Archive | September 2015

Getting Through The Blahs…

stock-photo-woman-looking-through-the-old-window-on-the-garden-or-forest-in-the-countryside-black-and-white-211654111I hate feeling the blahs. I really do and I can feel myself slipping into a pretty decent case of them. It’s hard to say what brings them on too. Sometimes they come as a let down after a big event such as a major holiday or winning a scholarship based on an essay you poured your heart and soul into. Sometimes it’s almost a self-defense mechanism. No, wait, sometimes it comes as a distractive mini-funk in anticipation of  a change or task I’m supposed to be accomplishing. A change like figuring out where to start looking for a new job or career, getting my resume together, sending out the resume and posting it on job websites. Those are still relevant right, job websites? Shit.

Oh and speaking of shit, my hair looks like it! Seriously. It’s well past time for a touch-up because my ponytail is looking wild, woolly and bumpy. The longer I put THAT off, the worse it looks and feels. I have to stop scratching my itchy scalp for at least a week first. It’s a black thing that non-African-Americans don’t have to worry about or understand.

My 30,000-mile tune-up is due, overdue on my car and I’m still recovering financially from moving two and half months ago. I have not written my amends letter to a family member that I said I’d write many, many times before. I told my spiritual advisor I’d write it last night so I could read it to her before the end of the week.

I’m not cooking as much as I want and need to for my health and current busy lifestyle. So you know what that means? Giving in to Baby Bub when she calls to ask me to stop at Wendy’s on the way home. She’ll pay me back Friday (her payday and a week from mine). I was tired and hungry, almost hitting town. I’d just been to National University’s library with my angel friend Paulie, getting pointers on how to present and punch up a resume. I caved, stopped at Wendy’s and bought food for her and myself, of course. Now I’m sitting here feeling overly full and bloated.

DAMN… This IS a pretty decent case of the blahs. Now in the past, feeling this way would be a precursor to a major depressive episode. Today, though, I know it’s just my head running against me. So I took a little break and I called my girl, Dawny. I spewed all the icky stuff from my blog, remember she’s my sounding board, and some stuff I’m not ready to face in the blogosphere. I got a much-needed reality check. I’m not giving myself enough credit and beating myself up at the same time.

I also figured out a few other things that might be impeding my usual stellar life coping skills. My yoga class was cancelled last night and my last two appointments with my therapist have been three weeks apart instead of every other week! Missing yoga class is showing just how important its become to my self-care. My therapist had a couple of personal life events come up that fell on the day of the week that we meet. So I’ve decided to give myself a break. I can’t get all of that shit I wrote about at the beginning done tonight anyway! 20150916_205323

 

 

 

I am going to tackle my hair tonight, though. If you don’t believe how bad it looks, check it out. And I will get to the other things as well. Probably not as quickly as my head tells me I should, but they will get done. I am willing to do the footwork and leave the results to my Higher Power. I already have a dinner date to COOK meatloaf and rice tomorrow night. Dawny is bringing the veggies for steaming. So there, take that you silly, impatient and belittling voice in my head. The voice of my blahs.

Lastly, I want to leave you all with a meme that nearly brought tears to my eyes when I came across it today. It’s from Sweatpants And Coffee on Facebook. It’s a phenomenal page. Check them out at the link below if you are so inclined!

 

 

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https://www.facebook.com/SweatpantsAndCoffee?fref=photo&sk=photos

This entry was posted on September 17, 2015. 1 Comment

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

rumi-405782__180Since I am now a few days from the extreme feelings of the past week I think I can write about it and convey all of the emotionally moving pieces involved. First I want to make those aware who may not know that my extreme disappointment I wrote about in this past Thursday morning’s blog “Dealing… Because Life Goes On Ya Know?” was apparently unfounded. The winner had not been announced as I previously thought! Jennifer Pastiloff, the woman who’s website offered the scholarship and also who runs the retreats, posted on Facebook late Thursday morning that she had more anonymous donors step up and she now had THREE scholarships to offer for her Yoga/Writers Retreat in Vermont next month. She stated there were 70 essays to review and choose three winners from, so she and her editors would be busy reading.  My hope was restored that I could be one of the chosen three scholarship recipients and I went about my work day. Right before 4 pm when my workday was winding down I noticed a private message notification was flashing on my phone. I picked it up and there was a pm from Jennifer Pastiloff!

