Saturday, March 27, 2010

Feelings...nothing but...feeeelings.....

I managed to make it through my birthday this year without any real depression over being a year older. Usually I get a small bout of the moody blues about the time passed and the days wasted and all that. This year just seemed too cool to waste on being grumpy. I got a new (to me) car. I got an awesome short term assignment that paid awesome money. Even the FM seemed to be under control and I really felt like I was managing it and every thing else really well.  That good mood stuck around for about three weeks.

This week, things just sort of fell apart. I missed two days of work and I think that threw my mojo off or something. My sink is no longer shiny. My living room is back to the jungle it was a few weeks ago. The laundry has piled up, once again. Worst of all, I hurt, and I'm tired, and I'm sick, too. Apparently it's a sinus infection because the antibiotics and decongestants that I went to the doctor for seem to be doing something. Well, they are at least reducing the pressure in my head and causing me to cough instead of just lay there and hurt. I suppose that's a good thing.

Not to sound all whiny and stuff, but the FM has decided to take over when I wasn't looking, again. Last night while working at my transcription job, I noticed a tingling in my hands. That is one of the symptoms I've grown used to, and it doesn't really scare me. It serves as a sort of warning sign that other symptoms will probably show up again, too. Sure enough, I woke up today feeling like I was beaten by a baseball bat - from my neck at the base of my skull all the way down to my tail bone. My fingers are not tingling anymore, they are rather numb, which is actually not as comfortable as you would think. Even my elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles have decided to get in on the action so I get to walk around all limpy and stiff. Not a pretty sight, I'm sure.

The part of all this I hate the most is the grumpy, grouchy, self loathing that comes with the pain. I don't know if it is just part of the syndrome or if it is really my brain working in this way, but when I hurt like this, I start to hate. Hate is a pretty powerful word and I don't use it lightly.

When I say I "hate" I mean I start to think about all the things that are keeping me from enjoying my life and my kids and my husband, and I start to hate them. On a normal day, I can be annoyed by all this crap in my life, sometimes I feel good enough to even look at it all objectively. On a day like today, there is nothing objective about it. No matter what I attempt to do otherwise, the words start to run through my head like a stampede of rabid dogs...I hate my life. I hate hurting. I hate being so damn fat. I hate that my kids are out enjoying the gorgeous weather and playing in the dirt and having an awesome day and I am in bed sleeping and missing out on it all. I hate the mess all over the house because I am too tired to pick it up and too lazy to follow after the girls to have them pick it up when they drop it to begin with. I hate that DH is gone all weekend because I miss him so very, very much. I hate that I haven't had alone time with him in weeks because he has been sick and I have been working two jobs. I hate that in spite of loving my job, it will be over on Monday. I hate that because I have worked, LH might lose her SSI benefits and also Medicaid as a back up medical insurance. I hate the pain and the fatigue and numbness and tingling. I hate FM. I hate me.

That sounds like a pity party. If I felt sorry for myself, I might get up and do something about it. I don't feel sorry, I just hate. I don't want to be here, I don't want to get better, I just want to lie down and let the hate wash over me.

Can I pull myself out of this? I should try. I know I should. There are a thousand and one things I have been told to do when this happens. Most of them are things that would make me feel better but I would just feel guilty for spending anything other than hate on myself.

Now wait a minute here! Who's in charge? Hate? I don't think so. Hate is a pretty strong emotion but I don't think it really deserves to run the show. Am I a grown up or a whiny little girl (don't answer that. I'm trying to go somewhere with this...)  Since I just had my 33rd birthday, I guess you can call me an adult now (just not where I can hear it.) I shouldn't have to put up with this adolescent angsty crap. Boo hoo, my life sucks. Whatever. I didn't make it 33 years by laying in bed, did I? (okay, so I did manage to do exactly that for the last five years, but that's not the point.) I certainly don't want to spend the next five years, or even five minutes on this. Hate isn't worth it. Hate doesn't accomplish anything but its own goal, which is to make itself more important than anything else.

Well, I am certainly more important than Hate. All of the ideals I have tried to teach my precious daughters revolve around NOT hating themselves or anyone else. This hypocrisy isn't very becoming. So, what should I do about  it? Well, as a woman the first thing I am inspired to do is to go shopping. That would feel better for a while but I might not feel very good after paying the bills, so lets mark that one off the list. I could go treat myself to something yummy, but that could lead to the dangerous cycle of binge and purge that I need to stay very far away from. Doctors and self-help gurus tell you that taking a walk is a great way to fix your mood but I don't think that is a very good idea. As bad as I feel right now, trying to move will only make me hurt more which will have exactly opposite the effect that I am looking for.

