Tag Archives: Insecurity

Life Lesson Learned: Laundry Edition

So here I am, hanging out on my porch, well in the carport, hanging up my laundry.  See, I’d normally be on the porch, but it’s a touch windy today and the last thing I need is to have the laundry topple over (again!) onto the landlord’s daughters new flower bed.  Not good.  So instead, I’m going to take advantage of the carport’s wind-tunnel nature and put the laundry to hang in there, relying upon the not-quite gale force winds to dry my clothing.  Sure, they don’t get sunshine this way, but I also don’t spend most of my afternoon going out to pick them up off the deck and pick dried leaves and dirt from what were clean clothes.  And yeah, I could tuck them in the little space where E’s motorbike is parked, we get some sunlight there in the afternoons.  But the last time I did that and a big gust of wind came through, I was chasing the laundry down the driveway as the towels acted as sails for the Good Ship Clothing Drive that was careening towards the road.   Not a particularly fun way to spend twenty minutes.

 

So there I was, in the carport, hanging up the clothes when I came to this one shirt of mine in particular.  Now this shirt I’ve had for several years and it has seen it’s fair share of ups and downs.  It’s a gray shirt with an orange collar and orange sleeves and I got it from Old Navy, who knows how long ago.  It’s a comfortable shirt, well worn and well loved.  I use it mainly for around the house now and lazy weekends with nothing to do but relax with my man.  But today, something about this shirt made me stop as I was hanging it up.

 

I’m not sure if it was the voluminous amounts of fabric that were just not agreeing with me or the hangers.  Or if it was the somewhat stubborn seeming insistence that it would quite simply not stay on the hanger at all, thank you kindly.  But once I finally hung it up, I paused in my usual chore doing and looked at it.  Really stopped and looked at it.

 

“This shirt is huge!” I thought to myself, and half said aloud.  I turned it this way and that and then this way again, looking it over.  Now true, it was wet and it had just gone through a bit of a battle with me and the washer and a pair of pants that decided it was a great time to turn into an octopus, so it was slightly stretched out.  But no. Even accounting for that, the shirt was huge. Enormous. And that thought, of course, got me thinking other thoughts.

 

The shirt was a 3XL.  I bought it because it was comfortable to fit in.  It was nice and light, gave me room to breathe, but also room to hide. I never quite filled it all the way out, and I’m very glad for that, but I fit into it comfortably.  It was a nice second skin for me. The shirt allowed me to get service in almost every establishment I went into without really letting on just how fat I was. We were secret companions in an ongoing battle with reality.  And dammit, we were winning, my shirt and I.

 

But now, here and now, on this day, I am hanging up this shirt and it is huge. Giant. I could swallow a small child and not even notice it had eaten.  I remembered thinking the other night when I was wearing it, that it was almost like a nightgown, only a little shorter.  I looked down at the shirt that I was wearing today.  A black t-shirt. Nothing special, nothing amazing. Just one that came from those three packs of t-shirts from the Men’s department at WalMart.  it’s comfortable, not too snug, but also not too loose.  I could do my workout in this shirt if I needed to.  I can also do my dishes and still feel comfortable.  Just to make sure, I turned the shirt sideways slightly and I peeked a look at the tag.

 

XL.

 

Talk about your mind being blown.  It’s hard, sometimes, when you’re so close to everything happening, to really see the progress being made.  But I was standing there, obsessively staring at this old shirt of mine, not quite realizing that I was looking at the progress I had made.  I used to fit into that. Now, I fit into this.

 

I used to hide behind that fabric, now I’m starting to own this fabric. I used to wrap myself in security in that shirt, now I’m becoming more outgoing in this one. I did that. I beat that. I beat that old shirt.  And I’m starting to beat this new shirt as well.

 

I have a size large t-shirt hanging up in my bedroom.  It’s my Nanowrimo shirt that I bought last year.  It was way too small for me then, it’s still slightly too small for me now.  Next year, next year, It will be too big for me.  I have come so far, but I have still further to go.  But for the moment, I’m going to finish my laundry, and then have a cuppa tea.

 

Thank you, Grey and Orange shirt. Thank you.

Botany 10k Walk

Yeah.  You read that right.

 

10k.

 

Just about 6 miles.

 

And I did it. I set myself the goal and I completed it. Smashed it. Demolished and obliterated it.  I looked my goal in the face and I scared it into the atmosphere.

 

After crying, and whimpering and almost quitting, of course.

 

The day started out cloudy and overcast.  When we got to the race venue (which is really just a large mall/shopping center) we could see that a huge amount of rain had already come through earlier, and the sky looked to be promising more.  It was a bit brisk for a summer morning and the air was damp and humid.  So not the best thing to be walking in, but better than clear blue skies and sweltering heat.

 

The race started at 9am on the dot, there were just over 600 people there men, women, and children.  There were folks with their babies in strollers, a gentleman in a wheelchair and a father and his special needs son in a stroller.  And me.  I started off strong, matching my pace with a pair of older ladies and just keeping up.  but they soon passed me, and then more and more people passed me.  But that was alright, I was fine.  I knew that there were still people behind me.  I made it through the first 3k without any problems.

