A couple nights ago, I snapped on my two best friends. I don’t think I hung up technically, I did say bye but it was not a good bye, pun intended. They FaceTimed me, which seems to be the only way we communicate with each other these days. Even though they now live together, I’m all the way in upstate New York. We don’t get to see each other as often as we used to. I don’t mind FaceTime but it does require a little bit more effort. It’s just not my go to medium. Anyway, I had an attitude the entire conversation. Looking back I wasn’t upset at all. I did have a busy day and I was still working on a few things when they called. My disinterest for the conversation was merely distraction. Okay, maybe I was a little hungry…
Have you had a major temper tantrum about something and when you look back at the moment, it doesn’t make sense? Were you upset or just hungry, tired etc.?
Those old Snickers commercials are a funny exaggeration but they’re not too far off. Dictionary.com defines Hangry as, “
The brain is dependent on glucose to function. When your blood glucose levels drop to a certain point your body sees this as a life threatening situation. When this happens your brain sends signals to organs in your body to release hormones that increase the amount of glucose in your bloodstream. Namely the pituitary gland which produces the growth hormone, the pancreas which produces glucagon and the adrenal glands which produce adrenaline. These hormones, specifically adrenaline, are also released in stressful situations. When you are hungry there are physiological things that are taking place that are affecting your reactions.
It may not seem like a big deal but it should make you wonder how many of your reactions in the last week were legitimate. How many arguments, or coworker squabbles could have been prevented? Socrates had a much deeper meaning when he said “know thyself.” But I would argue that it is important to know the why behind all your actions. Especially if they can be solved with a granola bar! Throughout today, truly notice and observe your behavior. Let’s try an avoid any hangry moments.
A Woman in Process
“New year, New me” yea right, you said that last year and the year before. I’m not pointing fingers because I’m guilty of it too. We get focused, super motivated to tackle something, particularly around the New Year, then months go by and these things fall to wayside. Then we beat ourselves up for not accomplishing them. Can I dare us to be different this year?
What needs to happen for you to live the life you’ve always wanted? What stands in the of accomplishing the things you’ve dreamed of? Quite simply, what is holding you back?
I would argue that much of it is fear. Fear of what it takes, fear of what others might think and fear of actually being successful. Remember it’s the light not the dark that most frightens us. Many times we become content with living our day to day life that doing something beyond our comprehension seems too crazy even for the imagination.
Yann Martel, author of the book, Life of Pi, wrote about fear.
“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. It begins in your mind, always. One moment you are feeling calm, self-possessed, happy. Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild-mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy. Doubt meets disbelief and disbelief tries to push it out. But disbelief is a poorly armed foot soldier. Doubt does away with it with little trouble. You become anxious. Reason comes to do battle for you. You are reassured. Reason is fully equipped with the latest weapons technology. But, to your amazement, despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid low. You feel yourself weakening, wavering. Your anxiety becomes dread…” He continues, I urge you to read the entire quote here Yann Martel – Fear
He says that fear is our only true opponent. Think of about it, if we were able to silence fear, imagine the things that we would actually do!
Let’s take a look at my 2015 goals. I think by analyzing their “failures” and “successes” we’ll be able to tease out a few more reasons.
As you can see happiness was on there twice. A year ago, I felt it necessary to make it my focus. Many people know that this year I decided to stop running the rat race. I choose to not participate in life the way society said I should. I choose to instead chase health and happiness. My focus became anything that aligned with the aforementioned. Obviously that comes with a sacrifice, namely finances, but it’s one that at this point in my life, I’m okay with making. I also asked myself, what would you do if you were not getting paid? The answer was write, mixed with a bit of sports and fitness. I vowed to do the things that I loved everyday. I had my bad days but I always wrote even when I didn’t blog, I wrote. It is my therapy and I believe out of it my passion will take shape. I can say today this woman is so much happier that the one who wrote the list above.
Let’s continue down the list, I was suppose to lose 36 pounds by July. In total, I’ve lost 20 pounds but I kept it off which is an accomplishment none the less. I think, I’m a real blogger. I didn’t blog as consistently as I should have though. I’m not a certified personal trainer and I did not start my organizations.
I stumbled a bit with my 2015 goals. But here’s why, I didn’t stay consistent, I procrastinated, I became discouraged and ultimately I lost focus. But guess what “It’s never too late to start over. If you weren’t happy with yesterday, try something different today. Don’t stay stuck. Do better.” That is all we can do, keep going. Remember if you want a different life, you have to live differently. Happy New Year!
A Woman in Process
I pride myself on being an open book, believing that my story will be an inspiration to others. But at times my transparency is met with unwanted questions and unsolicited advice. When I feel my truth will be ridiculed, I run. I enter my zone usually taking a step back from those around me, unless I feel that they have proven themselves to be unconditional in their love. There is good and bad to this. The good being that I have to protect my dream and my truth. When one chooses to do things that are against the grain or something that may seem far-fetched; the naysayers will be the loudest voice you hear. Protection is necessary. But I’ve learned that by running, I’m protecting myself, yes but I could be hurting other people too.
