Valentine’s on a Day of Tragedy.

 I’m not addressing what happened in Florida even though it feels like I should, but I’d be screaming into the wind and largely preaching to the choir. I’m choosing to put my energy toward what I can do to make change. VOTE. CALL.  Until the lawmakers pull their heads out of their asses and stop accepting NRA money, and actually pass legislation to ban certain types of weapons: until lawmakers stop throwing tons of money at the rich and actually start giving a shit about mental health and health care, nothing will change. They won’t care until we address them directly. 5calls.org. I’m going to use it. THIS is what I can do. 

 

With that being said, S and I had a really amusing exchange of cards last night.

IMG_1133.JPG

Mine is the top card. Often, when this dissonance in card giving occurs, it’s me buying the snark and gifting it to him. heh. 

Building Trust

In a recent stretch appointment, the crap started surfacing again. I’ve been going regularly for about a year and after the initial emotional breakdowns prompting a couple of conversations with Stretch Guy, I've settled into learning to trust him and building my comfort level. A couple of appointments ago, the conversation turned more personal again and he shared more with me about his story.

Feeling understood is something I don't seem to receive very often. Or, I don’t let anyone in close enough (S notwithstanding) to even give them a chance. I keep trying out this vulnerability thing with Stretch Guy and it's a seriously uncomfortable slog. When I pulled back a little, after the couple of conversations we had around my emotional reactions, nothing came up during sessions. This last time, after a couple sessions where I started saying things, feelings rooted in attachment bubbled up, as always really coming up when I’m most vulnerable in the session, the shoulder work. I never feel particularly vulnerable when my arms are free, even if he is all up in my business stretching hips and back. But when arms are bound, I feel completely helpless. In this particular session, there was another stretch that requires him to put himself in a precarious position. It was like one huge trust fall for the last 30 minutes. 

I almost cried. Almost. a little shaking, a few tears in my car, then nothing. It feels like I need to, but it’s not quite there yet. I have such a hard time processing all of this, and several days later I'm trying to work through emotions that came up, a constant stream of thoughts in my head wondering about why I react, how I react, is this ok? Is this what it's supposed to feel like to be vulnerable? How the hell do people do it????

While I wish I could turn off the constant chatter in my head (hi anxiety!), maybe this is just part and parcel of the process? Maybe this whole trust/vulnerability thing takes a hell of a lot longer than I thought. Or hoped. 

On Letting Go of the Color

First, a distinction, gray hair is actually not gray. it's white hair, but it looks gray because some hair with pigment still exists and mixing the two ends up looking gray. 

I finally made the decision to transition from my (now fake) medium-dark brown hair to the silver that it has become under all that dye, money and time.  I first brought it up to my hairdresser when I started to notice that it was more difficult to keep up with the roots. Earlier this year, I started seeing her every 4 weeks because my usual routine of touching up the roots on my own wasn't working anymore. I needed 2 boxes of the root touch-up and it never matched very well. She talked me out of making the transition citing that I'm only 43 and it'll age me 10 years...and I listened. We started a 4 week rotation of color then color and cut. It was working fine, but you know the thing about having 75%+ white hair? It's coarse and wiry, especially because my hair is already coarse. It doesn't act the same as my hair did when it was 50% white.  It's dry all the time and even though I get high quality salon coloring done, there's a tinge of brassiness that develops as the color grows out. I don't like the roots, and I don't like feeling like I'm obviously covering it up. I doubt anyone else notices, but I'm stressing out about my roots, and I'm sure not going to start touching up the roots every 2 weeks! Of all the things that add stress to my life, hair color should not be one of them.

I also had a revelation that, who cares? Who am I really trying to impress? Sure, when I was in my mid-20's and had to start coloring because I was going prematurely gray, it made sense.  And, embracing a perceived aging hair color in my 30's was not even a thought. At this point, having gray hair in my 40's? *shrug* I'm, getting crow's feet, parentheses, furrowed brow and a droopy chin. I take care of my skin through treatments, but I'm not under any illusion that I can possibly turn back the hands of time. When women turn to injectables and Botox, it's so obvious that they are a woman of a certain age who is trying to fight it. No one ever looks 25 again. At some point, the same thing happens with hair. It becomes obvious that the color is fake. I find I'm more interested in working with what I've got vs. fighting it. So, I'll work with it, and if these damn roots are any indication, I've got some pretty cool silver that's about to be unleashed

It's time. 

