Posted in Self Improvement

Eating My Guilt

eating my guiltI’m feeling guilty.

For most of my life, I did what most people do – I worked.  When I was in school, I worked part-time.  Once I graduated, I worked full-time.  I got married, I worked.  I had kids, I worked.  I decided to go back to school – I still worked full-time.

After a series of life-changing events (including deaths in the family and divorce) in very rapid succession, I found myself without a job.  At the time, I didn’t need to work, and, still reeling from everything, I didn’t want to.  I wanted to focus on my family.  So I did.

After thinking about it, I don’t think I’ve processed everything that happened to me.  You’ve seen those psychological charts where they list ‘life-changing events’ and rate them, right?  (Like this one.) You’re supposed to have a score of under 150. My score for those months? 677.

Despite all the hardships (some still on-going), I made it.  I survived.

Part of the survival was thanks to my husband, who is one of the most zen people I know.  Nothing ever really seems to rattle him.  Which is good, because it helps balance out my crazy. 😛

He has a fantastic job that he loves and he makes enough for me to continue to stay at home and take care of our home and family.  But I can’t stop to seem feeling guilty about it.

We have enough to cover all the necessities on one income, but there isn’t much left over.  So whenever an extra expense comes up, I experience horrible feelings of guilt because I’m not working and contributing to our income.

Not guilty enough to get a job, of course.  I have all kinds of excuses about why I can’t/shouldn’t work – none of which are really relevant, but I make them nonetheless.  Now, no one is making me feel guilty about not working but me.  The family has everything they need and more.  No one goes without.

I’m also bored.  I’ve worked and had multiple jobs for so long that I feel like a lazy jerk because I sit at home all day while everyone else is at work and school.  And when I’m bored and/or feeling guilty, I eat.

This horrible habit has led to a weight gain that is literally dragging me down.  Being overweight is depressing, which leads to more eating, which leads to more – you guessed it, depression.  It’s a vicious cycle, and one that I don’t know how to break.

I’m trying to make some changes in my life, but I am so overwhelmed.

What do you do to motivate yourself when you feel overwhelmed?

Posted in Self Improvement

Baby Steps

baby stepsI haven’t written here in a few days because I’ve been busy climbing out of a black hole.  Every so often, my depression sneaks back in without me realizing it and then BAM! I’m lying at the bottom of a hole trying to claw my way back out.

When that happens, everything seems to take more energy than I can find.  This time, however, I was able to continue doing some of things I’ve set for myself as goals. So I’m proud of myself for that. 😀

Since yesterday was the start of a new month, I decided to do something a little different.  I always have a list of ‘to-do’ items I want to get done, but I never seem to accomplish more than one or two of them.  I decided I need something a bit more ‘visual.’

I made a spreadsheet of ‘October Goals’ for myself, complete with little boxes I can check off as I complete the items (or parts of them).  One of the things I want to do is to finish scanning in all my old family photos.  This has been a goal for me for years, because I inherited all the old family albums when my parents died.

After 5+ years, though, the photos are still sitting in a box in my closet.  Divide and conquer, right? Rather than making my goal ‘scanning ALL the photos,’ I made a goal of scanning 60 photos this month.  And because I was feeling so good about creating my ‘goal’ list, I sat down and scanned 60 photos yesterday!

Normally, this would encourage me to immediately say, well, I just did 60, so I can add another 60 to my goal.

But I didn’t.

I scanned 60 this month, so I met my goal.  If I end up scanning in more this month, great. If not, I can scan 60 more next month, and the next, and the next. It’s not like the photos are going anywhere. I’m trying to learn to be nicer to myself, and I see this as a baby step in that direction.

Another one of my goals is to exercise every day. I put an app on my phone for a 30-day workout.  I get reminded once a day to do the exercises, which makes it pretty simple.  I picked the ‘easy’ plan to start – and I’m glad I did, because even the easy plan is kicking my out-of-shape ass.  I’ve stuck with it for 14 days so far (even though I really, really, really look forward to the rest days!), so I’m proud of myself for that.  Even though I’m depressed at how completely out of shape I am – at least I’m making progress.  Again, baby steps.

I have about 15 goals on my list for this month, some simple, one-step things, some more complicated.  Having them on a tracker sheet where I can see at a glance how I’m coming along has already been a huge help. My OCD/organization-loving little heart squeals to see all the marks to indicate progress.  And even though today is only October 2, I’m pretty pumped about the progress I’ve made this month!

Baby steps. 😀

Posted in Self Improvement

What’s Your Passion?

chase your passionI’m currently searching for my passion.  I first heard about this concept when I was reading The Help for a long ago book club.  One of the characters restored old houses.  That wasn’t her job, but it was her passion, and something she did to keep her soul fed.

Since encountering the idea in the book, I’ve seen it mentioned over and over in various formats – social media posts, motivational talks, and the like.  It’s become a sort of mantra for many people who are looking to escape from the drudgery of their current jobs and “find their passion!”

