Sometimes achieving a healthy work/life balance seems impossible when there are SO many things that just "have to be done." But lately I've been taking a step back and asking myself, "does that particular thing really need done or have I imposed this task or responsibility on myself? And if it does in fact need to be done, does it need done right this minute? Probably not.
Between planning a wedding, work, music gigs, taking care of the pugs, maintaining a household, trying to spend some legit time with my fiancé, trying to have some semblance of a social life, keeping up with friends/family back home, and desperately trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.......it can get a little overwhelming.
All of those things are important, but some are certainly more important than others. Where I lose sight of what’s most important is when I try to make everyone happy, which is dumb, because that’s impossible (and I know that). Regardless, I still try to do it anyway. And the older I get the more I realize that not everyone that I try to make happy cares about my happiness, so why do I stress myself out? The really sneaky ones are the people who disguise their own agenda as caring for your happiness -- trying to tell you how you feel, what you want, and what you should do. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need that in my life – that’s absolute B.S. Don’t try to bring people down to your level – we’re supposed to lift each other up, not drag people down just because you want company in your misery. Get out of here with your bad juju – ain’t nobody want that.
On top of all of that, we are constantly connected to our stressors through those magic little boxes – smart phones. Don’t get me wrong, I love my smart phone, but sometimes I truly hate how accessible it makes me. When I go on walks with the pugs I purposefully leave my phone at home just to catch a break. Plus, I generally am wearing clothing without pockets anyway, and pugs (or at least my pugs) cannot be trusted. One glance at a phone and Mozzie may decide it’s time to cross the street, or Phoebe may try to eat an unsuspecting bicyclist. Those pugs are shady.......Our walks are generally 30-45 minutes, and the reality is that 99.9% of the time that call, text, or email is not that important, or it can certainly wait. I think I'm going to start leaving my phone in the other room sometimes too, because every time I hear a "bing" (or whatever noise my phone makes) there's a part of me that automatically stresses.
I have definitely hit a wall lately, which has made me re-evaluate my priorities and where/what my time is spent on. All I really want to do is spend time with the people (and pugs) I care about, play music, focus on my healthy goals, try new recipes, enjoy the island, and get ready for the day when I get to marry the love of my life. As long as I can pay the bills and do those things, I'm good.
So if you ever reach out to me, be it a phone call, text, email, Facebook message, whatever..............and I don't get back to you right away, don't take it personally. Sometimes I need a break, and ultimately I like living my life more than I like being attached to my phone. I've decided to reclaim my work life balance. After all, it is a new year -- I think it's time. Onward!
DISCLAIMER: I started this blog post back in September (hence the date) and then life got in the way. You know how it goes. Someday I'll regularly post blogs again......someday..........
You know the mantra that's been going around -- no bad days? I love it, I really do, and I have desperately been trying to keep it in the forefront of my mind. I have so much to be thankful for -- life is good, right? But honestly, it's not that simple. Sometimes all the positive thoughts and vibes you can muster are just not enough. So unfortunately there are bad days. It sucks, but it's true.
Life has done a pretty good job at throwing me the usual curveballs -- especially the ones that involve unexpected costs. Those are my favorite (*insert sarcasm*). Good job life. I didn't need that money for anything else. You take it -- it's cool. I've got one of those super awesome money trees -- it's GREAT! I digress..........
So on top of those things life also decided to throw some "fun" little extras on top of the wood pile, douse it with lighter fluid, then light the f-er on fire. En fuego. So there have indeed been some bad days. Here are just a few examples:
1) I love my dogs way too much. Both of them have had eye problems in the past two months that have had the potential to damage their vision permanently. Mozzie was first. And was I level headed when I found out this news? Absolutely not. Well, I was until I left the vet and got into the car, but then my eyes sprung a leak and didn't stop for an obscene amount of time. After Mozzie's first appointment I sat at home, staring at him and crying for like an hour. He had NO idea what was going on or what was wrong with me. Same thing happened with Phoebe weeks later, but hers actually got worse when she had a bad reaction to the recommended eye drops. Overnight she looked like she had gone blind. She got better, but then she had another flare up and it's just been a little scary. You would think these dogs came from my womb the way that I act -- I clearly have issues.
