a girl and her boy

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Tag Archives: depression

The Power of Intentions – Make Your Life Happen!

“Every morning is a fresh beginning. Every day is the world made new. Today is a new day. Today is my world made new. I have lived all my life up to this moment, to come to this day. This moment… this day… is as good as any moment in all eternity. I shall make of this day… each moment of this day… a heaven on earth. This is my day of opportunity.” Dan Custer.

I seem to have something to learn about the power of intentions and positive thinking as the universe has put opportunity after opportunity to think about it, engage in it, and learn from it in my path lately. The quotation at the beginning of this post was in my email inbox one morning earlier this week. On Sunday at church, the message was about harnessing your power and the power of the Universe to set and achieve intentions, and the chapter in my manual on writing just happens to be talking about intentions and goals as well. Okay, Universe, here we go.

I have made much progress in life. I’m very happy with where I am and what’s in my life, in general. I have two postsecondary degrees in areas I am passionate about. I have a comfortable home and plenty of possessions to keep me entertained, progressing, and developing. I have health, youth, and energy to make big things happen. I’ve overcome some huge obstacles and learned many lessons about love, forgiveness, and faith.

Life isn’t over yet, and won’t be for many years if I have it my way, which means there is plenty left to learn and achieve. (I tell Gabe often that I want to live to be 120. He says that with technology and health advancements that it’s quite possible.)

After doing some financial planning with Gabe, I turned the page in the notebook to a fresh sheet and wrote down in concrete terms the things I am going to do in life. That’s right, no “maybe” or “someday” or “it would be nice if I could.” It’s all about “I will.”

Here is what I intend:

I will be financially independent and responsible.

This one is huge for me. I grew up in a family where money was always an issue. There was never enough of it and it was often misused. When I went off to college, having no real concept of how money worked, I got myself into credit card debt and constantly lived beyond my meager means. It took a long time and many hard lessons before I got myself out of debt, stabilized my finances, and learned how to manage money effectively. While teaching, I did very well to support myself and my former husband on my salary and somehow managed to save enough to live on for the first six months or so of living in Salem when I ventured out on my own after the separation. Now I’m in a financially stable committed relationship, but I wake up worrying at night about what would happen if something happened to Gabe, or if there were an even bigger economic upset. I am actively working on getting myself and our relationship set up so that we are individually, and as a couple, financially stable. I want to know that no matter what happens that we are going to be okay.

I will be professionally successful and secure in a teaching/editing/publishing position.

I want it and I’m working for it. It’ll happen.

I will obtain and maintain good health.

I reworded my usual goals because they were too narrow and I found myself constricted and limited. I have learned that if I focus my goals too much and organize things too well, then I “rebel” and don’t do it. I need flexibility and freedom to achieve goals, especially health related.

One big change I’ve made to work towards a lifetime of good health and physical strength is my “minimum” rule: it doesn’t matter what it is or how much, but I must do something physical every day. I can go on a long walk. I can do few sets of crunches and push-ups. I can go to the gym and lift weights. The goal is to move my body every day. This way of thinking has helped me get up and move every day for the last 19 days. I’m close to the 21-days to form a habit!

Beyond that, I have some very specific running goals for the next 24 months. I had to put off my races this past year because of the health situation, but now that I’m on the mend, it’s training time again. So, my general goals as I haven’t set up a training schedule or found races yet is to run a handful of 5k races this spring and summer, and by fall run a 10k race. Then over the next fall and winter, pump it up to half-marathon distance for the late spring or early summer next year and keep pushing for my first marathon in the fall/winter of 2012. That gives me, I hope, a decent amount of time to build up miles and strength for a marathon. Running-readers, what do you think? Prior to the illness, I ran 4-6 miles a day 3 to 4 times a week and long runs of 7-10 miles at my best. Since then, I’ve managed to get in 7-12 miles a week. Not much, I know, but it’s been something.

 

I miss running outside! I can't wait until it warms up.

As far as food goes, I’ve had so many different ideas on how to achieve health through food and it’s brought me to extreme decisions in the past. My new and best idea yet: moderation! Oldies are the goodies. I do fairly well getting in a fair number of fruits in a day, and I’m getting better with veggies. I’ve been a whole grain person for years now and had a period where I thought I wanted to dump them from the diet completely. Then I had to go off them on doctor’s orders for a few weeks. Now that I’m healthier and feeling good without the dairy and gluten, and thinking long and hard about my needs, what I want, and about world health trends, I’ve decided to keep them. That’s for me. Everyone makes their own decisions based on their needs and how their body responds. Do the best by your own body, folks! Treat it well!

