“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” ~~ Albert Einstein

I have not posted a blog in an incredibly long time. There are many reasons why, but the main reason being that when I was honest about the feelings that were destroying my life . . . everyone was either mad at me, or I heard crickets. My takeaway from that was that no one wants to hear the bad, everyone only wants sunshine and rainbows and inspiration. Even worse, when you pour your heart out about things that are killing you on the inside and have built an indestructible wall between you and the motivation to return to full health, that’s when you discover that most of the people in your life cannot handle the ugly side of life. They go silent. But I know better, those people usually disappear because you have brought up something that hits a little too close to home…and helping you deal with the hurt means they have to face their own.

Well, enough of that . . . here’s what happened in the last year.

My husband’s Grandma Beverly died. My husband’s Uncle Gary died. My Aunt Geri died. My Great Uncle Joe died. My Grandma Freda died. My oldest child left for college. COVID-19 happened. My hamster Minnie died. I officially am able to switch my daycare over to a performing arts style of preschool setting (there’s a good thing!). I binged Tiger King. I started learning the ukulele. I watched the BLM demonstrations all over the country, including right here in my own town. I still hate Donald Trump. And I gained 10 pounds during all this crap — on top of never loosing any more weight since I last blogged.

2020 can go F@$% itself.

This last year, I also began playing horn again with an orchestra back at my college alma mater . . . I really felt like bits and pieces of me were starting return after years and years of not feeling like myself. But then that was all shut down very quickly, I only had the opportunity to play one concert and then it was gone. I tried to keep up my chops during the time we were on the stay-at-home order here in Kansas, but the demands of running a daycare during a global pandemic took over everything and had my mental health hanging by a thread.

I’m not going to dive to deep into any diet plans or weight loss goals in this post, instead I want to pose this one generalized question: when you a repeatedly blocked at every angle on goals and dreams you try to pursue, when do you reach a point where your thinking switches from “I’m just being tested to see if I’m willing to overcome every challenge that gets in my way, proving how much I really want this” to “are these nonstop setbacks all signs that maybe this wasn’t meant to happen for me”? I’m not applying that thought to weight loss, rather just something to think about as I try to find a new normal, a new rhythm, in the crazy state of our current world. Some things just seem like they are never going to happen for me, so do I keep pushing or grieve the loss of that dream and move on?

~~ Amie

 

“Never allow waiting to become a habit. Live your dreams and take risks. Life is happening now.” Paolo Coelho

I saw this phrase posted on a group FB page that I follow…and I feel like it was written with me specifically in mind.

I know most parents, women in particular, feel we’re failing our kids if we do anything for ourselves. We feel selfish, and that leads to guilt, then we feel if we deprive ourselves of those things it makes up for our “selfishness”. I am 100% guilty of this. After becoming a mother, I felt guilty leaving my children to go to work, even though it was necessary. I felt guilty wanting to finish my degree, even though I had already invested so much time, money and effort into it and I was so close to the end. I felt guilty for wanting to go to the gym to workout or just leave the house for a walk, run or bike ride. In my head all I could think was that the kids would need me and I wouldn’t be there, or they would think I was trying to get away from them.

I feel like, as a society, we’re slowly getting to the point where self-care is really coming to light in terms of importance of mental health. But even though we are talking the talk, we’re not walking the walk just yet. I see articles daily about how parents rarely take any time for themselves and how we’re all running ourselves ragged tending to our kids’ every need, BUT then when we do take a step back for a quick break, we’re ridiculed and shamed for it. So, we go right back to our self deprecating ways until we’re so stressed that we snap and lash out — and then the same ones who made us feel bad for taking a break are the same ones telling us what lousy parents we are for not taking care of ourselves first. We can’t win.

This deeply affects people like me. People who will always take things personally…people who will feel guilt at the drop of a hat — even if it’s something we didn’t even do…people who will always feel things 10X deeper than what we’re showing you on the outside. This has had a huge impact on me being unsuccessful with loosing weight in the past.

I have felt guilty when trying to make super healthy dinners for the whole family when I was the only trying to loose weight. Like I am depriving them of what they want because I’m the the fat one who can’t loose the weight. I have felt guilty leaving to exercise when there was still so much to do around the house. Like I was slouching on my motherly duties because I couldn’t find a way to get this weight off.

Basically, what it comes down to…I feel guilty simply for being fat.

My kids have “the fat mom”, my husband has “the fat wife.” I feel it when people give me the, “oh, bless her heart” look when they think back to how I used to look as a young, bouncy little cheerleader. And let’s not forget how it’s “such a shame Amie just let herself go like that”. If I’m embarrassed of me, I always feel like others should be embarrassed of me, too. I have been feeling exceptionally down lately and my self esteem has taken a huge blow, all these feelings that everyone is ashamed of me have been creeping into my mind constantly lately. Now, I AM a rational person and I am fully aware that this is not the reality, but when feelings bubble up we feel them no matter what — we don’t have the power to turn feelings on and off, but we have the power to choose what we do when we feel them.

