Gaslighting


I have been dealing with some thing privately because I couldn’t really see things as clearly as I should. I didn’t want to come off as a victim because I’m not. I’m a strong intelligent capable person doing the best job I can in complicated times.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and I actually talked to two of my friends recently who also happened to be my supervisors in a past life. We didn’t talk about this situation but it was the powerful language and the symbiosis of our conversational flow that really helped me to see things clearly.

I am an assertive person. A member of management this week said “Mary I never want to get on your bad side!” It was meant as a compliment and I absolutely took it that way. To be honest I’m less assertive in my personal life but that’s a topic for another day. What I know is that for the last 25 odd years I have been a force. As a corporate credit manager it is necessary to be dependable, efficient, professional, consistent, persistent and assertive. Without those qualities I would not be as successful as I have been. People seek me out for my expertise, I know what I’m doing.

I love my job and my company but I think I’ve come to the realization that without conscious thought my direct supervisor has been professionally gaslighting me. Today was eye-opening for me. I received an email from another member of management protesting something that I had communicated via email. It was clear from his email that he fully expected that I would defer to him in this matter. I didn’t of course because I was right but I had a moment of hesitation because I knew that I might have to rescind this directive, right or not, because if it went up the ladder I would not have my supervisor’s support.

Again, I don’t think that my supervisor is doing this consciously, but he undermines me a great deal. I’ve tried addressing it with him a couple of times and he does better for a while and then he reverts. He’s a very nice person. People smarter than me have been telling me for five years that the problem is he does not appreciate assertive women. I have always shaken my head and said “no no“ but I think after some serious soul-searching these people actually might be right. There are men who still feel this way.

I remember one time I was sitting at the dining room table with my mom and dad and I said to my mom “yeah did I tell you I might have to fire that woman“ in reference to someone who worked for me who was causing me some problems. My father vehemently asked “Can you do that?” My mom and I both looked at him askance so he somewhat sheepishly asked me if I had the power to fire people. My dad was of a different generation and I don’t think he completely understood that women could be in that type of position of authority. I didn’t take it wrong I just accepted it as it was and said that of course I could hire and fire that was part of my responsibility as an office/credit manager.

I think my supervisor although he’s younger than I am is a little bit of what I would call “old-school” in his management style. He’s less of a leader and more of a manager of processes. He doesn’t have a clear understanding of how to lead people and he definitely doesn’t know when to get out of the way.

I reached out to a trusted coworker today and I spoke with him about this. First to have him as an uninvolved third-party to read my email and confirm that my direction was clear. And of course it was because I can write an email. But after we talked through that he asked me why I was so concerned so I explained. It all boils down to no matter how hard I dig in on something I know that I can’t count on having the support of my direct supervisor.

So that actually is when I started thinking about gaslighting. I never really considered it as something I would have to deal with but my reality is that I am being professionally gaslighted. In the last five years, because he has second-guessed so many of my decisions, I lack confidence. I’ve never had this happen before.

In my professional life I’ve always been pretty much balls to the wall. It worked, I’m successful and I’m very good at what I do. My coworker today said “Mary what good is a promotion if you’re not true to what you know is the right way to do things.“ He’s right. He suggested I lean in and let the chips fall where they may.

It’s scary but this plays into my “Take Back My Power” campaign. I need to rally. I need to start asserting myself and not worry about how it’s received if I know it’s the right thing to do. I started doing that a little bit last week but at the first sign of dissension I panicked. That’s what gaslighting does. It erodes a person’s confidence. It’s not even about what has been done to me as much as what I have allowed to happen.

It’s insidious. I’ve seen people in abusive relationships who have gone through this and I’ve always wondered how they couldn’t see it. I myself have been in abusive relationships and I didn’t see it yet I still question how these people couldn’t see it which is extremely unfair.

Yet here I am in a professional relationship that is unfulfilling and disrespectful and I have had blinders on. I mean there’s a good reason for me to worry because I’m 56 years old and it would be very hard for me to start over at yet another company. The last four places I worked I was let go because the company shut down so I do have longevity. I have good references I have good people who trust me and have respect for my abilities who I know I can use as references.

So now I have to figure out how to proceed from here. I don’t think I want to go full balls to the wall but I do need to stop being so scared and do what I know is right and if he’s not on board then it’s not the right space for me.

