Tag Archives: health

2013 Copycat

I was completely geared up to do a lovely run down of 2013 a la All & Sundry  after enjoying posts by Jess and Jennie. But you know something? 2013 feels a bit more fluid than that for me so I’m just going to ramble and see what comes out.

2013

2013 was pretty sucky in so many ways but also I started to really find myself this year, so it ended pretty well.

This year, my heart hurt, my body hurt, my mind hurt. I feel like I suffered an awful lot, telling myself ‘at least you have a roof over your head, Sarah’. Not that that sort of self talk is helpful, but, I am nothing if not constantly working at being nicer to myself while reminding everyone else to do as I say, not as I do.

I was heavily depressed in 2013.  I struggled and some days just getting out of bed was something to celebrate – that is – if I had the energy to celebrate.  I drowned in a sea of fear and anger and instead of taking charge of my life, I let it wash me away.  I lost one of the best people I’ve ever known because I did not take my own life into my hands and let fear overrun me.  I was too afraid to take steps I needed to.

In my most self-compassionate moments I can look at 2013 and see exactly why I felt so heavy and burdened.  I felt heart ache and heart break. I lost close friends. I lived far from my family. I struggled financially. I almost left my marriage.  I worked out too much. I didn’t work out enough. I forced myself to restrict my diet. Then I let it all go and ate like crap. I left an apartment I’d lived in for almost 7 years. I left behind everything that wouldn’t fit in a Toyota echo and moved across the country. I got riled up by injustices and hateful words so easily spoken.   I moved to NYC…without first having a place to live. My Nana’s sister was diagnosed with dementia, moved out of her lifelong home and my Nana went to see her for the last time. I was jobless and rejected. Repeatedly.  I lost weight. I gained weight.   I laid awake nights worrying about a dwindling bank account. I had a sick pet. I felt lonely.  My Aunt was diagnosed with late stage ovarian cancer and was not expected to live through the year.  My Dad was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma and did not heave health insurance.

I mean…I may have a reason or three to feel like I did. Maybe. 

I guess it really is the truth when they say you have to know the lows to appreciate the highs.  When I was at my worst, I reached out. Those of you that have suffered heavy depression and anxiety know just how hard it is to reach out in those moments. The fears of those judging you or thinking how annoying and ’emo’ you are can be so soul crushing.  You know? I really think that opening myself up and reaching out to friends both near and far – new and…well new, was one of the best things that I did in 2013.  I harbored a lot of hurt and resentment in 2013.  I laid a lot of heavy blame on myself and took a lot of damage points but…I reached out. I asked for help. I asked for understanding and love.

Boy, did you guys respond. Holy hannah.  So many of you just came out of the woodwork to support me, pouring praise and love in tidal waves and I cannot thank you enough for that. For all the energy you send me, for the time you spent thinking of me and being hopeful for me. For all the love you had to give and gave to me.  I feel so indebted so often to many of you and I don’t say thank you often enough. I have a running tally of people in my head that need to be thanked, told how much I appreciate them and that they are wonderful people.  Thank you. All of you.

The last bit of 2013…got better.

My Dad’s cancer responded to treatment. I got to spend Christmas with my family. I took a leap of faith and completed Birth Doula Training which changed me inside. I blogged more. I told friends I loved them.  I got a job that I love.  Friends visited.  I decorated a new apartment.  I found peace in running through the park.  I got a real Christmas tree.  I joined the Sisterhood of Avalon.  I read…a lot…of crap that felt great.  I began to love New York City.  My Aunt’s cancer has responded to treatment.  I participated in several CDP exchanges that made me happy.  I discovered there was a reason that I was so emotional – I’m a Highly Sensitive Person.  I read and found others like myself.  I opened up and was vulnerable.  I loved as much as I possibly could.  I discovered New York pizza.  I got an Edible Arrangement! I started finding some self confidence.

So, 2013. It’s gone.  Literally and figuratively.  I’d like to be different this year.

I plan on setting a few intentions quietly here at home, maybe making one of those cliched intention boards.  For now, here are a few things that I want for 2014.

-I want to be more compassionate and kind. I always try to be more of these things but I’d like to make a bigger effort. I want to stop judging and being crabby about people. I just want to love them for who they are even without knowing their story. We are all coming from somewhere.

-I want to take better care of my body -emotionally, physically and mentally.  I would like to exercise more and eat better. I know how – it just takes discipline and willpower. I’m coming out of the fog, I can do this.

-I want to attend a Sisterhood of Avalon Intensive, bonding with my sisters and the Goddess.

-I want to kick sugar.  It’s awful and has a hold on me like whoa. No good people. I would like to be able to eat a cookie, not the box.

-I would like to attend at least 4 births this year – completing my DONA certification.

-I’d like to take some coursework/certification in aromatherapy.

-I want to run some type of race this year. I’d LOVE to do a sprint triathlon in June. We shall see.

-I want to take a yoga class, an aerobics class and a dance class regularly.

-I want to be better at planning meals and snacks, to make sure I am fueled all day and can avoid sugar and caffeine to boost me.

