The one thing

Today The Bee had a writing assignment.  She was to write a journal entry starting with the sentence “If I could change one thing about myself, it would be…”  And, per usual, I am torn about this assignment.

See, on one hand I do ascribe to the notion that our children (heck, personally) we are all perfect exactly as we are.  I personally want to stop focusing on all the many things I would like to change about myself.  I’d like to be more content with all the parts of me I find today – recognizing they all contribute to a whole that I actually do like.

But, I also know that some of the best parts of myself – the things I am most proud of – came through effort.  They were the result of recognizing I wasn’t actually perfect.  That there were things I did, quirks in my personality, that got in the way of being happy and whole.  So…I worked on them.  I thought about it.  I worked on new habits.  And I found a happiness I wasn’t sure was possible.

Thus…conflict.  I am thrilled that The Bee’s very first response was puzzlement.  How would she go about writing a long response to this question?  She’s fantastic.  Period. The feminist in me – the one who is trying to thoughtfully raise strong daughters that (oh please, oh please, oh please) become strong women – revels in that kind of personal esteem.  I also had a little bit of sadness.  If only I could preserve this moment in time – this belief that she is completely perfect – and keep it whole for her.  There was also some annoyance – would any six year old identify something they don’t like about themselves?  Isn’t this in large part the beauty of being six?  Why would an assignment start a thinking process that undoes that?

I suppose that is all normal reaction.  It’s kind of weighty after all.  What surprises me is that there is this small part of me that wonders if we do our children justice by only focusing on our inherent perfect, but not the work?  I certainly don’t mean to imply that we should push our children toward that.  But, we aren’t perfect.  We all have work.  We all have roadblocks that get in the way of happiness.

think we can be both perfect as we are and have tons of work to do.  Our perfection comes from recognizing who we are today is just a stop along our journey.  It’s the culmination of all the places we’ve been and will soon be.  I think part of my job as a mother is to help my kids see that.  To keep their beautiful spirits intact as long as I can, but teach them what it is to analyze and work and grow.  To identify what is holding them back and how to overcome that. Maybe what I want is for her to know that both things are true.  And be as happy about that as she is in her inherent rockstarness she sees todayl

On Being Kind

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Right after realizing that what I really want to work on is actually liking myself, one of my high school friends posted this quote.  And…right?  I mean, really, right?!  (Side note, I am apparently the target demographic for every motivation quote you see on FB and Pinterest.  Awesome.)

Again, though, so much easier said than done.  I really am trying to bring my awareness to the ways I am unkind to myself lately.  And there are just so many of them.  Posie woke me up (several) times last night and I had the hardest time getting back to sleep (Insomnia – the best pregnancy symptom!)  I lay there just working myself into such a state of anxiety?  Were those cramps I felt signs of miscarriage?  I certainly shouldn’t just be happy and enjoy however long this lasts.  The anticipation.  The hope and excitement.  Don’t allow that until it’s for sure real.  Eventually I caught myself and tried to speak as a friend: let this go, it doesn’t serve you.  Be happy.  Enjoy.  And just like that, I was out.

It’s hard for me to know exactly where the balance lies though.  After a night of fitful sleep, coupled with strong morning sickness it was an effort to get to the gym today.  Especially since I’ve never been active through my previous pregnancies – no matter what this is new and a little anxiety ridden.  But, I got there.  And damned if I didn’t have a great workout.  Where I’ve been consistently losing some strength, today was the first time in over a month I’ve added to my PRs – complete with good form.  I felt strong.  And went back to work with extra spring in my step.

So…being kind?  Is it in the moment?  Or in what you know will help you long term?  I think maybe it’s in expectation setting.  Where my goals in the gym historically been about going as fast and as hard as I possible can, maybe for the next little while it’s about showing up.  And while exhausted and not wanting to put forth effort, maybe the kind thing in this space is also to show up.

Perhaps being kind is about being flexible to where you are.  And forgiving of that place.

Paleo and Pregnancy

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This last December I was wasting time looking for inspiration on Pinterest, when I stumbled across some corny fitness motivation e-card.  I can’t recall what it actually said – something funny and creative I am sure – but the gist of it was “If you woke up tomorrow and realized you’d fast forwarded through ten years with nothing changing, what would you be the most disappointed about?”

