clevermanka: default (going well)
Not likely to be, anyway, so let's at least know that's off the table. The news is super shitty, though, and it's taken me over 24 hours to get to the point where I feel like I can put any of this into writing. Not only do I lack the language to communicate this (more on that later), but I know that the act of communication, makes the situation more real to me, thus putting me in the predicament of being even more inarticulate with my emotions.

Not only that, but the information from a live blood analysis I got on Friday keeps getting obscured and overwhelmed by the more immediate impact of Monday's discoveries at my consultation with the OBGYN surgeon about my fibroids.

This could be a very disjointed post.

Facts, as presented to me by the microbiologist who did my live blood analysis on Friday: I have Rouleaux, which is a blood condition where my red blood cells link themselves together (in my case, tightly stacked horizontally in long chains--like candy necklaces) and (in my case) form weblike structures. As you might imagine, this causes some basic problems. Like the inability of oxygen to easily travel around in the blood. Other issues showed up in the analysis, but the Rouleax is the big one, and is probably the first domino. Symtoms of Rouleaux are things like constant immune reactions, increased allergic responses, and fatigue. Causes of Rouleaux can be...tumors.

Which brings us to--

Facts, as presented to me by the OBGYN surgeon on Monday: The fibroid Dr. Harris found is much larger than I thought/understood. It's as big as my uterus and has basically taken over the entire back muscle of the organ. It is inoperable and cannot be removed. There is another, smaller fibroid and a polyp in my cervical canal. This might be operable, but the removal would be superfluous in light of the presence of the other, larger fibroid. I think we can all make the connection to that fibryod cyst (a type of tumor) to my painful and heavy periods. But can I make a connection between it and my autoimmune disease (and everything that has gone along with that)? Maybe. I'm using this as my own way to understand, so just come along for the ride with me, here, and tell me if you think I'm off-base.

My current thoughts on how I got here:

Hormonal birth control fucked me up. Studies are showing that HBC takes a serious toll on one's body, especially the adrenals. I believe it. I never had serious health problems or even environmental allergies until I was in my late to mid-20s. I mean, I was kind of frail, but I was active and high energy, if not athletic. I realize allergic developments in one's twenties is a fairly common thing, but you can't deny there's allergies and then there's my allergies. Anyway. I know the pill made me literally and immediately sick because the last several months I took them (nearly two years) were a constant search for a brand/dosage that didn't give me morning sickness. I'd been on them for years (nearly a dozen) before I finally gave up and started taking DepoProvera shots. All it takes is looking at a calendar to point to the fact that my thyroid issues started up right around the same time I started getting Depo shots. I point to HBC (the pills and the shots) as the thing that jump-started my autoimmune problems (allergies) and thyroid/endocrine issues (glandular stresses). I believe hormonal birth control is largely responsible, if not the number one direct cause, of my health issues today. Guess what the OBGYN surgeon told me was the only other option for dealing with fibroids like this, apart from a hysterectomy? Hormonal birth control.

I am faced with the choice of removing an organ that I very much do not want to remove, or put into my body (for basically the rest of my life, or until I remove the organ) what probably caused 90% of my daily health problems today.

I am taking both these items of information (yeah, both—see, you forgot about the Rouleaux business too, there, didn’t ya?) to Drs. Khosh and Jonah, but I need to make my decision within three weeks or I’m screwed insurance-wise. Anyway, I can’t imagine any herbal treatment that actually shrink and remove cysts. If I’m wrong on that, pipe up in the comments, but I want solid research and reviewed reports, not hippie websites.

Whew. I feel better. Not good. I don’t feel like I just got punched in the stomach, at least. It makes it more real, but it also makes it a little easier.

Yesterday, when I was dealing with the emotional fallout from the surgeon’s report (as well as the physical discomfort from having a fucking uterine biopsy), I had no idea how I was going to write about this. I even groaned to [livejournal.com profile] mckitterick, I have to write about this. He told me I’d feel better afterward, and I have to admit I scoffed. A little. But now that I’ve written it out, now that I have my language for it, it is easier to process. He was right. I can’t emotionally process something without appropriate language. I guess it comes as no surprise that communicating basic facts about my situation is the best way for me to emotionally process it (Vulcan 4lyfe).

So here we are at a new stage of Finnegan Begin Again. This time, it's a physical crisis coupled with emotional growth! My favorite.
clevermanka: default (Respirator)
I learned an important lesson this week! I'm going to put it in most general terms because I think it's applicable no matter what the issue. Basically, in order to avoid looking like a jerk, don't form an opinion based on just one article. If you're not interested enough in the issue to read more than one article about it, you needn't have an opinion about it. It isn't necessary to have an opinion about everything.
clevermanka: default (Respirator)
Oh, friends, I have so much going on in my head right now, but I also have a lot going on in my body and unfortunately that means I don't have a lot of energy to talk about the interesting psychological insights. Although you wouldn't know that from how much I managed to type out here, JFC )
clevermanka: default (tasty ham)
Icon for no other reason than the Darling Rats tumblr has been particularly cute of late and I am missing my Hefner boy today.

