved to storage, but there’s so much more to do it’s really overwhelming. With hubby’s work and band schedule, it doesn’t leave much time for him to help. And I don’t want him breaking his back every day of the week so we’re trying to build in a few hours of fun each weekend. Plus it will keep us sane. Hopefully.

We don’t have the budget to paint or re-carpet, so I’m not sure how this will go but financially, we really must downsize. There will be general fixes and LOTS of furniture moved. I’m hoping this doesn’t drag on all summer so we can enjoy LT’s visit as fully as possible, and more importantly avoid some less than pleasant financial situations.

I’ve been working for about two weeks straight, with a few breaks for sanity, and my body is showing some serious wear and tear. The fatigue is intense, and even with the sleep aid I’m not getting much rest. Because of this and a need to get the house on the market ASAP, we’ve just now decided to make the big furniture moves this week and save the box by box purge to do later, after the house is on the market. I’ll finish what I’ve started, which is the kids’ childhood memorabilia, and then just start moving un-purged boxes to storage, keeping them separate so I can work on them as I’m able while waiting for the house to sell.

Basement doom in my living room

Luckily, we have wonderful and supportive friends and family to buoy our spirits and lend helping hands. It’s another time where I’m overjoyed by the blessings in our lives.

I plan on doing a more detailed post very soon on house staging for sale. For now, I must get back to work. *tick*tock*tick*tock*

Definitions You Know: Hypocrisy

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Definitions You Know, No Whining, Too Long For Twitter

As I mentioned with the start of the  Rules of Etiquette series, there is a second series that I want to start posting. It will simply gives definitions for unusual words. The impetus was my WordFeud obsession (pre-Words with Friends for the Droid market, and still my favorite of the two). There will be plenty of those, but not all will be word game useful because I decided to also share definitions of words that are commonly misused or misunderstood.

Like the Rules of Etiquette posts, I may or may not detail beyond the definition, depending on my mood.

For the first in the series, I’m choosing a word that nearly everyone I know, including myself, has been guilty of at one point or another in their life.

Photo by Susan Z. Click on the photo to go to her Flickr stream.

hy·poc·ri·sy

  1. a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.
  2. a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude.
  3. an act or instance of hypocrisy.

I think it’s possible that in this society, it’s necessary to build oneself up or conceal desires from others because many of us live our lives publicly, either in social media or in meat space interactions. And like most, I don’t always recognize when I’m doing it. When I do, I admit to myself and others when I discover I’m being hypocritical, and work hard to put an end to it.

At this point in my life, I’m struggling with putting aside others’ opinions of me and embracing who I am, so-called warts and all. I’m hoping to shed most, if not all hypocrisy in my life because it is such a waste of time and energy.

Anyone else willing to admit to an instance of their own hypocrisy? You don’t have to give details. Just admitting it is a huge step, in my book.

Twitterpated Over Baby M

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Family, No Whining, Soulful

No, this is not about Twitter. It’s about that feeling described in Bambi:

Thumper: Why are they acting that way?
Friend Owl: Why, don’t you know? They’re twitterpated.
Flower, Bambi, Thumper: Twitterpated?
Friend Owl: Yes. Nearly everybody gets twitterpated in the springtime. For example: You’re walking along, minding your own business. You’re looking neither to the left, nor to the right, when all of a sudden you run smack into a pretty face. Woo-woo! You begin to get weak in the knees. Your head’s in a whirl. And then you feel light as a feather, and before you know it, you’re walking on air. And then you know what? You’re knocked for a loop, and you completely lose your head!

That’s the way I’m feeling now, having laid my eyes on my sweet niece’s daughter. Many thanks to technology for that amazing feat.

This is my niece’s second child, and her sweet little family lives 2,000 miles away. My sweet, great-nephew, Baby J, will now be Big Brother J. Judging by the video of him dancing two days ago, he’s not really a baby anymore, so this is appropriate. He turns three in July, so my niece, who I nicknamed Lil’ Mama (LM) long ago, will have her hands full. A family friend is going up there to help out, and then they drive back together mid-April. It will be almost a year since we last saw them, and our first meeting of Baby M. It’s the longest any of us have been apart since we met LM and her sister almost twenty years ago when my brother started dating their mom. It’s been killing local family members to be so far away.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Friend Owl: Same thing every spring. “Tweet-tweet, tweet-tweet! Tweet-tweet, tweet-tweet!” Love’s sweet song. Hm! Pain in the pinfeathers, I call it!