For the last week, I have really forced myself to power through the self loathing and get my ass to the gym, and also just keep moving when I’m at home. I’m proud to report that it has paid off…like, really paid off. Since returning home from vacation, I have dropped 11 pounds in the last 13 days. I am really pushing myself hard on the cardio machines (I alternate between the Precor 100i and the Precor EFX546) until my legs feel like mush. I have started paying extra close attention to my heart rate as I alternate between lower and higher resistances, making sure I fluctuate between my fat-burn range and my peak-high range. I am completely drenched with sweat and out of breathe — but in the last 2 weeks, as soon as I step off the machine I am able to control my breathing and lower my heart rate quickly. My body is becoming more responsive again. FINALLY! During any other attempts at weight loss, I felt like dead weight at the end of any cardio, couldn’t catch my breathe, heart was racing for quite a while afterwards…and then when the kids would bombard me when I was done, I’d feel all the mom guilt for having worked out at all because “clearly” they needed me in those 30 minutes and I selfishly chose to take that away from them. (Once again, just to reiterate, I know this is not the case, but it is what I feel, nonetheless.)

At this point in time, I am going to keep using all these ill feelings to power through my workouts. I know that as more weight drops, the numbers on the scale drop, and my clothing size starts to dwindle, that I am going to begin replacing these ill feelings confidence. On that note, I’ll leave you all with this picture of my peace lily. It takes a beating from lots of tiny little hands. Leaves are torn or ripped off completely, the flowers in the middle are battered and abused — but not matter what, as long as I tend to it a little bit each day, those torn leaves still grow bigger, and new flowers and leaves sill manage to shoot up through all the chaos. Sometimes dead leaves need to be removed completely so they don’t strangle others parts of the plant and slowly kill it, and I take care of those as needed. A little TLC is all that’s needed by plants and humans alike.

My parting song today should be one about resilience, I’m going with Andra Day’s “Rise Up”. I have no idea what the future holds for me, but I am certain I need to take care of myself in the mean time. I’m feeling just about as low as I have ever felt about myself right now, sometimes downright hopeless and trapped, but as long as I stay on the right path — no matter the outcome — I’ll be able to take the next step in my life on a healthy, positive, confident note with my head held high.

~~ Amie

“There is a difference between giving up and knowing when you’ve had enough” Unknown

I’ve had my entire adult life to learn what makes successful relationships, not just romantic relationships but also friendships, family relationships, business relationships and I think I have finally realized what’s been right in front of me all along.

Always keep trying.

I mean, is it really so much to ask? Just try. Just put in effort everyday. Some days, no, we don’t have the time or the energy for grand gestures or huge acts of kindness…but you need to find some way to try. The point I have reached is that I have consistently tried almost everyday of my adult life, and the other side only tries when it’s expected (birthdays and Christmas). Today, I found out two members of my family are potentially very sick. Both already have life threatening, chronic health conditions . . . so this is not good news. I message the one person who should be the one who I can tell everything, cry to, lean on, and after two texts I get back a “Yikes. That’s not good….” No shit. As perviously mentioned in other posts, there have been three deaths already in 2018: one on his side, one on my side, and a long-time family friend on my side. Those were already too much to handle, and I received zero support, was offered no shoulder to cry on through any of it. I tried to be the shoulder to cry on for him with the death on his side, but he kept finding ways to never be home for me to even try, or he always made sure there were others around so it hindered my chances of trying to talk about any personal issues or feelings. And now that I am staring at not one but TWO more people in my family in very poor health…I just don’t know if I can handle this all on my own again. Trying to remain optimistic, but I also have to face the reality of this, too. Should things go downhill and I am left to cry everything out all on my own, all over again…welp, I guess that’s his way of telling me (without having to speak a word to me because we all know how words are hard) that he’s done with me, too.

I did not want to go to the gym tonight, but I did anyways. I rode there with him in total silence, did my workout on one machine, called it good, and went outside to sit on the curb and cry until he was done. My water bottle may have accidentally slipped out of my hand with such force that it shattered all over the parking lot, sending ice cubes flying everywhere. Then, when he was done he came out, unlocked the car, and got in without saying one word to his wife who was sobbing in the gym parking lot like a drunk college girl in a bar bathroom. We drove home the same way we drove there — in complete silence. Well, not complete silence since I was still sniffling and trying to choke down sobs while tears poured down my cheeks. But not one word. No, “what’s wrong?” No, “Are you okay?” No, “I’m sorry I’ve let you down emotionally for 20 years now and I have no idea how to support you or even communicate with you.” Just the ol’ silent treatment…like always…

All this mess really puts a damper on any motivation with the diet. I started off the week really strong, but here I am on Wednesday a complete wreck and not wanting to do a thing. But I did. I didn’t eat the best today, but it wasn’t the worst either. I still made it to the gym, even though I really didn’t want to and I didn’t do my full workout.

I have decided that I need to apply my own philosophy about relationships to myselfAlways keep trying. Some effort is better than none, even on my worst days. Like today, I still managed to not eat total crap all day, and even though my workout was lame at least I got one in. Tomorrow, I would be worse off I hadn’t put in any effort today. Always keep plugging away day after day even when the effort far outweighs the reward. And here’s proof that even the slightest effort can pay off — since returning home from vacation a week ago, I have dropped 6 pounds. Just imagine what I could do if I was actually happy . . .

Tonight’s song is “Try a Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding. No explanation needed.

“But it’s all so easy,

All you got to do is try,

Try a little tenderness…”

~~ Amie

 

“It’s never crowded along the extra mile.” Dr. Wayne Dyer

Welp, I am sad to report my annual vacation has ended. We spent 7 days in Colorado…Durango, San Juan Mountains, Vail, Estes Park, Rocky Mountains, Breckenridge, Denver… I always feels like my vacation is never long enough, though. I always need more do-nothing time, and that always seems to come up short somehow.