Looking through that photoset (my photo-a-day tracking my 39th year) gives me some feels. My pets! My glasses! My growing-out hair (which was a PITA but did look pretty good for growing-out I gotta say)! Eating at restaurants! So much booze! I look at those photos and I see me. But as the year progresses, I see myself slipping into un-health, even though I didn't recognize it at the time. Earlier in the year, my moods are still variable--I look happy in some, grumpy in others, but I'm in some way engaged. By the end, the photos start to look monotonous and I can tell I'm sort of calling it in. Which might be due to being tired of the 365 project, but I think it's more than that. I did another 365 project a couple years later and I have the same issue with not looking like an active participant for pretty much the entire year. [livejournal.com profile] mckitterick has asked me more than once to do another project like this, but I cannot bring myself to even think about taking a photo of myself every day.

Which makes me think maybe I've been depressed on some level since late 2009? That...sucks.

This morning I realized why I hate so much doing stuff for the CSSF. I have no connection or investment with anyone but [livejournal.com profile] mckitterick. With the graduate students I have a sort of condensed cradle-to-grave relationship with them while they're in the graduate program. With the summer people, not at all. They're like retail customers.

The revelation came to me when I arrived this morning and a grad student came to ask me about fixing the printers in the grad student lab before I even got my computer turned on. It didn't bother me in the slightest that I had to go deal with a printer (ugh printers are the worst) before I'd settled in. In fact, it felt kind of nice to offer such immediate help first thing in the morning. If that had been a CSSF issue, I wouldn't have had the same emotional response. I have no involvement or motivation for helping them and honestly there's nothing that's going to develop the sort of relationship like I have with the graduate students.

It's no wonder my job dissatisfaction tends to crest this time of year, as I'm gearing up for summer CSSF stuff. If I wasn't doing that stuff, this would be the easiest time of my year and I could look forward to summer. Instead, I dread the end of the spring semester and I honestly have not had a memorably good summer since...2006? Whenever I took over management of the CSSF summer program logistics. That sucks. It also sucks that I have no idea how to stop doing it. It was great when someone took over management of the Campbell Conference, but it wasn't enough. I want so much for someone else to deal with the summer writing and institute bullshit because god damn it, I am tired of not enjoying my springs and summers.

Last night's chanting was lovely and so far I'm very much liking their new CD. The last track, which they performed second-to-last was especially lovely. I could pick out a high harmony and started singing it softly, which Kaminaya maybe could hear because she invited people "Please harmonize if you wish" after the third call-and-response and enough people did that it sounded amazing. Since I gave up on maintaining my voice years (decades) ago, kirtans are the only time I do any group singing. Even though I don't buy into a shred of the religious aspects, I do think singing with others can be a spiritually fulfilling experience. I don't need to do it frequently, but it's nice once in a while. Everybody is always so happy at these things, too, and while I will never be that happy of a person (it's just not my nature and that's fine), it's fun to see people being so unabashedly joyful for a couple hours.

I don't want or need to feel that kind of bliss all the time, but I would like to get back to my mental space of early 2009--at least what I see represented in those photos. But I don't even remember what that was like. How do I get back there from here? I haven't a clue.

Lightbulbs

Apr. 2nd, 2015 09:39 am
clevermanka: default (i am so happy!)
After reading this comment from [livejournal.com profile] sherwood21 about Monday night's yoga/body experience, I got a little choked up because it just makes me so happy when someone finds a good place for themselves about their body--especially in yoga, but with any physical activity, really. And then I read [livejournal.com profile] redheadfae's comment and I legitimately started to cry at my desk. Seriously, I am just barely holding it together here.

I love helping people discover joy and happiness in their bodies, y'all. I love it. Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] mckitterick and I had a conversation about livelihoods and careers and we came to the conclusion that I prefer doing something different every day. This is...new. I'm not sure when it happened. I used to love routine and schedules and knowing exactly what I was going to be doing when. I still want reliability, but the idea of focusing on a different aspect of my job (if, say, my job was something nebulous, like "helping people discover joy and happiness in their bodies") would be ideal.

These little insights are helpful and also terrifying. Because no matter how some things shift and change in my internal landscape, I am still risk- and change-adverse.

I also had a realization about my latest stomach issues. I think it's the new supplements. We're weeding and seeding my gut flora, so it makes sense that I've got weirdness going on in there. I'm sure most people don't suffer debilitating pain, but Special Snowflake Me probably shouldn't have been taken by surprise. Of course my innards are going to hurt when they start changing. It would also explain the sweet cravings which (unfortunately) I gave into by purchasing a fresh pineapple on Tuesday. I didn't even think about the problems that might cause! As you might imagine, I've also got some considerable swelling going on.

So the pineapple's going into a pitcher for infused water and that's it. I'm cutting out all fruit (dried and fresh) for the next three days to see if that helps calm things down.

I might actually have done myself a disservice with yesterday's smoothies, but oh well, live and learn.
clevermanka: default (yoga)
I had too much on my plate yesterday to write about my fantastic experience during Monday's yoga practice, so y'all get the story today.

I am pretty good at balancing on one leg. I've always felt pretty stable in Vrkasnana. My biggest problem is that my foot tends to slide down the standing leg because fabric isn't grippy like flesh and fuck if I'm gonna expose my legs all the way to my crotch in yoga class. But last night in the privacy of my room, I rolled my pants to my groin for the pose. Why have I never tried this before? I was rock-fucking-solid to the point that I could make all sorts of adjustments (open up the hips more, pull that knee back, center more over the standing leg, don't let the standing hip jut out) while comfortably standing in the pose with my hands overhead.

It was amazing.

