Tuesday, November 30, 2010

First snow in Springfield

I stepped outside in my running gear at 8am only to find out that it was 27 degrees outside. I had forgotten my hat at home and my winter under armor didn't feel like enough. My plan was to do 5.5 miles to really kick start my day after taking two full days off with no exercise. And then came my friend the mighty wind.

Wind and I have a history of ongoing feuds and dramatic spats. I spent 4 years battling wind while walking to class at the University of Rhode Island and on the ultimate frisbee field. That wind would toss the frisbee off where I never intended and it took my spirits and gave me inner frustration and irritability. Give me cold, give me rain give me hot, hot heat. Give me humidity and thunderstorms, but wind just stay away! I was reminded of these old feelings today while the wind whipped me raw and made my eyes, nose and lungs hurt (not to mention my cracked knuckles) and in this vulnerable state, I made that face we always make when the weather isn't ideal. That face where we look miserable and angry at the world just because we have an ounce of discomfort. That wind seemed to be blowing in four different directions. Running full force going south into the headwind I yearned to turn east and finally north where it would all be behind me! When I finally made that blissful turn, the wind picked up harder! Why oh why do you play with me this way wind? What have I ever done to you?

The answer is nothing. I've never done anything to the wind or for the wind. I've never been thankful that it blows in beautiful cold fronts that bring me my snow and blows out the hot humidity that makes me feel sticky. I don't often stop to acknowledge that it helps makes the waves crash on the beach or make rustles in my favorite crispy fall leaves. Man, wind can be awesome! And when I least expected something spectacular, the very first snowflakes of the season started tumbling down. They were small and very sparse but they were so beautiful. And I felt so fortunate because had I not been out on that run in that blustering wind I would have missed those flakes. And I am thankful.

I dedicate this blog posting to my best friend B. Sometimes life has struggle. But here's what I'm learning right now (sometimes in the hardest ways possible) "Strength and growth can only come from continuous effort and struggle." A really wise man name Napoleon Hill once quoted that in his book and I've become quite fond of his words. B, I hope this post gives you a little hope today. Don't forget to be thankful for even the things that seem to be most discouraging. The things that beat you down and make your nose hurt and your knuckles raw. Because those very well may be the things that get you to exactly where you're meant to be.

B Positive!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Do you ever feel ugly in the non-superficial sense of the word?

I can't lie to you readers. This blog right now is for me. I took an oath that I would do this many months ago and I have avoided it in every way possible. I write in my journal so why do I have to write here? What do I have to say that will possibly matter to anyone else. But that's why I'm doing it. My esteem is low and it's not pretty....In fact it's down right ugly!

Of course my inner ugliness is showing in my complexion and it is certainly showing in the scowl I wake up with on my face. But that's not even the "ugly" I'm talking about. The "ugliness" I'm referring to, I can feel inside my heart. It plays games with my stomach and penetrates my thoughts. It affects how I treat people around me and temporarily creates a Monster! It's a green, slimy, angry, monster that takes away your ability to put forth your best self. Thankfully, there is a cure. Now I'm no expert. I've had my ugliest moments yet just recently in my life but I have some thoughts for anyone who feels overcome by their ugly monster!

How to beat the Ugly Monster:

1. Don't blame yourself for feeling the way you do. You need all the support you can get, particularly from yourself!
This first one was some sound advice from my husband this morning. He recognized that I have been feeling down and has been quite supportive and patient with all of my emotions. He told me that when you are struggling with something (work, health, relationships, finances etc) and you are feeling the weight of it all on your shoulders, you don't have to be angry with yourself for feeling unhappy. The unhappiness is enough without making yourself feel guilty about feeling that way! So don't feel guilty about being sad or lonely or scared. Embrace the sad and the lonely and the scared and take ownership of feeling that way. I thought this advice was just beautiful and it definitely knocked the monster unconscious for a while. 

2.  Make a list everyday. Not a To-Do list but a What-I-Did List
Write out what you did that day to battle your struggles and see on paper just how much you accomplished! I'll add a picture of my list to the blog. I used the back of a cereal box that I cut up because I like to recycle what I have and not use brand new paper! (Hint: If you use sharpies of lots of different colors and hang these lists on the wall, it really brightens up your house and will certainly leave you feeling a little more cheerful! Maybe it's just me but colored sharpies always make me feel cheerful...)

3. Find someone who understands what it means to have an "ugly" day
I always knew what this feeling was but struggled to name it. That was until I had a really good talk with my best friend M. She's a beautiful person inside and out but she knows what it's like to feel ugly. And while it's a bit presumptuous to claim that we coined this term, I like to think that it's something we both fully comprehend. Find a friend like my friend M who gets this!! And if you don't know anyone like this, talk to me!  

So, I must admit that my first blog is a little rambling. And since I am a perfectionist it is killing me not to just edit the crap out of this and make it sound more professional, more enlightening, and more sophisticated. But right now I don't feel enlightened or sophisticated! I feel frustrated and scared and lonely and ugly! And as I am feeling this way I take my husbands advice: I will not make myself feel guilty for being in this funk, I have written my list for the day and I feel proud that even in my funk I made efforts to combat it (I'm actually writing my first blog ever on a day where I feel downright lost), and believe me, M will be getting a long e mail after I've posted this blog!

Thanks for tuning in today. Be aware of how you're feeling today. And if you're feeling ugly it's ok!!! It has nothing to do with the genes your parents gave you and it has nothing to do with what a wonderful person you are... sometimes life is hard and that's ok. Don't let anyone make you feel bad about having a hard time. Especially you!

B positive!