Week 8: Social Eating & Knees

I had not 1, but 2, social eating events this week. Full stop, the events were both straight food related.

The first was a goodbye lunch for a colleague at a restaurant that I really enjoy. Craft tends to have awesome beers and pretty decent food, so it wasn’t bad. I did my research beforehand – that’s right, I’m that person – and had my meal picked before I even got there. 

And then the peer pressure and food craving happened. 

See, I’m a sucker for a good burger. The best one in the city, in my humble opinion, was at Eddie Shorts, a shit hole bar that is no longer. Eddie’s had this glorious burger, the perfect mix of beef and spice on a fresh bun and the perfect ratio of condiments. We were there so much that the owner knew us, and knew precisely how we liked our burgers. Holy Hannah – I miss Eddie’s (it’s since been replaced by Daravara, which is also delicious but the burgers aren’t nearly as awesome). So, since then, I’ve kinda kept my eye open for its replacement. 

So, I did my research. Had my lean and delicious meal all picked out… and then spotted a summer special. A burger that sounded rather delightful. As my team sat around me and ordered poutine, fries, onion rings and deep fried chicken burgers, and joked with me about my diet, I thought… “do I want to be this person?” And then I thought “I’ve been really good all week – I’m going to try this.” 

Spoiler: The burgers at Craft aren’t awesome. It wasn’t worth it. I felt like shit for the rest of the day. Literally, until I went to bed. 

My other little slip this week was my gym time. I was walking every lunch hour, and my knee was aching. Like, needed painkillers and an ice pack every night, kind of ache. I have had my shoes for awhile – longer than I likely should have. Fun fact, did you know that your shoes should be replaced every 500 kilometres? Truth. Guess how many I’ve been in mine? 

The other kicker about my running shoes is that I utterly DESTROYED my feet. Truly. I kept running on my damn knee even as it was all wrapped up, and I was engaging in some really not healthy behaviour that added about 15 to 25 pounds to my frame AS I was running with my banged up leg, and THEN I got stress fractures in my feet AND nerve damage… so my feet were fucked. FUUUUUUCKED. Hadn’t checked my gait in years, and it’s taken me years of practice (with physio help) to straighten up – literally.  I still make sure I’m standing straight and that my ribs are aligned every single day. 

So, with my penultimate round of icing hell (I hate ice on me. Hate hate hate hate), I decided to go get my gait checked, and get new shoes. I’ve had these bad boys for two workouts, and oh my god. Brooks, thank you for the Ghosts. My feet feel AMAZING! (My knee still aches, but more because I’ve managed to hit over 10,000 steps before 5 pm both days this work week). 

Oh, and I lost, again. BOOM. Over 12 pounds gone! Here are my new shoes to celebrate! 


Week 7: the mini vacation

So, summer is officially here. How do I know? 

Because my kitten has started making a mad dash for my air conditioned hallway as soon as my apartment door is open. It’s a little funny, only because when I get close to her to pick her up, she arches her back and does a funny little sideways shuffle right into my arms. 

“Hey Mom, you’re home! Come and get me! I’m so ferocious come and get me!” 

I also am aware of summer because I took an extended weekend. For the first time in years, I took multiple days off in a row (on purpose!) and ran away to sunshine. It was hot and glorious and my legs are almost a little tanned. Also, British Columbia is in full cherry season. And my brother turned 30. So, such an occasion needs to be celebrated with a motherfucking mini vacation. 

Since I’m also in the middle of a weight loss journey/lifestyle overhaul, I was mildly terrified. How can I manage to continue on the downward curve if I’m celebrating with my family and having a few drinks and snacking? Especially since my mother, brother, AND sister-in-law are amazing chefs? I was very worried, especially with the walking away from Jenny last week. Left to my own devices, I eat like shit. Full stop. Also, I’ve done this before – losing 5 or 10 pounds and then gaining it back. 

The weekend was amazing, and I’m super proud that I made some pretty significant leaps and bounds. I definitely noticed a big change in myself – I stopped eating when I was full. I made it impossible to continue eating when I wanted to just keep eating. I drank a lot of water. I came home and did a lot of prep for the week – crestless quiche, chicken, easy salads – and then put it all into My Fitness Pal for the whole week. Will deal with cheats as I come to them, thank you very much. I even packed my gym bag with all the things I need for a day (today’s lesson- I need new shoes, a new sports bra, and leggings because good lord) so I had to take it rather than my backpack. 