Once I settled into the pose I just gazed at myself in the mirror. I looked strong. I looked stable. I looked competent. I looked serene. Yes, I looked fleshy, soft, and bumpy, too. But that soft and bumpy flesh held me in a one-legged balance pose for so long that I lost count of my breaths.

So fuck you, social conditioning. Fuck you for imbedding in me so deeply a shame of my soft, bumpy, and wonderful flesh. What I saw in the mirror last night was beautiful and made me proud of myself.

My thighs can hold up the world. Or at least my part of it.

All you

Mar. 17th, 2015 10:34 am
clevermanka: default (Respirator)
When I wrapped up my February Whole30, I marveled over my body's changes to [livejournal.com profile] mckitterick. He responded with "That's all you!" and it bothered me. I realized it was an odd emotional response, so I took some time to discover why a supportive comment rubbed me the wrong way. It took a couple weeks, but I figured it out. It's because it's not all me. "All me" has slogged away at this for a decade, and I have never seen such rapid or obvious improvement. Those improvements are a result of my efforts, the supplements and treatments from Dr. Jonah, and the thyroid and female hormone therapies from Dr. Khosh. This particular combination was crucial to my eventual progress. Hearing that my current success is "all me" feels like a slap in the face to the "all me" that worked so hard without success. I am not doing anything different (besides being a teensy more careful about what I eat/drink) than what I've done for years. Yes, I helped get myself here, but there's no way I could have done it by myself. Without the fortunate combination of stubbornness and financial capability, I wouldn't be experiencing this success.

Something else I discovered this weekend: Myofascial release work is about a billion times more effective than stretching for me. For yesterday's movement, I thought I'd do something fun and mix yoga with rolling out. I did my yoga warm-up and then spent about three minutes in a deep squat, holding onto a 25lb kettlebell to keep from falling backward. I rocked back and forth and side to side, allowing my calves and Achilles tendons to stretch and relax. Then I did a calf smash on the handle of the kettlebell for 3 minutes each leg. Then I went back into the squat. During the first squat, I still felt tension in my calves even at the end of three minutes. After the myofascial release? NOTHING. If it wasn't for the physical restrictions of just not being able to bend my ankles any further, I could have gone even deeper in the squat. Amazing.

I'm certainly not going to quit yoga (there are so many other benefits to regular yoga practice), but for sure I'm gonna increase my myofascial release work.

In other news, that oven-baked jerk chicken I mentioned last week wasn't all that great. I mean, it was fine, but [livejournal.com profile] mckitterick and I both prefer my basic roast chicken, which takes about a third the prep time. Oh well!
clevermanka: default (changed priorities)
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.


I've reached a stage in my life where I need to not just deal with fear, but embrace it (within reason). If I want positive change in my life, I need to change things. I'm the one who needs to change. And change is scary, always scary (for me), but it's not always bad.

[livejournal.com profile] mckitterick woke up early this morning and crawled into bed with me. Neither of us could get back to sleep, so we chatted and snuggled for a bit, but when the topic of a potential Big Change came up, I was all "Ahhhh can we not talk about this it's stressing me out and I'm not even out of bed yet. Stress does not belong in my bed!" And it's true, I don't allow stressful talk in bed, but I need to get past the levels of stress this particular topic evokes in me.

To do that, I'm starting to engage my smaller fears. Anything gets easier with practice, right? So if I regularly expose myself to change and new experiences, the Big Deals will be less stressful.

So for my first trick, tonight I'm gonna do my best to get into a headstand (Sirsasana) (with [livejournal.com profile] mckitterick spotting me). I can do a teddy-bear headstand with no support, but tonight Imma try to get my legs up. I'm a long way from being able to do a handstand (my shoulders are more flexible than they are strong and they tend to pop out of joint in a handstand), but I'm strong enough to do a headstand. It's just the getting there.

Anyone else feel like trying something new and frexiting with me this week?

Mobility

Feb. 19th, 2015 08:26 am
clevermanka: default (changed priorities)
I neglected to mention I'm back on the Intentional Movement program after two weeks off. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] write_out for being a good and understanding accountability partner who let me have the time off without paying the inactivity fee. *kiss*kiss* I'm still taking it pretty easy (it can take flu-damaged lungs six to eight weeks to recover), so lots of yoga on my schedule. Which is good. Yoga is a good place for me to be right now since I have a lot of healing going on, and not all of it physical.

[livejournal.com profile] mckitterick and I had a conversation lately about issues. In particular, issues dealing with control (his) and emotional availability (mine). I know that one's hips and emotions are strongly connected and I know that I am not comfortable asking for help and being emotionally available. It feels safe to take care of myself and not ask that of other people. It feels safe to not expect good things from people, either.

I think, however, that those attitudes might be not help with tight hips (which affect pretty much every single important Olympic lifting move--an important thing for me when I'm finally back to reasonable health). During Tuesday night's yoga, I considered ways to address those issues without contradicting my basic nature. I came to the realization that being emotionally open doesn't mean thinking the best of humanity or even giving them the benefit of the doubt. It can mean simply not having expectations at all and being open to either a positive or negative experience with people as they cross my path. Obviously, this does not apply to people with whom I have established relationships (either good or bad). It's instead a new way for me to deal with the general population, and also ties into my recent attempts to let go of anger.

