Thursday, August 25, 2011

Time to Own Up....

I stopped seeing relapses as failures and just stopped putting so much stock into whether I cut or not. Cutting is a symptom, not the problem. Keep treating your underlying issues, that's what will bring your cutting to an eventual end. Obviously, you want to try your best to use other coping skills, but beating yourself up is counter productive.

This was the answer I needed to hear yesterday, in response to the question I posted about how to love yourself when you screw up. I found it on reddit.com, and though the response wasn't meant for me, it spoke to me.

You see, I struggle with this. With harming myself on purpose. I pick at scabs so they take much longer than necessary to heal. I scratch at bug bites or the leftover residue on my arm from a band-aid until the skin breaks open. I have never purposefully cut myself with a blade or the like...but I don't let myself heal, which amounts to the same thing in the end.

Two questions to ask to see if you have a self-harming issue:

Do you deliberately cause physical harm to yourself to the extent of causing tissue damage? Yes, I do.

Do you cause this harm to yourself as a way of dealing with unpleasant or overwhelming emotions, thoughts, or situations? I believe so, though that's not always the case.

I'm a bit borderline, I think, but it's close enough. What I've been trying to figure out for months is what triggers me to harm myself. Sometimes it's simply boredom - my fingers want something to do, and instead of grabbing my phone or a puzzle, my fingers mess with my scabs. Yet there are other causes as well, and last night I finally think I pinpointed the main causes - feeling invalidated or vulnerable.

(Even as I'm typing, I'm having to fight the urge to pick at my face.)

I've always been a sensitive soul. I take criticism hard. I can't stand arguments or making other people unhappy with me. (This is deeper for me than a mere dislike of them - I do everything in my power to avoid them.) And for as much as I can fully remember from growing up (especially once I got to the jr. high/high school age), I was shown that I was basically always wrong, always being bad, never doing what I was supposed to or how I was supposed to. I feel bad even typing this, because I don't want my parents to read this and feel bad. How messed up is that?? I don't blame my parents for anything. They are good people, and I know they did the best for me and my brother that they could, and I thank them for sticking with us and giving us all they could. (My parents got divorced when I was about 5.) I love my parents, and I'm closer to them now than I ever was growing up with them. Still, the problem started there, and I can't deny that.

And so it seemed no matter what I did, I was never trying hard enough, never caught on fast enough, never did things right, never expressed what I was supposed to express in just the right way. My mom yelled at me, and my dad guilt tripped me. Loud voice, soft voice, it didn't matter - it was all telling me just what a screw up I was. And so I hid inside myself. I clammed up, rarely bothering to state my opinion or ask a question, since I knew that 8 times out of 10 the response would be negative. I only answered what was asked of me, and tried to give the answer I knew was expected. I let people (family and friends alike) walk over me like I meant nothing...in my mind, my thoughts and emotions were always wrong anyways, so it was much easier and better to simply go with the flow and let other people think for me, to stick with the ones who clearly enjoyed being with me regardless and simply let them rule. In high school, I don't remember picking often...I was still in marching band then, I wrote poetry then, I had ways to work out my frustrations, and friends who seemed to like me for the me I was.

(I can't stop messing with my hand and arm, my fingers desperately searching for something to pick that's ready.)

And then I moved to college. On my own, no friends coming with me. And this is where I think I started to harm myself. I had never really learned how to deal with things. The only lessons I really remember from growing up is to always do what your parents (or elders/those in charge) say when they say it, to keep your mouth shut and smile, and make others happy. To let someone else make your decision, because if you don't choose fast enough then they'll do it for you anyways. And for a girl who's basic nature is already sweet and kind and quiet and passive, I didn't know how to handle life. My first few years I think I did alright, yet the longer I was there, the more I had to deal with, the more I was on my own, the more heartbreak I'd dealt with, and the more I started to pick. It was so gradual that I'm only now, 6 years out of college, realizing just what I was doing to myself. Sad, sad, sad.

I don't like the pain of a picked scab, by the way, or the blood that tends to come when the scab is picked off - that's not what makes me do it. The attraction for me is to have the scab off, to feel the smooth skin. I like it when the scabs are gone. It's like I feel it's the one thing I can fully control myself, the one thing I KNOW I can do right - because I can see when a scab is fully off, when the edges are smooth and it's done. I can't screw it up.

My major epiphany from last night - feeling vulnerable is the biggest trigger for my picking obsession. All my life I've been told that I'm wrong, that I'm selfish and irresponsible. Especially when it comes to cooking and being in the kitchen...it honestly terrifies me. I was never sure of myself, I always asked too many questions (and the same questions too many times) and took too long, was too soft, and as a result was constantly thrown out until I was never even asked to help anymore. What a lesson for a young girl to learn. And so when I start to feel vulnerable, when I start to notice just how out there I'm putting myself, the urge to pick at myself becomes ridiculously intense.

And I have gotten better at being vulnerable, at putting myself out there. My confidence in myself has definitely grown over the past few years. Yet it's still a struggle for me. I started to notice this yesterday...I pick at myself a lot when I'm processing photos. And believe me, deciding that you want to become a photographer and working to make it happen definitely makes you vulnerable. You're putting your vision, your work, your heart out into the world, and all you can do is hope that someone will like it. I pick at myself a lot when I'm opening up in a conversation, when I'm sharing a viewpoint that is opposite of the person I'm talking to. The more vulnerable I feel, the more exposed and open for pain, the more I pick at myself. To try to hurt myself before someone else can? To help me focus on a different pain so I can hear the actual response and not hear negativity? I don't know. But this is the key for me.

Sharing like this, forcing myself to be open and honest about a serious issue that I struggle with, has been driving my fingers and brain crazy with the urge to pick. The good news is, I'm getting better. I'm aware of the situation, which is a huge step. And I've been spending months trying to work through my insecurities, trying to be more comfortable simply being me and loving myself for who I am. And the better I get with that, the fewer scabs I tend to have, the more shallow they are when they do come. Someday I know I'll have it beat, at the very least have it much more under control.

Please remember - everyone you meet is fighting a battle. Not everyone's battle is immediately obvious. There are people who will struggle with something that makes no sense to you, that comes naturally to you. Please realize that simply because it's easy for you, doesn't mean it's easy for somebody else, and that doesn't mean you should talk down to them or make them feel like less of a person simply because they have a different struggle than you, or take longer to get a handle on it.

Love each other. Support each other, even when you don't understand why it's a problem. Listen to each other. Be encouraging. Tell the harsh truths when they're needed - just make sure you're telling them out of love, and make sure that love is known and felt. Don't judge.

I've fallen short of this many times, and it's something I'm trying to change about myself and to put out into the world. We need more love, more support, less judgement, less hatred.

I haven't shared all of this as a plea for attention. My scabs have always been pretty easy to see. It's simply a coping mechanism for dealing with my own feelings of vulnerability and invalidation. Anyone could have asked me about them any time they wanted to. Some people even have - though it was more about my physical beauty and the damage I'm doing to it than what the underlying cause might be. What I needed from this was the admission to myself, and the hopeful chance that maybe someone else who's struggling with this can identify and keep trying to get better. I KNOW THAT WE GET BETTER. Good things are coming my way, I'm growing stronger and more confident in myself and my abilities, and I know I have a wonderful life ahead of me. I'm on a good track. I simply have an easy, destructive distraction.

If anyone has any questions for me, any comments, let me know. If I can help clarify something, help support you, help encourage you in your personal struggles - please let me know. I want to be able to help and encourage others. And I know that this struggle I've got is a part of my life that will help enrich the way I see the world, can help me reach others and spread my message of love and joy.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Watch your Mouth....

I am a caring person. I honestly care about others, about how what I do and say might affect them, how I can help them, how I can be a better me to be better for them. Not for the entire world - you can never please everyone, never be fully understood or helpful to the entire world. Yet I'm so ridiculously tired of hearing people tell me not to care, not to be affected by others. All that will do is lock up your heart, pull you away from those who can be the biggest comfort and strongest supporters - or else associate you with people who are equally locked away in their own little world of me first. You might save yourself a small measure of heartache, save some indecision - yet what will you lose by refusing to let others in? I don't want a heart that's cold and unreachable, a mind that's closed and inconsiderate of other opinions, regardless of if I agree or not. I want honest conversation, a respect for differing opinions, the ability to share with others and grow together, learn together. I want to be changed and affected by others.

