Well ♡ Loved

I lost my Granny in July of 2010, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. It’s especially hard, though, as the holidays are fast approaching. As they are for many people, the holidays in my life have always been about spending time with family, and food, of course. We have a huge family on my Mom’s side, and when I was young, Granny’s house was packed with family and food, although that would be nothing compared to what it would be if we were to all get together today.

As the holidays are fast approaching, I am feeling more and more nostalgic for the way things used to be; wanting to be a kid again, wanting things to be the way that they used to be. I take over Granny’s kitchen on the holidays now, and try continuously to master her famous Red Velvet Cake Recipe. The holidays are bittersweet because it’s incredibly hard for her to not be there with me, but the time that I spend in her kitchen is my favorite part of the year; I feel closest to her then. Not to brag, but I also get to have the best taste-tester sleeping in his chair in the next room until he needs to report for duty; I think Papa likes having the continuation of Granny’s traditional big holiday celebrations in his house, as well as her recipes being (somewhat) replicated in her kitchen.

I was getting down on myself around this time last year; I thought that I should be used to the holidays without her by now. I’m a master at repressing feelings, and I searched online to see if there were any additional ways to help me to actually deal with the emotions I was feeling. All I saw were “12 Steps” …  “5 Steps” … ways to deal with a “grief problem” here and now. I found one website, though, that caught my eye, and it opened with the definition of grief: “DEEP SORROW.” I was shocked. It was nothing about the grieving process or how to get over my grief now. The author spoke of dealing with grief as being a part of LIFE. Once a person was there, and now they aren’t; their physical absence creates a deep sorrow that becomes a part of life. I then realized that it’s natural to be sad when I think about how she and Papa won’t be dancing at my wedding, or she won’t get to hold my children; it’s okay, and even good, to cry about those things. However, it’s also just as important to remember all of the great memories that I have with her.

Grieving isn’t just a 5 step or year long process, it’s a part of my life now. I will feel “deep sorrow” when she isn’t there on Thanksgiving and Christmas; but it will also be great when I’m in her kitchen cooking. I know that I have my guardian angel watching over me when I’m cooking to make sure I’m not burning myself (or the house) and that makes me excited to experience the holidays.

 

 

 

I’m not a doctor or psychologist or anyone who knows what they’re talking about. This is the first time that I have ever shared this with anyone. Multi-step processes may work well for other people. These words are just an expression of how I’ve dealt with my own grief in an effort that they may help just one other person.

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Drink This … Do That … Eat These

We live in a world that is entirely about wanting it all and wanting it NOW. And I know that I get sucked in to that all too often. I’ve been working on making a lifestyle change (dieting) since May.  I gave up soda …  started working out regularly … made good food choices … all the stuff that you’re supposed to do. At first, it worked. I lost weight, felt better, slept better … but then when I returned to school, I hit a plateau, and it was like I was walking straight in to a brick wall. I still work out regularly, and I haven’t had any soda, but my food choices have suffered… a lot. I’m a stress eater, and it’s just soo easy to fall in to that trap.

To get back on the wagon, I was looking for some information online; nothing in particular, just something that might help me get back on track … and stay there. I visited my favorite website, Pinterest, and was looking at the pins for Health & Fitness. I couldn’t help but notice that under most of the pins, the caption was all about doing stuff FAST. Well, of course I was intrigued… I had been working at this for almost SIX MONTHS and I still wasn’t where I wanted to be! When I started looking closer, though, my sensible side started kicking in. I have taken a couple of nutrition classes, and when I investigated the “lose weight now!” methods, all I could see were red flags.

I always knew in the back (waaaaay back) of my mind that I had the golden ticket all along … it just takes hard work. But as a part of the Human Being Club, I wanted results NOW, and I let my gullible side get in the way of what I already knew. As I started to get down on myself for this, I just reassured myself that I am human. I do make not-so-great choices sometimes. But it’s what happens in the long run that matters.  I just have to continue to stay dedicated to working hard toward being healthy.

 

Thoughts are NOT facts

Thought: an idea or opinion produced by thinking or occurring suddenly in the mind; opinion, impression, feeling, judgment, assessment, conclusion. Thoughts are not facts. I’ll say it one more time. Thoughts are NOT facts. What does that really mean? It means that the girl who I saw at the library, and thought “I bet she’s going to get in to graduate school; if those are the type of people that are being accepted in to grad school, there’s no way that they’ll let me in…” None of that is actually true. Those are my own feelings and judgments on the girl that I saw, as well as judgments on myself.

