Saturday, August 31, 2013

Eleanor Roosevelt & Me

Do one thing every day that scares you.
 - Eleanor Roosevelt                                  

I love this quote. The challenge of it thrills and scares me at the same time. I repeat this quote incessantly to my daughter when she is afraid to try something new.

Recently, I've been using it as my mantra to get off my butt and live life to the fullest. Here are some examples. They may be easy for the majority of people, but they have terrified me:

Tubing on Lake Norman, North Carolina
When we recently visited friends in North Carolina (see Life is Good), they took us out on the lake for a boat ride and some tubing. It wasn't the tubing that was scary. It was the being in the lake part that scared the bajeebies out of me! 

Lake Norman's average depth is 33.5 ft - 110 ft at the deepest. Though I know it is illogical, that fact scares me. I think of the depth below. I think of the animal life below and all those eyes looking up at me!! I think of the movies Jaws and Friday the 13th - and the Loch Ness Monster, for crying out loud!

My daughter didn't want to go, even though I encouraged her to try it. Then I remembered, "Eleanor Roosevelt". I knew I had to set the example. I shouted, "Eleanor Roosevelt" (and explained it to my friends!), and on the tube I went! Yes, it did flip over at one point; and yes, my feet were dangling about 34 feet above the lake bottom - for all eyes to see! But, I did it - and I actually had fun.

Then, yesterday. My family and I went to my sister- and brother-in-law's 10-year anniversary/vow renewal celebration. It was a catered event with a dj. The day was gorgeous, the ceremony so beautiful that half the audience was in tears, and dinner was exquisite! Then came the...dancing

Now let me tell you: I have never been the first to hit the dance floor. Shaking my thang has always scared the crap out of me! In fact, as an active alcoholic, I used to drink my way onto a dance floor - two drinks usually did the trick.

With no (alcoholic) drink in hand, and having endured the corpus humiliation (see Gotta Be a Loser) of the dressing room the day before, I was less than thrilled about getting my groove on with all the younger, slimmer women out there. My husband, Fred Astaire (a.k.a., LMFAO's Adam Goldstein, for the younger readers), hit the floor immediately and beckoned me out there. 

No way. No way, no way, NO WAY was I going! Until she came to mind. "Eleanor Roosevelt!", I muttered out loud, and I began a-shufflin'! (Sorry the pics are a little blurry...)

Once again, I ended up having a blast!

Finally, today, it wasn't something that scared me, really. It was something that daunted me - exercise. Once again, Eleanor got me off my the couch, into shorts, and out for a walk-run in the woods!

So, this is my goal for the next 30 days: every day do something that scares me...and see what happens!


Dear Reader:

Do you have any mantras or other techniques you use to get you through something that scares you?

Why don't you join me in this challenge and feel free to share your comments and experiences here or on PHTA's Facebook page!

I'd love to hear from you. I mean it! 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Gotta Be a Loser

Okay folks, I'm done with myself...again!

You see, my beautiful sister-in-law and her adorable husband are renewing their vows tomorrow in celebration of their 10-year anniversary. There will be a grand party afterwards - not as formal as a wedding, but dressier than casual.

Last night, I tried on every dress I owned and NONE of them would even zip partially up the back!

This morning, for morbid curiosity, I weighed myself and I am a ripe 175 lbs!! An all-time, all-time high for me!

This evening, I went to the local department store to try desperately to find something I could wear. Out of 15 dresses, here were a couple of the best:

Grandma Fletcher

Stripes?! What was I thinking?!

I finally settled on a zipperless, waistless tent dress...

I can't even show you the other selections - just too embarrassing - and mind you, all of those I tried on were in a larger size than I have ever worn. I truly hit bottom - a BIG bottom today!

Right after I left, I went to Starbucks to drown my sorrows; and it was there that I decided I would begin to get back on track immediately. Rather than order the usual venti coffee with half-and-half and sugar, I ordered a venti unsweetened passion iced tea.

Pure heaven! I think I've fallen in love! 

For dinner, I had salad with light dressing and chicken breast; but then, things fell apart...

...oh well. Pick yourself up and move on tomorrow, Karen.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rainy Days and...Tuesdays

Ugh! It is raining, hot, and ├╝ber humid outside; and I am lethargic and struggling. Why is it such an effort some days?!

After yesterday's post about going back to school (see Back to School!), and about progress, not perfection and action, not procrastination, I find myself stuck like a dirty old boot in the mud. With four classes this semester, I have plenty of reading to do, but all I can muster up is a walk from my nouveau Vortex on the family room couch to the sauna patio.

Unfortunately, I don't have school today, and I'm left to my own devices for scheduling my day. Wide open swaths of time are the death of me. 

Okay, Karen. Stop! I have a choice to make here. I can choose to wallow all day, watch YouTube videos or reality TV reruns, and take another nap; OR I can turn the TV off, get up from the couch, get washed and dressed, and read some of my text books. 

I've exhausted the former many times before, and I know exactly where it'll get me - a slow descent into dysthymia. If, on the other hand, I choose the latter, I will feel a little better at the end of the day and will feel a lot better tomorrow when I am prepared for my classes! I don't have to do it perfectly, I just have to start and see where it takes me.

Okay, I'll give it a try.


Hey! Is there anything you are procrastinating that you know you should do because it will be good for you, help you in the long run, and make you feel better about yourself? What is holding you back? Why don't you take a little piece of it and do it now - or sometime today at the latest. 

As I've said before, feel free to comment - even if you are my spouse! ;)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Back to School!

Well, I'm back in the saddle again! 

The fall semester has started up at school, and I'm excited to be back. I'm taking Life Span and Human Development I, Substance Abuse I, Group Dynamics I, and math. 

There are two personality traits, however, that could stop me up if I don't keep them in check: procrastination and perfectionism. (I know I'm not alone in this!) 

Sometimes I procrastinate because of perfectionism. I wait for conditions to be perfect before beginning a project. Or, I procrastinate because of the effort I know that is required - especially for perfection. 

With perfectionism, it's either perfect or nothing. (Addicts are good at all-or-nothing thinking!) I know this is a contradiction, but my house, for example, is either OCD-clean or total chaos. I clean to perfection then (naturally) things fall short of it.  

When these two traits have stopped me up in the past, I've had nowhere else to turn but the pseudo-comfort of the Vortex. 

This time I have a plan in place for progress, not perfection:

  1. Check deadlines at the beginning of the semester.
  2. Make a realistic plan to meet the deadlines.
  3. Set up an accountability plan for myself with my advisor for a regular check-in.
  4. Then, ACT! Make steady, daily progress toward the goal(s)/project deadlines.
  5. Keep on doing the things that are necessary to stave off depression and anxiety (medication, physical fitness, sleep, relaxation, blogging, etc.)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Life Is Good!

At a cafe in Roanoke, Virginia, awaiting lunch....

...on our way home from visiting friends in North Carolina.

I'm feeling particularly engaged in life lately - loving the experience of simply being alive; and I am very grateful!

What a far cry from a year ago. 

If you are not quite feeling the same, if you are depressed, anxious, addicted or just struggling in general, I want you to know this: there is always hope. There is always the possibility for change - as long as you believe it. Tie a knot in the end of your rope and hang on. Keep looking for solutions, ask for help - trust that life is good and worth living - because it is!


Update: right after posting, I broke a dish :( and felt bad and embarrassed; 

but you know...

life is still good!