Countdown to 24

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I gotta admit: I wasn’t all that excited about my birthday. Usually, I politely (or blatantly) remind people it’s coming up or count down the days, but this year has been real chill.

Some of it is me still finding my way. I’m cool with floating on my life ocean until I hit my next shore of lessons. I maintain time and space for myself, but that’s about the only constant right now. Well… that and The Hero and Bro’Ham. Everything else I play by ear.

Anyway, my birthday was like that until yesterday. I won’t say I’m all like ‘IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!’, but I definitely have a plan on how I’m going to spend my birthday week. I made a list of experiences. And I’m mulling over making those adventures into a blog series.

Now don’t get excited. The list doesn’t have some amazing thing like ‘go skydiving Tuesday morning as the sun rises.’ It’s regular stuff that I think about doing, but for some reason never just do. It’s action-based regularness. Man… I’m good at inventing words and phrases.

It does involve eating cake.

There’s alcohol on the list too. That one ought to be hilarious.

Lots of walking. Bike adventures too. I hope that seat doesn’t chafe my butt though.

Some dancing. Maybe. It’s hard to keep a beat for an extended amount of time.

The week ahead promises to be pretty spectacular. I look forward to kicking it with teachers in their perpetual ‘It’s Friday’ summer state of mind. And I definitely look forward to going to my favorite day spa. I think I’m telling too much. Look for an adventure recap in the near future.

Seeing Progress

courage

I’ve always loved this quote. Life has a way of bringing things together when I least expect it.

I’m currently having a moment. One of these days, I won’t allow my pride to get the best of me and I’ll be able to communicate that how I feel or responded isn’t as intense as it came off. Today is not that day though. But it brought me here so something good came from it. Woo hoo!

So about life. For a while, I’d found my stride. I was meditating, feeling myself on the job and in life generally. Then the move happened and my life got off balance. How off balance? Imagine watching a train approach one of those chasm kinda bridges and going off the rails RIGHT before the deep fall into the abyss. That’s how far. Meditating stopped. The confidence was replaced with some kinda weird doubt and cheese and bacon became life instead of salads and fruit. It feels like all that progress I’d made was obliterated in less than 45 days.

Life always has a way of showing you progress too. I may be in my pride, but I’m not in my feelings. And that, my friends, is hella progress. I can remember a time when I’d run from these feelings, but I understand that seeing a thing, leaning into it always, ALWAYS makes it easier to deal with the underlying feelings. And I understand that the things we try to avoid are really not that scary when you look them square in the eyes.

But it’s a Friday night and I have some Apothic so I’m going to cut this short, celebrate the beginning of the weekend and stare down some other scary things tomorrow morning. Happy weekend, people.

Finding Why

change

Up until recently, I struggled my whole life sticking to things. I quit track in 7th grade because it was hard. I quit my job 10 years ago because I really disliked my manager. I quit full-time parenting because I burned out. I’d quit anything in a heart beat for any reason.

I didn’t know how to breathe and almost puked. Quit.

She talked to me like a kid. QUIT!

They said ‘Mommy’ too much. Kinda quit (the kids are still here and they now just call me Mom which is surprisingly less of a quitable sounding word than ‘Mommy’).

The point is, I found giving up easy and taking the easy way doesn’t really build habits because there’s no time for a new behavior to take hold and become the new normal. The other side of this problem was I would focus so much on the exact definition of what I was supposed to be or do that I got lost in why I wanted to do it.

I didn’t want to run, but my friends were running so I thought it would be cool.

I didn’t hate the job, but I didn’t explore options to transfer to a section doing work I liked.

I didn’t dislike motherhood, but I was mothering based on everyone else’s rules (or my rejection of said rules).

In all of these situations, and probably 4,781 others, I wasn’t doing something for me or with my own way of doing it in mind. It took me almost 42 years to figure this out on my own. I was showing and signing up for things that were someone else’s idea of fun or success, not really mine. I was also trying to change my life without understanding the motivation behind it.

For me, understanding why helped me make major changes in how I think and what I do. And I doing things now because I just want to. Not because of any expected future benefit or gain. There is no end goal. They just make life richer and make me feel younger.

And I stopped thinking about them and if what I was doing was right. As soon as I stopped focusing on doing things a particular way, I had fun exploring different ways to get them done. I meditate in the morning, but I also go meditate at my favorite day spa and find something new to add to my at-home routine. I run on a treadmill. Sometimes I run outside. And sometimes I take Bro’Ham with me (although he really just walks fast because I run slow).