How to proceed is the question. I’m committed to this. Recent interactions with senior management have suggested that my efforts will be supported at higher levels. This gives me some assurances.

I don’t mean to sound like “poor me”. I’m very fortunate to have a great career doing what I love. I don’t want to leave this place. I see a future here. I just need to get a better more confident foothold. For now I’m just going to take it one email, one instance at a time and make sure my decisions aren’t influenced by fear of this somewhat toxic environment I find myself in. Tonight I started skimming articles. I found a webinar on managing up I might look into. I’m sure I’ll have fits and starts at this. It has taken me five years to figure it out. I’m committed to trying though. I don’t want to give up on this job or this manager.

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I Am Sorry


I read an article this weekend that stuck with me. It was about Kurdish female fighters. Warriors really. It was very inspiring. They’re so strong and so self empowered. I want to know more. There’s a book called “The Daughters of Kobani”. I’m going to borrow it when my friend has read it.

What struck me though was a quote from the article. “And I will say that I have never seen women anywhere in the world more comfortable in power, and less apologetic about exercising it.“

Comfortable in power. I can say I have never felt completely comfortable in my power. The closest I’ve come to that was when I worked for a flooring company. I was doing a Q&A at a Sales Symposium and our Chairman was there. He stood up in front of this room full of people and told them in no uncertain terms that I was the gatekeeper of the cash and what I said goes. It was incredible to have someone trust me that much.

Then I went back to the office the following week and I was told very clearly that this wasn’t true at all. I was still accountable to my direct supervisor for every decision I made. I remember apologizing for feeling empowered.

I started to think about the number of times I say “I’m sorry”. It’s too many.

I apologize when I have to squeeze by someone in a grocery store aisle.

I apologize when I have to dig my card out of the bottom of my purse to pay.

I apologize when I walk out of a restroom and there is someone on the other side of the door.

I apologize when someone deliberately misinterprets something I’ve said.

Not only have I relinquished my power in uncountable ways but then I apologized for it.

I need to take back my power. I need to get to a place in my lives – both personal and professional – where I can be comfortable in my own power.

It’s not about being confrontational or mean. It’s about me being true to myself. I don’t blame anyone per se although generationally we were raised to feel a certain way about assertive women. There are still a lot of people who still feel that way.

I’m going to take what belongs to me. My power. My self-possession. My strength.

Don’t get me wrong. These Kurdish women are fighting a war against religious persecution, gender inequality, misogyny at its worst etc. What I’m dealing with in no way compares.

That actually might be the point. These women, some young enough to be my grandchildren (wow) are making a conscious decision to reject their upbringing, refuse to be married and commit their lives to a cause much bigger than anything I would ever have to deal with. The least I can do is to learn from their example.

I’ve already begun my journey. I made a decision last night to make a small change. It was inconsequential to anyone but me but it made me feel powerful. I felt good about it and unlike in the past I haven’t spent the day second guessing myself. Instead I feel right. Just. Right.

I haven’t figured out how this looks yet but I know that I want to continue to feel this way. Here is my checklist as of today. I’m sure this will change as I fine tune it.

  • Say No
  • Stop second guessing myself – TRUST
  • Don’t feel guilty
  • Stop trying to save people
  • Remove myself from toxic situations
  • Stop apologizing
  • Let go of shame or resentment
  • Be okay with being the only person standing

For today I’m just going to enjoy my small wins while I unpack some of this and study it. Taking my power back won’t happen overnight. I’ll take each situation as it comes with this always in the periphery. Wish me luck. Better yet. Join me.

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Grace


Someone told me recently that I need to give myself grace. I’ve been thinking about that a great deal. Not just as it relates to me and my situation but the turn of phrase and it’s meaning. At the core it means to be kind to ourselves. Be gentle. I think that is good advice. I also think that it’s something that we don’t do well or often. I remember once reading about positive affirmations and I tried to practice what this preached but I just ended up disgusted and slightly amused as I stood in front of a mirror like Stuart Smalley and uttered nice things to my morning reflection while scrunching my hair.