 

It was around the 3.5k mark that things got difficult.  My feet were hurting, my back was aching my knees wanted to give up.  I started to cry. I could not believe what I was doing to myself. What in the world had seeped into my brain to make me think that I had anywhere close to a chance to doing a 10k walk?  I hadn’t even hit the halfway point and I was ready to die.  How could I go around and do it again?  And then, just as I was hitting the absolute bottom of depression, the knowledge in my mind that I just could not do this thing anymore, E was there.  He had found the 4k point of the race and was waiting for me with fresh cold drinks (powerade) and encouragement.  I stopped my crying, picked my head up, and instead of turning into the finish line, I kept on going straight to start the next lap.

 

I was alone.  Completely and utterly alone.  There were no more walkers in front of me that I could see and try to match with them.  And turning around I was completely by myself.  I could see nobody.  It was just me and this course.  And the cones.  And the cars.  And so I turned up my music and I walked. And I walked. And I walked some more.  I cursed and I yelled and I chided myself.  I hated my life and everything that I was doing but I kept on moving.  Had to keep moving.

 

Got to the water station and looked at the kid behind the table, I jokingly told him that I thought I was last.  He confirmed that I was.  He told me to take a break, take a rest, have some water.  But I had to keep going, I had to keep moving.  I couldn’t stop, not even for a brief breath and some water. If I stopped moving then, I would have stopped completely.  And so I moved on.  Full of the knowledge that I was the very last person out of 600+ to be out on the course.  The very last.  Everybody was waiting on me.

 

And even that knowledge, and the fact that I knew that I would show up last and everybody would know that I was completely incapable of doing this, did not slow me down. I kept going, kept moving. Singing and dancing and walking and cursing and crying.  I was soon joined by one of the race helpers, those blessed people who get up early to stand along the route of the race and cheer you on in their bright orange vests.  She joined me to ostensibly keep me company, but also to keep an eye on me and make sure I didn’t collapse.  Also, my own personal traffic cop.  Because there were still intersections to get through and cars to avoid.  Let me tell you a personal traffic cop is a handy thing to have when all you can do is concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other.

 

One kilometer to go and there was my E again, waiting with yet another cold drink and more encouragement.  So for the last kilometer of the race I walked with E and this orange-vested race lady.  It was quite something.  And as I got closer to the finish line I was greeted by more race personnel and they all offered congratulations and adulation on my continued effort. I was last.  But I had still made it that far.

 

I turned down the roadway towards the finish line and as soon as I appeared in that area the remaining racers and their friends and family all erupted into cheers and applause.  The MC of the event, a guy from the local radio station, announced to everybody that I was coming down the home stretch.  He announced me by name.  And the applause and congratulations and approval got even louder as I crossed the finish line and the clock stopped.

 

2:00:41

 

I was hurried over to a chair where the race workers took off my bib and put it into the box for the spot prizes and they removed the timing chip from my shoe for me.  I was then allowed to move into the crowd, where even more people offered personal congratulations on completing the race, and they decided to do the spot prizes and the big prize drawings.  Oddly enough, we were joined by some friends.  They had done the 5k run and had no idea that I was even there, but they heard my name over the speakers and were surprised and happy.  The prizes were awarded and then we left to go home.

 

I hurt. My entire body was aching and I could barely form complete sentences. But I had finished my goal, beaten it to the ground.  I had told myself that if I could finish this race in under 2.5 hours, I would be happy.  I blew that expectation out of the water.  And I was still alive and still breathing.

 

The applause from the other participants was the biggest mix of emotions that I have felt in some time. Pride in my accomplishment. Shame in how long it took me. Embarrassment at the attention. Guilt that it took me so long and everybody was waiting for me before the event could move on.  But mostly just relief that it was over. And then pain.

 

It’s two days later and I can say that even though I have blisters on both feet and my ribs ache as though I’ve been dry-heaving for days, I am glad that I did it.  I set myself a goal and I achieved that goal.

 

Now, I rest a bit, get my feet healed, and then back at the training.  I’ve got another big race coming up next month!

 

This one’s only 8.5k though.  Only. Hah!

Insomnia

So here I am. 1am on tuesday morning.  And I’m still awake.

 

What could possibly be bothering me?

 

My Nanowrimo is done (unofficially and more about that later), my FBI paperwork came back clean and healthy (like there was really any doubt), I have a game plan for where and when and how to go through and finish up this visa application (ugh tediousness).  There really is nothing overly heavy weighing on my mind.

 

Except.

 

Well, I’m still unemployed. Which granted at this point is planned until after I get my new visa and then I can look for things that are not ‘temporary’ or ‘contract’ but I can actually get full time work.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I am ok with being unemployed.    And I still have no idea what it is I would like to do.  Call centers, retail, go back to school?  Maybe a bit of this and a bit of that?  But all of that requires some soul searching.  And I just am not good at soul searching.  Especially if it involves any form of meditation.  My brain just refuses to slow down.