The day is beautiful though, and because of the time change, it will still be light out for a few more hours. I think getting out and about might be a good thing after all. A hot shower to start off with and maybe I can find something to do that is a little bit pampering for me but isn't going to make me feel guilty. Well, there is something I really want to do, but I am nervous about it. On one hand I think it will be so cool, but on the other it will inevitably start a cycle of money spending that I am not sure I am really comfortable with.

It sounds a little scary and daring and silly, but I want to go red.

Specifically, I want to color my hair red. Something eye catching and bright and sexy. Something the exact opposite of dark blonde and blah.

Just thinking about this is getting my heart racing, so maybe it is a better idea than I thought. I need something to pull me out of this funk and everyone knows a new haircut makes you feel good. I need a haircut, regardless since I've managed to grow my hair long enough now that it there is no style left to it. (This happens to us girls with fine hair - we get a nice a hair cut and within 6 weeks, there is no sign left that we have ever been to a stylist in our entire lives.) Why does something so superficial make such a big impact on my mood? I don't know, but it always has.

When I was in high school, my hair was almost down to my waist and I decided to cut it because I needed a change. It was one of those big emotional breakdown things that started with a bad mood and ended up with a 12 inch ponytail on the floor. It was so effective, I have done it a few other times in my life when I needed a change. Going from long hair to short all at once enables me to donate the hair to Locks of Love (check this charity out 'cause they are really cool  - ) so I could feel good about doing it even if I looked like hell after wards. Plus, It was so liberating to be able to make such a big difference but not have to feel awful about it. Hair is not permanent for me. It will (usually) grow back no matter what I do to it.

I've never colored my hair though. I am a natural blonde and always have been. I have always felt blessed that I have been given what so many other women go through so much hassle to get. Now, though, I think it is time for a bit of a change. I found a silver streak in my hair, right where my part is, and not small and tiny. At first I shrugged it off. All of my family has a tendency to gray early. My dad was salt-and-pepper by the time he was 35. My brother got his first gray strands in high school, I think. He is about halfway to full gray and he is just over 30, himself. So, it isn't that I am getting OLD, exactly. It is just another weird family quirk showing up, like how we all tend congregate under smoke alarms when we get together  (I have no clue why but it is true) or how all of us talk with our hands (it's a Cajun thing.) Since I found that first streak about a year go, the white had been showing up an awful lot. It is not extremely obvious yet, unless you know me well, but I know it's there and I think it is taking it's toll on my mood.

Letting my hair go gracefully from blonde to silver would be pretty easy and probably wouldn't be too awful too look at. Maybe a little gray wold give me the look of maturity that is so hard for me to achieve professionally (4'11" doesn't usually look like a boss, even in heels and a suit.) On the other hand, why shouldn't I take this as a cue to shake things up a little. It's obvious I want and need to change a little something. There are a lot of things I need to change, but Big Change doesn't happen all at once, it is made up of a bunch of Small Changes. Perhaps a new style will snap me out of the Oh Poor Me and push me over the edge to Oh Wow! If I have learned anything about myself over the past few years it's that my mood affects everything  - including my physical state. Being happy hurts less.

But, what if I go and make this change and I look like a circus clown? What if I go somewhere and they charge me hundreds of dollars and I still don't like it? What if I choose the wrong color or I can't keep it colored on my own and I get those ugly roots that scream "Trashy, frumpy, careless!" These are serious issues for me. The idea that I could make a bad decision that would affect my appearance for MONTHS actually paralyzes me for a minute. A bad haircut can make as big an impact as a good one. When I was pregnant with LH, I got a short haircut with bangs. The next week, I took my niece, who was 6 months old, shopping with me. I had someone close a door in my face, thinking I was 12 years old, and pregnant, and already with a baby.  THAT'S what a bad haircut can do for you.

I have been told that hate is not the opposite of love. Fear is. I have also been told that, at the root, hate IS fear. So, maybe all of this hate I am trying to rid myself of is really fear. Fear of inadequacy, failure, disappointment. I am even afraid of success because I am afraid that I can't sustain it and then I will fail and feel even worse than if I have never tried to succeed.