How can we be kind to ourselves? Specifically in my case I was lamenting the fact that my weight loss has just stopped. Stopped dead. Slam on the brakes and put it in park. I’m annoyed as hell about this. Well I was. And sometimes I still am. So I thought about what giving myself grace meant in this situation and I determined that I should activate manic Mary. I bought supplements, I bought teas, I ordered books, I researched new recipes and new ideas and I went insane for a little while. At the end of the day it worked. I’m happier and more content because I took action BUT if we are honest I’m also losing weight now so manic Mary knows her stuff. So was that grace? Uh hell to the no. That was manic Mary and she is not kind to me at all. She’s crazy.

So then I was like “Wait manic Mary take a step back and let’s breathe”. I took some deep breaths, put my eyes back in my head, slept for twelve hours, tied my hair back (oh yes this is when stuff is getting real friends, when the hair gets tied back) and I just closed my eyes and sat quietly. Thinking about ways that I could show myself grace. I actually did that. I figured out step 1. Not to have steps. Okay just kidding. Sort of. But really my first toe dip into that pool of grace was to stop looking at the scale. I am in a program where I have to weigh every day and it is transmitted to an app. I also have to log all of my food and drinks. No biggie I do that anyway but the weight thing was FREAKING ME OUT! So I’m not looking at that number except once a week.

So grace. What is that? It’s defined as: Noun Simple elegance or refinement of movement. Courteous goodwill. Okay not entirely helpful. Verb Do honor or credit to someone or something by one’s presence. Ahh now we’re talking.

So self grace means honoring myself. Giving myself credit. Being present for myself. Okay. I’m there. So I’m not going to be Stuart Smalley because that’s weird and just makes me feel uncomfortable but I will honor myself. I will give myself credit. I have worked hard over the last 3-4 years to get healthier and despite some pretty major setbacks I’ve done that. I feel good, I look better and I have dropped a lot of weight. Now here is where before I would always drop in that disclaimer. I would dishonor myself and undo all my good work. I’m not doing that. It’s like if you compliment me on my dress I will say “Oh this old rag?” Okay probably not but you get my drift.

So what have I learned? I’ve learned that I’m my own worst critic but really no I didn’t because I already knew that. I’ve learned that I don’t really know how to be kind to myself. Is that a learned behavior? You know what’s funny/not funny? Typing that makes me uncomfortable. Not sure why. I will have to take that out and dust if off later. Is that a female trait? Or is everyone like that?

On a factual basis I have learned that my weight is crazy stupid all over the place day to day. I have learned that I have a voice and I have to advocate for myself. I’ve learned that sometimes my theories might actually warrant serious contemplation and ultimately that I might actually know what I’m talking about. I’ve also learned that I have to ask people to listen to me and if they don’t, keep talking until they hear me. I think those are all examples of showing myself grace. Much of this I definitely have learned before but I now know I have to keep re-educating myself. So for now this is how I’m showing myself grace. Not with rocky road ice cream or Steak n Shake. Laugh if you must but both things were definitely in the running. I love me some Steak n Shake. But in my world right now I have to consider how my actions might actually be unkind. To me. I’m literally shaking my head right now just putting that in writing. Am I alone in this? Does anyone else feel a little ridiculous being kind to yourself? I mean I’m not actively MEAN to myself but in this exercise I am trying to be conscious and present and deliberate. It’s weird man. But I’m doing it.

So how does this look for me? It is organic and I recognize that but for now, for today how this looks is I’m going to actively find ways to show myself kindness and probably more importantly find ways to stop myself from being unkind. To me. That might be the hardest part.

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Summer rain


The sound of the rain hitting the ground. The smell of the dirt. The steam from the blacktop. The grey blue sky. The clean cars. The green trees.

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I’m tired … this is a bit of a ramble


I’m stressed. I’m sorry. I’m sad. I’m angry. I’m scared.

I cried today. I mean I messy cried today. I’m scared. I’m scared for my friends and my family and my hometown. I’m conflicted because I feel like being sad is not my right. I’m just trying to figure it all out and I don’t know what it all is yet. My daughter and I were talking and I was trying to explain why I was so wrecked. She got it, she understood and she assured me that I was reacting exactly how I should be. I don’t like this. I don’t like it one bit. I want to go back to my cocoon and my simple life where everything is easy. I like my “Kumbaya” outlook on life. I like things to be simple and I like to surround myself with love and laughs and kindness and generosity. I worked hard for that and I deserve it.