 

Also, I am thinking about the whole ‘what next’ part of my writing.  I have no done my 6th Nanowrimo. I have now hit my 6th mark of 50,000 words in so many years.  My world and my plot are coming together better now than they ever have before.  So what next?  Do I move on? do I try to finish up? Do I gather all of my previous writing and notes and details on this subject and scour them for details, information, bits and pieces and then put that all into notes on Scrivener (awesome program btw), and actually honestly attempt to write this book?  Or books?  Do I have the willpower to sit through, sift through, all of my writing over the years, trash what is crap and keep what is good, build on the rest and actually come out ahead with a story that maybe somebody somewhere will want to read?   Do I have this willpower?

 

Do I have the willpower to keep up with the weight loss?  I can tell that I’m losing weight because my pants are slowly starting to come off around my waist.  But my hips are still the same size they were, so no real loss there.  Also means no new pants.  Just have to keep fiddling with the old pants.  Can I really keep up with this? Can I lose enough weight so that when I head back to the States next year to visit, mom and I can go shopping for new clothes for me and I can actually maybe not wear the ‘fat girl clothes’?  How much willpower do I really have stored up?

 

And is it even willpower that I need? Perhaps what I really need is ambition.  I don’t really seem to have any of that.  Ambition.  It’s a funny word.  In some cases it is a strong, positive, encouraging term. In others it’s dirty, nasty, unkind.  And it seems to be difficult to balance the two levels perfectly.  What is a good level of ambition? And how do I get there?  Now that I think about it, Ambition seems to be the core of most of my problems.  Yeah, I know, First world problems and all that.

 

But really.  I never had many ambitions as a kid, or even as a young adult.  To be happy and to be loved for who I was were about the only things I was ever determined to secure for myself.  And, well, now I have those.  And I’m lost.  I have no real ambitions.  Dreams, sure I have those aplenty, but ambitions?  To be a writer who can tell her stories and have people want to read them.  That could be one.  That’s about as close to an ambition as I have.  But I am still very unsure of how to necessarily achieve that goal.

 

I’ll have to do some more thinking on this.  I’ll get back to you.

 

But for now, It’s almost 130.  My mint tea is just warm enough to drink while still being hot enough to be soothing to the rather unhappy stomach that I have now (i think it doesn’t like peanut butter anymore), and I’m hoping that a few minutes of window shopping for a new menorah is going to be enough to settle my brain and calm my whatever it is that’s keeping me awake.

 

So good night, good morning, and have a pleasant day.

8 Minutes

When I was a baby, I sucked my thumb.

When I turned 9, I stopped sucking my thumb and started biting my nails.

When I got into University, I stopped biting my nails and started smoking.

When I stopped smoking, I started chewing on my lips.

 

It’s been almost 20 months now since I quit smoking, and let me tel you, I feel great.  My coughs are not as severe, I don’t get sick anywhere as much as I used to with respiratory issues.  My headaches are fewer, and I’m even getting into better shape.  For months after quitting even the smell of a lit cigarette nearby was enough to make me nauseous and run in the opposite direction.  I could barely stand to be near my brother and some of my coworkers, because they smelled of nicotine and ash.

 

That’s been better lately.  I’ve actually caught myself liking the smell of the cigarettes, not to mention the smell of nicotine on clothes.  It’s become almost a comforting smell to me, which is just bizarre.  And while I was working at the call center, I started to notice the cravings. Ever so slight, but sometimes, a group of people would go out for a smoke and I could almost feel myself wanting to go with them.  That was one of the other reasons that I stopped working there.  The smoke breaks were getting to be a temptation, the people smoking during those breaks were awesome and I wanted to hang out with them more.

 

But cigarettes are expensive down here. Crazy expensive.  But that’s not the only reason that I’m looking at the last 20 months and reevaluating where I stand, and why I’m happy to have quit and why I will fight my instincts and my need for something to do with my fingers until the end.   I saw a billboard the other day.  And while I’m not completely sure on the veracity of the claim, or the science used to back it up, it stated that every cigarette costs 8 minutes of your life.

 

8 minutes.  For every smoke. Every pack of cigarettes is 160 minutes. Every carton, 1600 minutes.  That got me thinking.  All those nights and days at the theatre, where we did nothing but smoke and joke around.  Those nights out at the diner where we could finish off a pack and a half easily.  Or at verizon or walmart where I could smoke a pack a day, maybe two days when I was cutting down.  I don’t want to even think about the money that I spent or wasted, but the time.  I mean.  All that time.  I’ve shortened my life significantly by smoking.

 

Now, I want to say that while I was smoking, I knew about this. I knew the health risks and the dangerous factors. I knew that I was taking a leap of life and limb every time that I lit up.  I knew it, and I didn’t care.  It was my life and I was going to live it how I wanted to live it. I was going to make my mistakes, hang out with my friends and bugger the future.

