Tag Archives: Focus

Clarity Lost and Sorta Found

This post is a raw and humbling one that I’ve tried to write with honesty. I don’t write it for pity. I write it as both an explanation and for other people who may be experiencing similar struggles. Forgive me, though, if it is muddled; it was difficult to accurately convey some really big feelings through a keyboard.


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I’ve been in hiding as far as this blog goes. I can’t tell you why I continue to get these big ideas that I can train and run and blog and be a “with it” kind of human being. Clearly, that’s just not in the cards for me right now. It gets to a point where I don’t even know what to say here. I don’t know what to write. I don’t know if it’s worth it. I don’t know if I’m making a difference for others or for myself. And if I am making a difference for myself, is it negative?

It’s time to be transparent. I’ve fallen completely off the exercise wagon since mid-summer. I don’t feel my eating has been that terrible, but my exercise and training have been completely lacking. I am in a cycle of despising myself for not exercising and then not having the energy to get up in the morning because my mind has been filled with so much yuck.

I’ve gained 20 lbs in the last few months. That may sound like a lot to most people, but I’ve  fluctuated dramatically my whole life. I can have a 5 lb difference from one day to the next. So I hope this weight will come off as quickly as it came on.

I hate seeing pictures of myself or looking in the mirror. I know it is an image of my own doing, and again, it catches me up in that cycle of being mad at myself and feeling defeated.

I want to be transparent. I’ve been building myself back to a place where I’m documenting my nutrition and my training. I’m cleaning up, both literally and metaphorically…deep-cleaning my house (something else that I fall behind on when I’m in a funk) and sweeping the cobwebs from the nooks and crannies in my brain.

My goal is to have a completely documented log of what I ate and what I did and how I feel. I won’t bombard you with it every day, but I may do a weekly wrap-up to show my (hopefully) progress.

I’m so tired of feeling bad. I gave up on trying to feel good, but I think it’s just going to take a lot more pushing than I was able to give previously. Now, though? I’m feeling like I’m at that proverbial fork in the road. I want to head down a path to all-around health before it’s too late.

I will be transparent. And I hope you can be understanding and patient. I still expect to hit those big and little bumps in the road; I have to learn to be understanding and patient with myself, too.

If anyone else has found themselves in a place like I am, please feel free to get in touch. I think the best thing is knowing that we are not alone in our struggles, whether they be mental or physical, weight-related or otherwise. You are worth fighting for, through all the shit and “yuck” the world throws your way. And I’m going to try to believe I am, too.

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A Happy Place

Sometimes, I go days and weeks without blogging. Sometimes, I check out for days or weeks or months. That’s just a reality of who I am. That’s the reality of living with a mental illness. Even when you’re managing it, sometimes you’re just not “managing.”

This time, I wasn’t particularly sad. It wasn’t a dark-dark-dark time. No, it was just…nothingness. I couldn’t get a grip on my day-to-day operations, and it made blogging seem like a mountain I just didn’t have the energy or equipment to climb. Insurmountable. So I took it easy on myself, and I worked to forgive myself for this and several other things I sacrificed for a few weeks. I celebrated lots of days without pressuring myself to do more than I was capable of.

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Today, I feel a little better. There’s that little spark of warmth in my gut telling me that brighter and stronger times are coming. Which is good. Because the days are soaring past, and I’m watching the calendar get closer to my two big races (1 & 2) of fall. I have a solid training plan set before me. I will move forward.

This morning’s run was humid, but that’s not atypical for this time of year. Still, it leaves me feeling pretty sweaty and gucky afterward. Even after a shower to cool off, I still sweat. And by the time I quit sweating, it’s time to go outside so I can climb in my stuffy car and start sweating again and go to work. Vicious cycle.

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Sweaty selfie. This iPhone camera was kind to me. I swear, I was drenched. 

This past weekend was spent in Duluth, which I have officially deemed my “happy place.” It’s a city I adore on a big ol’ lake I can’t ever stop staring at. Again this year, I failed to get a shoreline run in, but relaxation and sleeping in trumped it. No regrets. (Not many, at least.)

Other than that, life has been filled with the day-to-day minutia of summer. Two weeks from now, we will be with family on a houseboating trip. And then it’s August already. I know a lot of people ask the question, “Where does the time go?” But srsly.

I don’t have much of substance to leave you with. For my bookclub, though, we did read one of my favorite books in the history of the universe. And although I love it for the big, soul-warming laughs it gives me, I also have many quotes about mental health and mental illness underlined, starred, and dog-eared in my copy. I’ll leave you with one that stands out to me every time I read or listen to it (yes, I own the digital audiobook, too).

“Without the dark there isn’t light. Without the pain there is no relief. And I remind myself that I’m lucky to be able to feel such great sorrow, and also such great happiness. I can grab on to each moment of joy and live in those moments because I have seen the bright contrast from dark to light and back again. I am privileged to be able to recognize that the sound of laughter is a blessing and a song, and to realize that the bright hours spent with my family and friends are extraordinary treasures to be saved, because those same moments are a medicine, a balm. Those moments are a promise that life is worth fighting for, and that promise is what pulls me through when depression distorts reality and tries to convince me otherwise.”

-Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

Wishing you light.

SHOP

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The Sound of Silence

I’m aware I’ve been quieter than usual. Which is really quiet, because I’ve been pretty absent from here lately. My brain has been a completely different story, though. I kinda wish my brain would shut up, because it’s really good at blabbing and chatting and screaming at me until I think, “Brain, I’m mad. Be quiet.” And Brain is all, “MAKE ME.” And then I sigh and try to find various ways to make it shut up. They don’t usually work. If they do work, they’re self-destructive.

But Brain is happier when I’m staying organized and on track and mindful of my thoughts/feelings/habits. That has been my goal these last few weeks. Re-organizing. Committing to meeting my goals and making plans for how I will get there.

My weekly plan comes out in Bullet Journal form, and I like it. It looks like a lot of work to some people, but for me, the work is soothing. I enjoy having some time to just mindlessly draw lines and dots, time where I’m just following my own template to make my days better and more structured. I need structure, and I guess this is just a visual representation of it all.

Last week, I finished Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig. It was such a moving account of mental illness and all the ways it can rock you in your heart and guts and brain. Some things were so well-described that I physically began reacting to them and feeling old feelings. Probably not super helpful for someone currently going through tough times with anxiety/depression and wanting to avoid triggers. I think it would be fantastic for someone trying to understand, though. It has a hopeful message, and we all need that.

Now I’m working on This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel, and I’m hooked. Lots of good stuff sitting in my TBR pile right now, too. Eeek. Never enough hours in the day for books.

Other than that, I’m just working hard to get myself back on that proverbial horse again. This morning’s run was super-humid, which I should probably force myself to adjust to. But I don’t like humidity at all, and it just feels like a punishment when you make the effort to wake at 5:00 AM only to be hit in the face with bathwater when you go outside.

The flowers blooming in our yard, though, provided a pretty end to a very sweaty run.

Here’s to a not-too-sweaty, happy week for all of us!

SHOP

 

 

 

 

P.S. Obligatory goofy kid/goofy dog pictures.

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Just because.

Well. I’ve been absent again. It has been a long week, and I honestly haven’t even known what to write about. So I didn’t.

Except that I kinda did. Thank you so very much to the Minneapolis Running folks again for publishing another article of mine. I was able to tackle a tough subject that comes up frequently on my blog: mental health. I hope you enjoy it and find some use from it, even if you don’t have issues with your mental health.

ALSO! The next day, they hosted a live video with none other than Sarah Bowen Shea, who is honestly one of my very favorite people ever. I constantly rave over Another Mother Runner, so if you haven’t checked them out by now…honestly, what are you waiting for?

So now: let’s have a conversation and catch up a little. How have you been? How’s the fam?

Fine, thanks. Whatcha been eating lately?

I’ve really been continuing the effort to meal plan and prepare ahead of time. It makes my life sooooo much less stressful. We’ve tried several new recipes these past few weeks, and there have been hits and misses.

Quinoa goes over well with my kiddo and husband. Especially in more Mexican-centric dishes. Or cheesy. Stuffed pepper soup was my favorite. The creamy avocado pesto pasta above? Big fail. And not even good for leftovers, because I am not a fan of  the color/flavor of avocado when it’s more than a few minutes old.

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I also jumped into the world of Shakeology. I’m sure most of you are familiar with it or have at least heard about it/read about it in your Facebook newsfeed. I’d been on the fence for quite sometime, because I try not to get too caught up in anything that is associated with MLM. But after forgetting to make breakfast for myself several days in a row, it seemed like something to at least try.

So far, I’m not disappointed one bit. It’s quick. I have a billion recipes to try, and I’ve loved the ones I’ve tried so far (including birthday cake, Kit Kat, sunshine creamsicle, and peanut butter cup). And it keeps me FULL. Fuller than I thought possible with a shake. I’ll continue to try this month and see how it goes, but it is a luxury that makes my mornings easier so far. Some days, I need all the help I can get.

Great. What have you been up to?

Not running. Oops, am I supposed to admit that? I ran a couple times last week. This week? Nada. Hubby is out of town for the whole week on a work trip, and I’ve been hopping. It is our last week of dance before summer, and it includes dance rehearsals and two recitals this weekend. Throw in an out-of-town work conference, two cats & one dog, and a kid with mood swings worse than a Sourpatch Kid? I’m fried. My house is a war-zone. I’m basically throwing kibble on the floor for all the critters to consume. I may have even bathed LJ with a few baby wipes at one point this week. (Don’t worry. She got a bath the next night.)

I literally found a plate of LJ’s dinner turned over on the living room floor last night. It had dried and crusted to the plate by the time it was flipped over, though, so the carpet was completely unscathed. An embarrassing sort of victory.

