Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Body image

I shared research with someone that was talking about self image and how many people struggle with how they view their body.  Parents say things that hurt kids when they try to do this or that to make their kids look better.  Braces and diet suggestions can improve looks but sends an underlying message, "You aren't good enough."  I remember as a teenager being told I needed to go on a diet.  I was 5'4" tall and weighed 125 lbs (Metric 162.5 cm tall and weighed 56.7 kg).  I was told I needed to loose another 10 lbs to look good (Metric 4.5 kg).  To me, of course, the implication you don't look good.  Heaven help me if my father made the mistake of complimenting me then the criticism became more caustic.  I knew I didn't want to get sucked into the yoyo diets my mother obsessed over.  I could ignore my weight for a lot of years then old age and poor eating habits caught up with me.  My daughter set the example for me on how to regain a better relationship with my body.  She purchased a dance class at the studio where she worked.  Got me to get up off the couch and try to exercise.  Mega challenge when I still passed out a couple of times a week. She repeated every class, "Ladies, honor your body." About 2 years ago I went the route and lost weight.  It worked for a long time then my life at work went crazy and I was a substitute teacher for 4 months and my self-care went out the window and I gained all the weight I lost plus 20 lbs (Metric 10 kg) more.  I weigh more now than I ever did.  I yo-yo'd.  Well past that 125 lbs of my teenage years.  No, I don't like how my body looks.  After the car crash a month ago, I don't like how my body feels.  Self-care is at the top of my list for summer activities.  If I loose weight fine, but my main goal is to feel healthy.  Things I know help: tracking what I eat, choosing more vegetables, sleeping more, exercise in moderation, weighing myself no more than once a week (reminder I would weigh less if I went to the Moon,) essential oils, and the list goes on as to what I know helps me.  Now the challenge is to care for myself.  I don't set an alarm yet I'm awake by 6 AM.  I work at my computer and remind myself to get up often and move.  I like walking at the park.  Why is self-care such a chore to me?  There are these negative tapes in my head going off that each thing I do isn't good enough but logically I know they work.  I have the essential oils close at hand but I neglect to use them.  How is it the very things I need to do to care for myself seem so hard?  My favorite diet book was  Richard Simmons' Never-Say-Diet Book – October 1, 1980 by Richard Simmons
I actually used his suggestions when I raised my kids.  I left the food on the counter instead of on the table.  I didn't restrict kids eating, I allowed seconds if they got up to get it.  My exercise program is videos, walking, and karate.  Not doing much of any of these since the car crash.  I'm starting to feel much better but my neck still tells me it didn't appreciate coming to an instant turn and abrupt stop. Today, I opened up Myfitnesspal for the first time in over a year.  Do I do it?  Or am I setting myself up to fail again?  Heavy sigh.  Being human is such a chore some days.  

Monday, May 29, 2017

Remember those that fell

In comfort of home and eating bar-b-q's and picnics, it is hard to remember all those that fell before us.  Sometimes when things are far away people forget how real it is every day.  The parents, spouses, children missing their loved one that didn't come home from a war.  So many.  so sad.  Some say, "let's just get along."  Showing their ignorance of tyrants, hatred, and evil that is part of this world.  I am thankful for those that went where no one should ever have to go and didn't come home.  I feel deep sadness for those that went and came home broken and hurt both body and soul.  I am blessed to know veterans that served.  I live a life knowing that War will be necessary as long as people try to crush, destroy, control, and possess other people.  It isn't going away any time soon.  Thank you soldiers, living and dead, serving or veterans, the thin line between us and tyranny. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Jump into Summer

I jumped right into summer school class on line.  I am learning more about how to use different reading strategies in the classroom.  In my job, there is no up.  I can take classes to step up but I am at the top of what I do.  I love the teachers I work with.  They are amazing and dedicated.  I enjoy being part of a group of people that want to see students succeed.  It is enjoyable to see students graduate and move on with their lives.  However, I'm delighted to have a break.  I already have a list of more things to do than I can possibly accomplish. I'm looking at my to-do list to make sure there are plenty of people time.  Friends, family, and time for myself.  Recently I read an article about a mother that lost her son.  She saw him in a dream and asked him what he learned in the after life.  His response stuck in my head.  "I learned that relationships is the most important thing."   Marley's ghost said the same, Jacob Marley: BUSINESS? Mankind was my business! Their common welfare was my business!