I’m also going to start yoga! Woo-hoo! I got a great deal on 7 classes in Cambridge through Yelp. I can’t wait to have a yoga booty.

I will live a long and happy life.

This whole post is about intentions. I intend to be happy every day to the best of my ability. I’m choosing it. The long part, well, I’m hoping that by a positive attitude, a fulfilling and invigorating career, and a healthy lifestyle, that comes with some luck.

I will write and publish at least one novel.

I’ve been tapping away at the keyboard for at least 30 minutes each day on a new novel idea this year. I don’t know how good it is, but it’s progressing. You gotta write a novel to publish a novel. The best writing is rewriting and revision. It’ll come.

* * * * *

So what about you? What are your intentions? What are you going to make happen with your life?

Happy Thursday, folks!

Let's Go

I’ve had a song stuck in my head, softly humming in the back of my mind and this refrain in particular has been haunting:  We need a big push / To reach the right conclusion / So we can get there / If we’re really going / If we’re really going / Let’s go. (Lisa Loeb, “Kick Start”)

Action.

Movement.

Power.

If we’re really going. Let’s go.

It’s no secret I’ve been a mess lately. Emoti0nally. Physically. My entire life has felt like one big mess untangling just enough to become another big mess. I don’t want that anymore. I’m sick of it. And it’s made me sick.

Trying so hard / To dig ourselves out / Cause we’re stuck and we’re scared / And we’re thinking / Things have to change

I’ve struggled with fear since I was a child. With the various things that happened, I learned not to trust, and to fear. Everything was always a mess. Everything was a big hassle. And there was always something to fear. And here I am, 28 years old and still TRAPPED by fear and distrust. I don’t want that anymore.

It’s just more of the same / Again and again and again

What we all know about change is that it is SCARY. It takes faith and trust, two things I’ve had to get “injections” of from those around me. And I don’t want that anymore.

So here is my next step. My next chapter.

But first, a quick glance back.

I grew up Mormon as some of you know. I have since chosen to step away for my own reasons, but we’ll get to that later. I was hurt and was angry and because of this, I was blinded to some of the good things about it, blinded from some of the lessons.

For example, faith is like a little seed. Plant it. It will grow. (Action is needed. Results follow. Plant grows and becomes stronger.)

And, “according to your faith, be it unto you.”

And that if you act each day according to what you know to be right, doors will open when you need them.

I could go on. But you get the idea. And I’m sure it’s not new to you.

But I forgot these fundamental aspects of life. That life takes FAITH and and that faith is ACTION.

Indiana Jones would never have achieved his goal if he had not taken that scary step forward. And that’s where I am. On the ledge looking out over the abyss. Sweat on my brow. But I’m going to do it.

So let’s go.

So where am I going?

Well, first off, even though it is SCARY, I am putting my health first and seeking the council and help of professionals to take care of these pressing matters. Then I will continue to follow their advice for long-term health and fitness.

And I’m going to stop putting hurdles in my own way and make the rest of my life happen after that.

I’m going to create a vision of what I want my life to look like at the end of this year, at the end of five years, and at the end of my life.

And of course, how I want my life to look at the end of today. Because how you spend each day is, of course, how you spend your life.

As Dr. Nick, as told by Jen, says:  when you wake up each morning, you have a choice:  you can either say:  “Good god, morning,” or, “Good morning, god.”

Don’t let this decision drag on.

After making that decision, the rest is follow through.

Jen asked me to go with her to morning ritual. I’m going. But I’m starting today.

If we’re really going, let’s go.

The Day Job

Sitting in a meeting with my colleagues after the students left today, I caught myself wondering how in hell I made it. I’m glad I did, no doubt. And I’m doing well. But how did I survive? And what can I bring to the table to help my students?

I work in an alternative education setting now with students who have drug abusing parents, who have been raped or molested (repeatedly in some cases), who shoot up drugs to dull the pain of extreme poverty and neglect. They have anxiety and paranoia and PTSD and psychosis. These kids are just babies at 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 years old. Some have have already sat for hours in front of judges or counselors or CFS agents at their tender ages with stony “yeah, and what the fuck are you going to do about it?” faces.

These youths, both in my classroom and in others all across our nation, are disenfranchised and in awful shape and are looking to us to do something about it. And what are we doing about it? One of my students fell through the systems’ cracks and is now missing on the freezing cold streets of Massachusetts.

It’s a 6 hour a day, 30 hour a week job that is paying the bills so why worry so much, right? But it’s more than that to me. These kids here in Salem and the ones I left behind in Maine are my  kids. They didn’t come out of my body (and I’m glad for that – can you imagine the stretch marks?) but they have my heart and dedication. I know I have to learn a certain amount of emotional separation, but I haven’t yet.