 

So what changed?

 

I found a future worth being around for.  I think this advert, and the thoughts that followed, effected me more now than they would have back then, simply because of where I was.  I was in the car, driving somewhere with Ee.  And I think of all the time in our life together, that I cheated us out of, by smoking.  Hypocritical?  Possibly.  Sentimental? Definitely.  But there it is.  Ee is the one who gave me the strength to try to quite, all those 20 months ago, the reason that I stuck it out, and now the reason that I won’t ever go back.

 

I want a life with this man. I want a future with him.  And our friends.  I want a chance to live a life and start a family and see my kids grow up and start their own lives.  And now, I kick myself, because I willingly cut off so much time from that dream on my own.  I have shortened my own Happy Ending.

 

This is not for me to post and get all preachy for others to quit smoking. I know that it takes time, and some people won’t ever quit.  This is for me to get these thoughts out.  8 minutes a cigarette.  assuming that I smoked a carton a week, which is not a big assumption, it comes out to just about 1.5 years that I smoked off my life.  Doesn’t sound like much, when you look at it that way.  but 1.5 years is the difference between your grandchild being born and not. Between your kid graduating from college and not.

 

Heady stuff.  I’m glad I quit.  I’m glad I have what I have. I’m grateful for what I have.  I’m just mentally kicking myself for that 1.5 years that I could have had.

Besties

There is always that one person that you can count on to be there.  The one person in your life that no matter how long you spend apart, you always start right back up in the beginning again.  A best friend, a soulmate.  Although most people now take soulmate to be strictly for love and marriage and other things, but it may not always be so.  I mean, sure there are soulmates for love, but there can be soulmates for friendship as well.  If I can love my friend and love my lover and love my parents all at the same time, it’s still love.  Different love, but it’s still love.

 

Shaun.

 

Of all my best friends in the world, Shaun is the oldest.  And I’m not just saying that because he is older than me.  But because we’ve been together the longest.  Fourth grade.  I was still pretty much the new kid from Philly, and he had moved from Dover and before that Michigan.  We were the outsider kids.  And the only thing the other one had.  We hung out on the playground and we made up our own world to tell stories in.  I don’t remember half the stuff that happened or half the characters involved, but we were quite the little storytellers, let me tell you.

 

So much so that most of our next few years, we spent every moment we could (when not doing other things like school work) writing a book.  We had it all.  Shaun would come up with the plotlines and I would fill in the holes with the characters.  He wrote the story, I gave it flesh.  We started this book at least three times that I can remember, and finished it, sadly, only once.  And that manuscript was lost to the years.  We would spend hours on the phone going over chapters and stories.  How this character felt about this and that.  And every year we would take a break from this and watch Miss America together.  Over the phone.

 

Yes. You read that correctly.  We would watch Miss America together over the phone.  You have no idea how truly awesome that was.

 

There were boyfriends and girlfriends and relationship fights, and the constant, insane instance from everybody around us that we were dating.  We swore and swore to them that no, no we were just friends.  He had a girlfriend, I had a boyfriend, there was no way that we were dating, we were simply best friends.  Throughout middle school this continued on, until after 8th grade graduation, the horrible reality struck.  We were going to different high schools.

 

It turned out to not really be as bad as we thought.  We still spent time together, weekends and some school nights.  There were times when I would have piano lessons at Avenue Methodist and then Shaun would meet me after the lessons and we’d walk down to the waterfront behind the church and sit on a rock there and just talk for the night.

 

Every big moment in my young adult life, Shaun was there.  From the first major breakup with a boyfriend, to the first car accident.  I had been going food shopping for my parents in my little brown pinto.  I had gotten to the corner across from Causey Mansion and was all set to make the left hand turn. I looked left, I looked right, and I went.  But somehow, I didn’t see the large white station wagon.  I don’t know how I missed it.  But we hit.  Their front passenger bumper to my front driver bumper.  The next hour or so was a blur, I remember a few of the other kids from high school driving by and looking but not stopping.  I remember going into the house on the corner to call the cops and my parents.  I remember sitting in the cop car, talking to the police officer and looking out the window across the street.

 

And there was Shaun.

 

He had been coming back from church and had seen the brown pinto and lord knows I was the only person in town with that car so he knew it was me.  So they got home from church and he walked to the accident scene (only about 3 blocks-ish) to wait for me.  I saw him outside and started to cry, finally started to cry.  The cop and I finished up and he let me go over and Shaun and I sat on the grass while waiting for my parents.  He wrapped me up in his arms and just held me as the shock of what just happened and what it all meant started to hit.

 

Shaun has met every single one of my serious relationships. Every one.  The guy that I was engaged to back at University. The Guy that I moved to maine for.  Even Ee.  Shaun has met every single man in my life that has ever become a big part of my life romantically.  He has met them all.  He was home from University on Halloween weekend when I brought Jimmy home.  He was home for a visit from Michigan when Chase and I were down for a visit.  And he was living in Seattle when Ee and I were there last year.

