Thursday, December 31, 2009
For my 100th post on this blog, I wanted to share something a bit personal and what most people would deem embarrassing or shameful. The reason I share so much about what I’ve been through and where I’m heading is that there shouldn’t be a social stigma for someone suffering from a mental illness, or any illness for that matter. As I continue to work on becoming a Clinical Psychologist, one of the most powerful things I am armed with is my experiences, my story. Here’s another chapter . . .
For the past 5 years, I was a hoarder. A hoarder is someone that, for some reason or another, can not throw anything away. They collect everything – and I do mean everything. Right now, the Mental Health Community isn’t even quite sure exactly how to treat or classify hoarding. It could end up being a separate diagnosis all on it’s own, or a subset of OCD.
One of the mysteries to hoarding, which in turn makes it hard to treat, is why people do it. There’s not one specific answer or cause. My reason started off simply enough . . . I liked to shop. I liked to buy things. I wasn’t happy and I’d get up, go shopping, buy something . . . and feel better. As time drug on, I ended up buying more and more of the same stuff.
Then, some where down the line, I stopped throwing stuff away. I got paranoid that someone might come into my home – they might actually want to come in my house! That kind of freaked me out. My home was my safety – my place to hide from the world. So if my home was not “clean”, therefore no one could come over. It wouldn’t be proper to entertain when your home is not “clean.” It became a very effective way to keep a barrier between me and the rest of the world.
I liked the isolation, and being burrowed in my little hole . . . for awhile. Then something unexpected happened. I met my best friend. Someone that loved me for all of who I am, and she didn’t care about my issues, she just wanted to help me b/c she loved me for who I am. That was kind of cool – and different. I let her in. Not my home mind you . . . but my heart. She didn’t press coming over, she understood. She just let me know that at some point, she wanted to come over. She offered so many times to help me clean, to help me get through it. But I said no . . . inside I felt it had to be something I did myself.
Another thing happened, quite recently. I met someone else. Something completely unexpected happened . . . we went out . . . and the unexpected part was that we had fun – I ENJOYED IT! One night with him showed me the last missing piece – and gave me the rest of the motivation I needed. I realized that I really, REALLY did want to have someone in my life, and in order to do that – I had to stop hoarding. I had to let go of my fear of getting hurt, because in life – you get hurt. I had to tear down the last walls of isolation I had built.
In 5 years I had filled up my 870 sq. foot home with crap. In 4 days, it was clean. (Yes, that picture is a partial picture of everything I threw away . . . there was more than I could get in one shot) It was over . . . all of it was finally over. In the end, I did it. I beat it. I got thru the PTSD, I got over the depression, I reconnected with so many that I’d lost touch with, I am beating my weight issue, and I no longer hoard. I can’t thank God enough for all the blessings he's given me and continues to provide.
With tears of joy in my eyes I say thank you. Thank you for reading this, thank you for learning about me, thank you for understanding. 2009 was one helluva year . . . and 2010 is going to be better. Here’s to another 100 blog entries . . .
Monday, December 28, 2009
The music is playing softly,
the lights are turned low.
You stand across the room,
Ready to go.
Your hand on my hip
sends ripples up my skin.
Into my eyes you look,
I'm a mess deep within.
I don't know the steps,
I haven't learned my cues.
My frustration mounts
I don't know what to do.
Do I lead? Do I follow?
What's the step I take?
Do I jump in? Do I wait?
Is it already too late?
I know what I feel
I'm aware of the cost.
but at this dance
I'm completely lost.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
I want to start off by saying I absolutely, without a doubt, LOVE irony. How can you not?? I think it’s one of the things that makes life just too funny. If you can’t laugh at life – then there’s just not that much that is funny to ya . . .
So, with that in mind – let me tell you about my Christmas in Topeka. It actually begins in Texas, where I tell my parents that I really don’t think it’s gonna be a good idea for me to drive back down from Topeka on Christmas Eve b/c of the weather. They are predicting lots of snow, and I just don’t think it’s a good idea for me to drive in that kind of weather. They agree, and it’s settled. I am NOT leaving for Texas.
Now . . . not that I mind heading to Texas, but I was looking forward to a relaxing holiday and a little fun time with friends, not to mention 5 days off from work (that kinda rocks!). On Christmas Eve, as expected, I wake up to sleet and ice that quickly turns into the Christmas Blizzard of 2009. We broke a 100 year record for snowfall and well . . . good call on not leaving. Two friends come over to help me fix a drainage problem in my basement, and later I attend Christmas Eve service with a good friend. Mind you, it has been snowing STEADILY since noon . . .
I wake up on Christmas morning and am so excited!!! My first WHITE CHRISTMAS!!! How fun! I know what I’m going to do . . . I’m going to open the back of the car and listen to Christmas music while shoveling snow off the driveway. How Midwest of me!! So – I get thru RuPaul’s rendition of Santa Baby, and then move on to Mariah’s “All I Want for Christmas” when the radio shuts off. Hmmmmmm . . . that’s odd.
