I understand. No, you really don’t…

I understand. No, you really don’t…

I understand

Actually, you don’t. I understand are two words that I fucking hate to hear someone say to me. Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe those words are said with love and compassion. But let’s get something straight…You Don’t Understand. And to be honest, I don’t understand what you are going through either.

I understand is something we say when we don’t know what else to say. It is something to fill in the uncomfortable silence when we get too close to someone else’s tragic circumstances. Too often, we say “I understand” when we have similar experiences and want to let other’s know they aren’t alone.

Experiences

Your experiences shape your understanding. Considering this, there are no two people in the world who will experience the same event in the exact same way. This is one reason that law enforcement doesn’t give too much credibility to witness statements. If ten people are interviewed about an incident, all ten statements will differ in some aspect. People focus on events based on who they are. Smells, sights, sounds, and even tastes may change based upon who is experiencing them.

And if an experience induces a feeling of trauma, all bets are off. Emotions will dull your senses as your fight or flight kicks in and you will be in survival mode. Many times when a loved one passes away, those left behind are blinded by their own pain. They forget there are others hurting and often personalize the behavior of their family and friends. Everything becomes about them and words and actions are often miscommunicated. Thus the reason that many families drift away after the loss of a beloved matriarch or patriarch…it appears that everyone feels slighted by others. Unfortunately, this is not the intent, it is the by-product of grief.

How to help a friend who is grieving

When I lost my brother, it was devastating. He was my rock and the one who was supposed to outlive us all. I had no idea how many people I knew had lost a sibling and when they began reaching out, I realized I wasn’t alone. Were our experiences the same? No. However, we all became part of a club that none of us wanted to belong to and we realized we were not alone. We could bond over the loss and share our experiences, both positive and negative.

For me, some of the kindest things others have done is to just be there. I have one friend who knows that I hide away when I am struggling and she leaves messages for me, knowing I will call back when I am ready. I have other friends who often ask how I am doing and they call me out on my bullshit when I tell them I am ok.

I often joke that as a social worker, I suck at my own emotions. Truthfully, I am more comfortable with helping others, which are totally forms of denial and avoidance. So just let me know you are here. Let me ramble. Listen as I tell stories. Empathize with my situation, just please don’t tell me that you understand.

What helped me

I love the book “It’s Not Supposed to be This Way” by Lisa TerKeurst. It resonated with me. For so long, I have been stuck within my grief. Within a short time frame, many influential people in my life passed away and each one left a feeling of emptiness. However, as I explain to my children, this is the circle of life and as hard as it is to understand, it means we felt deep love. That is a blessing for I cannot imagine living life without love.

Prayer. I believe in the power of prayer. I have seen God work through people and I know He is with us. Furthermore, I believe we will once again be reunited with our loved ones. 

Being honest about how I am feeling. This is a kicker for me because as I mentioned, I suck at this. There have been times in the past few years that I have been treading water…simply treading. And occasionally I find myself back in that same place. I expend energy but I don’t move forward.

 

 

I see you…when the thread unravels…

I see you…when the thread unravels…

I know you

I realize that we may have never actually met in person, but I know you.

I know you because we share the same defeated spirit.  Right now you are wondering if I am fuckin crazy and that’s ok, sometimes I wonder that myself. What I am trying to say is that at some point in our lives we have done too much. We have committed to too many things. At some point in our lives (or maybe multiple times) we have put our needs behind every other person we know. And we are fricken exhausted.

I’m not talking about the can’t move my body because I am so tired exhausted. I mean we are brain weary, I can’t remember what I was going to say let alone why I walked into this room exhausted. Our minds are toast and our soul is screaming for a break. But we don’t give ourselves one because that would lead to feelings of guilt, which would lead to more commitments, which leads to being overwhelmed and the fricken cycle continues and the thread unravels.

The thread unravels

Have you ever tried to thread a needle? Those little needle holes are ridiculous and as you get older it becomes more difficult (I digress). Here’s the thing; if you don’t have the end of the thread bonded together, it begins to unravel. As that thread unravels, each little tiny piece of material becomes it’s own monster and demands attention and before you know it, you have multiple strands everywhere and none are working together.

The only way to fix it is to cut the thread and start again.

Stop. Cut the chords. Start again.

Real Resentment

Additionally, I understand the impromptu anger that comes when you see the dishes on the end table or the socks laying unmatched near the front door. There are times when I think I am the only person who is able to see these items, although I am most assuredly not the one who left them there.

