Smiles and Stress

“With fond remembrance of your amazing smile, the one that took over your face seemingly sponsored and wattaged by Edison bulbs.”  A message – to ME – from a long lost friend. How that stirs up all that is good thinking I reflected an obvious sense of happiness. We all know how things aren’t always what meet the eye…but…there’s always a grain of truth regardless. And these words artistically phrased and meant for me, well, it made my day. How nice is it to be remembered for something so utterly positive?

Only days after receiving this message, one of my yoga teachers was crouching in front of me at the beginning of class and remarked rather simply “you have a great smile.” And again I felt good about myself. Like a reassurance that I am ok.

And the cherry on top? The song played at the end of yoga class tonight – Smile by Nat King Cole

 

So smile more it is!

These two occurrences have led my thoughts to laughing. And how laughing automatically brings you into the present. I still firmly believe a good old fashion belly laugh is medicine of the best kind. I know I need more of this. Being told by one of my healthcare providers just yesterday I need to make sure I find time to do something that fills my cup once again brought light to my life…the dark corners I like to avoid. Running fills my cup but also empties it, she said. She is right. So what is it that I can do that will rejuvenate, balance, de-stress, make me a better me? I’m still actively pondering this. But I will admit, my initial thought is putting on my comfy pjs and watching my most favorite sitcom. And hey that might be it. Just slowing down, sitting down, and just simplifying.

……Although, it’d be nice to have someone rub my head too.

Sweet Treats

Oh how I love yummy treats! Yesterday we celebrated my father’s and my birthday with my family. My talented brother handcrafted an Italian versus Irish Cornhole game. A match quickly ensued…but I’m sorry to say my oldest son and I did not win. We did give it a good go however! Turkey burgers, steak, hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob, potato salad, chips, fruit salad, and dips. Lacking for food, we were not. The smell of the grill, the cool breeze, the sun peaking around clouds, and the constant laughing of cousins running around was all so peaceful. Yet, it always hits me that I am “alone.” No one to steal a quick kiss from, no one to grab hold of their hand, no one to share a bite of my turkey burger. In these times, I don’t dwell on that thought – it passes through. The moments of being with my family, in that moment, are much too positive to allow any other feelings to bring me down. But it always makes an appearance.

Anyway, back to the yummy treats. My mom, in lieu of cake, purchased the most delicious looking cupcakes. One problem – I am currently following a low FODMAP diet. Ugh. So I happily wrapped up one of these beauties and placed it in the freezer to hopefully be enjoyed at a later date. I should have taken a picture of all of them – there was a variety. But the picture below is of me and my dad’s. The red candle is the one I made a wish upon just before I blew it out.

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Happy Birthday to me and my father!

My wishes tend to be the same from year to year. Intentions they are. Maybe this is the year. Maybe me blowing out a candle on a cupcake I have to patiently wait to eat, is simply a metaphor for my life right now. Be patient. The best is yet to come.

Imprinting of the Past

My very first boyfriend was when I was fourteen years old. It was immature and very unhealthy. I remember arguing with him on the phone and he was kicking the dishwasher. He had this temper where kicking, breaking, punching various things in the house was a norm. As a result, there was an intensity to our relationship. If I look back further, I can remember my mother slamming cabinets, screaming, turning music up loudly in the middle of the night, all a result of being angry with my father. This is where the intensity began. Fast forward again to a relationship I had for almost five years…this beginning at a vulnerable age of sixteen. He was, on the outside, what many girls in the school at the time desired…popular, athletic, funny..a “catch.” But, it quickly became abusive in so many ways. I was verbally abused constantly. Emotionally, psychologically abused. I was controlled. And I allowed this to happen. I own it. This intensity was a part of me. And this relationship filled this need for intensity. I will admit there was this quiet part of me that new it was wrong. This was not love. It was hard for me to work through. I equate it to an addiction. I know if I married this man, I may not be alive today or maybe alive but so beaten down that I would be a hollow shell. College years created a forced space between us that eventually allowed me to break free. During this time of breaking free, I met my husband. I remember waiting for him to yell at me. It felt so much healthier than my previous relationship. I was by no means “addicted” to this man. I felt better. I felt stronger. I felt “I can live without this man, but I am choosing not to live without him.” Until one night I remember us arguing. He took my binder of study materials that I had been reviewing for an exam that would culminate the previous five years of hard work. He took that binder and threw it against the wall. The papers falling everywhere. The following day we were looking at potential reception halls. I lied in bed that night thinking “what am I doing?” But I moved forward. I felt this momentum that I thought at the time I needed to roll with. I questioned things in my mind. I gave myself no voice though. There were so many struggles within me that I became paralyzed in my being. So I moved forward on the outside, while the inside stayed paralyzed. Over the years, I tried to blend the inside with the outside. To find some sense of harmony. Today, here is what I know. I need to listen to my inner voice. I don’t deserve to be treated any less than well. I need to be a positive role model for my children, exposing them to positive role models, providing them with healthy lessons in relationships and love, teach them respect and empathy. I need to be this so they feel this. I don’t have blame, I don’t have regret. But I do have the need for change. I do have the need to finally allow that quiet self, that true self to move to the forefront. Yes, the past has shaped me. But I am ready to take charge and use my own hands to shape my present and my future. Are you?