The point is life is short, so enjoy it. Show up for it every now and then and make yourself happy.

 

Losing to Find Freedom

freedom

A lot’s been going on since Bro’Ham took over my computer a month ago.

Maybe I should qualify what ‘a lot’ actually means. I’ve been losing. In just about every area of my life, something is being purged to make way for something more expansive.

I lost my desire to palpitate every time The Kid makes a decision. It’s not my life, it’s his life. It’s also not my right or responsibility to judge his choices. At his age, I’d had him and was living at home with my parents, unemployed. His dad and I weren’t on good terms and life sucked. I survived. So will he. And the upside is he didn’t have a kid, so I don’t have to have an awkward conversation with my grandchild when I’m 50 saying s/he can now call me Gram D.

I let go of the notion that The Girl is someone she’s not. I realized that a 16-year-old teenager is not going to always think past her choices. I also realized that if I really want her to understand what owning her choices means, then I have to let her own them. We had that conversation earlier this month. I can only hope that conversation will make her at least think one choice past her immediate impulses. But if not, hey, it’s still her life to live. I can be supportive as she navigates a new set of choices presented to her.

I released the extreme emotional attachment to my mother. That’s a major statement that needs explanation. It happened in two phases. I first realized that I didn’t need to call on her to help me as much as I once did. I’d come into knowing what I know and realized that I already knew the answer and sought her spirit as validation. She stopped showing up for me. At first I was deep in my feelings about that, but I had a moment of clarity: everything I need is inside of me. She knew that and she needed me to know it too. The best lessons are the ones I figure out on my own. It was the first step in the process.

The second phase was releasing the emotional charges of her things that I still possessed. I don’t have a lot. Her wedding rings, a scarf, photo album, cake pans and accessories and some jewelry. Slowly those things weren’t symbols of who she was or remembered, they were just… things. Her spirit was no longer in them. What I came to realize is when she stopped showing up, she also took her energy from those objects. When I saw them with new eyes, I realized a few of them don’t fit who am. I stopped wearing the ring. I packed up the pans with the intention to take them home to my dad along with the photo album. I went through the jewelry and kept what I liked and tossed the rest. The scarf is no longer a staple of my winter gear. It’s actually been demoted to my scarf drawer instead of in its holy place in the front closet. Letting go of the emotional made room to free up my physical space. I will always love and respect my mother for giving me life and the lessons she taught me, but I was finally able to release her and let her go help others.

I purged stuff that didn’t belong in my life anymore. When I say I went through everything, I inspected every sock, earring, lipstick, nail polish, box, colored pencil, book, pair of panties, bras, shirt, skirts, shoes… I think you get it. The upside is it’s going to make packing next week realllll easy. The downside is, um, well, I need to go shopping. All that purging made my closet look like I’ve been struggling for a decade. That’s probably how long it’s been since I did a real clean out though. It’s amazing to see things I once loved now kinda repulsive to me.

I deleted old files in Google Drive and Evernote. Now that was an undertaking. Man…. Not only was I trash at giving documents good names and organizing them in the beginning, I couldn’t even remember why I’d downloaded and saved about 71% of the stuff I deleted. Random pictures of The Hero sleeping. Recipes I’m sure I expected to cook, but now just made me weary reading. DIY sewing projects when all I’ve mastered (and care to master) is making a banging set of curtains and a maxi skirt. Everything else? Gone. Except Triple Chocolate Devil’s Food Cupcakes and Hash Brown and Egg Casserole. They give life.

I stopped participating in friend groups that I didn’t develop. I sat and realized that I’ve been part of other people’s groups of friends, but have never cultivated my own. My Circle of Six was a figment of my imagination. I don’t even have a circle of six. I have a Triangle of Truth. But those three women? I love them and want them to remain my friends for the rest of my days. The frequency with which I talk to all of them is different, but the feeling when I do is the same: they are the sisters I chose. It was a long time coming, but I’m glad it did.

I released this notion that I didn’t deserve to spend on myself. Of all the things in this post, this one may have had the most significant impact on me because it made me look at how I value myself. I go to the spa every other week now to get something done. Last time, I went to get a color consultation on lipstick because I am sick and tired of trial and error and picking some color that, once on me, doesn’t make me feel electric. I allow someone else to cater to me and not feel guilty spending the money to do so.

