CHANGE YOUR HEART…CHANGE YOUR MIND…CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

After many struggles, tears, sadness and determination;

a willingness to work hard to make my life better;

AND A HUGE CHANGE INSIDE OF MY MIND AND MY HEART,

I have reached a milestone that I am DAMN proud of!

i am happy

I love the inside AND the outside of me!

Yes!  It’s true!

We all carry baggage from the past that can make us mentally, emotionally, and, ultimately, physically disabled.   However, I have learned that making a change in what you say to yourself about the way you look AND by opening up your heart to others you can change the way you feel about LIFE.

The first step that I took to lead myself in the right direction was simple.  I started smiling in the car while I was driving.  I’m sure I looked like an idiot to other drivers that noticed I was alone, but smiling has a positive impact on the way you start your day.  And then, while I was smiling, I began thinking positive thoughts.  A huge one for me was “I deserve to live a happy life”.  Some other good ones I have used are “I am a thin person”; “I will find blessings everywhere”; and  “Keep your head up and your heart open”.  Eventually, over time, you start believing what you are saying to yourself and it changes the way you treat yourself and others.  My mantras led me to believe that I am healthy, thin, and happy.  And guess what?  It happened!   The absolute best part about changing the way you feel is that it opens up your heart and that love radiates to others.  You can impact other people by loving and accepting yourself!

Today I bought my first size 6 pants and a smaller bra (not saying what size!!).

I feel loving and giving and HAPPY and I think that other people sense that in me.

If I can do it, you can too….. BECAUSE:

you are worth it

THE BEST MOMENT AWARD

best-moment-award

The Best Moment Award
by seasonsoflifeblog

Thank you Dawn @ findingmyinnercourage.wordpress.com for The Best Moment Award. Dawn is the most courageous, wonderful, uplifting, and tenacious person who is living her life with extreme chronic pain while still finding silver linings in everything.

THE RULES:

Winners re-post this completely with their acceptance speech. It can be Blogged in writing or video recorded.
Winners have the privilege of awarding the next awardees! The re-post should include a NEW list of people, blogs worthy of the award and winners notify them the great news.
THE SOURCE: What makes a good acceptance speech?

Gratitude. Thank the people who helped you along the way.
Humor. Keep us entertained and smiling.
Inspiration. Make your story touch our lives.
Get an idea from the great acceptance speech. It can be compiled in MomentMatters.com/speech.
Display the award’s badge on your blog/website. It can be downloaded in MomentMatters.com/Award.

MY ACCEPTANCE SPEECH:

Oh my God, me? An award? I’m only writing this blog as a therapeutic tool to help me grow emotionally and spiritually as I get older! First and foremost I would like to thank my therapist, Laura, for opening up the doors in my heart that were closed due to to anger and hurt. She made me realize that you can choose to forgive and even love and value the people who have hurt you. It was a life-changing lesson. Laura also encouraged me to continue to write to express my feelings. I’d like to thank my mom, my husband, my kids, and a few special friends who continue to love me and encourage me despite my flaws.

Because this award is about best moments I’d like to say that the best moments are the times when you can connect deeply to some one else while being totally open and honest. Discovering the truths about a person enables the deepest connections possible and those are moments in my life that I cherish the most.

My “blog” is about the discoveries I am making about my self and my life while growing older. I am so happy to have touched a few people along the way.

I would like to thank my friend, my fellow chronic pain traveler, Dawn, whose courage and determination are an inspiration to me.

I am nominating 6 Bloggers who have made me feel their moments:

http://blessedbebeth_middlescapes.wordpress.com/

http://anewday.wordpress.com/

http://starlitwishes.wordpress.com/

http://bourbonandchild.wordpress.com/

http://chronicpainsurvivor.wordpress.com/

http://consciousdepartures.wordpress.com

This is a HUGE Award on Word Press. I want to thank the 6 Bloggers I have nominated above for being by my side in my journey of learning while growing older. Each of you deserve this Award. Please check out each Blog of the 6 Bloggers I have nominated as each is one is simply amazing.

HOW MY 40TH HIGH SCHOOL REUNION MADE ME A BETTER PERSON

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, nor touched …but are felt in the heart. “ (Helen Keller)

Last weekend I celebrated my 40th reunion with other classmates from Natick High School. The night was a culmination of several months of hard work and dedication by our reunion committee, of which I am a member. Each person had a role in making the reunion a success. When I decided to take this task on for the second time in ten years I had no idea that it would be a life-changing role for me.

