Sunday, November 23, 2014

Beauty In My Brokenness

There is beauty in my brokenness.  At least that is what they said at church.  I sure hope that is true because lately I have felt very broken.  I know I haven't been writing like I used to and for that I apologize.  The truth is, I didn't want to have a blog that highlighted the fact that I feel stuck and unsatisfied post after post.   I told a friend the other day that my shine is dim.  I think that probably sums up my mentality at the moment.

I am not sure why I feel like this.  Well correction, I know exactly why I feel like this.  The question is why is different than any other time.  I still am looking for jobs, I am still taking care of my mom, and I am still hoping to find love.  Nothing has really changed in my life.  In fact things might be a little more stable than usual, yet I have this empty feeling.  I have these dark thoughts invading my brain telling me that I am not living up to my potential, that I am not trying hard enough, I am not doing my best, that I am tired of caring about others, and that I am just one big disappointment.  And while some of you may think I am being hard on myself, maybe I am to some extent, but in reality I do think I could be doing more.  But I think I am getting dangerously close to that point of wondering if maybe just maybe this is life.  That perhaps the happiness and the struggle free life that is on tv and in the movies and apparently on Facebook and Instagram may never be my own reality.  Maybe this isn't just a really long dry season but instead it is what my life is supposed to be and always will be?

The sermons at church the past few weeks have reminded me that being a follower of Christ does not guarantee that we will have an easy life.  In fact, being a Christian means that we will go through pain and suffering, but it is through that time that we are becoming stronger and preparing for the future.  I am not opposed to having storms in my life.  I have been through many and I am glad that I did.  I know my strength and my potential.  But this season, this storm,  just seems to be never ending.  That motivation and positivity that I have always tried to keep close is fleeting.  Right now I am feeling more lost than ever.

This weekend I decided to devote on working on me.  Well I have done a lot of reflecting.  I have shed some tears.  I have had some me time.  I have talked to some friends.  And I have done a lot of thinking.  And you know what I realized, only I can pull myself out of this funk.  Only I can be the source of my motivation.  Only I can choose happiness.  Oh and happiness is definitely a choice my friends.

We are getting close to the end of the year.  And I do not want to put off anything with the idea of starting fresh or with a clean slate.  I want to go strong into 2015 with momentum for change in my life.  No longer am I going to cover up my darkness.  Today, I am going to use the beauty of my brokenness to find joy, to be happy, and to love just as I am supposed to.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Becoming a Better Me

Suddenly when I stopped stressing over a guy who never called me back, I had a lot of free time.  No I will be honest, some of that free time was still spent stressing over that guy that never called.  But with the remaining time I had after the stress, which still was a lot, I decided to focus on me.  Sure my job search may be lacking, I feel stuck in my family's house forever, and might never find a husband and turn into the neighborhood cat lady, but there is one thing over which I did have control, me!  Thus in the beginning of September I decided to get serious about my weight loss and fitness goals.

I know my weight loss journey is something I have written about several times over the years.  I have tried various diets and even tracking through  My Fitness Pal but I was never truly consistent.  Back in May I started Weight Watchers.  Despite paying my monthly fees three months passed by with very little loss.  As one member from my meeting would say, I was donating money to Weight Watchers.  But something stuck with me.  I guess I felt like the fall was a fresh start.  Ever since that I haven't looked back.

So what is different?  I have been going to the gym consistently.  My goal is to go everyday and at least do something.  Life happens, and LA Fitness has the worst weekend hours ever in life, so I don't always make it everyday, however I am coming quite close.  I have also started morning workouts.  Working out in the morning has basically changed my life.  Sure I set my alarm for a ridiculously early time and hit the snooze button four or five times.  But when I finally get there and get on the machine I feel great.  I think to myself it is 7:30 am and I have already accomplished something.  Not to mention the abundance of energy that I know have throughout the day.  Unfortunately, I have nowhere to place this new found energy, but I am working on it.  And what helps is that one of my BFFs is right there with me every morning.  We made a pact to not tell the other person when we aren't going to make it.  That way we always push ourselves to go because we assume that the other person will be there.

I am making smarter decisions with my eating.  I have been bringing in my breakfast and lunch more.  This helps me also save money which is a double bonus. Also I have even done some cooking over the past few weeks which I don't usually have the opportunity to do often.  I know that Weight Watchers is a lifestyle change and not a diet.  I no longer beat myself up if I have a "bad" meal or a "bad" day.  I refuse to be discourage when the scale is not a big loss, because I know as it is often said that this journey is a marathon and not a sprint.

