I knew this day would be a good one. It’s Monday, first of all. And while Mondays are difficult in many ways, they are still – to me – blank slates for the week. I don’t like my rest day being Monday because I want to start the week off on a good foot. I like to get my eating on track on Mondays. I like to get my weekly schedule on track. I like Mondays as beginnings. Even though – as the end of the weekend – they still suck donkey balls. And then there’s the first day of the month! A great day if you like significant “Start” days. New diets! New fitness plans! New calendars! There are so many things you can start over on the first day of the month. So! Make today a Monday AND The first day of the month and it’s like: BAM! MAJOR CLEAN SLATE BONUS POINTS!
New month! New week! I haven’t screwed up anything yet!
Full disclosure: It’s 4:45am…I haven’t had too much time to screw things up.
Add the fact that a new 30-day Subtraction Project has started and this has the recipe to be a kickass September!
But man…we have so much going on. I’m trying not to be overwhelmed.
This is the dreaded month where we have an overlap between Autumn Soccer and Winter Swimming. Actually – they overlap September AND October – but this is the FIRST month when we decide whether or not we can handle it. We could wait and sign them up in November, completely after soccer, BUT! They’re still in the swimming groove…they’ve made HUGE progress this summer…without a reason to get them to the pool, I’m afraid they’ll lose all of that progress and we want swimming to be THE winter activity. At least for Nikki, Wes may do basketball for awhile. So! Soccer AND Swimming. We swore we’d never put the kids in two activities at once. Yet…YET…here we are. We weighed the pros and cons and decided the pros were high enough to warrant an attempt. If we end up taking October off from swimming because September was too crazy? That’s fine. At least then we will have only had one month of a break, hopefully not enough to lose any progress made in the skill department.
And this is the month of THE IRONMAN! Donnie has been in official training mode, with a coach and a schedule that he’s stuck to PERFECTLY since May. That’s 12+ weeks of a full commitment to a race that is now less than 4 weeks away. He’s peaked most of his training levels, but he does have a half-Ironman distance race this weekend. Then it’s basically taper mode until 9/28…the big day.
So! Great day to start with a clean slate, and I really want to start on the right foot because this month has more than it’s share of challenges.
After I go for a run, I’ll be taking the kids south to see E at Montevallo. I can think of no better way to A) Spend a Holiday or B) Fill up my tank with energy to start the month. I miss that kid terribly. He’s working three jobs and school has started so we will never see him again. We’re respecting his need for sleep and showing up around lunch and leaving around 3:30 so he can go to work. I’m hoping to soak up as much love from him in that 3 hours as possible to hold me over for awhile.
I’m the kind of person who is always trying to better myself. Some days I think this is how everyone is because I am just surrounded by those kind of people – both online and IRL. (In Real Life. It’s how the cool kids speak.) But then I hear periodically that there are people who just stay with the status quo, probably wanting to be better in some way, but never really trying. I don’t know any of those people but I’d like to think if they hung out with me for a day, they’d change their view. There’s is something intoxicating about trying something new in the hopes that it brings you closer to the you that you want to be. I think that’s why I used to buy a new calendar/planner every few months. It gave me an excuse to start clean, start over, and try again at being more organized and that was always such a good feeling. I think that’s also why some people try so many diets – because that hope that this will be the one! is almost euphoric.
Does any of it work? Most of the time? No. But I’m about to celebrate my one year anniversary with the Bullet Journal system and I’ve not stuck with one calendar/organization system for an entire year…EVER. I’m also about to register for the Huntsville Half Marathon which I did as part of my first training class in 2011 and I’ve been running ever since. So, yes. Sometimes we try things and they don’t work. But sometimes they do work and we find ourselves in a better place because of them. SO WHY NOT TRY?
Today I woke up with this weird sense of urgency. TODAY! TODAY I WILL IMPROVE ALL OF THE THINGS!
