Oh blog, how I've missed you. I'm sorry I neglected you. I've just been distracted with other things, but I'm back now. And recommitting to writing regularly. Maybe I'll do a 30 day challenge to get me back to the discipline of writing.
While I've been away, I've been busy. I'm just back from a wonderful vacation in the Western Caribbean - 7 days on the Allure of the Seas. The newish job is still keeping me busy. And I've devoted a lot of time to self-improvement. Earlier this year I decided that I had spent enough time dragging my feet on things, and resolved to just do some of the things I had put off. In January I started with a task that I had wanted to do for years, but kept putting off due to fear - finding and seeing a therapist. I finally got the push I needed when I kept getting feedback from friends, who all said "just go, you'll find it so valuable".
So I went. I lucked up & found a therapist I really liked from the beginning. After my first session, I thought "this is like a self-help book, but she talks back". I kept feeling like I needed something to help me get over the hump I'd be facing, to help me figure out what was holding me back & keeping from being where I want to be. Therapy has helped me discover some interesting things. One being that I was extremely mean and judgemental to myself. I'm a great friend to others, but to myself, not so much. I'd try all the love yourself advice in the past, and it never stuck, it just felt false. In my sessions, I learned that it always felt false because you can't go from years of having "you're fat/wack/a loser/etc" on repeat in your head to a refrain of "you're awesome!" I had to work in stages, starting with just being aware of the type of frequency of mean things I said to myself. It was amazing, I had never paid attention to it before. Once I understood my behavior, and the source of my issue, it became easier to lessen the frequency of the thoughts, and to correct myself when I have them or speak them out loud. Doing so has drastically changed my outlook and my energy.
One area that I still struggle is the idea of "should". I use the word should a lot when talking to or about myself. I should have more money saved. I should be married by now. I should be more productive at work. I should be more diligent about my diet & exercise. At the same time I've struggled with the idea of acceptance - how do I balance loving myself & accepting myself at my current state, while also keeping the motivation to improve & get better? I couldn't understand how to make these things work. I want to be able to learn to accept things, and not struggle against them. I read a wonderful quote: "Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it." - Eckhart Tolle
Its been the acceptance of things I didn't like, or didn't want (or think I wanted) or simply hadn't anticipated that has been a struggle for me, the biggest being my relationship status. But I want to get there, to learn how to be open to what the Universe brings me, and to have the ability to show my gratitude by asking for more.
I read a piece recently that gave me a lot of clarity. The author said that acceptance was simply an acknowledgement of the present moment, free of judgement. I envisioned that acknowledgement like a mental receipt, a way to say "I'm here, this is happening, this is how I'm feeling, this is what I'm experiencing". The scientist in me immediately thought in terms of facts versus opinions - the acceptance is the facts, the judgements is the opinions. I can acknowledge that I'm single, that I'm larger than I prefer to be, that it's cold in my room, that I'm tired, etc. Judgement comes in when I tell myself that I'm a loser for being single, or that I'm a fat girl, or that I shouldn't stay up so late when I know I need sleep.
I'm continuing to strive for the life that is meant for me, and shifting my energy from judgement to acceptance will be a large part of that.
The other part of my effort to do things I've dragged my feet on, is to get serious about my writing. When I started blogging way back in 2005, I just wanted to vent about grad school and my life in Atlanta. Over the years I've shared a lot & written some things that have been well received. For the past few years the idea of writing a book has been rattling around in my brain, but the thing that has always stopped me is the fact that I'm not trained in writing. I just write, do a quick proof read, and go. I don't really try. I write when I feel the inspiration, and I don't force it very much.
A friend recently completed a writing mentorship and when I remarked to her that I would love to write on her level, she encouraged me to apply for the program. I also had another friend almost push me into doing it as well - she's a big champion of my writing & I so appreciate the encouragement :-) So I took the leap, pulled some of my favorite pieces from the blog, and applied to the writing mentorship program. I won't know for a few months if I get in, but even if I don't, I'm going to take some writing classes. I will not let my insecurities about my lack of writing training keep me from pursuing this goal. I'd love to do a collection of essays or a memoir, bascially a fleshed out version of the blog but with more stories.
As I was writing this, I decided a 30 day challenge would be great to get me back into blogging. Mr. Google gave me a bunch of options, and I think I'm going to go with this one. Yay, I'm back to writing.