2) There are several important people in my life that are all dealing with situations that make my dogs' eye problems look like a freakin' paper cut. They are not my stories to share, so I won't. I just love them so much and I wish I could do more. I wish I could make it all go away -- wave a magic wand and poof, make everything better. But these hands are exactly that -- hands, not wands. I wish I had freakin' wands for hands. Well, maybe not all the time........that would make several things difficult.......but you know what I mean.
3) To top it off, I apparently have the blood pressure of a 65 year old black man who’s been smoking his whole life. I was hanging out at the gynecologist, like you do -- wearing one of those OH so wonderful paper gowns -- waiting for the doctor to do a normal annual exam. The nurse comes in to tell me that my blood pressure is scary high and that they were thinking about sending me to the hospital instead of going ahead with the appointment. I felt fine, but apparently it was really bad. They agreed to go ahead with the appointment on one condition: that I get medicine called in, pick it up and go home immediately following my appointment. They also mentioned something about sitting in a dark room with no noise........So that’s fun. Yet another reminder that I need to get serious about losing the rest of the weight and make smarter choices.
Life has a weird way of trying to remind you what your priorities should be. Lately I've been distracted by things that are SO not important, so I did indeed need a reminder, but leave my people and my pugs alone -- please and thank you.
Anyway, the moral of the story is that I need to stop focusing on stupid stuff, enjoy the wonderful things and people (and pugs) in my life, and kick my butt into high gear as far as health so my heart doesn’t explode. Solid advice. Things happen that are out of our control -- and they suck -- but it's certainly easier to weather those things if we focus on what we can control and what is important in life. So there are bad days.......feh..........screw em'. Maybe that should be the mantra........"Bad days. Screw em'."
I've posted before about my weight loss journey. And like all journeys, sometimes there are detours. And by detours I mean periods of time where a cheat meal turns into a cheat week -- or month.
Granted, I am a firm believer in not depriving yourself. So I believe that having a "cheat meal" here and there is a good thing. Personally, it keeps me sane. Sometimes I just really want a cupcake -- like REALLY want a cupcake -- and it ends up being better for me to just eat it. Otherwise I lose my mind and end up bingeing for an entire weekend. Regardless, I haven't exactly been living a "healthy" lifestyle since sometime around late May. Between getting a puppy, gigs, packing/moving, and spending as much time with friends and family as possible........I got off track. But then it was all about getting settled, finding a job, and a number of other excuses. To be honest, I just didn't want to put in the effort.
DIET TIP: Your pants will never get too tight if you don't wear any.
Don't listen to me -- that's terrible advice. I just thought it was funny. But I apparently followed that mantra for the past several months. My pants got tight. Ugh.
So my little detour resulted in gaining some of the weight back that I had fought so hard to lose. Fortunately the amount pales in comparison to the total that had been lost, so it's not the end of the world. BUT.......I will never let myself go the way that I did before. I won't go back to that place. That place sucked. So I'm back on track, but I'm paying for my little detour. It's super easy to break good habits, but really hard to form them. So here we are again.
Enter Advocare. This gem of a product line was what kickstarted my weight loss in the very beginning -- more specifically their 24-day challenge. It helps to zap the water weight you're carrying around then goes on to help you lose a little more to jump start your weight loss. It involves various supplements and such, but mostly focuses on clean eating. You're not supposed to have coffee, which I generally have every day, so that sucks..........and you're not really supposed to drink, especially in the first 10 days, which really blows. It's all water weight I'm sure, but I'm already down 5 1/2 pounds and today is only day 5. So that's cool.
Why am I telling you about Advocare? Because I'm selling it!!!
I'm totally kidding -- I'm not selling anything. Advocare just happens to be my catalyst of choice for getting back on track. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE fries, pizza, greasy chinese food, pasta, ice cream, cupcakes, and many more things that are not waistline-friendly......but eating that way all the time makes me feel terrible. As I'm re-learning, it's all about moderation. But more importantly, it's about loving myself enough to take care of myself.
