Panic attacks never happen when I’m in the middle of fixing a paper jam. In those moments I am Commander-In-Chief of the office, she who is getting her Smooth. On. Minus the chocolate candy and really bad porn movie soundtrack.
Nope. My panic sneaks in on spidery tenterhooks as the 4am wind howls. (Moon in Pisces on the Eve of Thanksgiving) The first thing I notice is how my eyes are suddenly blown open like a screen door unlatched.
“What was that?”
Focus begins to brighten my mindscape like dawn. Realization informs me it’s *just* the wind speaking to me, Hidey Hooooooo!
I reach over and grab my cell phone. I usually keep it in the office out of sight and mind. This is the beginning of my unraveling. I forgot my cardinal rule of no screens in the bedroom and I’m fully awake, now spying the envelope icon at the top of the screen with a pink number “1” telling me I have a text message waiting.
After I read and answer the text, of course I must check other things. Bank balance, social networks, events. Oh crap.
Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving – says my independent City Girl. What are we doing? I have a plan which includes inside out caramel apples. Everything’s cool, right?
My mind is on automatic transmission, driving itself within its defined set of gear ranges. Gear one: Worried, anxious, isolated, separate. Regret. Heart feels cold. Holiday? What does that mean anyway?
My mom and dad are long gone from this world. Who would take care of me if I couldn’t?
Gear two: Extreme loneliness right smack dab in the middle of chosen family and fantastic living situation. Really?? This makes no sense.
Upside: I’m independent, free, I get to choose what kind of Thanksgiving day I want to have.
Shadow: I get to choose what kind of Thanksgiving day I want to have. There’s no built in by default “We get to go to Aunt Marge’s”. (Bless her and the whole dysfunctional supersize meal deal) There I am – in the driver’s seat, wearing my big girl panties. Except they are tied around my face like a gag.
Drama with a side dish of drama.
Third Gear: Invisible fist sucker punch to stomach. Lump in throat. Eyes watering and I start holding my breath. I remind myself to breathe. A conscious effort to say the least. I have mixed success and failure at the breathing. It’s been 10 minutes and feels like 100. I start to have the, “What if I weren’t here?” thoughts.
OK. That’s my limit. If this keeps on I will burn up. I type, “Is this what you deal with? How!? I can barely stand it.” to an east coast online friend.
This helps, but my intuition (or is it fear?) tells me: Careful. Do not overburden. Go local. I start leaving texts. I start calling. I. Keep. Calling. Not easy. This. I feel wretched, weak, silly, stupid for bothering you. For asking anything of you. For even being like this and worse yet, showing you this part of me.
My cell phone tells me you’re on the line. I accept the call. You can barely understand me, my voice is so distorted, throat closed up post sobbing, can barely speak. You are *beyond* patient. I breathe easier. More oxygen. I can speak after all.
There’s a clear image in my mind….
….reaching out, placing hand on stick shift. It’s on the highest gear, engine revving so hot it’s uncomfortable to the touch. My palm and fingers lovingly wrap around familiar territory. I down shift. Breathe. Keep talking. RPM gauge goes from 6000 to 5500. A few minutes, and I can shift again. Cruising. Grounded.
I know the root of what spooked me. That trigger. The should and self doubt both with capital ‘S’ that snuck in when I was off guard. Thankful for you and thankful I remembered in time that I know full well how to drive stick.
~ Dedicated to Ramina.
And even when you’ve got your red velvet ropes in place, keeping them stationary in the long term is key to your well being. Handling interruptions, shifting focus on a dime, and finding your way back to the true north of your task is trickier than it seems. Even when we think these micro shifts are effortless – in reality they take a toll.
We need to start a specific conversation about this. What I’d really like to know is exactly how you handle the splits and shifts…how you find your way back.
The inspiration for this post happened during a quiet Friday afternoon at the office. A woman came by my office that day,
more precisely –
…a VPI (very possibly important) person in charge of a big office move stops by to see me.
We’re lending one of our cubicles to another work group who needed an extra office. The cube has been ready for its new occupant for a while. Or so I thought…
If I’m seeing this woman, it’s certain that there is something not-quite-right. But it’s Friday, and I’m the point of contact person for the office.