 

To say that Shaun is a huge part of my life is by no way or means an exaggeration.

 

We realized, or at least I did, at some point after high school was over that we had actually been dating all of those years.  We had actually been a couple and that all of those people we kept telling them that they were crazy, were indeed not crazy.  We were.

 

They say, and I don’t know really who ‘they’ are, but they say that you never really forget or lose that first love.  It just grows into something else.  Shaun was my first and longest best friend.  Shaun was my first love and the first guy to ever make me care more about myself than what other people thought about me.  Shaun saved my life on more than one occasion and has always been right there when I needed him to be.  He is the best friend that I know for certain i will be able to see again in five or ten years and it will be like nothing has happened.

 

The hell that I went through the last year in maine, the trauma and drama of finding myself and building myself back up again, the numerous scars, were all helped to ease away by seeing Shaun in Seattle, hugging him tight, seeing him happy and seeing him smile.  Ee did a lot for my healing, and a lot for my confidence, but Shaun finished it off.

 

There is always a place in my heart and in my life for Shaun.  And there always will be.  I’m trying to think of the best way to finish this off without saying something that will set my world ablaze and will not make people go crazy.  But, The best way to end this, is the only way guaranteed to make people think I’m nuts.  But ohwell.

 

I love you, Shaun.

You will always be my best, closest, oldest friend.

You will always be the one reason that I am here now to type these words.

You were the first person to save my life when I needed you most.

You will always be a part of my heart and of my life, no matter how far apart we are.

I love you.

 

Fort Minor

So, there’s a song by this group called Fort Minor and I enjoy it a bit.  The chorus begins with ‘where’d you go?’ and I figure that’s a question that I should be answering.  The long and the short of it is, I’ve been working.  And then sleeping.  And then working.  The original 4 week assignment has turned into almost 3 months, and we finish up on July 29.  Although that feels so very far away.

 

Also, I’ve been sick.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m back in a call center and still getting my body used to being bombarded with germs from every direction, so that when one person gets sick, everybody gets sick. Or if it’s because of the weather change down here and it being Winter but not really a winter that I would call a winter so I don’t get as bundled up as I should.  Or if it’s because of the humidity and moisture in the apartment having finally settled into my lungs and refusing to go away.  Or, if it’s a combination of them all.  Suffice to say, I’ve been sick.  Stuffed nose, chesty cough, I even lost my voice the other day.  I start to feel better during the day and then the night hits and my body feels like giving up all over again.  I’ve been eating right and drinking plenty of fluids, so maybe all I need is rest. I’m not in work today simple because I could not find the strength or the energy or even the desire to move or do anything but hide in the bed.  Headache, nausea, and some light other intestinal problems along the way as well.

 

So today is for resting, and medicating, so that I can go back to work tomorrow, finish this week off strong and use the weekend to complete my journey back to healthiness so that I can stop feeling so damned miserable.  Being miserable is not a fun thing.

 

What new adventures am I having?  Well, we went out about two weekends ago and I bought myself a big monitor.  my little netbook is still running everything, but I can now see more than I thought possible.  the screen is about twice the size of my netbooks screen.  Awesome.  I have bought myself some early birthday presents as well.  A new bento box and lunchbag, and some video games for the computer.    Last weekend we went out and bought a dehumidifier.  To try and get rid of the excess moisture problem.  It’s a 20L tank and thank god for that.  We turned it on after we brought it home, around 5pm and left it to run over night.  When we got up the next morning, around 7am, the thing had sucks about 17-18L out of the air.  And I wonder why I’ve been feeling sick and chesty?  We’ve run it on and off again since then, but haven’t gotten the amount out again, thank goodness.

 

I’ve been exploring the goodness of a wok.  I finally got around to seasoning the wok that we bought back in february (God bless Youtube!) and we’ve been making some tasty stir-frys ever since.  And I’ve been investigating Tofu.  and the many different ways to make tofu. We’ve marinated it and eaten it just like that.  We’ve marinated it and baked it in the oven.  And we’ve added it to the stir-frys.  I think that I am starting to not only get the hang of tofu, but also to liking it.  I am not, however, going to be giving up my meat.  Tofu is just another alternative at the moment.

 

But mostly, I’ve just been working.  And I love the work. I love the people and the company and I even enjoy the customers.  Hard to believe, but it’s true.  Unlike American customers, it seems like Kiwis will readily tell you that they’re not really mad at you personally, but they are going to yell anyways, but please don’t take any personal offense.  And some of them, most of them, are quite easy to turn around and calm down after they’ve been allowed their moments of yelling.  It’s amazing.  I’ve been cursed at once by a customer.  And when I informed that customer to not curse at me, she immediately apologized and was calm from there on out.  I do enjoy the work.  And were it work that I could continue to enjoy in the manner that I have been (M-F 9-530) then I would most happily continue there.  But, it is a call center, and that means working rotating hours with rotating shifts and rotating days off.  It would mean never getting a normal sleep schedule, or a normal day off with Ee.  And that’s really not anything….

