Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Struggle

The last two weeks have been a mixed bag of the blues, eating ice cream for dinner, going to bed early and general malaise. 


And then a day or two ago I saw a Facebook post by Jes Baker of  The Militant Baker that said


Depression for four weeks straight really hinders productivity.
Yknow what I mean?



Know what is super crazy?  I DO know what you mean.  For the last two weeks I have been unsuccessfully trying to ignore  a small spat of depression.  In the ignoring, I just keep tripping over it.  Like the cat that wants to be fed or loved, it weaves between your feet as you walk until you finally succumb and acknowledge your kitty and feed or love her. 


Well, depression, I acknowledge you, I love you and I will feed you acceptance and curiosity as to why you are hanging around my feet.  I will get to the bottom of your desire to be in my life at this time and I will be just fine. 


I will stop staring at my tummy roll thinking  "Gross"  or "Ew"* and then flopping onto my side in bed and watching Harry Potter movies with the tv sleep timer on until I fall asleep without having made the kids lunches for school tomorrow or even bothering with picking up the house or brushing my teeth after eating ice cream for dinner straight from the container, with a fork because none of our spoons are clean and I am to lazy to wash one.


To much? 


To bad! Because this shit and MUCH WORSE can happen during bouts of depression.  I find that it is when I ignore or JUDGE myself harshly for having a feeling that isn't perky goodness, kindness, helpfulness or presenting the fully capable image of a woman who does it all; that I start to fall apart. 


When I read the FB post by Jes Baker, I had an "A-HA!" moment.  I thought..."OMG, I am depressed!  Hallelujah!" 


First, I identified that I was feeling depressed, which had not occurred to me. I thought I was just lazy and pitiful.    


Second, I was excited to see someone who I admire admit to feeling depressed and yet I still see her doing amazing things everyday.  (For those who do not know; Jes Baker organizes and creates The Body Love Conference, this is it's second year and she is in the midst of meetings and planning and prepping for the big to-do and posts it on FB).  I felt so hopeful in that moment, and so NOT ALONE.  Which is depressions go-to emotion (for me).  So, what I found, is that I can be depressed and still be amazing.  Just because I FEEL like a big lump on a log, I am NOT a big lump on a log. 


Through therapy, I have realized that when things do not go as I THINK they should, that I have a tendency to berate myself.  For example, I like to pack my kids lunches the night before.  When I do not pack my kids lunches the night before, I just pack them in the morning. Same lunch, nothing different except the time that I prepare them. And yet, I judge myself harshly for not having done it the night before.  When I go to bed at night without the lunches made, I say mean things to myself for not packing their lunches. 


Stupid, yes.  My reality, yes.  But, when I realize that is how I operate: things not just so, oh well, let's talk to mean to myself (because that ALWAYS makes it better). Knowing that is how I work, then I am able notice it faster and can stop myself from saying the mean things.  Instead of laying in bed thinking "I suck." "Good God I am LAZY."    I can lay in bed and say "Hey, I heard what you just said about me. Cram it. I made it through today, and that is pretty darn good." 


For me, once I acknowledged my small bit of depression** it really helped alleviate some of it.  I acknowledged its presence in my life, I identified the feeling and it was liberating.  It did not make it go away, but it had a name and I am able to say it and work through it and still be awesome. 


Last night, I packed the kids lunches before I went to bed and it felt like a victory.


Lunch Lady,


Gabbi 


*Because Jimmy Fallon really needs to happen in your life right now.  EW!

**Please know, depression is not something to be trifled with, it is scary and powerful and can convince of us of all sorts of not-true things.  This phase I am in, it is depression, but a mild case and I am not suggesting that it can easily be removed by just acknowledging it and "getting over it."  I personally take medication and see a therapist on a regular basis to assist in managing my life, emotions and to work through my CRAP.  And OH, do I have crap.  So, reach out, talk to friends and professionals and find the way that is right for you.







Friday, October 3, 2014

What Am I Doing?

