Category Archives: A Better Me

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It’s A Stream of Consciousness Kind Of Morning

I’ve had four bad days. I don’t know how the bad days start, but I know they’re bad days when I stop logging my food and start eating all of the burritos.

(It’s the tagline for my new show: Real World: Food Addicts Anonymous)

While I know it’s a bad day if I binge eat, but it’s not always just the binge eating that makes it bad. There was some monumentally bad parenting that happened yesterday. And I haven’t run or swam or done anything in three days. And while I conquered some hella difficult coding challenge last week, I found myself stumbling on stupid stuff this week at work, making me feel like the dumbest web developer in all the lands.

So, bad days have LOTS of bad things, not just the Staring At The Fridge And Eating My Weight In Peanut Butter.

I told myself as I fell asleep last night: Tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a good day.

But I do that a lot, and the bad days still happen, so I’m not sure why I keep doing it. I think I need to work on saying it during the bad day and not only the night before.

And when I say “monumentally bad parenting” I mean it quite literally. In historical timeline and tourism spots of bad parenting, my behavior in the last few days would be the Devil’s Tower or the Mount Rushmore of bad parenting. Not something so phenomenal people set aside chunks of their life to visit, but definitely worth a detour out of your way for a visit if your within a couple hundred miles or so.

I’m kinda mortified by my behavior and am contemplating calling a child psychologist just to make them appointments where they can talk about how much of an ass I am.

But today! Today will be a good day!

Except Wes woke up in the middle of the night again, meaning I’m still quite behind on sleep, and I am THE WORST when my sleep is not what it should be. So, you know, fingers crossed there.

This is also the first week of school (this is the part of the blog entry where I defend myself) so my schedule is off and I’m just completely out of sorts trying to readjust. As are the kids as they’re still wanting to stay up late but having to get up early.

But I did stumble upon some awesomeness from yesterday’s entry. This article which talks about how people like me aren’t really suited for using the word “atheist,” which focuses on what’s missing in our lives, because – spiritually – there’s always so much more. I also was introducde to Episcopalian Bishop John Spong who seems wonderful and I was reminded of Rob Bell who I had stumbled upon via some podcasts recently.

There was also this article in Salon, but while some of it was great, I hated other parts. “God is not exactly welcome in our home” being the main one. I don’t like that attitude. I also don’t like that she spoke about “forgiving” people who might have pushed religion on her but in VERY benign ways. I feel like she needs to walk in my daughter’s shoes a bit, be told she’s going to hell as the center of a joke with friends at school. And even that is benign. What about being murdered in a town square for being different? No. I don’t need to “forgive” people who simply living a religious life around me. I’m not going to be that dramatic. That’s just me accepting that people are different and those differences might cross my life but I’m not going to focus on the dogma but on the spirit. If someone gives me a religious gift, I accept it in the spirit it was intended, I don’t say I need to “forgive” them.

ANYWAY…

So, where was I? Yeah. Great thought-provoking stuff from yesterday. Thanks guys.

Also? I’m totally going to have a good day today. I’m going to run this morning. As long of a run as I can muster in the allotted window given to me by my husband’s schedule. I’m going to listen to some podcasts that make me laugh/think (my favorite kind) and I’m going to try not to binge eat sweet potato fries. I’m going to count to 10 before yelling at my kids (even if they did just intentionally spit on my bedroom floor) and I’m going to not forget the awesome work I did on my job last week even if I got stuck by something stupid this week.

And I’m going to continue this positive attitude all day. It’s not good enough to say it the night before and hope it sticks. If I don’t keep the right frame of mind all day, it goes downhill SUPER fast around here and I knock people down on the sidelines as I fall. Those people are often my children, who don’t deserve to be caught in the wreckage of my bad day.

BLURGH. Thanks for letting me ramble non-stop.

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Meditating on Meditation

I tried meditation (again) yesterday.

I had one of those STUPID incidents in my life where I should have just LET IT GO. Nothing I could do to make it NOT have happened, nothing I could do to resolve it after it HAD happened, but I wanted to talk about it to everyone. CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS HAPPENED? Let’s hash it out a million times even though it does nothing but stress me out more.

STOP THINKING ABOUT IT. MOVE ON. LET IT GO.

But, of course, I couldn’t.