During the same yoga session, I was able to move this far into Uttanasana--something I'd never done before. I've been able to put my palms on the floor in front of my feet, but never before with them to the sides of my feet. Then, a while later, I was able to fold into Janu Sirsasana with the funky special hand position--another first (I can always grab my foot, but have never touched my forehead to my knee while relaxing enough to grab my wrists on the other side of my foot).

It felt wonderful.

So was my meditation on emotional blockage a necessary component of my body's release of tension? Maybe, maybe not. But I feel better for working through both things--the physical and the mental--and I'm certainly not going to complain about making progress with either.

This experience means I'm going to focus on yoga for the next few months. I was trying to incorporate varied movement types into my daily program--some bodyweight resistance training, some cardio (with the dancing), etc., but I feel like my body is telling me that mobility needs to be my focus for the time being.

As a side note, I also noticed Tuesday evening that my horizontal thumbnail ridges are growing out and aren't being replaced with new ones at the cuticle. I have about half an inch of thumbnail without ridges that wasn't smoothed by either my buffing them out or being bolstered with Nailtiques Formula 2. I don't remember not having ridges in my thumbnails since...high school? Something is changing. Something is improving. What an amazing thing, to see proof like this that I'm healing. Proof that isn't "well, maybe you just don't remember correctly" or "maybe you didn't measure yourself right." This is visible, tangible change for the better.

It's good.

Gone

Feb. 13th, 2015 08:24 am
clevermanka: default (Boozin')
Yesterday I mentioned my departure from active involvement in some fandoms. Last year I removed all fitted skirts and button-down blouses from my wardrobe. Last night a friend took away my massive Salem Biscayne vintage china set.

Personal tastes and hobbies shift and change during our lives, and that's normal. It's sometimes a little sad when it happens, though, especially when the decision to change isn't completely internally motivated.

The fandom thing--that's entirely my decision. I choose to no longer overlook Marvel's blatant racism and sexism even though I continue to overlook it in regards to Sherlock. My biggest gripe with that production is the overall degeneration of writing, plot development, and character behaviors. I'll continue to remain active (as active as I've ever been) in the Sherlock fandom at least until I see how Season 4 pans out.

Regarding the wardrobe shift, that was motivated by my physical discomfort (caused by my inflammation issues) wearing non-knit clothes anymore. I refuse to feel pinched and restricted in a daily-wear outfit. I love clothes and I won't let myself hate my clothes or hate myself in my clothes. There's a time and place for wearing restrictive clothing (high heels, corsets, shapewear, push-up bras) and daily office and casual wear is not that time or place for me. Again, my choice, and a choice that makes me feel (literally and figuratively) good.

Those dishes, though. The giving-up of those dishes represents something else.

A long time ago, so long ago in both years and mental/emotional development that it seems like a different life--I guess it was a different life--I was a rockabilly. I was active in my local scene and even more active in the (inter)national scene where I wasn't one of the biggest Big Name Fans, but I was kind of up there.

Some of the best-known names in current rockabilly music knew me, and when they toured through Lawrence (which was frequently because our live music scene used to be fucking amazing), they'd stop at my house for dinner before a show. I once served five racks of ribs and five pounds of mashed potatoes (as well as multiple salads, vegetables, and two casserole pans of Dump Cake) to Deke Dickerson and the guys touring with him that year.

My god those men ate a lot. I was honestly concerned they'd be fit to perform that night.

If a band didn't have time for a sit-down dinner at the house, I cooked them two or three meatloaves and packed them in a disposable cooler with bread, condiments, and a couple quarts of home-made slaw. I did that for The Derailers at least three times (and the last time, got to hang out after the show in their amazing tour bus while they scarfed down the chocolate chip cookies I'd brought for dessert).

When I used to regularly attend the annual Viva Las Vegas convention (which used to be about 2,500 to 3,000 people--it's much bigger now), I was one of the lucky hundred or so who was invited to Ronny Weiser's get-together at his (amazing) house in Las Vegas.

Anyway, my point is, I was super invested in rockabilly and rockabilly culture. Like, hardcore invested.

I'd started listening to rockabilly and rockabilly-related country because I was not into the music getting radio play in the early 90s. I was already hanging out with some of the local retro-type folks, and I discovered that I really, really dug it. I dressed it (every day--to work, to play, to the shows), I danced it, and most of my home furnishings, from couches to kitchen, reflected a rockabilly aesthetic. I wore cat-eye glasses for nearly a decade, for godssake, and not to be edgy or ironic. It's just what else would I wear with my pencil skirts and Marilyn haircut?

Then there was A Breakup and because I didn't have the emotional fortitude to continue that lifestyle on my own (seeing him at shows, dealing with the awkwardness at parties being both there-but-not-together), I completely dropped out of the scene, pretty much overnight. He kept most of the furniture (and the vintage house), as well as the rockabilly lifestyle. I gradually shed my retro wardrobe. I stopped swing dancing. I was never a popular dance partner with anyone else to begin with. I honestly have no idea why. Maybe I'm a terrible follow? Even the music itself was tarnished for me and was pushed further down the listening choices when [livejournal.com profile] mckitterick proved to be less than a fan of the genre. Anyway, it's just not the same listening to Cave Catt Sammy and not being able to grab my partner for a quick swing around the living room. Rockabilly like no other genre cries out for me to dance, dance, dance and solo groove-type dancing just doesn't cut it.

