Monday, February 23, 2015

Woman without Purpose or Project

I have to admit that I'm feeling a little lost lately. Not physically. I know where I am (most of the time), although my time zones have been all messed up and wreaked havoc on my body lately.

Mentally, though, is a different story. I feel like I don't really have a purpose. Before you start to get all worried about my mental state, just stop. This isn't a cry for help or anything like that. It's simply this: ever since I've been about 8 years old, I've always had a project going. Something creative and fulfilling or creative and ridiculous that kept me looking forward to spending time with my thoughts.

Frankly, those things have been missing from my life lately: creativity and free time.

Everyone is busy and to pretend that I'm special because I've been busy is frankly, just sad. Yes, I've been traveling a lot. Yes, I'm juggling a lot of demanding people all at once. But if I made things a priority, I would get it done. I just have a hard time not being a people pleaser. I don't think this unusual. It's why so many women will push their husbands to the hospital for a sniffle but nearly die of walking pneumonia before they see a doctor themselves.

Instead of prioritizing creativity and art and just a release, I have used my free time to be with my husband and rest. There's nothing wrong with that. I can't think of anyone that would fault me for those choices. But I miss having a purpose.

Do moms feel this way? Like really?

I feel like so many times I read mom blogs or talk to my mom friends and the idea that their kids aren't their purpose in life is something none of them will admit or talk about. I'm not saying kids aren't a worthy endeavor, but I rarely heard dads talk about their kids in the same way. I wonder if moms would have their mom cards revoked for admitting such things.

By contrast, adults without kids are often asked to nail down their life's ambitions and to always have them at the ready to serve the dual-purpose of being a reason for their happiness and existence AND the reason they chose not to have kids. But I'm majorly digressing here on a subject that really is a post for another day.

I need to find a project. A reason to write (a deadline or conference or something to shoot for). A reason to tell stories again. To create stories. To make myself and my creativity a priority.

And to sound less obnoxious when doing it than I have here.

Any advice?

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Tell Me Why

I recently watched the Backstreet Boys documentary, "Show 'Em What Your Made Of," and it took me back. For a few years, I was obsessed with the Backstreet Boys. My friends who knew me then instantly cringe at the memory of me regaling them with the latest single or tales of Nick, AJ, Brian, Kevin and Howie.

To be honest, it was a very tough time in my life when I started listening to BSB. The summer of 1999 was a mixed blessing of working an internship at the Evansville Courier where I met lots of great people, some of which I still keep in touch with today, and working with my mom. But I was not super excited about being home for another summer while my roommates held down the fort in Bloomington.

I got the ear worm that is "I Want It That Way" stuck in my head and decided to capitulate to its charm by blaring it nonstop. It soon turned me into a full-on, non-ironic fan. I bought all albums and bootlegs that I could get my hands on. I watched MTV specials and music videos. My dad even bought me tickets to their concert in Indy for my 21st birthday. Anne and I got tipsy at a Hooters before the concert and figured we were the only non-parents there who were imbibing.

Things really escalated when mom's cancer came back.

That seems weird to say, but looking back, it is actually a habit I have. I throw myself at things, become moderately obsessed. I did it with BSB, and before that Matt Damon, and before that Indiana basketball. I was the only girl I knew that could name the lineup of the 1976 Indiana Hoosier National Championship team. I spent my sophomore year of high school reading every book that had to do with basketball in Indiana. It's why when my friend told me she was teaching at Crispus Attucks in Indy that I immediately said "That's where Oscar Robertson went."

I used to tape every Hoosier basketball game if I wasn't able to watch it live and then stay up late at night, after some sports practice or another, homework and a job to see how the game turned out. Back then basketball was something to think about other than my parents' divorce. It was something I could study that wasn't going to make me deal with my looming future or the weight of the immediate past.

And that's actually what BSB was for me, as well.

I could download songs on the Internet and listen to them for hours on end. They weren't particularly challenging songs. They were pop songs, which was a genre I had sworn off most of high school. I almost felt like I was regressing by liking BSB. I had never dove into the New Kids on The Block fad as a kid, but in my early 20s, I was following a boy band. It didn't make sense to me, and yet it made complete sense to me.

I watched the documentary the other night and it hurt a little. That time of my life hurt and the songs were both smile-inducing and soul-crushing memories. The morning of my mother's funeral, I was in the shower when "I Want It That Way" came on the radio. It wasn't played all that much by that time, but just hearing the chorus that morning made me burst into tears for the first time since the night she'd died.

I will always love the Backstreet Boys. I will never completely understand why. But I like to think they provided me with a respite from my life and thoughts at a time when I really needed it.

And for that, I will always be a fan.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Guess who's back?

Remember me? I'm the person who used to blog. Previously known as Ashley.Currently known as the person who does nothing but work. But I'm changing that. Because 2014 wasn't a ton of fun. It had all the elements of fun, but none of the actual fun. Essentially I was a fun facilitator. I made fun possible for other people. Which was great for them but not so great for me.