Sometimes, I have to just shake my head and think to myself "Gabbi Joy, what in the world are you doing?"  Gabbi Joy is the name my mom used to call me when I was in some sort of trouble.  I heard it often. 

I have been single for awhile now, and really, really enjoy it.  Which, seems so wrong because as a single woman if I am not actively seeking a man, well, then WHAT KIND OF SUBVERSIVE CRAZY PERSON AM I??? 

Apparently, I am the subversive crazy person who loves to read books and not be bothered, (except by my children, and let's be honest, if the book is good, even that is iffy) I like to eat ice cream straight from the container (why dirty a dish?), I like to throw my clothes around and be kind of slobby in my own bedroom, I like to wear sweats to bed with no judgment, I like to do exactly as I please, even if that means binge watching Netflix once in awhile (ok, at least once a week), playing pickleball on Monday nights, having a quick coffee with a friend which turns into 3 hours, but whatever, I like doing EXACTLY AS I PLEASE. 

I have zero desire to date with zero fucks given.

Except I must give some kind of fuck, because I have the (what feels) obligatory online dating profile. 

Let me tell you, if you really have no desire to date, a dating website is like the ugly underbelly of dating world and is really not the place you should be lurking.

Here is the rundown:

White Guy who looks like Dave Chappelle:  No, I do not want to "ram" you with anything, stop messaging me.

Dude who keeps messaging me even though I NEVER EVER ANSWER:  Stop. Just, stop.

Man who likes to talk about his foot fetish, could I wear nylons to our coffee date:  Nope, and coffee date was cancelled.  Not because I judge a foot fetish, but because we are just having coffee, I have no idea if you are pantyhose worthy or not.  Seriously, slow down Tiger.

Guy who continuously uses "Fun" as a euphemism for "just sex":  Yuck.  Double Yuck.

Super young guy:  Just, no.

That was just in the last two days. 

It might be a sign that I need to remove the "obligatory" profile so I don't look at every man and think, "Are you the weirdo who messaged me? Given anonymity what would you say to a woman?"  and then cringe a little. 

I need to restore my faith in men, by abstaining from men on dating sites. 

On a positive note:  I have ice cream in the freezer, sweats and Bob's Burgers premieres on Sunday. 

Life is sweet.

Tina is my Patronus,

Gabbi






Thursday, September 18, 2014

Things that make me SOOO Happy


1. I got a text that right now, in my mailbox, awaits an Ipsy bag.  Just dying for me to come home, rip it open and TRY ALL THE THINGS!  Ok, 5 things, but still it is GREAT!

2. My black nails with my cool ring that I look at as I type.  SQUEEEE

3. My niece reminded me that it is now FALL and so I pulled out my knee high boots and wore those bad boys with some leggings.  yep, I did.

4. It is FALL.  Friday night is the Homecoming game, which I never went to as an actual high schooler, but sure go now. 

5. A free Blow out from the Aveda Spa.

6. This Saturday is Festival Palomino and I get to see my super secret boyfriends Trampled by Turtles. Shhh, they don't know they are all my boyfriend yet.

7. Watched my first 1.5 episodes of Dr. Who with my little man, Samtastic.  He loved it, but got to sleepy to stay up for the whole second episode.  To be continued...

8. I am excited for book club which I host at my house the 4th Thursday of the month. 

9. Henna Art! 

10. Fun science-y museum-y stuff!  Social Science at Science Museum of Minnesota, grown up fun!

11. Apple Fests, cool weather, new recipes....

Happy girl,

Gabbi

Friday, September 12, 2014

Losing Sleep

Twice this week I have laid in bed unable to sleep, tossing and turning.  Drafting arguments in my head, mustering moral outrage and banging my head against my pillow in frustration over some peoples views about raising the minimum wage.

My personal belief is that anyone who works full time should not be forced to live in poverty.  They should not be forced to rely on social safety nets (aka welfare) to provide for themselves or their families. They should not be forced to choose between food/medicine/housing/clothing in order to survive.  That is my belief as a humanist and  human being who cares deeply for others and believes strongly that we should do our part to help others so that they can help themselves.