Since I ate like absolute CRAP for the last 10 days, today is a the start of a much needed detox. Thankfully, before I left for vacation, I had been hitting the gym pretty hard. Lots of cardio on two different machines and started adding back in strength training on all the machines. Even though I spent most of my vacation at elevations 7-12X higher than the 1,200ft where I live (not to mention that lack of oxygen), I actually faired pretty well when climbing all those mountains! When we reached the summit of one of the mountains in the Rockies, there were people who weighed much less than me, who appeared to be in much better health than, me who were absolutely dying simply walking around up there. Not gonna lie, made me pretty damn proud of my fat self that I was able to adapt better than them!

One thing that was pretty awesome was something we discovered up in the San Juan Mountains, there exists the cleanest air in the entire country — and filled my lungs with it as much as I could. It felt great, smelled so sweet. When we stopped at one scenic viewpoint, lungs full of all that precious air, all I could think was, “Dang, I wish I had my horn with me.” So, while we were driving I mentally started planning how to squeeze in more practice time every day. These chops need to get back in shape right along with the rest of my body. And I don’t mean strong enough to last an hour or two of playing each day, I mean performance ready. I need to start playing with an orchestra again this fall. Actually, I am going to be playing with an orchestra again this fall. I had the chance to fill in with the Emporia Municipal Band for their 4th of July concert and play with my college horn professor again. We talked briefly about me coming back to play with the Emporia Symphony Orchestra again this fall, and I just need to do it. I’m so lost without this part of my life. There are so many facets of my life that I have not prioritized for a long time, but that’s all changing.

As for other issues in my life that I blogged about…pretty much nothing has changed. Things just wax and wane as they always have, between “okay-ish” and “JFC, why am I still here?” I can’t keep giving chance, after chance, after chance…I’ve done that for almost 20 years now, I’m exhausted and miserable. So, plans have been planned and efforts are being made to set my life down a new path. A long path that’s going to take a little time. A path that chooses celebrating the things that make me “me”, going outside of the house and living life, meeting people and making connections, constantly improving not only my life but also the lives of all the people around me. Being loved the way I want and need to be loved. In an amazing coincidence, an Instagram account I follow posted my exact opening quote this morning…and how fitting that it’s a person exercising…in the mountains…on a journey. (Psst, I borrowed their quote photo…it’s originally a stock photo, soooo…credit goes to the internet, I guess?)

Today’s song is a little tricky. On one hand, I am filled with determination, hope, and motivation…but on the other, I’m fed up and frustrated as hell. I’m going to go with something with a positive message, but sounds a little in-your-face. Demi Lovato’s “Confident” gets the bill. She asks in the lyrics “what’s wrong with being confident?”. I’ll tell you what’s wrong with being confident — it scares the hell out of the people who refuse to change.

~~ Amie

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Confucius

I started off my day at the gym sweating away on an adaptive motion trainer (the kind that combines the motions of a treadmill, elliptical, and stair climber all in one), and the above quote appeared on the tv in front of my machine during the morning news “Monday Motivation” segment. This could not have been a more fitting quote for today as I am shaking up my whole routine and continuing to decluttering my life both physically and mentally.

One thing I have mentioned many times before is how my daily schedule makes it very hard to work out in the evenings. I am simply exhausted by the time daycare is finished, but then have to go straight into making dinner, running kids to activities, cleaning, laundry, running errands…I need about 42 hours in a day to get everything done that I need! So, beginning today, it’s awake before the sunrise to workout at the gym at 5:00am. I’m sure I’ve also mentioned at length how I have hardly slept in 2 decades…yeah, this new schedule (I’m hoping) is going to have me falling asleep before 10:00pm every night.

Another new routine I’m beginning are some online classes in a subject I know NOTHING about — coding. As in computer coding. For Christmas, I got my son a Black Friday deal on an enormous bundle of online coding classes through the CNN store. We get lifetime access to these classes, so we can go back and review information anytime we want/need. I’ve decided I’m going to do them, this is way out of my comfort zone, not to mention a subject which I know little to nothing about to begin with. But I think it is extremely important in this world today to have multiple skills sets..jobs aren’t guaranteed, people are overworked and under-appreciated and become burnt out at careers they once loved, and most households need multiple streams of income. I’ll see how these classes go, see if I can grasp a basic understanding of several different coding languages…enough to where I would feel confident adding these classes to my resume. 😄

If these classes go well, there is another bundle that offers instruction on more artistic computer skills in a complete Adobe CC bundle. Now those are things I’d be really interested in learning! Photoshop, illustrator, animate, sound splicing, etc…

An update to my weekend with Symphony in the Flint Hills….*drum roll*…..it was cancelled. 😭 We rehearsed all Friday afternoon and night learning the music, choreography, how to hold and move the giant, lighted sculptures…only to have a huge storm blow through in the early Saturday morning hours and destroy most of the event site. I met lots of new people, work with giant art sculptures, and spent some much needed time with one of my high school friends of 25+ years. The experience was not for nothing, we’ll make those sculptures come to life again someday, Kansas weather just didn’t think June 15 or 16 were the days to do it.