It’s clear that I’m on a telephone call with a customer. She sees this and does not leave. Madam VPI hovercrafts at the entrance to my cubicle.
Barge Queen: Person who has a perceived need or urgent request to be heard right now, and who will launch into conversation without first checking in with you to see if you are at a good stopping point within your work.
I think briefly about asking VPI to give me a moment. For some reason it doesn’t seem like a good idea to ignore the VPI. I decide to end my call – abruptly. Inside, I’m frustrated because of the rudeness. In a bit of a snit.
On the outside a completely different story is broadcasted.
“What’s up?” I ask in the most graceful voice full of honey butter tones.
As I speak with her, lyrics from a song called Chasing Cars drift across my mind:
“I need your grace To remind me To find my own.”
(One of my all time favorites, go have a listen.)
Ahhhh. That’s nice isn’t it?
Now that we’ve located our grace, back to her Majesty.
She: “Aren’t you going to clean out that cube?”
Hmm. My mind flicks instantly to a scene. Full cubicle, unclean, full of books from old owner, file cabinets in the way that need out, now!
I quickly head over.
Reality: Cube has been cleaned out. What was left you ask…?
One box of pencils and,
A tabletop document in box.
Whew! I didn’t need to grab the handtruck after all.
I moved these things. Moved what she needed, then asked if there was anything else. Calendar off the wall perhaps?
All the while I thought…
Specificity is a beautiful thing.
How different would the scenario been had it gone down like this:
“There are a couple things left in the cube. I’m not sure where you want them, can you come take a look?’
I get it that she’s stressed about coordinating a big move and it needs to go efficiently.
To her, the pencils and document box were annoying and needed to be moved immediately. She was in the get it done – there’s a million tiny details – zone.
Again I say: Specificity = Beautiful Collaboration.
When we know what is, when we have the information, we get to make an informed decision. With grace, and blood pressure remaining in the normal range.
And how about not speaking in absolutes? “Aren’t you going to clean out this cubicle?”
Big this, or little this?
Depends on the perspective. From her view, the box of pencils and the document holder.
Truthfully – I don’t envy her. Moving sucks.
Do you have a Barge Queen (or King) moment? How do you handle those priority requests and majestic moments?
I’m getting ready to go see some Musketeer movie with a dear friend this afternoon.
When I called him to arrange our usual Sunday movie date, I could hear the bone weary fatigue in his voice. Of course I was curious and more than a little concerned as to what was up. Turns out earlier this week he started one of those intense P90X work outs programs and his body is aching. As I listened he told me about how he came to the decision to — finally do something about it.
As his words tumbled out I found myself cringing repeatedly. The way he spoke about himself was horrid, so cruel. Each word a blow of self flagellation.
I don’t look right in clothes.
I’m ashamed to come out and have people see me.
Am afraid what they’ll say about how I look since last year.
How did I let myself get this way?
I instantly had a vision of a dog, tail nestled between its back legs. Small. Unempowered and turning in upon itself. Such hurtful words.
Because I know this man, he’s one of my most beloved friends – I knew that he needed to get those words out, needed a neutral place for them to flow into. So I listened and waited for the lull, the pause.
When it came I asked him this:
If we were out together and you overheard someone speaking to me that way, they’d be on the ground in a second, correct?
After a few beats of silence he answered: “Yes.”
“Then don’t talk to my beloved that way. Or you’ll be going from horizontal to vertical in the blink of an eye.”
Figuratively speaking of course.
This is how we talk to ourselves all the time, my people. We think nothing of it. It feels like it’s what we’re supposed to do. It’s acceptable to belittle ourselves.
No it’s not.
When you’re used to being the visionary warrior, the doer who Does with a capital D, who fixes, solves, and Handles. It. All.
With style, tenacity, flair, magnificence…
You’re Coping with a capital C, maintaining until you go home and…collapse.
Until your trusted friend can hear it in your voice when you answer the phone.
This is bullshit.
Like my loyal friend, gentle linebacker that he is…my personal Porthos who’d rise up to my defense in a heartbeat if he overheard someone disrespecting me,
..who misses that he gets to have that same compassion, love, and loyalty. It extends to him too, as we are all worth that same treatment.
