Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Normal Life

I long for a normal life.  I know what you are already going to say.  What's normal?  Normal is boring.  Don't be like everyone else.  Blah Blah Blah.  I know that everyone has their own issues.  I know that everyone has issues with their families thus making no one's life particularly "normal", however, for me I would love to have a normal mundane existence, at least some of the time.

I feel like a bad daughter.  My mother is craving my attention.  Yet the more she tries to get it the more I am turned off.  You see, there are negative effects to being raised an only child, a super independent one at that. I enjoy being alone, a lot.  I also long to only be responsible for myself.  But being the only child of a couple where one spouse is dead and the other spouse has severe Multiple Sclerosis none of this is really an option.

I see my mother getting worse and worse.  If it were just physical maybe it would be easier.  But when you are the sole holder of your childhood memories, when you are the one person that has to remember everything for someone else it is frustrating yes, but sad.  Sometimes I just want my mom to be the person who gives me advice and who will maybe babysit my kids one day (umm don't get excited with this kids comment you know my stance on that lol).  She is dependent on me for her care and for her entertainment.  But I don't want to feel like I am a camp counselor who is constantly planning out activities to make her happy.  It makes me resentful.  When I spend time with my mom I want to do it because I want to, not because everyone else thinks that I am obligated to spend my time with her.  I want to be able to be spontaneous and not have to always be three steps ahead.  I want to go on last minute lunch dates and crash at a friend's place without feeling guilty.

I know I should be more understanding and more kind.  Like I said I feel like an awful daughter.  But I don't want my whole life to revolve around my mother's life.  And maybe it is selfish because my parents raised me.  I am grateful for that.  But they had a choice in the matter, I do not.  And I am not saying that I would ever stop taking care of her.   I just want to have my own life, a normal life.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Confessions of being broke

Over the past few weeks I feel like the bill collectors have been coming out of the wood works.  I decided that ignoring the calls that I know are bill collectors probably is no longer a good idea.  Actually, it was never really a good idea.  Avoidance is bad.

Left and right bills are due.  To think that a month ago I was living the good life. I had steady work.  I had a savings account.  Now I barely even know how to type savings much less have actual money in it.  Now, I am still waiting for the next thing assignment to come or even yet the next job.
I am definitely starting to freak out.  I feel kind of sad.  I feel like I will have a constant life of poverty.  However, I still manage to laugh at my situation despite it all.  I realized that becoming a stripper and selling my eggs at 31 probably won't prove to be lucrative.  I have said more than once that I can be on the Real Housewives of Atlanta because many of those girls are broke and don't have husbands.  My cousin just called me a dork when I suggested that, as if it is not plausible.

But I know I am not alone.  Most of my friends are struggling, which I think is weird.  I mean was life this hard for our parents? I thought that I went to law school to make a better life for myself.  I thought that I would be living comfortably and be able to take care of my mom.  I thought the American dream was working hard and making it.  This dream feels like a nightmare!

I feel as if I am one step away from where I was a few years ago.  That's when I first lost my job.  I was sad, scared, angry, and maybe at some point I felt no hope.  I definitely at one time was in a dark place, so dark that I was embarrassed to share some of my most rawest thoughts with my closest friends.

However, there is one important difference now than a couple of years ago, my faith has grown stronger.  I was telling my other cousin that every time I feel like I can't take anymore and one more thing can't go wrong and I am at my end, it ends up working out.  I have survived each crisis in my life, only by the mercy of God.  I continued to be amazed at God's powers and how God has brought me closer to him.  He has truly been the supplier of all my needs.  My needs have always been satisfied while my irrelevant wants have been discarded.  I hope that one day, when I am on the other side of this storm that I can serve as a testimony as to how great God really is.

So when I look at my bank account, when I try to calculate how much my bills are this week, when I drink water at the bar instead of a glass of wine or two I know that it is all going to be ok.  I know that God will take care of me and then all of my fears and burdens will fall on him.  I guess sometimes we just go through our struggles as a reminder that He is greater than us and that we are never truly separated from him.

Shred Update #3

Today marks the beginning of Shred week #4.  If you remember last week I was a little bummed out because I had gained a pound.  But this week I came back with vengeance and lost 5 pounds!  This means that in three weeks my grand total loss is 9.5 pounds. I am very excited!  