Lately, I have seen deeply troubling propaganda stating "burger flippers" deserve to live in poverty.  Specifically, the memes/rants that compare "burger flippers" salary to that of a soldier.  First, let me state, soldiers are also underpaid individuals, I am not arguing that.  What I am arguing is that a soldiers salary is incomparable to a person making minimum wage.  A person making minimum wage will pay for their healthcare, if it is even offered.  A person making minimum wage does not receive a housing voucher.  A person making minimum wage is taxed on their income. 

Those arguments aside, this is a smoke screen tactic, Classic Propaganda.

Either corporations can pay their employees a livable wage OR the taxpayers can subsidize their income via the use of social safety nets (aka welfare programs).  Of course, corporations LOVE and highly encourage the use of these social programs because it helps their bottom line.  Not only are they enjoying corporate tax breaks, their employees are subsidized by taxpayers.  Sounds like a win/win for corporations and a loss for all taxpayers, especially their employees (who also pay taxes). 

McDonalds even has a help line for their employees to call for help. On this line,  they are advised to use food stamps and other welfare programs to make ends meet.  They literally PAY an employee to direct other employees on how to utilize social programs rather than pay their employees a livable wage! 

McDonalds also put out a "budget" to assist employees in their personal lives.  Suggesting such things as not using a gardener, taking two vacations a year and living without heat.  Stephen Colbert gave a scathing review of McDonald's "budget" in this clip.  Clearly, McDonalds is out of touch with their workers and the reality of living on a minimum wage salary. 

McDonalds is not the only corporation taking advantage of its workers and the taxpayers.  All you have to do is watch the news to see this goes on everyday in corporate America. 

Again, American workers who work full time should not be forced to live in poverty.  At $8.00 an hour, in the Twin Cities area, just to pay rent in a one bedroom apartment, a person would need to work 100 hours, after taxes.  That leaves very little left over for food, transportation to work, clothing, heat, electricity etc. 

I imagine when unions were just starting to form in this country it looked like this struggle.  Factory workers were forced to work for a pittance, worked long hours, children were forced into factories and sweatshops.  Thankfully, the labor unions were formed and turned the tides to assist the American worker.  Today is just the same.  You may not value the work a minimum wage worker does and view it as "unskilled" but, many years ago, factory workers/steel workers, etc. were also considered "unskilled labor".  Today, they are the backbone of our country.  We need to recognize the value of these workers and demand they be paid a livable wage.  "Low Pay Is Not Ok"

Click the link for more information on Low Pay Is Not Ok.

As I laid in bed crafting this blog in my head, I was reminded of the quote:

"If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."  Author Unknown. 

Well, I am paying attention and I hope you will as well.  Be vocal, call out propaganda when you see it, find your own way to help with this important issue.

Outraged and Definitely Paying Attention,

Gabbi

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sacred Space

This weekend, I spent quality time cleaning my bedroom.  Turning it from a cluttered, catch all for everything, into a place for me to enjoy, luxuriate and indulge myself.

It was a two day process devoted solely to my own comfort and happiness.  Hanging up clothes, getting rid of ones I don't wear, don't fit or were just plain old worn out.  Looking at my books, organizing them, being surprised all over again by the lovely book collection I own and remembering the books I always meant to read.  Handling knick knacks and gifts given, pictures and treasures found and putting them on display to delight myself all over again. 

Wiping down my nightstand tables, placing the necessary flotsam and jetsam in a distressed white wooden basket, handy and accessible for my nighttime rituals.  The collection of hairpins and ponytail holders corralled and centrally located.  Lip gloss and nail clippers expectantly waiting their turn to be used.  A lovely book left on the night stand, turned just so. 

Candles placed and lit, there will be no waiting to use the things I love.  A special place for my incense, the wafting smoke creating interesting shapes, whirling and wafting their lovely scents. 