Why does this matter? I have issues with taking my thoughts as facts. I get wrapped up in the downward spiral of thoughts like the one about the library girl, and it’s incredibly disheartening, and most of all, completely UNNECESSARY! I can get incredibly down on myself within a few minutes, all because I am thinking about things that are not only out of my control, but not even applicable to what I am working on. While I was thinking about the girl in the library, I was working on my anatomy homework; she was falling asleep on the book she was trying to read.

I began to ask myself how I was going to get over this nonsense, and I’ve not come to any drastic conclusions. As one of my favorite teachers always says to me, I am a part of the human being club. I have feelings, emotions, and thoughts, and they are all out of my control. What I can do, though, is to change how I respond to those things, key word: respond. Reacting to things like this is only going to make them worse. Responding involves a concentrated thought on how I am going to act next. It’s not a surefire method, but I try to go over that in my head every time my thoughts start to spiral out of control. When I figure out something better, I’ll let you know.

No, Annie!

As a child, new words are exciting not only for the child, but for everyone around the child… until that word is “No.” I cannot even begin to count how many times I have heard, “No, Annie!” from my adorable cousin Mckenzi (left). For a stubborn girl like me, it used to be one of my favorite words, and I’m sure that I drove my cousins mad telling them no, just as Mckenzi tells me. Somewhere along the line, though, that one small word made it’s way out of my vocabulary.

School is just school. I can handle school. I love to learn, especially when it is something that I’m interested in learning more about. It’s everything that comes with it that I cannot always handle; resume writing, extra curricular activities, leadership experience building, internships, work … the list is never ending of other things to work on and maintain.

Why does it matter? Employers like compliance, as do professors and supervisors. I do agree that it is an important quality to have, but I firmly believe that there is such a things as “over compliance.”

Over compliance: the product of never saying “No”; may result in lack of sleep, hair pulling out, and extreme stress. That’s something that has become a chronic problem for me, and a couple of weeks ago I decided that it had to stop. Sure, some of my symptoms of over compliance are synonymous of every college student’s favorite thing, procrastination. Most of it, thought, was that I have just said “Yes” way too many times.

The thought of bringing this up to my supervisor and fellow leaders terrified me, but I did it and lived to tell the tale; I couldn’t be happier. I’m sure that I won’t be making “No” a routine word, simply because I love what I do. However, I know now that I do actually can say the word when everything is becoming too much, and the sky won’t start falling. It’s a delicate balance for a student, and I’m glad that I’m finding mine.

Ouch!

Pain. When I looked up this word in the dictionary, I found it defined as, “physical suffering or discomfort caused by illness or injury.” This was hard for me to understand when I have suffered such a variety of pain in my life. I’m a bit of a klutz, so I’ve suffered my share of physical pain, which is what the dictionary is referencing. I’ll never forget the first big fight I ever had with my best friend; that was painful, but not physically. Preparing thoroughly for a test, feeling great after taking it, then receiving the score and realizing that I did poorly is definitely painful, but not physically. None of these other examples fit the definition.

Many people deal with pain on a daily basis, some for their entire lives. For some people, this pain is physical and manifests in the form of migraines, back pain, or joint pain. For others, it is a mental or emotional pain. Unfortunately, for the people that deal with pain like this, it becomes a part of their identity or defines them; it takes over their life. I’m not trying to belittle people who deal with chronic pain of any type, but I fear that people begin to identify with the pain. It’s important to experience pain, but not let it become who you are. Instead of “I’m hurt,” one could say, “I’m feeling hurt.”

People who deal with pain and suffering on a chronically also experience a wide array of emotions. Emotions can be as scary as pain, but they are an incredibly important aspect of life. It is crucial to be aware of emotions, but not react to them. Reacting is done without thinking. Responding to emotions is much more beneficial, but much more difficult. It involves thought and acceptance, and is something that requires practice.

This is something that can rarely ever be perfected. Stubbing your toe, even though it’s an acute event, involves pain and emotions all in a short amount of time. The normal response is to crouch over while grabbing the injured toe and say some choice words; anger and frustration build up instantaneously. Even the most mindful people that I know would react this way. Dealing with a headache, backache, or other pain and emotions are a perfect way to practice responding to pain.

I am not a doctor or certified in any way to treat pain or illness. In no way is this a cure all for illness and pain, but simply a way to be more mindful, or at least a different approach to try.

I’m Anna. I’m feeling stressed and tired, but I’m not going to allow that to become who I am and how others see me.