I gave an astonished gasp as I clicked on Facebook messenger with my heart pounding and hands shaking. My co-worker in my cubicle square was concerned and asked me what was happening. I couldn’t tell her because I didn’t know yet, but I told her I was checking on a private message from the woman offering scholarships to the Yoga/Writers Retreat. Jennifer’s message asked, “Do you live in Cali?”. I replied, “yes I do”. She replied, “Ok listen up. You’re coming to my New Years retreat. Can you? Your essay is amazing and your friends wrote in on your behalf.”  I couldn’t seem to process what I was seeing for many reasons: (1) The retreat I wrote the essay for was in Vermont next month in October, (2) she said my essay was amazing, and (3) my FRIENDS wrote in on my behalf. My mind was still confused about what was happening, what she was saying. Now I was crying and my whole body was shaking. We started typing over each other (something I normally despise about messenger and texting). I replied: “where is it? In Cali?” (meaning the New Years retreat). She replied: “your one of the ones I want”. I replied: “Oh My GOD JENN!!!” She replied: “I decided to give away a New Years spot and realized it would be easier to get there. It’s over $800 to fly to Vermont.” I was still confused so I replied: “I want to come. Which one? New Years?” She replied “Ojai is a drive.”

It finally clicked for me. She was offering me a scholarship to her New Years Manifestation Yoga Retreat in Ojai CALIFORNIA! It seems she was so blown away by all the essays submitted that in addition to awarding 3 spots for the Vermont retreat, she decided to offer one to her New Years retreat in Ojai. The website was always clear that the scholarship did not cover the cost for transportation and she knew the airfare to Vermont from Cali was over $800, but the Ojai retreat was one I could drive to. I managed to type “YES YES YES TO OJAI!” (It’s a Pastiloff thing, what are you saying yes to in your life). I also typed “I LOVE YOU SOOO MUCH! THANK YOU, THANK YOU.” She replied: “look at that. I love you.”

That’s when I lost it at work. I was laughing, crying and shaking. Eventually, I calmed down. I finished up at work and when I got into my car to check my phone, Jenn had posted a public announcement on Facebook about me winning the Ojai New Years Retreat, about how my friends, unbeknownst to me, wrote in on my behalf and that she would be publishing my essay soon. Since I was tagged in her post, all of my friends and family saw it as well. Plus Jennifer’s community of beauty hunting tribe. They all sent messages of congratulations and encouragement. This was the first and biggest emotionally moving piece. Oh but wait, there were a few more.

I figured out at least one of my friends who had contacted Jenn because she is my personal sounding board when I’m unsure about my blogs. I’d read my essay to her and she loved it. I called her on the way home to tell her I’d won and how I found out. Then I asked her about writing into Jenn on my behalf. She confessed that she was one of the friends. She had no idea there was someone else. But here’s the kicker. I started my essay Sunday, Sept. 6th, finished it Monday, Sept. 7th and submitted it Tuesday, Sept. 8th. The deadline for submission was Sept. 9th. My friend sent her email into Jennifer Pastiloff on August 25th, the day it was announced on Facebook. A full two weeks before I started my essay, before knowing if I’d even submit one. Her faith and love in me and my writing stunned and touched me. stock-photo-group-of-friends-standing-by-car-on-coastal-road-at-sunset-275521547

I went into work the next day Friday flying  high. Other co-workers were slowly finding out about my scholarship and they were happy for me. I was heading upstairs to the breakroom with a very good friend at work Lydia. We ran into another friend Corie, who had seen the Facebook announcement yesterday and congratulated me on there. But she mentioned it again face to face. She looked at Lydia and confessed they had already planned to collect money and fundraise among my office friends to help pay for my airfare to Vermont. They’d approached everyone earlier in the week before any winners were announced.  I was stunned once again. However, since it’s in Ojai California where I can drive, there was no need. I wondered, how much can a heart and soul take of such love, faith, and support?

 

Friday afternoon I received a private message of another sort. My second cousin, the granddaughter of one of my aunts referred to in my blog “The Queens From Whence I Came” had devastating news. One of my beloved Queens was given a horrible prognosis about her health. Something malignant that had spread and is incurable. Once again I was having trouble processing what I was seeing, but my body knew. My eyes started tearing up and my heart started racing. FUCK is what I wrote in response. Then I asked if there was anything I could do and tried to provide some words meant for comfort and support for my young cousin. Speaking to the joy she brings just being herself, as an extension of her mom (my first cousin) and her Grandmom.  My emotions took a nose dive for the rest of the work day. So much so that 20 minutes before my shift was over, I had to get away from my desk and cubicle. I went over to the far wall where two lovely co-workers sit without a surrounding cubicle, but it is walled from the rest of the department. It was quiet because the supervisor on that end and many of the co-workers leave at 3:30 pm. I sat down on the floor next to one of their desks and told them I just needed a quiet, safe place to breath. They paused and let me do that. Then I told them about my aunt’s prognosis. And the big bang of finding this news out on the heels of winning an essay scholarship. They were so kind and compassionate that I ended up talking about many things concerning my divine path in life of late. They both came over to hug me and encourage me.