Well, I think it's time to combat my fear. It isn't doing me any good obviously. I should step out boldly, or at least baby-step boldly, forward. That is what I should do. Yes, sir. Moving forward is a good thing. I should really do it. The sooner the better. Without fear and with confidence. I really should.

Why am I still sitting here...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Not-So-Much-Of-A-Break

Wow, I need to stop posting blogs after taking Ambien...It's just a little to weird to wake up and read something you don't remember writing, and then find it has been posted to the Universe. Ugh.

Anyway, this past week was Spring Break around here. I used to love Spring Break as a kid. I never did anything or went anywhere, but I loved the whole idea of a week off for no other reason than to have fun and relax. Of course, I was used to being home with my siblings while my parents went to work during summer and holidays. I was given a lot more freedom than I give my own kids. I was able to walk to visit friends and have sleepovers during that week. I wasn't totally stuck at home like my kids are.

I feel a little sorry for them, but only just. This is the first year of them not going to a daycare while I worked so things are a little bit new for them. I did let them sleep in, and watch TV all day, and build forts in the living room, so I haven't been a totally un-cool mom. They also got to spend Friday morning with DH eating breakfast at McD's, having lunch at Braum's with WP, and having Chili's brought in for dinner. Yeah, life can be pretty tough for my girls.

To tell you the truth, the past three weeks have been some of the best I can remember in years. Aside from feeling like a cow in a tutu, I have been in a remarkably good mood. Physically, I have been able to cope with the pain and fatigue very well. Emotionally, I have been happy and even positive most of the time. Of course, when Momma's happy, everyone's happy. Or at least they better be, because if you ruin my good mood you are in serious trouble, mister!

It started back on my birthday on the 3rd. I normally kind of skip birthdays because, well, they really aren't a big enough deal to pay much attention to. Most of my life I have had pretty quiet birthdays and I'm pretty used to it. My birthday happens right around tax season, so we usually have just received a tax return and it has usually been used to pay bills so there isn't much money to throw around. Plus, Valentine's day was two weeks before, and Christmas was only two months before, so it isn't as if I am feeling neglected for want of presents recently. If people decide to do something nice like give me a card, or take me to an awesome sushi lunch (Thanks, BB!) I certainly wouldn't complain. I just don't feel like I need to go out of my way to make sure people know about it and then demand that they do something about it.

This year was a little different. I have looked forward to my 33rd birthday all my life with a bit of excitement. My 13th birthday was the last time I actually had a birthday party. 16 and 18 were pretty much non-events, 21 was spent at home with my baby, and I actually skipped over my 30th without any fanfare whatsoever. I was cool with that. But, The number 3 has always been lucky (or at least important) in my life and so I guess something in my mind felt that being 33 would be fortuitous. Besides, my birthday is on MARCH 3.So, turning 33 on 3/3 has to be a cool thing, right?

I didn't actually have any plans made, but by the time the day actually got there, everything seemed to fall into place and be awesome. My mom sent me some birthday cash and I had the morning to myself so I spent it all on me by buying myself a new purse - which is way nicer than I normally allow myself to buy AND it wasn't on the clearance rack either! (I felt so defiantly elated paying full price for something!) I was taken to lunch by a very good friend, and I was taken to dinner by DH. My kids made me cards and LH even baked me a cake while I was at dinner so it was waiting for me when I got back home (even though they were already in bed!) 33 was already better than the last five years put together. But, the best was yet to come.

The very next day, I made a call to a dealership to inquire about a car I saw. We've been "in the market" for several months, but money and desire never seem to happen at the same time. Somehow, the stars aligned perfectly, though and I drove my new car home that evening. I seriously wanted to pinch myself. We have been a one car family and just barely getting by for so long that I had given up hopes of getting anything other than a clunker. What I have now is a beautiful, silver, Kia Spectra5, slightly used, but in incredibly good shape and with relatively low miles already. I have 3 year warranty on it, plus free maintenance and a whole host of other cool stuff. The best part? It's in MY name. DH is only the co-signer! I know it is silly to make a big deal about it since we share everything anyway. It's just awesome to see that title with MY name on the "owner" line. It positively gives me goosebumps.

So, now that we have a new, and specifically second, car in the family, I have all these freedoms I haven't enjoyed in years. I have the days to myself to take care of business without having to drive DH back and forth from work. Dinner can be made before 8:00 in the evening. Also, when DH has to take the can to go out of town to be all Boy Scouty and stuff, I have a vehicle at home to do what needs to be done. I even made it to at least one of the open houses for the girls without having to call up the In Laws for a ride. Most importantly, I have the ability to actually try for some of the jobs that I keep passing over because they are too far or the hours don't coincide with DH's or the In-Laws.

