A Small Part of a Huge Journey

Apparently when asked to write for SOMEONE ELSE’S site I’m fulling capable of whipping up a piece that I’m proud of. Please take a moment to read my blog post on amazing woman’s site, Nikki Nigl, and then take another few minutes to check out what she’s doing for the women in the community. She’s pretty amazing and I’m so happy to be a part of this journey.

Stop The Should-ing

For some reason I carry around a lot of guilt. I do a lot of “should-ing” and I fill my brain and heart with these ideas of what I’m doing wrong instead of what I’m doing right. Day in and day out there is constant flow of negativity running through my mind. It’s like an endless wall of ants marching to bring their Queen Ant food. You put something in the ant’s way and they just find a different path OR just climb over the obstical. There is no room for any other way to think. I don’t know if I can stop that train of ants from creeping into my mind but I can try and devert them and slow them down by listing a few things I’ve done well or right for myself so far in 2016.

  1. I rested. I didn’t work out for a full week. My FitBit read 1,087 steps on Friday and 1,123 steps on Sunday. I rested because I’ve been sick. I WAS SICK–NOT LAZY.
  2. I said ‘No’. Latly, when it comes to my career, I’ve been running around the city of Chicago like a crazy person. Picking up new clients, new jobs, hours and skills. My new boss asked me for more of my time. She asked me to come in on Tuesday morning and then come back for a closing shift. That would be I would be there at 8am-3pm. Clock out. Come back at 5:30pm-9pm. It takes me 45 minutes to get home from work. So I would basically either have 30 minutes to chill at home before coming back or go sit at Starbucks for two hours. Nope. I said, “I just can’t do that at this point.” Saying ‘no’ is so scary. But so empoowering.
  3.  I asked for company. Being sick is boring. I asked someone for company and he came from across town and watched cooking shows from the early 2000’s with me on Netflix. He let me be whiny and terrible. (Don’t worry, I wasn’t contagious.)
  4. I stretched. I’m the worse at stretching. And my sore back and tight shoulders are the ones that pay the price. I’ve made it a habit to sit with my clients and stretch along side with them. Teaching them how to stretch on their own and giving my muscles the attention they deserve.
  5. I got to therapy. Every. Damn. Week. Life got rough and I needed help, (I know, white girl, first world problems) but you know what? SHUT UP. . Problems are in the eye of the problem-holder and I’m not going to apologize or explain to anyone about my life and my issues. In October I started seeing a therapist and it’s honestly the best health-thing I’ve done for myself, ever.

This list was a lot harder to sit down and write than I origonally anticipated. I kept reverting back to “Well, I could say this, but actually I SHOULD have done it this way…” My brain is hard wired to “should on myself” and I’m sick of it. I can’t be the only one that does this. Share with me. Share times you’ve taken time for yourself and DIDN’T beat yourself up for what you “should” have done.

Why I Quit Writing

I remember my first Diary. Stereotypically, it was pink, it had a lock with a cheap key that wouldn’t have stood a chance of protecting my words if a predator had thought he needed to read my 9 year old self’s deepest, darkest secrets. Good thing my older brother couldn’t give two shits about me, his 11 year old life was way more interesting then whatever I was printing in large, careful letters across the pages, pages that were trimmed with pink hearts and shooting stars.

I’ve always loved writing, whether is was in a journal or making up stories and books with friends at school, writing was always “my thing”. I’ve had a blog going on and off since 2011–more off than on the last year, I’ve guest blogged, I’ve written articles for multiple print and web magazines, I loved it and through it all I’ve kept a journal. I’m the girl that has a notebook that travels with her from purse, to backpack, to a different purse, always having it with me.

Recently my Moleskine hasn’t been being used for the usual venting I’ve always done. It’s no longer a one sided friend, the one who is always on my side when there’s a disagreement, it was like the tennis ball server that throws the perfect serve each time for me to hit back, no judgment, no critique. My journal was my confidant and ally. Generally, for the past 20 years I’ve had a journal with me to write down when I’m angry at myself, about the boy I like, the confusion that comes with being 15, 18, 22, 25, and now 30 looming in another year. I’d find that when I wasn’t suffering at my normal level of depression, (which is a highly functioning person on the outside, but slowly dying and self-hating on the inside), I wasn’t writing.

When I was happy(er) than normal, my journal stayed buried in the bottom of my bag. When my boyfriend and I started having trouble, and I felt my friends were sick of me talking about it, I found my old trusted friend, pulled out a pen and wrote the date–a date that was over two months after the last entry. I started writing, I vomited words and expected no judgment or advice, unlike what I was getting from people who didn’t understand how I was feeling.

I was back there. Every day. After a few month happy hiatus I was back, writing about the potential breakup, about my endless search for the perfect career, how I do everything right yet can’t lose the weight, about my inappropriate crush on an inappropriate person, how I should be running more, how I should visit my Grandparents in Michigan, how broke I am, how badly I miss living in the mountains. Then I would close the journal, tuck this newly opened can of worms in my bag and carry on with my day.

Usually, by the end of the day my shoulders are scrunched up by my ears, my butt cheeks are clenched and my head would hurt because of all the thoughts swimming around in there. So I’d again, pull out ol’ trusty journal and write more things down. Complain and nit pick about my body hurting, my manager at work, about something my boyfriend was doing that annoyed me, about how I just . can’t . get . better–I’m so sad, all the damn time.

Scrolling through my Facebook feed one day, someone posted an article about the idea of “Thankfulness” So in this bout of depression, this hole that I was buried deep into, I decided to start my day listing three things I’m thankful for; no matter how big or small. Most were just little stupid things: Coffee, my bike (my main mode of transportation in the summer,) my boyfriend and how he puts up with all of my bullshit.

After–not too long, my lists started to repeat themselves, it turns out I’m REALLY thankful for coffee. Which was fine…at first. Then I started to notice a pattern in my writing after. I noticed that I would just start complaining again. I’d vent about everything else that wasn’t on my list of three. I’d cry when writing about my recent break up, I’d be thankful for one specific friend but be really sad that my other friend and I are drifting apart, or that I just don’t really have a lot of friends here. I’d be thankful for the Starbucks I was sipping, but be frustrated with my dwindling bank account. I started to think that my Moleskine and I were making things worse! So I stopped.

I pretty much quit writing altogether. My blog had suffered before, but now it’s basically non-existent. I decided on the excuse that I needed an audience and being single, not in a class, not blogging and not part of a writing community, an audience is something hard to come by. I don’t know if this has helped, I’m not sure if I’m happy(er), less complain-y, less focused on the negative or if maybe I quit writing because I just got lazy. But I’m not longer drawing attention to it all every single day. Re-reading it, re-obsessing over it.

Do I still carry a Moleskine journal around with me? Yes. Two actually. One for notes at work and one in the hopes of writing something. Do I miss ‘writing’ daily. Hell yes. Do I miss complaining? Yeah–I do, but I truly think that right now I’m better off without it, better focusing on me and not dwelling on the crazy swirling in my head. They say that focusing on the ‘now’ is a step towards happiness, and for me the now doesn’t include obsessing and writing down my obsessions to forever haunt me in a little bound book. And for right now, I’m okay with that.