Resentment begins when we feel overwhelmed by the tasks laid before us. Unfortunately, resentment can sneak up on us, even when we are doing things we committed to doing. It isn’t something that we wear proudly, nor is it something we often talk about. I will say it. There are days that I struggle with wishing others would do more so I could do less. Furthermore, I want to stomp my feet and scream at the top of my lungs to “pick up the fuckin socks.” But I don’t and the thread unravels.

Gratitude

For years I didn’t talk about these feelings, as I felt guilty doing so. After experiencing miscarriages and difficult pregnancies, I know what a gift having a baby is. For me, complaining felt like an affront to being a mother. Now I see it differently and realize resentment and gratitude can live together in the same world. When I begin to feel resentful, it is time for me to stop, cut the chords and start again.

It is time to take care of me and ask the family to help out. It’s my job to teach my boys to become independent, not do it all for them. Although sometimes it is so much easier to just do it myself, I realize that isn’t helping any of us. And when everyone begins to pitch in, I feel gratitude overpowering those feelings of resentment.

I see you

So, girl, I see how hard you are working. And recently, I feel as though I have experienced every emotion these past few weeks. Wondering if I am helping my kids make the right decisions… questioning if I am supporting my husband enough… hurting for those around me who are hurting. I have been grateful beyond measure, followed by waves of grief and questioning. Parenting is hard…loving others is hard…watching those you love hurting is hard.

This is for you and hear me as I say this…“You are right where you need to be and you are doing an amazing job. Cut yourself some slack and just be present”. Your expectations of yourself are so much higher than the expectations of those who love you. Say that again and believe it in your soul.
Cindi

 

Uninspired, but still motivated.

Uninspired, but still motivated.

Uninspired

This is for you, my friend. To the woman who feels frustrated with her wellness. I am writing to the woman who rewards herself with that little piece of candy. Read on if you are the woman who hates looking in the mirror or you are the woman who refuses to have her pictures taken.
This is for you from me...🌟keep going 🌟you are worthy🌟and you are beautiful. Click To Tweet
I was there 11 months ago. Furthermore, I was fit but I wasn’t healthy. As a result, one day I decided to make some positive changes and I wrapped my mind around what I needed to do.
Consequently, nearly one year later, I can proudly show you my progress.

You CAN do this. Above all, I believe in you, even if you don’t believe in yourself quite yet.

My journey

My wellness journey is probably not so different than yours. Seems like I was always petite as a child, slim as a teenager and tiny into my 20’s. Certainly, for those reasons, I could eat what I wanted and while I worked out, I didn’t take my wellness very seriously. Consequently, I didn’t think about my wellness much at all…until my 30’s. 

Life as I knew it began to change as I could no longer eat what I wanted with little or no ramifications. Hence, I began to gain weight and lose muscle tone while the workouts I had been completing were no longer cutting it (pun intended). Ultimately, between grad school and being newly married, the weight kept coming and I felt like I was at a loss to stop it.

Pregnancy does change you

For those reasons, my pregnancies did a huge number on my overall wellness. I was not prepared for the total overhaul my body would go through with each baby, nor was I ready for the hormonal changes that occurred. Please don’t read this as a complaint, as I would not change one thing about my babies; in contrast, I just want to recognize the inability to bounce back as your body truly does change and most likely you will not return to your pre-pregnancy condition.

My stall continues

To be honest, I remember very little about my 40’s. Conversely, while I remember moments, the overall decade remains considerably foggy. Additionally, having my boys at the advanced maternal ages of 39 and 40 resulted in a split pelvis and ongoing hip pain. To complicate matters, I had carpal tunnel surgery on both hands when the boys were both in diapers, followed by injury after injury.

Additionally, I struggled with never-ending shin splints and stress fractures. Ultimately, I endured a complicated hand surgery shortly followed by three abdominal surgeries within 18 months. Because of these situations an ugly cycle of me starting a wellness journey, only to be derailed and starting over began. However, knowing what I do now, I see the error of my ways. First and foremost, I failed to stretch. Although, most importantly, I refused to eat well and I didn’t care what I put into my body.

As my boys grew and became more active, I also made a decision to become more active. Therefore, I empowered myself with knowledge and participated in trial and error. Ultimately, I am determined to be a part of my boy’s lives without just sitting on the sidelines. I want to be involved in their activities, and truth be told, I want to show them how it’s done. 