Apparently, the realization of that was enough to get me moving in the right direction because I hadn't even applied for any jobs yet when I was called to start a temp assignment THE VERY NEXT MORNING. I was able to accept it without pause - and with much joy because the pay is more than twice what I normally make. The assignment turned out to be one of those dream-come-true sorts of situations. The company is awesome. The office is quiet but friendly. The co-workers are pleasant and courteous and there isn't a lot of loud grouchy complaining that sometimes runs rampant in the cube farms. The tasks I am given are even the sorts of things that I do well and I enjoy. It seems like these people know what all my strengths are and they are capitalizing on them at every turn. Even the weather cooperated and the girls were able to walk home from school in warm sunshine all week and they didn't even complain about it - not even LH.

They manager asks me to come back for another week and I am so jazzed about it I can hardly be professional. The assignment is not temp-to-perm or even long-term so every day they ask me to come back is just bonus coolness in my book. If any of you are the praying type, please say a word to the Big Man for me? I love this job and this company so much. I know there technically isn't a position available but I am humbly asking for a miracle here. If there is any way I an stay on with these people permanently, I would be willing to do it because they are that cool and (of course) the money is that good, too.

Now, there were a few thorns in my bouquet of roses, just to remind me that life isn't all sweet-smelling and stuff. I still have to deal with pain and fatigue on a daily basis. That first week, I was so drained by the time I came home, that I crashed as soon as I walked in the door most nights. That weekend after, I had agreed to host a mini family reunion by way of a crawfish boil, and by Friday evening I was feeling very panicky while looking around at the disaster that had become my house. It was only the generosity of sister #1 that got the house cleaned in time for the party, which was a complete success, by the way. I don't ask for help like that very often, but I swallowed my pride after looking in the kitchen and then realizing I was 24 hours away from attempting to cook for and entertain more than 25 people. After everyone had left and the last crawfish shells had been cleaned up, I still had another week of work to look forward to.

The second week I felt a lot less tired and I was dealing with the pain pretty well. The issue now was that it was Spring Break for the girls. Remember what I said earlier about them being stuck in the house all week? Yeah...that kind of sucked. LH was in charge of TD and EG during the day and I will say that she tried very hard to be a good sitter and did her best to keep things running smoothly. The littler ones weren't having any of the "get along and be nice" stuff, though. I was called on my cell phone at least once a day (sometimes more) because someone hit someone else, or everyone was fighting over which movie to watch, or EG (usually) was being a major pain and throwing an out-and-out screaming fit. (EG gets the Evil part of her name for a good reason.) With DH working in a call center and unable to take calls at work at all, it was left to me to try and referee this catastrophe over the phone while trying to appear like I am working and not juggling psycho children who can't get along with each other.

Somehow, they all survived the week. (LH insists it's because they couldn't figure out how to use the lighter to actually burn down the house.) Then, Friday I was hit with the worst migraine I have had in, literally, a year. I had a major Go ME! moment when I realized that before, I would have called in sick or gone home early when dealing with that sort of thing. This time, I stuck it out all day - without mentioning anything to my boss and without screwing anything major up (or throwing up on my desk.) I did pick up my migraine arrest meds from the pharmacy on the way home (and took them before I even left the store!) but I survived the day and was asked to come back on Monday again.

Right now, I am tired but happy about how positive and productive I have been for the last two weeks. Seeing my first paycheck yesterday certainly helped out with that. I have had a few moments where things got to be way too much to handle (like during my last post, for instance) and my brain decided to shut down all sensible and sane activity. What made these weeks different is that my whole family pitched in and helped and didn't complain about it. LH made dinner one night, TD made it another (at 8 years old, this was quite an accomplishment for her!) Other nights I gave in an ordered something to be delivered or bought fast food. (I know, it wasn't in my budget or my "plan" but since I didn't go shopping for dinner things either, it mostly balanced out.) Shockingly, the girls became amazing little housekeepers in spite of their arguing and I came home to a (mostly) clean house every night. I still had to call in the cavalry this weekend to get caught up on the dishes, but I refuse to beat myself up about that. (WP earned his title Wonderful Poppa three times over on Friday alone!)