We forget this. I forget this.
When you overdraw from your own bank of compassion, talking to yourself in this way…how does that work?
Does this inspire you to rise up and care for yourself? If it does that’s OK. I’m just seeing who’s in the room.
If you’ve gone off course, got a health issue, found yourself a little off target from an end result you want…
Do you see this as information (simply data) and respond? Or do you personalize the emotion/experience making it mean something?
I invite you to cut yourself some slack.
Are you still vertical or have your words got you on the ground seeing stars?
Comments welcome. Share this post with the someone this reminds you of. And you can cease the beatings anytime now, your choice.
I’m off to the movies.
Source MyHealthNewsDaily.com: Your guide to wellness.
Oh freedom (freedom), freedom (freedom), freedom, yeah freedom
Freedom (freedom), freedom (freedom), freedom, ooh freedom
- Aretha Franklin
Today I present Anita from India. Recently freed by sheer determination and desire. Others are following her example and carving out their own path to personal freedom. Watch:
What if this were you?
As that video played, chills ran up the back of my neck. This could have been me.
Why do I think that?
Because past life came up in a recent astrology conversation…
A pre-defined existence. Everything provided for me – I didn’t have to worry about where I was going to live or what I was going to eat. There is indication that the family/community I belonged to was quite wealthy. My relationship if I were to be married, was likely arranged.
I think of Anita and how alone she felt when she refused to go along with her parents and get married on their timeline.
What If? If was male, I may have had to work for the family business or not been allowed to work at all if female.
“Although, materially, things were easy, you were not allowed to be an individual, or to make choices. You were not given a voice of any kind.”
Right now I sit at my desk in the solitude of my quiet house. Warm, safe, dry and free on a Sunday morning. I am content in this moment, knowing that I can do (or not do) whatever I damn well please.
It is always been this way. Choices. They have always been there.
I think of Anita, and of young women near and far who don’t have access to choices.
I think of those who are trailblazing the way, at risk for alienating themselves from the love and contact of the people who mean the most to them.
Yet they still step out, speak up, go on to do when they or called to do. I see them. I rejoice.
I want that for more women. I want it for all women who want that freedom and autonomy. It is their birthright.
I invite you to go to this website to learn more – http://www.taramohr.com/girleffectposts/.
Then spread the word if you’re moved to.
Write your own post, tweet, G+ it around the planet and back, or – meet a friend for dinner to tell them what you think about the Girl Effect.
Think of Anita. Think of the first taste of freedom you had, how glorious it felt. Remind yourself of the everyday freedoms that are simply part of the daily landscape. Do you know how free you are?
If you do: Revel, rejoice, repeat.
If you don’t? Then… notice now. Bring them to your attention so the gratitude and reveling can commence.
More girls – more freedom = the Girl Effect begins.
Go now: http://www.taramohr.com/girleffectposts/ – your voice is needed.
Sing it like Aretha.]]>
This piece was born out of necessity for showing a little bit of teeth. Move towards statements cause me to flourish and keep me in a collaboration mindset. If you’re reading this I have a sense you are on a similar path.
Are you a person who is good with statements containing, “ALWAYS or NEVER, MUST, SHOULD, or HAVE TO?” There are plenty of places where you’ll find that language.
Here we like empowering words of possibility, choice, and collaboration. Because we are powerful, wise, and complete as we are. Today.
Now for a glimpse of what was going on inside my grown up head when someone from my 17 year old past laid down the law.
It’s a little toothy.
Dear Mothering Loving People Who Tell Me To Never, EVER do ______.
You gave me some advice today. The phrase began with the word, “Don’t” or “Never” and it had a distinct smell of rules, which to me smells like moldy old water damaged books.
Absolute: adj. Not to be doubted or questioned.
“Absolutes and demands are all black and white, externally imposed, leaving no gray area for choice or the truly infinite possibilities.” 1.
I adore you darling and in your own unique quirky way, I know you have the best intentions for me. Thank you for that.
That said - knock it off and take that schlock someplace else.
Now and forever more.
