Life is a journey… or something like that. The hardest part for me? Accepting that I am alone. I am a single mom and that means all the responsibilities are mine, and mine alone. There is no one else here to help with anything. It sucks, it’s stressful, and most days I feel like crying.
I come home exhausted but there is no rest. Meals have to be made, things need cleaning up, the cat needs care, all on top of my son’s homework and keeping him on track until bedtime. Unless you’ve been in these shoes, you couldn’t possibly understand the level of exhaustion a single parent deals with on a daily basis.
I had a revelation or epiphany or whatever last weekend. I read something that said “happiness starts when we accept life as it is and not as we think it should be”. I am alone. I have to accept that I am alone. I have to embrace that I am alone. My responsibilities are my own and no one is going to provide assistance. I said it out loud “I am alone” and felt a little better.
We all have to get to the point where we accept life as it is. Whether or not we’re happy with it is a different story. We’re all only one decision away from a new life. But the first step is accepting our truth and our reality. Once we do that, we are free to make any choice we want to change our lives.
I have started making changes… and we’ll see what happens from there.
I first saw that picture on Pinterest. I don’t know where it came from or who owns it but it is pretty accurate. I’m 40 years old, but I feel much older than that. I don’t look my age so I hear a lot of “you’re too young to be in pain”. Living with Fibro… what a pain. Literally.
I was first diagnosed in my early 30’s but my symptoms were around for much longer. I have noticed they’ve gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. I think the hardest thing about living with Fibro is getting people to understand how awful you feel.
So what is it like? Well… imagine you’ve been awake for 36 hours. Now imagine you run 30 miles without stopping and then push your car around the block several times. Add having the flu, a hangover, and a sunburn. You’re kinda getting close now. The problem with Fibro is the really extensive list of symptoms that anyone can experience at any time.
Here are the most common:
Widespread muscle/joint pain
Sensitivity in all of the 5 senses
Insomnia/screwed up sleep patterns
On a good day I wake up exhausted. On a bad day, I wake up feeling like I got hit by a truck the night before. I think anyone fighting this battle will agree the good days are few and far between while the bad days require every ounce of strength to just get out of bed in the morning, never mind going to work and being productive. I have learned, as we all have, to roll with the energy highs and lows. Last night, I fell asleep on the couch at 7:30 and then dragged myself to bed at 8:30. Tonight, maybe 9 or so but I did get a load of laundry done this evening. My sink is currently still full of dirty dishes.
My goal is not be super-mom. I work two jobs, I’m a single mom, my son is autistic, and when you add Fibro to that, well, there’s a whole lot going on in my house. Again, not trying to be super-mom. If I go to bed at night after accomplishing nothing, then so be it. If I manage to get a few things done, then so be it. It is what it is. My house is messy sometimes and I’m ok with that. My son is healthy and happy and that’s all I care about.
In the end, living with Fibro really forces you to prioritize your life. Every day, I wake up and ask myself “What is the most important thing I have to accomplish today?” and focus on that. If I get other stuff done, great. If not, great. Priorities. Priorities. Priorities.
It would be great if people really understood what Fibro does to a person, but the reality is that likely won’t happen. I don’t often talk about my Fibro because it’s so involved and the symptoms vary from day to day, that I would rather spend my time on what’s important: taking care of my son and taking care of myself.
For anyone out there fighting this battle… self care is so important. Whatever it is – massages, naps, warm baths… take care of yourself in any way you need to. Remember – it’s all about priorities.
Ahhh toxic people. They can be hard to identify and even harder to break free from. The problem with toxic people is they are really good at taking: time, energy, emotion… but offer nothing in return except unnecessary clutter.
Decluttering has become increasingly popular over the years and there are many tips on decluttering home spaces, office spaces, vehicles, all the way to decluttering your email. But what about decluttering people?
We’ve all been there at some point. We have a friend, or two, who always seems to be interested in our lives and wants to get together for lunch or coffee. Unfortunately, once we’re there, we find the entire conversation about them and their problems. Nothing supportive comes from the conversation and we end up leaving confused and emotionally drained.