Pictures straightened, wood floors swept, bed made enticingly, fluffy and my Grandpa Blankey ready to comfort me while I slumber.

I am finding new ways to show self-love.  Making special places just for pleasures sake.  Comforting myself with my own lovely things.

All for my own pleasure,

Gabbi



Monday, July 21, 2014

Swirly Thoughts

The other day I posted on twitter..oops, tweeted,

"I wonder if thin women think about being thin as much as I think about being fat?"

Pretty much every hour of every day I have thoughts about my body, size, what I am eating, what I weigh and how I look.

Is this a preoccupation that other women have? Since I am only in my own brain, I have no idea what is "normal" and what is not. 

Lately, I have taken to wondering, if these thoughts were removed or even cut in half, what else would my mind have the time and space to ruminate on?

What amazing thoughts could I have?  What mysteries of life could I contemplate?  Which tangles would unknot themselves and release just with the power my brain uses thinking about being fat?

Then I saw this:



What struck me was being "strung out on perfectionism and  people-pleasing". 

I am strung out on being fat and thoughts of my body/food/makeup/clothes/shoes.

Strung out. 

How do you stop the swirling thoughts and obsessive thinking?

No idea. 

But instead of being discouraged and trying to shut my brain off (which in my experience just ramps up the out of control thoughts), I have decided to change the tone of my thoughts.  For the most part, here is what it sounds like in my brain:

Hmm, I love her outfit, but I bet my belly would hang down in it, I bet the cellulite in my inner thighs would show through the material.  I have a super cute necklace to wear with that.  I should have put on some mascara.  Where could I wear that? What would people think if I wore that? You know, being fat and wearing a dress in public with make up and cute hair with a flower in it is really a radical act as a fat woman.  Radical in that, calling attention to your beauty, as a fat woman, opens you up for commentary from any person on the street.  I want to be radical...hey, I kind of am radical. Scared, but radical.

That is the commentary in my brain.  All day long.

Then I saw this:

IDGAF post from Jezebel.  The premise: I don't give a fuck what you think about ANYTHING I do.

My heart sang out when I read that.  My life motto is "I Do Exactly As I Please." So this article: Hallelujah!

If the thoughts won't stop, I can absolutely change the quality and tone of those thoughts. 

Then I saw this:

The Militant Baker's Body Positive Book Club for One

And don't you know, I went onto my libraries website and ordered EVERY SINGLE FUCKING ONE THEY HAD.

Yep.  I am planning a day or two of just reading, immersing myself in some seriously Body Positive shit.  Making some signs to put up in my house to aid in keeping my thoughts RADICAL and BAD ASS and LOVING THE HECK OUT OF MYSELF! 

A few weeks ago I had a cranio-sacral appointment and I was told that my mantra is "I love and accept myself exactly as I am, I am deserving of all things good that this world has to offer."  And then my practitioner told me to say it out loud...

I felt my throat close. I felt the sides of my esophagus puff and swell and trap the words just below my neck.   It actually hurt, physically, my throat was clamped tight, determined to not let those words out.

I was furious.  I teach a fucking class on loving your body and my own throat betrays me by refusing to open up so the words can come out.  I could not say them. I was a mute laying on the table. 

I felt horrible.  I felt like a trickster, a charlatan, a snake oil salesman hocking my wares of self love and acceptance.  Here I was, unable to say the words out loud when it was completely about me.  I knew I needed to write about it and work it through. And I realized, that right there, RIGHT THERE is the struggle. 

To acknowledge that there are times when my brain swirls, that I am pre-occupied with being fat, that there are times I cannot even bring myself to say that I am deserving of all good things, that I love myself just as I am, that sometimes I look in the mirror or at pictures and I HATE what I see.  That there are times I consider not doing something because of my size.

Those things/thoughts/feelings happen.  And THAT IS OK.  For real, it's ok.  Have those thoughts, see them, acknowledge them and let them go.  Or in other words...FUCK THAT SHIT. 

