Last month, I decided to stop re-learning everything all the time and decided to do monthly wrap up posts so that I could find all of my life lessons in one spot. Kind of like wisdom one-stop shopping for the chronically disorganized yet eternally optimistic (me).
Today, being the first day of December it would seem like a good time to say goodbye to November. See me go, all not procrastinating and stuff.
So, this past month, I learned a few lessons, some more painful than others (because painfully is how I roll. Apparently).
Lessons learned in November 2015
1. Smiling on the inside is meaningless if you forget to smile on the outside. And sometimes just smiling is enough to turn things around when the blahs are beating down the door. (But this does NOT mean that it’s okay to go around telling people to smile. Don’t do that. Someone will (rightfully) punch you in the throat – you don’t know anyone else’s story, you only know yours and no two life stories are the same).
2. Guilty pleasures are only guilty if you feel shame. Without shame, they are just pleasures. But shame is something I am an expert at (unlike chess. I can’t play that to save my life). But I know all about shame because everything I like or fancy makes me feel ashamed for one reason or another. For example, if I want to watch a program on television (rare), I feel ashamed because it’s a waste of time, mindless, superficial or immature (think Sister Wives or Teen Mom), so I’ll rarely, if ever, say I’d like to watch something or if the opportunity arises nor will I actually watch. And I think that it is because I feel as though it reduces my worth as a person in the eyes of others. And for some unknown reason, I’m still insecure enough to care what others think of me. Or, if I want to eat something delicious and dirty (think chocolate, Dad’s chocolate chip cookies, desserts, pizza or Pizzaville baked panzo), I feel ashamed for being such a slug, for not practicing myself what I do for my children, and for adding more girth to this already girthy body. You get the picture. I’m a sack of shame.
3. Weight only matters if none of your clothing fits you properly anymore and you’re on the verge of having to spend money to procure yet another wardrobe in yet another size. I have too much clothing. I wear 5% (maybe) of those clothes. But I like everything in my closet except that over-worn 5%. So why do I own that 5% never mind wear it? Because it fits. And it’s here. And it’s not costing a thing to wear it (other than self-esteem). When I figure out that it’s not my weight that matters but my health, I may be in a better position to deal with my clothing. I can be “overweight” and still be healthy and feel well, but I need to figure out where that threshold lies because too much extra icing* and I feel immovable and too little icing and I feel despondent and sad. *Yes, I have decided to start calling all of the extra ‘me’ icing. Because icing is lovely and yummy and delicious and fat is not. I’m calling it a self-love strategy.
4. That changing your mind when something just isn’t working is not the same as giving up or failing. Feeling like a failure is a Very Big Deal. I don’t know about how it goes for anyone else, but for me, when I feel like I failed at something, I internalize that failure and make it my whole being. I become that failure so instead of being a person who tried something that did not work, I become a worthless, stupid asshole who tried something and fucked it up to such astronomical limits that all is lost and nothing good can ever happen again. Sounds dramatic, I know. But that’s how it feels. In my pit of my stomach, to the core of my being, that’s what failure feels like to me. So, now I’m trying to re-train myself to realize that starting something and then deciding that it’s not working the way you envisioned or planned means that it is okay to change your mind, change directions or start over. Letting go of failure and shame are big lessons for me. And ones that are a work in progress, but make the list this month.
5. I don’t have to eat meat or dairy to feel full, satisfied or nourished. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my burgers, pizza, chicken, egg and tuna salads, and tonnes of cheese. I’m being honest, I’m not completely full of shit. But, I can honestly say that I dislike the idea of eating animal products. Not because I want to hug a cow or adopt a flock of chickens but more because I no longer feel like my consumption is a benefit to my health or well-being. I am less and less okay with the way big corporations produce meat and animal products (and yes, I say produce, not farm or grow because on the big corporate scale, it’s all about the production quotas and financial bottom lines). The more I read and learn, the less and less I want anything to do with animal and soy products and am now trying hard to keep soy out of my children’s diets as well. My other response to all of this ‘new’ awareness? I just stopped doing it. In the second half of this past month, I quit eating ‘big business’ food. I started eating a mostly raw, all real, food diet. And you know what? I feel pretty good. I’m less bloated, I’ve lost a few pounds (nice side effect if it helps me get back into some of the clothes that I own and want to wear!), I feel lighter inside and kind of, well, cleaner. Which sounds a bit stupid, I know. I have had french fries a couple of times and they were divine, not going to lie, but I don’t feel like they were worth the bloat they brought back.