I am stating, right here and now - I choose to care. I choose to be respectful and considerate. Not everyone truly deserves it - yet I choose to be so anyways. Because we are all human, and we all need someone to care about us, someone to listen to us and love us.

Sometimes a girl simply needs to vent, and needs a shoulder to lean on while she catches her breath. Pushing forward into an uncertain dream, working to better yourself for yourself, and working through the inevitable discouragement and disagreements and heartache that will come is tiring and trying. And lately, I can't seem to find anywhere that I can simply rest, simply let myself be. I feel I am constantly needing to be on my guard, constantly watching and ready to defend myself. I am weary. I refuse to give up the good fight, to let myself give in to all the fears and bad thoughts...there are simply some days that are more difficult than others. And it seems no one can understand this idea, no one will support you unless you're being all positive, all the time. (And I am an overwhelmingly positive gal saying this.)

All I ask is that before people jump onto bashing whatever I've said, they consider that maybe those few words are not the end of the thought for me. They consider that there is so much more going on behind the scenes than what I put on paper. And, if for just a moment, they think about what they're about to say, and if it will really help build me up, or if they're only trying to pull me down. If you want to build someone up, if you want to honestly share knowledge that you have to help make someone's life easier or better - consider the way you use your words. Simply throwing any old words down to get your point across, or using language that is obviously not suited to the individual, will either get you nowhere or get you ignored. Creating waves and friction does not mean that people are paying attention to you and honestly listening to what you're saying...it means they are responding to the way you've said it.

Choose your words wisely, friends. I promise to do the same, and better the way that I speak with those I love and want to build up. I choose to respect your opinions, to be considerate of what matters to you, and to pick my words with care as often as I can. I will always try to be honest and upfront with you, and I will let you know if I disagree with you on an important matter - yet I will always try to do so in a way that is meant to encourage and build up, and not to make you feel small and ignorant.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Dream Girl

Some days I could swear I see myself in a movie in my head. There are moments in time where I can almost picture a video montage of my life, of me working, driving around, doing everyday things. I can almost even hear a soundtrack sometimes. But it's not really me...at least not yet. Because often, it will be an improved version of me that I see.

Sometimes I can see myself typing at a computer, working on some photos, doing some office work, keeping things organized and together, being productive. I can see myself running and doing yoga and making healthy food choices, while still allowing myself to splurge every so often without feeling guilty for it. I can see myself helping other people, being able to share my soul and my story and having it help and encourage others. I can see the beauty project I have in my mind going strong and really making a difference in people's lives - I can specifically picture parts of my initial work, ladies I want to have a portrait of, a general idea of the composition, the song I want in the background - all of it. I can see myself making dinner and laughing with my strong, handsome man, working alongside him, sharing with him, gaining strength from him - and also see him learning from me as well, opening up, encouraging each other.

I'm not always certain, in my head, how much of what I see is really what I want, and how much of it is simply me daydreaming of a person I'll never be, as a way of dealing with the pressures this world throws at us. But these images come up so often, so strongly, so randomly, that I can't help but feel that I'm seeing visions of the life I'm truly meant to live, the girl I'm really on my way to becoming.

The main thing I notice about the girl in my daydreams is that she completely accepts herself and who she is - she loves herself and the life she's been given. She's happy every time I see her.

One other interesting thing I notice - my scabs are never something I think about in my daydreams. I never honestly notice if the scabs are there or not - there is no conscious thought of the girl in my dreams noticing how she doesn't have scabs to mess with. I think the scars are there, and she simply doesn't pay them any mind anymore. Really, for me, I see them in my dream as a mark of what I've put myself through, and how I've come out on the other side. Of a time when a girl who had a pretty sheltered life went through a period of time where she was silently begging for help, her pleas for attention and interest in herself clearly marked on her skin, where others could only see a physical blemish. There is a story to tell for me through these scars, these marks I've inflicted on myself. I don't know when that story will be finished, when it will be ready to be told. But I can feel the story building inside me.

I really want to have a good story to share, a way to help others accept themselves and love themselves just as they are, to see the true them and set them free. I feel it inside of me. I just have to keep walking, step by step, keep dreaming of the girl, and I know that I'll wake up one day and realize that I am her.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hey...it actually works!

I have a confession to make, one that makes me feel pretty silly and girly and ridiculous, but I want to share this with you today. It feels necessary.

I've been off on vacation for the past five days, and they've been so very wonderful...waking up when my body is naturally ready, playing some games, having some lunch, playing some more games, working on some photos, taking some photos, having dinner or fun times with my family and close friends, relaxing some more before bed, and repeating. For five glorious days. I didn't go anywhere fun like the zoo or a show like I had planned. I didn't do too much of anything most people would consider fun or productive, to be honest. But it was absolutely perfect for me.


So this morning, when I realized that I had to get up to an alarm and go to a day job (which, I should mention, has been very good to me and for me and absolutely realizes that I have value) that my heart really isn't in...I cried. I didn't want to give up the cushy lifestyle I'd lived for the past five days, even though it was only possible because of the day job I have. I didn't want to stop hanging out with Jon and my sweet furry babies. I didn't want to go back to not having a computer at home and being able to work on my photography. I think it was pretty natural that I was going to tear up. And I should let you know, I'm not talking a full out breakdown cry here lol...just a steady stream of my eyes welling up as I got ready.

So as I'm standing there, getting ready with tears filling my eyes, I made myself refocus my thinking. I reminded myself that this should be more fuel for my fire, that I should take the feeling of loss for my sweet vacation and use that to help me push myself more in my day job, so that sooner rather than later I can get back to my ideal life. I've already made my decision to go for that life - I just had to remember that I'm not there just yet, that I have to walk a little farther first and get some more things straightened out before I can confidently do what I want to do.

This thought helped me a little, but not quite enough. And then my memory verse for this month popped into my head - "Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." And with that verse running through my mind, the tears dried up. I needed to be joyful today. I needed to remember to be thankful for the situation I'm in and the good I can do here and now, the benefits I can gain and the knowledge I still have ahead of me to learn. I needed to say yet another prayer that morning - that I could focus and remember what I'm working for, and not be discouraged as I work, but instead keep my head up and my eyes on my finish line and the start of the next chapter in my life. And it honest-to-goodness helped me refocus my thinking and dry up my tears.

I think I know the frustration a baby must feel, when they've learned to crawl yet want to walk so badly. I want to be able to just run straight into the life I'm feeling lead to, yet I know that I'm not prepared for it yet. I'm still in training, still learning, still growing, still strengthening. If I tried to go for it now, I would fail. Without a doubt. I'm meant to be where I am right now, doing what I'm doing. And I decided to turn my thinking around and be thankful for it.

It may not have totally changed my feelings and my mind - I'd still much rather be enjoying myself at home right now. But it helped correct my thinking so that I can still be productive today and feel good by the time I get to go home. All because I had something positive to refocus my attention on. It does work, my friends. :) I hope you can find the positive in your day today, that can help you keep moving forward!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

On Second Thought...

I want to share and get these thoughts out on "paper" before I forget yet again. :) I've been thinking that I might have been a little too rash in my blog titled "Anything is possible if a person believes." I most definitely have the same drive inside me, but I've since tweaked my game plan a little bit.

I'm choosing to stick it out with the steady paycheck for a bit longer than I at first decided. Mostly, I want to get myself to a position where I feel a bit more comfortable before I jump into the completely unsteady territory of having my own business. So, here are my new plans:

* My Care Credit balance will be paid off before the end of the year, and hopefully sooner than that. The past few months I've been paying what I can over the minimum to get it down faster, and so I really think it's possible it'll be done by August or September. But regardless, it will be paid off by December, and able to be a medical backup should something bad happen.

