What defines you?

Sometimes I feel like I have no clue who I am anymore.  I used to know exactly who I was.  I was a young mother struggling with an eating disorder, major depression, and an anxiety disorder.  That was who I was.  Everything I did revolved around that, all my excuses were because of it.  I also went through a “Christian Yoga” phase while I was in the hurricane of my mental well being.  I gave all of me to my yoga and to being this good “Christian” person. Then everything changed, I slowly started to recover and I got hurt by my Christian yoga community.  Now, I don’t know who I am or what defines me.  Since last summer when I was going through those things, I’ve gained weight, stopped most of my medications, stopped Yoga completely, I gave birth to an amazing baby boy, I’ve become more of the mother I’ve always wanted to be, and I decided to go back to college to hopefully earn my nursing degree.  As much as certain parts of my life are going very well, I’m still lost and terrified of becoming that person I was.  I’m still concerned about my weight and still make the wrong decisions and I regret them.  I want to lose weight, but I’m terrified of dieting because I know that I have an obsessive personality and I can very easily get drawn back into the all or nothing mind frame.  But at the same time I’m unhappy with my looks and really can’t stand looking in the mirror and really want to get healthy and diet and exercise.  It’s such a catch-22.  I am also still very much interested in mental health and learning more about depression.  I’m terrified that if I learn more about depression, and get lost in reading about it, that I will slowly start to sink more and more into my own depression.  What is a girl to do?  I made the stupid decision to write my English paper on Eating disorders…what was I thinking?  I have to research and write a ten page paper on this subject and I’m scared that I will end up missing that part of my life and start doing the stupid things I used to do.  Why would I miss that part?   The part that made life for my kids and my husband and my parents and siblings hard?  I hated who I was when I was super depressed and was dealing with eating disordered thinking, yet part of me wants to go back there.  I don’t really know who I am without my ED and my major depression/anxiety issues.  Why am I trying to hold on so tight to something that brought me so far down?  I feel crazy for doing that, but I think I’m just apprehensive, because that is all I knew for so long!  Here I am trying to live this new life and sometimes I feel like an impostor!  Who is this person?  I remember the person who promised herself that she wouldn’t be alive to see 22.  She wouldn’t ever get fat and she wouldn’t ever get better.  I feel like I have two sides in me- One side really wants to get better and succeed, and the other side- doesn’t want to let go of the past and who I was.  It is clinging on to that person and really wants to bring the new me down with it.  How do I decide what I want to define me?  How do I let go of those things that brought me down without feeling like I’ve lost a part of me?  Do I always have to play the role of avoidance when things hurt me?  When will I stop thinking in such black and white terms?  When will I learn to enjoy the shades of grey?

Kindness

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
― Henry James

I’m not a super strict parent, my kids will probably get away with many things without seeing the “wrath of mom”, but being unkind is not one of them.  I am very anti-bully and anti-being mean to people.  It literally hurts my heart to see others hurt.  I haven’t always been the nicest person and I’m still not perfect, but it is something I’m really trying to change in my life.  I was bullied in high school and even as an adult by a group of women whom I thought were my friends.  It just hurts.  Being unkind, being a bully, being just plain mean is unnecessary. If I teach my kids one thing that sticks with them, it is going to be “Be kind to everyone you meet”.

I really got on a “kindness kick” yesterday after my son, who is 5, said something really mean/rude to my dad.  My son thought he was saying something funny, but it was just plain rude and uncalled for.  I’m not sure if he was saying it to be funny or if he didn’t realize it was a mean thing to say, because to be fair, there is some truth to the statement, but it is still something that shouldn’t be said.  I don’t think he was trying to be mean because he loves his “Pa” and wouldn’t want to hurt him.  But, I was still embarrassed/disappointed with my son.  I quickly took him a side and talked to him and made him apologize.  I felt awful!  I quickly finished up my dinner and thanked my parents and apologized to them for the millionth time and loaded up my family and hurried out the door.  I didn’t know if I should keep apologizing or if bringing it up made it sting a little worse.  My heart hurt for my dad.  I lectured my son on the way home a little more.  I felt bad because my son is very sensitive and probably understood the degree of my madness the first time but I needed him to hear it again!  I decided to tuck him in when we got home and told him I loved him and we would have a fresh start in the morning.