The defining moment

Even though I had changed my eating habits and carefully chosen my supplements and while I was working out four to five days per week, I was not seeing many positive physical changes. Above all, I knew I was stronger and more fit, however, I was aware that I could improve my overall wellness. Unfortunately, my blood pressure was high and I was still on the heavier side.

My friend asked me if I wanted to join her in the 21-day fix and I vehemently told her no. However, not one month later, I noticed that I was rewarding myself with candy whenever I came home from the gym. HUH. Seriously, it was like a light bulb went off and I decided that I was done.

I adopted the Keto lifestyle, but more importantly, I gave up sugar.

The ramifications? 11 months later and I am down 30 pounds. My joint pain is virtually nonexistent. I am no longer the hangry person I used to be. My dry eye went away. As a result, I have found muscle tone again and I am no longer a slave to the sweet tooth I have always had. 

Empower yourself

I will leave you with my own recommendations to #beabetteryou as I recognize everyone has their own journey to follow:

  1. Stop the comparison game. You are not the same as anyone else and I doubt you know the struggles they have endured, nor do they know yours. Do not, I repeat, do not compare yourself to the other moms, your co-workers, or the women at your gym.
  2. Love yourself. You are worthy of being loved. Treat yourself as you would a best friend who is struggling and grant yourself grace.
  3. Make yourself a priority. GASP. Generally speaking, women often take care of others before we meet our own needs. Ultimately, this backfires on us and we end up feeling exhausted and resentful. If you want to explore this topic more, please read “You can’t pour from an empty cup“.
  4. Ask for help. Reach out to others and ask for guidance. Find a trainer to help you at the gym. So many of us are afraid to step foot inside a gym because we feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. Suck it up, buttercup and make that appointment. You will feel empowered when you leave and come back standing tall!
  5. Take pictures. You need to be in the moment, regardless of how critical you are of yourself. Remember that your family and friends love you regardless of how you look, and unlike your impression of yourself, theirs isn’t based on your appearance. Not to mention, this is a huge way to monitor your progress.
  6. Check your hormone levels. So many of the women I know are struggling with hormone and/or thyroid levels. Please note that I am not a medical provider, however, I know from personal experience that both of these can wreak havoc on your body and mind.
  7. Love yourself. Worthy of a repeat. You are beautiful and a scale or a size does not define you. If you are working on your wellness, do it for YOU. The world tells us we need to look or be a certain way and that is ridiculous. I have spent way too much time comparing myself to others and berating myself because I don’t’ look like I think I am supposed to. Embrace who you are in this moment.

I will leave you with this quote: “Courage is moving forward in times of non-motivation.” I receive daily motivation from Constantly Varied Gear, which is a kick-ass group of badass women who are pushing themselves and one another to be their absolute best. I found them on FaceBook. Check it out and let them know I sent you!

I am uninspired!

Embracing 50: age is just an illusion

Embracing 50: age is just an illusion

 

Age is an illusion

Or is it? As a freshman in high school, I thought the seniors were old…and by seniors, I meant the 17 and 18-year-olds!   I would panic when a senior even looked at me and my young self, as the age of 18 was technically an adult! Furthermore, someone in their 20’s was fricken ancient, which made anyone near 50 a senior citizen!  Needless to say, back then, I  was also that woman who was not going to get married, nor was I going to have children. I was going to complete my Ph.D. and take care of the world.

Ah, best-laid plans, right?

My 20’s

This decade was an extension of my teens, albeit while attending college. Looking back, I can’t imagine how I would have prospered if I had actually studied more and partied less. I honestly don’t know where the energy came from, as all I did was worked, studied and went out. Repeat. And repeat again.

The transition to adult employment was less tragic than I would have imagined. It turns out I was pretty good at what I went to school for (who would have thought). And amazingly, I could live easily it up at night and work all day! I moved into my first apartment, purchased a pack of smokes and a six pack and consumed both while sitting in front of my giangantuaous platform tv watching Beverly Hills 90210 (I didn’t smoke, just like the independence). Suddenly, I was a somewhat self-respecting grownup who paid my own bills and was fast realizing that there was more to the world than going out and being social.

My 30’s

As my friends began to settle down, I was still in denial that settling down was for me. I surrounded myself with others who loved to live life to the fullest and enjoy the world. I worked, worked out (less as I began to work more) and went out.  It was during one of those nights out that I picked up the phone and left a message for a long lost crush of mine (yes, it was one of THOSE calls). We all have that “one” that never leaves our mind or our heart. And after dating on and off since we were 16, we made the decision to move forward…together.