* I have a few things I want to buy before I'm on my own, and a few things to get started. I've even got a general idea of when I want to have these things by, though only God knows if it'll actually happen when I want or if my goals are a little too high. At least I've got a goal to aim for. :)
I want to get a new portable hard drive to keep with me and have my photography library on (then the larger drive I'm using now and our other, older portable can be backups and kept somewhere separate so my photos are safer). Goal - get this by the end of the year.
I want a new computer for myself (my work is trying to get me something to use at home until then, but even that will take awhile, and I really need something all my own and reliable to work from). Goal - get this by the end of 2012.
I want to save up enough money to cover at least 3 months worth of bills before I'm all on my own (3 months isn't a ridiculously long time, but at least then I'll have a little less to worry about while I'm adjusting). Goal - start saving more after we move, and keep saving as much as I can until I leave.
I want a new car. My current car gets me from place to place, and it's nice that it's paid off so I don't have a car payment right now...but the ac simply can't keep up with this Texas heat, and it was used when I got it and I'm hard on my cars...so it's healthy but pretty worn in. lol And I've had my heart set on a new VW for a long time. Lots of the ones I'd like wouldn't be too hard to fit into my budget either, especially after we move and Jon can get more firmly settled financially somewhere. Goal - get this before summer of 2012.

* I also would like some more photography gear if possible before I start my own business...I know there's at least one or two lenses I would like to get, plus I'd like to make sure that all my current equipment is still functioning well and won't need to be replaced. The longer and harder I work here, the more I feel I pay off the equipment they've already bought me anyways. If I can at least get one lens before I leave, I'll be happy.

* My other plan is to start doing some photography on the side after we move at the end of July - I'm hoping I can start in either August or September. I'll be starting with my child and pet photography, since I already feel that I've got a good handle on that side of my photography and a lot of the ones I want to shoot are getting older all the time! lol I'm going to take the time to set up my own brand name for it and have a little site set up to share on, and I'm going to start pretty reasonably priced - just enough mostly to cover my expenses to get there and the process of shooting and processing the photos afterwards. This will give me a little extra money each month (hopefully) to start saving and using for the items I mentioned above, and also get my portfolio and some client relations started, and ease me into interacting with clients and the like there, a chance to figure out what works and what doesn't on a reasonably low key scale before I go full hog on it. It's going to mean a lot more work from me, but it's work that I truly enjoy doing, so I don't think I'm going to mind. I will have to have a computer at home before I can start, so somehow I'm going to have that figured out by then, at least something temporary since my photos always stay on my own hard drive. But I think if I hold off on this too much longer, I'm going to miss some great chances and hurt myself more than help myself. I will find a way to make it work and get it started. :)

So...yeah. lol Sounds like a lot, huh? Yet it's really just day to day life, simply making myself be better about saving and spending wisely to advance where I want to be and what I want to do. I'm excited to see where this road is taking me...I definitely feel good about it, even though I know I'm going to struggle some, even though I know that it may not happen right when I'd like it to. The process feels right, and I have to follow it to the end. :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Some quick info...

Hi friends! Just a quick little blog post here, that will hopefully help me win an iPad2! :)

There's a blog I follow called MCP Actions...the lady seems really sweet, and they usually have pretty cute photoshop templates and actions designed just for photographers. And since we all like to try and help each other out and share, I wanted to share this sweet little giveaway with you! I could really use an iPad...it would help me with inventory work at my job, and also by having something at home to play around on and possibly even help me keep up with my photos! All in all, a win win for everyone...if I win. lol :) But a gal's gotta try!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's Time.

The time has come for me to step into the unknown. (Cue Sara Bareilles' song Uncharted. lol)

I know I'm being dramatic, but I don't care. lol Sometimes some drama is called for. I'm loving myself and who I am. I'm going to let the real me completely out of her cage, trusting that those who truly love me will only love me more, and that if things and people don't stick around I will make it through that as well. I'm choosing to see the beauty in myself, choosing to see the confidence, choosing to believe in them.

Sometimes bad things happen, things you don't want or don't like. Sometimes we're stuck in situations that seem unfair, or situations where we wish we could just hide our heads in the sand until they pass us over. I'm refusing to think like that. Not anymore. This girl is going to change hearts, one day at a time. Problems don't go away by ignoring them and hoping they will. You have to face them head on, with truth and love and confidence, and work your way through them no matter how painful, no matter how bad they might make you feel. Only then will things start to get better, start to heal. If you run away, you only leave the wound open to keep getting infected and keep dragging you down. You have to close it off so that it can heal.

I really don't like feeling useless, and having to stand by and watch while others I love are struggling and in pain. Yet I know that the most I can do for them is to love them, be honest with them, and let them know that no matter the outcome of their situation, I'm not going anywhere. I stand by those I love. I have always tried to do this, though in the past I've fallen short. I get up and do better next time. And I hope to encourage others to do the same, to pick themselves up from their mistakes and try again, to heal the past mistakes and do their best not to repeat them. Hope is possible - recovery is possible. A new life is possible. You simply have to be open to seeing it, and going for it. Believe in yourself.

"What do you mean, if I can?" Jesus asked. "Anything is possible if a person believes." -Mark 9:23

Monday, June 6, 2011

But I am Le Tired...

I'm tired today, friends. Tired of having to wake up to an alarm every weekday morning. Tired of having to be somewhere for a set amount of time, when I would rather be tons of other places. Tired of feeling like I'm on a treadmill with my life and not an actual road that can take me somewhere. Tired of feeling like I'm the only one working to make things better. Tired of feeling like I have to make things better, like I'm not worth anything the way I am now. Tired of knowing that I'm right and yet refusing to believe myself and make the changes necessary. Tired of feeling like I constantly have to change. Tired of just about everything, to be honest. And I'm not a fan of this feeling.

I want to enjoy waking up in the morning. I want to know that what I'm doing the majority of my day each day is something that can bring a smile to someone's face, help them see things in a brighter, more positive way. I want to be able to do things on my time schedule, at my pace, not someone else's. And I just don't know how to get to that point, or if I'm really capable of making it last in this world.

The world we live in is so oriented around money it's ridiculous. Most days, I really wish money didn't matter for anything, so that I never had to think about it, never had to worry about working for it. Yet I want my own place with my man, I want a new car, I want a computer at home again so I can stop feeling like I'm falling more and more behind each day. And of course, all of these things require money.

I'm so tired of working for money, thinking that one day I'll be at a point where I've got all I want and can stop striving so hard. Money is always going to be a factor, though. It's always going to matter. Do I think it's the most important thing there is? Of course not. But that doesn't stop the need for it to get what I want. I'm tired of vicious circles. All they do is wear you down and hold the heart hostage.

I've made the decision, for the millionth time, to eat better and take better care of myself. I've got lots of great foods that I'll be trying to keep prepared and easy for me to take each day. Hopefully I won't get bored of it too easily, I'm trying to find ways to switch things up a little. I'm trying not to focus on losing weight and all the fad ways of being on a diet, and instead focus on eating the foods I know my body needs and getting myself a bit more active, and trusting nature to do it's thing. I'm hoping this will give me more energy as well...maybe if I have more natural energy, it will help me to not care so much that I have to keep getting up early and going to a job. We'll see.

I want to actually help my company be better, and I know that what I've decided to do will move that forward. It's just a struggle to keep on top of it all, which I knew it would be. I'm trying to keep pushing forward, keep improving, keep on top of it all, trusting that with time I'll stop feeling so overwhelmed and I'll be able to handle it, trusting that I'll stop wanting to run away because it feels like too much. I've got to stick with it. At the very least, I need to so that I can leave this place better than when I came here. There are so many things I'd like to have, and I know that sticking it out will eventually give me the means to gain those things. It's just so tiring, and I can never seem to get enough rest.

I could sure use any prayers you can send my way, or positive feelings, or kind words, or what have you. I can't seem to fill myself up with happiness and compassion enough to share with those that I really want to share with. I want to be able to give more of myself again...yet I can't even take care of myself. So I apologize, here and now, for those of you that I care about who I've flaked on, or who I simply can't seem to be myself around right now. It's only because I'm so internally drained that I can't overflow. And yes, I do realize that might not make sense. But it does to me. lol Please know that I'm doing all I can to get this under control, so that I can be the friend I want to be again. I just need some help and love. I've been fighting my insecurities and trying to free myself from my past for months now, and though I'm definitely making progress...it's draining, and I'm feeling mostly on my own. My determination to be free is still holding on, still pushing me forward...I'm just shouldering most of this on my own, which slows me down. But I'll get there. Please don't give up on me. I love you all, more than you'll ever know.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Anything is possible if a person believes...