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Baby M and her mother are doing well, Praise Baby Jesus for the safe delivery via c-section. They are surrounded in love from all around the country, and I’m thrilled that LM’s sister is there to take pictures and keep us updated.

 

Baby M, shortly after arrival. I'm in LURVE!

Welcome to the family, Sweet One. You’ve been long awaited and will be utterly spoiled. Can’t wait to hold you in my arms next month. I’ll try my best not to get any tears of joy on you. No promises.

Bathroom Epiphany

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Friends, Kids, No Whining, Soulful, Too Long For Twitter

Three days ago, I was at a Super Target helping a magnificent woman herd two young children as we shopped for my husband’s birthday party. The spins and brain fog had me in their grip and I was feeling more like a hindrance than a help. While taking a snack break during our wait for reinforcements of the fatherly persuasion in the store cafe, I made a break for a tinkle and a quiet moment. No matter how well behaved and beautiful children are, they just flat-out exhaust me in the most delightful way. (My jaws were sore from laughing and smiling so much at their antics!)

While making like Tinkle Bell, I noticed the style of shoes under the next stall. I wondered what the rest of her looked like, and imagined her to be someone that had an appearance that would make others turn away. Having been a gal that dressed… strangely… in my teens, I remembered the looks of disgust and eye rolling that would occur. People would assume I was a juvenile delinquent and possibly even a drug addict just because my blue black hair shot out in an unnatural way and my pale white skin, black painted eyes and bright red lips and streaked hair looked different from the way the 80’s pop culture dictated. Throw on vintage clothing and jewelry, rhinestone dog collars and my little sister’s toys strung as earrings and it was an interesting look.

In my small Texas town, my friends and I were definitely looked upon as if we weren’t normal, but rather some sort of mutant. We were gleeful, as it meant we didn’t fit in with the cowboy hat/giant beltbuckled or bleached/permed/tanned.  I’m hopeful that it’s more acceptable now, with stores like Hot Topic making it so much easier to attain the mass produced items, and people dressed in this way are certainly more prevalent.

But people may still be asking, as they did in when I was doing it, “Why would someone go to such lengths to make themselves look unattractive (by society’s standards)?” Speaking for myself, that’s a long story and would rely on introspection and speculation on someone that I no longer am, so I won’t bore you (or me) with that.

I will reveal that my friends and I laughed at the derision from those that worked extremely hard to make themselves attractive to everyone, thus turning into carbon copies of each other. As they did, we took great pride in how we looked, but still, hello hypocrisy! We were judging them for looking normal just as they were judging us for looking different.

Still in the stall, I grabbed my camera phone, made sure it was silent and took this photo to document that, no matter how someone dresses or how different or bad-ass they may appear, they are human. We’re all here, sharing this space and going about our lives. We do the best we can as we deal with emotional, physical, psychological and  biological needs.

So the next time you feel like mocking someone for dressing differently, being too tall, being too fat, or holding different beliefs or values than you, just remember there’s a real person in there. And probably a really magnificent one, if given half the chance. After all, everybody tinkles.

Edit: I actually took this photo a few weeks ago with my camera phone, but it sat forgotten until today. I giggled at my forgetfulness, because when I was in the environment that allowed the shot I was immediately struck by  a NEED to behave crassly and take the photo. Meeting at the sinks after our business was finished, she was a woman, and we discussed her love of Gir and Invader Zim, as evidenced by her t-shirt, hoodie and messenger bag. My kinda gal, to be sure.

Rules of Etiquette, Lesson One

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Firsts, No Whining, Rules of Etiquette

I have two continuing series that I’ve been toying with, and this is the first I’ve decided to jump into. I don’t intend to post those I find to be sexist or bigoted, unless they are so ridiculous that they must be pointed out to (hopefully) show progress made.

Expect them to be brief, as I find little nuggets to share along my way. I may or may not have further comment beyond the quote, but I believe this one speaks for itself.

“Beware of meddlers and tale bearers.”