This was a challenge for this wild and independent girl. Now I was sharing a bathroom with a boy!  lol And we were making plans for a future…together (gasp)! Thank the Lord that he was patient and understanding because anyone who knows me also understands that I am not the easiest person to be around.

We got a puppy…together…it was the ultimate commitment in my book. That is until he proposed.

My Mid 30’s

Chad and I were married at the same time that some of our friends were getting divorced. It always seemed as though I was in a different life stage than those around me, which was probably true, since I was the one to do things my way. About the time that Chad was settling into his profession, I decided to go to graduate school, still thinking I would pursue my Ph.D. I did get my Master’s; however, I stopped there, as our priorities changed when we had our first son at the age of 39.

For the midwest, 39 is really pretty old to be having a baby. So not only did we endure the whole “Advanced maternal age” comments within my chart, my body was pretty shocked at what I was asking it to do.  This pregnancy knocked me on my ass and bedrest soon took me out of the world, but it was all worth it.

And this woman who wasn’t going to have kids? She became a stay at home mom.

The 40’s

So, if 39 is old to have a baby, our prayers were answered when we had our second son at 40. Truth be told, this decade is a blur. Two babies, four dogs, three moves to two different states and three different homes. Multiple surgeries, multiple injuries, hormone changes, weight changes…blah, blah, blah.

My 40’s were dedicated to my failing body and raising my boys. For someone who was never going to have a family, I can’t imagine my life any other way. I don’t believe we have kids to teach them the ways of the world, I believe we are given children so they can teach us. Watching the world through my children’s eyes is simultaneously amazing and terrifying. These boys reminded me there is more to the world than what I was focusing on, and thank God for that.

This is 50

50 is a time of rebirth for me. The boys are getting older and more active, just like their mom. 50 is when I give myself permission to be selfish and focus on me. It’s time to get back to basics by making my wellness a priority and learning to say no to what doesn’t feel good. It’s a time of discovery and soul searching. If you need help on this journey, please see this previous blog post I wrote.

For me, it’s a time for reflection and asking God where He wants me. After seeing so many of my family members and friends leave too soon, I vow to never take a birthday for granted. Where I used to cry on my birthdays, now I embrace the opportunity for another day with my loved ones. So, thank you, Lord, for your work in me.  I am excited to see where you lead me next as I step out of my comfort zones. After all, God has never left me through this adventure and I trust He knows the next chapter of my story.

I just need to stop trying to take control of the journey.

 

 

Motivation is intrinsic, or is it?

Motivation is intrinsic, or is it?

Resolutions

December typically draws out a feeling of regret from failed resolutions. Humor me and take a moment to look back upon 2018 and assess your goals. Now, be honest with yourself…did you meet them? Why or why not? For me,  this year was tough. I did NOT meet my business goals. Furthermore, here’s the hard truth. I did not meet my business goals as a direct result of not working hard enough. Ultimately, I wasn’t focused enough on what I wanted.

Ouch.

But that’s the truth. It wasn’t the lack of someone’s help or the result of my team not working. Consequently, it was me not doing what I needed to do to make things happen. So let me ask you again, did you meet your 2018 goals?

Motivation

On a positive side, I did meet some wellness goals, so that’s a win. However, I digress.

In truth, I used to wonder why people weren’t internally motivated. Naively, I also used to think that I could externally motivate people to make the changes they needed to. However, now I know better. Today, I realize that I can’t change anyone any more than someone else can make changes for me. That really sucks.

It sucks because I have many amazing ideas. I am chock full of motivation and inspiration. Furthermore, I may believe in you more than you believe in you, probably because I am not bogged down by the same old tapes that you are repeating.  I see through the bullshit to who you can be if you only trusted yourself to make it happen. If only I could do the same thing with myself.

Intrinsic

When you were learning to walk, you didn’t quit trying every time you fell down.  You got right back up and tried again (I love this analogy). That desire to move on two legs was intrinsic…it came from within. Somewhere in your life, you began to doubt yourself and those doubts are what is keeping you from reaching for more.

Tell those self-doubts to fuck off. You were created on purpose and you are NOT an accident. You have a purpose. What are you passionate about? Where are you when you feel the most alive? That’s what you need to do. Trust me, you aren’t too old and it isn’t too late. Dig deep, say some prayers and go for it. God wouldn’t put it in your heart if He didn’t want you to fulfill that dream.