I have already decided that once I finish week 6 that I will go through the program again in preparation for summer.  Being half way done with the program I am willing to admit that this is not a plan that is easy to do for a long stretch of time.  I find that is a little rigid. Part of me appreciates having the structure because it requires less flexibility.  The other part of me just wants to eat some cheese lol.  However, the point is to move you off of a plateau and if you are trying to lose those last few pounds or if you want to start something new it is worth a shot.

I also have realized that I have lost 14.3 pounds since the beginning of the year, which also makes me feel great.  I feel motivated to go to the gym again and I am slowly seeing the transformation of my body.    Not to mention I am no longer busting of out of my jeans lol.  Stay tuned to next week friends :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fighting My Insecurities

I started dating a new guy a few weeks ago.  I have been keeping it from you because I can't believe we are still dating lol.  Recently, I haven't really had more than one date, two dates at the most with any potential suitors.  But it has been a few weeks and I have seen "The Engineer" a few times.

Don't worry I am not going to leave you hanging with the details. The Engineer is 31, tall and handsome, never married, no kids and he is an engineer (duh).   So the Engineer and I met a few weeks ago at a bar.  I was desperate to have a night out.  I called one of my girlfriends and we went to a spot that we had not been to before.  We ended up laughing and talking and having a great night.  The Engineer showed up at the bar minutes from closing.  I teased him so much I had no idea that he would eventually ask for my number.  He later told me that he liked my sassiness, among other things.  We went to lunch the next day and lunch turned into a five hour date.  In fact, it was one of my favorite dates ever.  So since then we have seen each other a handful of times.  There is definitely a mutual attraction.  I enjoy his company.  I feel very relaxed and comfortable with him as we are in this getting to know each other stage.  I like him but I it is not an infatuated crazy like, it is a mature, let's see where this goes like.

Despite all of this I am still fighting my insecurities.  Although not constantly, I feel that at times I have to check myself to assess whether I am over analyzing situations.  In just about every case after the consultation of friends I come to the conclusion that I have once again over thought something.   Today I realized the source of at least some of my insecurities, my ex.

I went into the relationship with my ex with insecurities.  Everyone has them, it is a normal part of life.  However, after our breakup I am beginning to accept the fact that maybe I have more insecurities than what I had realized.   I am so scared of being hurt again, or manipulated, lied to, or missing big red flags that I am ready to toss aside people as a preventative measure.  I am so scared that I am too broken and too screwed up to actually be in a relationship.

A friend of mine made me read an article today.  In it, Will Smith talked about some of the dynamics of his marriage to Jada Pinkett Smith.  It kind of made me re-think the way that I see a relationship and also confirmed some of my thoughts.  Your partner should push you to be a better person which I have always believed.  What I didn't think of is that part of having a relationship is staying and trying to work through each other's issues.  No one comes into a relationship without some kind of baggage whether it is physical or mental, but when you are committed you have an agreement to accept the baggage of your partner and to help them improve.

So for me, I just need to accept the fact that yes, I do have some issues.  But if I am honest with myself and know that they are there I can work through them.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Shred Update #2

I started Week 3 of the Shred Diet on Monday.  I must say that I was a little disappointed.  I gained a pound!  I know that is not much but I am not trying to go in the opposite direction.  Having done the up and down thing on Weight Watchers for many years I know that this is only temporary.  Plus it is that time of the month (sorry guys) and we all know what that does for weight gain.  Don't worry I am not giving up folks!  I am going to get through the six weeks.  I think I am actually do it again right after because I need to get right for the summer :)

How do I feel after week 2?  Pretty good!  It is nice to know that I am eating healthier.  I am actually digging the smoothies.  I always liked them I just hate cleaning the blender, but I am used to it now.  I also introduced protein shakes last week.  They are not so bad either.  I can see a change in my body.  I see my collar bone come back!  This might be a big deal to you, but for many years I could never see it. haha

This week is a little harder.  I think that they actually say that this is the hardest week (although I think the cleanse week is probably the hardest).  It will be a lot of smoothies, protein shakes, and soups.  So far so good.  And the other good thing, my friends started the diet this week.  It is nice to have some friends doing it, although I wish they would have started when I started lol.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Living in a fairy tale

In the age of Disney movie princesses, an abundance of rom coms, and one too many happy endings women  today are living in a fairy tale.  Many if not most women hold out hope that their own prince charming or knight in shining armor will come sweep them of their feet in some whirlwind love affair. But the reality is, we are in reality, not Storybrook or the land of Happily Ever After.