When you think about it, unless you have some sort of medical condition that makes it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle, isn't not taking care of yourself a form of abuse? I know it is for me. Before I decided to make a change back in 2014, I didn't have enough respect for myself to treat my physical self well, which bled into other parts of my life. I didn't like who I was then. The detour I've been on these past several months, while temporary, was a glimpse into the past -- and I didn't like it.
So like I did in the beginning, I'm making a change and committing to loving myself again. A tea bag inspired me to write this post, believe it or not. I'm a big fan of Yogi teas, and I love that each tea bag has a positive message on it. This is what yesterday's morning tea said to me:
So whatever it is that you need to do to live with self-respect, don't make excuses, just do it. Love yourself. Only then can you truly love others.
I. Hate. Moving.
More specifically I hate physically packing and moving. I actually really enjoy unpacking and getting settled in a new place, but the whole packing and schlepping of things leading up to it? Ugh. Hate it. I like things a certain way, but it would take epically longer to pack everything to my OCD standards. So some things are sort of organized, but the rest of it is just shoved into boxes and bags and I have no idea where about 90% of my stuff is. Hate. It. Seriously, I've been so tired and stressed lately that I feel like I sound like Gollum when I talk about it......
But for real......I hate moving. After running through the list, I've figured out that I've moved 21 times in the past decade. Don't believe me? Check this out:
1) Fall 2006 -- Moved into freshman dorm
2) Summer 2007 -- Moved out of dorm and back home
3) Fall 2007 -- Moved into sophomore dorm
4) Summer 2008 -- Moved out of dorm and back home
6) Summer 2009 -- Moved out of apartment and back home
7) 1 week later -- Moved into friend's house for the remainder of summer
8) Late August 2009 -- Move back home
9) Fall 2009 -- Moved to NYC for internship
10) Winter 2009 -- Moved back home
11) Winter 2009 -- Moved into off-campus apartment with friends
12) Summer 2010 -- Moved back home
13) Summer 2010 -- Moved into friend's house
14) December 2010 -- Moved into Clintonville townhouse
15) March 2013 -- Moved in with Will (Campus apartment)
16) Summer 2013 -- Moved into Millersport apartment temporarily
17) August 2013 -- Moved to Nashville
18) August 2014 -- Moved back into Millersport apartment
19) August 2015 -- Moved into Worthington condo
20) June 2016 -- Moved out of Worthington condo (currently in limbo with family)
21) SOON -- Move to condo in Laguna Vista
Some of you may not consider the moves in and out of dorms "real moves," but I do. It's amazing what you can cram into those small spaces............I still had to pack and schlep each time, so therefore it was a "move."
That list was fascinating, wasn't it?
Regardless.................since the place we're moving into is already furnished, we've taken this opportunity to purge. We've been hanging on to SO many things we don't use, don't need, or have kept for reasons we can't even remember. Papers, old clothes, knick knacks, certain kitchen things I never use...........just things that waste space.
We have had a giant box of miscellaneous cords for probably 3 years. To my knowledge we haven't used any of the cords in that box for the entirety of those 3 years. We have like 5 coax cables.......why??? We haven't had cable in like 4 years. There are old apple cords that don't fit any of the devices we have...........and so many freaking AV cables that we will never use, it's ridiculous. We've just schlepped the box from apartment to apartment -- from Columbus to Millersport, to Nashville, back to Millersport, and back to Columbus. USELESS. I have absolutely no idea why we've kept even half of what's in there.
So we've donated as many things as possible, and sold things and thrown out the rest. We still have a decent amount of stuff, but it feels really good to "lighten the load," so to speak. It's forced me to be really honest with myself about what I actually use and what I've been holding onto for no good reason. It's been freeing.
I think life is kind of like that in general. Sometimes we hold onto things (and people) for no good reason. I'm not advocating that you purposefully burn bridges or tell everyone to go screw themselves.........but some things and people are toxic, and it's not healthy to hang onto them. Sort of like that saying, "The hardest thing in life is learning which bridge to cross and which to burn."