I’ll have something more intelligible to say about this eventually. I just had to get this off my chest.

Choice.

I took this photo when I first moved here.

What a brave little flower growing alone by this house surrounded by cement.

I’m feeling a helluva lot better. I was in a pretty severe funk this past week. Got caught up in the past and forgot that although this stuff is pretty dark and severe, I still have a choice.

I can choose to be brave. I can choose to be positive. I can choose to be different.

Dreams

Looking at my desk and walls reminds me of an art piece displayed in Lord Hall at UMaine created by Yvette Tardiff a few years ago:  a round kitchen table full of espresso cups with varying levels of fullness, with a wall full of sticky-notes behind it. I don’t remember the title of the piece, but it was something along the lines of “American Dream”.

I remember standing there staring at the installation and thinking:  Damn. That’s me.

It still is.

My desk is full of tea mugs that need to find their way to the kitchen and my desk, walls, and planner are full of sticky-notes reminding me of things I need to do.

What is the American dream to you? I asked a group of students this once as part of a unit on The Great Gatsby. I got a range of answers, but each one included being happy and healthy as part of it. It never occurred to me, until now, to examine my personal dream and how close I am to achieving it.

When I was in high school, and a half-hearted at best practicing Mormon, my dream was to have a modest home with a door open to the community, a bottom-less cookie jar, a few dogs, a cat, and lots of people to love coming and going throughout the day and year. This vision of life included being married, having a handful of kids, and being completely immersed in family life.

And thinking about it now, my vision hasn’t changed that much. I still want that modest home with a door open to the community, a bottom-less cookie jar, a few dogs, a cat, and lots of people to love. Unfortunately, the kids part won’t happen, at least not out of my body without serious intervention that is not certain to work.

A few months ago, after experiencing serious pain in my pelvic region for several days straight, I called my doctor in Maine. I told him what I was experiencing and asked for a reference closer to me in the North Shore area. I ended up spending a few days in southern Maine being poked and prodded and imaged. As if I wasn’t already sore enough. But it was necessary.

I waited and waited and finally the results came in:  between cyclical ovarian cysts from the time I was 14 and the damage my reproductive organs sustained from repeated sexual assault, I am unable to have kids. The pain was from a cyst that burst through years and years of scar tissue build-up. My organs are too scarred up to become pregnant without medical assistance. And the PTSD would make being pregnant and giving birth likely to change the chemistry of any child born of my body.

Even though I had already come to (mostly) decide I didn’t want children anyway (I’ll get to that later), having the choice taken away from me due to years of assault and a medical condition that often develops in people who have been sexually assaulted hurts.

I am still dealing with it.

And more than that. I have been feeling hurt and angry the last week because I am remembering what happened and realizing just how much it has affected me and how much it continues to affect me. How much someone else’s actions has changed how my brain and body functions, and how much has been taken away.

Looking around at these sticky-notes full of reminders and mugs of tea makes me wonder how close I am to that dream, and how far I have to go to overcome and tame these demons to get there.

Blooming Lotus

I am loving the suggested links WordPress creates. I found an amazingly helpful blog authored by a survivor of childhood abuse:  Blooming Lotus. The focus is on her journey and experiences, as well as a lot of research on the effects of abuse. Very helpful blog. Faith, if you get the track back, thank you!

Recent Developments

As you can imagine, a lot of changes have been happening in the space between this and last post; most of the changes were happening within.

I’m not going into the details of the separation or why I chose to move on, but I will tell you this:  it was the best decision I have ever made. I feel free. I feel alive. I’m beginning to live the life I always wanted to but couldn’t because of the rut my relationship was in for years.

In the last month I got back on the road running and biking (and dropped 17 lbs.), I kicked my professional life up a few notches, became a road warrior after buying a car,  cut and highlighted my hair, and bought a few new things for my wardrobe. Yes, perhaps a little too much for the wallet in the recession, but I still have plenty of money to pay my bills and I plan on getting a second job with all this free time that opened up for me. I am not a new woman, I am the woman I always meant to be but haven’t been.

Some of the big things coming around the corner for me are getting a new teaching job and moving (hopefully out of Maine) and when my finances are settled and recovered I’m going to get a dog. Not just any dog though, a gorgeous Weimaraner.

Aww!

Aww!

I’ve always wanted one but my ex didn’t. Phooey on him! I don’t have to worry about his thoughts on the matter any more! I’ve loved Weims for as long as I can remember and they are the perfect breed for my active lifestyle. We’ll keep eachother outside and enjoying life! 🙂

That’s all for now. I just wanted to give everyone a head’s up on what I’ve been up to. I’ll do a more in-depth report of some of my shenanigans soon. 🙂

Perspective and Anger

I’ve been thinking a lot on the experience I blogged about previously. I realized it wasn’t so much my colleague gunning for me as I’m overly sensitive to people questioning me.