Here’s the thing though, so does everyone else. We all want the same things in life, at least fundamentally. Maybe you want a fancy new whip or a big vegetable garden and I don’t want those things but I know what makes me happy. Happy. That’s such a simple thing right? Evidently not for all of us.

I’m a member of the human race. I’m a white person. I enjoy and take advantage of my privilege as a white person, mostly blissfully unaware. I think I’m kind, tolerant and loving. I believe to my very soul that I’m a good person. I think, I hope that the people who matter to me – actually even the ones that don’t – can see that I am. I want to do the right thing. I strive to do the right thing.

I want to be on the right side of this. The other day after a couple of sleepless nights I had a bit of a temper tantrum. I didn’t understand why people were congregating and scaring my loved ones. I do now. I think I did then but I let my fear cancel out my common sense. I think many of us do that. I’m trying to learn how to recognize a fear response and instead to stop the spiral and to form a logical conclusion. Now is a good time to practice that.

I don’t have any answers. I just have a lot of questions and to be honest I’m just very uncertain of my role in this. I know what I want, that’s easy. I want everyone regardless of how they look, who they love, where they worship or where they live to be treated the same. I want to be strong in my convictions and certain of my mission. I want to set an example and choose wisely. I want to do the right thing.

I’m sick to my stomach. My heart hurts, I mean I think it actually hurts. I’m crying again. People are dying just because their skin is brown. Good decent men women and children are living in fear every day. I will never feel that fear. I’ve written that sentence and erased it so many times. Is it my right to cry? Some have said that my friends who are people of color would not appreciate my tears because they feel they are disingenuous. They’re not though. I feel real feelings about this but I’m not sure if it’s OK for me to share this.

I don’t have any answers. I don’t really even know the questions I want to ask yet. For now I’m going to keep talking, keep reading, try my best to educate myself and understand what role I play in this and how I can be a part of this in a respectful and contributory way.

I took a short social media hiatus mostly if you could believe it because of the big mask debate. But then as is wont to happen in this crazy world, things took a big fat turn when George Floyd was murdered. I’ll be honest, I was kind of glad that I was on a hiatus because I didn’t know what to say or do or think. If we are being completely honest I was also afraid to see what some of my friends might have to say. At the end of the day I decided that my heart can’t take it so I’m not going to go looking. At least not today.

So for now I’m just going to keep trying to educate myself so I feel stronger and more confident. I might be sad and scared right now but that’s OK because I should be, we all should be. That’s how change happens.

I’ll be around. Maybe. Don’t count on it though because I need to figure some stuff out.

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You think you’re a good person but you’re not!


“You think you’re a good person but you’re not!”

That phrase was angrily and deliberately thrown at me recently. I give no credence to this person’s opinion of anything or anyone. Not because she’s a habitual liar but because I believe her ability to discern such things may be compromised due to illness.

That being said, of all the things she said to me that day, that’s the one I can’t seem to shrug off. There were a lot of pretty terrible things said to me and about me over the course of a few days last month. It all culminated in a relocation of sorts. Suffice it to say. I am still here. She is not.

The thing is I’m more content but I’m not happy. In my estimation, my being happy about this turn of events puts me squarely in the “not a nice person” category and I do not want to be that person. I felt that my safety and mental well being were threatened so I have a sense of relief. I no longer have to deal with daily hostility and potential outbursts. I am doing great. I can breathe. I can see myself doing this for a very long time now. I have my feet back under me and I am stronger than I’ve ever been. I was right. I am right. I feel appreciated and listened to for the first time in a long time.

I do worry that this person will not be able to bounce back from this but I’m working hard to put that on a shelf for now. My focus right now is me, my life, my health, my family and friends and my career. I have a plan and that feels right. That feels positive. My overall outlook is looking sunny with maybe a few overcast days to use a weather analogy and I can live in that world.

I’m a good person. I am. I know I am. Aren’t I? Am I deluding myself? I’ve seen it happen to other people, do I think I’m a good person but in reality I am actually not? I do the right things, I read the right stuff, I feel like I am fundamentally kind and considerate of others. Am I? Sure I trash talk people and things sometimes but do those things define me? Does my calling a sales person a douchebag when I hang up with them make me less of a good person? I mean what if they actually ARE a douchebag? I’m honest for the most part. Do I fudge my weight on my drivers license? You bet your ass I do! That doesn’t define me because everyone does it. Right?