So anyway, where I'm going with this is those dishes. Getting rid of those dishes, man. It's been a long time coming, and I'm not gonna lie, it fucking hurts. They've been boxed up and stored in the garage since I moved with with [livejournal.com profile] mckitterick, like, what, seven years ago? And I don't want to keep them. I don't. But they're some of the last few things I've got from a huge and important part of my life and it feels like ripping off a scab to send them away. And I know, I know, it's not about the fucking dishes. I know this.

It's about (still, over a decade later) dealing with a life change that I didn't want. Yes, technically I chose it. I chose to stop going to shows and I chose to drop out of the social scene, but those weren't the choices I wanted to make. I simply wasn't emotionally strong enough to choose otherwise. It makes me sad, and even sadder for the fact that there's no going back now. The local scene has largely dried up, and the national scene is so huge that I wouldn't go to a VLV weekender even if I wanted to (I hear over 7,000 people pack into the hotel ballrooms and over 20,000 come to the car show). That whole era is just completely and irrevocably gone from me. Gone like those friends, those clothes, that dance partner, and now those dishes.

GPOY

Jan. 9th, 2015 09:34 am
clevermanka: default (tasty ham)
Today's xkcd:


[livejournal.com profile] pointoforigin mentioned in a post the book Glad No Matter What. She ([livejournal.com profile] pointoforigin) says: "One of the things she talks about is living in the middle: not trying to make everything--or everyone--all good or all bad, but weaving the happiness and the sadness together into a center that will carry you." That's just a lovely concept and akin to what I've been trying to do with anger--not let it consume or control me. Using it to motivate me, but not direct me--if that distinction makes sense to you. Nice, eh?

Letting go of that constant low simmer of rage has been surprisingly easy, actually. It's nice. I feel like that's a sign I was ready to let go of it. I've heard the adage that you can't start or quit something until you're ready--emotionally, physically, mentally--and I think that's correct. Until we're ready for change, we won't change. And we all have to come to change in our own time.

Yesterday I received such a nice compliment from someone. He stopped by to drop off something at the house and I invited him in for a bowl of the chicken soup I'd just made. [livejournal.com profile] mckitterick was out with friends and I don't so much enjoy eating alone. He made a little moaning noise and his eyes rolled back when he took the first spoonful. It was just chicken soup, but apparently I cook everything well? Except roasted turkeys fuck you roasted turkeys. Anyway, he really liked it, and as we were eating, he commented on my outfit. He said if he was a woman, he'd want to have my fashion sense and dress like I do.



I'm so glad today's Friday. This has been a long week. I'm also glad that I made myself move every day this week because I slept in this morning (until 7:08!) and tonight we have company for dinner, so I won't have a chance to move when I get home from work. Since I missed a day last week, I had only one off day this week and looks like today is it! Whew! I might still try to get just a few push-ups and lunges in, perhaps while I'm at work today, just to keep those muscles awake and alert for tomorrow's boxing session.

Last Night's Chicken Soup
1/2 red onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 c cooked and shredded chicken breast
3 c chicken broth
1 t Italian Herb Mix
1 t dried parsley
1 t dried thyme
1/2 t granulated garlic
2 T coconut milk
coconut oil
salt to taste

Melt the coconut oil (about 1 T) in soup pot. When hot, add onions. Allow to caramelize slightly. Add carrots and celery. Cook about five more minutes. Add spices, herbs, and broth. Simmer on low ten to fifteen minutes, until vegetables are soft. Add chicken and heat until warmed through. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut milk and salt.
clevermanka: default (bonecruncher)
Seen on Breaking Muscle:
When your efforts are extreme, they will also be temporary. Intensity is meaningless if not consistent. It's not what you do today, it's what you do day in and day out. Training is a process, not an event or an experience. Like a farm, today’s yield is the result of yesterday’s work. It’s much more about everyday habits than occasional stunts.

It's important to understand and internalize the notion that something we do a couple times a week isn't going to make lasting, healthful, and beneficial changes to our lives or bodies. Fitness isn't a goal. It's a path, and it's one we've gotta walk, even briefly, every single day. If I desire a certain level of fitness, I need to walk that path for as much of the day as I can.

Going all out for forty-five minutes (or an hour, or even two hours) at the gym every day is great, but if I immediately after go sit my ass down in front of a computer for the next eight hours, I'm not doing my body many favors. I might increase strength, but I also allow my muscles, damaged and torn from the weight-lifting, to mend and heal in a sitting position--one of the worst postures for the human body--and that will inhibit my progress past a certain state.

This doesn't apply only to high-intensity activity or lofty goals. When it comes to long-lasting, life-changing habits and achievements, consistency is key. This is why I committed to something that might seem small--30 minutes of intentional movement five days a week. In a month (depending on how well I do and how well I feel), I might increase that to 30 minutes of intentional movement six days a week with two days a week incorporating higher-intensity resistance training. After a successful month of that, I might find ways to further build strength and stamina. If it's too much, I'll fall back and resume the previous practice. Regardless, I am participating in a regular healthful habit and not treating that activity as an event separate from the rest of my life.

Regular application and commitment to constant (if slow) change is necessary for improvement. Yes, of course one's health and fitness isn't always going to be the driving force behind every single action. But if fitness is your a priority (and fitness is a matter of setting priorities), consideration of the healthful aspects of an action must at least be considered. Everything we do makes us more or less healthy in one way or the other--physically and emotionally. It's crucial to remember that when we make decisions about what we're doing and how we're living our lives.