 

Friday evening I stopped by my friend Dawny’s house to read the email she sent to Jennifer Pastiloff way back when the scholarship contest was first announced. It was beautiful and amazing. She starts out saying she is not a writer, but she has a heart full of love, then she goes on to tell Jennifer and the editors part of my story. It was moving and humbling to see in black in white just what someone you love thinks of you. I have no idea who the other friend or friends are that also contacted Jennifer. If it is God’s Will, I may know one day. But if you read my blog, please know how truly, deeply, profoundly I get by with a little help from my friends.

This entry was posted on September 15, 2015. 4 Comments

Humbly, Gratefully Called To Be

I’m not entirely certain, but I believe there may be quite a few new eyes reading my blog posts due to the events of the past few days. Therefore, I feel the need to reintroduce myself and what this site is about. My name is Tammi and I started this blog as a means of taking those inclined on a journey with me. A journey into the next phase of my life and beyond. But really the next phase is here and now. A little less than a year ago, after much stress, unhappiness and a long season of Divine Dissatisfaction with my work and my life, I decided I needed to leave my job of eight years and an industry I’d worked in since 1998. It was a freeing and empowering decision for me, but I had no clue what else I wanted to do. Then came another revelation. My children were all grown, the two oldest, my sons had been out of the house for years and only my 19-year-old daughter remained. I could figure out what I really want to be when I grow up and go for it!

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My therapist recommended a book called ‘The Path’ Creating Your Mission Statement For Work and For Life by Laurie Beth Jones. It is a fantastic book which defines clearly what a mission statement is, the elements that make up a mission statement and even discusses false assumptions about them. It has a series of exercises and tasks designed to help you know yourself, uncover your passion and design a vision statement. I discovered my element is water. I discovered that I want to communicate, facilitate and inspire healthy meaningful connections through spirituality, or maybe through interior design or possibly with women’s issues. I haven’t finalized the focus of my mission statement yet. This process of discovery took place late last year and into early 2015. It was a great beginning and really helped me face going into work every day. I still had no clue HOW I was supposed to go about doing those things. Eventually, I started to grow fearful and discouraged about leaving my job and starting a new phase in my life. It would require an effort, a presence of heart, mind and spirituality that I didn’t think I could live up to. So I shut down and went into a deep isolative depression for quite some time. Time spent zoning out on the couch in front of the television with a lot of emotional eating. Eventually, I crawled out of that mental and spiritual darkness enough to reach out to a particular friend. We met for lunch and as I talked about my fears and doubts about my ability to navigate the next steps in my life, she suggested I start a blog about how I deal with my fears as I change my life. I told her I’d think about it, I even had a domain name in mind, but we tabled the discussion. But the idea stayed with me. It germinated, marinated, then resonated until weeks later, on my own I checked to see if the domain name I wanted for my blog was available. It wasn’t.

In the meantime, I was doing all kinds of things to show up for my life mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I was being of service to my community. I was following a lot more spiritually uplifting pages and personalities on Facebook. I accepted a social media challenge from a local plus-sized boutique to post selfies for 20 days straight with #LoveYourSelfie2015 and #HowBigIsYourBrave to all social media. I received a TON of positive feedback with that challenge! I started writing a little about my experience in my selfie postings. I also copy and paste many quotes to my own personal facebook page. Once my original idea for my blog domain was taken, I came up with BuildYourOwnBrave (BYOB). It was available and I paid for it! You see, I’m also a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. Clean and sober for 18 years, so I really liked the BYOB. And of course, build your own brave speaks to me about walking through my fears.

A dear friend came back into my life at a time when I needed someone with computer skills to help me set up the site. His name is Paulie and he was an angel. In fact, since I’d crawled out of that depression and made a conscious intention to show up, be present and move forward with my life, things have been HAPPENING! Real shit like I decided to move from the large 90 unit gated apartment complex I’d live in for 14 years into a 5 unit street level place that I just love, love, love. My blog site was launched a little less than six weeks ago and has been well received. I started taking yoga classes on another great recommendation from my kickass therapist. It seems my fear of living up to the effort and presence of heart/mind/spirit were unfounded. The clarity and presence that I have in my life now is fueled and driven by the Divine. It’s always been Divinely guided whether I acknowledge it or not. So far it’s shown me humility and grace beyond measure. It is calling me to be more loving, more giving, more open, more authentic, more of service because God and Life are sending those to me in equal measure. I promise to keep answering His Call in whatever form it takes. sky-437690__180

 

This entry was posted on September 12, 2015. 1 Comment

Dealing… Because Life Goes On Ya Know?