I'm happy, and my path in life -- although kind of squirrelly -- is the path I was supposed to take............but that doesn't mean that I haven't picked up clutter along the way. There is physical clutter in my life, but also emotional and mental clutter. Sometimes spring cleaning needs to go beyond our homes and physical belongings. I'm ready to burn down some stuff in my life and start fresh. And I don't mean that I'm going to leave with middle fingers raised -- it's not like that. I just need to lighten the load in many ways and free myself from not only the burdens others have placed on me, but those ones I've placed on myself.
So even though I hate packing and moving, this is the perfect time to not only purge the physical clutter in my life, but start to let go of the toxic things in my life that have been holding me back. We're not even done moving yet and I already feel a little lighter. It's freeing. Texas here we come.
So we're moving to Texas. It's a huge move, but it's really exciting. There's still a lot to do -- packing, cleaning, etc. -- but more importantly people to see and love on before we leave.
Our wonderful friends threw us a going away party this past weekend, and some of my favorite people showed up. It was a really great night. It reminded me of how many amazing people I know, how supportive and loving they are, and how lucky I am to have them in my life.
This move is bittersweet. It's an exciting adventure that leads to a beautiful coastal town, but I'm leaving behind the city I love -- Columbus. It's a chance to meet new people and have new experiences, but I'm leaving behind the people and experiences I've grown to love so deeply. It's a place with no winter, but I'm leaving behind..............okay that part I'm not sad about. You can keep winter. Eff winter.
But in all seriousness, I will miss so many things and so many people. I'll always be an Ohioan at heart and will look forward to my visits back home -- even if I have to brave the winter weather that will seem even MORE unbearable than it was before. It's totally worth it.
This is gonna get a little sappy, so bear with me....................
To my co-workers: When I had all but given up on my job search, you took a chance on me and my confusing resume. You helped me build and expand my skill set, shared your knowledge and wisdom, and made work fun. You accepted me with my sailor mouth, bare feet in the office, and my tendency to overshare. I will genuinely miss you.
To my neighbors: Thanks for welcoming us to the community and making us feel like we were truly at home. You could've ignored us, but instead you took us in, drank with us, fed us, shared stories with us, and treated us as family. We won't soon forget your warmth and hospitality.
To my praise-band family: We've been through a lot in the past 5-6 years, but I know I always have a place I can call home if you're there. Thank you for inviting me to make beautiful music with you this past month. I know that our reunion was short lived, but nothing can replace it. The musical chemistry that exists on that stage is beyond compare. The joy I get out of watching each and every one of you speak through your instruments is incredible. You are amazing musicians, people, and friends. I've missed you before, and I'll miss you again.
To my friends: There are no words to describe just how much I will miss you. You've helped me through every major (and not so major) event since I was 18. We've failed together, we've succeeded together, and we've learned together. We've laughed a lot, we've cried a lot, we've drank a lot (a lot..........), and we've become adults together. You're the family that found me in midst of all the chaos and claimed me as one of your own. And thank God you did -- I'd be lost without you. You can expect many epic phone calls in the future, because I will miss the hell out of you and your faces.
To my family: This is hard. It's REALLY hard. I know that you're worried, and that your concern comes from a good place, but everything is going to be okay. I'm going to be okay. The fact that I'm moving doesn't mean that I don't love you to the moon and back, or that I won't miss you like crazy, or that I won't think about you every day. But now more than ever I need your love and support. And most of all, I need you to just be happy for me. I'm happy, so be happy for me, and know that I love you with all of my heart. Nothing will ever change that.
It's been real Columbus. I'm sure we'll meet again someday. After all, this is home.
But looks at these pictures, dude..............there's a beach........like right there. Just sayin'..........
When I was 13, five-year-old Jojo (Or Jo -- my sister) wanted a pug -- so we got a pug. Out of the entire litter, she picked the runt with a hernia. His name was Pugsley Elvis Whetstone. Dad thought it would be funny if his initials spelled "pew." We mostly ended up calling him "Pug." Super original, right?