Running is a natural reaction. Walter Bradford Cannon described it as the fight or flight response. I think we all remember this from high school or our freshmen year psychology class, the one we took only because it was Gen. Ed requirement. “The fight-or-flight response is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival.” During this time the body naturally does things that prepares you get out of harms way as fast as you can or buckle down and fight. We’re talking increased heart rate, constriction of blood vessels and liberation of metabolic energy sources for muscular action!
It makes sense that when I feel someone is attacking me, my dream or my plan; I’m out! I’m not a fighter, so I’ll just walk away. There is nothing wrong with removing yourself from situations that are fruitless. But if it is not yet fruitless, it is worth a conversation not a fight but a productive dialogue. I’m working on doing that. I have a long way to go. My friends call me a turtle, because going into my shell is what feels comfortable. But life isn’t about doing what is comfortable. It also takes maturity to know the difference between an attack and warranted criticism. If I am hurting people with my running or my isolation, I do not want to do it anymore. I’m working desperately to live my life in Christ and hurting people, no matter how inadvertent, is not something that I want to do. Not to mention, constant running is not necessarily the best way to solve any situation.
A Woman in Process
Today’s blog post was originally suppose to be about fear. I’ve been reading Fearless by Max Lucado. A Christian author, he uses stories like Jesus on the Sea of Galilee to exhibit the faith needed to as Jesus put it, “worry not.” This book has been a saving grace as I journey through these life changing decisions.
But I was on Facebook last night, scrolling down as I do ever so often. I watched a few videos because Facebook always has a way of sucking you in. Then I came across a story and decided that sharing this with you all would be more worthwhile then my initial post.
The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised, and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coiffed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.
Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.
After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet curtains that had been hung on her window.
“I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.
“Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room …. just wait.”
“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied.
“Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged… it’s how I arrange my mind.
“I already decided to love it … It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.
“Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away … just for this time in my life.
“Old age is like a bank account–you withdraw from it what you’ve put in.”
So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories.
Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/Inspiration/2003/01/Happiness-Is-A-Choice.aspx#1OHMFUhF9T2PCAuv.99
A Woman in Process
It seems that this year has been a series of difficult decisions. I may have stuttered in my steps but ultimately I always had the courage to do what was/is best for me. Some how in all the mess of it, I feel like I’m getting back to me. Not that I want to be the old me but I do miss her confidence. She knew what she wanted. And I feel similar now.
I’m moving back upstate, by next blog post I’ll be back where it all started. I mean it all started in Montego Bay, Jamaica, technically, but Poughkeepsie is home. I used to say that I’ll never go back there. Life sure does have a way of humbling you, I’ve been back twice! Never say never, I guess. I’ll still be working in NYC at least for now, so long commutes on the Metro North will be my new reality.
I won’t love the commute but besides that, I see this as the best decision. Financially it allows me to put myself in better standing, and I feel it also allows me to wholeheartedly focus on my writing. All the decisions of this year led to this opportunity. I won’t lie, I grappled with feelings of failure. And it does feel like a regrouping. But then I remembered , I came here to get a masters degree, I got it. I came here to start a career, I got promoted within 18 months. I’m leaving it all because I am not willing to compromise my health or my happiness. I refuse to participate in the rat race of it. I want to write, hopefully for a living one day but until then I want a low stress day to day living. A life of effortless ease. I’m blessed to have parents that will allow me to do that, at least for now.
Life is going to send you on twists and turns. Through it all, you have to do what you have to, for you. Its never easy to do what is necessary. I had a headache for days before I finally made my decision but immediately after I made it, I felt this weight lifted. We drive ourselves crazy wondering what if. You can spend hours or days wondering what if or you can trust your judgement and go for it. Even if it is not the right move, the experience gained will make it worth it.
A Woman in Process
I spent the better part of last week going through a roller coaster of emotion. My high was short lived and my lows stayed longer than I would have liked. But throughout those moments, it was as if life was forcing me to deal. I was forced to truly dig down deep and experience the emotions. And those of you who know me personally, know that I never shy away from a cryable moment. Growing up I used to be ashamed of my tears. Now I cry because it is a part of how I deal, it is a part of my processing.
On Tuesday, I took the day off to handle some administrative things. As I walked to do my lab test, I tried to multitask and make some calls. I’ve never truly worked a consistent 9-5 schedule or in my case, a 10-6 like I do now. It takes up the entire day, honestly when are people suppose to call doctor or do regular people things. The veteran 9-5ers say, “do it on your lunch break ” but that’s when I eat, duh!! Anyway I digress, I make some calls only to find out that I have a few outstanding medical bills. As you know I was pretty sick this past year, their were some things that my insurance at the time only partially covered.
