Dear 2017, You have been a year of joy, challenge, pain, fulfilled dreams, and unrealized dreams. The challenges and disappointments you have sent my way make me want to throw you in the garbage and forget you ever happened, but deep down I know that […]
Hope has two weeks of apartment living under her belt! Poor baby had to wear a cone for a few days after being spayed. She looks so shamed! To be honest, I was nervous about her adjustment. Hope has a timid temperament, and is trepidatious […]
Friends, the intention behind this post is good news and positivity. I personally become weighted down by the events and circumstances we regularly encounter today, but I genuinely believe that good will and hope are still abundant. I’ve recently been the recipient of generosity and compassion, and I believe these experiences should be shared to perpetuate positivity and joy.
The day I moved back to Oklahoma City, I was an emotional wreck. My mom and I spent a ton of energy shuttling boxes from each of our cars to my new apartment. I also wanted to ensure Hope had a smooth transition. My little girl is extremely timid and takes a while to warm up to new surroundings and people.
Flashback to Hope not wanting to budge on the bridge on the Pathfinder
Towards the end of the day, I had taken Hope out to use the restroom. My mom accompanied me, and we stopped at her car on the ground level of the garage in my new apartment complex to carry a few more boxes up. Well, Hope decided she was not going to walk in to the garage so I had to carry her (along with the boxes). The complexity of the situation elevated when I could not get my key fob to allow me in to the elevator. A fellow resident was driving by in his car, and seeing my mother and me struggle, he stopped in the middle of the garage, got out and used his fob to help me in to the elevator. In a cheerful voice he said, “you just looked like you were having a difficult time and your dog is frightened so I want to help you. You’re going to be okay”. After he let us in, two of my new neighbors that my mom had met earlier in the day were returning from dinner and took the boxes my mom and I were carrying back to my apartment.
The kindness shown to us by these three individuals was so simple, but it meant to much to an emotionally spent young woman.
Sunday, I went to Sprouts for produce for the week, followed by Target to pick up a few things I needed for my apartment and additional groceries not available at Sprouts. The check out line at Sprouts was quite lengthy, and my patience was running low by the time I went to Target. I gathered the items I needed, and realized that I was going to spend more than I would like (I had forgotten how expensive starting up a new apartment can be). Like Sprouts, the check out lines at Target were lengthy. I settled in behind a middle-aged man, who smiled pleasantly and made conversation with the cashier. As the man paid for his items and began to walk away, he told the cashier, “thank you for being so pleasant to me today. Take this $20 bill and pay the joy forward to someone that needs it.” As I observed this interaction, I was both impressed and inspired by the man’s positivity and demeanor. I paused and thought, “how can I make someone’s day today? How can I be more like this man?”. When it was time for me to pay for my items, the cashier said, “well instead of $65, looks like it’s going to be $45”.
Being the recipient of this man’s generosity was not about the money. It was about the intention. It was about the attitude. It was about the goodwill. Friends, the world needs interactions and stories such as this. I hope that these stories will make you smile today.
I’m kicking Monday off with a quick recap of this weekend’s adventures!
One of my old roommate’s is getting married in March, and her parents flew in to town to accompany her for her 2nd formal dress fitting. Since her parents are close to a second set of parents to me, I tagged along. Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication with the tailor, and the dress wasn’t ready for my friend to try on. We ran one other wedding-related errand, and then grabbed lunch at Sidecar in the Chisholm Creek location since we were up north. We dined outside, and had a great view of Topgolf and could just make out the top of the Devon Tower. I had a panini.
I took a quick nap after lunch and then took Hope up to the Lake Hefner dog park. She had a blast running around the pond with other doggies.
Her paws got super dirty from the red dirt, so a bath was in order when we got home. Once Hope was clean, I fixed dinner, watched the new season of Love on Netflix, read some of my books, journaled, had a snack, and went to bed.
Saturday started bright and early when I took Hope out and made myself a hearty breakfast before my group bicycle ride. It was week 2 of the “Pillows to Pedals” group that I am participating in. We discussed appropriate cycling hand signals and then headed out for a 13 mile ride along the OKC River trail. Afterwards, about half of us went to Elemental for drinks and snacks. I turned two of my fellow bikers on to my favorite sweet almond tea.
It’s so pink
Cutest overnight oats
Couldn’t resist snapping a photo of this adorable apple juice
My bike ride tired me out, so I rested for several hours before one of my friends texted me. She just returned to OKC from a fun trip to Hawaii, and she needed to grab some groceries from Trader Joe’s. I didn’t need anything, but I tagged along so we could catch up. It was good to see her!