When I went through my awakening (not really sure what else to call it!) two years ago, I decluttered people from my life. It was a bad time overall for me, but I found that there were many people who were not being emotionally supportive when I really needed them. I felt like I had to be OK all the time around them when in reality, I was anything but ok. I cleared everyone from my Facebook page and slowly I started adding people back. I got rid of friends & family. It was hard, but I was so emotionally stretched, I didn’t really see any other option.
As of now, I still don’t have all those people back on my page and you know what? It’s completely fine. Toxic people not only drain us but they really do clutter our lives. I know my example may seem extreme to some but stop and think about all those people on your friends page. Are you really talking to all of them? Or are they there because you feel obligated to have them there?
Getting back to the title of the post: Toxic People and Their Clutter.
The Drama Queen/King.
I’m sure there are others 🙂 Let’s start with the Frenemy. This is the person who constantly corrects you and tries to change things about you but deep inside, they harbor jealousy for one reason or another. They present themselves as friend but behind your back they are presenting a different face. They insult you, spill your secrets, and never really compliment you on successes but rather imply that you ‘got that award because of pure luck’. You feel like you have to apologize for your successes instead of being proud.
The Liar. Hmm… this is the person who never seems to give you the full story about anything. They say one thing but then you find out the truth was either a little off their original story or something COMPLETELY different. You end up doubting them and wondering if what they are telling you is true.
The Drama Queen/King. This person is my favorite, purely because they tend just to be completely ridiculous. This person cannot handle mellow or laid back. There has to be action or something happening and if there isn’t, they create it. They get a rush from being in the middle of chaos. They don’t know how to operate without a problem consuming them. You end up constantly saving them from their own messes and nothing you do is good enough because… when that problem is gone… another quickly emerges. You may also encounter the Complaining Drama Queen/King who only wants to complain. They never seem to want a solution to their problems, or to do any kind of work associated with fixing them. They just want to use you as a giant ear. And don’t even bother trying to discuss a problem of your own.
The Narcissist. This one is complicated because they seem to be 100% invested in you but slowly you start seeing little things emerge that make you question yourself. A narcissist will never be responsible for anything. In every situation, they are either victim or hero, but never the person who caused any problems. Narcissists are especially dangerous. They will make you question your own sanity. They never seem to ‘remember saying that’ or ‘promising to do this’.
The bottom line here is we all need people in our lives who are supportive in our endeavors. We need our own cheering section. Decluttering people is harder than decluttering your bedroom but the concepts are still the same. Are these people adding negativity? Or are they uplifting and encouraging? Do they truly care about you and your life? Do they offer constructive advice hoping you succeed or do they point out all your faults?
Asking tough questions is the only way to identify the people who are just hanging around but not really providing much value. It also helps identify those friends who we should spend our time and energy on and those we should let go. And yes, this applies to family as well. While it might be tougher to declutter family, sometimes its necessary. I’ve been through this myself and while its painful to know that there are family members who do not support me, it’s reassuring to know that the ones I’ve chosen to keep have my back and want to see me succeed.
So how do you get rid of these toxic people? There’s no real right or wrong way. The goal is to invest less and less time in them until they stop bothering you. If you’re dealing with a narcissist though, I would advise cutting ties with them quickly. They may call you names or bad-mouth you to your circle of friends but those who really know you will see through it. You can’t help what others say but you can help how you react to it. Rise above and move on knowing that you’ve made a decision that will save your mental and emotional energy for something that really matters.
It’s the last day of 2018 and while most people are thinking about the parties they’ll be attending tonight, tomorrow will bring a new year and new resolutions. Why is it that resolutions seem to last all of 45 minutes and then they’re forgotten? We’re back to our previous habits and disappointment in our lack of willpower quickly sets in. Resolution burnout combined with post-holiday blues makes January seem like a dismal month.