Am I really not a good person? Have I created this curtain which I hide behind presenting myself to the world as a good person but in reality I am actually a bad person? Am I a bad person? Was she onto me?

Every choice, every decision, every post, every article, everything I read or I post or I share or I absorb always in the back of my mind I have a checklist. “Does this make me bad?” “Should I not be laughing at this because good people don’t find this funny?”

It’s not a good place to be right now inside my head, I can tell you that. Okay maybe that’s not accurate. It’s a bit of a jumble of emotions and some confusion over how I should be feeling but it’s not NOT a good place. At various times throughout the day those words reverberates through my head as though she were still standing here right this moment saying them.

“You think you’re a good person but you’re not!”

How do I know? How is that defined? Did I work hard enough to try to help her? Did I find something lacking in her from the beginning thus setting her up to fail? Was I not as supportive as I should have been in her time of need? Could I have done better? Did I push her – intentionally or unintentionally – into her final spectacular performance that forced us to take action? Is she actually as sick as I believe she is? Am I the one who is actually sick? Did I deflect my wishes onto her and make her this angry person?

I don’t think so. I really don’t. But if I’m not a good person but I think I am have I gone so far down the rabbit hole that I don’t recognize bad in myself? Have I lost the ability to discern good from bad? Right from wrong?

I’m not perfect, I make bad or questionable choices, I say things I have to apologize for later, I sometimes make excuses to myself for my bad behavior. I’m flawed and I’m a work in progress which I will own 100%. But am I bad?

“You think you’re a good person but you’re not!”

Recently someone who’s opinion I value expressed her dismay at my perceived cavalier attitude as it relates to the departure of my nemesis. Truly she was my nemesis although recently she has been going through some very serious things. I questioned myself and my motivation before during and after this incident but I came away cleanly in the knowledge that she was the same person three years ago that she is today. The very same. Her grief didn’t change her. Her anger changed me. It made me harder I think. It certainly made me take stock in my situation because life is too short to spend most of our waking hours with someone who drags us into this negativity vortex. It’s mind numbing, energy draining, life sucking. I had to choose me. I would still choose me.

I don’t think choosing me makes me bad. Or more accurately “not good”. Does it?

I just do not know. I don’t have the best self esteem. Much of my pride revolves around how good I am at my job. I second guess myself more than I should and my more evolved friends tell me all the time that my co-dependence and my defining myself by my career are not good life choices. Okay I hear you. I’ll change. Tomorrow.

When I was going through a very bad time in my life some years ago a therapist told me I needed to write down positive affirmations. I thought it was stupid. Like a vision board. I mean I tried it for a while and I didn’t really do so well. It’s hard for me. I can’t even do it with only myself. Some are easier than others though right?

I am smart

I am good at my job

I am ….. Hmm yeah so anyway that’s where my brain seizes and I stop typing affirmations.

Then I force them.

I am successful … okay maybe. Maybe.

I am open to new ideas. Yes definitely that, that’s a positive.

I am worthy. That’s the one I’m supposed to end on. I think I am. Well I thought I was more accurately. Am I? Am I lying to myself? Am I not worthy because I’m not really a good person?

What defines a good person? Who decides that for us? Where do we draw the line?

Once someone I was very close to told me that if I was crazy she wouldn’t be friends with me. But then she left. Does that mean that I am crazy now? That I was crazy all along and she finally recognized it?

Okay affirmations. Uhhh

I am kind. I think. Yeah I’m kind.

I am determined. Well sometimes. Most of the time. But does being determined mean that sometimes I overrun people and does that make me not a good person?

All of this makes my head hurt. My heart hurt. I feel sometimes like I’m on one of those merry go round things we used to have at the playgrounds. I feel like I’ve been spun and now I’m trying to walk. It’s a metaphor for the way my mind spins every time that sentence, that accusation, reverberates through my head. It makes me sad.

“You think you’re a good person but you’re not!”