It reminded me of this time I had a REALLY rude run-in with someone at Target. I mean, this lady threw her hand up to shoosh me WHILE she was on the phone talking about how I had just cut her off (with my cart), rolled her eyes at me and turned around. AND I WAS TRYING TO APOLOGIZE. It was INSANE. And I think about that moment constantly. But I talk about it rarely because I hate myself for holding on to it. I should have let it go. I gave her even MORE power over me by holding on to it. I give her power now but I need it as an example so, you know, I’m talking about it.

ANYWAY. So, yesterday I tried to let it go. I really did. And it didn’t happen. So, I thought, let’s meditate.

I’ve tried meditating a million times in my life. It seems like – on paper – it would be something I would get into. I’m spiritual. I’m thoughtful. I enjoy zen-like moments on swims and runs. (Not on the bike yet. I still hate the bike.) But my brain just will NOT shut off for me to meditate. I’ve bought books, listened to podcasts, read articles and still…no real success.

But I thought I’d try again yesterday.

I decided to go to my front yard and do it because the weather was divine. I tried to center myself on my breathing. On the wind. On the amazingly Spring-like day in July in Alabama. Yet still, I could not stop thinking about my angst over the earlier event.

No matter how hard I tried, it would pop into my head and then I would find myself FOCUSING on it. Thinking about it EVEN MORE.

BAH.

Do you meditate? Have you found any books or podcasts that have helped center you? I really think it would be useful in my life but MAN I have a hard time with it.

Oh! And this beautiful thing happened! That's how bad my shame spiral was, I didn't even give this the celebration it deserved.

Back On The Road Again

(Preface: This entry is SO LONG and SO RAMBLY. OH MY GOD. I AM SO SORRY.)

I used to pray the rosary. A LOT. Like, it was my Go To thing when I needed anything: comfort, strength or ease of guilt – I would pray the rosary. It was my favorite Catholic ritual (that and the Stations of the Cross, loved going to that) and many Lents I made it my “promise” to say the rosary every day during the 40 days leading to Easter.

I guess you could say that praying the rosary was my jam.

The thing I would meditate the most on – while praying the rosary – was usually: How can I be a better person? When I was young I would think about how I should stay away from the little white lies. As I got older I thought about how I should probably not be thinking those thoughts I was thinking. And then, towards the end of my stretch with the church, I meditated on how I was losing my Faith.

(Funny! Because I did lose it! HA! DO YOU GET IT?)

(Not at all funny.)

I haven’t prayed the rosary in – decades maybe? I don’t know. It’s been awhile. But lately I’ve been thinking about it a lot because I find myself doing a lot of self-reflection/meditation on the rosary topics of yesteryear: How can I be a better person?

I think I had reached a good point in my life where I was feeling like I had grown into a good person. I have done a lot of shitting on people in my life, so it feels good to be at that point where I can look at myself and think, “Yay! We’ve not been evil in a long time! Go us!” The overall feeling of the last few years has been: Kim Is Finally A Good Person.

But the last couple of weeks? I’ve been feeling that falter. I’ve been having a crisis of Faith again, but this time in myself.

I found myself recently experiencing some bitterness and jealousy of the good things that were happening to other people. It wasn’t long-lasting and it didn’t flavor much of my behavior, but feelings those feelings? Those negative feelings of bitterness and jealousy over something that was adding good into the world? Upset me. Good people make the world a better place. If good things happen to good people? I should be celebrating that…not be jealous.

Funny sidenote: When good things happen to bad people? I never feel jealous. And it’s because I know that I am still better off because I am a good person. I have a lot of Faith in the power of being good for someone who worships at no alter, don’t I?

Anyway! Bitterness! Jealousy! I was feeling it!

And man, I was hating myself for it. And it gave me horrible pangs of self-doubt and self-hatred and I went from tiny flares of bitterness and jealous to HUGE FLAMES of disappointment in self and I found myself falling down the pit of I AM SUCH AN AWFUL PERSON, WHY DO PEOPLE EVEN TALK TO ME? faster than I could say, “Downward Spiral.”

That’s where I’ve been recently: Feeling strong negative feelings towards good people, and then strong negative feelings towards myself for those strong negative feelings towards good people.

I’M HAVING ALL THE FUNZ!

It had gotten so bad that I didn’t even pay attention to two really wonderful compliments I got this week. One, a friend shared an article about raising Kind children and commented how she thought of me because I was doing a lot of what the article mentioned.

COULD THERE BE A GREATER COMPLIMENT? No!