After the TJ run, I got ready to go out to eat. I went to Iguana Mexican grill and tried their chimichurri chicken with green rice and grilled vegetables. I forgot to take a picture, but I want to recreate the green rice at home soon. After dinner I FaceTimed my parents and went to bed.
It was so windy when I took Hope out Sunday morning, so I decided to postpone her walk until after church. I made breakfast, did my devotionals, journaled and then got ready for church. After church, I went to lunch with a girlfriend at Whole Foods (love their sandwiches and hot bar). We had a soul-filling conversation and then I took Hope to Lake Hefner again (spoiled puppy!)
The rest of the day was filled with grocery runs and then I had a girlfriend over for dinner. We had salmon, fries, and Caesar salad.
It was a good weekend—so glad to be back in OKC.
What did you do this weekend?
I’ve never been much for rollercoasters. During a trip to Disney Land as a 5-year-old, I lost my beloved (and brand new!) Esmerelda baseball cap (which had been purchased especially for this trip!) on Space Mountain. This rough start was perpetuated during a high school trip to Six Flags Over Texas, when I became nauseous after riding Mr. Freeze.
Given my track record, it’s no surprise that I choose to avoid physical rollercoasters. In fact, I went to Universal Studios in Florida in December and thoroughly enjoyed myself on the virtual rides. However, I can’t choose to avoid the emotional rollercoasters that come with life’s challenges, joys, relationships, insecurities, and celebrations.
Case-in-point: moving back to Oklahoma City after three months away. I’m pretty sure I’ve experienced all the feelings in the past 72 hours.
- Apprehension: Will I maintain the progress that I made in the last three months? What happens if I relapse? How will Hope adjust to moving in to an apartment? How will the transition back to work go? What will I do after residency? Where will I live after residency?
- Fear: I fear failure in returning. I know that I can make progress and be healthy in a controlled environment, but I fear failing in a non-controlled environment. I fear climbing further up the mountain and then falling back down it all over again, or perhaps even to a lower rock bottom than I hit in December.
- Heartbreak: I returned to my previous residence to collect the last of my items on Friday; my furniture arrived to my new apartment on Saturday. Both experiences reopened the wounds of December and I felt like it was yesterday. While I was in an unhealthy space the 2nd half of 2017, I did see a glimmer of the life I could have had. Returning to that house and receiving my items reminded me what I lost secondary to my eating disorder.
- Dispair: At the lowest points of the weekend, I became convinced that the blessings previously bestowed on me were a once-in-a-lifetime gift. I was certain that because I had allowed an eating disorder to prevent happiness via one avenue, that another path to happiness would never emerge.
- Pride: I was proud that I had the courage to step away from a situation that did not serve me. I was proud that I restored my health and gained confidence. I went to a group bicycling ride on Saturday morning by myself, which made me proud because I stepped out of my comfort zone and did something I enjoy on my own where I knew no one. I was proud when I went out to eat with my mom on Friday night and ordered a burrito bowl instead of a salad (and proceeded to commandeer my mom’s avocado—but why does avocado have to be extra–as well as the last of her bowl, too). I was proud when I went to a cookout at my co-resident’s house because historically, I’ve isolated myself. I was proud when I ate what everyone else was eating and drank what everyone else was drinking without a second thought.
- Insecurity: I was insecure that I won’t be likable to my neighbors in my new community; that my church friends won’t accept me since I’ve been away so long; that I’ve changed so much in my time away that I won’t have friends.
- Joy: Riding a bike brings me pure joy. Oklahoma City is home, and returning home brought me pure joy. Living independently, as I should be at my age, brought me joy. Being outside in the slight March chill and not being cold brought me joy.
- Gratitude: Simply, grateful to be alive after the health scare. Grateful my work was flexible. Grateful to be near sweet friends again. Grateful for my fun new apartment. Grateful for my mom helping me move, putting up pictures and decorations at my new place, and bearing with me through my multiple rounds of tears.
- Shame: I went back to my old church Sunday after being away for 2 years. I was ashamed of my absence. I was ashamed that I had accepted their support and prayers when I was in residential treatment last year but did not go back when I discharged. I was ashamed that I had to become dependent on my parents as an adult.
- Hope: Reuniting with my co-residents and church friends, meeting new friends at the dog park, and some communication with other individuals near and dear to me brought hope that I will have a supportive community and fulfilling relationships again in my future.