My change of plans for weekend freed up lots of time, though. My younger 3 kids and I ventured over to Geary State Lake and trekked back to the waterfalls! We hiked, took tons of pictures, swam in an old timey swimmin’ hole, were terrorized by giant black water snakes 😳…Then, we drove North to Milford Lake and discovered the flooding around this lake to be much worse that our own Tuttle Creek Lake in Manhattan. We came upon a creepy, flooded park named “Wayne’s World” in Wakefield — looks like the apocalypse meets Waterworld, doesn’t it?

It was a full, eventful weekend leading up to the fresh start of a brand new routine today. Wish me luck, and I’ll check back in tomorrow!

A good song for today is Labrinth’s “Don’t Fence Me In”. No matter the obstacles I face in this weight loss endeavor, my limitations run only as deep as I allow them. Other people and unforeseen circumstances will always be getting in my way, but I need to find a way to hop over that fence and move on with or without them. You’re either coming along for the ride, or I’m leaving you behind! Until tomorrow…

~~ Amie

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” Maya Angelou

Back to the diet for now while I try and sort all the rest of that mess…

Soooooo….! Horrible news! During the last 7 days, while I have been feverish and fatigued, was barely able to muster the strength to choke down 1,000-1.200 calories each day, drank nothing but ice water and hot tea (with at least one big cup of Hydrate each day to try and replenish) — I GAINED 7 POUNDS! Are you frickin’ kidding me?!?! Let me be your living, breathing proof that weight loss encompasses your entire life; every emotion, every stressor, every illness, every minute of lost sleep will impact your weight loss. *sigh*

If simply eating the appropriate number of calories each day and making sure we still get all the necessary nutrients is all me need to loose weight, then it shouldn’t be possible for me to have GAINED 7 pounds. Everything factors in, whether it be positive or negative…unfortunately, in my case, the last 7 days have been all negative.

Speaking of that illness, whatever it is that I’m apparently still dragging around, I was all set to run straight over to the urgent care clinic as soon as daycare was done yesterday. Instead, I needed to run 3 errands before places closed up by 6:00. Then, ran home to make dinner really quick, returned a few calls, ran over the Aggieville to pick up child #2 from a day out with friends…got all way back home and looked the clock as it hit 9:00pm. Urgent Care closed two hours ago. 🤦🏼‍♀️

I am still hovering around 99.5° and the fatigue is still unreal, the only other time I experienced fatigue like this was during my pregnancy with my fourth child (don’t worry, that’s not even a possibility). So, I’ll try again to run over today as soon as kids are gone. One other thing that has popped up it I now have this pain up under my ribs in my left side when I cough and sneeze, or even try to take a big, deep breathe. It almost feels like I pulled an abdominal muscle or something…oh well, I’ll see what they say about it later today.

One thing is certain, I need this virus GONE! Since I came up with my early morning exercise strategy for the gym, I haven’t been able to go once. The hope of wearing the little red dress to my cousin’s wedding in 1.5 months is quickly slipping away. I have other dresses I can wear, but that red one was the goal for this summer 😕 I’ll do my best with what little time I have left and see where I end up.

This weekend is going to have to be file cabinet organization, I probably need a day or two of productivity that requires me to sit on my butt and sort/organize papers and receipts. Saturday night, though, I’ll be heading into Salina for the Symphony at Sunset…I also may be checking out their horn section, just in case they may need someone next year…😏

I also need to write down some clearly define goals, including steps towards all of them. No matter what happens with my personal life, I can’t anything get in the way of doing things that make me happy.

Today’s song…Kenny Lattimore’s “Stay On Your Mind”, for no reason other than the fact that I really love this song.

~~ Amie

“The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.” Conan O’Brien

This blog has taken me a about 24 hours to write…started yesterday afternoon, a little late last night while I cried myself to sleep on the downstairs couch, a little more this morning while waiting for my coffee to brew before the kids arrived, and now finishing up while they nap.

Last night, the dynamics of my 16 year marriage (technically 20 years total together if we’re going back to when we officially started dating in college) came into sharp focus. I was really suffering trying to make dinner, I had bought ribs and corn on the cob to have for our Memorial Day dinner. My fever was back up to 100.4°, still barely eaten for days for lack of appetite, so weak I could barely stand to dust the ribs with spices and fill a pot with boiling water for the corn. I had to sit for 5-10 minutes after I did any minuscule thing. My husband gets home and I can tell is already pissed about something, I’ll never know what because I’m not privileged enough to be told about anything going on in his life — ever. I need his help starting the grill so the ribs can simply be finished off properly. You would’ve thought I asked him to cut off his leg, he was so visibly angry that he had to help his sick wife finish dinner that by the time everything was done he was LITERALLY throwing bottles of barbecue sauce across the kitchen (in front of his kids), slamming the tray of ribs down on the counter, then storming off to the bedroom and slamming the door shut. I would not see him again until he left for work this morning.

I quietly announced to the kids that dinner was ready, transferred the ribs to the cutting board to cut them apart, and set out plates and forks. Then, I went out on the deck, shut the door and closed the blinds behind me, and sat there and cried for about an hour. While sitting outside, I could see and hear every other family in our neighborhood all spending the day together, hanging out in their back yards, laughing and playing, grills fired up, music playing, relaxing and enjoying being together…but not us. My husband’s life was completely destroyed because he had to help his sick wife finish up the very last leg of dinner that he had no choice but to change clothes and leave the house for 2 1/2 hours without telling anyone. I’m assuming he went to the gym, but I don’t know, he was just…gone.