I am even typing this urgently, if you can believe it. I woke up at 3am and just thought that this would be the day I would try different methods for EVERYTHING. Because I’ve settled into so many ineffective systems of living that I just need to try new things. I’ve gotten really good at focusing on my work now that the kids are in school, but that means I’m not moving from my desk for – sometimes – 8 hours. I sit down at 4am, get up sometimes to run, always to get the kids ready for school, but essentially I’m here until 2:20pm when I leave to pick up the kids. And depending on the day (like if I ran or not) I sit back down again until 4pm. HAVEN’T YOU HEARD? Sitting is the new smoking! It’s going to kill us all! So today? I WILL SIT LESS. I think I’m going to figure out a schedule, like…every hour on the hour I’ll get up, make a circle around the house, and then do 10 pushups, 10 situps, and 10 squats. That will get me away from the desk for less than 5 minutes, but if I do it 10 times? I’ve done 100 of those things a day! I don’t know…we’ll give it a try.
And I’m going to open Facebook less. I’m a funny girl, did you know that? I am. And I like to share that funny with Facebook. I only friend people on Facebook I actually know, so if we’ve never met in some capacity we’re not FB friends, but if we are? You know that I post articles/pictures/statuses 100 times a day. I can’t help it! I take a cute picture of my cat on my printer, or my kid says something funny, or someone sends me a great article…all of these things I want to share with the world! Which is fine…except that once you open Facebook, you’re stuck there. You have to read your updates and check your feed and the next thing you know…12 years have passed. So today! Today I will only open Facebook to post what I want to post, and then I will close it until a designated “CATCH UP ON FACEBOOK” time.
I will not stop taking the phone with me to the potty, though. Facebooking while Peeing is the new Black.
I work on websites all day with my job. I love my work but it’s like Geometry was in school. Sometimes you have this theorem you have to prove and you work on it and you stare at it but you just can’t get the logic to connect from beginning to end. So! You get up and you walk away for a bit. Almost always, you sit back down and BAM! You figured it out! But still…you HAVE to get away to allow the productive part of your troubleshooting brain some quiet time to work it out while the rest of your brain shifts focus. So! I have decided I need to be way more conscious with how I use that time. Sometimes I just switch to another web task, but in reality, I should get up and from the computer and do something completely mundane for 5 minutes. Like do a load of laundry, or wash some dishes, or clean a toilet. Because the shift really does help my brain troubleshoot better AND it gives me a chance to knock a domestic chore off my list. Today! Today I’m going to be more productive with those “I Need To Reboot My Brain” moments.
I’m still struggling with stress eating, even as a vegan. It amazes me how easy that is to do. (It also makes me very sick some days. Overdosing on some kinds of fiber is not recommended by my digestive system.) I’m going to try to eat on a schedule today. I do get hungry more often because food doesn’t sit with me as long, so I do need to eat more, but I find that my stress eating habits get magnified in those moments of hunger so I’m trying to beat the hunger pains. I’m going to try to schedule snacks all day so I never feel that “hungry” feeling that sometimes pushes me down the spiral of overeating.
Parenting. Dammit. I’ve been an awful Mom these last few weeks. I know we all have bad days but my bad days have been so bad I don’t even want to tell you about them and that’s insane because I talk about boob sweat here, so you know it must be bad. But I have big hopes for a good parenting today. BIG HOPES. BIG DREAMS. GOOD MOM. Done.
Basically? I woke up ready to MAKE SOME DAMN CHANGES. I don’t know why. All I know is that if you’re the kind of person who likes trying to better yourself because sometimes something sticks…then you don’t want to waste those spontaneous urges to IMPROVE ALL OF THE THINGS. It’s the shotgun approach to self-help. Just change it all and surely some bad habit will fall to the ground.
And if not? The feeling of trying is at least euphoric in and of itself. The attempt at improvement is very valuable to motivating you to try again later. It feels good to try. Failing sucks, but it doesn’t overpower that feeling of, “Today! Today I will try this thing to better my life!” And when I wake up with the urge to try all of the things to better all of my life? I’m not going to ignore it.
BRING IT ON.
Edited to Add: This is the perfect time to tell you that the 30 Day Subtraction Project is starting again September 1st! Do it! Talking about an easy project to make you feel better about your life. When she did it a few months ago, I looked forward to the daily email prompts. They were GREAT. And the motivation for the before/after photos of practical tasks (some are not that concrete) was awesome. Loved looking at the progress on those days! GO SIGN UP! It starts Monday!
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.