By the age of 57 we have all had struggles, lost loved ones, and have had to come to terms with tough illnesses. Some of us had to take a long hard look in the mirror and accept some things about ourselves that we cannot change. This is the time in our lives that we should feel comfortable in our own skin. Our exterior – beauty, success, money, power – is inconsequential. When it comes right down to it, it is the human connection; the heart of a person that really matters.

When I was in high school I was not popular and not unpopular. I had my own small group of friends to which I was connected. Most of the 700+ people in my class didn’t know who I was and even though I felt important to my small circle of friends, I had much insecurity about myself. I felt lost in a sea of faces and names. Not knowing who I was, what I was here for, or where I was going made me feel insignificant and unworthy. Graduating high school was the highlight of those four long years but the insecurities stayed with me for many years.

Flash forward forty years. In my efforts to appeal to all of my graduating class to come to the reunion I made a decision to open my heart to my fellow classmates. For a couple of months I wrote regularly on our high school Facebook page. Trying to tear down the walls of insecurity over being too fat, too thin, jobless, wrinkled, debilitated, depressed, or any other reason to not want to be seen by the rest of the class, my posts were meant to make everyone feel like they would be not only welcomed to the reunion, but loved for who they are. Once I started writing I began to notice that other classmates were opening up about their lives and people started to let their guard down for perhaps the first time. I also received many private messages from classmates telling me about significant losses in their lives and I felt honored that they were able to open up to me. I made it my goal to try to hug and welcome each classmate that came to the reunion.

The night of the reunion I was so overwhelmed by the affection, love, and gratitude from many of my old and now new friends. I realized that by putting myself out there, being vulnerable, and having an open heart I had received the greatest gift of all.

Sunshine Award

photo

I have been nominated for the SUNSHINE AWARD by fellow WordPress Bogger, findingmyinnercourage. Please take a moment to check out her blog at:

http://findingmyinnercourage.wordpress.com

Rules for receiving the SUNSHINE AWARD:

* Include the award’s logo in a post or on your Blog.
* Answer 10 questions about yourself.
* Nominate 10 Bloggers.
* Link your nominees to the post and comment on their Blogs, letting them know
they have been nominated.
* Link the person who nominated you.

Ten Questions:
1. Favorite smell: Old Spice Cologne
2. Favorite flower: Sunflower
3. Favorite animal: Cat
4. My passion: Connecting with people and understanding their heart
5. Favorite movie: Splendor in the Grass
6. Favorite time of year: A tie between spring and fall
7. Role model in life: My mom, Charlotte
8. Guilty pleasure: Reality television
9. Favorite activity: Spending time with my sons
10. Best time of day: Morning

SUNSHINE AWARD Ten Nominees:

The following Blogs are all deserving of the SUNSHINE AWARD and have continually inspired me to continue to Blog:

1. One Thousand Single Days @ http://onethousandsingledays.wordpress.com/
2. A New Day: Living Life Fully with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Illness @ http://imissmetoo.wordpress.com/
3. Finding My Inner Courage @ http://findingmyinnercourage.wordpress.com/
4. Middlescapes @ http://blessedbebeth-middlescapes.wordpress.com/
5. Redefining Good @ http://redefininggood.wordpress.com
6. Praying For One Day @ http://prayingforoneday.wordpress.com/
7. Starlit Wishes and Butterfly Kisses @ http://starlitwishes.wordpress.com/
8. Graceful Agony @ http://gracefulagony.wordpress.com/
9. Living Life As I See Fit @ http://livinglifewithraandfms.wordpress.com/
10. Closet Cooking @ http://closetcooking.wordpress.com/

Thank you!!

Grow Older With Me @ http://seasonsoflifeblog.wordpress.com

I DESERVE TO LIVE A HAPPY LIFE

happiness

That is my new mantra.  I say it all the time.  It works.  The first time I said it out loud I cried. Having lived with daily, chronic pain for three years there are times when I didn’t want to continue if this was the way the rest of my life would be. Hopelessness and depression make ones life very narrow and insular and I was so tired of hearing “you are a complicated case” from so many doctors.  A few months ago I decided to get my battle gear on and start all over again.  I’ve found two wonderful doctors – one at the Boston Pain Center and the other at New England Baptist – who want to get to the bottom of this complicated body and resolve my pain.  Saying “I Deserve To Live A Happy Life” aloud, joyously, I feel it run through my body.  My hopelessness fades and it is replaced with an expectation of joy.

