Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars." Kahlil Gibran
I was a pretty good kid for the most part. A little over socialized and invaded by family members and children of my parents' friends, but mostly good. Good grades, tried to do good deeds and be kind. Really needed a lot more time alone, but never got it.
No matter what I did, however, I was never good enough. Didn't matter how much I tried, my dad always found something to yell at me about. When two of my cousins would come and spend weeks at a time with us, he would change into a completely different person. He'd be so damn nice when they were around. Then the minute they left for home, the monster would return.
When I got invited to move up a couple of grades at school. Yell.
When I pushed 484 lbs into the air on the leg press machine at school. Yell.
Then when I did something that was less than good (like a MISTAKE) or when I full on did something bad - OMG it just gave him permission to turn in to a monster.
There were points when I did not believe that God was really everywhere because how could he let things like this happen?
There were points when I chose to do bad because did it really matter? Hell was waiting for me at home anyways. Might as well do whatever I want. Deserve it for change.
There were several times when I full on thought I hated my dad. I may have. Before I left home, there were literally WARS between us. When I finally stood up to him, that was that - no turning back for me. When he'd threaten me, I would threaten back. When he'd raise his hand to me, I wouldn't cower, I'd stand there and tell him "if that's what you've got to do to feel powerful, then by all means, hit me. But I guarantee you, I will do everything in my power to see to it you do not wake up tomorrow." Apparently, my cold gaze said I meant it (at the time, I really did) and I wouldn't get hit.
When I did leave home, I didn't speak to him for YEARS. YEARS. I think my leaving was a huge relief to my mom and sister, too, no more wars! It seems that I was a major trigger, too, because after I left, he calmed down some. He never did treat my sister the way he treated me.
I had nightmares about a huge, strong, scary clown that tried to eat me from the time I was 3 until I finally figured out who the clown was (my dad) at the ripe old age of 24. I learned how to lucid dream during those years and even though I had that nightmare EVERY single night without fail, the clown didn't always win, cuz I'd go back into the dream and kick his teeth in as he was putting me into his mouth or poke his eyes out.
Anything is better than dying in your dream every night.
I felt fine at first out from under the tyrant's thumb. Living away from that small town, there weren't his cronies on every corner to report back to him. I was FREE for the first time in my life and I drank it up like cool water on a 150 degree day. There were a couple of years where I didn't think I would ever be sated with the fine taste of complete personal freedom.
Sometimes, the restlessness that resided within just couldn't be calmed unless I had a little chaos. Like changing schools, jobs or moving.
Then came the time when I chose to do one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life.
It was the day I started looking inside myself and digging up all the things that hurt so bad I refused to look at and deal with them. The reasons for so many things I did and did not do.
For instance, my desire to have super human strength. And some of the very mean things I did. Sometimes I'd go out - when a man would approach and ask me to dance, I would look him up and down and sneer and say "With you?!?" and laugh. I LOVED aggravating people the point of making them take a swing at me. Then I'd stand there and LAUGH at them. And we won't even delve into the cruel mental cat and mouse games I played with certain people who showed me their vulnerabilities.
The few times I made a connection with a truly kind person during the first five years away from home, I had a hard time believing that someone could be so guile free. I wanted to let go, but had a hard time with it. Trust and betrayal are still huge for me but I step out on faith more often than not anymore.
There were so many people I owed apologies. The ones I knew, I apologized to - even if they still thought of me as Julee the Hated - if they wouldn't speak to me, I wrote them a letter. But most of my targets, I didn't know. So I started doing good deeds for pretty much anyone in need. Still do that one. Doesn't matter if the person asking me for money is already loaded and probably going to stagger into a store and buy more drink. I do not judge. That isn't mine. If I have money, I give it. I wish them the best, say a little prayer for the person before me as well as a past target.
And yes, Karma later delivered to me my payback - had a crazy man stalk me for over 5 years- very scary stuff.
In my quest to resolve my own discord and become a peaceful human being, I discovered that my father was a very broken and abused person himself. Instead of looking within and discovering, he reacted to everything around him, lashed out and caused pain. Tried to control externally instead of the self.
He kept himself wound up so much that his blood pressure skyrocketed. Being on 3 or 4 different blood pressure meds did not help. His bp would be near stroke levels frequently. However, when he would take valium his doctor gave him, his blood pressure would go down (hello, he was RELAXED!). He was facing a forced retirement and refused to take the valium every day because he didn't want to be a 'doper'. We all tried to convince him that no one would say that about him.
That was the one thing that could have saved him and he flat refused it.
In early January 1991, my father's blood pressure situation took it's final toll. He got up and went down in pain. He was rushed to the hospital. An aneurism in his aorta opened up like a zipper and he bled out. He was dead by 1 in the afternoon. He was 50.
His choices took him out. Literally.