So there I am, crying as quietly as I can on the deck so my pain isn’t a distraction to anyone else’s holiday celebrations, and something that I have said before, and that others have said before, became crystallizingly clear:

He never wanted a wife.

He wanted a replacement for his mom — who he could occasionally have sex with. Read that again, nice and slow… he… wants… a… mom… who… he… can… have… sex… with… BARF 🤢

I have noticed lately that I feel squeamish when he touches me, I just figured it is because the shittier his attitude and the more he passive aggressively takes out his anger on me and the kids, the less I want any intimacy with him. These phases come and go in all relationships, ours is no different. However, in mature, adult relationships both people put effort into correcting these awkward times and learn from them to come out stronger on the other side. Relationships are NOT 50/50, they are 100/100. Ours has been 195/5, I’ve been doing all the giving for both of us and he puts in that 5% effort just to dupe himself into feeling like he still has any scrap of control over this household. Those phases have waxed and waned constantly in our time together, and I have never given much thought to them since it is a natural thing to occur. But there I sat on the deck crying my eyes out, with a fever of 100.4°, so weak and fatigued I can’t even stand, and my husband straight up LEFT ME ALONE with the kids after only being home for 1 hour because he was so put off by having to act like a husband — I became certain in that moment that I am married to a child. Emotionally, he is on the level of a pre-adolescent boy — and I take a LOT of classes in child development, these are not condescending, empty words, this is a subject I do actually know a lot about. He does not love me, and I don’t think he has for quite a while, I just happen to have a vagina he thinks he deserves access to because we signed a piece of paper back on January 4, 2003.

When the “replacement mom with benefits” label really entered my thoughts a few days ago, I have not been able shake it. It keeps growing, stewing, festering in my head, and when I think back to all his emotional mistreatment over these 20 years, it has been every time he has been forced to man up and act like a true partner, an equal, in this relationship. When he has had to step up and do something without any payoff or getting anything in return, we all suffer his wrath. The only times he shows affection is when he wants sex. The only times he acts nice and includes me in conversations is when other people (mainly our families) are watching and he can’t make himself look bad. The only times he does anything around the house to help is when people are about to come over (and I mean, like, that day, hours before they arrive). And he’ll mow the lawn from time to time to make sure all the neighbors see him “being a man” and “doing man things”.

He is not capable of empathy. To him, everything is either black or white, yes or no, no second chances. He has no middle ground, no compromise. Even if he knows he’s wrong, he will stand his ground and stick to his story because it would destroy him to ever admit he’s wrong.

I think tomorrow morning I will go ahead and give my fat ass a weigh on the scale and see what the damage is from 5 days of extreme stress, endless tears, fever, no appetite, and zero energy. So far, no fever today, but if it even tries to come back I’ll have to head over to the urgent care clinic after everyone leaves.

I want to address one last thing that I know is bound to be brought up after all this ranting I’ve done these last several blogs. I know people might think it’s inappropriate of me to blast my marital problems on my blog. I know many family members think that marital problems need to be kept between and husband and wife and they are no one else’s business and should never be discussed. But I can’t discuss anything with a husband who refuses to be an active participant. I’ve tried to talk to family before and I end up talking to myself, receiving no input, no feedback, no advice. Just a very awkward one-sided conversation. Even when he cheated on me, no one wanted to talk about it. EVER.

For me, though, I am the only one in this marriage. I talk, he never listens. I cry, NOT ONCE has he ever asked me what’s wrong or just put his arms around me and held me, he turns and walks out of the room. I tell him about my day, about everything going on with the kids, he won’t even look up from his phone. I have no one to share anything with, and it is absolutely unhealthy for me to keep all of this inside. Our finances are a disaster, so going to a counselor, even just me by myself, is not even a possibility. I have given 2 decades of my life to someone who has given me very, very little in return. I am certain his biggest fear is that I become 100% financially independent from him, because then I won’t need him anymore. Well, he should go back and crunch those numbers again, because I’m almost there…

A very fitting song for all this mess is “According to You” by Orianthi. Why is it the majority of the people in my life can see my worth except for the one person who should value it the most? I’m at the end my rope, there’s no more to give…all the giving is going to have to come from you. For now, you can be certain of this, I will not sleep in the same bed with you until massive, daily efforts are being put in long term. Even then, I cannot guarantee that you haven’t all already fucked this up beyond repair, my feelings for you may not ever come back, I don’t know…but neither of us will ever know if YOU never try. I don’t want flowers, I don’t want gifts, there’s nothing you can buy to fix this, it has nothing to do with money.

~~ Amie

“You get whatever accomplishment you are willing to declare.” Georgia O’Keeffe

The low grade fever lingered all day today, but I could not let that interfere with my plans — and I am very proud to report that TWO huge things were accomplished today! My garage is spotless and all junk is cleaned out, and I have a working dishwasher in my kitchen again!!! I just rewarded myself by a long, loooooooong soak in my big jetted tub. I am so freakin’ tired I almost fell asleep in there while the bubbles and jets massaged away the aches and pains. My jets will only run for 30 minutes at a time and then turn themselves off for a while. I was so sad when my bubbles disappeared. 😦 I avoided weighing myself today, and will continue to do so until I have completely kicked this bug and have been back on a solid exercise routine for at least a week. I don’t think I could handle any disappointment right now.