And that doesn't apply to just exercise.
clevermanka: default (gray boots)
This entry turned out to be way shorter than I anticipated. I had a notion that I was going to talk about my anger and examples of its constant companionship through my life but then I realized that...really wasn't very productive?

Suffice to say that underneath my good-humored exterior, I have always been an angry person. I dislike most other human beings, I have a low tolerance for willful ignorance, I generally expect the worst out of people and I am rarely surprised by a misjudgement (although when someone does surprise me in a positive way, I'm delighted). My dislike and distrust of humanity does not make me depressed or sad. It makes me angry. My anger is active, constant, and (I've now learned) exhausting and damaging. It needs to change.

My anger was such a normal thing to me that I never gave it much attention until a few months ago [livejournal.com profile] mckitterick were discussing it and I explained that, much like Bruce Banner's comment in Avengers, I am always angry. Always. And to be honest, I don't want to let go of that anger. I think anger can be useful if managed appropriately and also it's a huge part of my own self-identification. There might come a day when I'm ready to change that aspect of myself, but this is not that day.

I am not willing to allow anger to further damage my health, though, and so I am working to find ways to use my anger helpfully and healthfully. I no longer post enraging stories on Tumblr or FB. Instead I post articles about how to help or improve things--like where to donate to the Ferguson Library or how to be a better ally. A small change, but important.

The internal stuff is, of course, more difficult. When I see something angry-making (and let's face it, that's like every fifteen minutes or so these days), I do my best to breathe through it, to remind myself that there is (probably) nothing that can be helped through an emotional lash-out. Instead of allowing myself to fall into my comfortable Habit Sofa of Rage, I think about ways I could change the situation through positive, peaceful action. Sometimes that action is cutting a rage-inducing person from my life, completely and without remorse. Sometimes it's attempting to educate (and if that fails, cutting the willfully ignorant person from my life). Sometimes it's donating money, time, or energy to peacefully help a cause. Yes, it takes more effort to find a way to react positively to a situation, but that's to be expected.

When I say "react positively to a situation," I don't mean some airy notion of letting go of anger and forgiveness and such. Fuck that. The Dalai Lama can rock that. It's not my jam. Some people are not worthy of my forgiveness and I refuse to accept someone's criticism because I refuse to embrace people who've hurt me. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about finding a path I can walk with my eyes completely open, yet still breathing calmly, and feeling like it's a path that's taking me to a good place.

Speaking of walking a path, today's Tumblr collection is Tuesday, December 9: Shoes.

Oooo! And speaking of Tumblr, I just now came across this timely article about the cult of forgiveness.

Hypo

Dec. 3rd, 2014 08:51 am
clevermanka: default (Respirator)
I recently found this post on Tumblr that said: You can be depressed and not feel sad or blue. Depression can also be a haze of sleepiness, distractedness and/or obsessiveness cycles, and a twinge of irritability that can be hard to recognize because you might already be a “fiery” person. It can feel like a lazy Sunday that keeps imposing itself for weeks or months. And I realized holy crap, that's me.

Occasionally I get the Blue Fugues, but they're rare (a couple times a year) and I like to think I'm pretty good at recognizing when I have them. I mean, it might take me a while to cotton to the fact, but when I do, I'm pretty honest about admitting I have a problem and taking steps to fix it. However, apparently some people (if this post is to be believed and really, it seems pretty sensible once I think about it) can experience depression differently.

Haze of sleepiness (that's not always attributable to insomnia)? Check.

Distractedness (compared to my usual ability to focus)? Check.

Irritability ("twinges" ha ha ha ha ha ha)? Check.

A lazy Sunday that keeps imposing itself for weeks or months? God, yes, check check check. I have felt disappointingly lazy* for nearly a year now. I only do the bare minimum and that bare minimum has become more and more bare the past several months. I've cut nearly all non-online social interactions, exercise, and nearly all my creative pursuits.

* I can talk about laziness and my feelings about laziness in the comments if anyone's interested. Short version: I don't think being occasionally lazy is bad--sometimes it's good to be lazy.

But I didn't think I was depressed. Just tired. Now I'm starting to wonder about that.

Interesting, yes? Has anyone heard of this type of depression? I mean, for real I'd rather consider my lack of motivation has a cause that I can address. I know how to deal with depression. I just didn't realize that even when I wasn't feeling depressed, I might have been.

I think I mentioned before how Dr. Jonah talked about how exciting it is to see clients realize what we might be able to accomplish once we feel well. We've just been doing our absolute best under the circumstances. For some of us, we've been living with those circumstances for so long, it's difficult to consider what we can do when those circumstances are removed. It's amazing and encouraging to consider.

Something else Dr. Jonah and I talked about last night was how the body can, after extended periods of constant stress (hello adrenal fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome--which I'm now thinking might have been depression, too, the CFS, not the adrenal fatigue) lose the ability to focus. And I kind of wonder if this isn't the source of my dissatisfaction with my job. It's not that I'm getting bored with my job. I'm just not physically capable of giving it the attention I want. Interesting, no? Without my even mentioning this, he recommended I add another supplement to my regimen, something called Hypothalmex. This stuff does a few different things. Generally, it adjusts the way the brain processes our surroundings to make things less stressful. It encourages the hypothalamus (and, thus, the pituitary gland) to be less freaked out by surroundings, so a person doesn't get as worn down by constant stimulation. My disinclination to socialize after a day at work? My increased tendency to hermit? My decreased desire for mental stimulation? Could very likely all be products of an overworked hypothalamus. The supplement also helps regulate fluid balance, metabolize sugars and fats, regulate body temperature, and secretion of hormones, all of which are things I could also use serious help with.