That said – I avoided my scale. Like it stood me up on a date. Like it was a creep who’d sent a dick pic even when asked to stop. 

But, today, I decided to just get it over with. If I added a few pounds, I could deal with it. I really didn’t want to see that number, but it needed to happen, for sure. 

I lost again. Another .5 pounds gone. Whoop, WHOOP. 

Non-scale victories of the day: 

  • My gym leggings almost fell off today (it seems like a bad thing,  but we all know it’s a good thing)
  • I actually worked out for 50 minutes on my lunch break
  • There were zero cheats in the meal plan today

Small wins. They must be taken, because it’s a long road. And definitely one worth taking. I’m still not comfortable enough to take a full length photo (maybe when I hit the 170s), so here’s another of the escape artist. 

Week 6: 10 pounds down 

There are a lot of numbers flying around my life today. The most important, though, is 10.8. 

Yep. I’m officially 10.8 pounds lighter than I was 6 weeks ago. Boo yah. My pants are looser, so are my bras. My cheekbones are more prominent, my hair is even shiner.   

10.8 down, at least 29.2 to go. I am very happy, a little scared, but very determined. 

This wouldn’t be my geeky little blog, though, if there wasn’t a “however”. Isn’t there always a however? I did a little math yesterday. And I am not very good unless the numbers are laid out right in front of me… but this math was all receipts. I’ve saved every one from Jenny, and may I just say. Holy shit. HOLY SHIT. That was a high number. A big number! So, given that I’ve been out of work 2 times in the last year, money is a little tight for me. My savings are in shambles, but my work-my-ass-off attitude pays off. So I haven’t ever run out, but I decided this year that I’d budget. And my concert buddy helped me out. 

Moving back from that – I have a friend. We have been friends since kindergarten, and we keep running into one another in our lives randomly, which is a big deal when our lives are full of social media. She’s kind of a bad ass. Potty mouthed, music loving, and budget genius. She is one of my biggest supporters – when I adopted Nox, she was out there shopping with me and giving me advice about the best litter, the best wet food, and a scratch her cats stopped using. When we date, we check in with one another and then swap war stories. When I needed help creating a budget, even though I was deeply, deeply shamed… she was here. 

She puts up with my “WTF AM I GOING TO DO”, my “I DON’T KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS” and my “PLEASE HELP ME I AM SO LOST” text messages. She came over one afternoon to meet Nox and to help me set up a spreadsheet. She got baby cuddles, did addition, and helped me put every single number from my bank account into a spreadsheet that does the math for me (and good thing). 

So, last night I was doing my budget, because I have one set up and I was wearing my big girl panties. And then the number from Jenny…. kinda threw a wrench into my budget. I meditated on it, and did some research into some other weight loss tools that are a little cheaper than Jenny. 

And then tonight, I walked into my weight in (did I mention that I have lost over 10.8 pounds? CAUSE I DID!) and walked black out with a month to myself. I told my consultant all of the worries I had – the money, the preservatives – and she let me take a month to figure out what my next steps are, with the following caveats:

  • If my weight moves up more than a pound, I am to call her
  • I am to monitor my intake of food, maintaining my 1,200 daily caloric intake. 
  • I come back to her in a month, and decide whether or not to stay with Jenny. 

I downloaded My Fitness Pal tonight, and had my last Jenny dinner (for now, maybe). I have a vanilla cupcake in the freezer for dessert. 10,000 steps today, and planning to do the same over my (super long!) weekend. Gym on Tuesday. 

Onto the next 10 pounds! 

Oh, and here is the weekly Nox update. She’s totally and utterly miserable (I’m saying this with ALL SARCASM because this is how I woke her up the other day). 

F you, sugar addiction (or, Week 5)

I like sugar. 

Specifically, I really like these

Or semi stale 5 cent candies (don’t judge me, I like ’em a little chewy, okay?). Or Dino Sours. Blue Whales. Jujubes. I’m not picky when it comes to my horrible for me, refined sugar bits of deliciousness. A bag of Cherries doesn’t last longer than a day in my house. 

I might trade my hair for a bag of those right now. Also, anyone still wondering why I’m struggling to lose weight? Goddamn. 