But there is a bigger difference.  After much planning, scheming, and nudging I convinced my best friends to get back on board and re-join Weight Watchers.  It is while the three of us were on it together that we were the most successful.  We have all tried on our own for years and it just hasn't worked.  And now there is nothing more exciting to me than being able to share our successes and bad days together knowing that we are all on this quest together.

Each day I feel smaller and I feel stronger.  At 6:30 am I am on a machine dripping with sweat I am imagining myself on the beach next summer.  Each time I am craving fried chicken or a piece of pizza I think about the old me, that me from 7 years ago, and I think to myself that I refuse to go back there again.  When I see my mom and everything she is going through I know that I have to become a better me so that I will continue to be able to take care of her as she grows weaker.  So that is it.  I am becoming a better me and I couldn't be happier!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tinder Lovin'

Despite the fact that I had sworn off online dating, I decided to give Tinder a chance.  I thought what is the harm?  I needed to really start getting over the last guy I dated.  Plus, when it comes to online dating I know that there will always good stories that I can share with my readers.  So think of this Tinder experiment as my gift to you ;)

I must confess this is my third attempt at Tinder.  The other two times I joined via boredom and then I left and deleted the app via boredom 10 minutes later lol.  But this time I decided I would really give it a chance.
Anyway, I REALLY started Tinder a few days ago.  A few of my friends have had moderate success from it and I hear about it all the time.  Tinder is a dating app that I think it is connected some how through Facebook (yet doesn't share your information).  They will pull up people in your area and I think through you Facebook friends.  You will see a few pictures of the people who come up and you swipe left if you don't like them, swipe right if you do.  Then if you are both pick each other the app will let you know.  If you are a match you are able to start chatting via the app.

Now Tinder is not all roses.  In fact for a long time Tinder was known as merely a hook up app.  But I think that reputation is starting to change.  But I have still heard of a few people who didn't get the memo.  Case in point (my comments are in blue).

So I ended up deleted Rick after that.  Kind of obnoxious, but not enough to deter me from my mission.  And boy I found this jack pot yesterday!  So on Friday I started chatting with this man named Sean.  Sean is 27 lives about 40 minutes from me, works on the power lines during the day, and at night is a bouncer.  He looks kind of like a nerdy football player because he wears glasses.  The conversation seemed to be decent enough to me and we ended up exchanging numbers.

The next day there were texts here and there.  Until he started texting me from a different phone.  I am typing in the blue and green.  And pardon my typos I am a terrible texter.  Please read below (I have cropped out the phone number for privacy reasons):

Yeah that happened! Just to let you know, I really did tell him to give her back her keys.  He asked what I was talking about.  And then I sent him these screen shots.  His only reaction was WOW.  And I haven't heard from either of them since.  Why does stuff like this only happen to me? 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Too Blessed to Be Stressed?

Too blessed to be stressed.  Who came up with that phrase? If you Google this phrase you will find a lot of motivational pictures and even more bible verses to read, a catering company, and even a tv show.  Regardless of the number of Google hits this search has I don't agree.  If anything I am stressed because I am blessed.  HMPF!

Everyday I feel like I am playing the shell game with some part of my life.  Rarely do I think everything is great.  Usually it is most things are good and something is really bad.  Or maybe most things are kind of terrible and there might be one great thing.  But I am not sure if I can ever say that everything is great.  I am not even sure if I can say that everything is good.  Despite feeling blessed and despite feeling grateful for what I do have, I'm stressed.

So why are my blessings stressing me out?  Well remember that line from one of the billion Spiderman movies.  I am talking about the first one with Toby McGuire.  Well Peter's uncle tells him that famous line "With great power comes great responsibility."  (Side note, while I was doing the research of this quote I found out Voltaire actually said this line first.  You should read about him if you ever have the chance.)  Anyway, I feel like when you are blessed you have more responsibility and responsibility obviously goes hand in hand with stress right? I am stressed because I am blessed.