So this is all very encouraging, despite the fact that Sunday night's sleep was apparently a one-off. Last night I woke at 11:40 (too hot, hungry), 1:00 (menstrual cramps), 3:30 (too hot, menstrual cramps), and then finally at 6:50 (thanks, reliable internal alarm clock).
clevermanka: default (Respirator)
I got tagged by [livejournal.com profile] avawatson and hurray! because I love MBTI stuff. I posted this on my Tumblr account yesterday, but saved it for LJ today because I'd already made an LJ post yesterday, and today is Collection Day on Tumblr, which means no random posts. Today's collection is Tuesday, September 16: Monsters.

TAG GAME: CHARACTERS WHO SHARE THE SAME PERSONALITY TYPE AS YOU.

If you don’t know your personality type, take the test here.

Rules: Find out what characters share the same personality type as you here and list the characters that you find relevant. Then tag five friends and let them know you tagged them.

I’m ESTJ and ISTJ. Like [livejournal.com profile] avawatson, I test 50/50 Extrovert/Introvert. The STJ parts are solid, though. Both of these classifications fall under the “Guardian” designation.

So, first off, the ESTJ (Supervisor) side. ESTJs are very practical and make good administrators, with a good eye for detail and a flair for setting up logical systems. They sometimes overlook feelings and mood, though. This is, for me, accurate. I work in an administrative position for my livelihood (although the amount of time I spend on the internet might lead one to believe otherwise) and I am very good at my job (which is why I have so much time to spend on the internet). I do often overlook feelings and moods, because I use them sparingly, myself, and usually only as they can be applied to certain beloved fictional characters. Ahem. Here are the characters I find relevant (and the ones I know well enough to claim familiarity).

Monica from Friends
Lucy van Pelt from Peanuts
Princess Leia Organa from Star Wars
Ellen Harvelle from Supernatural
V from V for Vendetta

I’ve identified with Lucy since I was a child. Confident, dictatorial, and quietly angry about the world? Yep. I also have a sadistic sense of humor, but I save that for people who deserve it (i.e. conservative Republicans and MRAs). When [livejournal.com profile] mckitterickand I re-watched the entire series of Friends last year, he agreed that I’m a combination of Monica and Chandler. Confident and dictatorial, but with a smart mouth and generally realistic outlook on life (some people call “pessimism,” to which I say whatever). I share Ellen’s determination to protect what is important, and her distrust of men as a general group although I don’t know that the latter has much to do with our MBTI classification. I’d never before thought much about traits I share with Leia, but they’re certainly there: Unflagging devotion to a cause? Check. Impatience with men who think they know better? Check. Ability to be compassionate to those to need and deserve it? Check. Great hair? Check. And then there’s V. Oh, V. Oh, hell yes. Burn it. Burn it all the fuck down. Burn it down, but be sneaky about it and make sure the specific ones you’re punishing know exactly why.

Next, the ISTJ (Inspector) aspect. ISTJs are quiet and reserved individuals who value loyalty and dependability above all else. They would rather work with facts than speculation, and they will put a great deal of energy into reaching a goal - as long as it makes sense to them. They prefer to work alone, but can be good team players when the situation calls for it. The only thing I would change about that description would be to say “would rather chew off own arm than work with speculation and no facts.” Applicable characters are:

Susan Pevensie from The Chronicles of Narnia
Zoe Washburne from Firefly
M from James Bond (Judi Dench’s, anyway)
Spock from every incarnation of Star Trek
Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh

I’m gonna be honest by admitting I included Susan on this list mostly to say NEVER FORGIVE NEVER FORGET and those of you who know what I mean can sadly nod in solidarity with me. But also, yes. Her initial attitude toward Narnia sums up pretty much any of my reactions regarding out-of-doors excursions: “It doesn’t seem particularly safe here and it looks as if it won’t be much fun either. And it’s getting colder every minute, and we’ve brought nothing to eat. What about just going home?” I never really thought about what I had in common with Zoe beyond loving Wash with every fiber of my being, but on reflection, we both share a deep disdain for undeserved authority and a solid loyalty to those who have earned our respect and trust. I was pretty chuffed to see M on this list, and oh hell yes because “Good. Because I think you’re a sexist, misogynist dinosaur.” As a child, I identified with Eeyore as well (just as I did Lucy), without understanding why. Now, of course, I recognize our shared insistence at plodding along through life while acknowledging that it often sucks a whole lot but still plodding. Still plodding. And Spock. Oh, Spock. Anyone who has known me for a significant period of time, if asked to equate me with a fictional character, will often associate me with Spock. Because I totally am. All of it. Even my eyebrow game is strong.

I already tagged people on Tumblr for this. If you think this looks fun, give it a go, yourself! I'd love to see other people's responses.