I go to see what happened, and the battery is dead. D-E-A-D . . . I suddenly go from a relaxed snow shoveler to a caged animal in a poorly attended zoo . . . AHHHH! I can’t go anywhere! I’m stranded in my own home!! On Christmas!!! UGH!!! (Irony #1 – was going to relax all week ANYWAY and now I’m so stressed out b/c I no longer have the OPTION to go anywhere)
So, the day after Christmas, my friend comes over to pick me up after I’ve gotten my battery (almost) completely disconnected from the car. We get in his car and, well, he gets stuck out in front of my street. See . . . Topeka doesn’t really do a good job of plowing the snow, and after a foot of snow and all the wind, one can tend to get stuck. My neighbor pulls us out – and we’re off to Big O’Tires to get a new battery.
On the way back to my house with new battery in hand, I suggest parking in the driveway across from my house b/c no one lives there (it’s for sale) AND there’s NO way you’d get stuck there. So he does and we get out and replace the battery. He backs out into the middle of the street . . . AND . . . he gets stuck again! So my neighbor AGAIN politely pulls us out of the snow in the middle of the street . . .
And as SOON as we get his car unstuck from the snow . . . the FREAKING SNOW PLOW turns on the street. SERIOUSLY??? NOW THE SNOW PLOW COMES??? What was even kind of funny was the snow plow got stuck in the street too! (Irony #2 – after pulling his car out twice from the snow, the snow plow comes to plow the road and gets stuck too)
Yeah . . . while it was kind of a frustrating experience to live through . . . looking back you kind of have to giggle about it.
Oh, and Gracie . . . you need to learn how to read the number of tags . . .it’s the number AFTER the tag . . . so you still have one more tag than he does you big ol’ diva!!!
Friday, December 25, 2009
I realized something today that I didn’t quite have my hands around. It sounds a bit weird, but don’t judge. You have to walk in someone else’s shoes to get it sometimes. I don’t know how to be happy. It doesn’t mean that I have never been happy, or felt happy, but for the first time in a long, long time – I’m actually happy. It really weirds me out – I keep waiting for the other foot to drop and it is totally stressing me out.
I don’t trust that life can be this good. And believe me . . . it’s really, REALLY good. With all the changes going on this year, my outlook and attitude was bound to change . . . but this whole “happy” thing is new. I have had so many people over the past few months (and at home last weekend) comment on how happy I am. People never really used words like happy, content, satisfied, at peace, etc. when describing me. They do now . . . spooky . . .
So – if you haven’t been following (and so I can remind myself) here’s the year in a quick run down . . .
January – after being told that it’d take six months to get approval for lapband surgery, it’s approved in two weeks
February – 26th of Feb – last step of reclaiming my life back – I get my band
March/April – recoop at home and get to spend some time with the family – it was awesome!
May – decide to go back to school to become a Therapist – apply at Washburn University
June – Take my first college course, get an A! Intro to Psych in the books – loved it!
August – I’ve lost 100 lbs! Seriously!!! 10 days shy of six months!!! WHAT???
September – Off and running on my first semester back in school – juggling work and school is quite a challenge but am enjoying it
October – My BFF ties the knot in a beautiful ceremony AND my newest niece, McKenzie Grace is born.
November – Just taking a deep breath. School is almost over and weight loss is good.
December – Ready for this?? Got my first collegiate 4.0, Got a 1230 on my GRE (needed a 1200), went on a FANTASTIC date, met someone who is at the very least a great friend and hopefully wants to be more, got to hold my niece for the first time, saw my family the weekend before Christmas, AND – I can buy clothes off the rack!! I wear XXL shirts now (in most brands) instead of a 7XB (which means 7XL cut really big for my belly). I’m smaller than when I MOVED to Kansas 5 years ago . . .
This all hit me last night while at Christmas Eve service. I am so incredibly humbled by the blessings I’ve received this year, and it’s just so much to take in. I don’t know how to handle it . . . I keep looking over my shoulder.
So – my New Year’s Resolution – and I’m really going to do this – is to just sit back and enjoy life for what it is. I’m going to stop looking around for the bad coming, and instead enjoy the good.
Damn, I’m such a drama queen . . .
Monday, December 21, 2009
Does anyone else love to bake cookies? I know I do . .. it’s been a long time since I have baked some cookies.
In order to start out with the best batch possible, you need to make sure you have the best ingredients. That doesn’t mean you must purchase the most expensive, but rather what you have learned thru experience works for you. Get out all your ingredients and make sure it’s all there . . .
Knowing prep time is important. Some cookies you make are quick on prep, and can be made hastily. Typically though, they’re often too easy to make and not that memorable. After all, anyone can just whip together any ol’ batch of cookies . . . I like to make special cookies (not THAT kind of special!), and so I prefer my prep time to take longer. In this case, I had to mix all the ingredients together and then let the cookie dough sit for several hours in the fridge . . . just letting it do its thing naturally.
After awhile, it is time to turn the heat up! Lined the cookie sheets and made the cookie balls, then pressed ‘em with a fork and stuck ‘em in the oven. Don’t want to overcook the cookies b/c that ruins the whole batch, but don’t want to undercook the cookies b/c that leaves ‘em too soft and they fall apart. You have to make sure you have the right amount of heat . . .
And when the cookies are all done, the best part . . . you get to eat ‘em! The gooier the better! Nothing is better than when you finish eating cookies and have to lick your fingers too
I think I like making cookies . . .
Monday, December 14, 2009
What's up kids??
Yes, the title says it all -- I officially think this past week definitely qualifies as my BEST WEEK EVER. I want to know right now where VH1 is and why they aren't talking about me. Seriously . . . who wouldn't want to talk about me?? Let's go through the week and I'll explain why this really had to have been, literally, the best week ever.