Ever since I can remember I had this thought, this strong conviction in my heart that I was destined to change the world.  Even as a child I felt like I had to hold myself to a high standard in order to step into my roll as greatness.  It was a feeling of burden.  I often felt as if I carried the weight of the world on my own rounded shoulders.  And with this burden I often, and still do feel guilty and disappointed and never satisfied.  Why?  Because I feel like I am never truly living up to my potential.   In my mind if I let myself down, I am letting the world down and therefore I am letting God down.  Tough way to view the world huh?  I am blessed with talents and abilities but I am stressed because I am not utilizing enough to effect change in the world.

I go back and forth from meeting to meeting.  I have multiple conference calls a week.  I am trying to volunteer once a month.  I am beginning to get involved more in church.  But I often find myself wondering if I am really making a difference.  I am stressed because I feel like I am wasting my blessings.  I am not blessing others enough.

While this view has continued into my adulthood it has also morphed with my increased adult responsibilities.  In church they always tout honoring your mother and father.  And when people see my mom and I together at times people will stop to tell me that I will receiving my blessings in heaven for the way that I take care of her.  But at the end of the day I never feel that I do enough.  I never have enough money.  I never have enough time.  I never have enough patience.  I am blessed to have my this amazing mother in my life but I feel stressed that I am letting her down.

So I already know what some of you are thinking.  My faith is not strong if I am stressed.  Or maybe you are thinking God has it all under control so you don't need to stress.  Let me be honest.  I don't think I am in this upper realm of understanding with my relationship with God.  Now I am not saying that I lack faith, what I am saying is I am tired.  I feel like I am constantly bracing myself for the next impact.

All I really want to do is blessed others as I have been blessed myself, stress-free.  Is it even possible?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Too Overwhelmed for Words

I am embarrassed.  This is my first post in a couple of months.  It is not for lack of trying.  I have sat down down started typing but I could never find it in myself to actually finish.  Shoot, finishing this post may be a small victory in itself.

A lot has been going on with me.  Summer was plagued with a series of ups and downs (much like the temperatures for summer 2014).  Have you ever felt like not all aspects in your life can be in sync at once?  Through God's blessings I have had steady temp work since May.  But at the same time I feel so bored to tears.  I feel like with more money comes more bills.  I am always struggling to stay ahead.  This can't be life! Sometimes I crave quiet and stillness in my surrounding.  My brain is on overdrive most of the time. And it is exhausting.

My love life has been a whirlwind in every direction.  Sometimes really good sometimes really bad.  It can be hard to walk away when you should.  It is pretty difficult in admitting to yourself that no matter how great you think someone is and how awesome they think you are that it still may never be.  After the storm has settled your life has been shaken and in the end you are alone.  Again.  What hurts is the most is when men think I am such an amazing person, yet I am not amazing enough that they see a future with me.  I would probably rather you just tell me I am terrible then at least then I could hate you.

My spiritual journey has been at a pause.  I still go to church.  But where is my fire?  Where is my follow through?  Where is my passion?  I am stagnant.  I have not really grown.  And perhaps my lack in devotion has contributed to my feelings of being overwhelmed.

I am a tired caretaker.  I am scared about my mom's future.  I see her gradually get worse.  I see her needs expanding.  And I question to myself over and over again if I can handle this?  Am I prepared financially?  Emotionally?  At times I just feel like a terrible daughter.  This roll reversal is a battle in patience and I think I am losing big time.

But you know what, I am going to do better.  I have no choice.  Life isn't easy, this I know first hand.  But I have faced worst and I have gotten through it.  I need to get back to being me, fabulous and all.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Love Roller Coaster

I was in like with a man.  Ok I am still in like with a man.  As a result I have been a on a love roller coaster.  It is a love roller coaster a majority of which was self-imposed.  And while I have been on this roller coaster I lost myself, but today I am getting off of this ride.  Today I am regaining that woman I let go of for the past few weeks.

I have been dating this guy for almost two months.  You may remember I wrote about him a few posts ago. When we met there was this instant connection.  When we were together there was an unquestionable chemisty.  The first month I was riding high on a cloud of happiness and joy.  For the first time, in a long time, I thought that I might have found someone that I could spend my life with.  Yes I know it was a little too soon to predict that, but sometimes you have these feelings that you can't explain.  I had it.  And I had it bad.

Month two has been a downward spiral.  I went from being this vibrant, strong, dynamic woman to being this woman I am kind of embarrassed of.  My friends told me this.  I knew, yet I couldn't stop.  I was on a one-way ticket to Crazytown.  Suddenly my thoughts were revolving around the actions of a man.  My mood was determined on a man.  My daily happiness was dependent on a man.  A man.  A MAN.  As if any man should have that kind of power of me.  I was waiting by the phone to hear from him.  I was holding my breath every time I texted him.  I held back the things I wanted to say.  I did all of this in the hopes that he would realize that I am the one for him.  And in the end I think when I lost myself, I lost him too.