 

I came down here to start a new life, and go in a new direction.  And right now, in my mind, that new direction includes weekends with my partner and nights curled up on the couch watching a dvd.  Not days off in the middle of the week and coming home from work just as he is going to bed.  I’ve done that life before, it ruined the relationship.  And I didn’t come halfway around the world for that.  No.  As much as I love the office, I think it really is in my best interests to keep searching, to keep looking.  To explore more options and grow more as an adult.

 

But as a first experience working for a New Zealand company? I couldn’t have asked for more.  I think, however, I may want to look into the public sector.  Maybe a government job, if possible.  Eventually.  But for now, I’m going to go back to resting as I am feeling rather worn down, and I want to get better, faster.

 

So that is where I went, and where I’ll be.  Next update will probably be before Rotorua and after Orcon.

willpower

Age: 9 years old.

Mission: Stop sucking your Thumb

Bribery: An American Girl’s Doll, Samantha to be exact

Duration: One Year

Result: Success

 

Age: 23, 25, 27, 28

Mission: Quit Smoking

Bribery: Better life

Duration: Ohchrist forever

Result: Success, with help from medication

 

Age: 28

Mission: Stop Peeling lower Lip

Bribery: A job interview

Duration: Ongoing

Result: momentary success, but relapses have occurred

 

Age: 29

Mission: Lose up to, including, and passing 100lbs (or roughly 45kg)

Duration: Ongoing

Results: Time will tell

 

 

Now, those first two, three, items on that list actually took a lot of willpower.  And the smoking, there was a point where I had quit on my own for over a year.  But my willpower crashed and I relapsed.  Again and again and again.  But finally, with the help of modern medicine, I was able to kick the habit and I haven’t wanted a cigarette since (December 2, 2009).

 

But i’m wondering, just how much willpower does one individual have?  Have I used it all up?  Did I crush my strength under the burden of stopping sucking my thumb?   Was stopping biting my nails a habit that saw me abandoning any dreams of having the willpower to say no to chocolate?

 

Just how much does one person have? What kind of reserves can be relied upon really?  Have I reached my limit?

 

I found myself asking this question today as I did another 3 miles with the Walk at Home dvds and I found myself realizing that no, I have not hit my limit on willpower yet.  I can do this, I do have more in me.  I can and I will.

 

I got this.

 

Now if only my knees will keep up with me.

A Good Life

I don’t think that there is too much more in life that I could ask for at any given moment.

 

Do I want to lose weight, yes.  Would that be the most awesome thing ever to get to a weight where I can be able to get around without sounding like i’m slowly dying a thousand painful deaths with each breath? Yeah, that would be pretty cool.  I am getting there, slowly, i’m getting better at making it up and around the hills and walkways around home.  the numbers may not be moving on the scale, but i’m feeling better.

 

I have a man who loves and adores me, he treats me better than I ever even dreamed I would be treated by any man.  He spoils me, he supports me, and he loves me.  And to be honest, there is not much else to hope for out of life other than that.

 

I still do not have a job.

 

But that became a bit secondary this past weekend when I got an e-mail from immigration telling me that my visa was running out in 45 days.  Insert panic here!!  So I did what any person would do,I called immigration.  sure, most people down here work through e-mail, but there are some things that just need to talked about with a real person.  Like the apparently very real possibility that I’ll be getting kicked out of the country.

 

So, what happened was that at the border, the customs agent had a difficult problem getting my visa to scan or get recognized, so instead of grabbing somebody to help her, she just punched me into the country as being on a visitors Visa, as opposed to a working holiday.   Insert frustration here!!

 

Easy fix though! Just head down to the branch office in the CBD and they’ll get everything straightened out.  So today, that’s what I did. And after waiting in the long queue for a bit, I got my paperwork all handled and my visa is now not only the correct visa, but it’s been extended from october to next february.  Of course i’m going to have to reapply for the work visa midyear,but at least I know we have some time to get our partnership thigns together.

 

Insert relief here.

 

So, that is taken care of.

 

Of course, in finally getting the visa taken care of, I have found out that legally I can’t work in a permanent position.  so it’s not even that the companies are covering their own behinds, I legally can not work for them.

 

Which didn’t soften the blow on friday any when i got the rejection email from the company that had actually interviewed me. That, on top of the absolute pummeling my good mood had taken from the visa notice and this was not shaping up to be a good weekend.

 

Enter the boyfriend.

 

He took me out to dinner on friday, we were going to go for Thai, but we found this little Italian place instead, and then we went to the countdown and grabbed some food things for the fridge (mostly eggs, because i’ve been going through them like they’re going out of style lately).

 

Saturday, we went out shopping in anticipation of colder weather.  I got a new shirt/tunic thing, some socks and a sweatshirt.  Plus a scale for weighing me, and a scale for weighing food.  A good day.