Cleaning out the garage was a real struggle. First off, I have purchased more giant push brooms than I can count, Home Depot has made a fortune off me. And yet, as soon as I womaned-up and made my way out to start my day-long project, I found myself without a damn broom. Again. So, Home Depot made another $18 off me today. Seriously, I have no idea what happens to them. Someday, they will all turn up with all the missing socks, and missing plastic lids, and missing scissors (missing scissors are an epidemic in our household). After that small hiccup, I was back at it. I am certain I pushed myself way too far, though. I am not recovered at all from whatever virus I seem to have caught. I still have zero appetite, the fatigue is overwhelming, and my low grade fever constantly hovers around 99.7. I did get some help from my husband after he got home from work/the gym. He smashed up the old bunk bed frame and a flimsy little dresser. I wouldn’t have been able to crack the hammer at those things, the energy was running on fumes late in the evening and I was feeling extremely weak.

My oldest daughter’s boyfriend is a handy guy. He helped me install a new over-the-range microwave/vent over the winter. And today he helped me get the old dishwasher out and down to the curb and install the new one. We did have to call my brother with a minor electrical issue, but Kyle (my brother) already knew exactly what we needed to find and where to find it. I almost has heart attack, though, when we turned it on repeatedly and it just hummed at us. Then, the most glorious sound — second only to the sounds of all my children’s first newborn cries as the doctor plopped my slimy babies upon my chest — water wooshed through the tubes and a cycle started. Tears of joy, y’all. So, I now owe my daughter’s boyfriend big time (again). Last time he accepted payment in the form of his favorite cookies, I think he deserves something bigger this time! Pie? Cheesecake? A gift card? I’ll figure it out.

Anywho, I am now dead tired. My Fitbit was so kind as to inform me that I have hit over 20,000 steps today, that’s a lot steps just running around my garage and driveway (and Home Depot, of course).

I did do two small things for myself this morning to start my day. I FINALLY got my hair cut for the first time in (don’t judge me) over a year. Today was the first time since high school I have had the stylist cut and layer my hair with it on a side part. She took off 5 inches and put in all my long layers that I love, it is still incredibly long but it looks so much healthier now. My second small thing was walking out of the salon and into the Target next door to treat myself to a venti flat white from Starbucks. I have not had one of those in so long, it warmed my soul…I credit all energy I burned through during the first half of the day to my Starbucks boost. My garage project would never have been completed without you, old friend.

Today’s song, I’m going with “All My Friends” by Amos Lee. It’s the last track on his very first album that I found total by chance on iTunes one night back in 2005. In fact, I even went to see him at OU while visiting a friend in Norman, OK way back when all he had was this one album. It’s been so great to hear his music evolve over the years, and also see him evolve in his performances. Ha ha, I remember that very first show, he looked terrified up on that stage! Don’t worry, Amos, I’ve been playing horn since I was 10 or 11 and I still choke on that first breathe whenever I’m about to play a solo. SMH, performance anxiety, sheesh. I have really enjoyed him at his last two shows, though, he seems like he’s having a great time and really letting his true self be seen, joking around and telling stories. Keep it up, man. And as always, you feel free to stop in Manhattan, KS anytime…I live very close to the airport…I’m just sayin’…And bring Mutlu, I like him too. 🙂

~~ Amie

“Balance, peace, and joy are the fruit of a successful life. It starts with recognizing your talents and finding ways to serve others by using them.” Thomas Kinkade

The three things mentioned in the title — balance, peace, and joy — are not things I have felt much in my adult life. That’s not to say I have not achieved any success in the last 20 years, I have, and they are things that are important. And that is also not to say I haven’t experienced any balance, peace, or joy, it’s just so little has been felt for myself…mostly felt for others. I had a long list of things I wanted to do, very specific things that needed to be in place by age 40, very little on that list has been accomplished. I am certain all the stress that has accumulated over the last 2 decades that has come crashing down on me recently has played an enormous role in my inability to loose weight. Also, I sleep next to a chronic snorer, I’ve barely slept for these last 20 years except when he’s been gone, the sheer volume of the snoring is deafening (I’m not exaggerating, my two older girls who sleep downstairs from us can hear him — on an entirely different level in the house)!

Let me give you a firsthand example of how stress can affect your weight loss (or lack of)… I have been so angry and stressed this week, I have had no appetite, I had to keep forcing myself to eat a little something here and there and drink water. I started feeling really run down and sluggish Thursday, as the day progressed the fatigue was horrible. I took 2 Advil and went to bed early. Still felt tired and run down all Friday and eventually started running a fever early Friday evening. Fever and fatigue have continued most of today (Saturday) until I felt the full-body ache start to subside a little this evening. So, eating maybe 1,000-1,200 calories each day all week and lots and lots of water — I GAINED 5 POUNDS THIS THE WEEK!!! By all accounts, this shouldn’t even be possible for someone as fat and gross as me. That’s not starvation mode where a body is being so deprived that it clings to all the fat to protect the body, I was eating/drinking and taking in calories and nutrients and right in that sweet spot where weight loss is kickstarted. But I lost nothing, I GAINED. The only thing that sticks out of my stress was so sky high, I could barely relax to fall asleep — and even then it’s lousy sleep anyways because it’s too loud to sleep in my room on account of the snoring. So, I need plans in place immediately to reduce this stress.