Week 5 has me facing down this stupid addiction in full force, clearly. The food has finally gotten me down – while it’s super varied and mostly palatable, it’s also VERY not what I’m used to. I haven’t even had frozen meals, unless you count the healthy meals I used to make and freeze (confession – I did this a LOT more when I wasn’t single, because I had someone to share with. Way easier not to get sick of things that way). I don’t eat a lot of pre-packaged foods, and I never have – even growing up, my parents made everything from scratch. Hell. I even make my own salad dressings to avoid processed food. 

So, 6 meals a day for the last 5 weeks and it’s all processed. Some of it can sit in the pantry without being kept cold and it freaks me out (think Hearty Beef and Potatoes-and no freezing). Is that chemicals I’m tasting? Sodium? Or just the preservatives? Why can’t I have a patio beer and poutine rather than weird tasting Mexican? 

The thing that’s throwing me right off this week is this bitch of a sugar addiction. It’s like a howling demon after every single meal – JUST ONE I WILL BE GOOD IF I GET JUST ONE BITE OF A CHERRY I PROMISE I WILL BE GOOD. And it’s really, really hard. I’ve starting eating my dessert really early because I need to quiet the demon down. It is dying, which is positive – I know from experience that if I quit cold turkey, the withdrawal will really knock me out. so this slow walk away is good. 

Another good thing – I lost again this week, and I’m officially in the 180s. I am trying to pump myself up to take a progress photo, but I’m still so self conscious (don’t worry, I still feel like a babe). 

So, in lieu of a full body shot… here’s my murderous love muffin. She makes me so super happy. And, even though she is a kitten who meows through her meals (Nox Minerva, don’t talk with your mouth full!), it’s really nice to have a dinner companion. 

Week 4 of Operation Please Don’t Cut My Leg Open 

I’m pleased to announce that it’s Week 3, and I haven’t killed anyone yet. 

It’s been tough. Seriously tough sometimes. There have been tears and lots of cravings. The first week was really easy – lots of movement, lots of defeating the random addiction craving (specifically, caffeine and refined sugar), and I really liked the food. Week 2 and 3 were less easy. People ask me about my diet all the time. I have been told many times that I don’t need to lose any weight. I have been spending a lot of time being intensely lonely, and then realized that I tend to eat poorly when I’m lonely. But, let’s focus on the wins. 

Big shifts with Operation Please Don’t Cut My Leg Open: 

  • I’ve lost over 7 pounds so far
  • I’ve been averaging over 59,000 steps a week – still less than 10,000 a day
  • I’m joining the gym at my new office so I can work out at lunch rather than do what I have been doing (i.e. Working through my lunch) 
  • I’ve lost 5 inches from off my waist, hips, and bust collectively

There are two other big things that happened in the last 3 weeks. 

First. 

I left my part time job. It was terrifying and sudden and I only have one job now. For the first time in a year. Actually, the first time in 2 years that I will have every single day of the week to myself. I am looking forward to it, but I’m also walking away from my sanctuary. It’s the first time I won’t have my safety net, and it feels like I’m losing part of my family. Excited and scared, definitely. 

Second. 

I adopted a kitten.  And she’s really freaking adorable. 


And now I’m not as lonely anymore. We are also experiencing a jingle ball shortage in my house. And her name is definitely a Harry Potter reference. 

Overall. It’s been good. I’m looking forward to breaking into the 180s next week. I think I’ll be posting photos of progress with every 10 pounds lost, and definitely will be putting numbers out when I get further away from my starting point. Because I’m still afraid of that starting number. 

The Whole Knee Thing

One of the most painful, enlightening things about my 30s (so far) has been my knee injury. 

I fell and blew out my knee a month after I asked my long-term partner to move out of our home. My brilliant plan was to train to run a half marathon as he moved out. That way, I wouldn’t have to watch him pack and leave, that way I wouldn’t need to bear witness to my heart breaking over and over again. 

Yeh. 

I watched that shit from the couch with my knee elevated and an ice pack. That was just…. epic. Since then, it’s gotten worse, gotten better, gotten re-injured, and pretty much ended my running career. It’s caused other injuries, taught me patience, and pretty much become a focus on my meditation. 

I’ve been thinking about this injury a lot. Especially lately. I was getting ready to start physio, in order to start running again, and I slipped and fell. Tore my jeans, landed on my bad knee, and totally screwed it up. Again. Thankfully, I had already made the doctor’s appointment, so I was able to talk about it with my doctor about it. 

Which brings me to my point of this whole thing (as my knee starts to ache). 