Not the fact that my brother was in Iraq (like some of my intellect-impaired relatives who volunteered their unwelcome opinions said) or anything else outside of his SELF.
He chose NOT to learn why he did the things he did; why he had certain self destructive behaviors. He chose not to learn how to relax. He chose NOT to take the meds that helped him relax.
He chose his rage over learning peace and it killed him.
Instead of trying to micro manage every action of every soul around, how about learning how to be satisfied with yourself and letting others learn how to also?
How about nurturing the things your children are naturals at and encouraging learning in things they aren't naturals at.
Screaming at mistakes only fosters fear and creates frozen hearts and minds. Saying I love you and turning around and hitting someone completely destabilizes. It destroys belief and trust, too.
His death only strengthened my resolve to not end up just like him. I had already learned a lot and gained much peace. I dug deeper, looked further and learned even more. I strove to finally and completely remove or resolve those parts of me that were so very toxic.
I've come to a place that I wish he could have gotten to. I am OK with me. I like for the people around me to be who they are and really enjoy the people who let me be who I am even if that's kinda nutty once in a while.
I still want my super human strength back (LOL), but it's because I like being strong and muscular, not because I can hurt someone with it. I am happy and getting healthier every day. I will not let my age, even when I hit 80, to determine anything about the quality of my life. It's only a number.
Here I am, a little over 5 years away from turning the same age he was when he died. I have no anger. I have no resentment. There is finally only sorrow here as I mark this time.
I love you, Dad.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
This is the time of year when everyone is making their New Years Resolutions. I see folks eating a pound of fudge right up to the day before New Years, then they make these incredibly stringent 'resolutions' that anyone would find really hard to stick to.
I don't make New Years Resolutions. I never have. I am simply resolute. All the time. Not saying that I'm perfect. Far from it. However, I do try to do my best for myself and everyone around me every day. I eat well every day. If I have a cookie or fudge, I try to keep it to one or two pieces and at my next meal, I absolutely INDULGE myself in a very healthy meal. I do examine my own behaviors and tendencies regularly - I catch things BEFORE they have a chance to become a destructive habit. I'm working out regularly (except when I have the creeping crud - getting over it now) and working up to some nice weights. Seriously considering tearing down a low wall in the back and putting all the equipment together in one place because there is too much for one room now. My husband bought me my rings and a dip station/captain's chair for Christmas. I nearly have a full gym now and am able to work the kids out, too.
As for resolutions, I think that if you're so inclined, make them. But remember, you don't have to wait til January 1 to decide to do something good for yourself. Every hour can be a new beginning. If you messed up and ate a whole bowl of M&Ms this morning, make a choice to be very good in the afternoon. That does not mean to deprive yourself of calories!!! Eat something GOOD FOR YOU to give your body fuel to rebound from that sugar junket.
Every day is a new day - if you screwed up yesterday, start over today. Every Monday is a new week. If you messed up all last week, start new today. If you're a sugar addict, WEAN yourself off. If you're on your butt too much, start with something easy like walking and work up. Don't try to run a 5k your first day out and then find yourself injured for a month.
Lastly, there are 11 other months in a year, each with a 1st day. If you let go for days and days, don't give up on yourself and wallow in your misery till next year. May 1st (or any other month) is just as good a time as any to start again.
New Years day is pretty much another day here in my house. We will have a roasted chicken, Calavesas recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
l.asp?recipe=846275 and Black eye pea salsa recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
l.asp?recipe=436452 for our meal. Wish each other a healthy and prosperous New Year and enjoy the day.
I hope your New Year is healthy and prosperous, too!
Happy New Year!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Recently, I viewed a video online about a 35 year old woman who is a CrossFit Athlete. She said "Your mind wants to quit long before your body ever does."
I had already discovered that about myself when lifting weights one day. My head told me that I couldn't lift more than X and when I said "Let's see just how far we can take this." I lifted 3X (deadlifts). I was sore the next day, but not excessively. I had to know. I didn't settle for a previous limitation, I pushed it. A few days later, I added 10 more lbs to the 3X.
Where this lady's voice kept resounding with me, though, was during my run yesterday. I haven't run more than 2.5 miles in over 10 years. So, there's the first limitation - 3+ miles has NOT been done (see the 'NO' in there?).
The next thing that came to mind was when I did run those 2.5 miles, it took me 36 minutes. At that pace, I will be at this forever. (do you see the negative thought going on there?)
While I was putting my shoes on, I thought back to when I DID run further and faster. I realized that the limiting factors here today weren't my body's ability necessarily. It was all in my head.
For someone who is constantly preaching at my family to never say "I can't" to themselves, it was so funny and sad to face my own "I can't".