 

Relocating Casa de Blender

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Consumer Info, Household, No Whining

We’ve been talking about moving for a long while now, but have been putting it off for a multitude of reasons. The biggest being our hopes that some treatment would actually work for me, that I’d be able to return to work, and our money problems would be eased. Since that hasn’t happened, and since I’m still seeking effective and/or consistent relief, we no longer have a choice. Our finances just can’t bear the situation we find ourselves in. No, you won’t find a chip-in donation site at the end of this, nor is this a plea for sympathy. I realize our situation is very similar to one that many find themselves in. I just wanted to update near and far friends on our situation since we’ve been tweeting about interviewing realtors and getting the house ready to sell.

I’ve found that since we plan on getting a house roughly half the size of our current home, we’ll very likely be able to live much closer to Chooch’s job. Besides a cheaper housing payment, it would save a substantial amount of money on gas (based on current and projected gas costs for this year and next), as well as wear and tear on the cars. Plus, the time he would recoup is astonishing. Not only will he be going from a 3 hour a day commute to less than an hour, he won’t have to miss a full day’s worth of work to take me to doctor appointments. Win!

Our bank/insurance company has a great program for buying/selling, so I contacted them and got referrals. I spoke with three realtors and spent Wednesday through Saturday morning purging junk and cleaning house. I was slowed by a few migraines and a dizzy spell, but still managed to make some decent progress. First steps anyway, we’ve still a ton to do.

We interviewed two realtors today, and have another scheduled tomorrow. After that, we select our realtor and begin the serious purge to empty out the house and get to staging it for showing. I’m a bit overwhelmed working on all this, but am rewarding myself with brief glimpses at potential properties closer to hubby’s work. I’m the type of mule that is very much motivated by a carrot at the end of a stick and seeing what’s out there in our lower price range is definitely helping. It won’t be huge or grand, but we’ll make it a home.

We’ll definitely be renting and not buying. You can’t feel trapped in a house the way we do (because of the current market) and immediately jump into another 30 year commitment. Plus, it will be nice to not have to pay for all the surprise repairs, such as the roof tiles and other stuff that cost us over $600 last month. And our happy surprise moments before Realtor 1 arrived? The dryer is not working now.

So if I seem extra cranky or tired, bear with me a bit. The reason we moved into our current home is five years gone, and this empty nest is too expensive to keep. For those in a similar situation, I wish you the best of luck. As we are now learning first hand just how nasty things are out there, we are also learning that there is hope. We’ve got our fingers, toes and eyes crossed on this one and we’re hoping for the best.

So that’s about it. I may detail our process in more detail, I may not. I’m not expecting it to be something I will ever want to read again, but if others can learn from us then I guess it would be worth it.

I’d love to be moved by the time LT gets here in June so we can maximize fun and minimize moving chaos during his time here, but I’m sure that’s just wishful thinking. A gal’s gotta hope, right?

Blast From the Past

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Friends, No Whining, Soulful

So… Facebook. I have two accounts, like many in social media. One is for folks I meet through podcasting, Twitter, conventions and the like. The other is for family, and on extremely rare occasion, friends from waaaaaay back when.

I grew up in a small town in Texas, not Last Picture Show small, but not big either. Like many that run in my circles, I was somewhat of an outsider. Not completely, as I had friends in the different groups that ran the halls, but I kept my social circle pretty small. I’ve kept that tradition, unwittingly, by only allowing a few people into my FB page. My thought is that if we barely spoke back then, why on Earth do we need to know what is going on with each other now? Maybe that’s small-minded, but I just don’t feel the need to share my private world with everyone I ever walked past. I probably have less than 60 in the fam account, and I’d guess 95% to family.

I recently got a friend request from someone that was extremely important in my life, from 14 to 17-ish. We were the very best of friends and totally committed to each other. We joked about moving off to England together when we both graduated (he was a grade above me), because THAT was where the great music was being made and we were sick of the Bruce Springsteen/Whitney Houston crap. We also decided we didn’t want to grow old, so had a “pact” to kill each other when we turned 35. That was obviously made in jest, and it still amuses me now at the age of (almost) 42.

My family didn’t have a lot of money, and while he didn’t buy me stacks of gifts, he always somehow found a way to gift the most coveted items in my heart, nearly all import vinyls of my favorite artists. For those born in the CD-only era, the term “vinyls” denotes albums, either conventional release or EP’s – extended play versions of songs. My favorites were the multi-colored or transparent that added another level of magnificence to the experience of dropping the needle, ever so gently, on the record.