That's what my goal is for 2015. Have fun. Be intentional. Make my own decisions and not let decisions make me. Know that I am not that important. There are other that can do things faster, better or just as well as I do. It is not life or death that I mark everything off my to do list every day. It is okay to say no. Limits are my friend. Setting them is my gift to myself. It will make me happy. It will give me sanity. Sanity and happiness will make me more productive. But in the end, no company, client or account will ever love me like my friends and family.

As I take a deep breath and languish in the last few hours before returning to work (yes, I was there on Friday, but when you're at work and you're not getting 20 emails an hour, you're not really feeling like it's work), I will remember to be happy. Have fun. Be intentional (does this sound like a mantra? It might end up being a mantra. Or it might end up being something that I chant to myself in the corner as I'm rocking myself in the fetal position after I get 100 emails within the first 3 hours of work).

Be happy. Have fun. Be intentional.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

And I Was Full

The last few weeks have been a struggle. For months I would start each week with that high ambition of making it "the week" that I get back on the wagon of watching what I ate religiously. And by about 3 p.m. Monday afternoon, there would be a bag of gummi bears on my desk.

For some reason, I just couldn't feel satisfied. I don't want to blame it on stress or being busy because I can't think of a person on Earth, who doesn't have those two words and all the feelings around them to justify any poor behavior. Something felt off and different. I didn't seem to be eating all that much more, but weight kept creeping on and for about three weeks I lost the feeling of fullness. It seemed like I could push myself to eat steadily without that feeling that prompts me to stop.

But the real motivation came when I was in the bathroom and closed a drawer on my stomach while leaned over the counter to do my makeup. It's pretty embarrassing to admit. I mean, I have typed a novel with my boobs without even knowing it (busty women out there can feel me on that one), but I've never closed a drawer on my stomach. Here's the scary part: I didn't feel it or realize it until I leaned back. I probably shouldn't admit that but let's just put you all in the frame of mind that I was dealing with when I decided enough was enough.

I knew I had to get a handle on things quickly. I didn't want to end up where I was at about seven years ago when I started my first weight loss adventure. I couldn't wait until I was well over 200 lbs before I righted the ship.

Plus I had enough encouragement from Chef telling me that he thought I had a slow metabolism because I wasn't eating that much. Maybe I wanted some validation, so I decided to go to a doctor and see what I could find out. I had a bunch of tests and it turns out the news was reassuring but also kinda crappy: turns out my metabolism burns about 450 calories less per day than it should.

The doctor asked if I had tried Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or anything else. In fact, WW was the last thing that I had tried about 2 years ago and it wasn't really effective--because even at the lower calorie intake, it wasn't low enough to overcome the 450 calorie deficit that my metabolism was bringing to the table.

I'm now working to "reset" my metabolism and am on a protein and plant-based plan to help drop some lbs again. I know and always know that battling the bulge will be a lifelong struggle for me, but knowing that doesn't make it suck any less.

Wish me luck. . .again.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Making time for Me

If you've been checking back here lately and not found a post, well honestly, you must be a relative. But anyway, you may have surmised that I've been busy. You would be right.  

In the last few months, I've had a stretch of working 38 of 40 days. Then working a ton during the week. Then a few more weekends.  Don't get me wrong. I love my job and I'm thankful for it, but in the near compulsive need to please people (clients, bosses, coworkers, husbands), I've forgotten to please someone pretty important: myself. 

I'm not unhappy, but I'm not as happy as I could be and frankly the fault is my own. I know myself fairly well. I know that I am most satisfied when I take time for myself to do the things that feed my soul. My soul is hungry. And no amount of gummi bears or cheeseburgers or lazy afternoons on the couch will make me feel better. 

So I'm going back to what makes me happy. Unless I'm in danger of missing a client deadline, I am going to leave the office before 7 each night. I am going to workout every weekday. And by workout, I mean work up a sweat. I will do something to move my dreams each day. This will probably involve having fun with my novel in Scrivener, which is awesome. 

And so this post is like so many more where I have to remind myself that I'm important. Taking time for myself is not selfish. 

And all this to say thank God I don't have kids. I don't think I could stand the guilt. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

What Can You Get From a Toilet Seat Anyway?

I get all judgey in bathrooms. People that look like normal citizens in any other setting suddenly become carriers of every exotic disease known to man when they enter the bathroom. It's made a little paranoid and I'm not sure the reasons are all that valid. (Although MERS is a real thing, people).

For example, I'm not a big fan of the paper toilet seat cover. I don't think it really does anything. But there are times when I see someone washing their hands, and notice that the stall I went in to has water that's clearly just been flushed, and I'll grab one. I told you. I'm judgey in bathrooms.

And that's if the person is actually washing their hands. If they are just making the motions or messing with their hair and it's obvious that they haven't even attempted cleanliness, I'll just move on out of the stall and hit the next one.

But honestly, despite this paranoia, what actual diseases can you get from a toilet seat? The first rumor about any new disease is that you can't get it from a toilet seat. HIV/AIDS? Not the toilet seat. The Clap? Not from the crapper. Cancer? Yet again, not transmitted through porcelain.

Seriously, I'm probably still going to be judgmental in the bathroom (and don't act like you aren't. You know you are), but do I have anything to be afraid of (Except MERS, of course)?


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