It starts on Saturday, 12/5/09. A random lunch turns into an evening in Kansas City that will always be remembered. All I'm gonna say is that there was dancing, good music, great company, and fireflies in the stomach. We didn't even get back to Topeka until 6 in the freaking morning!! And remind me not to EVER drink rum again (and no I didn't drive) . . .
Monday, 12/7/09 - Statistics final. Can you say NERVE RACKING?? I'm currently sitting on a 91 in the class, and it's the only class that I don't have an "A" locked up. While I've always been quite studious -- I'd never pulled off the mythical 4.0 in college. This was as close as I've ever been to it. So, with studying behind me and nerves all bundled up -- I took the test. Mind you my other 2 test grades in the course were an 89 and an 82 (thank goodness for homework!). I felt very confident walking out of the test that I did pretty good.
Tuesday, 12/8/09 - Studying for GRE. The highest I'd gotten on any practice exam was an 1120 (ironically, what I got on my SATs EONS ago . . . ). My Abnormal Psych prof (side note -- love her!) told me to get flashcards to help with the vocab thing so that's what I bought to focus on.
Wednesday, 12/9/09 -- YES!!! I got a 92 on my STAT FINAL!!!! First ever collegiate 4.0 is in the books!!
Friday, 12/11/09 -- Woke up and went to work out. Got on the scale and it reflects that I'd lost 142 lbs! DAMN!!! Talk about a confidence boost. Run into a good friend that I hadn't been able to catch up with at Panera while having my pre-GRE breakfast and got to catch up. He's getting married!!! YAY!!! I then head to the mall to do some retail therapy (aka Christmas shopping) to calm my nerves and I get the sweetest text telling me to relax, I'm gonna do well, and to remember "Footprints in the Sand" . . . Three sets . . . It was what I needed. I walked out with a 1230 and was in utter disbelief! This is the first time that I actually realized that I'm going to be a psychologist. I'm going to be able to help people thru what I've gone thru. It was all a bit overwhelming to be honest. To top off the evening . . . went out and celebrated and had another great time. Again . . . must remember to not drink rum . . .
Saturday, 12/12/09 -- My house is officially clean. I'll do a whole seperate entry for this later, but in a nutshell I was a hoarder. If you don't know what that is there is a show on A&E that does a great job at dipicting it. It's pretty rough to get thru -- and harder to clean up from. I'd been working on the house all weekend and was able to get it completely cleaned up. I can't even describe what a fantastic feeling it is to FINALLY be over and done with that . . . Now it's just working on building the habit strength to prevent it again.
Sunday, 12/13/09 -- Was asked to do a reading with my good friend and Lap Band buddy Annette at church. We are kindred spirits, and I was touched that we were asked to do it together. She's my sweetie! Later that day, Gracie came over to my house for the first time. That was awesome to have my bff come over and be able to see my home without the shame or embarrassment of it being all messy and gross.
Monday, 12/14/09 -- After working out and weighing myself -- I'm now down 144 lbs!!! Are you kidding me??? Gracie said that I'd be at 150 by the new year and I didn't believe her . . . but damn I'm getting close now!!
Whew . . . it's all I can do to just drink my Starbucks and not run around screaming at the top of my lungs right now . . . I'm so thankful for this past week . . . and while I know they won't all measure up to what took place, I look forward to them all with anticipation.
Happy Christmas! (I love the British for that phrase!)
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Not really sure what to say, what to type. I've been frustrated for a week and the only thing I know how to do is type it out -- so to speak.
I hate being alone. I can find 47 million reasons why I should be alone, but I still don't like it. Things like - no time b/c of school, need to save $, work is crazy right now, you want to move back to Texas, blah blah blah . . . I sure can talk myself into misery.
Please, as you're reading this, don't send the "just relax" or "you'll find it when you're not looking" or "you're a great guy" comment . . . I appreciate it but it doesn't help. I'm 34, and my biggest fear is that I'm always going to be alone. Yet, for some reason, I do nothing to change it. It's my paradox, my dichotomy, my whatever you'd like to stick in this blank ____________. It's rather frustrating.
I even know the problem -- rejection. Yes, kids -- it's an intense fear of rejection. (And yes, I know where it comes from, why it's irrational, and why it's a roadblock) I just feel like I'm gonna end up sitting on my front porch with a blanket and watching the rest of my life pass by.
I feel like I'm screaming as loud as I can and the silence is deafening . . . just wanting someone to answer back . . . someone that is interested in me.
Forgive my insecure moment . . . back to your regular blog reading.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
- Seperate but Equal statutes would be in effect -- there'd still be whites only and colored only places in America, and as evidenced by the pictures of that time, the whites would have an advantage b/c typically those facilities were much better
- Education would only go to white men -- before Title 9 and other Equal Opportunity statutes were passed -- most minority classes (i.e. Blacks, Hispanics, Women) were not afforded the same chances at scholarships, team participation in sports, or even admittance to the top universities and colleges in the nation.
- Right to Vote would only reside with White Men -- Blacks didn't gain the right to vote until after slavery was abolished (by statute, not a vote) and women didn't gain sufferage until the 1920 . . .