His parents were older than any of my other friends’ parents. Because of this, we pretty much got to do what we wanted and understandably spent a lot of time at his place. His father was extremely kind and always made sure to store my favorite soda (Pepsi or Grape) and snacks. Otherwise, he stayed to himself. His mother was extraordinary. She had been a teacher, and after retirement continued educating children in the church they attended. She was generous, loving, kind-hearted and always seemed to be on the go. Because she seemed so much older than my Mom, and because my last grandparent had died when I was 6, she had a special Grandmom-ish role in my life. I doubt that I ever told … let’s call him ‘Kick Ass’ … that for fear of insulting him over her age. But I loved her very much.

Over what in hindsight seems like an extremely short period of time, she had multiple strokes. At one point, she had lost the ability to read. It broke my heart, for this woman who taught countless children to read, to see her struggle with the newspaper. So I sat with her while she read the headlines, over and over. The headlines changed nearly every time she read it. But she was beyond re-learning, and I just re-assured her that she was doing a great job. She would smile and start over again. What else could I do? The woman that we loved was mostly vacant, child-like, sweet and loving. I couldn’t break her heart and tell her she couldn’t read. She finally succumbed shortly thereafter, and it was a devastating blow to all who knew her.

I’ve thought of her many times over the years, with both love and sadness. To know that an exuberant and brilliant woman could be brought down so quickly, in mere moments, absolutely haunted me. I think it contributed to my “worst case scenario” planning needs. More than a dozen times a month you can hear me say “Lookit, if I get hit by a truck tomorrow, you need to know where this paperwork is” or something along those lines. Yes, that tendency was exaggerated by LT’s sudden illness at six, and NB’s car accident at 12, and my Mom’s recurrence of breast cancer that stole her health, her mind, and finally her life.

Life is short, and I intend to waste as little of it as possible and hope that I leave things in good enough order that my family can move on with grieving rather than chasing down details. I’m watching a new friend go through that, and it has getting our will written as a huge priority.

Kick Ass and I had some stupid falling out, something about a Depeche Mode concert or some foolishness. I honestly don’t remember, but our friendship fizzled after that. We went our separate ways, and I eventually moved to Virginia. We had one phone call that I can remember, shortly before or right after I married my now ex-husband. It was a weird passage through time, but it was cool to catch up.

I’ve looked for him a few times, and then had a friend request from him. After I accepted it, I got this message:

“hey there Miss Kitten. Facebook has connected me with so many folks from the past (honestly, some i don’t even remember). but the first person i hunted for was YOU.

you and i had some brilliant times and discovered alot of fantastic music-inspired a mini-revolution of black clad mascaraed followers at (redacted). i still dearly love you, an…d when i stumble across pictures of us together, i suspect that i would not be the no-bullshit, take-no-prisoners, f*ck-right-off man i am today without you. if you ever need me-i will come for you.

XoXo, K.”

I was speechless. The thought that someone I hadn’t spoken to in 20 years could still feel that way about me really confused and flattered me.  In the emails back and forth, learning about each other and our lives as they now exist, it became clear he really felt that way. It’s brought back crazy memories from our fun and melodramatic high school days. You remember those, right? When every little thing was a huge drama? Looking back at what we’ve been through in the intervening years, it’s really hard not to giggle at those things we once thought were so big.

I feel blessed to have him back in my life, even if this was just a burst and we drop out of touch again. His message sort of removed the mist that surrounded my memory of myself. I used to be pretty bad ass, and not many people used to mess with me because I was quick to bring it right back to them. Motherhood has softened me, as well as maturity, certainly. I guess I’m a pretty easy target these days as I don’t typically fight back publicly. I still keep my friends in large number, but my besties in low number. How many times can you get hurt before you remember to wear your armor, after all? I keep my private business private, and try to find joy where I can.

Ironically, that seems to be where he’s at. And he’s still so balls-to-the-wall bold, knowing exactly what he wants and going for it, taking crap from no one. It seems I have more to learn from him, and I hope for more time with him. I don’t know how to make it happen as he lives quite far, but I feel a need to reach out and hug him and to see for myself that he’s okay.

We’ll be talking again soon. He warned me of a new video game arriving, and he expected to be spending every waking, non-working moment on it, so great is his excitement. The gamer in me adores that.