Not needed. I know EXACTLY what I’m doing. Around food, around where I focus my time and attention, and basically life in general. So we’re clear, here’s the memo. Ready?
Well meaning phrases like, “Food is Fuel, not entertainment.” or, “Nothing else tastes as good as being thin feels.”….
Instead of encouraging me, or feeling loved and respected for the wise woman I am, I find words like that completely insulting.
PLUS – reading it made me want to go out and BINGE.
(and reevaluate whether or not you get to keep your spot in my inner circle)
Was that your intention? If so, then you’ve succeeded in your mission.
So, to drive a point home: That kind of rule spouting structure (usually beginning with “Don’t”) does NOT help me to eat less.
Here’s what it does instead –
It makes me go streaking through the sky like a comet in the direction of Micky Dee’s. It makes my brain say, “Fuck Off Authority Figure.” then go for the chips, ice cream, and any thing that’s edible including cardboard.
Rules smell like moldy old water damaged books to me.
So, if you’re going to talk food with me, Linda Eaves….
My rules of engagement are: (lovely paradox ain’t it?)
– I welcome conversation, but not advice. Don’t worry about me, I’ve got people looking out for me. The number 1 person being myself.
– Things are under control even when it doesn’t look like it through your lens of understanding.
– Share your personal experience with eating and how this conversation makes you feel. Now that, my friend – is what I want to pull up a chair and sit a spell to hear. So bring it on!
AP Michael Probst – Daseep the tigress
I’ve been thinking about beginnings and about my path growing up as a mixed race kid. There’s a tie in with Obesity, wellness, and a unique way I used food as protection, — more on that will come later.
First I want to speak on how I adapted and responded when odd things were tossed my way that I didn’t understand. How events shaped the way I coped with stress, fear, and curiosity. Being raised by elderly parents and having no siblings who lived with us, I learned a lot on my own and spent a great deal of time inside my head.
The go to strategy for me was creativity and imagination. One way I experienced pleasure and relaxation during intense emotional times (besides eating) was through claiming a symbol I could orient myself with. This post is about that.
Later on I want to talk about how I used food to survive — not in the way you might think, I’ll go into that in subsequent posts. For now I’ll tell you about the story of my becoming a bus geek and how identifying with the tiger helped a little girl make sense out of a strange world.
I picked up my beloved stuffed tiger at a gift shop in a Greyhound bus station as mom and I waited for the route 306.
I vividly remember that first gift shop sighting of my pal, then imprinting on him (Linus and his security blanket had nothing on me) because I was a tigress too – a bus terminal tigress exploring a jungle with concrete steps, vending machines, and coin operated TVs.
There were many opportunities for epic six year old adventures in the stretched moments and minutes as we waited for our coach to roll in and take us the twenty odd miles up north to Everett, WA.
When we’d get to the end of our passage, mom or I would go to the phone booth, drop a quarter in and ring up dad to pick us up at the Texaco on Hwy 99 a mile from our house.
If the day was nice or we couldn’t reach dad, mom and I would walk on home. More on dad later.
Tig and I went everywhere together – a bonded pair of two toned kitties. Being two toned was something I knew well as a mixed race kid in the early 60s when it wasn’t seen quite so much. Tig was gold and black. I was black and white – and no longer alone.
It was painfully obvious how different I looked from my white mom who was unsure how to manage my wild curls. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how to manage the curious looks and questions about my dad, “Where’s he at?” “What does he look like?” “You’ve got some black in you right?”
My presence was public domain – me with my little girl exotic-ness self. People didn’t know what to think, and by simply being born I was reluctant representative for biracial babies everywhere.
I didn’t know what to say to these people! So Tig came to me at the perfect time to help the world make sense and stop wishing I was one or the other. Black or white. There was finally room for me to be the “and” child. Another choice. Tigress with invisible stripes.
What about you feels unique?
Are you comfortable with it or do you wish you could tone it down?
If you have no choice but to be unique, how do you cope with it?
Leave a comment or, email me privately at linda (at) lindaeaves (dot com) if you’d rather it be between you and me.
And, I’d love it if you’d show me your tiger teeth.