A quick web search for top resolutions of 2018 was very illuminating on how generic people get with their goals. Is it any wonder they don’t last? Why not change that this year? Below I list my favorite tips for setting resolutions in a way that they’ll last more than the first week of January.
1. Set SMART Goals. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Sensitive and is a very popular tool used in business. The problem most people have with goal-setting is not making them specific enough. Example: “I want to exercise more”. Ok… more than what? If you set a goal that has specific criteria and constraints, then you will know when you’re achieving it. How do you know you’re exercising more? If you change that to “I want to exercise 3 times a week for 30 minutes each time” then you will know once you hit day 3 that you’re succeeding at your goal. The idea here is to remove any possible ambiguity that provides a “way out” of the goal.
2. Have an end goal in mind but set small goals that will eventually lead there. “I want to lose 50 pounds this year”. While a good goal, it’s also a large one and very daunting. Instead of focusing on this large of an objective, set smaller, achievable goals that create a road map to where you eventually want to be. “For the month of January, I will work on removing sugary drinks from my diet. For the month of February, I will add vegetables to every meal.” Small goals that are less intimidating and easier to achieve but eventually add up to the overall goal.
3. Positive, not Negative. Most resolutions people set require giving up things. Weight loss requires giving up tasty foods; spending less money requires giving up frivolous spending like gourmet coffee; and so on. It’s very easy to get caught up on the things we have to give up to achieve our goals, which we then start to rationalize as too constricting and then the resolutions fizzle out. Instead of thinking about what we have to give up, focus more on the positive aspects. Spending less money also gives you a chance to get creative with budgeting. Losing weight gives you a chance to try new food and experiment with unfamiliar ingredients. The more positive you are, the more likely you are to stick to your goals.
4. Ask for help if you get stuck. We all need a helping hand now and then. Sticking with the weight loss resolution, if you find yourself eating the same things because they’re tried and true recipes, ask your friends for their favorite healthy options. Search online or Pinterest for new things to try. Keep it fresh and exciting and you won’t suffer burn out.
New Year’s Resolutions are a chance to start over and make improvements we’ve been thinking about but you don’t have to wait for a new year to implement any type of change. You can always choose to reinvent yourself in a new way. The first step is always the hardest, but it gets easier.
In a previous post, I mentioned celebrating all the holidays with Kiddo for the month of December: Hanukkah, Yule, Christmas, Kwanzaa… Hanukkah is over and Yule is the next one on the list. Here’s what we did/plan to do:
Lit the menorah every night
Listed, starting on day 1, something we’re grateful for and kept adding to the list, so on the 8th day, there were 8 things to be grateful for
Said a thankful prayer after listing our gratefuls
I found a Yule prayer that Kiddo recites
We light as many candles as we have around the house
We exchange a homemade gift
We make bird feeders out of oranges and hang them in trees
We decorate with greenery
Yule prayer: I am grateful for that which I have.
I am not sorrowful for that which I do not. I have more than others, less than some, but regardless, I am blessed with what is mine.
First, I am thankful for my health. Second, I am thankful for my family. Third, I am thankful for my warm home. Fourth, I am thankful for the abundance in my life.
Christmas is pretty standard around here with the usual gift fest. Last year, we didn’t do much for Kwanzaa – I think we were both exhausted by that point, but we did exchange homemade gifts, do crafts, and talked about the seven principles & the importance of Kwanzaa.
We also donate to as many charities as we can during the holiday season and talk about why its important to give back to the community and help those who are not in a position to help themselves.
For New Years, we tend to do a full cleaning of our home. It’s a fresh start, so we get everything scrubbed and decluttered in prep for the new year.
So that’s how we spend our December. Leave a comment how you spend your holidays.
I’m sure at some point I’ll need to sort my posts because I can already tell they will cover a variety of topics, mostly in response to something I’ve seen or read.
This one is about forgiveness. I saw on my Facebook feed something that said “you can’t forgive someone who isn’t sorry”. I think people have this forgiveness thing backwards. It isn’t a reward for remorse. The purpose of forgiveness is to close a door for yourself so you don’t keep letting in something hurtful.