I am. I am a good person. I am pretty sure. Aren’t I? Yes. Yes I am. But maybe not all the time? So how much time is okay to not be good? Like 20%? 5%? What if I’m only not good about other people to people who love me and recognize that just because I’m saying mean things doesn’t make me a mean person? Right? We all have that group of friends. The ones where you can talk about wanting to kill someone in their sleep for parking badly or calling a co-worker a bad name because they didn’t restart the coffee maker? The ones who know you’re kidding, mostly, when you plan together where you’re going to bury the body.

I don’t know. I really don’t. I have no answers today. Only questions. Lots of questions.

 

 

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Sunsets


It’s no secret that I’ve had a rough couple of years. I’m mostly past it now and getting further from it every day. The aftermath is mostly financial and I’ll deal with that as best I can. Today though this is what I’m thinking about. Sunsets.

I want to go where the sunsets make me cry tears of joy.

I want to watch the sun set with Anne Marie. I want to wake up with only the sound of a breeze through the trees and the crickets chirping. I want to have our coffee, wrapped in blankets, on the terrace with the damp morning air curling our hair. I want to drive with the windows open and the stereo on too high. I want to feel the breeze from the ocean on my face and the feel of warm soft sand between my toes. I want to make a hollow in the sand and sit on my blanket watching the surf ebb and flow. I want to watch the sun reflect on the waves like jewels as they come into shore. I want to watch the children scoop sand into their buckets and then dump it out again. I want to feel the tickle of the ocean on my toes as I walk along the shore. I want to feel my feet sink into the wet sand as I move out to my knees. I want to dive into the ocean and feel the salt water cleanse my skin. I want to sit on my blanket wrapped in a towel and read my book. I want to sip my ice cold water and feel the hot sun on my skin. I want to spend my day breathing the ocean air. Enjoying the solitude together. Talking when we want but otherwise just being there, together.

I want to walk into our temporary home and open a bottle of Syrah, savoring it while we wash off the sand and surf from the day. I want to fix dinner together companionably with ingredients purchased from the local market. I want to turn the music on quietly to accompany our meal while we sit and recall our day. I want to just be in the moment, no cell phones, just talking about our lives and remembering how things were. I want to talk about our lives, catch up in a real way. I want to talk about our futures, our plans, our goals.

Soon enough I’ll be back to reality. Today, I want to breathe, be in the moment and not worry about what awaits me when I return to the real world. Here, today, now I’m just focusing on the feeling of being in the moment and enjoying my limited time in a beautiful place sharing the experience with a beautiful soul.

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Self explanatory


Do you have diabetes? Uh no. Really?

You’d be so pretty if you lost weight.

Aww should you be eating that???

Oh you’re sick? It’s probably because you’re overweight.

The best diet you could go on is the “push yourself away from the table once in a while” diet. (Yes a cardiologist told me that)

Oh no I’m not prejudiced against fat people. Some of my best friends are fat. 🙄

Ohh (tch tch) she should not be wearing those pants.

Do you think she owns a mirror?

You should exercise more

You should eat less

You should cut out carbs.

Have you tried <insert diet here>

Don’t eat after 6.

Don’t eat that much fruit.

Oh … you eat bread?

No I’m just saying you would feel so much better if you lost weight.

I care about your health.

You look great. You must have lost weight.

You work out?

No really you must have diabetes. Have you been tested?

Well you should just try eating healthy.

I think you should ….

Maybe it’s your portions.

Calories in Calories out!

Have you had your thyroid checked?

No really … it’s diabetes right?

What about weight loss pills?

I don’t know. Fat acceptance just seems like excusing bad behavior.

Have you considered dieting?

Fat people are lazy

Fat people are slovenly

No you just have to set your mind to it!

Don’t you miss being healthy?

Oh you’re eating ice cream … ?

Should a diabetic be eating that?

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Gratitudes


Amazing family

Solid steadfast friendships

Help with things I can’t do

Clean floors

Flowers

Supportive co-workers

Informative member pages

Funny memes

Positive messages

Prayers

Daily text “check ins” 💕

Fur baby cuddles

Pain medication! 😀

Grocery delivery

Good surgeons

Beautiful surroundings

Good weather

Comfy slippers

Stretchy pants!

Good books

Netflix

The Grabber!