Wish me luck.

Check back next year to see if I freaked out and dyed it back. 

Update on the Other Half of My Bio-Family

It's been....interesting trying to process this intrusion of sorts on my psyche. To bring you up to speed and understanding, here's the cast of players:

Bio-Dad - died in 2005 from alcoholism. He was about 58 years old if I did the math right. No other kids. One other ex-wife.

Uncle T - died in 2005 8 months after bio-Dad from alcoholism. No kids?

Uncle B - He's the one who called me back in the spring of 2017 at work and exploded my world. No kids, not married.

Uncle J - His wife Aunt L is the one who searched for me and my brother and she found our info. They have one son who has 2 kids about the same ages as mine.  

I finally screwed up the courage to call Aunt L, because Uncle B gave me her cell phone number. She was over the moon excited to hear me and we had a pretty good conversation. Pretty good for me learning that my Uncle J is now battling a life threatening heart disease for which there's no treatment and it's only a matter of time. He's somewhere between 65-70 years old? I also learned that there's more extended family members on that side who have died from alcoholism. 

Do you know what this does? I literally was found, and now am actively losing family. If I don't get out to visit Aunt L and Uncle J, I'll probably never get a real account of the family. Out of the brothers, Uncle J is the one who managed to have a career and a family and not succumb to the disease that apparently rampages through that bloodline. I'm not ready. I was barely ready to call her, and now I feel like the clock is ticking and if Uncle J dies before I travel, I'll regret not meeting him. While I'll probably keep in some kind of contact with Aunt L, it won't be the same. He's my chance to get a first hand account of what it was like growing up in that family and what he did to avoid going down the same path as his brothers.

I can't process. I keep pushing it away.

The Anti-Resolution

I've been thinking a lot about how to approach nutrition and habits given that it's the new year. I always feel like I SHOULD be tracking on MFP. I SHOULD be making sure I eat 120g Protein a day. I SHOULD try a dry month....

SHOULDS make me crazy and feel like a failure. So, for this year, I'm working on changing that mindset more than anything. I've decided to stay the course focusing on eating well, fueling for workouts, and not stressing out about the drinking thing. A couple of recent revelations have steered me in this direction:

1) I've learned that most of my family on my bio dad's side are alcoholics. I am not. I drink more than most people, I guess...but not to excess. I've never felt like I needed to drink in the morning, and I've never been late/missed work/got a DUI because of alcohol. Yeah. I'm fine. I need to stop beating myself up about it.

2) I spent the back half of last year not really tracking, and when I completely fell off the wagon (ahem, Christmas cookies), it was noticeable how crappy I felt. My body tells me when I've had enough, and I need to learn how to listen to it. Obsessive tracking doesn't make me pay attention to how my body feels or is reacting to whatever I'm putting into it.

There you have it. The Anti-Resolution. 

0.5 #NaBloMoPo - Body Image

 

I started this last night...does it still count? 😉

 

It’s hard to be a former dancer and not have body image issues. I obsess over where I carry weight (stomach) and where I don’t (boobs). I obsess over my profile or how plump my cheeks look in pictures. I’ve been doing this since I gained my first 15 lbs in college. Since then I’m up another 15. 

When I gained the initial 15 it wasn’t a big deal because I was underweight to begin with. Over the years after college I gained another 15, then lost it before my wedding and kept it off for a long time. The recent 15 has come from a combination of taking medication that causes weight gain, getting older, not tracking food as closely as I should and muscle development. What I’ve found the past 5 years or so is that it’s really difficult for me to lose weight anymore without being super strict about my diet and instead of doing that, I’ve been trying to focus on the positives. I’m not in a place now where I have the energy to tackle the eating part and I’m already a relatively healthy eater. When I’m ready, it’ll be a long and slow haul as I don’t think I’ll be stopping the cele.xa anytime soon. 

The positives I can see now about my body? I have good muscle development and I’m proportionate upper body to lower body. I can see muscle definition in my shoulders and arms and legs. I’m moving better now than I had been when I was teaching Jazz.ercise. The coaches at the gym know what they’re doing with this program! Mobility in my shoulders, back and hips has improved, which is huge. I haven’t had a major setback for months (also huge), and I can snatch my 30+ lb three year old in one smooth movement to get him on my shoulders. 