"What do you mean, 'If I can?'" Jesus asked. "Anything is possible if a person believes." The father instantly cried out, 'I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!" -Mark 9:23-24

I've become fed up, and boy am I ready to make a change. I've got to remind myself that these changes won't happen overnight, at the snap of a finger, simply because I desire them...there are some plans that need to be set, some actions followed, to get me there step by step. But I'm so very ready now.

My job has been very good to me over the past 4 years...they've helped me pull out of the financial rut I was stuck in, get myself back on good grounding, get some long needed bills paid off, and they've helped me grow my photography skills...but I'm so sick of how things work around here. I'm tired of hearing all the talk about making things better, about improving and trusting and working together, because no one ever acts on it. I'm tired of knowing that I'm only wanted for answering the phone. I'm tired of having to deal with making up sick days or foul weather days, of having to worry about vacation days and what time is free and who else might be gone. I've even taken on more responsibility, in the hopes of getting myself out of the role I have now and helping things run smoother. Now I know it's only been a week or so since they gave me the go ahead to try things my way, and I knew that the receptionist role I have now wasn't going to just be taken away from me. But I can tell that the struggle I'll have to go through to get to where I'd want to be is going to be more of a headache than I really want. I know in my heart that I don't want to be stuck here at this job the rest of my life. Doing this is not where I belong.

So I'm setting the basics of a plan. I want them to be able to supply me with the new computer I want and some small extra software & hardware things I want. And I'm going to take the responsibility I asked for and really get it into shape, make it so clean and so organized that when the time comes to hire someone else for my position, the new person can transition in as easily as possible. And then by this time next year, the beginning of June, I want to be able to leave this job. I wouldn't mind getting paid to take photos for them still, I wouldn't mind helping out with that aspect...but I'm not interested in the rest of it. I don't want this for my life.

So I'm going to try to save up some each month once we move, and have enough that I can happily take the month of June off next year just for me and really enjoy myself, give myself some fun for my 30th birthday. Something about being sick the past few days has really fueled this in me...this desire to not be working a regular day job for someone else. When I'm sick, I need to be able to reschedule things and take care of myself. I want to be in control of what I do and when. I don't want to be a 30 year old receptionist. I just don't want it. And so I'm going to do all I can to not let that happen. I've also been unable to save up for my birthday in years....I really dislike being the one to plan my own birthday festivities anyways, but when I have next to no money for myself anyways...I want to do something fun and special for my 30th.

I'm also going to attempt, yet again, to become healthier. I'm choosing to focus on the idea that as long as I get back up and try again, I haven't failed. lol I want to look better, naturally, but that's not what's motivating me. I simply want to FEEL better. I want to feel better during a normal workday. I want more energy, and to get sick less. And I'm starting to actually feel in my body when I haven't been eating well for awhile...I can feel myself breathing worse, feeling worse, and I don't want it. I want to breathe better, move better, be better. I have a big battle ahead of me with this, but I think I can do it. Heck, I've done it before, I KNOW I can, but I wasn't so aware of my shortcomings last time. I'm going to struggle with food....with getting stuck on a few staples and getting bored, with finding variety that I like, with learning how to actually cook so I can make my own food and not always need something already prepared. Learning to cook is going to be really rough for me, but I'm going to try to blog about it some, about how things go in the kitchen for me and try to take photos as well, so I can make it a little more interesting for you all. :) I will definitely need your support with that!

The main thing that holds me back in regards to taking better care of myself is going to sound silly, but that can't be helped. I have this deep, rooted issue with caring too much what other people think. I know that might seem to have nothing to do with anything, but if you stick with me for a few minutes I'll get you there. I simply care too much what other people think.

My first real experiences with cooking, all I can remember is wanting to ask my mom a bunch of questions, sometimes even double or triple checking something before I do it, and my mom getting so frustrated with me that I'd eventually be sent from the kitchen. Even cooking with Jon is difficult...they both simply know so much more than I do about how to prepare food, that my slowness and uncertainty always lead to them taking over and doing it all, leaving me standing on the side watching. I honestly won't cook in front of anyone if I can help it, because I just KNOW in my heart that it'll be taken over from me because I just can't do it well enough. And I know feeling like this is silly. I know that making me feel incompetent and afraid to even step in and try to help was never their intentions. Yet it's there, and it's real, and so I have to find my way past it.

I stubbornly don't want to work out or do things a certain way either, simply because I know others I care about feel that's the right way to do things, and something in me just doesn't want to give in to them. For some silly reason, I want to do things MY way, not the way someone else thinks I should. This is the silliest part for me, honestly. I don't know why what someone else thinks should matter AT ALL when it comes to this, much less keep me from doing something good for me simply because I don't want to admit to being wrong or lazy about something. Yet it's there as well.

I don't know exactly why I struggle so much with what people think just yet. I've been attempting to dig into it some to figure it out, but it's painful and it'll take me some time. But this is a root of my overall insecurity that is one of the main reasons that keeps me where I am, and it's going to have to be the first real root that I pull up and get rid of. There simply has to be a way of honestly wanting to know what others think and feel about things, without letting that desire and those opinions rule what I choose to do. The only way I can think to start is to simply jump in and do those things I know I need to do to be healthier (learn to cook and take care of myself), without letting myself give in to worrying if my friends and family will approve or try to sway me to some other way of doing things. I have to learn to not care if I screw up. (My other huge root of insecurity deals with a crazy fear of failure and screwing up...but that's a whole other blog we're not getting into right now. lol) Somehow, I have to learn how to be my own person with my own brain, who can care for others without being absorbed by others.

I want to have my own photography business. This is an idea I've naturally been playing with for awhile, but over the past day or two it's really cemented itself in my brain and heart. I really, deeply feel that somehow, I'm meant to be a beauty photographer. But not what you'd naturally think when you might hear that - I could care less about fashion or stick thin models. I need to find a way to do photography packages for women to help them see their real beauty they already have. Too, too many women are so hard and simply MEAN to themselves about how they look, and I can't stand it. I do it to myself as well, and I can't stand it when I do. I have to find a way to help women see just how beautiful they already are, to remember to look at themselves in a healthy light every day. And I really love to take photos of little ones as well...whenever I'm around a little kid, my hands start itching for a camera and the approval to shoot. I simply can't help myself with them. I have to be a photographer who can help the world see just how much love and beauty and truth there is already in the world. I don't know quite how it'll work out yet...but the pull inside me towards this is too great to ignore, and I don't think the world can do without it. I have to be able to help spread hope and love and an abilty to see real, lasting beauty. I've got about a year from now to figure out how I'm going to implement this, because once I take next June off, I'm going to be ready to start right in with my new career in July. :)

In order for me to really pull this off, I'm going to need Jon's help financially as well. But I know he'll be behind me, and he'll help me work out the details and get things going. Eventually I want us to both work for ourselves, taking photos together...yet I think that will be farther down the road. I simply know that as long as I have his support, I'll be okay. And if, heaven forbid, I have to go it all on my own, I'll find a way to make that work as well. I simply can't keep sitting where I am, day after day, with no end in sight. I have to fly.

"It is sometimes a mistake to climb; it is always a mistake never even to make the attempt. If you do not climb you will not fall. This is true. But is it that bad to fail, that hard to fall? Sometimes you wake, and sometimes, yes, you die. But there is a third alternative. Sometimes when you fall, you fly."
-Sandman, Fables and Reflections

P.S. - if any of you wonderful people actually read all the way through this and were able to grasp even a bit of the uncertainty and determination I tried to share, please let me know. This, I know, ties in with my inability to separate sharing and being myself without needing to know what others think...but I really do need to know that I'm heard and at the very least coherent. lol :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Deja Vu...the good kind

Today I want to talk about Jon. :) A few things keep running through my mind, and I really want to share them with you all. So I am! :)

Let's start with Saturday. Such an interesting day. We went out to scout for a new apartment...didn't look at the one I'd written down since it didn't seem to be in the best place, but we got some names of complexes that looked like we'd want to stay there, so I'll be checking out stats on those this week. :) As much as I'm not looking forward to a long commute again and all the traffic...I can't wait to be able to see my man most every night of the week instead of only Fri-Sun. And I'm going to be closer to my girls Megan and Jeri, which I'm hoping means more fun times with them!