Actually, yes. It came later.

I was discussing on Facebook how frustrated I get that Atheists get such a bad wrap just because of a few assholes and how that would be like me judging all Christians based on Westb0r0. (Misspelled intentionally. I don’t even want their organization showing up on my blog.) And then a friend mentioned the interesting note that he thought I was very much like Jesus for being an Atheist.

Now, THAT, my friends. Is the best compliment ever. We talk a lot about Jesus’ teachings in this house, even though we attach no religion to it other than, “What a good guy!” So that meant a lot to me.

For about two seconds. And then I was back to hating myself for hating the joy in other people’s lives. And I was back to feeling guilty for feeling bitter. I started worrying that I was becoming a Bad Person and I found myself eating all of the foods in all of the land.

It’s just been a negative couple of weeks. I even found myself very bitter towards a certain spouse of mine for forgetting my birthday (I don’t care about gifts! I just wanted someone to mow the grass for me for one week!) and not helping me prep our house for Family Dinner. And then – while I know that practically those are very good reasons to be bitter – I do not support bitterness at all. It manifests into ugliness and there are ways to deal with that so that they don’t turn you mean. And I usually deal with those things better. And I wasn’t. I was soaking in the bitterness from having to mow the lawn or vacuum on my birthday, I was feeling bitter over the success of others, I was turning into someone I hated and I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to be friends with me.

Can everyone say: DOWNWARD SPIRAL!

And then I got sick last night. Again. I have this INCREDIBLE sensitivity to raw vegetables/legumes/some fruits. It’s not entirely consistent because it depends on their ripeness but sometimes things like bananas or fresh almond butter or edamame make me SICK. Like, severe abdominal pains for hours, sick. And last night was one of those nights. (DAMN YOU EDAMAME!) I was soaking in a hot tub, crouching in the fetal position (it helps!) and just wallowing until it passed. When it started fading I pulled open my phone and started just poking around social media to distract myself. And BAM! I had the most wonderful, kindest, most beautiful message on my phone from a friend. Basically telling me I’m a good person.

And y’all? It tore me up.

I just need to get out of my own head. I need to remind myself how I made it this far in my journey towards Awesomeness. By taking baby steps. By not expecting perfection, but celebrating progress. By recognizing when something needed to be changed…and working towards changing it instead of wallowing in guilt over that thing that I am hating about myself. These are the things I do to stay on the road towards BETTER instead of setting up a permanent camp in the town of Good Enough. Good Enough is a large town that has a lot of access points, it’s very easy to stop trying because, eh, I’m fine as I am. I should celebrate those moments where I see concrete evidence of work I need to do because that means I’m still on the road to BETTER instead of just being satisfied with Good Enough.

And, oh Lord, there is plenty to keep me on that road. And normally I just work on those things and leave the guilt and the shame on the side of the road somewhere. But I got sucked into that spiral and I couldn’t get out and you can’t travel forward when your circling one point of shame and guilt over and over and over again.

So, yes. I have areas I need to improve on. I always will. And standing around thinking about those things instead of working towards improving them does NO good for NO one.

And I’m grateful for my friend taking the time to send me that lovely message to yank me out of that spiral downward and put me back on the road forward. My goal is never perfection. My goal is simply to always be on the road towards BETTER. To never stop in Good Enough, and to never get sucked into a shame or guilt spiral. So, I’m back on the road again. Thankfully. I’m recognizing the errors I’ve made and the bitterness I felt and I’m looking at ways to deal with that so I can see the success of the good people in my life and celebrate it because good things happening to good people makes the world a BETTER place.

Here’s to avoiding spirals of guilt and shame, here’s to traveling towards BETTER instead of settling for Good Enough, and here’s to always spreading joy by telling people the things they might need to hear.

Okay. I’m ready to roll again. Let’s get this party started.

Oh! And this beautiful thing happened! That's how bad my shame spiral was, I didn't even give this the celebration it deserved.
Oh! And this beautiful thing happened! That’s how bad my shame spiral was, I didn’t even give this the celebration it deserved.

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Here’s My Short/Non-Spoilery TFIOS Review with Bonus Tangent-That-Isn’t-Really-A-Tangent

We took a picture of our #TFIOS tattoos before the movie last night because we are dorks.
We took a picture of our #TFIOS tattoos before the movie last night because we are dorks.