- Strength: I fell, but I got back up. I firmly believe that the individual that falls and gets back up is stronger than the individual that never falls in the first place.
- Loneliness: I’m accustomed to having roommates, dinner companions, and co-workers to chat with throughout the day. This season brings living alone, [some] meals alone (I really want to host people at my new place as often as possible!), and a few weeks reequilibrating before returning to work. In these moments, it can be easy to succumb to loneliness. A goal I have is to choose the loneliness as an opportunity to fall in love with myself.
- Frustration: Why dd I not fix this sooner? Why did I let it get so bad? This emotion comes back to the forgiveness piece. I honestly believe I’ve made huge progress in forgiving myself, but stepping back into my old stomping grounds reminded me of my frustration.
- Freedom: Friends, it is so beautiful to walk through a grocery store and pick out what you need that also sounds delicious without worrying about nutrition. Previously, I was a “food hoarder”—I was so preoccupied with food that I was constantly going to the grocery store and buying foods that I told myself I would eat to enable recovery but never actually did. My pantry and fridge were weighted down. In restarting my kitchen, I was able to purchase what I need and enjoy and I did not look at any nutrition labels. Some of my purchases: frozen goat cheese pizza, Breyer’s chocolate ice cream, Promised Land Chocolate Milk, whole milk Greek yogurt, Kashi heart-to-heart cinnamon cereal, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, summer berry granola, almond m and m’s. I also felt freedom when I walked through the food line at a cookout and took a burger on a whole bun with a side of sweet potato fries and regular fries without thinking twice.
Am I the only one that thinks this sounds exhausting? I share all of this because I want you to know that everyone struggles. Everyone encounters obstacles. But everyone is also capable of experiencing those positive emotions, too.
Here’s what helped me (and what I’ll continue to rely on during this transition period)
- Maintain rhythms: In the midst of an emotional rollercoaster, I experience a lack of control. Maintaining a sense of rhythm allows me to ground and center myself. Rhythms can be daily: for instance, following a morning and evening routine (check out this post to learn about my routines). Rhythms can be weekly: such as attending church regularly every Sunday, a yoga class with your favorite instructor at the same time each week, or a Thursday night kickball league. Over the weekend move, I neglected my morning devotionals and evening journaling, and I definitely noticed that I was less grounded. I did make it to church, which was helpful.
- Verbalize the emotion: At one of my lower moments during the weekend, I texted my cousin to ask her how she handled a similar experience. Her answer: “it helped me to cry and cry a lot…feeling the pain and verbalizing it actually helped me”. Thankfully, my mom was patiently listened to me express my heartbreaks, hopes, and joys this weekend. I have this blog as a space where I can be vulnerable. I went to therapy and expressed these emotions. Acknowledging they’re there, and that they’re okay is the first step to moving on and gaining support.
- Put on a brave face: My mom is a proponent of the “10-minute pity party”, which aligns well with verbalizing the emotion. That being said, after the 10 minutes are up, it’s time to put on your brave face and move on. Dwelling on the negative is not productive in the long term. Even if you don’t feel better, “faking it until you make it” can keep you moving forward.
- Repeat positive mantras: Counteract those negative emotions with a positive statement. For me, helpful positive mantras are: “I am worthy”, “I am lovable”, “I am forgivable”. Repeat them as often as you need. Put them on sticky notes in your car and on your mirror. Positivity is a practice.
- Acknowledge limiting beliefs: I’ve written an entire post on this. Often, my negative emotions spark a chain reaction that leads to a limiting belief. It is important to be aware when this happens so you can cut off the limiting belief at the pass.
- Practice gratitude: “There is always, always something to be grateful for”. Find your gratitude. Emphasize it. Find joy in it.
- Scripture: I came across this verse in my Jesus Today devotional last week: Hebrews 13:8- “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever”. How comforting to know that regardless of our circumstances, there is a higher entity that will protect us, fight for us, and love us? Remembering that I have my faith in the low moments as well as the high moments brings me back to hope for the return of these bright moments.
- “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative“: Anyone else grow up with a musical-obsessed mom that would listen to musicals frequently? If you don’t get the reference, my mom used to play this song which, albeit cheesy, directs us as to the best way to live our lives.
What emotions have you been experiencing recently? How do you handle emotional rollercoasters?
On March 2, 2017, I begrudgingly entered residential therapy for anorexia in St. Paul, Minnesota. My motivations were extrinsic, and I left against medical advice on March 30, 2017. I still carry a weight of shame in that last statement, that I left against medical advice. […]