Remember who you are….

I’ve been partnering a lot with an organization called “Girls Who Can”, they are a social media network that connects women with online resources in the hope of empowering, inspiring, healing, and guiding today’s women. I was instructed to write a 200 word post about self care and what it means to me.

Often times when I prepare for writing I create a mind map to hash out all of the details and get my mind focus As I was prepping for this post a fun comparison came into my mind about what self care means to me.I kept toying with this idea about “remembering who you are” and thought, in’t this a Disney thing? Obviously I think in Disney comparisons.
Anyway I remembered from The Lion King, Simba was bullied into leaving Pride Rock by Scar and he leaves and grows up in the jungle with his new friends. He then gets a vision from his father who re centers him chanting “remember who you are” With the help from Nala and the new found strength from his visit from his dad. He goes home to ride rock to make things right. 

Self care is about digging down, and re-connecting with who you are. Rather, who I am. It’s providing space for your human self to be itself. That looks like a lot of different things at different parts of my life, depending on what my soul, body or mind needs. Some days it’s a bath; bubbles, epsom salts, and hot water. Some days it is meditation through bread making. Often times it’s me laying in bed under my covers still and quiet.
I do want to emphasize that self care may look different for everyone, all though people can do a lot of similar things to reach your goal of taking care of yourself. Self care also can also be things that we do not always want to do. It could be that we are tired but we know that if we cook a healthy meal, we are taking are of ourselves. So we do that, regardless of what else is going on. It could also be us taking a walk at the end of the day. We do the things or should I say make the time for things we don’t want to do, not to torture ourselves, but we know that if we do it, we will feel better about ourselves on the other end.

The opposite of Scarcity is Abundance.

I had this appiphony recently about scarcity. Recently we got snowed in here and it brought on this chaos for people. When the media sounds the alarm for winter storm warning the community reacts, the shelves go bare and people freak out. (I am sure there is a word for this, but I don’t know what it is) Anyway, this thing happens where people start to panic and think the accopolyps is coming. When we loose some control, or we think we’re going to loose some sort of control in our lives, it creates a panic. Our body and mind responds and we are left with anxiety and fear. Anxiety is something that our body feels, and fear… Fear is made up in our brain in reaction to things that are happening around us. 

When snow happens, especially here, people are fearful they won’t be able to leave their house or even have power. Because of this, people react, they buy things. People will spend hours at the grocery stores in line to get their needs met. They buy shovels, generators, flashlights, batteries, food… Etc.

There is this scarcity factor that kicks in, and people surround themselves with abundance. 

I have been seeing someone lately, and all though I don’t see it as a forever thing we really do enjoy each others company right now. Something happened recently that triggered this response I wasn’t really prepared for. He had stopped engaging with me for a while and shifted this routine we had started. I started to get anxious and fearful. My body turned into a wreck. I was shaking, binge eating and not being present. I was being irrational, not thinking clearly, and really relied on instant gratification. At some point I just expressed to him that I thought he was just being nice, and letting me off easy. When I said this to him, he reported back that he wouldn’t do that because we agreed to communicate when we were done, at least where we were at along the way. 

After sitting with this for a while I took a trip down memory lane. I have felt scarcity in multiple relationships, and situations. When things are in chaos and or feel out of control, I have over compesated with abundance of lots of things; Food, people (wether they are positive or not), belongings, other buying and drinking…. All impulsive behavior used in excess in order to compensate for what I was not getting. I was coping with substances, and using that to cover up and hide the things that come with scarcity. 

And that is where I am at. I don’t have any sound alive about how to overcome this at this time. 

Thank you

Thank you to the men along the way that have helped me feel safe and secure. To the ones who never wavered, tested their boundaries and have held space for me to be myself and grow.

After loosing my dad this year and re-connecting with family (my half sisters and brother); I’ve come to realize I am not alone in my own fucked up-ness because of him. More recently, I’ve been more present for what I’ve missed out on. I’ve been watching this TV show with my roommate about a family that lost their dad in high-school, just before graduation. It is called “This is Us”— All the feels. Anyway, the dad in that show comes across as amazing. Needless to say, I cried a lot watching it and was pretty shocked by my own loss and what I never had.