We went to “The Night Before Our Stars” last night, a special event with a simulcast of the movie and some adorable interviews (Can I admit I don’t know who Alton Brown is? Is that something I should hide? I haven’t even googled him yet to find out, but I had no idea who he was.) and some great music. My quick non-spoiler review: I LOVED IT. I tend to analyze movies from books while I watch them, remembering what was left out, what was put in…thinking about the choice of actors and music and everything. I can’t help it, I just do. Well, last night, with the first scene in the doctor’s office where Shailene Woodley basically became Hazel Grace in my heart forever? I stopped thinking about the book. I mean, I knew what was coming but I was soooo absorbed into the movie that it was the MOVIE that I was there to see…and the movie was epic and beautiful and heartwrenching and simply perfect in every way. I adored it. I have one teeny tiny complaint about one line that was left out but – you know – it was a VERY long movie. There were scenes I was afraid they’d cut for time, and the did not. They cut the stuff I expected. I cried, oh man did I cry. Hell – Shailene Woodley was crying in the post-movie shenanigans and I started crying THEN. It was basically the giant gorgeous sobfest I hoped it would be.

Now…on to another thing…that will be connected to TFiOS full circle in the end…IF YOU ARE PATIENT.

(You will have to be REALLY patient, this is going to seem like a HUGE tangent.)

ANYWAY…

My old posts here on this blog rarely get comments anymore. Sometimes one will become spam target for whatever reason and I’ll turn off the comments on that entry, but mostly no entries every get comments and when they do – they’re spam. I did write one funny entry once about how Sugar Free cough drops have a laxative effect (there’s a warning on the bag! read it!) and periodically some poor soul who has googled “sugar free cough drops laxative” will show up at my blog with a comment like, “OH MY GOD. I AM MISERABLE.” Heee. But that’s about the only entry that randomly gets non-spam comments.

BUT! A week or so ago (May 28th if the date is to be trusted) someone came to my entry defending people who sometimes forget to send Thank You cards. Actually – I guess it was more of a criticism of people who hold on to the list of people who didn’t thank them in some sort of mental Burn Book FOREVER. Anyway – someone left an aggressive comment basically saying that people who get angry about NOT getting Thank You cards are awful people. It was kinda funny because the comment came out of the blue but it was SO FORCEFUL.

So, I have NO idea what happened to make that entry pop up as “active” again but THREE MORE people have randomly popped by to comment. And the last two people are angry “How dare you forget to send Thank You cards!” type of people. AND IT IS CRACKING ME UP. This old entry is suddenly getting traction and I’m assuming it’s because someone linked to it in some sort of forum about etiquette or something. I have no idea. I did a quick look at my stats, nothing jumped out at me, but I hate looking at my stats so I decided to just wonder and imagine that somewhere there’s a threaded comment section under a link to my entry where someone says, “CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS GIRL IS EXCUSING SUCH RUDENESS?” I think that would actually make me proud. Because, in a weird way they’re kinda adding “proof” – examples of the kind of people that motivated me to write the entry to begin with. People who say things like, “Maybe I won’t give a gift next time!”

Anyway…I woke up this morning and had that comment in my email and it made me laugh. It made me happy that I’m the kind of person that let’s go of things so easily so that I can still love the people in my life even if they don’t thank me for gifts. It made me happy that most of the people I surround myself with are the kind of people who would rather dump love and awesome into the world instead of negativity and bitterness. But most of all, it made me happy that I saw a beautiful movie last night that reminded me about the true importance of life. And yes, I still yell at my kids about their dirty socks, and I still mumble over my coffee about annoying Facebook game invites, but overall? Life is simultaneously bigger and smaller than all of that. Life is bigger in that – to the people we encounter daily – our attitude can make or break someone’s day. One small gesture from me can have a big impact on the life of someone near me. But life is smaller than that because – in a million years? None of it matters. And I find both concepts very beautiful and motivating. I will continue to try to create more ripples of awesome in my pond of life, than ripples of suck. Because that’s what I want to spread out from my little tiny pebble that get’s thrown into the water. I want the ripples to be those of life and love and kindness and joy, even if – eventually – all ripples fade.

I’m going to go make some more coffee now. Hug yourself today, I think you’re pretty awesome.