It all starts with our childhood bedtime stories.  Countless tales of a girl who overcomes some sort of adversity who makes her way up in the world, only to become a princess.  We were told by our mothers that one day we will find our own princes and we will be a queen.  But is this misleading?  Some women may   end up never getting married much less meeting their own Mr. Right.  I think it is time that we start accepting the fact that there might not be one companion for everyone.

This hope of a happy ever ending is unrealistic.  Women, and I say this in very general terms, have a sense of entitlement.  They think that because we look a certain way, act a certain way, and have a certain degree that we are entitled to have a companion of equal or greater stature.  We expect that with every guy we meet that we should feel butterflies and that should be able to take us on a horse drawn carriage.  And when this doesn't happen, we become upset.  We think that there are no good guys there.  We believe that we can do better.

The truth is that no one is entitled to anything.  Everything that we have is because of God.  And maybe not everyone is going to get that Prince Charming.  Some women do not take into account their own behavior.  Why is that women with the worst attitudes think that they are deserving of a good man?  Why is it that people believe that you can treat people poorly and it will not have an adverse affect on you later on?  Relationships are work.  They are compromise.  They are give and take.  And sure, I believe that man needs to do some courting, but I don't think it all falls on him.

Let's talk courting while we are at it.  I wrote about it a few months (Are my expectations too high?).  I asked is it ok to want to be courted?  I still think is.  But I still believe that as the older generations of men fade away, the newer generations don't know what courting is.  Women have allowed men to do less work to win their affections.  But then these same women turn around and expect the moon from the men they are dating.  It can't work both ways.  With the rise of technology the dating game is so different.  We no longer have to literally wait by the phone on a Friday night to be invited on a date to the soda shop.  Now we are constantly plugged in.  We have a continuous battle with analyzing some one's words via text message, Facebook, Twitter and anything else.  We are more connected as a society but we are also less socially intimate.  This is a barrier that both sexes must compensate for.

Just because a man doesn't perform what is considered an acceptable romantic gesture in your opiniobn doesn't mean that he is not a good man and it also doesn't mean he isn't trying.  This is just a communication problem.  First, women have all these ideas in their heads.  Don't deny, because I know, I am woman.  We have plans of what we would hope our first date is like, our first kiss, our proposal, our wedding and on and on.  But we just magically expect that a man will know all of this. Some do, most don't all it takes is a little communication to rectify the situation.  But it also takes some understanding.  Men by nature really aren't emotional creatures.  Sometimes the small gesture that they do, actually could be a big deal to them.  Don't belittle their efforts.  No one wants to get shot down when you are trying right?

All in all we need to remember that fairy tales are just stories and what happens in a movie is just fiction.  Let's not overlook the truly good guys out there when they don't take us out on a magic carpet ride, because they can still show us the world :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Walking the Tightrope

I often find myself walking on this tightrope several feet in the air.  I'm constantly balancing, constantly trying not to fall, trying not to fail, but I always manage to hang on, barely.

My life is a tightrope.  My family, friends, acquaintances all serve as my audience below.  At times I feel like I am the subject of their awe or the epitome of their ridicule.

I am often trying to juggle my thoughts, my feelings, my needs, my wants with that of others.   I'm tired, I'm frustrated, and I just want to get off this tightrope.

But I stay on.  I stay strong.  I see the other side and I know with time I will get there.  And eventually I will be able to say that I made it through, that I survived.  I will be able to tell my story to someone else and maybe they will brave their own tightrope.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Shred Update #1

I finished week one of the Shred diet.  And the results are in....I lost 5.6 pounds!  I know that is a little extreme for a week.  Part of it is because I slept half the day yesterday and missed some meals. lol.  But I am pretty excited.  I have decided to give you my pros and cons after my first week.

1. There is no thinking.  This book is like my bible.  I take it with me all the time and I consult it numerous times a day.  Well actually I should be reading my bible more, but you get my drift.