Goals

It will still take work. You have heard the old cliche, that it begins with a dream. That’s true…however after that dream comes goals. Goals are brought to life when they are written down, so take a moment and free write what you would do if you weren’t limited by your own self-beliefs or current circumstances.

Now, write a workable time frame next to those goals. Be honest with yourself about what you can achieve and feel free to break the goals down.

Take a look at what you have done. You, my friend, have just created a plan for your dream to come to fruition. That takes courage and many people do not even get this far in their planning.

Go make it happen and let me know when you hit your first goal!

Hormones – It’s not all in your head!

Hormones – It’s not all in your head!

 

What is wrong with me?

Fatigue. Mental Fog. No libido. Disappearing lean muscle. Do any of these sound familiar?

I am talking about real fatigue, like the kind where you can’t keep your eyes open in the afternoons, even after laying in bed for 8 hours the previous night. Notice I didn’t say you slept the previous night, and chances are you weren’t having sex either, because you are just so fricken exhausted!

And mental fog? Listen, I know that we all walk into a room and forget why we went in, but this kind of mental fog is a tad more extreme...its the kind where you need your vitamins in a daily display case so you can remember if you… Click To TweetIt’s the  check your toothbrush kind to see if it’s wet because you can’t remember if you already brushed your teeth today.

Let’s be real, as much as you love your son’s overstuffed bear, you really don’t want to BE ONE. Where in the F__K is all the fluffiness coming from? You work out, you eat well and the muscle keeps melting away. You have a whole closet full of clothing that you can’t wear and you really don’t want to purchase the bigger sizes.

WTF?

My story

While my story may begin differently than yours, my frustration may be the same. I had my children at the ages of 39 and 40 (gasp). Following the birth of my second child, I had surgery on both of my hands…shortly after I healed, I began working out and kept injuring myself; which derailed me every time I started getting momentum. It also left me feeling defeated.

Within 18 months, I had three abdominal surgeries, including a hysterectomy and the recovery was awful. Actually, I am not sure I ever fully recovered from that final surgery. I was depressed, fluffy, exhausted and unhappy. Once again, I was determined to work out and signed up for a 5K. I began training with a friend and dropped some weight…until I experienced two stress fractures from carrying my child down a mountain in the rain…

Right?

Soon after, I began experiencing planar fascitits and after 18 months of therapy that included a boot, injections and physical therapy, they wanted to perform surgery.  Additionally, I had been experiencing extreme joint inflammation and I just fricken hurt. I HURT ALL THE TIME. My doctor took a blood panel, which showed a high ANC so she sent me to a neurologist, who diagnosed me with fibromalygia. I knew within my whole being that there was something else going on.

Hormones

Keep in mind, during these years, I was still a wife, a mom, and freelancer however I was exhausted. I could fall asleep anytime I sat down and my hips and joints just hurt. So I did some research and found a new doctor who took one look at me and tested my hormone levels. Turns out my testosterone was a whopping 17(that’s very very low, my friend). No wonder I was fluffy, exhausted and in pain.

After some research, I began taking bioidentiacal hormes and within two weeks, I was no longer needing an afternoon nap.  It took some time, but I began to feel like a real person again. Granted, there are some days that I feel better than others, but isn’t that with all of us?  I didn’t expect miracles, I just wanted to feel good again.

It’s not all in your head

As a trainer and empowerer, I am appalled at how many women struggle with this and are never given proper information. So many of us are given medications, instructed to eat less or told to work out more. All any of that does is bandage the problem. Honestly, when I was first introduced to bioidentiacal hormones, I was skeptical. However research shows that we lose our ability to create hormones with each decade…and as we are living longer, that often leads us to living miserably also.

Unfortunately, not every practitioner is open to testing for hormones, which in turn can be frustrating. Furthermore, even when they do test, insurance companies rarely cover the cost of bio identical hormones. I know women who have gone to physician after physician and have been diagnosed with a multitude of ailments, without ever having their hormone levels tested, let alone talked about.

Additionally, not all physicians test the same hormones, nor are the optimal levels consistent. No wonder we are all confused, right? And we can become peri menopausal in our 30’s, which may cause a change in hormones while we look completely fine. Rest assured my friend, it isn’t all in your head. If you know that something isn’t right, keep asking questions and demanding further testing. You deserve to look and feel your best at every age and you can’t pour from an empty cup.