Looking forward to next week, I have a lot to do and a lot of preparations to make to ensure things run a bit more smoothly than they have been. Thank goodness school is back in session so the time the kids are actually left alone to their own devices will be short and confined to my least productive part of the work day. All the little things that I usually try to get done during the week have all been put off so I have a To Do List a mile long for tomorrow. Ensuring that food is in the fridge and dinners are planned is the highest priority I have, with tackling Mt.Washmore a very close second. I am used to all that, though, so I shouldn't have too much trouble with it, as long as I can stay awake to do it.

So, I am off to get a good's night rest now. Please, Lord, let next week be as cool as the last two weeks have been (minus the death threats between all three sisters.)

Deb "All Moms are Working Moms" Lollar

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Weighty Issues

First, I want to apologize for not posting more regularly. I've been working a full time job, you see, and I don't have my days to myself right now. As much as I would like to continue making money (and good money, at that!) this particular assignment does not appear to be long term, so I will most likely be back to blogging semi-daily in the next week or so. I've actually started three different posts, but my perfectionism rears it's ugly head every time I try to post something without spending an adequate amount of time editing. So, they will sit in in my "editing" folder for a while longer.

Second, the reason for my post today - Some of you don't know this about me (because you haven't seen me recently, or whatever) but I am more than 60 pounds overweight. With a height of only 4'11", each extra pound I carry shows more and causes more problems for me than it would on someone a foot taller, or even a woman of average height. I hate looking this way and I hate feeling this way. Physically, I hurt more and have less energy that I have had in my entire life. My joints have ached, especially my knees and back, since high school because I was just born that way, but the extra pounds make this ache more of an un-ignorable pain. I won't even get into the discussion of how the extra weight is contributing to higher blood sugar and probably all my other physical ailments. I know what all this is doing to me. And, yes, I do care. Quite a bit actually.

For one thing, being short and round makes it difficult to find clothes that fit, let alone that are flattering. I have a rather extensive "personality" (40DD) and that adds pounds as well as size. I actually have to shop in a plus size store, but I can only wear petite sizes. So I wear clothes that are increasingly wider but are still shorter than average. All it does is make me appear more and more like a bowling ball.  I have bags and bags of clothes that I love, but are too small. I hang on to them in the hopes that I will need them again one day, but they are still collecting dust season after season. (In my defense, I have been in situations where I both lost and gained so much so quickly that I had nothing to wear, so I mostly keeping them in an attempt to save money somewhere down the line.) Even my shoes don't fit right right. Any dress shoes with more than a 1" heel are sheer torture but anything less than 1 1/2" makes me look frumpy. The only comfy shoes I can find are sneakers and I "run" through a pair roughly every 3 months.

For another thing, I don't look like myself when I look in the mirror. I have always had a squarish face with baby fat looking cheeks, so my face hasn't changed much. The rest of me has, however. I can deal with larger hips and chest from having (and nursing) three babies. I can deal with a "smiley face" scar across my belly from two c-sections. I can even deal with the stretch marks and scars. I can't deal with the fat. I hate being so fat that my bra straps cut into my shoulders and back. I am disgusted at the way my bottom moves when I walk because it is so much bigger than it should be. I am embarrassed at my arms and how big they look in short sleeves. I want to vomit when I see my self in just my undies (I don't look at myself naked anymore.) Being this fat takes its toll on everything in my life from the way I move to how confident I feel. I have tried new hairstyles, different make-up looks, accessorizing with fancy jewelery, and every other way you can think of to help me, maybe, stop hating the way I look just a little bit. I've read books, taken yoga classes, tried meditation, vitamins, diets, even prescription medications, all to try and get rid of a few pounds here and there. Of course, like any healthy person will tell you, it isn't a diet that I need. It is a lifestyle of healthy food and rigorous exercise that will keep my body fit and my life happy.

I am a perfect example of American society. I am considered obese by the doctor's standards, but  I have yet to make any real progress in changing it. I know nutritionally what and how much I should eat, drink, and exercise but I can't really say that I actually follow those guidelines. I have managed to control my food in the past with some success. For eight months I meticulously recorded and calculated everything I ate and drank. I kept my calories below 1200 and my total fat intake less than 40g per day. I was the smallest I have been since high school and I felt awesome. I did it by becoming, not just aware, but nearly obsessed with everything I ate. Then, I got married and had baby #2. With LH in heart surgery and then a month of recovery and TD only 8 weeks old, I had less time for obsessing over myself. I actually stopped taking care of myself almost entirely. The backlash from that is what I am dealing with today - too much weight and a host of medical issues to go with it.