I started this blog without a theme in mind, and I generally have kicked my ass for it ever since. A lot of my inspiration comes when I’m lonely or sad or angry. Wanna know how bloody well how hard it is to write when those are the drivers? I bounce all over the place here, and I can go months without writing because it’s all… over the place. And these are the days where I think – whelp. A theme would be nice. 

And, since there is currently a theme in my life, I’ve decided that it’s time for a GD theme for this blog. 

Because my knee was injured again, and I was going to my doctor, I confided that I wanted to start running again. As she inspected my knee, I told her that my goal for the visit was to get a note for physio so I could take the first steps towards healing enough to run. She looked up at me, and in her very gentle manner said… 

“I want to be clear on this. You’re beautiful, and your heart is totally fine – but you can’t participate in high impact sports anymore. If you want to ever run again, and if you want me to not highly, HIGHLY recommend surgery and heal your knee that way – you need to lose weight. A lot of weight.” 

Boom. 

I’m not unaware that I’m a little bigger. I also, as mentioned on this blog a bunch of times, feel stunning in my skin. I eat pretty clean – think green smoothies and salads during the day – but as the years have gone on I’ve slowed down. I hate that I’m so busy, because it makes eating well very, very difficult. Since last summer, I’ve either been on the move, at work, or trying to sleep. I eat when I can, and usually it’s not great food. In addition to all of this, I hate cooking for one. I HATE IT. I hate meal prepping, I hate eating the same thing for four meals at a time. So I eat the shit that’s fast and easy. 

And now I have to lose my “I’m so busy, I’m so lonely” weight. To be precise, I want to lose 40 to 60 pounds of that weight. Because I carry it well, but Jesus Christ. 

So, I took the first steps. Because I’m so bad at this on my own, I recruited help. Like, real professional help with this. So, I went to Jenny Craig. 

And then my heart almost exploded with the number. Literally. Stepped on the scale and I almost died. I was mortified, and almost in tears immediately. It didn’t help that they wanted to ask about my relationship with food, or what I’d tried before. I am devastated that I am here. I cried when I talked about wanting to run again, I cried when I said I was too lonely to cook for myself.

So. I have signed a contract. I’m no longer in charge of making my own food. I’m committed to moving an hour a day, and eating 6 meals a day. Because I’m so done with this. These shoes were made for walking. And those steps aren’t great, but it will get better. 


Love letters 

Many years ago, I sat on the edge of a cement wall next to the Sydney Opera House and wrote a postcard to myself.

To step back – I left Canada with a very banged up, very scared little heart. My boyfriend of 1.5 years had been cheating on me for over a year. I had never traveled alone before. I had never carried a backpack as far as I was going to. I was afraid of a lot – heights, water, sharks, big bugs, being let down after over 15 years of planning – but I did what my parents taught me to do and packed my bags and did it anyway.

It ended up being one of the most important things I’ve ever done. It still doesn’t feel like it’s been (spoiler, holy fuck time flies) 10 years since I moved back to Canada. I remember the utter terror and excitement of landing in Auckland, and I remember feeling elated when I extended the trip by moving to Perth. I got over my fear of heights by being tied to a bridge and leaping off, I got over my fear of bugs by swagging in the desert, I conquered my fear of sharks and water at the same time by learning to dive. Suffice to say that my coming back to Canada made me feel like a completely different person – one that I became genuinely afraid to lose.

I didn’t want to be the scared girl in the corner any longer. I wanted to remember the feeling of being able to conquer anything I set my mind to, the true joy of being a brave person. So, on the last day of my journey, I wrote a letter to myself, reminding me of what I had accomplished and how powerful I really was.

To honour that, and to say goodbye to the shit year that was 2016, and to joyously welcome 2017….

Dear N.

You beautiful, wonderful, astounding creature.

You made it. You’re officially on the other side of the worst year of your life. There were moments where you laid down, little girl, and you almost didn’t (or couldn’t) get back up. There were moments where you thought it was over – when the failures and the broken heart and the turmoil almost broke you forever. When you raised your voice and started screaming to wound the people closest to you. When you cried until your eyes swelled shut and you didn’t have tears anymore but you kept crying anyway.

Baby, you made it.