So I said it out loud. "I think I can." (I know, you're all being reminded right now of that little train that could. LOL) Sometimes, for your brain to 'hear' you, you must say things out loud. If you're around people, go somewhere to be alone and TELL yourself what you desperately NEED to hear: I CAN
I broke through more than one barrier physically yesterday. I re-found my pace. My hips, legs and feet function best at 5mph and over. 5.5 to 6 is perfect. I caught myself checking my heart rate. Guess what? I had hesitance at high heart rates and wanted to slow down. My body didn't, my legs were loving this. I have much less achiness today than when I run at lower speeds. Hmmm....
I only slowed down when I couldn't draw a long deep breath. And when I did, I only gave myself enough time to get that breath.
I ran 3.17 miles in 40.36 minutes. So much for 2.5 miles making me so sore I couldn't walk the next day.
Be mindful of your self talk. Don't just accept previous limitations. Push them every chance you get.
Yes, You CAN
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don't try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present. --Lao Tzu
Do you have everything you desire? Are you as great as you could be?
I do. I am. My life is EXACTLY the way it is supposed to be. I am who I want to be.
I've gone through the entire spectrum - I had wild times, had a few flings, had one serious young man lay the material world at my feet, experienced numerous personal and professional successes (my favorite was when one of the better restaurants in town at the time offered me their upcoming catering section - ME!), I benched my own weight over 10 years ago and I will again - sooner than you think, had a couple of crazies decide I was the answer to whatever question it was the voices in their heads kept asking. One of them told me she was my biggest 'fan'.
I chose my soul mate over the Bentley and fancy dinners. I chose my children over a career that would have us living in double the house we do now. Although I do still freelance some, I turn work away regularly. I chose a somewhat simple existence with no crazies, no voices, no fans. I chose sneers and slights from people who only a few years ago would have looked at me as their equal. Because I have made the choices I have, many look down at me. The quest for material wealth does not make a person better. It MIGHT make them wealthier, but things don't make you better, happier, wiser.
My great grandmother was born into captivity in Ft. Sill, OK. (Geronimo was also a prisoner there and as a child, she would sit with the other children and listen to his stories.) She always said that everything that you own also owns you and that if you're not careful, you can become a slave to your things and have no life, just a lot of things. How smart is that? And very true.
I am completely satisfied with my choices and have a good life. We are comfortable. Our house is my age and is not absolutely perfect, but the things to be done aren't huge. I will get to them. I WANT to do them myself. I want my home to be of my work - my craftsmanship.
Choices. Everything you do is a choice. Choose well and you will be happy. Happiness is wealth that no one can take away from you.
Choose things that are motivated by or for other people and you will lose yourself over and over. With each small piece of the self lost to another's goals, peace and happiness will erode as well.
Make the right choice for YOURSELF. If you have to try and sell someone else on your choice to feel right or good about it, you need to re-think your choice.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
(ok, forgive the repeat. the same entry for yesterday got deleted. User error or deficiency or something like that....) :)
There are two things I am grateful to my disease for: the emergence of my creative side and nowadays I stop and think about things (sometimes for a long time) before I act.
For the most part.
Been sittin' on the fence about something. Not much of a fence sitter. Really - after a certain amount of time has passed, I begin urging myself for a decision. If none can be reached, I put it on the back burner for a while and move on. Revisit the issue later instead of driving myself nuts.
My friend Steph has been doing Cross Fit for some time now. She's looking AWESOME. Really. I have gone and read about it and looked into and even tried some of the workouts. WOW, intense!
I became very interested in CF. The intensity seemed to be natural match for my nature - ever since I picked up my dad in our kitchen when I was 6, I've enjoyed feeling my body's strength and increasing it.
At the same time, the CF workouts shined a big ol' spotlight right on my weaknesses which really rubbed me the wrong way. Especially my balance. I don't expect to be perfect on my first few times out on anything - honest. But I do like to see improvements within a few tries.
When I do something that seemed to almost be planned to show my weaknesses, I almost feel picked on. LOL
Really, I wondered at one point "Is there ONE workout I can do that doesn't make me look like a _______________(insert feable sentiment here)?" It made me feel better when someone else admitted that it had made her feel the same way.
My first thought was to just go back to the old way. Get on the free weights and never look back. I did just that for a couple of weeks and the whole time I was grunting out my reps I was thinking about Cross Fit and how I could feel more intensity and rawness in 20 minutes than this 60 minute workout was giving me.
hmmmm.... what to do?
Get my hands busy. When I'm painting or bending metal or building something, I think about the tasks at hand, but for some reason, it also helps me think. Better. Clearer.
I know, the smallness of this trouble seems like a drop in the bucket compared to some people's troubles. But this is the rest of my life we're talking about and my re-entry into serious fitness. Not just dabbling here and there.
Saturday as I was putting a new 50lb slide under one of my big kitchen drawers, it hit me. Almost like someone thumped me in the head. Duh.
So, I will be selling off my P90X and Cathe DVDs and using the money to buy some rings and a bar.
I am a Cross Fitter.
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