Plan #1: Now that the kids are out of school for the summer, I can still get up at the same but go to the gym and workout instead. I’ll still have plenty of time to get home and shower before any daycare kids arrive. I reinstalled the C25K app on my phone, so I can run through that program first thing when I get there. Then, they have a great machine that combines all 3 motions of a treadmill, elliptical, and stairs with preset workouts on it. I’m going to hurt like hell for a few weeks but it’ll be worth it to gain some muscle so I can start burning fat more efficiently.

Plan #2: This is less on the diet side and more on the life side, I need to sort through every last statement, account, bill, etc. and figure out why we are living paycheck to paycheck. It makes no sense being as we make the most income we’ve ever made with our combined pay, yet we have nothing. We are one big house or car repair away from not being able to pay bills, and I have no clue why. This issue sits heavy on my chest every day and I feel a constant uneasy, queasy way about it. It needs to change. Now.

Plan #3: This house needs decluttered, STAT! As hard as I work to try and constantly sort through clothes as the kids outgrow them, throw away broken ornaments each year as I pack away the Christmas decorations, keep leftovers from getting out of control in the fridge — my efforts are never enough. Tomorrow, it’s garage day. This is a mess that I — and the whole neighborhood — see every time either or both of the garage doors are open. It’s embarrassing and humiliating. A kind soul from my Buy Nothing group gifted me a nice IKEA cabinet with doors that I can store all hazardous materials in out in the garage (doors were important so I can lock the cabinet for daycare). Another equally kind soul from the same group gifted me a set of metal shelves that I’ll be putting all the grill/BBQ/smoker supplies on. I need to figure out how to get an old bunk bed frame out of there, it’s too big to fit in any car and haul to the dump, it needs to be hacked into pieces…I’m sure I’ll figure something out…I always do…by myself.

Plan #4: If not tomorrow, then by Monday for sure, my piece of crap dishwasher will be taken out, taken to the dump, and the new one that has been sitting in the garage since we moved here will be installed. By me. By myself. Like always.

Plan #5: THIS PLAN IS ALREADY DONE! I found a way to get myself a new computer. This did alleviate some stress right away. I have already begun writing one of my books on here, it’s just flowing out of me and I feel like I am doing something that has been a long time coming. Next, I need to transfer all my daycare records to my own computer and take care of my own business, I’ve let my husband do it since the beginning and I should never have done that. It’s my business, my responsibility. Plus, he has his computer on him at all times and I never have access to it. Don’t even know his password and he sure as hell is never going to tell me…not sure why, there shouldn’t be anything on there to hide. Right?

My mood has improved a little since yesterday’s blog, but not because I have big change of heart after I had the chance to calm down. This eerie calmness I feel while lightning is crashing outside my windows right now is because I know what needs to be done. It’s going to be a process, I’m not sure how long of a process, but I know things won’t and can’t happen overnight. I need to get myself straight first, I need to take care of me (and obviously my kids, they always come first, that should go without saying). After I’ve defragmented my life and everything is in order, everything is in plain, clear sight — then, I will move my life where I know it needs to go, where it probably should have been all along. It will not be without some heartbreak, but I am prepared. People will be angry with me, but I am prepared. One person in particular will harbor a lot of resentment towards me (probably forever), but I am prepared.

A lot of people may be caught off guard and confused, but to those people I will say this — women have perfected the art of putting on a smiling face to the world when their own lives are falling apart behind closed doors. When we receive no affection, we are given the silent treatment for unknown reasons, no one telling us “I love you”, no one doing anything to help us through our struggles, no one asking us what’s wrong when they see us cry, no one attempting to understand the permanent hole we feel in our hearts from loosing a baby, no one looking up from their phone screen when we try to pour our hearts out to them and tell them what’s wrong. We’ve done it from the beginning of time because society expects it of us. Except now we have to means to connect with the others in the world suffering the same unfulfilling lives we are, and we are stronger because of it.

Tonight’s song is going with the theme of being completely submerged under water, literally and figuratively. Manhattan, KS is experiencing more torrential downpours at the moment and is under a flash flood warning until 1:45am — lovely. But also, you know that feeling when you’re really deep down under water and you can feel the weight of all that water on top of you? Yes. And how all sounds are muffled and distorted as your ears fill with water? Yes. Justin Timberlake’s “Blue Ocean Floor” off his The 20|20 Experience album fits the bill perfectly. I’m ready to slowly start floating to the top, no excess weight or emotional burdens pulling me down, and all the sounds of the world falling crisp and clear on my freshly dried ears. Time to start over.

~~ Amie

 

 

“If you’re being ignored, that’s a good time to concentrate on finding yourself and creating your own mystery.” Lykke Li

Last blog was dated May 5, we are now on May 24. Life flew by way too quickly…my oldest daughter is now a high school graduate, my middle two children are now both in high school, and my youngest completed her first series of appointments for major dental work. Needless to say, I’ve been beyond busy, so I’m taking the opportunity to blog while my daycare children nap today.

The last 2 weeks — no, really it started 2 months ago — I have been an emotional wreck. A bit of this is from all the deaths/funerals. A bigger part of this can be attributed to a very common premenopausal symptom that most women in their 40s begin to experience: sensory overload. Holy crap, it has been so bad! It’s been so bad that I have started avoiding being rooms when certain tv shows are on. I cannot stand yelling, I cannot stand fighting, I cannot stand over the top anger, I cannot stand the sound of police sirens going non-stop, I cannot stand snoring…it’s just awful and my mood dissolves into a runny puddle of annoyance pretty fast. I didn’t even know that premenopausal sensory overload was a thing until someone posted an article on Facebook. Don’t worry, I did the responsible thing and took that information and did some quick research of my own, I’d hate to be a headline bandit!