And because while I don’t usually have resolutions, I usually have themes for the year I’d like to focus on it got me thinking.  What would I be upset about?  Not quality of life.  We’re fortunate enough to both have jobs, live in a nice house, travel, drive cars that work.  While I’d always be happy with more travel that is more an offshoot of America’s policy on personal benefits than quality of life.  I honestly don’t want a bigger house or nice cars or more stuff.  In fact, we’re working hard on reducing our stuff.  My marriage is stable (which, thank god, we’ve worked our asses off to get here.)  I have two great kids.  My family grounds me and makes me feel whole.

So what then?  And it hit me.  You know what would suck?  Waking up ten years from now and realizing then I spent another decade hating my body.  That every time I looked in the mirror I found something wrong instead of the many things right.  OK.  Found my new development goal.  The next steps sure seem harder though.  I would love to wave the magic wand that changes that behavior.

My guess is that I’ll spend the next little while unpacking that one.  But, my firm belief is that when you put a statement like “I want to love all of myself” out into the universe, you get exactly the work that should help you with it.  Enter my third pregnancy.

With The Bee I gained nearly 70 pounds.  With Posie 40.  I was not active in either pregnancy either.  And with both I had to work hard to get back to a healthy weight.  And with both I hated my body a little more at the end of it.  With the Poser, I made a switch to Paleo.  (Disclaimer, I don’t think this is right for everyone.  Nor do I think I am truly eating with Paleolithic humans did.  They probably didn’t have access to canned coconut milk.  Just saying.)  And for the first time in years I felt great.  My joints hurt less, my skin was more clear than it had ever been.  I wasn’t bloated and gassy.  I had no idea just how much my stomach hurt all the time until I started that diet.

After nearly 1.5 years of following this eating plan (admittedly off and on) I’m pretty certain I have an allergy to both gluten and dairy.  Oh Pizza.  Pizzzzzzaaaaaaa.  But, despite knowing this.  Despite feeling like I am poisoning myself when I eat gluten or dairy (or in the case of pizza, both at the same time), I will have months where I do.  And I feel terrible.  And like my reflection less.

I’m pretty committed to following Paleo this pregnancy.  I’d like to both nurture my body as well as my heart – the emotional one that is.  So I’m trying to branch out into substitutions of things I miss while eating strict gluten/dairy free.  This weekend I’ve made – greek egg scramble ‘cupcakes’, roasting a whole chicken, bread in the oven, ‘granola’ and the piece de resistance (pretty sure I butchered that one) – Bacon Mayo.  Heaven.

I have a problem

I have an ongoing problem.  I love the idea of blogging.  Writing for writing’s sake is something that has always brought me peace.  Something about setting words to paper slows my ever frantic mind down to a pace that is restful.  I cultivate presence in writing.  Not to mention it speaks to my specific blend of introversion.  Social interactions are so exhausting, but I crave contact.  I get lonely without it.

So: blogging.  Perfect hobby for me.  But, I get caught up in the details.  The blog needs a theme. Images.  Followers.  If I start a blog about running (which was the original start of this particular one), I can’t talk about diet.  Or mommying.  Or work.  Or…my whole life.  And there are so many blogs on all of those topics.  What have I to offer.

My 2013 resolution though is to cultivate presence.  To work on staying more in the moment.  To do more of the things I like doing.  To do less of the things that don’t add to my joy.  I’ve spent so much of my life looking ahead that I’m a little afraid I’ve forgotten to enjoy the life I have this very moment (see the aforementioned frantic brain.)

And now it’s been a year since my last post.  Almost exactly.  Posie is almost 2.  The Bee is 6.5.  We’ve moved away for the time being, I don’t run much, I do crossfit.  I’m pregnant again.  See, no matter how much you look forward, life happens under your feet.

So, here I am.  Without a purpose.  This isn’t a running blog, or a fitness blog.  It’s just my life.  Written for no other purpose that this year I want to work on my demons.  I want to find out what drives me so quickly forward so I can stop every so often to appreciate exactly where I am.