- Blacks would not be allowed into the military, nor women
- In all likelihood, several states would probably still have laws allowing for legal slavery and women would be treated as property
- Polygamy would still be legal in Utah
Just think of the depravity of our society if we would have allowed voters to decide the rights of the minorities. We would have missed out on leaders that have directed our nation and industries. You don't even have to look very far to find leaders of minorities that have had an impact on us, Dorthea Dix, Susan B. Anthony, George Washington Carver, the Tuskeegee Airmen, Gen. Colin Powell, Condeleeza Rice, Janet Reno, President Barack Obama, Sec. of State Hillary Clinton to name the most recent . . . Whether you agree or support them in their endeavors, you can't deny the influence they've had on our country. None of them would have had the chance if we voted on it.
I'm not for the abolition of voting rights, or that I know all, but rather to understand our history and how we, as all other societies, have had the tendency to oppress others in the minority. Why, at this time of our existence, with the history our nation already has built, would we suddenly choose to trust the masses in regards to a question about oppression? Where are the leaders in our country to stand up and fight with us? Every member of the NAACP, NOW, LULAC, the Islamic and Jewish communities (among others), should be standing beside us - acknowledging that our rights have been denied.
The problem I guess, is that now that they are part of the accepted majority, there's just not many left to stand with us . . . sad that they have forgotten what it's like to be denied the opportunity just because of who you are.
So -- I have one thing to say in closing -- I'm here, I'm queer, get over your fear. Because it is -- at it's core -- an irrational fear that is preventing the legalization of same sex marriage.
(Notice I didn't even point out the weakness in the "sanctity of marriage" arguement by discussing common law marriage and how hypocritical that arguement really is . . . oh wait, just did)
Sunday, October 25, 2009
- Using the non-handicap bathroom stall. Seriously -- I don't have to worry about it anymore if I need to use a stall -- I can actually used the normal size one!! YAY!!
- Going out to eat and sitting at a booth. For awhile I couldn't go out to eat with friends without having to specifically ask for a table instead of a booth. It was so embarassing when I would get walked to a booth and then have to ask for a table instead. Now -- no worries.
- I don't have to save money for underwear. Big people clothes are OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive - and not very good quality either. Today, I went to a regular store and bought to packs of underwear for $19 (they were 4 packs). That would have been like $60 at the big boy store.
- Flying -- I can fit in the plane seat. Still don't like it, but I can fly . . .
- Walking all over the place and not losing my breath or having to rest . . . I went to a KU game a few yrs back and had to stop at various points and rest, because I couldn't walk all the way there in one trip.
- Riding with friends -- I had to buy a bigger car (traded up from a Kia Sorento to a Chrysler Pacifica) b/c I didn't fit in my car. I would have to volunteer to drive everywhere b/c I knew I fit in my car, but really didn't know if I fit in everyone else's car. Now -- I can fit in a Honda CRV, a Volvo sedan, a Nissan Altima, a Mitsubishi Galant, and a Jeep Grand Cherokee for starters . . . yeah -- I'm still keeping count. Oh, and I no longer drive the station wagon on steroids either . . . I have a Pontiac Torrent (and love it).
- Good health -- wow do I feel better! I no longer have high blood pressure, high cholestorol, high blood sugar, or high whatever will kill ya . . . my levels are back to normal . . . and that's the BEST part of this journey.
- I don't mind having a full body picture made -- I used to hide behind things so only my face would get photographed. I didn't like the reminders of how big I was . . . now it's all I can do to not jump into a stranger's picture . . . b/c they need to see how hot I am! :)
- Britches without elastic waist bands . . . I DON'T HAVE TO WEAR BRITCHES WITH ELASTIC WAIST BANDS ANYMORE!!!
- Positive self image -- I feel so good about all I've done and all I have to offer. I can't even begin to describe how that feels.
So what is the reason or this? Don't take things for granted, b/c you never know when you might lose it. And it's hard as hell to get it back . . . savor everything -- every benign moment, every beige event, every boring gathering -- b/c you never know if it'll be gone.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
The confidence of the warrior,
Burning deep in my soul.
Fighting for my freedom
From the oppression and pain,
The enemy on death’s door
The rage of anger
Pulsing through every fiber
Readying to slay the dragon.
I stop and ponder
The thought of mercy in my mind,
Looking down at my antagonist.
We’ve spent so long together,
Became comfortable, Became resigning,
Snared in its neglectful tentacles.
Not pity, but empathy, for I understand.
But impale the demon I must.
And my patient sword I thrust.
Its breath stops,
My eyes close,
My demon is almost dead . . .
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
It’s not just naughty.
It’s a chance to give a piece of your spirit,
your essence, a piece of your core.
You share something hidden in the depths of your heart
something so pure, so pristine, so perfect,
It’s not just naughty.
It’s not just nice.
It’s a chance to unleash the beast within,
your primal instinct, a basic desire.
You engage in activities that stimulate your sensations
something so exciting, so exhilarating, so exhausting.
It’s not just nice.