As I write my to-do list, I want to make sure I spend time with people.  It is great to take care of chores and items on my list of things to do but spending time with people is the most important of all.  I think that is one of the things I watched happen to my mother.  She was so obsessed with her things to-do list that she totally missed living a life filled with love.  I watched her scream and rage her hatred at me.  I walked away.  Now she asks my Dad why I don't want to see her.  I ponder and ask myself, "How am I doing on putting people first?  Am I getting obsessed with doing projects instead of spending time with people?"  One of the interesting things I learned in another summer school class called True Colors, that I am an introvert.  People time takes a lot of energy.  I blamed my PTSD but learned later that introverts react differently to the World.  I want to make sure people time is included with recovery time so I enjoy it.  Complex planning but so worth it. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Run Run as fast as you can

You can't catch me - I'm the Gingerbread Man....

For those not familiar with the story here is a link:

I sometimes feel like if I can run fast enough I will stay ahead of the massive list of things to get done.  But sadly that willy old fox eats me up every time. 

I'm still recovering.  Almost 3 weeks ago I was in a car accident.  The bruising faded.  The car is replaced.  However, I am looking up what whiplash does and how long does it take to heal.  Yup, the news is not good.  I try to do the easiest exercises and I am in pain.  Crumbs.  I always way underestimate how long it takes to heal.  My doctor son pointed out that everywhere I had bruises they expect there to be broken bones instead.  Recalculating.  A broken bone would be 8-10 weeks recovery or more.  Slow down.  Readjust expectations.  I am getting other things finished.  I painted a table at school for next year cutting table.  I cleaned out one desk.  One more to go and helping the teachers get finished up.  One more day.  Walking exercise doesn't hurt.  I can do this.  Baby-steps work because it forces me to slow down to a pace that works. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

5 days and counting

I only have 5 more days of school.  I am feeling like one of the prisoners that marks off each box toward the final day.  I have a ton of stuff to do.  I am also planning summer school classes.  The best way for me to get paid more is to step up by taking classes.  I chose classes that talk about teenage mental health and development.  I am excited about planning fun days mixed in with work days.  Right now I am trying to remind myself not to beat myself up for not healing faster.  It is 2 weeks since I was in a car accident.  I remind myself that broken bones take 8 to 10 weeks to heal.  I did NOT break any bones but the massive bruising is still connecting the dots where my seat belt went.  I noticed today that I can't grip my water bottle with my left hand.  It kept falling out.  When I opened and closed my hand I realized that my elbow is sorer than I thought.  Apparently now that the major bruises are healing I am noticing other damage that also occurred.  I need to get back on track to getting things done and caring for my health.  Reminder, one step forward and two back is a cha-cha. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Crap Happens

Today I talked to the fashion students.  I explained why I didn't go into fashion when I was in college the first time.  The 1970's were still steeped in the image of Twiggy.  Pencil thin was in.  I looked into the business and decided it wasn't worth wasting my time on it.  The appearance over personality ratio was lethal in my estimation.  I tried costume design and construction, after staying up 3 days making last minute changes for a director, I decided that was slave labor.  I still plan to design and construct costumes some day when I retire but until then I am teaching students interested in fashion how to cope.  Raising awareness of how brutal fashion business can be.  I teach them if they don't like their life, change it.  My basis, I did it.  Crap happens....on the job, at home, with our health, you name it; crap happens in life.  It is not what are you going to do if crap happens, it is when crap happens what are you going to do?  How are you going to cope?  Coping is a skill.  We learn it.  Most people learn it at home.  I didn't.  I learned it in counseling.  Crap happens.  I have a whole tool chest of coping skills.  They came from my counselor.  Seven long tough years he trained me, taught me, and encouraged me to look at the World differently.  More powerfully, he gave my coping tools so when he moved away, I kept growing....Thriving. 


Over the next few days I will be sharing my experiences with high school students that I work with.  Two classes are studying abuse in relation to being teachers and reporting abuse.  One class is a fashion class and I will discuss what I call the slimy underbelly of the fashion world.  I am praying that I stay in tune with the students needs.  This time I told the counselors that I will be having this discussion.  In years past, one or two students end up at the counselors office realizing that they are experiencing one or more forms of abuse.  Recognizing the behavior of the other person is abusive is the first step to getting out of it.  Some people are willing to change when you set boundaries and tell them they need to treat you better.  Other people, not so much.  I feel my job is to bring awareness and give them access to tools to help cope with prickly people.  It is going to be a long 3 days.  One class each day, fashion, early childhood education, and education professions.  I want them to walk away feeling like abuse is not the end of the world.  There is an amazing world waiting to welcome those that break the chains of abuse.  Sometimes walking away from what you think you want is the best thing you can do to create a healthy way of living.