I had been writing this post in a Starbucks on paper, while writing I observed a man and a younger gal talking to each other for a bit. After she had left, he had explained that she was like his daughter to him. He talked about his own daughter and had said how he bragged about her. It sunk in that my own dad would have never bragged about me. I let him know in the moment that “She was very lucky to have him brag about her”.

After having this conversation with him, it brought up all of the men in my life who were actually positive role models for me growing up. At the time because of my own PTSD with older men, I was terrified of them. Now I look back in admiration, appreciation and gratefulness. Slow and steady, I’ve been able to overcome my PTSD through multiple years in therapy.

The men I’m thinking about are my grandpa, Mike, John, and more recently Scott.

I have pictures of myself when I was much younger, like 3 years old, laying on my grandpas chest. He was the only man in my life at the time that never wavered, and he loved me unconditionally. I never doubted him. He was consistent and kind.

John and Mike were church leaders. They were kind, compassionate and amazing men. They listened with open hearts, they were consistent, and strong. They sat through all of my growth, my struggles and grief. They had amazing boundaries and I felt as safe as any other teenage girl would have felt with PTSD in the moment. As I look back on that time, I recognize their support and the impact they had on me when I was younger. It was impressionable and important in my personal growth and journey.

I am not going to write about Scott, but I did tell him to his face my gratefulness for his presence in my life.

I do raise my glass to these men, and many more who have impacted my life in positive ways. Ones who have allowed me to feel safe, who have not wavered outside of their boundaries and who have been instrumental to my growth in my self and overcoming my PTSD with men. You are truly amazing humans on this planet.

I cannot thank you enough.

Out again

I didn’t get married.
I should have known better with someone so unsure in their own mind about things.

This past summer has gone by so quickly and it is fall now. The leaves have dropped, and I’m drinking coffee out of a fancy cup again at Starbucks.

I moved in with my friend and her kids.

It’s heartbreaking and lovely at the same time.

I want so badly to have my own family, and yet I seek comfort in being around others with theirs.

The bonus part of all of this: My options are endless. I could go anywhere, and be anyone I want. That’s a pretty empowering feeling.

The hunt is on.

Totally irrational, yet totally normal thinking.

A friend at work recently lost a noticeable amount of weight. Good for her I said, well… what I really said what book did you read to kick your self into gear. She said, what this… this is how I haven’t been taking care of myself.

Totally irrational Rachael brain says “I wish that I could loose weight by not taking care of myself”… well not eating…. because history says that me not taking care of myself means over eating and watching hours of TV. To defy this, means a whole mother world that doesn’t even live in my wheel house.

ED is ALIVE this week. Hmm.

My power candle.

I don’t even know where I got this idea, but it’s super cheesy so bear with me. I have a power candle for when I work out. I was at Michaels spending money like a good consumer, well for my wedding. I was buying craft supplies. Anyway I came across this candle and I bought it. I also found this notebook that tracked work outs. Both were on sale, and the moment I got home I put on my work out clothes and decided to light this candle and let it be my power candle. I imagined only positive things coming out of it, and turned all of my negative self talking into positive thoughts. I kept repeating over and over.. I’ve got this, keep going, only one more time, I’ve got this. And I felt amazing.

I also made a new painting that said “I’ve got this”. And I can’t help but smile when I look at it. I’ve worked out a few times last week, like 2-3 times, and so far twice this week. It’s not a lot, but it’s a hell of a lot more thanI had been doing before!

Overcoming the Bully

Okay, first of all.. this is not something that has been happening over night. It’s years and years of therapy and changing the way I think about things.

Easier said than done and I’m not 100% healed, but I’m so much better than I was 3 years ago, even months ago, or moments ago.

Remember those I AM paintings I did? Well they started to work.