 

sunday, another meal out! I know, i’m spoiled.  This time to Tony’s Steakhouse in the CBD, and then a quick trip to Borders to take advantage of their sales.  I got a brand new cookbook for half price!  A good night.

 

 

So what is the moral of all of this?  Well, it’s mainly that even though I haven’t yet hit any of my goals that I’ve set for myself, I haven’t ruined them yet either.  And through it all, I have my E standing at my side, supporting me.

 

And right now, that makes this a good life.  and I’m ready for the next challenge.

To Make the Best Better

image courtesy texas A&M Ag Extension

 

“I pledge

My Head to Clearer Thinking,

My Heart to Greater Loyalty,

My Hands to Larger Service and,

My Health to Better Living for

My club, My community,

My Country, and My World”

That is the pledge that I took every Tuesday night in the basement of a small community church, right after saying the Pledge of Allegiance.  Those are the words of the 4-H Pledge and saying them now to myself while I type this up means a whole heck of a lot more to me, than when I said them all those years ago.

It’s been twenty years now since I first joined 4-H, with the Broadkill Kool Kats gathered in that little church in Milton, Delaware.  It’s been ten years since I’ve been active in any 4-H events at all.  But I can still remember that pledge, and holding my fingers to my head, heart, outstretched in front of me, and then to my sides every week.

When I first joined 4-H, it was mostly because my parents wanted to get me into something extra curricular, but I refused to join the Girl Scouts.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being a Brownie or a Girl Scout.  But for me, there was one major flaw.  No boys.  I had grown up surrounded by guys, and in that turn I found them easier to befriend, the thought of being in a group with a bunch of girls mortified me.  In some ways, it still does.

I didn’t appreciate back then, the good that 4-H did for me.  Even when I was leaving the organization upon turning eighteen, I still had not quite grasped just how important it all had been in shaping who I am today.  In giving me the outlook on life that I have currently.

Everything started on a personal level, with project books every year. I hardly ever finished mine, but that didn’t mean that they weren’t useful.  Everything from animal care to geneaology was offered and I had friends who raised chickens, sheep, and pigs, while I worked on sewing projects and making bread.  As a whole for the County we put on Horse shows for local equestrian enthusiasts and students, we cleaned up beaches of trash and filth, we had nights of food tastings and competitions, including my favourite event where each participant chose a country and made a traditional food from that nation.  Everything was geared towards helping children to learn.  To become better adults in their later years.

And what happens during that awkward transition time, when you change from being a child to being an adolescent? That horribly painful time when your body doesn’t work right, everything is changing and nobody is nice to anybody else?  In 4-H, you become a Junior Leader, and you get responsibilities.  While other places are unsure of how to treat adolescents who are trying to become young adults, 4-H is there with the answer, treat them like young adults.

We were given classes on inclusion, very basic psychology, life saving measures including basic first aid and CPR certification.  And we were entrusted with the care and oversight of other children.  We became camp counsellors, the people that you drop your kids off to in the morning and pick up in the afternoon in the middle of summer.  As Junior Leaders, we were given the trust that we could handle these other kids, and the confidence in ourselves to make the program on our own.  There was adult supervision, always, but only for emergencies.  Everything else was handled by the Junior Leaders.

And we handled it just fine.  With responsibility comes Maturity, and with maturity comes something else.  Some other attribute that is hard to place, but is nonetheless knowable to others.   Being in 4-H, while I didn’t realize it back then, and it has taken me several years to open my eyes on it now, has not only made me who I am today, but has enabled me to make it to today.

I am getting ready to turn thirty years old.  I’ve hit a lot of bumps in my adult life, but I’ve always seemed to bounce back from them, somehow.  Currently, I am living in New Zealand and starting my life over again.  I have found myself repeatedly typing the same words while looking and applying for a job down here.  I want to have a positive impact on my community.

I no longer want a job just for myself or for the money.  I want a career that will mean something to somebody else.  A position that will help myself move forward, of course, but will also serve the greater good, the better purpose.  And up until recently, it just made sense, that was how I was.  But then a friend’s son started getting bullied at school and she was looking for something to help him with his self esteem.  I immediately suggested signing him up for 4-H.  And I made a very bold statement in doing so, I quite honestly told her that 4-H had saved my life.

It seemed so out of the blue, and yet, it was true. I owe my life to 4-H, both the organization, my County, and my Club.  My fellow members, my Leaders and Junior Leaders, all of them helped to make sure that I not only survived the living hell that was adolescence, but also have helped to shape me into the adult that I have become.

Without the sense of community, trust, and leadership skills that I learned and picked up during my time with 4-H, I am not certain how I would have made it this far, and I know that I will rely on those skills, those teaching moments to move myself, my community, my country (both of them), and my world further to make them stronger, safer, happier places.

I don’t owe everything of who I am now to this Organization, but I owe enough of myself to say thank you.  And to eagerly, heartily, and readily recommend to anybody with children that 4-H is one of the best options out there to help your child through a difficult time.  They will find friendships, they will find laughter, and they will come away from it all knowing that they can make the world a better place.