Along those lines, I let go of this notion to blow all of my disposable income on eating and drinking. As a matter of fact, I try to limit myself to lunch and dinner on Fridays and no more than two hard ciders per day. I’ll be honest though: this really came about as a kind of trial and error. Wine started giving me ridiculous hangovers. Bourbon gave me the mad heart burn. I don’t like beer. So now me and a variety of hard ciders have a nice old time enjoying ourselves. And it frees up money for pampering at my new favorite day spa.

I let go of this idea that there isn’t enough and started making space for truth. Truth is, there are things I just didn’t want to do. I had money. I had time. I didn’t want to do them. Now the reasons I didn’t want to do them were all different, but when I owned that truth, everything else became easy. And I started to see that there was enough money, time, energy to do everything I wanted to do. I had to declare it and work the plan to make it come into fruition.

I let go of my tiny fear box. It started with work. I asked to take on some duties and when I realized that I wouldn’t be able to excel at them with my current knowledge, I freaked out. I got scared. I realized though that every unknown is scary and I can either let the fear cripple me and suck or I can acknowledge it and work on learning. It showed me how to slow down and move one step at a time instead of thinking 274 steps in the future in my head only to find that step 3 changes the whole plan.

I let go of later and focused on what’s happening right now. Because if you’re like me, right now is usually just fine. You’re still breathing and life is still rolling along. When things come up, it’s almost second nature to stop and ask myself ‘Is this affecting me right now though?’ I’m not saying I avoid dealing with things, but like the fear factor above, skipping past right now was causing me a lot of anxiety. The gray was getting real and I was exacerbating small issues into dramatic sagas. Nah.

I gave up my cape. I struggled with this because it’s how I show love. I do things for people. And the one person who gets the lion’s share of my love is The Hero. After 10 years of showing up at platinum level with gold energy though, I burned out. And I started being resentful. It wasn’t his fault. I didn’t ask for help. The thought occurred to me one day that I am not his caretaker, I’m his partner. And partners complement. He can cook and clean better than me (there was some stankness about admitting that to myself). I’m better at organizing our lives though and making sure everything rolls smoothly. I asked for help. He said yes. We’re living life again like it’s golden.

And there’s Honesty’s Protégée. This blog has been everything from mind dump to recipe/DIY repository. I’m not going to make any more statements about what it will be or what I will do. I know that I’ll come here when it feels right. That may be to cook. May be to dump 2,000 words and update you on my life. I don’t know. I hope you stay, but I understand if you don’t.

Until next time.

i am broham

iambroham

people! ohmygodohmygodohmygod. hi! i took a selfie and even smiled.

my mommy is really busy thinking about a lot of stuff. i don’t know what that stuff is. she still has time to rub on me a whole lot. and she feeds me every day. it’s something white and tiny, something that smells like burnt cows and crunchy stuff. she pours something on it that smells like the stuff she makes in the morning. i think i heard her tell my daddy bacon grease is life. i eat bacon grease is life on my food. it’s delicious.

my dad gives me something salty and crunch from a red bag. it’s crunchy and makes me drink a lot of water, but i like it. he dropped something that looked like leaves on the ground. i ate it. i don’t think i liked it, but it was his food so i figured it was a good idea to eat it because he ate it.

i don’t really know what a week is. i think it’s a bunch of times i go to sleep and wake up. i woke up this morning and went outside. my daddy tried to secure the patio, but i’m smart. i pushed the rocks. i smelled something and i gotta find out what it is. i think it’s another dog. there are two guys down the way that bark every now and then. i left a message for them outside their fence. i want to see who they are. the one sounds big, but he can’t be bigger than my daddy so i’m not scared.

my mommy took me to the park before i went to sleep and woke up the last time. it was fun. some little dog barked at me. little dogs are cute. they bark and bark like they’re big, but they’re not. my mommy made me stay close so that i didn’t run up on him and scare him. he had a brother though who looked bigger. he didn’t bark. he looked annoyed. yapping little brother always has something to say.

my daddy took me to the park too. i don’t know how many sleeps and wake ups ago that was. we had fun too. he let me off the leash. i don’t get off my leash a lot. why? maybe i’m a little curious. sometimes i just like to find what i smell when i’m out walking. soo… it’s possible that i may be a little bit of a runner. i’m getting it together because i want to get off the leash with my mommy. she gets all nervous i’m going to hurt myself. i don’t know where she gets that idea from.