The touch, the bond, the insatiable quest –
The sweat, the passion, the emotion –
The two shades of your heart, the dichotomy of your spirit –
something that touches your faith and your lust -
Complex, confusing, complicated, compounding –
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Rule #1 - Read Instructions ~ Read instructions?? Yes dearies . . . if you were not aware many of today's ensembles come WITH INSTRUCTIONS! If you will just read the item's instructions you will not make a poor choice. Need an example?? Take "skinny jeans." This is such an easy instruction to follow - they are telling you if you are skinny, these are your jeans. If you are NOT SKINNY, these ARE NOT your jeans. It's just that easy! And skinny isn't if you line up all of your relatives at the Southern Deep Fried convention and you happen to be the smallest fatty that you are then skinny . . . skinny is NOT relative. Other examples -- mom jeans (jeans for mom), fitted tees (if they don't fit . . .), undershirts (rednecks - this means to wear 'under' another shirt - or to make it easier to understand you will end up wearing as many shirts as you have teeth). See?? That was easy.
Rule #2 - Ensure contents don't shift during travel ~ or in other words . . . wear undergarments! Ladies -- unless you are 24 with super perky boobs, you need to support your girls with some type of bra . . . any bra . . . seriously. Try the pencil test . . . If you can stick a pencil under your boob, and it stays, you need support. Gravity is the devil - and after nursing 3 children and gaining 40 lbs, you should not under ANY circumstances allow you girls to EVER be free . . . I'm not sure I'd even recommend them to be free EVER, but at least in public keep them contained. The last thing anyone wants to see is a couple of droopy orangutan boobies bouncin under some light cottony fabric. It's enough to make anyone wanna hurl.
Rule #3 - Also known as JJ's Golden Rule of Fashion - Just because it's your size does NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD WEAR IT!!! ~ Low rise jeans aren't meant to be warn by a size 24 women or 40" waisted man . . . they are just not! There is nothing sexy or alluring about someone that is wearing a pair of jeans that doesn't cover back fat or muffin top. NOTHING! Since you are not hot, (trust me, your not) your fashion choices should create the illusion that in a really dark bar with several drinks, you might be "cute". And if you are wearing something you shouldn't, it won't work.
Please, if you are one of the few gifted souls like me, help me help the fashionably challenged, or as I call them the FT's (Fashion-Tards), pass these rules along. It can only make the world a more beautiful place . . .
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
That question has burned in my mind for years upon years. On my left shoulder, I had tattooed "spirit, pray, grace, love, forgive" to remind myself over and over that I needed to do that. I needed to forgive the people that let me down as a child. It might sound odd, but it's something I know I must do in order to finally put it behind me.
But how do you know when you've truly forgiven someone?? I've prayed to God to forgive them, and I say I have forgiven them. I don't hold a hatred in my heart towards them, nor do I wish them ill will. I do chose, however, to not have them participate in my life. I don't think to forgive necessarily means that you forget. I wish I could forget those events, but unfortunately they are etched in my brain.
So in my struggle and my anxiety, I reached out to my pastor. I'm not known for asking for help, but I am so glad I did. He gave me the best advice, and what I truly believe it means to forgive, so I share it with you. He said, "Forgiveness is all about letting go of the anger and the hurt, and trusting that when we do that, God meets us in that place of surrender and strengthens us for the journey ahead."
He went on to explain that it's not about forgetting, but letting go of the emotion, the anger. Sometimes, too much has happened that even though we forgive, the relationship can never be healed. So I pray now for God to help me forgive them, to let go of the anger and negative emotion, and help me to move on. I no longer want to survive, I want to thrive.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
I might be a bit judgmental, but I just think it's important to actually be employed - or working on gainful employment, when looking for a mate. It's kind of scary when you go out with someone that doesn't work - and isn't planning on getting a job in the near future.
Then there's the right and wrong things to say when courting someone. You shouldn't comment on less than flattering features of your prospective partner. It's not the wisest idea to actually point out a flabby chest or a bit of belly fat. Kinda kills the mood . . .
And definitely ask questions if someone says something that you don't understand. Never just assume you know what the other person is talking about or that you will figure it out later. Topics have a funny way of rearing their ugly head again and forcing you at some point to actually admit you have no clue what's being discussed, and therefore looking more like an idiot.
Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever under any circumstances whatsoever profess to be in love with the person on the first date. Even if you've known each other for years and years, it comes across as hokey and reeking of desperation. Kinda ruins the joy of the pursuit.
On the first arranged meeting, don't bring your two hags, gossip and talk amongst yourself, giggle uncontrollably, and then leave within 15 min of arrival. Well, you can, but don't ask if the other person likes you -- if you can't stick around to find out it's probably not worth finding out the answer.
Refrain from asking what names the kids are going to have that you both will be adopting on the first date. Not the best time to suggest building a family and home with someone when you are just getting to know each other.
Everyone knows it's all about putting your best foot forward - but make sure it's actually a good foot. No one likes a know-it-all, and everyone hates an idiot. It's better to be comfortable with yourself, flaws and all, then to try and mask it behind feigned intelligence.
I don't think this is asking too much . . . is it?
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
of piercing lightening through the heart.
There he stood ravaging my innocence,
but my soul he could not....
The flesh was weak, mending into scars,
but my spirit I found, would not depart.
Deep inside, I hid alone,
hardening the shell around.
Yes, I've been tested by the strike.
I've been tested by the sound
of deafening thunder rattling my bones.
The muffled screams still echo in my mind,
buy my voice he could not....
The words not known, but the feelings remained,
and in time, the emotion would roar out.
From deep inside, I cried,
beneath the shell around.
Yes, I've been tested by the sound.
I've been tested by the volume
of drowning water stealing my breath.