We also did a little scouting for a mini fun photo shoot I've got coming up with my girl Steph and her new man Jason. He's got a Cap'n Sparrow outfit, and we're going to have some fun with some photos. :) I'm excited, so I'm going to have to work hard to keep my nerves from getting in my way and screwing me up! lol I've got the general ideas forming and just found out I'll have an extra week to prepare, so hopefully it'll all go smoothly and we'll get some seriously fun pictures from it. :)

We then got the new Playstation Move Heroes game, which I'd swear was meant for me. lol The main characters you can play as are 3 duos from 3 of my favorite games - Ratchet and Clank, Sly Cooper (and Bentley), and Jak and Daxter! It's just a little party type game, where you play through different levels to get the gold medal and such - but it's been really fun so far. :) And now we have a game we can play together!

Then we come to the funny part of Saturday lol...we'd turned the oven on to preheat for a pizza, then went to lay down so I could give Jon a back massage. (Side note: my man has been doing so well with working out and taking care of himself! He's pushing hard, which makes him super sore on his off days lol, but he's doing so well - very proud girlfriend right here.) He's developing some new muscles in his back, and so he'd been saying all day how bad it hurt - back massage seemed like the right choice! lol So then, of course, he asks me for a happy ending lol! And so we start messing around a little, until...smoke detectors go off!! What the?? lol We turn around and yep, the living room sure looks smokey...Jon runs into the kitchen and we realize that there was a tray in the oven with some oil on it that we didn't realize had been left in there, and the oil had burned. So no fire, thank goodness...just lots of smoke! So there we are, me with a bath towel and Jon with the pizza box, waving smoke away from the detectors and out the windows we'd just opened lol....it was like a scene from a comedy. We couldn't stop laughing. :) It was definitely time for pizza instead of messing around! lol

Which brings me to the other thing I've been wanting to write about...moments like the smoke detectors going off. Are there moments in your life where you feel like you're living a movie? Or even better, feel like you're living a daydream you had once? More and more often lately, I've been getting this deja vu feeling with Jon. And I freaking love it. :) Picture perfect moments...times when I suddenly feel like I'm the most beautiful girl in the world, and I'm with my perfect man. I know it sounds totally cheesy and overly girlish, maybe. But it's so very true. These moments seem to come to me more often when we're fooling around some...something in the way he touches me and looks at me just makes me feel like I'm living a dream. Like I'm living through a moment that I'd almost swear I've been through before, in another life, or a dream life. Like somehow my random little fantasies throughout my life of my perfect dream man are starting to slowly yet surely come into my real life. :) I tell ya, it's sort of surreal sometimes! But I freaking love it. :)

Well, I guess this is all I feel like sharing for now. I have a different vision for how my blog will look and feel someday...but the time to really do it the way I'd like isn't here just yet. My work has given me the go ahead to take on some more responsibility...which I'm actually pretty excited for because it's very much needed and makes me feel like I'm really contributing and not simply a phone answerer/place holder. However, with no computer or internet at home right now, I've only got so many hours in a day that I can do work and personal things on a computer. It's frustrating to no end...but I know it'll get better eventually. Somehow we'll be able to work out a computer we can use...I've got an old laptop from a friend but it doesn't work just yet, and I'm not sure when Jon'll have the time to spend on it to get it working...work might be able to help but maybe not until the end of the summer...so it's going to be a long few months where I can't fit in everything I want to do in the timeline I'd like to do it. But that won't stop me from trying. :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

State of Linda Weekly Address

My fellow humans - thank you for reading this! lol :) I am a mass of conflicting emotions today, and I want to subject you all to some of it. lol So enjoy this glimpse into the goings-on of my little brain!

I want to keep blogging more. I really think it helps me to get some of my thoughts and feelings out into the interwebs, so it's not all bottled up inside. I want to work on sharing my successes and slip-ups with you all more, so my progress and struggles can be seen and shared. I know I'm not the only one who thinks like I do, feels like I do, reacts like I do. I'm the only one who does all of those at the same time lol, but I know others can sympathize with me, and that's what I want. I want to share, in the hopes of others gaining something from hearing me or letting themselves open up to me because I shared. I want to get back to meaningful conversations about anything and everything, big and small. :) And this is one way to start that!

First, let's start with food. I've been having such a battle with food. But, I do feel that I'm making progress. I go back and forth between deciding if I want to count calories or not..and right now I'm at a no. Counting is just not something I'm going to do all my life, and if I'm going to make changes to better my life and my health, it needs to be for the long haul. But I am going to continue to watch what I eat, and work to get more protein and better fats and complex carbs, and less simple carbs and sugar. I was bad last night...went to an Aldi store to see what they had, and found a stack of Cadbury creme eggs that amazingly weren't gone yet...so I kind of went a little overboard. But man, it was so tasty. :) This week I've got some good salads for lunch, some mixed nuts for a snack, and some yogurt and breakfast sandwich stuff for, well, breakfast. lol And I found a cool bag of frozen fruit that's got mangoes, papayas, pineapple, and strawberries that should hopefully be good. More fruit and veggies and less soda and sugar, that's my overall goal for the month! And better breads. :) Which is why I'm sticking to my salads....keeps me away from bread I don't really need. lol

I am happy to report that I'm doing better with healing my scabs though! I've been putting neosporin on the ones on my face all weekend, and they're really starting to scab a little less and not bleed when I do pick them, which is awesome. I've been putting some neosporin on the scabs on my arms as well, and they're getting a bit better...some better than others. But hopefully, if I can stick with it, my scabs will be pretty much gone in another week or two. :) And that will definitely be a good thing! The hardest part for me right now is that my skin itches around them while they're healing...and the scratching typically leads to picking. I also notice I tend to mess with them when I'm bored or thinking hard...so I'm mostly hoping that if I can just keep putting medicine on them they'll naturally go away to a point where I just don't have anything to pick. It's probably my best bet, at least for now.

Things with Jon have been pretty great lately. :) I can't really pinpoint exactly what it is...but the past few weeks have just felt good together. I know Jon's feeling better from working out and eating more and working some...just moving and being productive. And I know I've been feeling a little bit better from stating my desires at work and working on my insecurities. We still butt heads, but that's something we'll always do...now I think we're starting to be able to tell the difference between when we're serious and bothered and when we're just messing with each other. Or maybe we're just learning when to drop something and when not to. lol All I know for sure is, I do love that man a whole bunch. :) And I really love that I'm feeling more of the strong emotions for him that I had when we were just starting out together 3 1/2 years ago. :) He just makes me feel so safe and pretty. :) And I hope I give him good feelings as well!

What I'm looking forward to the least over the next month or two is that we're going to have to move again. :( And farther north, too...more towards Denton. It will be better to be close enough to work for both of us that we can both be home at night together...right now Jon has to basically go work for a few days and then be home for a few days, and we want to make it so that we can both work and be home every day. But it's going to seriously suck being farther away from work again and having to deal with traffic and construction on highways and longer driving times again. I was so ready to not have to think about moving again, to not have to look at places and check rent prices and think about packing and getting everything relocated...it sucks. But especially with the break-in, and wanting Jon to be able to be home every night, it's a necessary evil right now. I'm really praying we'll find something that can work well for both of us and keep us in a happy spot for more than a year!