But I also must confess my roller coaster was not just him.  A few months ago I took a test that confirmed what I already subconsciously knew.  I am a girl who needs her downtime.  I need some good old fashioned by myself, doing what I want, not speaking with anyone for hours, alone time.  And for a long time I felt guilty about that until I realized that if I don't take the time to have some quality alone time I will be imbalanced.  Well yesterday it hit me.  I haven't had my alone time in a couple of months.  Trying to balance work, family, friends, the guy I am dating, and all my extra-curricular activities I was running on E, shoot I was skating by on fumes.  As a result, I have not been myself.  Couple that with my own insecurities and dating someone that pricks those feelings is a molotov of disaster.

Today is my fresh start.  Today I decided that I was no longer going to be a shell of my former self.  It's back to the basics.  I am am re-focusing my energy on myself.  Because in the end I am the most important person in my life.  It is past due time for me to start acting like it.  So I told the guy all of this.  Granted, it was in an extremely long text.  I didn't want to go another day with all this bubbling up in my chest.  And I am not giving up complete hope that that we can make it, but for now I am letting go. I am jumping off of this roller coaster mid-ride.   I am not going to wait around for someone to pick me.  I am picking myself.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Family Matters

This weekend my mom and I went down to visit my dad's side of the family.  It was a three hour trip that took four hours both going and coming.  But to me and my mom the almost 24 hours that we spent with our other family is just the beginning of reconnecting a family that has been separated for years.

Allow me to explain.  This was an important trip for me.  My mom and dad were high school sweethearts.  both grew up in the same city.  A former factory town without its factory has now become a shell of it what it used to be.  To me going back to this city is always depressing.  It kind of reminds me of those parts of Baltimore that you could see used to be great but have been abandoned years ago.  Anyway, growing up I only was able to see my dad's side of the family around Christmas.  We lived in the Midwest and the rest of the family was on the East Coast.  Any family besides my mom and dad seemed like a countless stream of magical family members.  It was hard for me to keep up with the faces and the names enough to really have much of a connection with anyone.

Then my dad passed away.  Suddenly the real person who linked us all together was out of the picture.  Communicating with my "countless stream of magical family members" seemed awkward.  As the years went by the awkwardness continued to grow.  Combined with the fact that my mom has very little of her long term memory left, it has been hard to find out more information about my dad and his family.  It felt like the only memories that she had were from me.  And some of those memories were from the point of view from one very imaginative child.

I always felt like there was a part of my life that was missing.  For many years I always wondered why I looked the way I did. And one day I felt that my questions had been answered when I found my dad's birth certificate.  On the certificate it stated that his father was from Hawaii.  I had figured it out.  I was Hawaiian!  Made perfect sense. This finally explained my curly hair, my reddish skin tone when I tanned, and the fact that I love pineapple and Hawaiian bread (just kidding on the last two).  I brought this information to my grandmother (my mom's mother) she told me that she didn't think that really was his father and that only my dad knew who his father was.  I was heartbroken.  I was going to continue to be a mutt.  But I realized then that I had more than a few unanswered questions.

So between the passing of my father, and my uncle (his brother), and the invent of Facebook I knew what I had to do.  It was time to really make an effort getting to know more about my dad's family.  The trip this weekend was part of the beginning stages of this process.

The weekend was amazing.  It was short, yes, both my mom and I learned a lot about my dad and his family. Some of it was happy.  I heard so many funny stories.  And some of it was sad.  It was sad to see the struggles that his family had.  But I was happy to know how much my aunt and uncle looked up to him, much like I look up to him as well.  My dad, despite some of the unfortunate circumstances in his life turned out to be this amazing person, amazing husband, amazing father, and amazing brother.  And it just made me tear up to think that I am no longer able to have this amazing person in my life.

I was also sad to confirm that I might never know who was my real dad's father.  It is a piece of my history that may always remain a mystery.  However, I am so glad and blessed that I have living history only a short four hour trip that should only be three hours away.  A special shot out to my aunt who is one of my number one fans!  Thank you for the first step of many in strengthening this bond.