As someone who has had to forgive a lot of people for a lot of things, I can honestly say the following:
There is no right path to forgiveness.
The deeper the hurt, the longer it takes to forgive.
The goal is to get to a point where the thought of the other person or their actions no longer affects your current mood or emotional state.
I was browsing through internet memes as I often do when I need a laugh and stumbled across an excerpt from a book. It listed all the things we as women need to stop so we can take control of our lives… basically excuses and procrastination.
I realized that’s all I had in my arsenal: excuses and procrastination. So I started I thinking about all the things I’ve thought of doing but haven’t done anything about. And there were a lot! This led to more questions, really hard questions, about my life and what I’m doing with it.
Am I happy? Not really.
Do I like what I’ve become? Again, not really.
What am I putting off for no real reason? A lot!
What behaviors am I accepting from others that I shouldn’t? Too many to list.
Yes, definitely an aha moment here. It was hard to examine myself in this way but it was necessary. It was time to make some changes.
I realized I hadn’t been taking very good care of my health.
>Step 1: Stop the excuses and get my ass to the gym!
I realized social media was making too much noise in my life.
>Step 2: Kill Facebook for a while. Anyone who really needs to get in touch with me knows how to find me in other ways.
I realized I have no real friends (only acquaintances) or hobbies to fill free time.
>Step 3: Get a friend, a hobby, a something! To be honest, a hobby would be easier only because I’m an introvert and prefer to be on my own. So, I decided to look into the things offered by the community center. Gotta start somewhere. I may meet people or I may not but either way it would get me out of my house and comfort zone.
What about my job? This had been playing around the edges of my mind already, mostly because of expected org changes I was not excited about. I decided my job was ok for now but probably wouldn’t be a permanent thing.
As explained in a previous post, I’ve already taken steps to get my finances under control. I figure this is just one more piece of the puzzle that will eventually lead me to where I want to be instead of sitting around thinking about it.
I realized that I was letting people treat me in ways I shouldn’t. I deserve better.
>Step 4: No more apologizing or trying to keep peace or make other people feel better. Get with the program and treat me right or get lost. Sure, it’ll hurt to lose people, but it’s happened before and I’ve survived. I’ll survive again.
I read something online recently that said “For a star to be born, there is one thing that must first happen: a gaseous nebula must collapse. So collapse. Crumble. This is not your destruction. This is your birth.” I relate so much to this. I feel like what I went through really was a full out collapse. It was so painful yet oddly cathartic. I came to terms with so many things that I had been avoiding or hiding from. I forgave myself for the stupid decisions I’ve made and finally found my inner peace. I still cry sometimes, but not like I used to. An overwhelming calm has settled on me and I embrace the path I am on. I lost people I thought were friends but gained so many new ones. I am not the person I will be, but I’m also not the person I used to be.
Not long after my last post on the old blog, I was hired at a local grocery store. Can I tell you about the job shaming that went with that?? “But you have a masters degree!” Yeah… and it obviously didn’t do a damn thing for me. Why do people find it necessary to shame others for the job they do? This was another reason I lost “friends” along this journey.
Last September, I was hired as a temp employee doing admin work; the company was awesome and so were the people. I felt like I belonged there and it was wonderful to be able to pay my own rent again.
Apparently, they liked me too because in March I was hired permanent doing a completely different job I have NEVER done in my life. Still not really using my degree but I am (sort of) part of supply chain management now which was discussed a lot in my classes. So there’s that.
Another bit of good news… back in February I started dating someone I met working at the grocery store! Everything truly does happen for a reason. It’s so cliche but true. I was hired there to meet someone special and great people I am happy to call friends. I was hired temp at my office job so I could be brought on permanent to kick ass at a job I’m a complete newbie at. And so far so good.
I now find myself looking at the mountain of debt left behind from my not-so-brilliant-but-necessary career choice when I quit my last job without having a new one in place. I am not making nearly as much money as I was but what I am making is workable. I am finally ready to tackle this mountain and defeat it.