-I want to learn more handicrafts. Knitting. Crocheting. Quilting. For peace of mind and spirit.

-I would like to volunteer in NYC – perhaps as a birth doula or elsewhere.

-I would like to budget better and save money to afford to help others and surprise friends with little things more often.

-I’d like to journal more often and keep on top of my thoughts and my heart, working on doing things to keep my self-confidence growing.

***

I think this year is set up to be far better than last and boy, am I ready.

Bring it 2014. 

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The Best Kind of News

It was rainy and dreary on Tuesday. My Mom and Stepdad had just left, I was starting to get sick and I had to work in the afternoon at my new job. My new job where I am still fighting the voices in my head that keep telling me they will find out I am awful and will fire me. The voices that are telling me the other shoe will drop ANY MOMENT. It was not shaping up to be the greatest of days for me.

Lucky for me, I knew I had a package from Ashley at the post office, so I was off to pick up the glorious, well-timed box. I was ready to kick ass and take names too, since no one had even attempted to deliver it.  I was riled RIGHT up and was in NO MOOD to deal with any bullshit.

Then, while I was waiting in line, I got a text from my Dad.

Spontaneous tears.

He had a CT scan last week to check on the size of his lymphnodes (Since he has lymphoma, that’s where the cancer is. There and in his bone marrow) and was at the cancer clinic to find out the results and to get his fourth (out of six) round of chemotherapy. Well, excuse the capslock but – EVERY SINGLE NODE WAS LESS THAN 1CM IN SIZE! This, in comparison to August when a couple were EIGHTEEN CENTIMETERS. Less than 1cm people! That’s like |      | this far or something. Oh my good god, would you have been able to hold back tears on that one?

That’s not all.  Once I finished sobbing at the post office, I got a text from my Dad’s girlfriend who said that his chemo drugs were now GETTING PAID FOR. So, my Dad, who has no health insurance but will be on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars – just got his chemotherapy drugs paid for by the drug companies. As someone who thinks drug companies are evil bastards, I have never, EVER IN MY LIFE been so grateful to them. Dad will still have to pay for the scans, doctor visits and so forth, but the drugs are most expensive!

So let’s recap this. Halfway through his treatment program, his lymphnodes have drastically reduced in size, meaning the drugs are working as they should. So, so well. Ontop of this, he is getting financial help from the drug companies (who get a tax break for doing so) and his financial burden will be lessened. Well then.

I know that many of you will cheer and celebrate this massive victory (so far) with me and I honestly am so grateful for you all as well. You have made the last few months not only bearable, but full of love and support and comfort.

Thank you friends.

I just…you guys. I can’t express to you, just how grateful I feel on the eve of Thanksgiving. Yes, I am sick and grumpy but damn. I have a job that is already helping with my mood and self esteem and is making me feel like a worthwhile human being that is strong, capable and able to do anything if she just takes that first step.  And the best part – My Dad is doing so dang well and I just love him so much. He is kicking cancer’s ass and is keeping such an awesome attitude while doing it.

I hope that I am as strong as he is some day. I really do.

Currently

Thanks to Sometimes Sweet for the inspiration for today’s post. 

Currently I am…

Reading:  I am such a schitzophrenic reader. I have so many abandoned books, not because I didn’t like them, but because I wanted to read something else RIGHT THEN. I am at the moment, drowning myself in smutty romances in attempt to hide from stress. Drowning myself I tell you. I can’t tear through them fast enough. I have gone through this and this in the last twenty four hours. I know, I know. Quality reading.

I am also reading The Birth Partner as a requirement for my doula training which begins TOMORROW. Gasp! I love the topic but I won’t lie, it’s pretty dry.  I have the Emperor’s Edge on hold, half read. I also have Elaine Aron’s The Highly Sensitive Person continually banging around, reading parts of it as I have time and energy. It’s some heavy reading and ‘doing’ for me. Lots of internal work but honestly, if you are Highly Sensitive, think you might be or have an HSP family member, it’s a great place to begin.  (You can also see my growing list of resources here.)

Oh hey! I also am reading a TON of blogs lately! Thanks NaBloPoMo! I love having a full feed of blogs to read so keep up the great work people!

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Doing: I have spent some time each day searing and applying for jobs, but honestly? I am not doing much these days. I am lethargic from all that is going on, (as you may have read earlier this week) and I’m just not doing a whole lot. I feel guilty about this of course but some wise friends I think would categorize this as self care. I’d like to get out a bit more, but for now, I’m just making sure I am up, dressed (sort of), showered and fed. It’s a tall order these days.

Cooking: I’ve had a few days of I-have-no-energy-even-to-do-what-I-love, which suuuuuucks. It sucks to feel like you can’t even enjoy what normally makes you feel good, let alone feed yourself. Now I’ve gotten into the I-need-to-hide-from-the-pain-and-stress period of this crap, which means lots of cooking and baking.  Yesterday I had a pot of beans going all day, but other than that I laid in bed for over 12 hours, reading and napping.  A few days before that I made this Caramelized Onion Greek Yogurt Dip, which is DELICIOUS.  I’ve got Smitten Kitchen‘s Lazy Pizza Dough rising on my counter for a Mexican style pizza with queso fresco and I may try to do some baking. Perhaps banana bread or chocolate chip cookies. We shall see, it’s getting late, or at least I feel the pressure of evening bearing down on me.  (Side note: You should make the pizza and the dip. Really. )

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Thinking: I don’t even know. My head hurts. My brain is scattered and thoughts are all over the place. I want to get up and go out but don’t have the energy. Right now I just am thinking about my training this weekend and trying not to be too stressed about it. It will be 9am-6pm for three days. I’m excited but a little scared at the same time if I’m honest.