Friday, May 12, 2017


Last week I was having a perfect day.  I needed to find Christmas lights and I did in May that worked at a thrift store.  I found and collected everything I needed for the Fashion Show last Friday.  I turned on to the street to go the last mile to the school and a car careened into me.  The officer asked me what I saw.  I said, "I drove into the middle lane since the right lane merged into it.  I was going less than the speed limit since I wasn't in a hurry and traffic was light. Then my whole world exploded."  Yup all 3 airbags.  The seat belt tightened up and held me fast.  Everywhere my seat belt was, there are bruises.  Now in varying shades of blue, purple and yellow depending on the depth of the bruise.  I also passed my bone density test.  The fireman that poked and prodded me was impressed that I didn't even break my collar bone.  I later learned from my doctor son that the type of accident that I was in usually causes a broken collar bone, wrist, ribs, and sometimes hips.  Yup, there are bruises in all those places but I walked away.  A witness stopped and told the police what happened.  The driver of the other car got to me first to see if I was ok and make sure the car wasn't on fire.  There was a lot of smoke in the car from the airbags exploding open.  I looked at the tree, wall and stop sign that I missed.  I felt deep gratitude that this could be so much worse.  The other driver was shaken but will walk away too.  He talked to the police.  My DH came, he had the day off, and visited with the other driver and the officer.  I feel deeply relieved that things were not much much worse.  The teacher was able to pick up the supplies for the fashion show.  Sadly, I missed the fashion show.  Perfect days can disintegrate in a split second.  I am pleased with how I handled myself.  I felt what I felt in the moment.  I allowed myself to go home and rest.  I am healing and DH bought a new car that he will pickup tomorrow.  I'm nervous driving but not so much that it is hindering me from doing what I need to do.  Overall the emotion I am embracing is gratitude and praying for the other driver.  His day was really rotten. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Amazing Teachers

I'm always looking and reviewing new research about several subjects crocheting, memory, PTSD, coping, and anything else that I believe can improve my life.  Sometimes I am blessed with a time to be.  Today I enjoyed a concert at my granddaughter's school.  I felt what the music teacher was doing was fantastic.  She used plastic buckets for drums, plastic tubing for making alien noises, and other instruments that made the concert fun and learning fun too.  I am fortunate to work with amazing teachers.  Teacher appreciation month reminds me how many remarkable teachers I had and worked with.  I am also aware that some teachers give other teachers a bad name.  My best teacher was my counselor.  He spent years teaching me how to go beyond survival to thriving.  I am so grateful for amazing teachers. 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Let kids say no

A friend posted an article on line about allowing her daughters drop out of ballet because they were uncomfortable with the dance.  It was not ballet.  Wiggling their butts at the audience is not dance.

The mother decided to let her daughters quit when they explained they felt embarrassed.  I thought about all the times I was asked to do things like kissing a stranger that I was related to but I didn't know them.  I did things differently for my kids but I still made plenty of mistakes.  We live in a culture that expects every person  to be a dynamic extrovert or should be.  Saying no as a kid is not acceptable in so many places.  I believe that the basics of a kid learning he/she can say no is when they are kids.  My idea with grandkids that they need to get to know me and should only hug me if they want to.  If they don't want to hug me, for any reason, then they shouldn't have to.  I also believe in meeting them at their level by getting down on the ground or sitting down.  Choices are important.  Knowing what is happening at school, in dance class, or other activities is important.  We can't protect kids from every situation but we can up their chances by how we treat them.  Let the kid say no. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

I left

I actually got up and walked out.  My mother is almost 90 years old and diagnosed with stage 4 dementia.  To me, she treats me the same as ever but now she treats everyone else the same way.  Today when I visited her in the care center, she immediately launched into her demands to go home.  I am confronted with the demanding mother I remember from my teenage years.  Her threats then of suicide if she didn't get the help she wanted then. In high school, I felt like I was running a constant balancing act of school, caring for mother and watching out that my mother didn't turn on my younger siblings.  They are adults now.  They can take care of themselves.  Mother informed me today that she only used the threat of suicide to make us let her come home.  Irony, it is her threats of suicide and unreasonable demands that are keeping her in the memory center.  Today, after 15 minutes, she made move to get up, I stood up and left.  It was a weird relief to hear her say, after all these years, the threats were idle threats used to manipulate me.  Her emotional abuse succeeded when I was a teenager.  Today, I left.