I’ve had several discussions about this with relatives, because I have no idea what my passion is.  Well, that’s not strictly true.  I know dance is a passion with me.  However, at this stage of the game, there’s no way I’m going to be a professional ballet dancer.  I am trying to get back into dancing, even if it’s only in my own home, in front of the mirror.  It feeds my soul in way nothing else does.

And while I enjoy dancing very much, I’d like to find something that I am passionate about that I could also turn into a money-making venture.

I used to think teaching was a passion, but 5+ years in the public school system cured me of that one.  I don’t even know if I will renew my license, though I feel like I should, if for no other reason than to justify the time and expense of obtaining it.  I don’t need it, though, for the teaching I do (rarely) now.  My degrees alone are qualification enough for the community colleges where I sometimes teach as an adjunct.

One of the things I am currently interested in is photography and photo editing.  I’ve spent quite a bit of time learning to use Photoshop and I love playing around with different effects with my images.  But I think I’ve hit a wall as far as self-teaching goes, and I am debating taking some actual courses (the kind you pay for) in order to better my skills.

I just can never seem to justify the expense to myself.  Why should I spend money on a course when I may never use what I learn? Why should I spend money on a course when there are so many other things that I need to use it for? (Like college tuition for my oldest!)  I’m lucky enough to get to be a SAHM, and since I don’t bring income into the house, I have a hard time not feeling guilty about spending anything on myself – especially for something that is not a necessity.

If it was truly a passion, would any of that matter?

I’m interested in so many things – photography, art, creating, painting, crochet, writing, blogging – how do I know which one I should focus on?

How did you discover your passion?  Have you found a way to make money with your passion? 

Posted in Self Improvement

Self-Destruction

I’ve been trying to make some positive changes in my life recently.  I’ve been trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to cut back on sugar and sweets and I’ve been trying (so far successfully) to exercise every day.

But for every step forward I try to take, I find myself taking two steps back without even realizing it.

My attempt to cut back on sugar and sweets has been a miserable failure so far.  I went grocery shopping with the best of intentions, determined to not buy any sugary snacks or sweet tea (my Achilles heel when it comes to sugar).  And yet, despite my intentions, I left the store with a box of Ding-Dongs (for my son, I assured myself), and two gallons of sweet tea (also for my son, I assured myself).

There is now (two days after shopping) only 1 Ding-dong left (though my son did eat most of them) and only 1 gallon of sweet tea left (which I think we split evenly).

I have been exercising every day (and discovering just how weak and out of shape I am).  However, I am fairly certain when I step on the scale tomorrow, that I will have gained weight rather than lost any, which is extremely frustrating.  It’s like, at some level, I don’t want myself to succeed.

Why is that?

Is it that I don’t love myself enough, as all the self-help sites say?  Is it that I am not accepting enough of my flaws? Unwilling to face the pain I’m trying to eat?  Is it my sugar addiction taking over everything?

I don’t know, but I do know that I am tired of feeling like a failure. Something’s gotta give, and I don’t want it to be the snap on my jeans.

Everything I read says that I have to stop making excuses.  But how do you tell when it’s an excuse and when it’s a valid concern?  For example, I tried doing Weight Watchers, because I know quite a few people who have had success with it.

However, it was a miserable failure for me.  I know that I should eat more fruits and vegetables and less sugary and/or processed food.  Unfortunately, I have food textures issues.  Many people dismiss these as all in my head – if I would just EAT the food, I would like it.

I would LOVE it if this were true.  For me, it’s not.  I cannot stand the texture of cooked, mushy fruit, for example.  Raw apples – love (minus the skin, because again – texture).  Raw carrots – love.  Cooked apples – make me want to vomit.  Same for cooked carrots.

I can’t stand broccoli – it feels like I am chewing on grass.  Lettuce, however, is fine.  All the fruits and vegetables I like (potatoes, carrots, corn, beans, bananas) – are on the ‘not very good’ or ‘eat in moderation’ lists.  So am I left feeling like I have nothing I can eat without feeling guilty.

And WW tells you to eat the ‘low-fat’ versions of everything – which is ridiculous to me, because ‘low-fat’ almost ALWAYS means that there is added sugar to the item, to compensate for the flavor that has been removed along with the fat.  I feel like I can’t win.

Are these excuses?  Maybe, but after 20 years of dealing with my food texture issues, it would be ludicrous to think that I can just ‘get over them.’  I feel like I’m trying to navigate a mine field, in the dark, underwater, and without a compass.

And overcoming my sugar addiction feels like an impossible task, because there’s added sugar in EVERYTHING.  (Did you know they add sugar to pork?  To pork! Why?)  Growing everything I eat myself isn’t an option, so what do I do?  I know the solution is out there, I’ve just got to find it.

Before the self-destruct countdown ends.