We lost Pug just a few days ago. He was almost 15 years old, which is an incredibly long life for a pug. Sure he was practically deaf and blind by the end, but his curly tail still flopped from one side to the other, and he greeted you like you'd been away forever -- every single time. He wasn't just a dog -- he was family. That tiny dog had a huge personality. Well, he was a "small" dog, but not so tiny. That runt became a mutant pug -- taller than most pugs and about 35 pounds at one point. Big pug.
I had been telling Will for awhile that I would be a hot mess when Pug went. Not only had he been around since I was 13, but I've also never really experienced the death of someone close to me -- at least not anyone that has affected me in a huge way. I've been really lucky so far. I knew I'd be a mess, but I was totally unprepared for how hard it hit me.
Jo called me right when I woke up to get ready for work, which was a bad sign. She told me that Pug had been having seizures all through the night and that they were going to have to put him down. Another hour and a half later she called to tell me that he had passed. They were waiting in the room for the vet, and apparently he had a stroke and died in her and my mom's arms.
Ugh. My heart.................
So they didn't end up having to put him down. He just went. Just like that.
I cried openly at work. There was no controlling it. Hot mess.
Pug loved unconditionally, as dogs tend to do. Every visit was a special visit, because he was just as excited to see you whether it had been a day or a month since you'd been there. If only we could be more like Pug. And why aren't we? Because we'd look silly or people would think we're crazy? I mean, I don't think people would appreciate it if I jumped all over them every time they walked in the room, or ever...........but I think there's something to be learned from the level of excitement and affection that dogs tend to have towards us. It's completely genuine and wonderful.
Think how good you would feel if every time you came home your significant other was there, jumping up and down, saying stuff like, "It's you! You're here! I'm so glad to see you! I missed you! I love you!" The way we're programmed, you'd probably think they were nuts, drunk, high, or something to that effect. But knowing that someone is that excited to see you and loves you that much would still make you feel really good.
We get busy. We get distracted. We get stressed. We have a gigantic to-do list that is "oh so important" to get done. We come home and complain about work, or jump straight into cooking dinner or working on some other "important project" we have, instead of stopping first to greet our loved ones. I'm guilty of this, and I even consider myself to be a fairly affectionate person. But I definitely get distracted and stressed and will go straight to that sink full of dishes, while simultaneously bitching about something that happened that day.
Oh my life is so hard and awful............I have a roof over my head, clothes, food, a job, and loving friends, family and boyfriend..........................but woe is me. Mehhhhhhhh....................
I'm so dumb sometimes.
I should be more like Pug. I should go straight for a hug, a kiss, or both, instead of whatever the hell else I "need" to do so badly. After all..............aren't our loved ones and the time we have with them the most important and greatest parts of life? Those dishes do need to get done, eventually, but they don't need to be done that moment. I keep trying to reason with the OCD/neat freak in me, but sometimes she doesn't listen. Imma have to check my hoe. She can wait one freaking minute while I love on my man.
I already miss the hell out of that little dog, and it's only been a few days. Pug was around for most major events in my life so far. I don't think it's truly set in that I won't see him again. I know that there will be other dogs -- life goes on -- but Pug was Pug. Pug was awesome. Pug embodied love and affection and all the goodness in the world. I hope that I can learn to emulate even an ounce of that. The bottom line is that the world would be a much better place if we all just learned to be more like Pug.
Two of the many things I've learned as I adult:
1) I have some great genes that have been passed down to me, and I'm very lucky.
For example, the people in my family tend to age extremely well.
I'm also the only sibling out of 3 that inherited my Dad's curly hair. I used to hate it, but as I've gotten older I have come to embrace it. It's fun.
2) I have some not-so-great genes, like dark circles (thanks Dad), the "fat gene" (thanks Dad), and an affinity for alcohol (thanks Mom).
I'll explain the fat gene momentarily.
I'm 5'8" and have always been fairly muscular. I'm "dense," if you will.
"Dense" as in closely compacted in substance, not "dense" as in stupid. I know some of you laughed when you read that. You're a bunch of a-holes.