2.  I am never hungry.  Even the days when I think I am going to be hungry, I'm not.  I feel satisfied.

3.  It is easy.

4.  It works!

1.  I find it hard to each exactly that the times that I want.  I end up trying to eat as close to the time as I can.

2.  Requires a lot of food.  But most times you only eat half a container of something so you can usually eat it the next day or in a few days.

3.  It is hard to go out to eat.  I have already had trouble with wanting to go out to eat with friends but since my meal is so specific it is not easy to find a restaurant to accommodate.

4.  Drinking.  Now this is a pro and a con actually lol.  I am forced to limit how much I can drink in a week.  This is ok, I don't usually drink during the week and save it for the weekends.  But I can only have 3 glasses of wine a week.  This means I have to be very strategic.  My friends almost seemed annoyed that I wouldn't drink more.

Overall I think it is pretty easy to follow.  Between the diet, exercise, and weights I have been already seeing results.  Stay tuned for week 2 :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Pursuit of Happiness

The Declaration of Independence states that we are all entitled to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," but how many of us are really happy?

Are you happy?  A few days ago I asked some of my friends this very same question.  The answers I received were definitely all over the board.  Some said yes.  Some said no.  But most people fell somewhere in between.  But what exactly is happiness?  Is it something that has one general definition?  Or is a subjective state of mind?

According to dictionary.com happiness is, "the quality or state of being happy." (I hate when dictionaries use the root of the word in their definition.)  Or, "good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy."  I don't know about you, but I am not sure if this is a true answer.

To me I don't think anyone can really be happy all the time.  Although one of my good guy friends, I think he may be the only person I know who appears to be always happy.  But my theory is that our state of happiness is kind of like how weight fluctuates, basically it can go up and down depending on the time of day or even the week in the month.  Allow me to further explain.  I weigh myself religiously.  I am not sure really at this point because I am constantly on and off track with this weight thing, but that is not the point right now. Anyway, when you weigh yourself in the morning you are at your lightest weight.  Throughout the day your weight can go up and down from there but usually by the end of the day you are a couple of pounds heavier than when the day began.  And if it is a week when I am on my period I can gain five pounds overnight!  Guys, be glad, it is the most frustrating thing in life.  Ok, not really, but it is definitely annoying.  So to me, I think that happiness is not about continued joy.  For me, I wake up happy in the morning to have slept through the night, have a rough over my head, and food to eat, that is until my mother knocks on my door at 6 in the morning on a Saturday.  Then after I have cooled off (which usually takes about half the morning), I am kind of neutral.  Then something else can happen and my happiness is up or down.  Does this make sense?

But happiness is usually calculated on a more general scale.  But what is it that makes us decide our level of happiness?  America is a capitalistic society.  Unfortunately, that means for us that much of our happiness is depending on what type of job we have, how much money we are making, if we own a house, and if I can buy that $200 purse that I really want.  Another contribution to our happiness is the apparent happiness of others.  On a surface level we look at others and believe them to be happy because they are married, have kids, live in a nice house, and can take fantastic vacations whenever they want.  The truth is these things that we desire will not necessarily equate to being happy.  I mean just look at the celebrities in the news.  Most of them have more money than we will ever earn in a lifetime, but they seem like some of the most miserable people on the planet.

So am I happy?  I fall into that middle category.  Of course I have had my fair share of disappointments, heartache, and a whole lot of struggle, but I am happy to have gone through it because I know that is what has made me such a strong person.  However, I could be happier.  I want to be more stable.  I want my own place and I want to be able to take care of my mom without living paycheck to paycheck.  I want to make a difference in the world and help to improve the lives of others.  I want to be happy with me and all of my crannies, rolls, sometimes frizzy hair and all.  Overall, I think that I would be really happy if I weren't my harshest critic.  And I know all of this is not a distant dream, but it is something that I need to work on day after day.

I guess this life journey that I am on is my own pursuit of happiness.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Shred Diet

As you may remember one of my goals was to exercise at least three times a week and lose at least one pound a week.  We are in the beginning of March and I have been rather inconsistent with both of those goals.  But do not fret I have not given up.