Side bar: In graduate school I took a tutor class which helped me with my papers and also gave me credit at the same time. But I learned something there that has stuck with me through out the years and has changed my thinking patterns in a way I could never have expected. You wouldn’t know this about me but I’m afraid of writing. I’m laughing as I say that because I have this blog with over 60 posts. But writing at the time was one of the most vulnerable places for me to be, and I was terrified of posting my papers etc. Anyway this writing tutor taught some psychology with her class and she taught about neuro transmitters and pathways. If we live one way, it’s hard for our minds to do something new unless we practice something new consistently. As we move forward in that practice, it creates new neuro pathways and those new ways of doing or thinking becomes easier.

Those paintings I started painting, have been really powerful and pivotal in this mind changing game. When I repeat I am enough, enough times… I’ve started to believe it. I even wrote it on a sticky note at my desk.

My next post will be about my most recent achievement with this and how I’ve been able to overcome the bully as I’ve been consistently working out!

After all this time.

I can’t believe I didn’t see it before.

I’ve talked about these voices (I mean self critic, I’m not hearing voices). Let’s just be clear, it’s my inner voice that I’m talking about. But this self critic who has been holding me back, the one I’ve deemed my dad’s voice, is really myself. And I know that, but I’ve trained myself into being the biggest and worst bully of them all. All of those people who harassed me and made me believe I wasn’t good enough, has really trained me to be my biggest bully. I am my biggest bully. WTF.

Working out and self bullying.

I think I’ve posted before that I’m a cereal gym member and never really have been a goer. This has always been for reasons that seem really terrible at the time, but now feel super petty. It’s also the excuses I’ve made up in my brain about the reasons why I shouldn’t go to the gym.

I would join gyms because I thought it was the right thing to do. I would join them and be pretty good about it for a month or two and then something stops me from going.

One time I was working out at the gym a lot, I had a trainer and everything that I had gotten as a gift from my mom. What “ruined it” for me that time was this desk attendant. Every time I would come in, he would ask if I was meeting me with my trainer. I about lost it and eventually stopped going, because I avoided having that conversation with him. I lost motivation, and also, felt judged in my brain which then spiraled into a nasty fest of self doubt, confidence and self hate. You know the words: You will never be able to… or you are not good enough… etc

Anyway, what ends up happening, is me judging myself and comparing myself to other people at the gym. I’d get so wrapped up in what I wasn’t and what I couldn’t do, that working out was more stressful to me because of how much I would make up in my head about it and what the consequences would be. So frankly I would just give up. Now that I think about it, going to the gym under this mind set was super self harmy to my mental health. I was being my own self bully. Wow.

I mean, most of these are just excuses and reasons for me to not do it. Which seemed easier than actually doing it.

Next post is about what steps I’ve been taking to overcome this mentality.

What (almost) just happened?

First of all, getting married, while in recovery from an eating disorder is bullshit. I’m going to write more about this in another post when I have more time to think about it, and also insert some really positive words of wisdom.

What it has done though, has allowed me to reevaluate where I am in my life, and what I could be doing better at.

What transpired was my first dress fitting. My undergarment wouldn’t fit. I was mortified and upset. I breathed through it, decided I was going to loose 10lbs, and ran my mind through circles. Okay….. I have to pre warn you that I didn’t spiral so bad, it just felt like it. I just felt this sense of urgency. In less than 100 days I will be getting married. Fuuuuuuckk.

The re-evaluation was just an evaluation of where I was at mentally, how I was spending my time and what I was eating. I also started working out… this week it’s been 2x, but more recently I’ve just been trying to move my body more in general.

So what happened, or almost happened but didn’t… I didn’t give up an I encouraged myself along the way. I said you’ve got this, you can to this, to myself over and over.

I don’t mean to go off topic for a second, but remember how I wrote about my picking problem before? —- well anyway I was laying on the ground, doing a leg exercise, my belly popped out. I kept exercising, but noticed an inperfection on my belly, where I had something that seemed pickable. I started to touch it, and then what happens next totally surprised me…. I stopped. I looked at my belly and said picking will not make this better, and it doesn’t temporarily make anything better. I mean, logically we know this.

I just feel really proud of myself in those moments and it suddenly became really easy to be nice to myself. It feels good to be loved by myself.

It’s a small victory, but pretty impactful in the process.