This is another childhood hang-up with a story.

My family moved around a lot as I was growing up. I think I counted once that I had moved 16 times before I graduated high school, most of it during my formative years of grade school. I had very few opportunities to learn how to navigate the social waters and all the rules and regulations of interactions for I never lived in one area long enough for me to bother establishing any relationships. I tried it a few times early on and learned that it wasn’t worth it.

And on top of this, my parents fought all the time and were emotionally and physically abusive. When questioned by people, at first I would be honest with them, but then the wrath of my parents would fall on me:  “why was I lying to all these people about what was going on?” they would charge. Soon I learned that I must be mistaken and began to really lie by not telling the truth.

I developed a severe complex. All throughout school I would find myself lying for things I didn’t even need to because it had become such an ingrained habit. There would be times when I would lie about the origin of a bruise (I’d blame sports or being a klutz) or there would be times when I would lie about why I misspoke (instead of simply making a mistake, I tried to make myself seem cooler by saying my Russian pen pal was teaching me her language and I goofed trying to say one of the words – totally transparent). It was bad.

When I graduated, I realized the extent of this and stopped the behavior. I flipped and instead of lying a lot, I became brutally honest and blunt. I also developed an intense sensitivity to people calling me a liar because I used to lie so much. I’d wonder, “Am I? Am I telling an untruth? Am I still doing that?” And instead of standing my ground, I’d back off and end the conversation; totally awkward.

And I realized earlier today that that’s what happened the night of the play. It wasn’t so much that this colleague was trying to trip me up, she was asking a clarifying question and I took it the wrong way.

I have been so angry this weekend. I am so upset that after all these years of healing and therapy and writing and knitting and talking it out that the way I was brought up is still affecting me adversely. It’s so frustrating. Here I am, nearly 27, a professional in a very public and social position, and because of my childhood experiences, I seem incompetent because of these hang ups.

I’ve also been wondering if I should go back to counseling. It didn’t do me any good when I was growing up (yes, I went to counseling for YEARS and YEARS as a child as my parents thought I had a deep-rooted negative memory from childhood, what it was, they would never say, and that’s why I was such a mess). But I wonder if it would now that I am an adult in a very stable and supportive environment?

All I know is that this has got to stop and I don’t know how to make it. I can’t continue being so sensitive to people and situations. I can’t seem incompetent in my job because of my awful childhood.

Odds and Ends on a Sick Day

the mound of work

the mound of work

Leave it to a teacher to worry about getting caught up/ahead on work on a sick day. I’ve been grading and planning all morning in between naps and tending the wood stove. I figure, at least this way I’ll be all set when it comes time to leave for Thanksgiving to visit family – I’ll have everything caught up and ready to go.

I’m really looking forward to Thanksgiving. Of all the holidays, Thanksgiving is by far my favorite. It has fewer religious overtones, I don’t have to worry about the pressure of giving or receiving gifts, and I get to help make and eat delicious food with friends and family. What more could I ask for in a holiday!

This holiday also marks the period of the year where I really have to worry about my SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I have to be careful to always use my therapy lamp, to get out on walks a few times a week, to exercise, and eat good wholesome foods. If I’m going to succumb to depression, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is it.

I always crave intense color this time of year, too. I normally am not a huge fan of red, not berry colors or purples, I mean RED. But I’ve been going shopping specifically to seek out red things – red bags, red note books, red shirts or sweaters, red anything. The intense color of red always lifts me up a little this time of  year. It’s a bold color amongst the cold, drab, dreary and dark landscape. It’s warming and cheering. But I only really like red between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Otherwise, I’m very attracted to soothing browns, blues, greens, and subdued plums and berry colors. I’ve even been attracted to fiery oranges lately, too. Weird.

Breathing Deep

Two huge weeks have passed and I am facing an easy week of a holiday and a half-day. Not bad. I go to school tomorrow, show movies because the students are not going to be paying attention because the following day is a holiday and the day after is the half-day, and I get to come home and knit some more.

I did so much knitting this weekend. It was wonderful.

I finished (finally!) my first Snapdragon sock with the purple, lime green, and orange stripes and am half-way through the second. It’ll be done by lunch time tomorrow guranteed with all the movie induced knitting time tomorrow. And I finished (finally!!) my father-in-law’s first sock in the lozenge pattern and have the second cast on. I’ll have photos of all these fine projects as soon as I remember to recharge my camera’s batteries. I am so glad to have made some knitting progress as it seems like eons ago that I started these projects.

