Monday, March 25, 2019

Ditching the worry...and shifting to the light.

The more we worry, the more worry becomes habitual...our repetitive concerns have the potential to become the soundtrack of our lives. Calm Challenge 2019 - Day 19 meditation - Tamara Levitt,

Because it's a funny thing about our ability to project the future. You have complete choice. You can see all life leading inevitably to darkness & despair as equally as you can pop up every morning ready to welcome everything as new adventure when it comes along. Brian Andreas,

I am trying to shift to seeing the light, to welcome new adventures, to open myself up to new possibilities, and yet, I feel pulled back into the worries and the anxiety. It's been home for so long...shifting that foundation is like moving a house. It's something I've come back to time and time again. Trying to move beyond the constant worry and perseverating, and dwelling on things that I cannot change. Repeating others' words in my head - even when they are one-offs and I can't even remember who said them. The negative soundtrack in my head. The persistent belief that I am less than, not worthy, and that I should fade into the background and make myself invisible. 

And yet... it's a process. A day at a time. A minute at a time. 

I can do this. 
I can do hard things. 
It takes time. 
It takes perseverance. 

But I am nothing if not stubborn - nothing if not determined. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Wednesday Wins

This is a bit of a departure for me, from what I typically write here. But it's been a good week so far, and it's only Wednesday. And I wanted to remember to celebrate the wins, because when I'm in the weeds, it can be so hard to remember that hey! sometimes (well, actually, a lot of the time...) life goes pretty well!

Monday, I heard that a student I worked with on an independent study last summer got a job, in town, in her most-wanted location.

Tuesday, I learned that another student with whom I worked on an independent study got into a wonderful master's program.

And this morning (Wednesday), I learned that another student, from the distant past, had a beautiful baby girl recently, and that's why she hadn't been emailing. :)

I had a wonderful run this morning. My longest in months. I felt fabulous.

I had Indian food and good conversation with a colleague - and, perhaps, a new friend? - yesterday.

It's been sunny. And warmer. I get to see my dog this weekend.

I heard birds on my way to the bus this morning, while I also soaked in the beautiful, hazy, full moon.

And yes, it's almost spring.

This week is good. I need to remember that, when the not-as-good weeks come.

Image result for "life is good"

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Friendship, love, and vulnerability

Few  things  are ever  completely worked  out  among  friends  except patience  and  a slightly deaf ear.     J.  J.

I finally, finally reached out to my old friend. The one I had cut off because of some words that were said, and that could not be taken back, years ago.

I sent a written card. Messy (because honestly, no one can read my writing, no matter how neat I think it looks!) but also allowing me a bit of a panic delay. Over the weekend, all I could think was that I had overstepped, assumed too much, believed that she wanted to have some kind of relationship emerge from the ashes of our old friendship. I dithered and debated about sending an email, saying that if that was the case, to please ignore it and I'd wait to hear from her.

(I didn't send the email...but I was tempted...)

She texted yesterday, thanking me for the card, saying she would write back, and hoping things are going well for me.

It's never going to be what it was, but maybe it can be something new.

Being vulnerable sucks. I really stink at it, to be honest.

In friendships, in (some) work relationships, and even in my marriage.

I freak out, step back, and close myself off. I wonder why everyone doesn't do this. Why I fear this openness, this vulnerability.

It's not like I had a horrible childhood - far from it!
I had a wonderful childhood with loving parents.
And yet. I fear opening myself up to others. I worry that they will see me for the fraud that I often think I am.

I am working on it. I am trying to trust more. I am trying to be more open, more flexible, more willing to share with those I love.

But good grief, it's hard. And tiring! And I don't know whether I'm doing well at it, or if I completely suck. :) I guess I'll find out - and trying is better than not, right? I've always preferred writing my thoughts out - journals, this blog now, even random scraps of paper. Speaking those truths, those thoughts, is... um... challenging to say the least.

I think - I hope? - I am a work in progress.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

One must know what one wants to be...

“One must know what one wants to be." Émilie du Châtelet

People said: ‘Oh, be yourself at all costs’. But I had found that it was not so easy to know just what one’s self was. It was far easier to want what other people seemed to want and then imagine that the choice was one’s own.
- Marion Milner

From the ever-wonderful Brain Pickings by Maria Popova ( 

Finding who I am in the world, rather than who others want me to be, is a continual process. I think it is for everyone. And, letting go of my own expectations for myself- based, of course, on others' expectations of me - to learn who I really am has taken time, and has been one of the more challenging endeavors of my life. 