Watching:  Oh man, I am a TV watcher right now. I’ve exhausted my Vampire Diaries, The Originals, American Horror Story today. Last night it was Covert Affairs, White Collar, Elementary and The Voice.  This moment it’s Big Bang Theory and maybe some Archer for a little levity. As always, The Cosby Show is a daily occurance. DAILY.

Other shows that I am following this fall: Dracula, Reign, RHOBH, Vanderpump Rules, Top Chef, Cutthroat Kitchen

Working on: I am working on keeping myself upright. I am working on reaching out and being unapologetic for who I am and where I am. I am working on being more kind, less sarcastic, less crabby.  I’m working on writing more poetry. I’m working on putting myself out there more. I am working on feeding myself, exercising and laughing. I am working on healing some pretty deep wounds lately and I am really, truly working on understanding why they are there.  I’m working on making sure that I have a happy, healthy space.

More tangibly (or maybe not), I am working on some spiritual things. I am really giving a lot of thought into my application for the Sisterhood of Avalon. I think I am ready and am looking forward to the journey. I think it flows so well with my doula and midwifery training. I am a bit fluttery inside about it.

Loving: Pacifica’s hand lotions and body washes. I found a bunch of travel sized ones at Marshalls and have been going through them like crazy. I love the Hawaiian Ruby Guava, Blood Orange and the French Lilac. I may have to hunt down some of the spicier ones to sniff. I love scents. I’m also loving my new Sock Monkey slippers from Target.  I love them. They make me happy and are cozy on the hardwood floors. Sometimes little things make me feel good.

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Feeling grateful for: The friends who have come out of the woodwork to support me. So many people that I’ve never met, but would welcome into my home any day of the week at any time. So many lovely people that have texted, emailed, commented, tweeted and private messaged just to check in on me.  I cannot begin to tell you how much the outpouring of support has meant to me. It’s always such a risk putting yourself out there you know? It feels like one to me and I just…I am overwhelmed by the support. I can’t always find the right words to respond with, but I am listening and I feel you. Goodness do I.

So thank you if you’ve spoken to me, or prayed quietly for me. I feel the love and I hear you. I’m trying to hear you better so keep talking, keep speaking.  Thank you for being kind people.  There really are lovely people in this world. I know this for a fact.

What are you up to currently?

My new BFF – Tahini (NaBloPoMo 5)

My friend Diane reminded me today, as she put one of my favorite recipes into her mealplan, that I am in the middle of a seriously torrid love affair. With tahini.

I’m serious. I LOVE the stuff. I’ve always had it on hand and have used it, but lately I seem to be making everything I can with it. Coleslaw with tahini dressing? ON IT. Warm rice bowls with tahini sauce? YOU BETCHA! Let’s just say I use it a lot. Thing is, it is actually really good for you. Really! Look here!

What IS tahini and what do I do with it? You ask? Well, tahini is just a paste made of ground up sesame seeds. Not all brands are created equal and I don’t really have a favorite. I like the more liquidy ones as they are just easier to deal with but they all have worked for me for most applications.

Here are some of my favorite recipes that involve tahini.

Source: Dinner with Julie

Stir-Fried Chickpeas & Asparagus with Brown Rice and Lemon Tahini Dressing – Oh you guys. This recipe. I can’t tell you how many times I have made this, or shared this and each time it’s a hit. My Mother in Law has shared it with her work, my Mom has taken it to school and to family dinners. Really, it’s a winner. The trick really is cold or refrigerated rice.

I love Dreena Burton‘s Kale Slaw (I know, I know, KALE. Trust me. Use Lacinato/Black/Dino kale and give it a shot.), but I use her Citrus Tahini Dressing instead of the one she uses. I have tried both, but just prefer the tahini one! I’ll be honest though, I’ve never tried a dressing from Dreena that I haven’t liked.  (Just a side note – I LOVE Dreena. Even if you aren’t vegan, check out her recipes. They are wholesome but still delicious and most, if not all are kid friendly as she has three little ones of her own! She also has a series on raising Plant Based Kids which is great too.)

I have been making this Sweet Tahini Dressing quite often too! I love it on regular cole slaw mix and would really love to try this whole salad recipe combination.

Source: Smitten Kitchen

Oh, and I can’t forget these Miso Sweet Potato Broccoli Bowls. Aren’t they gorgeous? The dressing on these is what re-ignited my love affair with tahini. So creamy, rich and stands up to the heavy vegetables and rice.

Do YOU like tahini? Have you ever used it? What is your favorite recipe that uses tahini?