Needless to say, I woke up still upset about yesterday and decided to really drive home kindness with my children.  Today will be full of fun kindness things.  We will read “Have you filled a bucket today?” by Carol McCloud, which is a cute book teaching kids all about kindness.  We will also start a kindness challenge in our house. Yesterday was “The Great Kindness Challenge”, which encourages kids to do as many kinds things as possible in one day. Even though we are a day behind, today we will start our own “Great Kindness Challenge” and make it a week long event with many other week-long challenges to follow!

Here are a list of ideas from http://www.greatkindnesschallenge.org 

Take a treat to your local firefighter, Do a household chore without being asked,Pick up trash in your neighborhood, Take a board game to play at a senior center, Read a book to a younger child, Say “Thank you” to a police officer, Entertain someone with a happy dance, Help an elder cross the street, Push someone on a swing, Pick up trash at the water’s edge, Make a new friend, Write a thank you note to your mail carrier, Walk a dog (or cat!), Plant a tree, Say “Hi” to a homeless person, Learn to say “Thank you” in a new language, Help clean up a park, Say “Thank you” to a lifeguard, Write a love note to your caretaker,  Paint a picture and give it to someone, Host a lemonade stand and donate proceeds, Recycle your trash, Hug your sibling or friend, Cut out 10 hearts and leave them on 10 cars, Donate needed school supplies, Thank a bus driver,  Leave a flower on someone’s doorstep, Donate something to an animal shelter, Call your grandma or grandpa, Walk or bike instead of driving, Make a thank you card for your librarians, Thank an elected official for their service, Say “Good Morning” to 5 people, Be kind to yourself and eat a healthy snack, Deliver a special gift to a child in the hospital, Draw a heart in the sand or dirt, Send a card or gift to a military family, Make a wish for a child in another country, Donate food to a food bank,  Hold the door open for someone,  Write a happy message with sidewalk chalk, Leave a painted rock on a friend’s doorstep,  Make sack lunches for the homeless, Compliment 5 people, Make and display a “Kindness Matters” sign,  Call a radio station and wish them a nice day, Sweep the sidewalk on your street,  and Help plant a garden.

I hope this will inspire my children that kindness matters!  I’m looking forward to making this a fun family event!  Hopefully as my son approaches kindergarten this fall, he will make the brave decision to be kind to everyone he meets and will set an example of compassion that will rub off on other kids.

 

A Fresh Start

For a strictly black and white thinker, I decided I was going to force myself into the gray areas.  The messy ones, the ones I liked to avoid because I wasn’t sure of them.  I didn’t want to think  of things as two opposite extremes anymore.  I needed to search for the beauty in the middle, in the in between.  I started this and now I realize life can be good, actually it can be great.  I just need to relax and take a deep breath and just breathe.  I have started becoming okay with the unexpected and sometimes I actually catch myself enjoying it!  Along with this journey of my blog, I’ve decided to take on the 101 things in 1001 days project!  Wish me luck. Here is my list in no particular order…