And not only did you make it, you made it healthier than you have been in YEARS. You have learned more about yourself this year than any year before – how to deal with your emotions, how to meditate best for you, what you need to keep yourself healthy – and you have healed so many of the hurts. After finally turning to see yourself, you saw what needed fixing. And you fixed it. You’re still a bit of a chubby panda, but you finally even fell in love with those curves and accepted every single inch. 

Hell. You didn’t even see the freckles under your eyes until this year. How lovely is that? You can hold crazy yoga poses and walk forever and lift weights and rock climb- maybe you aren’t the beauty specific, but you’re a smoke show, traffic stopping babe nevertheless. You even stopped believing in love for awhile- how crazy is it that the best, sexiest, and most fulfilling relationship you’ve ever had is with your beautiful self? Even crazier- why did it take you so long? 

There is a lot of mystery surrounding your life right now. Things are in a holding pattern right now, and you are usually way more prepared (ahem, you anal planner you, ahem) than this. But you know what? You fell down HARD this summer. You failed the worst you literally ever have. But you know what, babe? You’ve been into the darkness. You can’t be afraid anymore, because you’ve seen the other side. So embrace this mystery, the unknown. Your path is leading you precisely where you need to go. Keep loving fiercely and keep volunteering and keep laughing and drinking green smoothies. Keep crying at movies and keep praying and meditating and working your ass off. 

You have everything you need. 

Keep moving forward, you stunning goddess. 

With so much love and joy and respect,

N

The true story of Bruce

This weekend, I had to be rescued from a bat.

And I’m planning on getting into it. But first…

I don’t keep my struggle with anxiety a secret. I don’t generally discuss the severity unless I know you well, but I don’t hide the fact that I am an anxious, anxious little panda. And this summer was one of the hardest times I’ve ever had with it. Between the constant “WTF AM I DOING” and the “I AM SO ALONE”, it was fight or flight every day, all day, for over a month. I did some really stupid things (hello Irish whiskey!) and some really productive things (hello novel!) and some really ill-advised-but-necessary things (hello texting ex-boyfriend!), but I was constantly flooded with adrenaline and depression and anxiety. I think I’ve dropped 15 pounds from stress, and what I refer to as the “starvation diet”. In a moment of “I’m cleaning my bookshelf”, I also unearthed a hard truth about myself – one that’s shaking me down to my bones. So, still lots of hard work. There is something about turning to face yourself that is terribly uncomfortable.

That said – there is light now. I’m still in the well, but I’ve climbed out of enough that my hands are clinging to the top. My face is in the sun. I went from no jobs to two, and managed to create a freelance position for myself (I have a logo. How exciting/awesome/terrifying!), I have fresh veggies in my fridge, I’m at Noorish ALL OF THE TIME which is amazing, there is a flirtation or two. Life is looking pretty rosy.

I recently took an afternoon/evening to drive into the prairies to visit two of my most favourite people. They have been in my life for well over a decade, a husband/wife team, and easily are some of the most powerful influences in my life. When things got bad three years ago, I reached out to K, the wife. She remains the only one who I have told the entire JM story to – she is so safe, a port in the storm that I’d created in my life. I don’t like to reach out, to share my darkness and fear, but I know that I can – to either one of them, or both – and I know that they will still be there, which is a rare, rare trait. Our visits are full of laughter, and geekdom, and generally a beer or two.

So, after a story about how a bat got into their furnace, and a few beer (for the husband and I), we retired. It was relatively early (go midnight!) and we were mostly sober (we’re adults now!), so when I woke up at 2 ish to a scratching noise, I figured it was the dog at the door.

“Go away, Tet.”

Nope. Still more scratching. I decided to flick my phone flashlight on, because my imagination runs wild – and then I shine my phone directly at the little bat who is crawling around on the floor, hugging closely to the desk. I do mean little – maybe the size of my hand, if his wings are spread out. But a bat, never the less.

little-brown-bat-www-caveofthemounds-com_

Isn’t he so fucking cute.

I keep my phone trained on him, and debate my options. First, I could release the shriek that is caught in my throat, wake the baby, dog and my friends, and everyone gets to be as freaked out as I am. Second, relocate to the couch, block the door, and pull the husband aside in the morning. Third, go wake my friend and make him trap the bat. Fourth, move my bag off of the floor and go back to sleep.

Then the little dudes tries to take off, hits the door, squeaks, and shuffles behind the bed.

I grab my sweater and take off to go wake the husband. Because NO WAY AM I SLEEPING WITH THE BAT. It’s a testament to our friendship that 1) he got out of bed when I whispered, and 2) he didn’t laugh at me.