Please pray for me, friends. Pray that my job offer idea will pan out and work well....the owner will be reading through my proposal in the next few days, so I'm going to need all the help I can get to make sure it goes through and can start being put into action. It won't happen at a snap for sure, and that's not what I want...but I'm going to be nervous until I know whether or not it's even an option down the road. I really, really want it to be. Pray also that our apartment search will lead us to something really fitting and perfect for us to stay in for awhile. Pray that our hearts will continue to grow closer together and more full on their own as well. And please let me know anything I can pray for you on, or think about you for. I do really miss having close friends I can talk to about anything all the time with...I know you're still out there! :) Share with me! Anything you want to, happy or sad, doesn't matter. Let me be a friend to you, even if it's mostly virtual right now. I want to listen to you. :) Lots of love, friends!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Life Plan

I seem to have a big problem with follow through. I really love to make plans and get ideas and try to organize and set things up...but when it comes to following through and staying on time and track and getting things done, I fall behind. Which I'm okay with to a point...I know that I naturally move and work slower than lots of other people, so I don't let taking a little longer bother me too much. However, there's a difference between taking longer and putting it off, and I have a tendency to slip to the other side. lol So I'm making a real effort to get better at following through with things.

Sometimes I know that I lack follow through because of an insecurity or a bad habit. I want to move forward and do things that I don't know, I want to improve my style of life and be better...but it's hard to get away from the old habits, and it takes time. It's hard for me to win over my shyness and social anxiety, and I often let them win instead. All it takes to win is determination and time, and I've definitely got both. I know I'll continue to slip sometimes, but I won't let a slip be where I end. It's just so dang difficult some days! lol

"Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do something you don’t necessarily want to do, to get a result you would really like to have.” -Andy Andrews

And so I'm going to make myself sit down and work through this little workbook I found by Michael Hyatt. (Here's the link if you want to read it for yourself - it's a pretty quick and easy read, and includes all the worksheets he uses: http://michaelhyatt.com/life-plan) I don't want to simply be reactive to life anymore...I don't want to live my life relying completely on when others can fit me into theirs, I don't want to feel like I have no idea what I'm working for or where I want to be anymore. So I'm being proactive, and I'm going to sit down and really think about my life and what I want from it, and what I want others to get from knowing me. I know things that are important to me...but all too often I don't manage to fit them into my daily life. I know things that should be important to me, that I make excuses for not doing. And so, step by step, I'm going to make the effort to get my life on a track that I want it to be on.

I'm going to be intentional with what I do in my life. It's going to be difficult, I'm sure, and it's going to take time to get rid of the bad habits and insecurities. But I've been working through these, or at the very least opening myself up to realizing them, for months now. I feel so emotionally vulnerable lately that it's almost driving me batty, but at the same time I welcome it, because it's better than feeling nothing. I've let myself crawl into my own little bubble for entirely too long now, closing myself off from wanting to feel anything other than a little happiness. It's time I let myself feel more happiness, and other emotions as well, knowing that nothing stays the same for long.

I got a little taste of this on Sunday, coming home from Oklahoma on Easter weekend. It was storming terribly all day, and as we were leaving Jon's parent's house, I knew we were trying to beat the next wave of the storms. The sky was dark and ridiculously full of lightening - and not the "oh cool" kind, the "holy crap that's scary looking" kind. lol I started to feel that something bad was going to happen. I kept praying that God would get us home safely and without incident, but I couldn't shake this scared feeling in my chest. And, lo and behold, I got a flat tire. Thankfully Jon wasn't far ahead of me, and he came back to find me and got my tire changed. We also got lucky that it wasn't raining at the time...we were right in the middle of two storms, one just finished and the other not quite started yet. The entire time, I kept waiting for lightening to strike a pole near us and shower us with sparks, or a car to hit some water on the road and swerve into us. It was definitely a test of my faith and my fears...I honestly feel that God was showing me just how powerful he is, and that even in the midst of the storm, he's got me protected. I was constantly searching for a peaceful feeling to wash over me, trying to trust Him and not let my paranoia and nervousness get the better of me. And I had to trust that I'd be able to get home on a spare tire in the midst of all the wind and lightening as well. I definitely thank God for putting Jon in my life...whenever I really need him to step in and be the man I need, he never fails me. He was a calming source for me, taking charge and getting the problem fixed and following me the rest of the way home to make sure nothing else went wrong. It certainly wasn't an experience I wanted to have that night, but I'm grateful for the showing of God's power and the presence of the man he's brought me. It really helped me feel like I was right where I was supposed to be.

Well, I suppose this is all for this rambling session. lol :) Just had to share some thoughts with the world, get them out onto e-paper. lol I hope every one of you who reads this is blessed today! Keep your eyes and hearts open...there's a lot going on in this world of ours that's easy to miss. :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Let the Rain

I suppose what I'm dealing with in my life right now is a transition period. Though I feel like I've been transitioning for entirely too long, that's where I believe I am. And I think it's why I feel so drained so easily most days.

I'm torn. I feel I'm meant to love myself whole-heartedly, to love myself good and bad, weak and strong. But I fail. All I can hear most days is how I'm failing...I need to be healthier, I need to be thinner, I need to be smarter, I need to be faster, I need to be stronger, I need to be better. I feel like everything in my life needs to be changed, revamped, made into a different person. How am I meant to love myself when all I can see are the ways I fall short?

For that matter, who decides if I'm falling short? Why do I let myself feel like others are constantly judging me? I know it goes on, but I also know that it's rarely as serious as I take it. When did I decide I was a failure at everything, and that I had to change to not be a failure? I want to please others too much. I want to be what they want me to be. And then I fight against this, because I want to be who I want me to be, I don't want my life run by the opinions of others. And yet I want to fit in, to be part of the group...but I don't want to sacrifice myself for it. And round and round it goes, resulting in...nothing. I can't move, because I can't agree in my own head about why I'm wanting to change and be different. And so I go nowhere, and keep having the same arguments with myself. I try to convince myself of the good I honestly see and want to cultivate, and seconds later the other voice in my head contradicts it, saying I'm really doing it for another reason, or that I'm just going to screw it up.

I have such a big problem with feeling like a failure, with screwing things up. I'm incredibly good at screwing things up. lol But I let that feeling of not wanting to mess up rule everything, and it's just not possible to never mess up. Making mistakes is part of learning, of improving, of getting to where you want to be. But I'm so terrified by it, so down-hearted when I do screw up, that I can't make progress. I have no idea how to fix this in myself. I don't know how to not care what others think of me, and I don't know how to stop caring if I make a mistake.

So much of what I feel I see too many sides of. It can be good to not want to mess up...but I take it too far, to where I scare myself out of doing anything I might mess up with someone else around. It can be good to want to make others happy and comfortable...but I take it too far, and let it rule what I do and how I act when sometimes it's not really me. I simply go too far.

Yet I can never seem to shake my determination to get back up and try again. Maybe I just really love to punish myself and make myself feel bad, I wouldn't be surprised. Or else I know deep inside that if I keep trying, keep moving, that eventually I'll get it right and the mistakes will stop. I kinda think it's a bit of both. lol And that, my friends, is what makes me a nutcase.

Let the Rain - Sara Bareilles

I wish I were pretty
I wish I were brave
If I owned this city
Then I'd make it behave

And if I were fearless
Then I'd speak my truth
And the world would hear this
That's what I wish I'd do, yeah

If my hands could hold them you'd see
I'd take all these secrets in me
And I'd move and mold them to be
Something I'd set free

I want to darken in the skies
Open the floodgates up
I want to change my mind
I want to be enough
I want the water in my eyes
I want to cry until the end of time

I want to let the rain come down
Make a brand new ground
Let the rain come down
Let the rain come down
Make a brand new ground
Let the rain come down tonight

I hold on to worry so tight
It's safe in here right next to my heart
Who now shouts at the top of her voice
Let me go, let me out, this is not my choice

And I always felt it before
That the world was filled with much more
Than the drowning soul I've learned to be
I just need the rain to remind me

I want to darken in the skies
Open the floodgates up
I want to change my mind
I want to be enough
I want the water in my eyes
I want to cry until the end of time

I want to let the rain come down
Make a brand new ground
Let the rain come down
Let the rain come down
Make a brand new ground
Let the rain come down

***************

Get it Right - Glee

What have I done? I wish I could run
Away from this ship goin' under
Just tryin' to help, hurt everyone
Now I feel the weight of the world is
On my shoulders

What can you do when your good isn't good enough?
When all that you touch tumbles down?
'Cause my best intentions keep making a mess of things
I just wanna fix it somehow

But how many it times will it take?
Oh, how many times will it take for me?
To get it right
To get it ri-igh-ight

Can I start again with my faith shaken?
'Cause I can't go back and undo this
I just have to stay and face my mistakes
But if I get stronger and wiser
I'll get through this

So I throw up my fist
I will punch in the air
And accept the truth that sometimes life isn't fair
Yeah, I'll send out a wish
Yeah, I'll send up a prayer
And finally, someone will see
How much I care!