The last two weeks have been awful and so this weekend of knitting and election day celebrations was much needed.

I had five nights (W-Th, and then M-T) straddling the close of the first marking period chock full of 3-hour SAT Prep training sessions, complete with homework, and grading. It was lovely, I tell you, lovely. I nearly called it quits on this profession. But I didn’t. Not every school springs SAT training on its staff, just mine. Luckily, my new colleague in the English department was right by my side to commiserate with. We had a helluva time those long days.

The long days and little sunshine exposure has been getting to me. I have a therapy light but I get up so early as it is to get to school that I haven’t been using it regularly. To use it consistently, I’d have to get up at 4:30 each morning! Yikes. That’s not happening.

I realized after grumping around, knitting, and watching movies today, that part of the reason for my recent bouts of melancholy has been the feeling of displacement. I realized that a year ago this weekend I moved from Orono to Winthrop to take the job in Monmouth and I’ve been nomadic ever since with weekend trips to Orono, moving in May, and then moving again in July. No wonder I’ve been feeling agitated. I haven’t had a chance to get my bearings! I’ve been uprooted for nearly 27 years and I’m ready for my hobbit house, but it’s not time for it yet.

I’m in my second year of my career and Allan has to finish his master’s program. When he does, we’ll be looking for a new job near a college that offers a good MA English for me and a teaching certification program for Allan, which means another move. None of the schools within striking distance of our area offer decent programs, if at all, for either. We’re looking at another 1-2 years before we can even consider buying a house and settling down for 3-5 years or longer. And with this, the possibility of high-maitenance pets (dogs) and children are on hold, too.

No wonder why I feel stressed out so much lately; I feel like I’m just getting going and my entire settled domestic life is still on hold. I crave a house of my own, a garden of my own, a puppy or two, and children so much but it’s not to be for a year or so at very least.

We’ve definitely considered settling down in the area we’re in but we can’t afford the property values on one beginning teacher’s salary. In order for us to buy property in this area we’d have to take out a ridiculous mortgage or buy a fixer-upper, which we’re not enthusiastic about. In order for us to purchase a home in this area, both of us would have to have a teacher’s salary, at very least, and then we’d still be scraping by.

Sigh. At least I like where we are right now. The rest of our life will figure itself out. I’m working on being content in the here and now.

Beyond all this, I’m pleased to say that Patty over at Fibreholic has given me my first blog award! I’m thrilled and honored! Thank you, Patty!

I first started blogging back in 2004 but it never amounted to much. I was pretty self absorbed as a young twenty-something still. It wasn’t until about two or three years ago that I matured enough to realize that nodding to the reader is a must when writing in public like this. I’m pleased that I’ve reached the wide audience that I have and that people have found something worthwhile here. Again, thank you, Patty!

The acceptance rules for this award are as follows:  (1) the winner may put the award on his/her blog, (2) add a link to the person who nominated you if you don’t have one already, (3) nominate at least 5 other websites or blogs, (4) provide links to the nominated websites or blogs, and (5) send the nominees a message letting them know.

I’d like to give this award to the following bloggers:

1 – My dear friend Amy of The Lawsons Did Dallas is one of the funniest bloggers I’ve come across. She’s been blogging since she moved to Texas and she’s been keeping me and her vast audience rolling for about two years now. She recently had the unfortunate life experience of having a miscarraige and so her normal humor was set aside while she related this life-changing experience. She has since reclaimed her humor but her depth and breadth of writing prowess has been demonstrated fully due to these fluctuations.

2 – I’d like to nominate Amber of Berlin’s Whimsy next. I’ve been reading Amber’s blog for a year solid now and there has never been a day when I didn’t feel better for stopping by her space. She, too, has been through many life experiences which offer depth and heart to her writing. Her crafting and photography are nothing short of inspirational.

3 – Next, I’d like to nominate Laurie at Everything in Blue, also the owner of the Ouou shop on Etsy (is it open yet, Laurie?). I first found Laurie through Etsy via her brilliant art and then followed along to her blog where she posts her art in progress and life experiences. I’ve been honored to blog on Laurie’s behalf over the last year.

4 – My dear friend since middle school out in Utah has been blogging about her family and adventures and it’s been a great way for me to keep in the loop. Leanne, you, too, deserve an award.

5 – Last, but not least, I’d like to offer this award to my dear friend Holly. Holly and I have been friends since grade school and have only recently reconnected at my second wedding reception. I’ve really enjoyed keeping up-to-date on your family through your blog!

Phew. This is a long post. I think I’ll call it a night!