So he comes downstairs with me, gets a bucket and a lid, and we listen in silence for the shuffle of the bat. We locate it, and I start to giggle. I giggle when I’m nervous, which, lemme tell you, is NOT A FUN TRAIT. Serious conversation at work? I giggle. Breakups? I laugh. So I’m in my nightgown and sweater and I’m laughing and apologizing, and he’s moving things on the floor, and traps the stupid bat, and then I’m trying to muffle my giggles as we walk up the stairs to let the stupid thing outside, and then he releases it on the lawn. Well, release is a loose term – flinging the bucket and the lid onto the lawn and then sprinting on his tiptoes to the door, where we quietly slam it shut.

“Are you okay?”

“Yep.” Which I wasn’t – I was about ready to burst into tears at that point. I also didn’t sleep the rest of the night, because every sound I hear was a bat sneaking up on me. I also shook my bag out as I got dressed in the morning. You know. Just in case.

Now, I find this hilarious. As soon as I walked upstairs the next morning, there was discussions about dreams with their daughter (with her dad making bat motions behind her), and it instantly became a joke. As I’m writing this, I’m giggling (from mirth, not from anxiety) about how hilarious the whole situation is/was. Seriously. Just think about that for a minute (maybe not if you’re afraid of bats, which I’m not, usually. Those little bastards are a whole different ball game on the floor vs. in flight). However, I was working at my second job last night, thinking about that little bat and his little squeaks. Given that I’m trying my best to really look at my life right now, I decided to Google the symbolism of bats.

“Bat’s wisdom includes shamanic death and rebirth, initiation, viewing past lives, pollination of new ideas, transition, understanding grief, the use of vibrational sound, camouflage, invisibility, ability to observe unseen, secrets…Here they confront their fears and are reborn without their old identities. Bats help us to release fear and patterns which no longer fits within our pattern of growth.

Bat flying into your life signifies that transformation of the ego self is about to occur, the end of a way of life and the start of another. This transition can be very frightening for many, even just to think about. But you will not grow spiritually until you let go these old parts of you that are NOT NEEDED. Facing the darkness before you will help you find the light in rebirth. The bat gives you the wisdom required to make the appropriate changes for the birthing of your new identity.”

Huh. Would you look at that. Imma just leave that right there.

The theme of transition is strong in this blog. I write about being healthy, and single, and how I am working on myself. And I’m seriously always doing those things – I’m constantly a work in progress. I do find it interesting that, in a period of “What the actual fuck am I doing with my life, and what do I want to be doing”, that I encounter a bat. Especially “this transition can be frightening for many” – that resonates down to my bones.

While I’m still plugging away with all this change… It’s nice to see the universe is still on my side.

A Year Later

It’s been a full years since the completion of the Get Your Glow yoga challenge. 365 days, and 2 weeks.

Honestly – it feels like it’s been both longer and shorter than that. My life changed irrevocably, that goes without saying. It hasn’t always been easy – somedays, it’s been a pain in my nerdy ass to maintain some of the lessons that I learned over that 8 week period. So, it feels like a good time to check in.

A year later

Food –I still maintain a mostly-vegan diet. I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, and have maintained using other forms of protein (chickpeas, looking at you here). I’m not super strict about the lifestyle, but I do try to maintain it. Reason being – my body feels way better without a lot of meat in it. My guts works better without having to digest meat, my skin feels better, my whole body feels good. That said, still can’t give up the cheese. My sugar addiction is back in full force, which I loathe. I find myself craving it after almost every single meal, minus breakfast (my theory about that – I have fruit in every breakfast, whether I’m having a green smoothie or fruit and yoghurt, so I get a natural sugar fix there), but most days I can ignore the cravings. Coffee – also back in my life daily. Can I blame my 530AM wakeups to be out the door for 630? Oh, and my overall attitude towards getting a good night’s sleep. Which, lemme tell you, is slightly piss poor.

Maintain a yoga practice – mostly, sometimes. Given that I’m still a karma yoga, I am guaranteed one practice a week. I’ve been good over the last month, and generally practice twice a week at Noorish, and once at home to stretch out my back. That said, I no longer practice 5 days a week. Why? Busy, plain and simple. Which, in my mind, is a crappy excuse for how amazing a multi-practice week made me feel. I’ve talked to my “manager” and friend at the yoga studio about it – I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who has a free pass, who doesn’t come all the time. Still. I want to get better at this whole multiple classes in a week thing again. I miss my practice so much.