What can you do when your good isn't good enough?
When all that you touch tumbles down?
'Cause my best intentions keep making a mess of things
I just wanna fix it somehow
But how many it times will it take?
Oh, how many times will it take for me?
To get it right
To get it ri-igh-ight

Monday, April 4, 2011

Count your Blessings...

Geez, what a day it's been. Heck, what a year it's been already. My poor brain and heart have been dealing with so much lately that they feel like they're about to give out. But life only lets us move forward, so forward I go, even though I wish I had a place I could go to just stop time and simply be for awhile. lol I always seem to start out with so much I want to write, and yet when I get ready to start my thoughts get so scrambled that only a portion of what I wanted to write comes out. Today will definitely be one of those times. lol But I need to get some of this out of my brain, so here we go.

I started out today thinking, as usual, and came across some information on writing out a life plan. This idea is really interesting to me, and it's definitely something I'm going to sit down and do. There have been lots of times in my life where I've tried to start something similar, but I never can seem to make it last. I can sit down and write out things that I can feel myself being pulled towards, things I really want for my life, and I can start making some plans for how to get there. But my self discipline has gotten seriously out of whack, and I can never make anything stick. But this guy has some good ideas for how to lay it all out and how to set some goals, so I'm gonna see if it won't help me really start sticking to things. (The book is free right now if anyone's interested...you just have to sign up for the mailing list. michaelhyatt.com)

I've come to the conclusion that I'm my own worst enemy. I can't seem to discipline myself, so I pick at myself and let myself change my mind and make bad choices. I'm the reason so many of my friendships have become quiet. I'm the one who keeps holding myself back and keeps me from being brave and trying new things and trying to improve my life. I'm the one who keeps picking at myself...right in front of anyone who cares to look at me. (And yes, this is a much bigger thing that I've let myself think...I really feel like it's borderline self mutilation, similar to cutting. Except that I only mess with scabs that happen to me naturally and I let it be obvious and simply blow it off. But I'm beginning to realize that this just might be something much deeper than I ever thought.) Why I do this, I still couldn't tell you. On any given day, I could give you a slew of ideas as to why, but I still haven't found that root. But I know it's me. I know I'm what's standing in my way from making things better for myself and others that I love. It's like I think I deserve it or something, though I couldn't tell you why I feel that way. Sooner or later I'm going to need to do some serious journaling and really get to the roots of why I stand in my own way...but I'm terribly afraid of doing this as well, since I know it's going to bring up a lot of pain and problems that I don't really want to deal with. But it needs to be done, because I can't keep living like I do. I want to be so much better than I am, and I feel like I could get there if I would just do the work...and as much as I try, that's where I fall short.

I've come to two conclusions in the past few days. 1) Until I can truly decide exactly where I stand when it comes to if there is a God or not, my life is going to keep feeling like I'm lost in a sea. 2) Moving to Dallas was probably one of the worst decisions I've ever made.

Quickly on #1 - this is something that will just take time. I've been honestly digging in deep for a few months now, and I'm starting to get some things straightened out in my mind, but until I keep digging and keep searching, I just won't know for sure. But it's going to continue to feel difficult for me until I can reach that final decision. Especially since I'm living with Jon, who's an adamant non-believer, and those that I really trust and open up to that are believers are all online...my balance is somewhat out of whack. But I'm getting there, and this is actually something I don't worry about too much. I feel pretty confident that if the God I've been thinking and reading of is true, he's going to keep finding ways to help me believe. Jon and I got into a nice heated debate on Friday about this, loud enough that the cop across the street knocked on the door and asked if everything was fine...but we came to a good point by the end of the night, acknowledging that though Jon loves everything about me except that I love the one thing he really doesn't like, I'm much more open-minded and like him than he thinks, even though I believe what he doesn't. I can feel that we're moving in a good direction, even though it's insanely difficult, and that keeps me holding on. All the prayers for if we're right together or not have always led me to staying together, so I know it's all going to work out for the best. It's just difficult. But then, lots of good things are.

As for #2....well there's lots of reasons for me feeling like this. I've moved away from my family and most of my friends, putting even more strain on those relationships than there already was. Jon has started working again which is great, but it means he ends up spending a few days at a time in Gainesville, which has been hard. He really needs to be closer to his family to continue to help him, and we're not that close right now. Plus, I've always felt a little uncomfortable staying on my own in Dallas, and today finally proved me right - our apartment was broken into. While Jon was home, no less. A stranger knocked on the door, and so he looked out but didn't answer it since he didn't know him, went to get in the shower...and came out to the front door wide open and our laptop, playstation, and his iphone were gone. One of our sweet cats got outside as well, though thankfully we found her pretty quick. But still...I'm feeling completely violated and vulnerable. However, I'm incredibly thankful that it was only those 3 things they took....my camera was right on the table, and we've got a nice TV, and Jon was in the shower the whole time, which could have turned out very badly for him. So Jon's ok, my sweet cats are ok, and the majority of our stuff is still safe, all of which I'm insanely thankful for. It's a big blow to lose our laptop and playstation and Jon's phone...there's so little that we actually own that's worth anything, and we use the heck out of them, so it seriously sucks that we're now without those. But much, much worse could've happened. Even still, I'm honestly going to be counting down days until our lease is up and we can move again. The only really nice thing to come from our moving to Dallas has been that for awhile, I was able to have a short commute to work. But our safety and our health and happiness mean much more to me than a short drive to and from work every day. So I'm ready to move and deal with the pain of finding a new place again and getting all our stuff moved.

Sorry this has been sort of rambling. There's lots going on in this little brain of mine, and it all connects somehow. Hopefully at least a small part of this made sense to someone. lol I at least feel a little better getting some of it out in the open. I would sure appreciate any comments or prayers you can send my way! I think it's pretty clear I need some help. lol :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Every Move I Make...


Friends - I'm about to bare some soul for you here today.  I hope you can handle it. lol :)  

My heart is being loved on so very much today.  I just have to share some of the things that have come in front of my eyes today and have touched my heart.  I think I'll do this in segments.  It's just how my brain works. lol  But I can definitely feel that I'm being watched over, in a good way.

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Holistic: of or relating to the medical consideration of the complete person, physically and psychologically, in the treatment of a disease.

I'm currently reading the book "Searching for God Knows What", by Donald Miller.  If you get the chance to read this book - DO IT.  You will thank yourself.  I've really been enjoying reading it and hearing his thoughts.  And the biggest thing he's pointed out, and one of the things I agree with most, is that there is no theological or mathematical way to God.  There is no "right" way, there is no methodology that you can follow to get yourself to God.  The only way to know God is to have a relationship with him.  We are relational creatures, created for relationships and born from them.  And that is the only way for us to get closer to God, to start to understand who he is and why he does what he does.  It's a matter of the heart.  

I came across the word above when he was speaking about what has happened to us after the Fall of Adam and Eve.  And to summarize (because to use the exact text I'd have to include a large chunk before it, which wouldn't make sense without reading more lol), he mentions that from observing the way we humans operate in the world nowadays, a formulaic christian theology, saying "if you do this and this and this, you're good", seems very small and irrelevant when compared to the holistic understandings of God's true message, to love God and love others as ourselves.  And I was curious about this word.  I've heard it used lots of times before...talking about medicines.  I've had a bad connotation of holistic in my head...it makes me think of medicines that aren't really medicine, of practices that don't technically do anything but make you think they do.  So I looked the word up, and found this definition, which intrigued me.  