Information posted on or sent to you from Linda Eaves.com is not a substitute for medical care or treatment. Nothing takes the place of speaking with your doctor, nutritionist, or other medical care professional. PLEASE CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR OR OTHER HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL BEFORE MAKING CHANGES TO YOUR HEALTH CARE.]]>
Note: For the next while I’ll be sharing my thought process prior to weight loss surgery. It’s the right time to introduce something different to the conversation. So far I’ve found nothing objective on the web that wasn’t featured by a hospital who does weight loss surgery or a dietitian who’d like you to follow their eating program. If you’ve seen something I invite you to leave it in the comments, I’d love to know about it.
You, my lovely readers are smart and deserve more than that. You are not mindless sheep nodding your heads yes as the little drinking cups get passed around. You collaborate with your practitioners, (instead of giving up authority to them) and you know your body has the wisdom to tell you what it needs.
Logic like that reminds me of a conversation between two characters from the movie Demolition Man:
Lenina: Taco Bell was the only restaurant to survive the Franchise Wars.
Lenina: So, now all restaurants are Taco Bell.
So, you’d better like Pepsi and Pinto Beans…
My insurance benefits were such that the surgery would be paid for and, I wanted to take advantage of that. I waited patiently until the lap band surgery was offered at my hospital – it’s not a choice if only line ‘A’ is listed.
Recently my closest friend admitted her frustration with me for taking “so long” to decide on a surgery type. (which made me chuckle to no end) I can appreciate that, and — I got to my decision in the perfect time.
I sense she was afraid to tell me her true feelings because she’d know that I’d be *ahem* reevaluating my choice of inner circle support system.
Here’s the truth: No matter how long it takes, or if the decision is not for you right now, or ever…it’s your body, your business.
You always have a choice. There are always more options, even if they’re unseen by the naked eye.
Exercise your options or better yet — create some that are right for you.
How many times have you been told there’s only one option?
Did you take it for fear of missing out?
Thoughts welcome. Spoken out loud, or kept to yourself. Either way, I like it when you think.
Just found this video from 2009 just after my weight loss surgery..
Affectionately named — B.S. , because it makes me smile.
…on where my head was at one week post op and then again a few weeks post op.
I’ve been thinking about sharing some writings on the research process prior to weight loss surgery. I haven’t heard much on the internet about the thought process during that time, and I bet it would be useful during your weight loss surgery research. How would this metamorphosis fit into your already oh-so-full life? Great question which deserves an answer….
I’ve recently found some of my writings from before I made the decision to have surgery. I can sense it’s the right time to make some of those things public.
Stay tuned for those writings..
In the mean time, I’m curious about a couple things and would appreciate your voice.
I’d like to know what they are. Wondering what is running through that head of yours, I’d love to be in on that internal conversation.
Let me know if I’m getting warm or if you’re feeling a mid winter shiver down your spine right about now with these questions…
Will I change after the surgery?
Can I be safe, vulnerable, beautiful at the same time or will I have to
give up parts of myself?
If I consent to this surgery does this mean that I’m admitting that I’m somehow broken or flawed?
How about this one –
Are you seeing your choice more like an either/or sacrifice?
Personally, I’m a big fan of the word ‘and’ – using it liberally.
Why should we limit ourselves?
Leave a comment or, email me privately at linda (at) lindaeaves (dot com) if you’d rather it be between you and me.
Information posted on or sent to you from Linda Eaves.com is not a substitute for medical care or treatment. Nothing takes the place of speaking with your doctor, nutritionist, or other medical care professional. PLEASE CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR OR OTHER HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL BEFORE MAKING CHANGES TO YOUR PRE AND POST SURGERY CARE.]]>
My E-friend Eggface just posted her weight loss surgery friendly pantry essentials list! Rejoice and quickly go forth to stock up your cupboards and fridge. With this list you’ll be able to whip up all kinds of goodies for you and your family.
Click here to be taken to Shelly’s essential pantry & fridge list!
About Michelle “Shelly” Eggface -
I had my guts rearranged (RNY gastric bypass surgery June 2006) and I’m a Franken Barbie via a little plastic surgery. This blog is basically me rambling about my world. I also post recipes that I’ve adapted to make weight loss surgery friendly.