As for last weekend, Mother’s Day was…good. I am blessed to be a mom. I am blessed to have so many lovely women in my life and my daughter’s life. But it also is a day filled with inner-turmoil for me and for others, I know. For me, I have a fractured relationship with the person I most want to celebrate. I love her so very much, and I miss her. I hope things can be better some day, but that doesn’t make Mother’s Day less painful now.

The other person I want to celebrate with is my grandmother, whom I’ve written about in the past. She meant and still means so much to me, so LJ and I made a trip to visit her and Grandpa’s burial site. We talked with them, and LJ gave them many hugs and kisses. We brought flowers and thanked Grandma for being wonderful. We had conversations about life and death, and I was honest with LJ, even when it was painful for me and confusing for her. I won’t hide my grief, because I want her to know how amazing her great-grandma was.

Because hubby left the day before Mother’s Day, he and LJ both found ways to make me feel loved that weekend. They sent flowers to me at work on Saturday, and LJ slept in until 9:00 Sunday morning. What a darling.

What are you reading?

Oh, boy. I’ve got a gigantic TBR list, and I realized how far behind I am on my reading goal for the year. So I’ve been cruising through the chapters these last few days. I just finished a wonderful/tragic graphic novel called Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love by Marissa Moss. Highly recommended, but it will pull at your heart. This is a bleak one, but it captures the reality some people face when their loved one is faced with terminal illness.

I’m in the process of tackling Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a short read but I’m taking a little extra time to digest each “chapter.”

Also in line to finish up Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig soon.

Okay, great. Anything else?

I’m running the TC 10 Mile, thanks to the Mother Runner crew! I’m soooooo excited, because this was one of my favorite races ever. So I’m back in training-planning mode with a renewed energy. I’ll reach my goals someday, and this was a big boost.

Also, this is my workplace, and I love it. Especially when the sky is shiny happy:

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This post ended up being much longer than anticipated. Hopefully I learn to break it up a little bit in the future, but you know how I operate…silence and then surprise.

SHOP

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1/1/17: New

Tonight, I spent the evening playing board games with Mini-Me and hubby. And then after the Mini went to bed, hubby and I had a much needed Nerf gun fight. Although this may not sound like the most riveting New Year’s evening to some, I am content. As hubby and I watched some live broadcast of Time’s Square, I described it as a “living nightmare” in my world. (Bright lights. TOO MANY people. Stuck. Terrible.)

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RIP Chewbacca. Sorry you got caught in the middle.

I’m fine being in my own house, and I’m even impressed we made it past midnight. In fact, it’s 1:18 AM as I type this.  We are party animals.

As promised, I have some of my New Year focuses (foci?) ready to blog. I’m not committing to super-specific goals. Just things I want to keep in mind this year to make my life and the lives of those around me better.

There are seventeen, because 2017. So brace yourselves. This is going to be a long ride (and I totally won’t judge you if you skip all of this).

  1. Hydrate/Track – Keep on top of my water intake, and keep an honest food journal.
  2. Yoga/Meditation – This is something that has benefitted me in the past year, and I really need to enhance it.
  3. Read 50 pages per day – When I read, it means I’m not spending time on mindless activities, like scrolling through my cousin’s dentist’s mother-in-law’s photo album from 2008. And I also really like to read, and I want to read more. Duh.
  4. Blog more – I like this thing! I like documenting my journey. For me and maybe for anyone I might inspire even a little?
  5. Sleep 7+ hours per night – I mean…pretty self explanatory.
  6. Eat with intention – Because it’s too easy and dangerous to eat mindlessly or emotionally
  7. Run – 750+ miles. And complete my first half-marathon. I’m not letting this darn ankle get me down.
  8. Pay bills when they come in – Heard this tip from my step-mother-in-law (Hi, Polly, if you’re reading!). I love this idea, and I’ve already paid off both my credit cards BEFORE Christmas. So much less stress than waiting until the due date.
  9. Be on top of cleaning the damn house – Because it’s much easier to spend 10 minutes a day on this than hours during the weekend
  10. Stop eating by 8:00 P.M. – I’ve done this in the past, and it WORKS.
  11. Devices down when mini-me is awake – Another fairly self-explanatory one
  12. #RelationshipGoals – Monthly date night with the hubby? I think yes. It’s easy to forget about this when you have a screaming demon toddler highly enthusiastic and spunky child in the house.
  13. Stay in tune with friends/family – This should always be a priority, but I have a hard time getting outside of my own head some days.
  14. Make people feel special – Each Christmas, I’m reminded of how wonderful it feels to give gifts and let people know I think of them/value them/love them dearly. I want to find ways to do this all year long.
  15. Be a strong example – Because Mini-Me deserves it.
  16. Work hard and work well – I am SO blessed to have the job I have. And I want to be good at it and give back.
  17. Spend wisely – Again, something I should do all the time, but it’s easy to get carried away. I’d rather give more than I get.

So there you have it. No particular order. Unedited. Unfiltered. But that’s what I aim for on this lil’ blog. Honesty and openness.

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What are YOU going to focus on this year?

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

P.S. The following picture is Mini-Me yesterday. And probably me tomorrow.

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