Friday, October 18, 2013

Pillows and perspective

It's Friday! Despite being off for Columbus Day on Monday, this week has felt pretty long. There's not much going on at work, still, so I've had lots of time to do some textbook reading for the group fitness instructor certification and to sit here wishing I were at home being this lazy.

I turned a finished cross-stitch into a Christmas pillow for Jeff's dad and stepmom! I'm pretty excited that I managed to sew a pillow without it looking dumpy. I even learned how to do a ladder stitch to close up the opening that I stuffed it with. It's not perfect, but you can only see the imperfections if you're being hypercritical and looking for them... which reminded me that most of the disappointments I find in myself are only apparent because I'm being hypercritical. If I take a step back and look at the pillow as a whole, I'm completely in love with my work. It's all about perspective, and I sometimes forget I'm allowed to choose my perspective.

There will be a picture of said pillow after Christmas. I never know who might stumble across my blog. I've been working on some ornaments and have plans for a few other sewn gifts. I love the holidays. There's already Christmas stuff up in Walmart and I'm always so happy when it first goes up. Yes, I'll be tired of it in a few weeks, but for now I'm savoring each time I walk through the garden center and see their perfect rows of fake trees. And shiny things! Yay!

Fitness has been pretty good lately, but I still feel like I've lost the strong motivation I'd had over the past few years. Which is frustrating. It's like I woke up one day a few months ago and just didn't like working out anymore. Plus, while it seemed like a breeze to complete Body Revolution last year, this time really messed with my knees. I had to take some time off. So I've been switching it up a bit and bouncing around to find the workouts that I enjoy. If there's one fitness tip that will help keep anyone healthy, it's to enjoy your fitness program. I'm doing some dumbbell and bodyweight work at home and keeping track of my strength gains on paper. I was doing a step aerobics class through the parks and recreation department a county south of mine, since it's on my home from work, but the timing really messes with me. I have to wait around an hour before it starts, and then get home about a half an hour before I like to be in bed. I skipped both sessions this week and emailed the instructor that I hope to come back next week, but it's pretty unlikely. I did go home and workout each of the times I missed, so I didn't beat myself up too badly. Evening commitments are just not a good idea for me. That time that I like to be in bed by? It's 7:30pm. I wake up really, really, really early.

Not too much else is going on. I have an evening planned with a great friend from college in Richmond tonight, and then tomorrow I'm making some ravioli which I'm pretty jazzed about. Sunday we have family dinner with Jeff's family, and we'll get to give his dad and sister some birthday presents. And also: pumpkin cheesecake. Jeff's going to make some, I think. YAY!

I hope everyone out there has a fantastic weekend and is feeling light and open.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Highlight Reels

I'm so glad that many of the civilian workers on base have been called back into work today. I missed a few of them personally, and I know that almost all of them will be feeling better and more at ease returning to their regular work schedules.

Last week gave me some time and space to notice a few things about my behavior when there isn't a lot of work to be done. The new fiscal year means that it will be some time before the buyers start ordering regularly again, and there were fewer folks around to come in and need any attention. There are still lots of items coming in that need to be processed and delivered, and there are always bigger tasks I could take the initiative to complete around the shop, but mostly I've been embracing the chance for a little time to kill and trying to focus on all the gratitude I'm feeling. Turns out it's hard to feel grateful when I'm using my free time at work by mindlessly browsing the internet and compulsively checking my Facebook feed at least 3-4 times an hour.

A couple of my Facebook friends, one from high school and one from college, noted some similar feelings in their statuses over the weekend. One pointed out that seeing all the activities that others were doing didn't help with her already-present feeling of "not having a life." Another said that it was painful to see that everyone else is reaching their dreams while she didn't feel the same, and that she tries so hard but never seems to feel as accomplished as those on her feed.

It made me remember a quote I'd read, and I went out to find it. Turns out it was made by a minister from North Carolina:

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel” ~ Steve Furtick

Man that sure makes me feel better. Facebook is, for most folks, simply their highlight reel. I try to post a variety of my own celebrations and concerns, but I'm just as guilty of not being fully authentic there as I believe most others are. I commented to one of the friends and mentioned the above quote, but then took a glance at my own page. The most recent posts were a funny comment on the new wings at McDonalds (look, you can relate to me because I eat bad food sometimes, and I'm soooo hilarious!), a spontaneous check-in at a brewery with a good friend (look at how awesome I am getting out and doing things like drink snobby beers!), a youtube video of an old De La Soul song about perseverance (I'm soooo old school and I care about everyone affected by the shutdown!), and a profile pic change to a picture from March 2012 of Jeffrey and I dancing at my buddy's wedding (look at this dreamy look on my face, I'm soooo in love and my relationship is perfect!).

It's all pretty funny. But also kind of sad. Because what I didn't post is that I spent a good part of the weekend feeling like complete crap. My hormones are batty right now, I am facing some major feelings of professional inferiority, my bad mood rubs off on poor Jeff and I then feel guilty that he spends extra time doing little things to make me smile, when I don't even feel like doing anything to make myself smile, ahhhh! It gets bad. It gets bad for everyone at times, I'm pretty sure. But they don't post about it on Facebook, or if they do, they get a few comments reminding them how grateful they should be feeling or what they should be doing to get out of their funk. I've tried a lot of shoulds when I get into my ruts, and I've tried ignoring the shoulds and just letting the darkness wrap me up in a bundle of suffering. I'm finding that balance improves every aspect of my life, and that includes the ruts.

I feel better today because I spent a few hours just letting myself lay around and accept my funk with open arms. Then I took some time to express to my husband how much it means to me that he lets me be in a bad mood and lets me take space when I want space. I rested and went to bed early so that I could wake up an hour early this morning and do a little of the yoga that my body and mind have been craving, and then I sat for five minutes in meditation despite aiming for ten minutes. I didn't beat myself up for not sitting through the unease any longer, and I didn't turn my phone on to see who on my Facebook feed was doing life better than me this morning. It's hard to be vulnerable, even online, and I'm going to try to remember that as the constant urges to check the feed creep in, and then jealousy and insecurity follow as I scan that page of what everyone wants to look like. I'm lucky enough to have a few relationships in my life that can be vulnerable and messy, and that's where I have glimpses of the true view of humanity.