But the combination of my height and being muscular has always made me weigh more than I look like I do. This is a fantastic genetic thing, However, I also have a not so fantastic genetic thing that my family calls the "fat gene." Basically, we love eating, and we don't have that little voice that says, "Hey, you're full now. Stop eating." We probably actually do have that voice, but we can't hear it over our own chewing.
This is a prime example of the "fat gene."
I was incredibly active throughout high school. I started lifting weights when I was in 6th grade, I played varsity volleyball for 4 years, and I danced in show choir and musicals.
Well, "dance" may be a strong word...........I moved. Box steps and blades, baby!!!
Fresh out of high school I weighed 120 lbs., which looking back was WAY too skinny. I see pictures of myself from that time and I kind of look like Skeletor -- oddly buff, but still a skeleton. Will calls it my "pointy chin" phase. I was a stick figure (yet somehow I still had a big butt. Another genetic thing I suppose). My metabolism was insane. The "fat gene" had been lying dormant, and was apparently waiting until the perfect moment to pounce and wreck my sh*t.
I gained the freshman 15, and most of someone else's freshman 15. I was upset when I couldn't fit into my size 4 jeans anymore.
Talk about 1st world problems...........................
I cried, like a little b*tch, because I was finally filling out and becoming the curvy woman I'm supposed to be. I didn't see it like that at the time though. I thought I was getting fat. And no one could tell me any different.
I had NO business weighing 120 lbs. or wearing size 4 jeans. According to the old height/weight chart that says a 5 ft. tall woman should be right around 100 lbs, and you add 5 lbs. per inch over 5 ft., I was 20 lbs. under the ideal weight. Granted, that chart is completely antiquated, and I would even look sickly at 140 at this point.
By the way..........a lot of people -- mostly men -- have absolutely no concept of weight. Whatever you think I look like I weigh, chances are you need to add 20-30 lbs. to that. So when you guess my weight at 140 or whatever (happens a lot -- it amazes me),
I find that to be very flattering, but I also just want to pat you on the head and say,"Awww......you're real cute."
I'm going to let you in on a secret that is actually not so secret:
MOST WOMEN DO NOT WEIGH 120 POUNDS!!!!!! Many of us, especially those of us that are curvy and/or muscular, more realistically weigh anywhere between 140 and 190.
Even though it's extremely flattering to have someone guess that I weigh a lot less than I do, that kind of thing unfortunately adds to the body image problem that our culture has. Because of the impossible standards of beauty our society has set (which the older I get, the more I realize there's nothing beautiful about those standards), it's incredibly difficult for young women to be comfortable in their own skin, which is a shame.
I finally started becoming comfortable in my own skin around sophomore year of college. I was still relatively thin, but I was curvy, healthy, and happy. I started not caring about my weight because I was getting validation pretty regularly, especially from men. Come to think of it, I got a lot of attention from gay men and lesbians too................it was confusing. But hey, a compliment is a compliment, and it boosted my confidence quite a bit.
May of 2009: FINALLY broke up with my boyfriend at the time (that like a bad habit was hard to kick) and simultaneously turned 21. I was upset, single with a vengeance, and had the ability to purchase alcohol. That Summer was the beginning of some hard core debauchery.
Fall of 2009 -- NYC internship: Bars were open until 4am, I was single, I didn't have to be at work until 12pm, and SO many restaurants delivered it was stupid. Recipe for disaster.
Meanwhile, my inner fat kid was loving everything about this. I probably gained 20 lbs. from June to December.
Unlike my freshman year when I was whining about not being a size 4 anymore, this was more serious. I wasn't what you would consider big by any means, but I was starting down a dangerous path. I got serious about my health and dropped at least 25 lbs. by the time I graduated college. I looked like myself again and I felt good.
Unfortunately some bad habits started sneaking back in about a year and a half later. I can't blame my weight gain on my boyfriend, but you know the weight people tend to gain when they get married? We gained that, and then some. We were both working weird hours and would eat and drink at bars several nights a week. We were happy and having fun. But then we both went through grad school, back to back, and dealt with some pretty stressful times financially. I didn't realize what was happening until it was too late. I woke up one day and didn't recognize the face I saw in the mirror. I was really angry at myself.