My blog posts this week will be short and sweet. I’m feeling drained from the emotional rollercoaster of writing my first essay for scholarship submission and having it rejected. Well, not rejected, but I didn’t win the scholarship. I found out by reading the Facebook post of the woman who offered the scholarship. I guess they don’t notify us via email as the essay instructions were vague on exactly when the winner would be announced or how they’d be notified. She did post that she was blown away by the number of submissions (50) and the quality of the writing. Then in the comments, one of her followers thanked the woman and two other organizations. Before then, the donors of the scholarship were anonymous. The instructions stated the anonymous donors would only be shared with the winner. So that was a huge disappointment and let down. On top of the indescribable bedlam that is my job due to cramming 5 days of work into a 4 day work week (after the Labor Day holiday),  it was just too much for me today. It was just one of them days… Drink or Bundt cake? Alcohol or sugar? Sorry, if I’m bursting anyone’s bubble about me but when I’m down and stressed out like today, my coping skills get basic! Of course with 18 years in recovery, what did you think I’d choose?11219021_10207880993805006_2653221113413756163_n

The lemon bundlet did its job and isn’t nearly as destructive as a drink would have been. I drove home and stopped off at the store for items needed to make a dip for a friend’s birthday potluck at work Friday. I got home, put away the groceries and did the dishes. I picked up Baby Bub from work at 8 and came home to tackle the FIVE (5!!!) boxes of Pampered Chef products that had to be sorted for delivery at work tomorrow… In other words, business as usual. Life goes on. Plus it was a lot of fun sorting through orders and most importantly, putting mine aside. I earned quite the haul  and couldn’t resist setting up my new bamboo sink caddy since the coveting of it started me on that particular journey.

I also ended up having a funny, meaningful interaction with a Facebook friend and her friend, who is a pretty high-brow movie reviewer. In fact, he might do it professionally, they’re that well written. I wrote a review about the television series “The West Wing” because they were posting about wanting to check it out based on a video from a scene of Martin Sheen as President Bartlett putting a verbal smackdown on a right-wing talk show host. I have the series on DVD and was an avid watcher and fan back in the day. My review was well received and I think it tipped the scales because they both said they are definitely going to watch it now.

Lastly, I found something really cool and uplifting on my newsfeed this afternoon from the page of You Are Not Stuck by Becky Vollmer. 10259775_501401633367480_417613628635559811_nThis put my disappointment into perspective and made me feel instantly better about myself because today I am the reaching, the growing, the stretching, the striving. Even if I don’t get to my destination, I am the journey.

This entry was posted on September 10, 2015. 1 Comment

A Check-Up from the Neck Up

stestoskop-64276__180This past weekend was kind of heavy for me. I’d set some goals for the long weekend that centered on two pieces of personal writing. Writing even more personal than what I blog about here. As mentioned in my prior posts, I have a tendency to get fearful, then isolate. Well, this weekend was no exception. I still made it out for my meetings, but I kept to myself mostly with little to no socializing before or afterward. I did a lot of sleeping and emotional eating, something I hadn’t done in a while. I took Friday off from work because I just couldn’t go in there another day and a three day weekend was not enough time away from that place. But by Sunday afternoon I hadn’t written a word. I beat myself up for being me, the baby stepper with the tendency to Cha-Cha slide.

Eventually, I got honest with a few of my close friends that asked me how I was doing. I wrote something just to get started and took a little time to go walking Sunday evening before stopping off at another meeting. When I got home I did some more writing and the essay I’d been avoiding started to emerge and take shape. I finally finished it about 30 minutes ago and read it to my dear friend and sounding board. I broke down while I was reading it to her. It was that personal and gut level. I have no idea if it will “wow” the editors that I am submitting it to, because that was one of their criteria. But it was honest, from my heart, gut-wrenching, and brave. So that hit the other criteria for submission.

I didn’t get the second piece of writing done, but that’s ok. I’m not ready for that one yet, but I will be soon. The truth of the matter is that while things didn’t go according to how my head thought they should, it got done. The writing that needed to get done is finished and will be submitted in a timely manner. And while I experienced some fear this weekend, I rolled with it. I lived through it and came out the other side of it a lot sooner than I used to. And while I beat myself up, I’m not emotionally or spiritually black and blue over it. The emotional eating was not completely out of hand and I managed to hike and do some walking this weekend to get me moving.

In the 12 step rooms, we strive for progress, not perfection. Looking back on this extra long weekend, I am pleased with my progress. My baby steps are surer and my Cha-Cha slide didn’t take me as far backward. I’m very pleased with my progress.

This entry was posted on September 8, 2015. 1 Comment