 I can honestly say that most of the extra pounds came from being sick and being treated for those illnesses. It started with an anti-depressant after TD was born. That was the first five pounds. Then came the headaches and the multiple medications to attempt to treat them. More anti-depressants, and then anti-seizure meds, sedatives, even anti-psychotics. Each of them came with their own side effects and also with many extra pounds. At one point, I gained 40 pounds in just over three months. (My hair also started to fall out and I was unable to remember what I had for breakfast by the time lunch was over. I didn't like that medication very much.) I also had EG, had my gall bladder removed, then broke my ankle, then got fired - several times. Stress does really nasty things to your moods and your metabolism. Some drugs did make me lose a few pounds, although it was a shockingly small amount when compared with the amount that others had made me gain. A lot of them just made me very, very tired. So, I slept, and managed to stay awake to eat meals with my family, and then slept some more.

Maybe I have the "Oh, poor me" complex going here. It does sound a bit like I am pushing the blame off on the meds or the doctors. I have a dirty little secret about that though. I don't really believe it. I think that it is my fault I gained the weight. I have so little self control and motivation that I have eaten and sat myself into this situation. I get cravings for sweet things and I give in - even if I know I don't need it or that my blood sugar is already high. I have a terrible caffeine and cola addiction and, in spite of the added calories, I drink an average of three a day and I refuse to switch to diet drinks. (Believe it or not, my twisted brain sees diet drinks as unhealthy and potentially poisonous from all the artificial sweeteners.) I eat ice cream and cookies and even candy if it is around, even though I swear I hate it and I don't really like chocolate. There is a terrible disconnect between what is real and what my brain thinks is real.

Think this sounds harsh? I do to. It sounds a whole lot like I am mentally beating myself up for all the extra weight which makes me feel guilty and ugly, so I turn to yummy foods to make me feel better, and that makes the problem - and the guilt worse - and so on. That is an eating disorder based around overeating and emotional eating. People like me end up on reality TV shows. How is it that I know what the problem is but I don't fix it? How can an intelligent and educated person, such as myself, fall into a trap that I can even identify and describe? The answer to THAT question is way more painful than it should be.

Eating disorders affect 1 in 10 Americans. 25% of those are women in their 30's, like me. That makes it sound like someone just rolls out of bed one day and decides to puke up their food suddenly. It doesn't happen like that. It starts with ugly words thrown at you from people who are angry, or jealous, or just plain mean. Or, it might be a comment from someone you love that is said at a time when you are especially vulnerable. Maybe the hateful words are heard only in your head because of a warped sense of comparison between you and the outside, media filled world. No one (decent anyway) would call someone a name with the sole intent of causing that person so much pain that they refuse to eat more than a few handfuls of food a day or that they drown their sorrows in several dozen donuts, but it happens every day. Again, there is a disconnect in the mind between what is real and what is perceived.

Would I dare put myself in the same category with those (mostly) women who are anorexic or bulimic? How can I even consider that when I am way too fat, not way too skinny? The root of it all is the same, though. Whether it manifests itself in food denial, binging and purging, or just binging they are all the same -  hateful thoughts turn to actions as a way to punish your body because it isn't the way you want it to be. Do you think that having a cookie when you are depressed is so different? It's not. It seems backwards, but the same cookie that makes you feel better makes you feel fat which makes you feel depressed which makes you think that just one more cookie would taste good even though you aren't really hungry.

Sometimes the weight loss is needed to begin with. Maybe losing a few pounds would be good for you. The line gets crossed when you continue to need to lose "just another few pounds" even after you weigh less than is healthy or even when you abuse yourself for NOT losing that first five pounds. Losing weight to the extreme is hard. It takes dedication and there is a sense of victory when you can overcome your desire for food. The more weight you lose, the harder it is to lose more, but the sense of accomplishment is greater and greater. Gaining weight to the extreme is much easier. In this society, all you have to do is eat what is put in front of you - all the time. And clean your plate. And have dessert because you were good and ate all your dinner. And reward yourself because you had a good day, or a hard day, or a blah day, or whatever. The slope is very slippery.

My other little secret? I envy the people that have the strength to deny themselves food when they are hungry. I see ridiculously skinny people and I wish I could be like them. I consider throwing up my food when I overeat. I  watched a news special about women who are anorexic. They point of the report was to talk about how awful it is ti go through it all, but all I kept thinking was that I wanted to BE her. I guess feel that I already have an eating disorder. Why no switch it to one that makes me skinny instead of fat?