It was then that it truly dawned on me how stupid I was as a freshman in college. I had no desire to be Skeletor again, but I certainly would've killed to get back to the weight I was when I thought I was fat. It's amazing how skewed our perception of things can be, especially when it comes to ourselves. Yet we seem to be able to see each other so clearly when it comes to the physical...............ironic.
The journey back to my "happy weight" began in May of 2014. It's been a long process, and I'm still not exactly where I want to be, but I'm a hell of a lot closer. I'm at that point where I look like myself and I'm becoming comfortable in my own skin again. It's a wonderful feeling. After having struggled with my weight more than once, and feeling like I hit rock bottom the most recent time, I can never go back to that place. I won't go back to that place.
The hardest lessons I learned through all of this:
1) There is no quick fix. I had to make lifestyle changes in order to be successful. Lifestyle changes are hard. REALLY hard. But the key for me has been moderation and balance. I still drink beer and bourbon, but not like I used to -- like an idiot. I still eat "bad" foods, but I limit it to weekends and/or special occasions. You can't stop living your life.
2) You cannot compare yourself to other people. This one is tough, but you just can't do it. It doesn't do you any good. The only thing you can do is maximize what you've been given genetically. I will always have a big butt, crazy curly hair, and a voice that is deeper than pretty much most women (and a lot of men too). I've learned to embrace those things. You know what those things all happen to fit perfectly? My personality.
And yes...........I realize that those of you that can math and connect the dots have probably figured out roughly how much I weigh. And I don't care.
I'm a sexy M.F. dammit.
As I was walking into work today, it dawned on me that my life was very different around this time last year. My family and I were dealing with something that no one could've predicted. I immediately welled up with tears just thinking about it. My brain likes to do that to me sometimes.............think of something terrible and make me cry in public. It's SUPER fun. It also makes me look like a crazy person. But sometimes..............my face leaks.
This may sound odd, but I've never experienced death in a real way. I was either too young when it happened, or I wasn't close enough to the person for it to affect me in an extreme way. I'm lucky. All of my grandparents are still alive, and I haven't even really experienced the death of a childhood pet. Pug is 14 and still going. I realize I just discussed the mortality of my grandparents and my dog in the same sentence, which is probably weird, but you get the point. I mean, I do love that dog quite a bit though............
Look at that face!!!!!!!
So back to why I started crying right before I walked into my office. Thank God I was the first one there so I had time to compose myself. I'm such a big baby. I cry at Disney movies....................like, pretty much every Disney movie.................
I apologize if this post gets a little too serious and/or emotional for you, but this is what's on my mind today. Plus, it's my freaking blog. I do what I want. (But for real, I won't be so serious next time. Don't hate me!!!)
About a year ago
Mom texted me, my younger sister, and my older brother, telling us that there was something really important her and Dad needed to talk to us about. It had to happen and it had to happen that night. HUGE red flag. We don't really do "family meetings."
Well this can't be good..........
My sister and I had rehearsal for a musical that night, so we were completely distracted the entire time, dreading whatever it was that we were going to be informed of later.
Let me tell you...............there's nothing quite like having to sing and jump rope at the same time (we were doing Legally Blonde and I was the "fitness queen," Brooke Wyndham), let alone sing and jump rope while you're completely distracted. You know how many times I ended up whipping myself with that thing? I literally had lashes on my back...........from my own damn jump rope.
We meet at my parents' house that night -- Mom and Dad are waiting for us. Mom immediately hands me a glass of wine. It wasn't a question. She apparently knew I would need it.
Oh hell, this must be REALLY bad.
I was frantically trying to figure out what it might be so I could brace myself.
Were they getting a divorce? Was one of my grandparents sick? Did Pug die???!!!
Oh, just kidding. Hi Pug (he was sniffing my pant leg at the time).
I don't remember exactly what was said, but it went something like this:
Mom: "Your dad has something to tell you."