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The Return Of Hippie Kim

I spent some time between the ages of 18 and…maybe 21…studying all sorts of Easter religion and spirituality. I settled in mostly on a lot of Buddhist concepts and principles but I really kinda hodgepodged a lot of things together, including some aspects of Hare Krishna, until I had my own personal spiritual code to live by. I found myself in this realm for several reasons, but mostly because all of my hippie friends were doing it. I mean, I really enjoyed a lot of the concepts and practices and still hold on to a lot of the same spirituality today, but mainly it was because of my hippie friends. The same reason I wore long skirts and talked in length about Grateful Dead bootlegs.

At that time I also became a vegetarian because my spiritual outlook on life made it very difficult for me to put the carcass of a previously sentient being into my body. I stressed out on many levels about the consciousness of another creature being absorbed into my body against that creatures will. I think I cried over people eating hamburgers. It was all very dramatic. I was one with the world, you see. I wanted peace and harmony and my Basic Ultra Lights because – like a good 20-year old hippie – I was still a smoker.

Contaminating my environment with carcinogens was just fine, but DAMN if I was going to eat anything that used to Moo.

I bring all of this up because – well – I’ve not been sleeping well lately. I’ve been having really restless nights with really whacked-out and disturbing dreams. This has been going on for awhile now, and seems to just be a new constant in my life. Then – this weekend I was listening to a podcast and someone just casually referenced being a vegan because they don’t like the idea of eating part of something that had a consciousness.

I hadn’t thought about that tenet in YEARS. I think I blocked a lot of that part of my life out of my memory because, while some of it was fun and interesting, I was also a giant tool and d-bag and did a lot of stuff I wish I could erase. I knew I had been a vegetarian, but I hadn’t thought about why in a long time, other than my standard answer: My hippie friends were doing it.

But, when he said it I started thinking about it again. And y’all? I know this sounds STUPID and CRAZY but at this point I will just try about anything to get my sleep back…I think I’m going Vegan.

I’m not going to say that eating cheese made from the milk of a cow that lived a tortured life on a big-business dairy farm is somehow injecting that cow’s emotional turmoil into my subconscious. No. I’m not going to say that. But 20-year old hippie Kim is saying that, and 38-year old EXHAUSTED Kim is willing to test out any theory at this point. If 20-year old Kim’s crazy metaphysical spiritual belief system can help 38-year old Kim get a peaceful night’s sleep? Then 38-year old Kim is on board.

Yesterday was DAY 01 of Kim Becomes A Vegan In An Attempt To Rid Her Subconscious Of All Of The Freaky Shit That Is Keeping Her Up At Night.

Holy Crap. I sound like a crazy person.

But, as crazy as it sounds, even my current spirituality involves a lot of faith in the balance of energies in the world. I get out what I put in. If I walk around like a negative Nancy dumping my shit into the world, the world is going to hand it back to me. But if I try to spread joy, I’ll get joy back. I have a lot of faith in that balance, so applying that same balance inwardly isn’t really that far of a stretch. I often treat the world around me better than I treat my own body. So, while saying it like “I don’t want to eat animals because their souls will mix with mine” makes me sound like a whack-job…saying it like, “I think my body reflects what I put into it so I’m going to try to not put the products of animals that maybe didn’t live that great of lives in it…” makes me sound a little less insane, right?

Truth is? I’m just tired. And at this point I’ll try anything.

Day 01 was hard. At some moments I was happy to find some of my foods fit into a vegan diet: Hummus sandwiches! Strawberry preserve oatmeal! But other times I was frustrated: No yogurt! Or cottage cheese! WAH!

But also? I went to book club last night and there was TONS of delicious looking desserts and I couldn’t have any of it because it’s not vegan so I ended up coming home NOT feeling like a beached whale like I usually do.

I slept beautifully last night, BUT, I was also exhausted and I’ve found that every 4-5 days or so I’ll have a good night’s sleep just because I’m too tired for any other option. I’m going to keep with this vegan diet for awhile and see if I can notice any difference overall. Am I going to examine the ingredients and quiz the server at every restaurant? No. Not yet, anyway. I’m just going to do my best to eliminate products of animals from my diet and see if that makes 20-year old Hippie Kim satisfied. I’ve tried this before, but never with this type of motivation. I AM REALLY TIRED, Y’ALL. And that stupid podcast got the balls rolling in my mind and somehow now I’m convinced this is the solution! So, until I’ve tested it thoroughly, I’ll never know. So, here goes nothing.

Now, if you see me donning a long flowing skirt and a jingly anklet and toe rings, slap me, okay?