Social media

Get well cards

Health insurance

Grubhub!

Iced tea

Stool softeners (keeping it real 😆)

Journaling

Positivity

Kindness

Support when I’m not so positive

Humor

Popsicles

Sparkling water

Pillows

Internet

Flea Market Flip marathons

Surgical tape

A safe place

Random kindness

Children playing outside

Sunshine

Taking time to heal

Love and gratitude from me to all of you

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I am celebrating


I’m dealing with a lot. Probably not as much as some people but more than I’ve ever had to deal with before. I’m trying to be strong and not let my problems define me. I have these amazing examples of strength right in front of me all day every day. I want so much to be like them but I’m failing miserably. Well actually that’s the crux of this. I’m not failing, I just deal with things differently and I need to learn to be ok with that. I feel sad sometimes. I cry. I feel sorry for myself. I need to be okay with that, go through the emotions and then get back on track. It’s ok not to be this pillar of strength all the time.

I have been on this journey to get myself healthy and strong again. I have been comparing my results to past results or other people’s successes and coming up lacking. Losing weight is a challenge – mentally and physically. I have been letting my comparisons pull me into this negative space. I’m not doing enough, I’m not strong enough, I’m a disappointment. I haven’t lost enough weight. I’m a failure.

I have reacted in anger and defensiveness at the simplest suggestions – things I used to be confident enough to let roll off my back. Despite the gentle reminders of my friends (to whom I have not always been so nice) I let my lack of confidence turn into a lack of trust. I have allowed my negative headspace to impact my thought processes and everything seems like a slight or a criticism.

I have spent a lot of time and energy focusing on what I have not accomplished in my life and how my past choices have impacted my health now. Yes I have made bad choices that have caused me problems, it is what it is and now more than ever I need to focus on staying positive and continuing my journey to better health.

I have not “only” lost 43 pounds since 7/16/17. I have lost an average of a pound a week. I have not failed to meet my goals, I have done what I set out to do. I have lost weight and gotten healthier. I need to live my own mantra and celebrate the victories – large or small. My pants sag, I’ve had to buy some new clothes because the spring clothes from last year are too large.

I haven’t failed to get back to the gym. I was dealing with illness and fatigue and pain and medicine side effects that were impacting my life. Instead of beating myself up for what I haven’t done, I need to focus on what I can do. I can walk from the lot to my office without being out of breath. That might not seem like much but it’s enough. For now.

I got some excellent news yesterday and I was very happy. People told me I need to celebrate. That was a foreign concept to me. Celebrate what? Sure I am pleased but I’ve failed to accomplish my goals so I shouldn’t be celebrating anything.

I need to regroup. I need to pull myself out of this negative headspace and be okay with who I am now and what I have accomplished. I need to stop feeling sorry for myself.

I am strong in my own way. Maybe not as strong as some of the amazing women in my life and maybe not every day but that’s enough. I am smart, I am successful, I am learning and growing and becoming a better me.

I am happy and content. I am celebrating my successes. I have lost 43 pounds. I have taught myself to cook clean and healthy. I have created a lovely home for myself. I have helped to shape an amazing young woman into the person she is today. I have found a safe place emotionally and physically in which to exist.

I have found a good career and become a force to be reckoned with. I get accolades for what I do regularly at my job – I earned them and I deserve them. I have worked hard to be the best and while I’m not perfect I am an excellent Credit Manager. Recently my job has been highly scrutinized and dissected to the nth degree. I’ve worked long hard hours to show my results and what I have accomplished with the mess I inherited two years ago. Instead of saying “Ok bring it on I can handle anything” I’ve become angry and taciturn. I’ve reacted defensively and allowed paranoia and self doubt to impact my decision-making ability.

It’s all related. I’ve lost myself in the negativity.

I’m solid. I’m aware. I’m re-evaluating. I’m re-grouping. I’m taking life’s lemons and making lemonade.

I am celebrating my weight loss. I am reveling in the joy of my recent good news. I am telling the scrutinizers to BRING IT ON because my numbers will withstand any scrutiny because I am a rock star.

I am strong.

I am successful.

I am celebrating my life.

I am moving forward.

I am learning and growing.

Who I am is good. What I’ve done is great. I can do this because I am positive and I am a good.

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