That is progress! I work hard getting up early 4 times a week to hit the gym, get my ass handed to me while I’m there and it primes me to make better eating choices throughout the day. I focus on getting enough protein, eating fruits and vegetables (some days better than others) and eating frequently to keep my blood sugar stable throughout the day. 

I’m trying really hard to focus on all the positives at the moment vs. the scale and how I look in the mirror. It’s tough day to day, but I’m getting there.  

FullSizeRender.jpg

0.5 #NaBloPoMo Day 16 - Movies

Both of our kids are finally the age where we can take them to an actual theater for a movie. It's a momentous occasion really, and one I'm excited about. I like going to a movie theater (we hardly ever do) and now I have an excuse to make sure we do every once in a while.

This past weekend we took them to see Co.co. I was excited for this movie because the protagonist looks like my kid and it's all about part of his heritage. (educated guess that he's half Mex.ican and something we'll try find out via genetic testing). I knew there were some trigger-y moments in the film like an overarching thesis that everyone dies and is forgotten. eek. However, I thought that we could work through that.

Helloooo triggers. I estimate I cried for about 1/3-1/2 of the movie, definitely the entire last half hour. The movie is great, I just wasn't prepared for the emotional onslaught of families sticking together no matter what to be so rough. I have my own familial issues, and am struggling with guilt that I cut my parents off emotionally because they'll never be the parents I need them to be. Needless to say, I kind of felt like shit through much of this movie. The other trigger centers around being contacted by my bio-uncle and not knowing how to move forward with that relationship. Six months ago I promised him I'd keep in touch. I have yet to pick up the phone again, although I think about it often. And feel guilty and ashamed that something is stopping me. My immediate family is like the family in the movie where the matriarch runs the show and everyone falls in line. Half of my bio-family is forgotten by order of the matriarch. 

As far as how it affected my kids, I'd say the 3 year old is oblivious and the 6 year old is currently processing. He liked some of it, but it wasn't a rousing LOVED IT even though it's a really good kids movie. X has been curious about other people's stories and we spent a night a couple weeks ago where I told both X and Z their adoption stories and X asked about mine and S's. He's definitely starting to process what "adoption" means. I corrected him when he stated he had been in my tummy (prompting me to pull out a kids adoption book to read), and seemed confused about the situation in general. All we can do is be forthright and talk about it and let him process how he needs to process. 

p.s. totally go see the movie, just bring a box of tissues.

 

0.5 #NaBloPoMo Day 13 - Holiday Cards

How much time do you spend on your holiday cards? Is it a source of stress, or do you enjoy putting the time and effort into making the so-called perfect card to send to friends and family? I ask because I've now spent approximately 4 hours on our holiday card and wonder if I should have bought boxed cards, signed them and called it a day. I started last night around 9:30 or 10:00pm and went to bed at 12:15am after fighting with myself over whether there are any good pictures to put on the card. I have about 1400 pictures from 2017 and I can't find good ones. Talk about stress.

This morning, after my family let me sleep in (thank you!) I was back at it after breakfast. It's now 11am and I finally hit the order button. 

There went the morning....

0.5 #NaBloPoMo Day 12 - When is the Weekend Over?

I really don't know what to write today. I mean, I have ideas, but not the mental capacity to do it. Do you ever get like that? Part of it is that I'm completely drained by the last few days off, and wishing for the days pre-kid when days off where fucking days OFF. Self care during the holidays is really difficult and I've been putting pressure on myself to do more family activities instead of the divide and conquer technique we've been taking. 

Today, we decided to visit a state park for a picnic lunch and some hiking followed by going to see the movie Co.co. The state park visit was frustrating considering that we took the kids hiking when we were in the mountains a few weeks ago and they were gung-ho, but today they were whiny on a simple gravel flat path. We liked the movie and it is gratifying that we could take X to a movie where all the characters look like him. Fair warning though, it is chock full of triggers, especially for adoptees. Abandonment is a running theme along with emphasis on families always being there for one another. I had a feeling that the movie was going to be like that after reading pretty in-depth review, and was ready for the themes, but I wasn't ready for it to trigger me. I needed a box of tissues that I didn't have...

Anyway, tomorrow there may or may not be a family bike ride. Or maybe I'll just get on my bike by myself for a couple hours. *sigh*