To me, I think Mr. Miller is saying that the true message of God is meant to be holistic.  It's meant to take into consideration and heal not only our physical selves, but our psychological selves as well, our hearts, our innermost parts.  Our whole selves.  It was an interesting thought to me, at least. lol :)

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"It is a rare soul indeed who has been sought after for who she is--not because of what she can do, or what others can gain from her, but simply for herself. Can you recall a time when a significant someone in your life sat you down with the sole purpose of wanting to know your heart more deeply, fully expecting to enjoy what he found there?"


This has been one of the biggest things weighing on my heart lately.  I miss being sought after.  I crave it.  I need someone to search for me, who honestly wants to know me, what I'm thinking and feeling and why, and who will love me for it, who won't knock me down for being wrong or illogical or anything else.  

Before I go farther, please know - I know without a doubt that the people in my life love me and care about me.  I don't doubt that for one second, and I don't mean to come across as ungrateful or like I don't care.  Because I do.  More than I'm sure you realize.  But I'm sure we can all recognize this feeling....the feeling that no one truly understands us or gets us, that we simply can't seem to say or do anything without getting shot down.  Most people rarely mean to shoot anyone down, either, I think that's important to note.  There's always that saying "Be kind, for everyone you know is fighting a great battle."  And I believe it's so easy for us to forget this, or to choose to ignore it  because we're fighting a great battle as well, and we want them to focus on us, not the other way around.  And so I feel that all too often these moments of getting shot down or being ignored or talked over are simply because the other person is fighting with something as well, and they can't quite see what they're saying.  I think this happens a lot more often than we might realize.  

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I'm working on myself this year, and it's freaking hard. lol  There's so much that I want to be, and so much that I feel like I'll never be.  I'm one confused, lost little girl at the moment.  But I think I'm gradually starting to find my way.  I'm re-reading through "So Long Insecurity" by Beth Moore at night.  I never got all the way through it before, and one of my goals this year is to finish it and 3 other books, so I'm working on it again.  It's going to be hard again, just like it was the first time I read through the first part of the book, but I think it needs repeating for me.  My insecurities are so deeply ingrained in who I am that I don't think one read through would've helped me take care of them. lol  But I'm very ready to work my way through it, as painful as it will be...because I know at the end, I get to learn ways to help myself not give into the insecurities, which is exactly what I need.  Good things are going to come from this...but it's going to take wading through a bunch of emotional crap to get to the good.  So please bare with me while I travel through this.  

I'm also reading "Searching for God Knows What" by Donald Miller, like I mentioned before, and it's really opening my eyes as well.  It's giving me lots to think about, of what really happened to humanity after the Fall in the Garden, and how you can truly find God, the God we're meant to find. 

One of the biggest, most recurring points I keep coming across lately is the idea of humanity being relational.  Our hearts are basically the most important treasure we have.  And we're meant to share it openly, without concern for getting hurt.  That'll definitely take some work. lol  But I do think it's worth it.  And this idea has been lining up for me.  I've come across a devotional blog through a friend, which is all about falling in love with a community of women and with ourselves and God.  I've decided to join it and share my thoughts, and see where it leads me.  I've been working through some photography assignments on flickr with a group of people, and I'm finding a small new community there as well that I can converse with who are at similar points to me.  I'm slowly but surely finding new places for my heart to feel a bit more at ease, to feel like it can share itself.

"If then you are wise, you will show yourself rather as a reservoir than as a canal. A canal spreads abroad water as it receives it, but a reservoir waits until it is filled before overflowing, and thus without loss to itself [it shares] its superabundant water. (Bernard of Clairvuex)"

This has been a big goal for my life the past year or two, something I've been striving towards but haven't quite reached yet.  But I feel I'm getting closer.  I'm starting to feel out some answers I've been searching for, I'm working on toughening my skin, and I'm feeling the pull to share more of myself.  But I have lived like a canal most of my life...and burned myself out numerous times in the process.  I don't want to repeat old habits.  But I feel I'm getting closer to learning how to fill myself up and share myself without losing everything I am in the process.  


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One last thing to share, and then I'm done rambling, I promise. :)  I want to end this with the verse I've been meditating on the past week or two.  I chose a long section of scripture this time, and though I know I won't ever remember all of it (or at least, not for quite some time lol), I do remember the gist of it every time I think of it, and that definitely helps.  I think it's because I've been focusing on these verses that these other books/blogs and ideas have been falling into my lap.  So I'm going to keep focusing on these, even after I decide on my verse for the rest of the month.  I believe if I can keep this focus for myself, then I'll find what I've been searching for for so very long.  Be at ease, my dear friends.  Know that even though I'm not the best at showing it all the time, I truly do care for each and every one of you.  :)

"My son, if you accept my words & store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom & applying your heart to understanding,
and if you call out for insight & cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver & search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord & find the knowledge of God.

Then you will understand what is right & just & fair - every good path.
For wisdom will enter your heart, & knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Discretion will protect you, & understanding will guard you."

Proverbs 2:1-5, 9-11

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Rambling Thoughts on a Saturday...

Hi friends. :)  How've you been?  I hope you've all been able to stay warm through this crazy weather we've been having!

I wanted to share a few thoughts I've had rolling around in my head lately, simply in the interest of being open.  Today just feels like a good day to share. :)  I'll do my best to keep it all in some sort of recognizable order! lol

Let me start with what's fresh right now - I read a blog today by Donald Miller, about knowing your likes and dislikes.  He mentioned the idea of thinking over the past year and making an actual list of what you did and didn't enjoy over the past year.  It really gives you a good idea of what helps to feed your soul and keep you happy, and what you're doing that you really don't need to mess with.  So I decided to try this out, best that I can with my scatterbrained memory. :)  And I realized something as well.  I'm already doing a lot of the things I truly enjoy.  I'm improving my photography, finding niches that I really enjoy shooting and learning how to progress my skills.  I've gotten to spend time with the most adorable niece and nephew in the entire world.  I've also gotten to enjoy and celebrate the lives of some truly wonderful friends, and celebrated some holidays with them as well.  I enjoy our times relaxing, celebrating, playing games, goofing off, and just being ourselves over at someone's place most of all.  There's just nothing like feeling like you truly belong with some people, knowing that no matter what you might do you'll never be without friends.  :)

But I also realized that basically all of my dislikes for the year were ways that I felt because of certain incidents.  I noticed that most of what I didn't like was feeling guilty for not noticing something, or feeling like I have to prove myself to be noticed.  (And hey, look at that - I mentioned 2 ways of being noticed in 1 sentence - obviously something else I must have an issue with. lol)  So this is obviously an area that I need to work on...because the way that I feel is simply that - my feelings.  They don't have to rule my decisions or take over my life.  They can be changed. I can be changed to see situations differently, which I've already started to do.   The only person who has the power to make me feel a certain way should be myself, and all too often I give that power to others.  So there's something else for me to work on this year. lol

I know that I'm a good person.  I know my heart, know my intentions.  But I also know that I'm not always the best at showing them or following through on them, be it something for others or something for myself.  And this is an area I intend to improve as well.

But everything takes time.  I'm thinking again of a blog from Donald Miller, which I'm currently trying to put into action.  I know so many of the goals that I want for myself, of where I want to go with my life and things and ideas that I want to live.  So my goal for now is to write all of that out, to really honestly decide what I want to be, where I want to go, what can stay and what shouldn't.  I have no doubt that some of the ideas I have of myself won't ever truly be me, and I'm okay with that.  But until I make myself write them all out and see it all on paper, I don't force myself to accept it.

Then, once I know the goals I want for myself, I need to set actions that I can do to get there.  Because as the blog mentions, the work is what gets you there.  The goal is just the idea.  Without the actual work, it never gets accomplished.  And I truly want to accomplish things with my life.  So I've got to get to work, while still giving myself the time I need to relax and be okay with exactly where I am now.  Not complicated at all, right? lol :)

I'm just a simple, happy girl searching for compassion, understanding, knowledge, and truth.  Accepting and loving where I am right now, while working towards a better future.

And I think that's where this will end. lol :)  I really do appreciate any of you who actually read my nonsensical ramblings. :)  I like to fancy myself a writer...but I know I have trouble staying clear and on point! lol  Hopefully there's some solid thoughts in there somewhere though. :)  Have a wonderful weekend, dear ones!  Let me know how you're doing. :)