Deb Lollar

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Midnight Writer

I'm up at 4:00 in the morning.partly because I have a cold and partly because the sleeping drugs wore off. My brain is already awake in any case. At least I can write in peace right now!

The past week has been completely amazing. On March 3rd, I turned 33. I had an amazing birthday from start to finish. Excellent lunch and dinner and cool presents from DH. It was just what I needed. The next day I went car shopping. DH and I decided that a second car was both financially sound and extremely necessary. I left the dealership that evening with my sparkly new Kelly. She is a Kia Spectra5 and although she has been owned before, I am certain she was loved before. She is the perfect car for me right now and I couldn't be happier or more thankful.

I prayed with all my heart that God would help me make the most of the situation. My health is stabilizing and I am getting stronger everyday again. Now I have the ability to go where I need to go without working around DH's schedule. I know in my heart that this is the beginning of a new stage in our lives.

Monday afternoon, I get a call from the temp agency I have been dealing with. They have an assignment for me. No interview, just start working there tomorrow, she said. The job description is perfect for me, and the pay is roughly twice what I have been making for the past three years. I can deal with that.

This morning I showed up and did my job and everything was smooth. The people are awesome and the job duties, so far, are all the things I excel at. The assignment might only last two weeks, but it will sure be two week I will enjoy and be thankful for.

The full day of working wears me out, still. I had to nap after work in order the have the energy to finish out the day. DH was my hero tonight and took the girls out with him for a few minutes and came back with dinner. He always knows just what to do.

Tomorrow is Day 2 and I hope it will be as good as Day 1. In spite of my fears and self esteem, I think it will be.

Now, the midnight writer has decided to let me be and I will go back to bed to attempt to sleep for the next 1 1/2 hours until the alarm clock goes off.

Good night!
Debbie "Nightowl" Lollar

Friday, March 5, 2010

Writers and Teachers Block

I haven't finished a post in about a week. That's kind of a long time for me. I write almost every day and when I'm not writing (or mommy-ing) I am reading. The past week has been a little tough for me in the writing department. With WP out of the house I have to do a lot more driving, which leads to less time writing (although I spend more time thinking.) What has happened is that I am not in front of my darling laptop when I want to be writing and I can't get to writing much when I am sitting down. This is driving me insane. Or maybe, it is returning me to insane. Since I started releasing my inspirations about two months ago, I have felt so much better inside and out. My thoughts are clearer, my focus is better, and I have a better grip on the roller coaster inside my head. I never knew how beneficial writing would be to my overall well being. Every day I don't write seems to stack up on each other until I am able to release it all.

What occurred to me is maybe this means I am finding my calling. I never knew that I wanted to be a writer, at least not seriously. I had a great time in school with essay and creative writing assignments, but no one ever approached me to say, "You should really write more!" It never occurred to me that it could be something other than a school assignment. But, the joy, release, and therapy I have felt through writing has been a wonderful inspiration to keep on doing it. So, I guess am facing a decision that a lot of people do, I think I might be facing it a little later in life than others, though. I am trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

For a long time, I wanted to be a teacher. In the past year, I realize I might not be cut out for that. I love kids and I don't even mind other people's kids all that much, but when I am forced to raise stranger's kids (past the toddler age, anyway) I don't have a lot of patience. With my kids and my close friends' children, I know where they come from. For the most part, I know what their home life is like and I know that when they are left in my care I can treat them fairly and enforce boundaries that are necessary to proper development. In a school situation, I would be given a room full of strangers at least once a year. I have to follow strict guidelines and restrictions. In fact one of the reasons I decided against teaching as a profession is because some of those restrictions.

Don't get me wrong, I know why the limits are there and I support them -for the protection of our children. My own children are in the public school system and they have also been in a handful of daycare schools around the area. I have seen first hand what happens when those limits and rules are ignored or broken. My heart breaks to know that some of the teachers I have met are still in contact with children every day.

I will say that 90% of teachers are awesome, hardworking, intelligent, caring, resourceful, overworked, and underpaid. I have many personal friends who teach and I would be honored to have them teach one of my children. I can't count the dozens of wonderful teachers who have helped inspire and teach my girls over the last 8 years. I have plenty of teachers on my own list of People Who Inspire Me to be a Better Person.