You know, when I was trying to think of a pseudonym to use for him (his initials being K.A.), Kick Ass immediately came to mind. I think if I’d spent hours reflecting on it, that’s exactly what I’d have settled on. <3

Forgiveness

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Health, No Whining, Soulful, Too Long For Twitter

I promised to write this post last week, but due to the insane preparations for my hubby’s 40th birthday, a three night stay at our friend’s house and a rough weekend illness-wise, this is the first chance I’ve had to finish writing and post it. While I apologize for the lateness, the topic actually came up again in a discussion with a young woman still trying to recover from an abusive relationship and I think I have better formulated my thoughts.

Background:
Someone in Twitter expressed how hard it is to forgive someone for hurting you while they are still doing it. I won’t say who it was, as it may make a complicated situation more difficult.

My response was a lesson that was hard learned and remains even harder to enforce: “Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself, not the other person. It takes a lot of work, but is freeing.”

That brought a follow-up tweet by @ObiOrion: “There are acts over the recent years I’ve been forced to accept but does that mean I have to forgive?”

Short answer? Of course not. You can hold on to that for the rest of your life, if you so choose. I simply choose not to.

The long explanation of my short answer involves revealing that, like most, I’ve been hurt grievously by some that I loved. In the most damaging case, I spent years carrying the pain around with me, waiting for the phone calls of apology. I nurtured that pain, feeling justified and righteous, knowing that I did not deserve the years of mis-treatment from them, and that there would someday be an epiphany that would lead to them coming to me with arms open wide. I would finally have what I needed, which was acceptance for who I was and all that I had been, and continue, trying to do.

And you know what? I finally realized that those calls would never come. Maybe pride or a belief that I deserved the treatment that I got would never allow them to apologize or acknowledge my place in their lives.

So, being an analytical type of gal, I then had to ponder what to do with my need for apology as well as the need to have a situation that would allow me to forgive them. Because it was crushing me beneath the weight of anger, sadness and rejection to the point that at times I had trouble catching my breath.

Should I continue suckling at the teat of hurt and rejection? Drop hints or openly confront them on how I’d been wronged and hope for an apology to come? To get people to acknowledge that they aren’t, in actuality, any better than me? That we are all just animated lumps of meat with frailties, gifts, fears and beautiful flaws? That you don’t have to make someone feel worse to feel better about yourself? To break through facades built up over lifetimes in order for them to deal with things that were done to them?

Or, should I just forgive them? Let go all of the pain, rejection and loss that I felt. (Or at least try to). It seemed impossible and unlikely, but I’d heard some TV shrink talk about it, and while I initially scoffed, the possibility of freeing myself was tantalizing.

So, I simply stood in front of a mirror, went through some of the most egregious and painful events, and spoke them out loud while looking myself in eye. And then I told myself how I felt: rejected, diminished, foolish, ugly, unloved, fat and unworthy. You’d think I felt ridiculous or silly, but didn’t. I was caught up in it, as pent up as these feelings were. Hell, the venting aloud itself was cathartic.

Then I closed my eyes and thought long and hard on whether or not forgiveness was in my heart for the pain that I spoke aloud as well and all the pain I didn’t. I again looked myself in the eye, and said, “I forgive ‘A’. I forgive ‘B’. I forgive ‘C’ … And on and on down the list of people related to this long-term issue. I then gave myself permission to drop that load and move on without it. I know there are some that will call it crazy, (and I could NOT care less) but it took that physical tangible act for me to be able to begin to move past it. Hearing an apology from them was not something that I had control over. The only control I could exert was how I let it affect me and impact the rest of my life and future relationships.

The apologies never came. I’m convinced they never will. Now, I won’t lie and say there isn’t still insecurity and sadness. And a few aspects still haunt me.  But I’m freed from it, at least as much as if they had apologized and maybe even more than that. Because I did it for myself. I took control of how much more time I would waste on them and the pain they brought me over the years.

In talking with my aforementioned troubled friend, I could see how the continued burden weighed on her. Plus, there is a continuing issue that keeps these people in her life. Another friend and I tried to convince her to once and for all cut those ties, and move on past them. Don’t waste another minute on people that make you feel bad, especially since they may not agree that an apology is in order.

“I forgive.” Two simple words that mean so much. Who cares if the oblivious people that committed the painful acts that inspired it never hear it? And no, I’m not saying that if an apology is given that you should withhold forgiveness. That’s a personal choice you have to make. But I figure that life is pretty fragile and extremely short, so why not? It will likely make you feel even better for taking the high road.