  1. simplify my life of material things
  2. organize a quarterly game night
  3. have items in the county fair and have my children do the same
  4. Start on my nursing degree
  5. start a blog
  6. try to blog atleast twice a month
  7. try to send only homemade cards
  8. learn how to crochet
  9. Run a 5K race
  10. Start using my sewing machine
  11. start an online shop with my homemade items
  12. try a new recipe 1x a month for a year
  13. Have a 1:1 date with each child once every 3 months
  14. make each child a Christmas ornament annually
  15. Keep a journal of special kid memories/cute things they say so I can remember why I liked them so much at this age 🙂
  16. write a letter to my children on their birthdays
  17. take a writing class
  18. host a girls night with my favorite friends
  19. host a mother/child cookie exchange
  20. mail a card to a friend 1x a month just because
  21. buy nothing impulsively for a month. Then try it again for another month
  22. finish organizing my basement
  23. have a pleasant, but genuine, discussion about politics (or something we don’t necessarily agree on) Listen-don’t hate
  24. see a live band
  25. mow the grass to surprise A
  26. pull off a surprise weekend with A
  27. Go to a fancy dinner with A, that we’ve never tried before, wearing a new dress
  28. organize craft room
  29. organize kids’ art and find a way to decorate with it
  30. read 15 books a year
  31. start a scrapbook for each of my children
  32. start a first/last day of school book for each child
  33. blog about this adventure
  34. start keeping a list for my next 101 things
  35. start flea market shopping/goodwill shopping-turn trash into treasure
  36. Start bulk cooking atleast one meal per week
  37. start filling my clothing closet with outfit necessities- give away things that I don’t need
  38. buy a coachman cadet and fix it up and start adventures with my family
  39. learn how to play euchre
  40. See a Broadway show
  41. Take a photography class
  42. Take a cooking class
  43. Go to a wine festival
  44. host a book swap party with wine and yummy snacks
  45. golf with Adam atleast 3x a summer
  46. attend a major sporting event with A
  47. decorate stairway with pictures of family
  48. put pictures in the frame I got almost 4 years ago that is hanging in my hallway
  49. Go to a drive-in movie
  50. mother/sister weekend getaway
  51. Learn how to French braid
  52. lose my baby weight
  53. drink only water for 5 days in a row
  54. No fast food for a month
  55. Have mom teach me how to make/can my own jelly/jam
  56. send a “just because” package
  57. Host a movie night
  58. Play bunco
  59. make a homemade pie
  60. watch 5 documentaries
  61. Floss every day for a month
  62. complete a crossword puzzle
  63. Complete a 365 day photo challenge
  64. complete a photo-a-day challenge on instagram
  65. plan an analog weekend with the family- no technology!
  66. organize and write down all my website passwords/user ids so I don’t always have to press “forgot password”
  67. read to kids every night even if I’m tired
  68. make a recipe from one of my cookbooks atleast 1x a month
  69. actually use my planner for an entire year
  70. grow a garden and try to use/give away everything I grow
  71. Have my Christmas tree up by Dec. 1st and down by Jan. 2nd
  72. give as many homemade gifts as possible
  73. try for 1 date night per month with A
  74. go to a Travoltas concert with A because they are his favorite
  75. try to use my zoo/family museum/putnam museum memberships once a week with kids
  76. do yoga daily
  77. extreme couponing-try it for month and then another month
  78. be diligent about budgeting monthly
  79. learn how to iron
  80. get another tattoo
  81. Take a picture for each letter of the alphabet
  82. Start to write a book
  83. Complete a coloring book
  84. Stop biting my nails
  85. Watch 26 movies I’ve never seen starting with each letter of the Alphabet
  86. Answer the “50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind”
  87. Have a family game night
  88. Do a Couch to 5k running plan
  89. Don’t go on facebook for a week
  90. Make an ambigram of my name
  91. Buy a Magic 8 Ball and base all my decisions on it for a whole week
  92. Make at least 10 recipes that I’ve pinned on Pinterest
  93. Save $500 in an emergency fund
  94. Learn how to play the ukulele
  95. watch 12 TED videos
  96. learn how to can my own spaghetti and pizza sauce
  97. Start making homemade pizzas on Sundays with my family
  98. Make a family command center
  99. make our master bedroom into more of an adult space/relaxing space
  100. Finish T’s bedroom
  101. Organize my recipes

So far I have two things off of my list. I started this blog, and my handsome hubby A taught me how to play Euchre today!  It took a little explaining, but I think I have it down now!  I just need another couple to join us, so I can try out my new skills.  🙂  I also have watched one movie from #26; I knocked Z off the list with Zoolander. 

I’m really excited for this change/challenge!  I might need some encouragement along the way!  Hopefully soon I will open my etsy shop and start listing thing!  I’m getting really excited!