TURNING S.A.D. to H.A.P.P.Y

It starts when the leaves fall off the trees and the daylight gets shorter.  The loneliness, emptiness and despair fall over me like a shroud.  I worry that I won’t be able to cope with the bleakness and cold of winter.  The rooms of my house seem smaller and I want to retreat inward even though my need to be with people is far greater.

I am looking out through my sliding glass doors to the birds who are scavenging whatever is left on the ground and in the bird feeders.  These days the food is eaten with greater ferocity as the cold of winter is even felt by the wildlife outside.  I wonder if they are feeling the same way I do; ready for an escape to the sun — to light and warmth.

We turned our clocks back last month for daylight savings; another ominous warning of what’s already here and what’s to come. I have been stocking my pantry with lentils, beans, different shaped pastas…anything with which to make soups.  I will get into my preheated bed (an electric blanket is a necessity!) earlier now with a good book or a reality TV show, anything that gives me an escape to a different place.

Since the kids moved out we are only occupying one-third of our house; two empty floors devoid of music, laughter, activity.  The rest of the year when I’m out and about in the land of the living the silence is not as noticeable.  In the winter, though, the stillness cries out to me and makes me remember what I am missing.

I no longer want the privacy that living in the woods afforded me for so many years. It is now my goal to move to a smaller, cozier place where there are people close by as I need the comfort and companionship of others.  At this point in my life I want to get rid of the excessive THINGS in my life that are no longer needed and live a simpler lifestyle.  

Getting older really changes a person. You know what’s important; you cut through the bullshit to get to what really matters … love, friendship, compassion for others, peace, and good health.  I plan to turn my sad into happy in 2013.

FOR WOMEN ONLY

My last post “The Battle of MY Bulge” seemed to spur a bunch of comments, mostly from women who were having a difficult time losing weight. In that post I wrote that the answer to maintaining MY weight loss was to think and eat like a thin and healthy person.   One reader’s comment to me was “I’m interested in knowing how you think a thin person thinks.” 

Weight has always been a huge issue for women.  And lately I seem to be making the same comment over and over again to friends … “STOP TELLING YOURSELF THAT YOU ARE FAT!!!  I’ve come to realize that there is an epidemic of women who feel inadequate, who say the same “mean girl” words to themselves that I said to myself every day:   “I’m so fat”… “I can’t believe how fat I am” … “How did I do this to myself?” …”I don’t want anyone to see me” …”I have nothing that fits” … and even “I hate myself.”  It makes me very sad to know how many women are going through this when they should love themselves for everything they do for others!  We are so much more than what we see in the mirror.

I would like to try to give women back their self-esteem but first they need to realize that they are the emotional center of everything!!!! We carry so many burdens!  The burden (and pleasure) of raising children, keeping a home, working, caring for our aging parents, putting dinner on the table, worrying where the money is going to come from; then there’s pregnancy, postpartum depression, peri-menopause, menopause, post-menopause….!!!  Aren’t we allowed to go through life’s ups and downs with a little bit of extra weight here and there without making ourselves the target of our own hatred?

Here are a few things that have helped me nurture myself into a healthier body and frame of mind:

  • I’m not afraid to look in the mirror.  I am the best that I can be right now.
  • I am flawed and beautiful, like everyone else.
  • My inner voice tells me that I can eat ANYTHING I want so the worry and stress about food is gone.
  • Food does not control my life because food doesn’t have a voice.
  • When I eat something fattening or unhealthy, I have a smaller portion.  Gorging is no longer necessary when you have permission to eat anything.
  • I never eat until I am stuffed; that simply doesn’t feel good!  Instead, I eat until I am satisfied.  That means that my plate may not be empty when I am finished but that is okay;  those leftovers can be eaten tomorrow.  Therefore I am not ever depriving myself of the food that I love.
  • I make healthier choices about what I am going to eat because I know that I feel better eating that way.
  • I never say that I’m starting a diet on Monday.  In fact the word diet is no longer a part of my vocabulary.  IT IS OVER!  I am just eating.
  • The best parts of me are not what I see in the mirror.
  • Giving love, comfort and compassion to others makes me love myself more.