I started to dwell on the finances of the situation. Here I am on my way to doing this thing that I have to do every six weeks to ensure that my levels are in tact then hearing about these additional medical bills. All of it was just a “you’re sick” reminder. But when I got there, they only take one vial of blood. Please pardon the visual but for almost 4 years I had to be poked and prodded for 4 or 5 tubes, every visit. I used to leave the lab drained and extremely weak. I walked out of this one with a smile. It snapped me back to being really appreciative for my progress.
Fast forward a day or two later, I learn that the house that we live in has been sold and my bestie and I have to be out basically asap. This couldn’t have happened at a worst time. I feel a rush of emotion, upset that we have to move, confused at how it happened so quickly and really sad that once we leave its only a further reminder that the owner and matriarch of this home is really gone.
I reached out to those who are usually there for me. For some reason they just weren’t there, and that’s understandable because we are all going through things. This is what I did, I went to gym, I cried, I wrote, I walked. I did all things that I needed to do for me. I’m no where near over the situation. But I’m very proud of my resolve. That only comes with time and experience. I used to look to my mom, my boyfriend, my friends or whoever at the time to get me through situations. Yes, we can rely on our loved ones for support but it’s unfair to think that in every situation, they will be there in the way we need them, every time. Instead it makes more sense to develop healthy strategies to deal. Because guess who is always there for you? You!
A Woman in Process
People are still asking me why I don’t blog as often as I used to. My response is always paused because there are many factors. The major one is time of course. But all of the factors, time included, are really just excuses. It comes down to discipline and habitual effort. I just haven’t caught my grove or learned how to balance the many things that are taking place in my life.
I work full time again, I’m writing my first book and I have commitments to my best friend and her management company, among other things. There are many reasons why after a long day, blogging is just not what I want to do. I just really want to sleep and most days that’s exactly what I do. There is some good in that of course because I’ve mastered how to listen to my body and what I need.
However, there is a pitfall to that as well. Sometimes, will power is needed to force yourself to do something that might cause slight discomfort in the moment but is ultimately necessary for growth. My blog has taught me so much. My dream of writing a book came out of this hobby. A year ago when I started, I couldn’t have imagined the impact that it would have on my life. Back then, I wrote to you because I was in such a bad place mentally. I was frustrated with my job, frustrated about my illness and terribly unhappy with my weight.
But the transparency that developed in dishing my deepest and darkest to you, helped me to learn who I am, who I’m becoming and who I strive to be. I gained the courage to change my life completely. I left the job that made me unhappy. I stopped looking at my illness as a curse and now practice strategies that have helped me to be the healthiest I’ve been in almost four years. Telling you all about my struggle with weight not only led to remarkable weight loss but the number on the scale is minuscule compared to the healthy habits that are now apart of me.
I started to attend church again . My spiritual journey has taught me a lot about discipline. Whatever or whoever your God is, you’ll find that when you choose to live differently, you will be faced with challenges. Your former self will battle constantly with the new you. It’s takes time and strength to develop new habits.
So as I approach my blog anniversary, I’m asking you to bare with me as I transition. I’m working to ensure that this blog, the words that I thought no one would read, the words that catapulted my new way of life, remains at the forefront of everything that I do. About a month or so ago I made a pledge to blog on Mondays and Wednesdays, that proved to be too ambitious. Hopefully I will reach a point where twice a week is something that I can maintain. But for now, I’ll see you every Monday morning. Because “motivation gets you started but habit keeps you going”
A Woman in Process
Last night a friend started sending my roommate and I pictures from our trip to Italy. It was completely unexpected and some how exactly what I needed in the moment. It was great to look back at a time in our lives that we shared, memories that only the three of us would have. There were pictures of the food, the countryside and even the handsome men of Italy!
Friendship just like any other relationship takes work. They say nothing worth having comes easy. I mean you can have associates that you laugh, chuckle and sometimes go out with. Or you can have true friends that know your deep dark secrets the ones who have your back without judgement. I believe that is what we are working towards. This takes time and most certainly effort.
It’s the willingness to have those difficult conversations. It’s the willingness to at times see past yourself and your emotions. I think often times when we come into relationships, we fail to understand the other person’s perspective. We are all different. In my case, I’ve known one of these girls for fifteen years and the other for two years. Years mean nothing without constant reworking. We are all in process so it’s impossible for us to have the friendship we had even a year ago in Italy. Some areas will be stronger and some not so much. But if you are committed to that relationship no matter what it is, then you work at it.
I had to have a difficult conversation recently, I didn’t want to. But I knew it was necessary for our friendship, it was necessary for me. Historically I have been notorious for running from a situation. I decide that you’ve wronged me and that’s it, I’m out. I’m learning to express myself more, letting my loved ones know how their actions affect me while acknowledging my faults.
My network isn’t perfect but I am committed to keeping the ones that I care about close to me. It has taken me a long time to get here. Just a hint, the first step was letting go of my ego.
Your ego will have you thinking, “your shit don’t stink” please pardon the expression. But we sometimes feel that there is no way we are at fault. Nobody walking this earth is perfect, swallow your pride and build friendships, not Instagram followers or Facebook friends but lasting relationships.
A Woman in Process