(Editor’s note: Bro’Ham forgot he jumped out the car window while the car was moving. He also dashed out the door and scared the neighborhood kids so much they jumped on cars.)

i got a toy this week. it makes noise and it’s squishy. my mommy kept being a jerk and moving it. she didn’t understand that i put it where i wanted it. she really needs to chill out with the picking up my stuff and moving it. i can’t find it! but then i remember bacon grease is life on my food. it’s been my favorite toy this week. that really hard thing that smells like bison is a real close second. i can chew that and not get in trouble. i guess eating daddy’s shoe strings and trying to find the food in mommy’s bag wasn’t a good idea.

my mommy put me out her room this morning and i heard some sounds and stuff behind the door. when she came out she smelled different. then she went in room where she made me all wet and came out smelling different. i think we’re going somewhere. i gotta go before she asks me why i’ve been barking so much and put me in jail for using her white box.

Righting Wronged Ships

selfbelief

The mantra above is one that I created working with Akua when she was just starting Let’s Pursue You roughly three years ago. It helped me work through a lot of issues around valuing who I am, what I stand for and releasing old stories I believed to be true about myself.

It comes in handy once again. For the last two weeks, I’ve allowed myself to succumb to the whims of life’s tides. There’s a part of me that wants to blame something (Bro’Ham) or someone (The Hero is my favorite scapegoat), but at the end of the day, I believe in ownership.

I sabotaged myself. I spoke being tired, achy, afraid, not good enough into existence and when it showed up and called me Mommy, I was confused and clutching my pearls. For real though?

Yes, for real. See, I have a pretty good mind. When I focus and use it, fantastic things happen. I create. I expand. I feel. I am at peace. When I forget these things and focus on all the small things happening around me, I lose sight of game-changing me. The clouds of smallness roll in and shade my shine.

It manifested here on the blog. I apologize to you for some not-so-stellar posts as of late. I’m going to do better. That may mean that you don’t get to come along for food adventure rides because I’m not cooking anything spectacular this week. As a matter of fact, we’re having plain old spaghetti for about three days, which probably means no food post this week. A funny story may come from me convincing The Hero that he can still eat spaghetti cooked today on Saturday, but sharing a spaghetti sauce recipe that changes with whatever we have on hand seems kinda like cheating. I’m not going to do that.

So I’m righting the ship over here. The Hero mentioned that it’s never that I can’t do something, it’s that I haven’t decided I can and will. So, once again, I’m deciding I can do better starting today. That includes on the blog, in my creative life, self-care and work. In the meantime, I’m going to Google supporting information on leftover shelf life so I don’t have to cook again until Saturday.

 

Week in Review: February 5, 2017

menchica

My weekend ended spending time with The Girl. She was upset that Bro’Ham wasn’t with me this weekend. So she was stank. Which means I had to annoy her alllll weekend.

Wait… it’s the week in review. Let me rewind.

Early this week was tough to put it mildly. I am officially transitioning to a different position and to be honest, it’s scary and exciting. I realize it’s a lot different than what I expected, but different is good. It’s forcing me to break into new ways of thinking and new frontiers. I have to lead an all-day meeting Friday. I am not ready. Not that I haven’t prepared, it’s the scope of the project that I underestimated. It’s huge. The part I thought  I managed is about 15% of the total process. Eye-opening the last 10 days. I know I’ll get it, I just have to be patient getting there. So that’s work.

I thought once my kids were grown, parenting would taper off. Nah. Tuesday through Thursday was hard to get through. Tuesday was the worst. Looking back, I’m proud of myself for moving through it and regaining my calm much faster than I normally do. I dreaded what visiting the kids would entail this weekend, but it turned out fine.

Through that experience, I realized that I had to mourn a phase with The Kid. He’s not The Kid anymore. Well… he’s my kid, but it means something else. This week showed me that parenting never stops, but I can choose how I respond to it. At some point, as parents, we have to let go and see if what we think we put in there worked. What I know is that every one of us figured it out and I really have to give my kid and myself space to allow that to happen.

So that brings us back to the weekend. The Kid had to work so The Girl and I got to spend some time together. We went to lunch (that girl can eat!) and then to the Natural History Museum. I took more pictures, but they all look something like this:

chicanme

I bet you can guess I got nothing done for the blog this weekend. Instead we started celebrating The Hero’s birthday early on Sunday. Let’s just say that wasn’t my smartest idea having to wake up at 5:30 a.m. Monday. So on that note, I’m off to take a shower and go to bed. Let’s all meet up again Wednesday when I promise I’ll have a recipe. For humans.