So be kind to the inner and outer you and remember that you are a gift!

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

The Battle of My BULGE

As far back as I can remember I’d always felt bigger than everyone else.  When I saw pictures of myself standing next to other people I thought I looked enormous.  I would tell people that I had a “big frame” (or people would tell ME that) and I hoped that was really the case.  People would say “you have such a pretty face” or “you’re in proportion”.  Okay, what does that really mean?  You’re fat but there’s a part of you that still looks good? …or …Your fat is evenly distributed over your body?  I didn’t feel small enough and because of that, I didn’t feel good enough.  I tried every diet in the book but I always made it back to my original high weight.   There were many times I told myself it must be the RIGHT weight because no matter what I did I always came back to the same number.  During the times that my weight was healthy I still saw a fat person in the mirror.  Let’s just face it; I had a negative self image and I didn’t believe I could ever look like a normal-sized person, whatever that looked like.  The things that I said to myself were horrible and mean; things I would NEVER say to anyone else.  Why did I think it was okay to say them to myself?

Several years ago I lost about 20 pounds from illness and decided that it was the right time to capitalize on my weight loss.  For some odd reason this time I was able to not only maintain the loss but add another 10 pounds to it – a total loss of 30 pounds which I have kept off for five years.  I have learned that the key to my own weight loss has been about the change in the things that I say to myself.  Now I treat myself like a good friend; someone I value.  Instead of hearing my inner voice say ” I’ll NEVER be thin; I look huge and disgusting!”, I tell myself that I AM a thin person with the habits and attitude of a thin and healthy person.  The word “diet” doesn’t exist in my vocabulary because I don’t deny myself any foods that I really want.  This change in attitude takes the power away from the food and gives it back to me!  I rule the food!  While I still really enjoy eating, it is not the love of my life. And when I over-indulge I don’t berate myself. I’m normal and everyone has cravings.

I recently had lunch with an old friend I hadn’t seen in several years.  She told me that I looked half the size of my former self.  A few days later I was trying on a dress at a local store  and the owner said “you’re thin; you can wear that.”  It was shocking to hear both of those comments after a lifetime of feeling too big.

I have so many things to work on to make a better, happier, healthier me but I am happy to be on my way.

DON’T TELL ANYONE

In 1964 I was nine years old and living in Brookline.  A couple of days a week after regular school I attended Hebrew school which was just a 15 minute walk from where I was living with my parents; in the “projects”.  Joanie Ryack, with her short, dark hair and smiling face was one of my very best friends.  On this specific day she was meeting me after Hebrew School and we were planning to walk home together and hang out.  I couldn’t wait to get out of class.  When it was finally time to leave, Joanie was waiting for me by the door.  We giggled and shared stories, making our way closer to home.

Up ahead I noticed a  young man standing on the opposite street corner, leaning against a pole watching us. He looked like he didn’t belong anywhere and I thought he was scary.  I remember having the feeling that I needed to look down and pretend that he wasn’t there; that by not acknowledging him he wouldn’t really see us.  By the time we had made it parallel to where I thought he was standing I looked up and he had crossed to our side of the street. Suddenly he was right in front of me.

Before I could register my surprise the man had quickly lifted up my skirt and was trying to force my tights down. Shocked and paralyzed with fear I was unable to move, call out or cry.   I knew instinctively that this was bad.  My hero; pushy, spunky 9-year-old Joanie, hit and pushed the man away. She then grabbed my arm and pulled me like a rag doll as we managed to run toward home.  I don’t remember anything that happened after we arrived at my house — what we said to my mom, whether or not we were crying — none of it.  All I remember is the fear coupled with the relief that we made it home safely.

A few days later one of my friends was physically accosted near the tennis courts at school.  She struggled to get free and was able to give a good description of the “man” to her parents.  It sounded like it was the same guy!

During a walk with some friends to Coolidge Corner some time after the “Hebrew School incident”, I could hear the sound of some one running to catch up with us.  As I turned my head to see who it was I realized that it was him…again! He was trying to catch up with us! I immediately started running as fast as I could while screaming “RUN!!!!” to my friends. I was petrified that I might get caught in the same situation as before so I made my way as far away from him as I could.   One of my friends got away from his grasp just in time!   We told our parents the horrific story when we got home.  Now we were afraid to go anywhere; he could be lurking around any corner.