Meditation – I meditate for at least 20 minutes daily. Every single day, I get mindful and still and focus on my breath or a mantra and I love this. Love love love this.

Permission – in my ensuite bathroom, I have a sticky on my mirror that reads “Give yourself permission”. Every morning after my shower, as I do my hair and my makeup, I read this note to myself. I am still learning to give myself permission. I have written about my mean girl, and how hard I need to fight not to bash myself – and I have found that I need a daily reminder to be gentle. I need to remind myself that it’s okay to take time for myself – to have a night off, to demand that I have time to meal plan and grocery shop, to go to yoga rather for a beer with a friend. I have even learned to be gentle if I slip – if I have homemade pizza rather than salad, if I’m having a bad day and would like something sweet – I’m not mean to myself any longer. Which, by the way, feels absolutely and utterly astounding. I always thought I loved myself – this challenge showed me the way to really, really loving myself. One big by-product of this permission (and something I wrote about last) is the ability to be authentic and vulnerable, even though it scares me. The challenge gave me permission to be me – something that I needed more than anything.

I am so hyper aware that my journey so far in my life has shaped me into this perfectly lovely yet wounded creature. Now more than ever, I identify with this:

Kintsukuroi

There have been a lot of changes since my GYGC – both good and bad. New Job became Hell Job, Dream Job fell into my lap, Karma Yoga takes up my Thursdays, JM came back into my life and left again, I purchased a home and moved my life there, joined a Board, left a Board, started getting into better shape, joined the Shakespeare Board, spent a summer volunteering, gave up on dating, created some amazing friendships, lost some friendships, started dating again (with amazing and exciting results). All up, my life is pretty darn astounding. I have a great job that challenges me, I have amazing friends and family, I have a home I’m proud of. A lot of this, and I truly believe this – is because I found a new shiny path. A path forged in the yoga studio, and in my kitchen.

Einstein (man I love that guy!) may have said it best:

“Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.”

Vulnerability

In the summer of 2015, I met a man.

This man (let’s call him the Brit) checked a lot of boxes for me. He loved Shakespeare, knew who Mr. Darcy was, loved the Marvel movies and the Walking Dead, was taller than I was, had blue eyes – and he had an accent. Swoon! We clicked on our first date, and it was one of the only first dates where I actually let him walk me to my door, and kiss me goodnight. Maybe it was the posh British accent, or maybe it was the radical similarities, but I immediately liked him. For the first time in a very long time, I had the butterflies. I couldn’t wait to see the Brit again, and the feeling was reciprocated.

True to form, though, I was wrong. Despite checking the boxes of being handsome, nerdy, and a good kisser, the Brit had a secret. I knew he had been married, but during our second (or third) date, he told me the extent of his relationship. He wasn’t divorced – in truth, he couldn’t even leave their house, because they were going for permanent residency and needed to share a residence until they received their PR status. Oh, and his children were two years old, and two months old but he was sleeping on the couch. So. Married. Living with his wife. And did I want to be his girlfriend anyways?

That was a rough truth bomb. I appreciated the strength it must have taken to be that honest, but holy crap. My butterflies died almost instantly, and then died a little harder any time that he would text me after that (especially when it was a “let’s be friends” and I started getting messages about his very public, very kinky sexual escapades). Since then, as documented, I don’t get the butterflies. I get the creeps, and the stalkers, and the looney bins. Sometimes I get twidderpated (like the time I had a crush on a local MMA fighter. I don’t even like MMA.) or attracted. But not the butterflies.

For me, butterflies equates being vulnerable. And, anyone who knows me at all, knows that I’m not a fan of being vulnerable.

Oh, if I know you, there are glimpses of it. You’ll see pieces, maybe I’ll choke up telling you a sad tale. Maybe you’ll hear me rave about Ford Canada and how much I HATE FORD CANADA. But the real parts? The parts where I cry, or tell you that I’m angry or hurting, or confess that I’m anxious and close to having a breakdown – those are rare. And, with the butterflies especially, I find I have to be in a good place about myself before I can let that guard down. I met the Brit following my yoga challenge – I was in a very good place.