The weight would keep me down,
but my faith he could not....
The path not clear, but the tasks crystal,
step by step, my sweet release closer.
Deep inside, I healed,
beneath the shell around.
Yes, I've been tested by the volume.
Through the sweet tears of pain,
I saw HIS light raditating out.
HIS love would lift me up,
my sorrows would not....
With HIS sacrifice, the life within awoke,
moment after moment, my heart beat.
Deep inside, HE was always with me.
WE shattered the shell.
Yes, I saw HIS light after the storm...
(not exactly what Pastor Ty spoke about today, but this has been circling my head since church)
Monday, June 15, 2009
You probably are thinking that the title of this little entry is a typo . . . but it's not. Not by a long shot . . . but we'll get to that.
I haven't blogged solely about the whole lap band experience for a bit, and that's b/c I've been a bit preoccupied - but time for self reflection is now. I go in tomorrow for my third fill - and it's much needed.
While the weight loss is still fantastic, I've been eating more than I should. I'm supposed to eat until I'm not hungry, and while I still eat small portions, I've graduated from 3 to 4 meals over the past few weeks to keep me satiated. That's just too many. I did skip my last fill appointment b/c things were going so well - so this is not at all unexpected or a concern. I just want to make sure all is a-okay inside.
So, that brings me to this -- as of right now I've lost 74 pounds. That's a lot!! I couldn't even visualize how much that is or what it looks like, so I did some computations and research, and I thought this might help line it up for ya. Below is a list of items that weigh 74 lbs . . .
- 32,560 mosquitos
- 2,041 compact discs
- 8.5 gallons of milk
- 15,392 pennies
- 252 iPhones
- roughly 3.5 bags of dog food
- about 5 15 lbs bowling balls
- 23 of my laptop computers
- 9 Wilson Kitty's
- almost 1 Ragan
- 29 pairs of shoes
- 148 double whoppers
- and for a visual effect - 4 sticks of butter is roughly the size and consistency of 1 pound of fat - so that's 296 sticks of butter (Paula Dean would be appauled)
Now THAT'S putting it into perspective. I find myself speechless at times, and not able to put into words what's going on in my life. As many of you know, I do believe in God - and he is very strong in my life right now. I feel very blessed to be able to even type these results - it's very humbling, and at the same time very, very liberating!
This past week - I've had several "firsts" that I haven't been able (or comfortable) to do in a long time -- I put down the armrest in between the driver's and passengers seat of my car, I tucked in my shirt (still wasn't totally comfortable with that), I walked 3 miles for the Memory Walk 2009 for Alzheimer's (btw thx donors!!), and have the energy to work full time, go to school, and work out. Crazy I know . . .
So - to put it in another way - I'm feeling much, much butter, thank you!
Saturday, June 13, 2009
School is going fantastically. I was worried about starting back again and how it would all go, but it's been such an awesome experience. I approach college this time around in a different way, more like a job for lack of a better analogy -- and half way thru my first course I've got an A!
Work is work . . . blah!
I've lost 72 lbs!!! I have a doctor's appointment for my next fill for my band, and it's time to get one. Over the past 2 weeks, I've been quite hungry and have eaten more than I have been in the past. So - that means it's time to get my band adjusted. I've had 2 adjustments, and I'm supposed to have 3 to 6 fills to get the band in the right spot, so it's time.
Going back home in August to see my Dad show the Gran Torino he restored at a car show in Ft. Worth. I haven't been back since my surgery so I'm excited to see them and show them my results.
And finally . . . I caved. I got an iPhone today . . . and YES as much as I am LOATHED to admit it - I love it.
Well -- that's pretty much it for now I think . . . so wish me luck tomorrow!
Monday, May 25, 2009
A boy I once knew.
It was a time long ago, an innocence so pure.
Down his gaze, away from the world.
He plodded steadily along,
A heavy heart, a searching soul.
He missed the little joys of childhood,
So simple, so good.
There I sat, on the bench in the path.
Too shy to inquire – I let him walk through.
There I sat, quietly, watching the clouds as they grew.
Along he came, quickly moving.
A young man I once knew.
It was a time not so distant, yet not so near.
Focused in books, focused on goals.
He darted quickly to his destination,
Not absorbing the life around.
Too myopic, too blinded.
There I sat, on the bench in the path.
Too slow to interrupt, I let him walk through.
There I sat, quietly, watching the clouds as they grew.
Along he came, wandering and lost.
A man I once knew.
Seems just the other day, yet a lifetime away.
No direction, no meaning, just breathing.
He meandered along the path,
Stains of pain and sorrow on his face.
He gazed at me, and instantly I knew.
There we sat, quietly, watching the clouds as they grew.
He turned to me, with a soft glance,
And spoke in a voice so familiar and true.
What is the point? Why do you never move?
I thought, and thought, until at once I knew.
Touched with a wisdom so few ever could,
I said bittersweetly, “I’ve been waiting for you.
I watch the clouds, my soul waiting to see;
When will you finally come to meet me?”
“I’ve sat here for years, watching you walk on by.
Quiet, patient, knowing deep inside.
I knew the time would arrive, when you would see
That life holds more than you were to believe.
Your heart now healed, your gaze searching,
Your soul sat here alone and waiting.
It’s time, my friend, to no longer dawdle,
For inside, you’re ready, for all that life offers.”