With the neighborhood in an uproar, all the parents decided to get together to pool their thoughts and figure out a strategy to keep their kids safe.  One of the parents had done some research and had somehow come up with the name of the perpetrator…David. Unbelievably David went to the same Grammer school that we all attended as it went from kindergarten through eighth grade.  He was some one we might have to face every day at school and that was too scary to think about for any of us.  A few days later my mom took me aside and told me that we were going to have to go to Juvenile Court; that my friends who were also victims would be there as well.  I was too afraid to ask if David would be there, too.  All my 9-year old brain could imagine was “The Perry Mason Show” with the dramatic music and the fear of having to look the criminal in the face!

The court date came and I woke up feeling very scared and unsure of what was going to happen.  The “courtroom” consisted of a large conference table where my girlfriends and I sat quietly with our parents who had pursed lips and stern expressions.    We were all VERY relieved that David was NOT there, having been represented by his attorney.  After being sworn in we were each asked a few questions and it seemed like it all happened very fast.  We were told of his psychiatric problems and we heard the term “sexual deviant” for the first time. Finally a determination was made that David was going to be put on a one-year probation and would be placed under psychiatric care.

Carpooling was worked out between the parents so we no longer had to walk to or from school and over time we learned to get back to our 9-year-old lives.   But that feeling was always there.  Will we see David today?  Does he know who we are?  Was he ever given our names?  Are we safe?  Will he do it again?  At that time we were told to keep things to ourselves.  “Don’t tell anyone; don’t talk about it.” Sitting on the stoop of the apartment where I lived I was once caught talking openly and honestly to a good friend about what had happened.  A neighbor walked by and heard me.  “HUSH!” she said.  So the story was kept quiet and we went on with our lives.  When I found out we were moving to Natick a year and a half later, I was extremely relieved and happy to know I would be safe again.

I don’t know what ever happened to David.

As for me, David was tucked neatly away in a small part of my brain called “mini-trauma”.

ALL THAT A MOTHER DOES

I couldn’t write a list of all the things that a mother does…the list would never end and I’d be writing for days.  There are the mundane things when a baby is born; changing diapers; carefully tending to raw rear ends from diaper rash; getting up in the middle of the night to feed and burp and soothe; reading stories at bedtime; cooing and talking baby talk; running to the doctor’s office for ear infections, colds, chicken pox and everything in between.  A mother is a nurse, a babysitter…the total caregiver in every sense of the word and on call twenty-four hours, seven days a week.

When they are a little bit older you can add these things to the list:  There’s potty training; teaching social skills and manners; teaching them how to spell and count; playing games or doing anything to entertain them.  A mom is a teacher.

When your children are school age your life centers on more societal aspects of their lives:  will they fit in; who will their friends be; will they be treated right; will they adapt to new things; homework; taking the bus; after school activities; social life.  A mom takes on the task of the advocate or the fixer.

Once ensconced in the everyday life of a teenager a mother these days does a fair bit of worrying:  what kind of a driver will they be; how will I let them get in a car with someone else driving; will they get into drugs or alcohol; are they being bullied; will they do well enough in school to get into college; are they happy?  A mom has to be a driving teacher, an enforcer of rules, a guidance counselor, a college recruiter, a great listener, a giver of advice (only if asked), a barometer.

Fast forward.  Your children graduate college.  They leave home.  Your house is empty.  All these jobs you’ve been doing for over twenty years are no longer a part of your life.  You are supposed to adapt quickly when the rug has been pulled right out from underneath you, when your emotions are at their rawest. 

You are supposed to be happy; this is what you have worked so hard for!  For their independence, good work ethic, intelligence, amiability, freedom! AND YOU ARE HAPPY! 

But, there is also sadness…the sadness that comes from losing your job, a job that meant more to you than anything in the world…and the sadness that comes from missing those special cuddles when they were small and only needed you; when they sat on your lap and listened with rapt attention to everything you said; when their world was only you.

No one said it would be easy and it certainly isn’t.  But, that’s what a mother does.

« Older entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 303 other followers