It happens, move on, be bad ass, do that shit anyways and know you are struggling and still ok through the struggle.  That, in struggle, is where the real work is done.

I tell my son on a regular basis "I know you are scared, but if you were never scared, you would never get to be brave."

The take away for me is this:  dive in to body positive material, find a few new mantras, give your brain some really delicious thoughts to ruminate on that lift me up and allow me to love myself just as I am, and then spread that shit around. 

Who is joining me?

Libraries ROCK,

Gabbi

 

 






Friday, May 16, 2014

I Think I am Doing Alright

A few Sundays ago, we had a "Cleaning Party" at my house.  For those of you who don't know, a "Cleaning Party" is not actually a party.  It is three part suck-ish chores, stalling kids and a bitchy Mama. 

No fun at all.

The only resemblance it has to an actual party is  that there is music, people yelling and more recently, costume wearing.

So, Sunday morning at Chore Divide Up time, I assign my 15 year old double bathroom duty, to which she grumbles, but agrees and heads upstairs to do bathroom No. 1. 

My 7 year old gets pantry duty and laundry room duty.  He also grumbles, and then excitedly says "WAIT!  I have an idea!"  He proceeds to run upstairs to his room and about 5 minutes later comes down the stairs wearing his full Spiderman costume from Halloween.  Fake bulgy muscles, face mask and all.

He announces "I AM SPIDERMAN!  And I am here to help an old lady with her work."  He heads right to the laundry room, I stop him midway and say "Hey Spidey, here is a bag for garbage."  He looks at me, well I couldn't actually see his eyes, but his head turned in my direction and he replies "Thank you, ma'am." and continues on his mission to help the elderly woman, who I am assuming is me and I am TOTALLY OK with this, as long as the chores get done. 

Spiderman needed a couple of reminders to keep on task and a little help with the broom and dust pan, but all in all, he did a great job. 

After the chores were done, I had to run to the local Ptacek's IGA to purchase lunch stuff for the week.  Spidey wanted to tag along.  When we pulled in the parking lot, Sam suddenly got shy and nervous about going into the store as Spiderman.  He curled up on the floor in the backseat, pulled his mask off with a worried look  "What if people laugh at me?" 

I said "Sweetie, I am going to tell you something important.  Most people, when they see someone doing something that makes them happy, they feel happy too.  But, it is up to you whether or not you want to come in."

Sam opted to stay in the car. 

I went into the store and while reviewing the pasta selection in aisle two, Spiderman came up to me from behind.  I felt so proud of him for being brave enough to be himself, well, his spidey self. 

As we went through the store, there was a family with 3 young kids, I would venture a guess of their ages to be 5, 4 and 3.  As soon as they came around the corner, the oldest one audibly gasped, grabbed his younger sister and yelled "IT'S SPIDERMAN!!"

Spiderman turned around to face them, and shyly waved.  As the younger sister saw Spiderman, she squealed with delight and then the smallest one also started to squeal happily. 

Spiderman began to walk/crawl down the aisle further delighting the children. 

In every new aisle, small faces would peek around the corner, squeal all over again and yell "SPIDERMAN!" 

Spiderman did not disappoint, ducking and dodging danger in every aisle.  He shot webs and rolled over hot lava in the aisle.  When the teenage cashier saw him and burst out laughing with pure joy to see Spiderman in full character, Spiderman jauntily waved to her. 

In the parking lot, Spiderman pulled off his mask.

Sam said "Mom, I think I made their day."  I said "Sweetie, I think you did, too."    He continued "You know, that one girl laughed at me, but, at least I brought her to laughter."  I said "Yes you did!"

Sam stopped short and waving his arms says "I KNOW!  I am going to write a poem about that...it will go something like this: 

Even though you laughed at me
at least I brought you to laughter."

I fucking love that kid.

Pretty Alright Mama,

Gabbi

P.S. I may start wearing a Wonder Woman costume while I do chores as well.  Who knows, maybe it will make it more fun.

P.P.S. The 15 year old made the shower SPARKLE.  She's pretty alright as well.