Unfortunately, there is a breakdown somewhere in the teaching system that troubles me. There is a theory called The 10%. It says that 10% of the population make up the collective attitude and create the public opinion of that group. Most often, the 10% is far more negative than the other 90%. It is that 10% that frightens me. I don't want to get mixed in with the wrong crowd, I guess. The minds and emotional well being of our children is too fragile and important to leave to anyone but the best. I am concerned that I would not be able to BE the best.

Politics (inside and outside a school), government policies (that mean well but don't DO well), and just plain mean spirited pettiness get in the way of a proper teaching environment. There is no fool proof way to make sure that every teacher is good for students. Plus, "good" is kind of objective. What might work in one situation would be considered lax in another. What one teacher considers "firm" or "consistent" might be considered cruel to the students or their families. Again, I am not saying that I have no faith in teachers or the public (or private) school system. I have just personally experienced situations that I thought were extreme enough to warrant the removal of a particular member of staff. As a parent or student, I might have been able to do something. As a fellow teacher, I was not.

Here are a few examples to let you know what I mean:

My first Kindergarten teacher called me derogatory names in front of the classroom for being "too smart" and then lied about it in front of the principal and my parents. She was bigoted and racist in her words and her actions. I was able to read at a 3rd grade level entering in to Kindergarten and she felt that I was a show off for it. Plus, I was the only white girl in the class and she didn't like that either. The only white boy in the class was treated very similarly. By the end of the first semester, my mother really started to believe the stories I told her in the afternoons about how the teacher was treating me. Things like stating to the whole room, "I can't wait until you leave this class." Thankfully, my parents believed me, and so did the principal when, during the Parent, Teacher, Principal conference, the lady had the nerve to grab my shoulder and squeeze it every time I was asked a question that she didn't want me to answer. I was pulled from her class. Actually, I was pulled entirely from school until I was able to relocate to a different area. That story had a happy ending for me, but the teacher was not fired. She was moved up to third grade where, I guess, her student would be able to tolerate being called names and segregated by race inside the classroom.

There was LH's 4th grade teacher who decided that asking questions was a cause to deduct conduct points. So was asking to go to the bathroom. She also felt that the class needed a scapegoat, so she often had LH clean out her desk and if any overdue papers were found, the rest of the class had to clean out their desks too. Remember, she was 9 years old and she has a MEDICAL CONDITION which causes her (among other things) to frequently need to go to the bathroom. She also has ADD one the lower end of the spectrum, to be sure, but it is still enough that she needs a little bit more guidance than the other kids. By the end of the year, all of her grades had slipped from straight A's to mostly C's. She also stopped asking to go to the bathroom at school and instead came home wet every day. She was so emotionally beat down from being singled out and excluded, I didn't even recognize her. I had no idea what the problem was, either, because LH was too embarrassed to tell me. By the time she DID tell me, the school year was over and and the teacher had transferred to another school district. Again, she is out there somewhere terrorizing children in the name of education.

The scariest example of People Who Should NOT Be Around Kids was the owner of a daycare where I worked and my kids attended. At first, I felt the job was a labor of love. The school was known for taking the behavioral issues that were kicked out of all the other schools in the area. They also undercut the other schools' tuition by a long shot. The school was filled with mostly low income families and children with emotional and social difficulties. There was also A LOT of students - almost 200 school age students and only about  When a student was especially poor behaved (usually to the point where another child was injured) they were sent upstairs to the office of the owner - alone. There were no cameras there like there were in the rest of the facility. I can't say I know what happened when a child was sent up there, and wouldn't dare accuse someone of doing something I couldn't prove. The kids never said anything one way or the other about him. I know from dealing with him personally, though, that he bordered on being a religious fanatic and that he made a habit of employing single mothers who had no where else to turn. He used his position as their boss to create a dependent situation where he wormed his way into every part of their lives he was able to. As soon as I saw what was going on, I tried to leave and the speech I got scared me to the bone. Some of the things he said to me were, "You are on the wrong path because you are not successful. If you are following your husband's lead, you are obviously on the wrong road. You should be following my lead, instead. I am loyal to my friends and I treat them like family. If someone tries to come between me and my family, I will cut them down with my sword."

Yeah, I quit that afternoon.

These situations left such a bad taste for me that I really don't want to venture into that world again. It wasn't just the other people, it was how I felt having to deal with them. I know me. I would rather use my talents in other ways. Maybe someday it will be in a way that I can actually get paid for!

- Deb "The Un-teacher" Lollar