I’m finding, though, that this theme – the theme of vulnerability, and trusting yourself to be vulnerable – is popping up in my life in a major way. Dear Sugar is back with a podcast (and I’m so happy – both Sugars, no longer anonymous, but Sugar nevertheless) and the theme of being vulnerable is major. You need to trust the people around you, and yourself, to be this way. In order to foster true intimacy and trust, be vulnerable. Since I’ve made no secret about being a major Sugar fan, I’m trying to take this advice. Not well, mind you. I handle vulnerable the same way that Kylo Ren handles anger – poorly. But, I’m trying. That’s the key, right?

So, with that, let’s get open, shall we?

It’s lots of good things in my life right now – it feels like there was a massive cleansing in my life, like a river in spring washing away the last of winter’s ice. The New Job, that I loved so much, that was full of amazing smart creative people, took a fast turn into Hell Job. Literally, almost overnight it went from being my dream to my nightmare. It became full of drama and backstabbing and fear – I had (and still have) my core group of humans there, but I hated every single day I had to get out of bed. I started flirting with the idea of leaving, and all of a sudden, my dream job slipped into my lap. Out of nowhere, I hadn’t applied for it or anything like it, and I had the opportunity to step out of hell overnight.

So, New Job is no longer a thing. I miss my New Job humans all of the time – I found amazing friends there. There is D, who teaches me every time that I see her that faith is such a key thing – her faith intimidates and inspires me, and every visit with her makes my faith in God and people stronger. There is BS, and his wife AH – nerds to the core, but patient, powerful, intelligent humans, and amazing party planners. A, who lets me be me and loves me for it – whether I’m being a yogi or dancing around my kitchen with wine. My curling team – R, RB (and his amazing other half JO), and M, who cheer me on and laugh with/at me, and who embrace the power of education. G, who is everyone’s mom, whether you want it or not – someone who supports you when you can’t support yourself. I miss them all every day.

Dream Job is the biggest thing at the moment. Dream Job is busy and intensely complicated – I have to learn a brand new structure and this structure, lemme tell you, is a beast. I have to learn the ropes, and I have to be present in every moment. I have 12 months’ worth of probation, and I’ve been assured that I’m going to feel dumb every single day for that year. There are moments, even a month in, where I’m convinced that they have made a mistake. They wanted an expert, somehow they hired me – I’m convinced that someone is going to tap me on the shoulder and say “Sorry, we made a mistake. We need you to go now. Good luck!” But, then, I’ll be in a meeting and be asked about a communications strategy – and when I open my mouth, the expert is in the room. It’s been stressful and busy and oh-so-damn-amazing. What’s even cooler about this place is that we are asked to be vulnerable – we are asked to be open with things, and taught to trust our colleagues to be vulnerable too. I’m actually taking a course about it – it’s so amazing.

Pulling this all back to the Brit and the butterflies – I have, as documented, been trying to date for about 3 years on and off. I’ve been very single for that amount of time, with one ironworker mistake (that Facebook is bringing up in my memories right now, ugh), and I’ve laid out my struggles with it – whether it’s games, sexism, or just plain balance. I went through a point where I was trying too hard, and I complained to my mom. My mother is a force to be reckoned with, and when I complained to her about the car being broken and my job sucking and being single, she constantly reassured me that it would all work out, and likely within a short time frame. She always kept this up – through my struggle with my vehicle, through the switching of jobs – and when I bought my new condo, I told her that I was lonely.

“He’s coming”, she’d assure me. “Stop worrying, and be you. Just keep moving forward.” And I have. I have (mostly) overcome the loneliness – now, I find myself relieved that I have the place to myself, that I can take my shoes off where I please, and make coffee in my Batman pajamas without judgement (not that my roomie would have judged me at all). I have a life that I’m in love with – one full of a Board I’m crazy about (hello, Shakespeare!), a yoga practice that is strong, one full of friendships that I am proud of, one where my family is so supportive, one where I love my job and my home, one where I’m finally starting my novel – and I’m constantly busy with my loved ones – friends and family. I have wine and piecaken dates, board game dates, curling bonspiels, wedding websites, walks, laughs, drinks, and movies. This life I have is one that I am proud of. I’m proud to stand in front of it, I’m proud to have it, I’m proud of how far I’ve come. As the wise philosopher Drake once said – we started from the bottom, now we here.

And now, as I’m standing here with this life, a life full of people I love enough to be vulnerable with, and I’m finally allowing that vulnerability to shine through… the butterflies have returned….