-Sarah K

Broadkill Kool Kats, Sussex County 4-H, Delaware, USA

1990-1999

Curriculum Vitae

To whom it may concern:

 

I’m an American woman, young though almost thirty, who has moved to these far shores on the off chance that life will somehow be better here than it was in the states.  I’m overweight by no small margin and though I am trying to change that, my willpower is not as strong as it should be.

 

I have skills in the dozens, but none of them the ones that you are searching for.  I can talk my head off about random obscure things, but I have no real capability to sell anything to anybody if I don’t believe in what I’m selling.  I can type fairly quickly, but I do often have to correct myself as I often type faster than my brain moves. Or I think faster than I type.  A mild case of dyslexia doesn’t necessarily help the cause.

 

I am friendly and cheerful, even on days when I want nothing more than to curl up in a corner and cry. I can put on a smile, I can do a little dance, and I can charm your socks off.  Even if you’re wearing stockings.

 

I’m a fast learner, but you have to be willing to take the chance on me.  Teach me a skill and I can use it to many different applications.  Just be willing to take the leap of faith.

 

Do I want to be your receptionist? Do I want to sit on my already large behind and answer the phones for you and take your messages and order the flowers for your anniversary so that your wife doesn’t beat you with a wooden spoon when you get home? No.  Not really.  But I will do those things and my job as well if you would only give me the chance.  I can do this job. I can smile as though my life and livelihood depended on it. I can be polite and courteous. I can make your customers smile and laugh while they wait for you to get out of the bathroom.  Just give me the chance.

 

Do I want to sit in a call center and take phone calls and deal with irate customers for eight hours a day? No.  But I will.  I will sit there, I will multitask. I will work my fingers to the bone to earn the money that you are so generously paying me for being a punching bag between your company and the general public.  Just give me the chance.  You won’t regret it.  I can turn an angry customer into somebody who is calmer, more sedate. I can turn a disappointed customer into a happy camper.  If given the chance and the freedom.

 

Do I know what I want to do? No. I don’t have a clue.  I’m going to be thirty years old. I just finished my Bachelors degree in English last year because I made some stupid life choices when I was younger and I paid for them.  I don’t have the education to teach. I don’t have the patience or the desire to teach. I have no real direction other than ‘not at home being useless’.

 

But I need that chance, I need that opportunity that somebody somewhere is going to see me, think that I have the raw material available to become something great, or even something just decent, and hire me. Train me. Teach and point me into a new direction. Give my life some meaning other than just the good suzy homemaker that I am.

 

I’m good at being suzy homemaker. I can cook and clean and organize. I can manage a house fairly well. I can ensure that there will be food on the table for less than $100/fortnight.  I can work with budgets, I can make things happen.  And I can make sure you will enjoy them.  I can organize and put things in their places and make sure that even if they’re not where you thought they were, you can still find them.

 

I can be useful. Helpful. I can be a morale boost, always with an enjoyable story or some other way to make you laugh, even on the worst day.  I can get things done and I don’t shrink from a deadline, I meet it head on.  Often at the last possible minute, but the project is finished and the project is outstanding.

 

So how do I take all these things about myself that I know that I can do, and sell you on me.  How do I make myself sound like somebody that you would be willing to train, to teach, to mold into the person that you’re looking for.  And do it in only one page?  How can I show you my education from a prestigious school, but not be able to apply anything that I learned of any value to your organization?  And how can I convince you that I can do all of these things I know I can do.  If you don’t even call me back for an interview?

 

I’m at a loss.

 

I don’t know how to sell myself in such a short space of time.  And I feel as though I’m far too honest to just upright lie.  Can I use Microsoft word? Of course I can.  Am I proficient? No.  I can’t make magic unicorns appear from the push of a button or two.  I can make Excel do basic spreadsheets, but beyond that, I’m useless. Gimme an hour or two to scour the internet and I’ll find a tutorial to help me through.  So how do I just lie and say that I can use them both?  I haven’t made a Power Point presentation since my senior year in high school.  And that was twelve years ago!

 

I know that I should lie. Or at least tell half truths.  You’ll never want to hire me for me.  Or at least for the me that you see on those pieces of electronic paper that I keep firing off to your offices and your recruiters.  So I lie.  I tell white tales and half truths to get you to look at me. Give me more than two minutes of your time.  Call me. Talk to me. Interview me and you’ll see I’m so much more than those two pieces of paper could ever suggest that I am.

 

Of course, in talking to me, you’ll realize that I lied.  You’ll realize that I can’t make Excel do pretty ballerina turns by the flick of a switch or the tap of a button.  I can’t make Word sing ‘Hail to the Chief’ every time you walk in the room.  But I can be taught, I can do what you want me to do.  So do you hire the lie? or do you ignore the lie and hire me?  for who I am?

 

I guess, the big question of the day is, how do I sell you on me, when what you see on that piece of paper isn’t really me?

 

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

Sincerely,

 

ahlterra