Being that I am on my unpaid vacation right now, I figured that it was a great time to start something new.  I mean don't they say that it only takes 21 days to form a habit?  Now is the time to form new good habits.  A Few days ago I started Dr. Ian Smith's Shred Diet.  Dr. Ian is the doctor that was on celebrity fit club.  He is not the mean personal trainer that was or maybe is still dating Kimberly Locke, he's the other black guy.  Sorry, I don't know how else to describe him.  After seeing Steve Harvey tweet about it, and after reading the book at a chance stop at the book store I decided that when March rolled around that I was going to try it out.  According to the book, "Shred the Revolutionary Diet" in six weeks I am supposed to lose 4 inches and 2 sizes.  What's the there to lose right?

How does it work?  The book is a six week cycle.  Each cycle has a different theme with different purposes.  The book is an attempt at diet confusion.  It is kind of like muscle confusion except with food. Instead of having 3 big meals a day I now have 4 smaller meals and snacks in between.  I am basically eating every few hours   The book is like having a nutritionist living with you.  It tells you what time to eat and gives you a choice of things that you can eat.  It is pretty easy.  And I haven't been hungry at all.  If anything I have been trying to get to the used to eating constantly.  And I find myself not wanting to eat outside of the plan either, at least for now.  I know I will probably be craving something bad soon enough lol.  And as a former Weight Watchers protege, I have been tracking my calories so far.  Despite eating like crazy, the amount of calories consumed is less than 1500 (More like between 1200-1400) a day.

In addition to the food he also stresses the important of exercise.  The book also suggests exercising five times a week.  There are instructions for how many minutes of cardio and what type of exercises to do, and even sometimes the time to workout as well.

Today is day four and I am already seeing some results.  Here's to six weeks of fun :)  If anyone else has tried it or wants to try it let me know.  I would love to find Shred buddies :)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Long Day

I get up to take a shower and my mom was standing by my door as if she were listening. Today is going to be a long day!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Involuntary Vacation

For the past few days I have been on an "involuntary vacation".  What is an involuntary vacation you ask?  It is when one of my temp assignments is complete and I am sitting around waiting until the next one starts.  This unpaid vacation can last anywhere from a few days to a few months.  I am hoping that it is only a few days though.

I had been looking forward to having a few days off for awhile.  At one point I was working two jobs and almost every day of the week so I thought that I a little down time would be nice.  Don't get me wrong, I love down time.  However, I can actually relax when the money is coming in.

All my dreams of staying up late, sleeping in, and lounging around all day are non existent.  My body clock is set, I am up way before 9 every morning.  And I am not lounging around by any means.  I have a list of things that I have to do or that I have been meaning to do and I am crossing off a few each day.  Shoot, while I was writing this post, I crossed off a few more.

This might seem like a nice break right?  No it is not all!  First, there is that daunting feeling that maybe I won't find another assignment right away.  Every few hours in the back of my mind I am calculating my bills for the month and what my last paycheck looks like.  In case you didn't know this, I am a worrier.  I might hide it well on the outside, but inside I kind of freaking out.  But when that happens, I just have to pray and trust that God has my back.  Honestly, through this whole unemployment situation I have still managed to survive.  Of course I have had some low lows and high highs, but I have gotten through it.  God has provided for me, and for that my faith has remained strong.

Speaking of faith, I think I need to do some praying for patience.  When I am home my mom acts as if I am on a real vacation and my whole life is devoted to figuring out ways so she can get out of the house and spend money.  I feel like I want to pull a Dikembe Mutombo and tell my mom "no, no, no" or "not today".  If you don't know what I am talking about you have to see the Geico commerical lol.  Anyway, it seems like she thinks that all my time should include her.  And in my mind I feel like all my time should include very little of her  haha.

Yesterday mom and I went to the library.  We used to do this a lot when I was not working so I figured there would be no issues.  It is usually a win win situation.  Mom gets to read magazines and find books with the added bonus that she can keep herself occupied for a few hours.  So then I can spend a few hours virtually interrupted while applying to jobs.  Yesterday was a disaster!  She keep spilling popcorn on the floor and coughing.   I should have made her sit at another table!

The sad thing is, I already feel a little stir crazy and it is only what the third day?  It is funny how much I looked forward to being off, now I want to be back at work.  smh