The third, and biggest, part of my foulness is being run down and worn out 20 years. Despite living in the year 2019, somehow all the responsibilities of maintaining a home, cooking, cleaning, raising the kids, managing the kids’ schedules, all the while still working 50-60 hours a week running a daycare in my home has all been put in me. I’m going to put this very clear and simple…

I. Am. Done.

I can’t do it anymore. I had my moment where I nearly snapped, and I mean full on mental break, on Tuesday. I woke up, got straight out of bed to wake up everyone else to get ready for school, went back to my room to take a shower, then back out to yell at everyone who promptly went back to sleep after I woke them the first time. That’s when I heard the sound of rushing water splattering on the concrete floor down in my storage room. For those who have been oblivious to the weather for the last several weeks, Kansas has seen record rainfalls and flooding has been catastrophic and widespread. Although I live way up on a hill, far out of the flood zone, that doesn’t mean the ground around my house isn’t completely saturated to the point where water will start forcing its way in through any crack or crevice — it found its way in where the main water line comes into my basement.

For the next 5 hours I would sit on the cold concrete floor with all six of my daycare toddlers and babies running circles and climbing all over me, nonstop crying because the loud shopvac scares them to death, and with a giant box fan blowing (which was absolutely freezing because I was soaked).

Here’s the thing, though, I was not home alone.

I was constantly calling over the shopvac out to the other adult who was upstairs laying in bed until 11:00am playing games and screwing around on his phone. Then, actually had the balls to come down to the basement and announce he was going to head over on the gym. In that moment, I knew what it meant to be so mad you see red. Staring straight ahead and avoiding eye contact, the only things in my sight that stuck out were all the things that were vibrant, pulsating, blood red: the red ball pit balls, the red trains, the red keys on all the xylophones, the red milk jug caps with ABCs written on them that had been thrown everywhere. I was so mad I felt hot.

Our home was flooding with water in a corner of our basement. Our huge, beautiful home that we pay an arm and a leg for to live in a very nice, safe neighborhood. But please, by all means continue to treat it like a shitty rental property. Pay no attention to the potential of mold growth and poor air quality while 6 people live here and 6 others come here for care 5 days a week. I hope whatever was in that phone was really fucking important, so important that it was worth your wife almost walking out the door.

This is not an isolated incident, this is how the last 20 years of my life have gone. Examples?! Of course, I have plenty! First up…how about the time the main toilet in our old house started leaking out of the base (not just the wax ring, there was a crack up inside the toilet). There it sat for over a month, leaking hazardous waste onto the bathroom when we had 3 children under the age of 5 at the time, I wiped, scrubbed and sprayed clean and sterilized after every flush. After ignoring it over a month, I gave up on him doing anything to keep us safe and loaded all 3 kids in the car, went to the hardware store, lifted an entire new toilet into the cart by myself, paid for it, then went home and watched a video online to learn how to install it. By myself.

NEXT…oh yes, the great ice storm Emporia had about 13-15 years ago (not sure exactly of that time, it all blurs together). An enormous ice storm nearly took out the huge 70 year old elm tree in our backyard. It looked like a war zone, our entire backyard was covered in huge, broken limbs. And there it sat…for months. My dad lent us a chainsaw to take care of it, and yet, or backyard was unusable for months because I could never find time to fire up a chainsaw in the dead of winter with 3 tiny children always on my heels no matter where I went (even if it was in below freezing weather to do hard manual labor they’d follow me, also I was having severe lower back and hip pain at that time from 3 pregnancies so close together). So, eventually, my dad got pissed that it wasn’t getting done and he and my mom came down for a weekend and cut up ALL the limbs and loaded them into his truck so he could go dump them on his hunting property. My parents did all the work on this, and I still feel horribly guilty about it to this day.

NEXT…my current dishwasher. It hasn’t been cleaning the upper rack and has been holding water in the bottom at the end of every cycle. Started doing this a YEAR ago, has progressively cleaned less and less. Now, it’s pretty much useless…you would think that we should just install the brand new dishwasher that’s been sitting our garage, right? It’s gonna get fucking done this weekend, Amie and her sidekick YouTube to the rescue again. By myself.

NEXT…all the countless times our septic system backed up in our Emporia house. I was there, cleaning away with anywhere from 1-4 kids trying to climb on me while I am shoveling, scraping, vacuuming literal shit. By myself.

Guys, I could go on for days and recount every tiny thing, every huge thing, and all the things in between. No joke. I unclog every sink and every toilet, I fish slimy “hair snakes” out of every shower drain, I have done 100% of the potty training on all 4 kids and washed every shit-filled pair of underwear, I wash 90% of the dishes (my second child does actually help me the most with this), I clean out the storage rooms, the garage, the closets

I

Can’t

Do

It

Any

More

If I’m in this alone, then leave and let me truly do it alone. It’s easier that way anyways. I will never return to health and drop a pound of this weight with all this stress on my everyday. Never. Unless this cycle is broken, I will stay exactly where I am both emotionally and physically.

The perfect song for this is “One Less Bell to Answer”, I really like the one on the Glee soundtrack volume 3. I’ve just gotten myself all angry again just writing this, I better get going…

~~Amie