Along he came, confident and sure.
A man I know and love.
Tomorrow has come, illuminating the possibilities.
With patience and perseverance he glides along,
Every turn an adventure, a lesson, a friend.
He pauses at the bench in the path where we met,
A smile, a tear, and down the path he went….
No one sat to watch, for there were no more clouds that grew.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Okay - so I have a burning question that needs to be answered . . . is it morbid that most of my favorite love songs aren't positive happy tunes?? I mean - what is that all about??
Here's the deal -- I'm working on putting together a pre-reception playlist for Gracie's wedding in October (yeah, I am a bit ahead, but I am kind of a planner). So - I'm sifting through all the songs I have, and I've realized that all of my faves - for the most part - are more about heartache than love.
I know why this is - but it still catches me off guard. Obviously, we are all more drawn to music that touches are souls or that we can relate to. Yes (insert tragic violin music) I can identify more with the pain of love than the joy of it. Kinda bites!
Please, no "it'll be alright" type comments. I'm not down about it and I'll meet the right guy some day. I'm sure he'll be buff, smart, rich, and want to tour Europe for a month too -- but that's not what this is about. It's just about identifying with music. I just found it odd that my favorite love songs are not so "lovey" -- which is making it a bit of a challenge in filling the playlist. Please feel free to suggest any . . . I'm open!
Oh - for the curious - here are my favorite love songs:
- "Patience" by Take That - about not rushing into love because my heart is still healing from a broken heart
- "Come Back to Me" by David Cook - a rocker version of the I'll let you go and see if you will come back
- "The Rose" by Bette Midler - not totally negative, but not totally positive either . . .
- "Yesterday" by Leona Lewis - not that I don't love "Bleeding Love," b/c I do, but this is much less played and just as beautiful. Basically the future can be taken away, but I can remember the past.
- "I Stay in Love" by Mariah Carey - can not get this song out of my head! About staying in love with someone that treats you like crap . . . morbid I know!
- "One Night" by The Corrs - about just getting one night for the person you love
- "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt - didn't know that Bruce Hornsby plays piano/keyboard on this 'til the other day
- "Can't Stop Loving You" by Phil Collins - still in love with the person that's leaving you
- "Melt Away" by Mariah Carey - a positive one!! There's hope!! Grace says it reminds her of middle school though (b/c she IS that young! I hate her!!) I want to dance with someone to this song . . .
Anyway . . . I heart Love songs . . . just tend to lean to the heartache ones right now . . . but one day I hope to lean towards the other :)
Peace out for now! jj:)
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
- I work out almost every single day. Usually walking at least a mile on the treadmill and some light weights.
- I attend church on a regular basis. MCC Topeka has become my church home, and I'm truly thankful for being so welcomed there. I even volunteered to help with this year's pride picnic -- that ought to be an adventure in itself!
- I wake up every day between 9:30 and 10am. I hate it sometimes b/c it's so dang early, but I look at it as I've slept a lot in the past, so now I'm making up for all that.
- Yard work -- seriously! I haven't done any yardwork in over 2 years -- that's not a lie. Today, I spent 4 hrs cutting back everything in my yard I can get to -- and now I don't know what to do with all the limbs . . . oy! Good problem to have though -- the yard looks about a million times better.
- Read food product labels -- I can't believe this one. I literally won't buy a soup that's over 300 calories/can and you get less calories from jello brand fruit in jello than you do in dole fruit in gel -- put that in your pipe and smoke it. (plus pear w/pomegranate jello is to die for!)
- Am excited about my career - the one I'm going to school for! Where I work has been wonderful for me, but it's not my calling. Helping others is and I'm looking forward to tackling it, both the good and bad.
- Cooking -- I never cooked. I just swung by and got whatever was premaid or in the drive thru . . . gee! No wonder I topped out at 465 . . . Now I grill fish almost every day and really don't eat much beef at all.
- Drink water -- a lot of water. I drink close to 64oz of water every day now - no pop will do that to you. My skin is better, I feel better and more energized, and I'm hydrated!
- I get cold. Not something I'm used to experiencing - but now I am. I am no longer hot or sweaty all the time - and a big part of this I know is the exercise and eating right. It's great to be comfortable like everyone else.
- I have hair growing back! Okay, not on my head, but on my legs, my eyebrows, my face (grows much faster now), and even my belly. I used to be pretty furry, but my body couldn't keep up with everything. Now that I am losing weight and eating right, it's starting to function like normal again . . . WOO HOO!
Like I tell everyone - this has truly changed my life - and I am willing to share it with anyone that wants to know. Much love to everybody!! Below are pics of my handiwork . . . :)
Monday, April 27, 2009
Angels are all around me,
interwoven into the fabric of my life.
Forever unconsciously following their path,
as they try to lead me away from strife.
I’ve not been coherent to their meddling,
merely clay awaiting the potter’s wheel.
Blindly trusting a will I didn’t comprehend.
Following the guide, walking through the tides.
Unknowingly embarking on a journey,
With a destination not determined.
Heading towards the sun . . .
Monday, April 20, 2009
So, Wednesday I will register for courses, and then I'll officially become an undergrad student pursuing a Bachelor's (and eventually a Master's) in Psychology at Washburn University here in Topeka, KS. After much self reflecting and soul searching, I've heard a calling and have answered. I believe that I can help those that are struggling with the decision to have bariatric surgery, and more importantly help them deal with the issues that got them to this point.