Dad: "I recently participated in a fitness test, and had a chest X-ray taken in the process. They saw something that they wanted to look into. It turns out that I have something called a Thymoma, which is a very rare tumor."
(I heard tumor and I started drinking my wine faster.)
Dad: "It's a form of cancer, and because of the size of the tumor, it's past stage one............................"
I don't remember much of what was said at this point, because I felt like I was drowning. I refilled my wine glass, drank most of it, then refilled it again. Trying really hard to fight back the tears, which I failed miserably at, I probed for more information and what the next steps would be. I think I asked something about treatment options and what the survival rate was. Due to the nerf ball sized tumor attempting to crush one of his lungs, the surgery needed to remove it did not guarantee that all of the cancer would be removed. They wouldn't know what they were dealing with until they got in there. And even if they were able to remove it, the recurrence rate was something like 50%.
How do you respond to something like that? My dad is one of the most important people in my life. He's young, he's always been healthy, he's a family physician whose patients adore him, he's an amazing dad, and he has one of the most amazing souls I've ever known. For real? That guy gets a rare tumor? A tumor that is about as rare as getting struck by lightning? COME ON!!!!!!
Things moved incredibly fast. Before we knew it he was scheduled for surgery, and they were going to be cracking his chest open in order to remove the tumor. I know he was scared, but I'm still amazed at how strong he was leading up to the surgery. He was strong because he felt he had to be...........for us..........his family who couldn't imagine a life without him.
The day of his surgery was the most nervous I've ever been for anything in my entire life. Mom was at the hospital waiting, and the rest of us were trying everything we could to distract ourselves until we had an update. And this was a long surgery. I was a long-term sub at my sister's high school at the time, so she would come in and visit me most days. That day she came in and sat in silence by my desk. I wish I could've offered her more comfort, but I'm the more emotional of the two, and at that moment I was no stronger than she was. In fact, she was probably stronger.
We finally heard from Mom. The surgery had gone extremely well and the surgeon was fairly certain he had been able to remove the entire tumor. I didn't know whether to yell, cry, dance, flip the desk, or all of the above.
I definitely cried -- because I'm a giant baby.
It seemed as though everything was going to be okay, but what a freaking roller coaster.......................
Dad left the hospital earlier than expected, and was walking 4-5 miles with me within about a week or so of being home. We're not talking just leisurely walking..........we're talking like a 4-5 mph pace. Freaking serious power walking. He wore me out and I'm half his age. Plus, I didn't just undergo an insanely invasive surgery where they removed a freaking nerf football sized tumor from my body. The man is insane.
I do miss those walks though....................I happened to be living in the area when all of this was happening, so we would walk most days of the week. Even though I was out of breath for most of it, we had hours upon hours of conversation. We talked about anything and everything. It was really special.
The next thing was prepping for radiation. He was supposed to have about 5 weeks of radiation treatment. He even got marked for where the radiation would be focused, but after a checkup it turned out that he wasn't going to need any radiation after all. It didn't seem real.
Within a few months time, everything went from a scenario where it was quite possible that my dad would not make it, to him being seemingly back to normal. It was a blur of emotion, and until my brain forced me to remember those emotions this morning, it almost seemed like it had never happened. I've been randomly tearing up off and on all day, which has been a little frustrating, but at the same time I'm grateful for the reminder.
It shouldn't take a rare, cancerous tumor to remind us................but time is fleeting, and we only get so much of that time with the people we love. Even though my eyes are kind of puffy, and my makeup has undoubtedly been messed up, I don't care. I needed the reminder, even if it did cause my face to leak. It's so easy to get caught up in what we're doing that we lose sight of the important things.
Thanks for listening. Now go and love on your people dammit!!!!!
Me and my awesome dad
I'm an "adult," or so I've been told. I do "adult" things, I have an "adult" job, I pay bills, and I drink bourbon and wine. I have great friends and family, an amazing husband, and generally a pretty good life. I have achieved many things, yet so little at the same time. I'm in my 30s, yet I feel more clueless than when I graduated college. This is how I "adult."