I don't think I could have had it all figured out in my twenties. Perhaps if I'd been more self-aware, I could have figured this out in my thirties. But as it is, I'm in my forties. Approaching true midlife, assuming I am fortunate enough to live a long life. Some days, I lament that it has taken so long for me to own who I am, for lack of a better phrase. Yet other days, I realize that without all the experiences and challenges I have faced, I would not be who I am today. 

Evolution requires time, and thought, and the willingness to change. For me, it took more time than I anticipated. 

I think I'm finally okay with that. 

I think I'm finally okay with who I am. 

Still evolving, of course. 
Still growing. 
But growing into being me - not someone else's version of me. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Lady Gaga? Seriously?

From her Oscar acceptance speech, 2019: “If you are at home and you’re sitting on your couch, and you are watching this right now, all I have to say is that this is hard work. I’ve worked hard for a long time,” she said. “It’s not about winning. But what it’s about is not giving up. If you have a dream, fight for it. There’s a discipline for passion, and it’s not about how many times you get rejected or you fall down, or you’re beaten up. It’s about how many times you stand up and are brave, and you keep on going.”
- Lady Gaga

You never know from where you will obtain a bit of insight for the day.
Treading your own path, not someone else's, and recognizing that giving up is not going to get you to your goals.

I had runner's envy at the gym the last few days.
A new member (I guess?). She's fast. She's gorgeous. She is a wonderful runner.

I'm slow. I'm nowhere near gorgeous. And I am a plodder.

But I get out there (or in there, as I am mostly a treadmill runner...) and I do it. Because for me, it's essential to my mental health.

I am not her, she is not me. I need to run my own race (however slow...).

It's the same at work.

I just saw someone got funding for a grant that's similar to what I want to do.
I was initially really, really jealous.

And then I realized, her grant info is now publicly available. I can learn from her success.

My race. Not hers.
My study. Not hers.
My life. Not hers.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Accentuate the positive...

Image result for quotes accentuate the positive

I'm trying, I really am. 

I realized that the common denominator for many of my challenges with relationships in the past few years - with my husband, my former best friend, etc. - was my persistence in focusing on the negative and forgetting, quite frankly, about all that was positive in those relationships. 

I was choosing to see the few bad things, and ignoring the good. 

This was particularly true in my relationship with my husband, and the challenges that I, quite honestly, largely created. 

So now... now I am trying to let go. To accentuate the positive. To remember that there is so much that is good in my life, and in these relationships, and in life in general. 

It's not always rainbows and bunnies, but... it's a darn good life. And I need to remember that. 

Friday, March 1, 2019

Building my bridge

No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life. There may be countless trails and bridges and demigods who would gladly carry you across; but only at the price of pawning and forgoing yourself. There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk! 
- Nietzsche

I needed this reminder this week - that I am the only one who can build my life. 

I choose to do what I do. 
I choose to put myself out there - teaching, lecturing, submitting manuscripts and grant proposals. 
For someone who is excessively introverted, this constant placing of the self in front of others - sharing what I have created, what I think is so critical and important, is so so hard. 

It is so hard. 

And yet. 

This is the life I want to build. I want the freedom to ask the questions that I want to answer. 
I want what I do to be driven by my passions, not someone else's. 

This is my life. I only get one. 

If I don't build it the way I want it, then, well, it's not going to be a very fulfilling or happy life. 

Putting my work out there for feedback and (often) rejection is hard. 

The alternative, though, is that I would have to cross someone else's bridge to build my life. 

I get to build this one. It's a remarkable privilege, to have this freedom, these choices. 

It's also a remarkable challenge. One that I need to rise to every single day, every single week. 

It's been a crap week. Monday sucked. Tuesday was great. Wednesday, sucked. Thursday, meh. (It ended better than I thought it would, so that's something?)

Friday I have more meetings than I thought possible. 

Then, for two days, my time is completely my own. I need this weekend to reset, recalibrate. 

I am so, so grateful for the privilege, the opportunity to build this life, this bridge, for myself.