At church this past Sunday (where I am now a member incidentally) I met a wonderful woman, we'll call her Xena (b/c I don't know if she'd want her name on here). It came to my attention that someone in the church was considering having a lap band. And since I had one, they wondered if I'd be willing to talk to her about my experiences and insights. Of course I said yes! Those of you that know me know that I am open book on this experience, as it has already completely changed my life!
So Xena and I chatted about the surgery itself, what I went through, where she's at in her journey to getting the band, commented on how precious her grand daughter is (she truly is), etc. We shared a lot, and I pray that the hope and joy I have come to experience from this procedure I was able to communicate to her. We laughed, shared phone #'s/emails, hugged, and parted ways.
That's when it hit me -- THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE! I'm going to help people that have had some tough experiences in life, and I will help them not only survive them, but be able to thrive. I get to help them slay their own demons, as I did mine. It's humbling, and motivating at the same time. It motivates me to continue to follow the program (btw - I'm up to 45 lbs lost in case you missed the counter change!!!) and to really focus on my upcoming degree endeavors. I don't want to become a psychologist quickly, I want to be a damn good one.
I've said before I'm not a big believer in fate. But I do believe in paths crossing for a reason, and I believe that we all affect each other and change each other a little as we pass through our lives. Xena did more for me than I did for her. I hope to repay the favor one day. God indeed works in mysterious, but wondrous ways. Good luck hon!!! I can't wait to find out your surgery date!!!
So long I've toiled, in my cocoon.
Building walls to stand against the elements,
to stand the threats of hunters,
to stand against the world.
Safely I'm bundled inside.
Slowly working, becoming more than I am.
Looking around, I must tear them all down.
The walls that protect now bind,
that heal not hurt.
Suffocatingly I'm bundled inside.
Tearing at the fibers, hopelessly fighting to get free.
A prisoner in my own shield,
Unable to cast it aside.
The only existence I've known.
Tragically I'm bundled inside.
Breaking through to the outside, my wings spread wide.
The armor prison falling down by my side,
The world around, not at all how I left it.
So full of hope, so full of life,
My soul no longer bundled inside.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Seriously, I'm just chillin' waiting for 1pm so I can call the psychology department at Washburn to set up a meeting with an academic advisor to get my schedule set and then register for classes for this coming summer session and Fall 2009. It's kind of weird, but I'm going to be classified as a Freshmen again :) Of course, I'll be moving MUCH faster through those designations than my peers will be - since I only need a few classes to progress from each classification. In 2 years time ~ give or take a semester ~ I should be graduating with a Bachelor's in Psychology from Washburn University. Then comes one of the biggest decisions in my life - stay here to get my Master's or move back to Texas. I know where my heart is, but this decision has to be made with my mind. So - no rushing that . . .
Working out is going rather well. I've gone everyday since I joined the gym, and have enjoyed it a lot - suprisingly. I walk for 30 minutes or so at an incline and do some light dumbell work and resistance training to tone muscles. Last night, I started working on my "core" which is a nice way to say my big belly! That's a bit sore from last night :) Good news is that instead of dreading the gym, I actually look forward to it. I didn't sleep well the night before last so it was hard to really get into my workout yesterday, so I will really push myself tonight after work. Don't wanna fall off the wagon there . . .
Finally finished the redesign of my own website - http://www.joejoesdesigns.com/. I've been so busy with work, getting into school, and helping others with their websites and other design favors, that I just kept putting this off. I'm very happy with the outcome, a bit cleaner I think. Feel free to let me know what you think. Also keep in mind I would gladly help create a gift for you for someone - you just have to pay for the item (it's a hobby so don't charge - just like the challenge). Recently, I did a t-shirt for a good friend of mine that is going to Egypt for a year and he wanted a tee for his troops (he's in the Guard).
Have completely fallen in love with the Metropolitan Community Church of Topeka. It's such an open and welcoming congregation - they even gave me a coffee mug the first time I visited! I'm taking membership classes this Saturday to become a member of the church. I've ignored my spirituality for far too long, and am excited to reconnect. You know I am open with beliefs and don't want to push mine on anyone, just sharing here. For me, I seem to be on a journey that I can truly feel God's love - I really feel that I'm finally on the path he wants me to be.
So - other than major career change, going back to school, web design, working out, and joining a church I don't have much going on :) It's so strange to even see that list - I really am enjoying life again! Can't wait to get back home . . .
Anyway . . . killing time waiting for 1pm. Don't remember why but I'm waiting for 1 . . . ;)
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Thom is right, this will be a birthday I will never forget. There's so many reasons why, but beating the demons that fought for control of me for so long is on top of the list. For the first time in a long, long time, I am content. That doesn't mean I won't continue to move forward, quite the opposite actually. I just have the confidence, faith, and patience to know that I will succeed. Hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend - hide an egg for me:)
With dingy hands
Sorrows clogging lungs
Granules of pain
Making it difficult
To see ahead
Pulling life from the abyss
Moving towards the light
Ascending from the pit
The flames have singed
But not destroyed
It is bright, the sun warm
Spirit not broken, resolve still strong
Vision clearing, Breath cleansing
I am the Phoenix
From the flames that burned
I raise up from the ashes