According to the email I got from WordPress this morning, I haven’t updated my blog in ten months…which is right when I did my first Whole 30. Well, let’s be honest – my only Whole 30. I haven’t exactly been a poster child for healthy lifestyle this year. Or the back half of last year, if I’m really being honest. The fun thing about me is you can judge my stress level and coping with said stress by the size of my ass. (Spoiler alert – bigger than ever. EVER ever. Like bigger than any time I’ve talked to producers of weight loss reality shows. All three times. Bigger than the current contents of my closet…thank God it’s summer and I can throw a dress on these hips. The no waistband Sundays from the summer of 2009 are my coping mechanism on the daily.
So the question is…how did my ass get so big? And why did I stop writing my blog?
Well – a bunch of things. The most reasonable excuse is that I was job searching, and blathering on about my weight, depression and quilting didn’t really seem like the best thing to put out there when I wanted someone to hire me. I’ve been employed for a little over six months now, and while job security is iffy at best, the writing is cathartic and I’m going back after it anyway.
(Fingers crossed I hit the jackpot tonight…$330M cash leaves lots of blogging and quilting time.)
The second reason is that I totally lost my mojo…in everything. I started this blog to chronicle all of the visits to allergists, hematologists, gastroenterologists and other fun specialists to figure out what the heck was going on with my insides. I was kicking ass, taking names and had banished all of the food that were hurting me. Sure, I couldn’t heal everything with lifestyle change – my sparse yet chunky platelets are a great indicator of that – but there was a lot that I was doing right.
And then life happened, and writing, clean eating, etc. all seemed to get away from me. And I felt like a big, fat failure.
I was failing in my career, failing at my weight, failing at finding a house, failing in romantic relationships, failing at my diet, failing at everything. Fail, fail, fail. My therapist says I’m too hard on myself. She’s a doll.
I’m still seeing her 2-3 a month (have been for about a year,) and she’s encouraged me to pick my writing back up. She said I didn’t have to publish it, but I figure there’s nothing wrong with putting things out there. Maybe someone else struggles with the same things I do, and they’ll find some words of encouragement. Or maybe it’ll help knowing someone else is going through the same thing.
Something I touched on in my blogs last year is depression, and how much I struggle with it. I put on one hell of a game face, normally, but some days its just beyond me. And even then I’m only good for a few hours, and then I have to burrow in at home for a while. I think depression is what makes me an introverted extrovert. I have such a great time meeting other people and talking to them, but then I’m just exhausted after. The kicker about depression is that you feel so alone, even when you’re surrounded by people. And while I know deep down I’m loved by family, friends, and even people who don’t know me that well, it’s hard to shake out of that cloud. The past couple of weeks have been particularly challenging, with great highs (Stitchfest!) and dark lows (work/house/boys/etc.) I told my therapist I just feel like I’m on this horrible roller coaster, and I’m exhausted. I’m just so done and I want the ride to stop, already.
One bright spot in this past 18 months has been quilting. It truly took me by surprise, and I’m thankful for both the craft and the people I’ve met through it every single day. If I’m bummed out about my lack of success at work, I can look at some of the beautiful things I’ve created and remember that I did it – I accomplished something with hard work, perseverance and asking for help when I needed it. If I hit a roadblock, I found a way to work around it and make it my own. If only it came so easily in a gray cubicle!
I had a great opportunity to be a spotlight speaker for my local modern quilt guild, and I truly enjoyed the process of pulling together my journey into sewing, especially pictures of things my mom did when I was a kid. And all of the Halloween costumes she’s created over the years! (Pam is a Halloween rock star.) I took to quilting like a duck to water, and I think it was because I was able to create something with my own two hands and see a finished result. Sometimes at work you put hours of thought and consideration into a project, and then it never goes anywhere. So while a quilt might not ever leave a cabinet, I still made it, and can touch and feel it. It’s hard to explain what it’s done for me.
One of the things I left out of my quilting journey (because I knew I wouldn’t be able to share it with the room without crying) is how it came at just the right time. I was at a really low spot when I took my first class at Urban Spools, and it gave me some purpose. I really do think quilting saved me, and I have a lot of faith that it’ll play a big part of shooing away the dark cloud that’s over my head again these days. I still have a hard time letting people in when I’m having a hard time, choosing to just spend quiet time at home by myself, but I’m opening up. One of these days I’ll learn that people will still love me when I’m having a bad day, and it’s okay that I’m not always there with a smile on my face and a joke ready to tell.
I think like most women, we just put the mask on and power through when times get tough. I don’t think I’m unique in this way, and I think social media does a lot to perpetuate that cycle. No one likes a vague-booker or someone who whines about their life drama, and yet so many conversations are held through this medium, that we forget how to actually talk to someone in good times and bad. At least I forget. Everything is in bite size snippets.
It’s not like I’ve ever been great at sharing the lows, but I know I’ve gotten even worse in my old (er) age. So as I journey through this last year of my 30’s, I’m going to strive to find some balance. To get off the roller coaster. To talk to my friends and family in good times and in bad. At least I’m going to give it a good try 🙂 And maybe blogging will help.