Relief

Aug. 26th, 2014 01:08 pm
clevermanka: default (post-dance)
I spent a lot of yesterday afternoon, evening, and parts of this morning wondering if I did the right thing by stepping forward to speak at yesterday's demonstration for Michael Brown. At the time, I felt a little awkward about it because I strongly feel that there are not enough black voices being heard in this conversation and I am concerned that too many white people are making this about them and their feelings about race--even if they're sympathetic, there are just...a lot of white voices talking. A lot of them were talking yesterday. And that's one of the things I (ironically) pointed out when I spoke up at the event.

Then I went back to my spot and wondered if I'd been out of line. But if I'm going to regret something, I'd rather regret what I did than what I didn't, even if it did lead to moments later in the day when I literally cringed at myself (yes, I do this, too, just like everyone else).

But just now, one of our black graduate students stopped by my office to thank me. He said of all the non-POCs who spoke, I was the only one whose remarks didn't irritate or upset him in some way. He told me that he turned to another black grad student and said "She gets it."

I can't tell you the relief.

I don't want or expect ally cookies. I don't deserve special thanks for simply being a decent human being. But wow it feels good to know I'm generally on the right track. I hope he takes my request to call me on my shit when/if I ever do fuck up.
clevermanka: default (ass2)
First day back at work since last Tuesday and for the first two hours of the day I had no internet or network connection. TYPICAL. So I'm even more super behind than I thought I would be.

I want to share this Breaking Muscle article on body positivity real fast, though.

We deflect other issues onto our body because it’s an easy target on which to place blame. It is something that we can fix. It’s much easier to cut back on carbs and calories or get your hair done than address self-esteem issues, relationship or career troubles, and generally difficult emotions. However, if you neglect to see this distinction and ignore the core issues, you will never be able to truly love your body. You will be treating the symptom and not the root cause.

I tell women that having a fat day is a gift because it’s your own internal signal that something else needs to be addressed that goes beyond your body. If we keep telling women to simply love their body, we are keeping the focus on the body as opposed to seeing the broader issues at hand. Part of making this distinction is tagging and decoding the moments when you feel bad about your appearance, so you can start to see where the real feelings are coming from.


This is an interesting angle on body positivity that I'd like to consider more when I have a few seconds to breathe. Which is...not right now.
clevermanka: default (Default)
I saw three things on Tumblr in the last 24 hours that spoke to me.

First, check out this charming short film about two women flying for the first time. I want to be Ria's BFF. What an inspiration. She's adventurous, encouraging, and leads by example to help An overcome her fears. What a wonderful person. I hope she is able to go on many more airplane rides to beautiful locations.

Also today's xkcd:


And this Daily Show gifset.





I don't like it when people act compassionately toward or give the benefit of the doubt only to people they know personally. Unlike [personal profile] mckitterick, I don't have much hope for the human race, but if we're going to improve (or even survive), we must stop judging other people based on anything other than individual circumstances and behaviors. I sincerely doubt that anyone has ever experienced emotional growth by jumping to conclusions. And human beings really need to work on our emotional growth.

When I first saw this video (almost four years ago), I started to examine my own empathic response (or, rather, a noted lack of empathic response).



After watching that video, I realized that I, either by nature or nurture, did not have the empathetic response of an ideal modern human being. I was, basically, emotionally stunted. And that was kind of horrible and embarrassing. Most people like to think of themselves as basically good people. And I'm not saying I was a bad person, but I wasn't as emotionally aware or as capable of compassion as I felt was necessary to deserve the love and respect of those I cared about.

I had to do a lot of work to get to a point where I could comprehend the idea of empathy. I had to talk it out more than I wanted to (thank you, [personal profile] mckitterick for being the world's most patient partner), I had to pretend like I cared (fake it til you make it), and I had to open myself up to emotions that made me incredibly uncomfortable. And I'm gonna be honest, I still don't have a lot of empathy. I don't know that I ever will. Whether I was born with that lack of wiring or whether it wasn't adequately developed when I was growing up, I have no idea. I just don't have it. I'm not talking some superficial New Age "I feel your pain" bullshit, I'm talking a general sense of compassion for people in different circumstances. I don't feel it. I can't internalize it. But I can recognize that empathy and compassion are crucial components to avoid winding up just as hateful and small-minded as the conservatives Jon Stewart condemns, above. Those people are actually regressing in their emotional development. Hundreds of years of neurological development and those asshats are devolving. They're so fearful of new worldviews that they would rather return to a less-developed state than accept change. That makes me angry. What a fucking waste, and also, get over yourselves.

My reaction to people like that is similar to my reaction to people who say they could never be as committed as I am to positive lifestyle change. Baloney. If I can do it, anyone can do it. I am by nature selfish, lazy, and disinterested in other people's problems. But I don't want to be that kind of person. That kind of person sucks. I want to make people suck less, and there is no way to help other people improve without improving myself. So unless I want to live my life as a hypocrite, I must continually work to better myself--physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I do not believe that the human race will thrive and reach the stars--at least not for any good reasons. But in order for me to enjoy this tiny, short, and insignificant life I must feel that I'm at least not damaging our chances to do so.
clevermanka: default (better place)
I saw three things on Tumblr in the last 24 hours that spoke to me.

First, check out this charming short film about two women flying for the first time. I want to be Ria's BFF. What an inspiration. She's adventurous, encouraging, and leads by example to help An overcome her fears. What a wonderful person. I hope she is able to go on many more airplane rides to beautiful locations.

Also today's xkcd:


And this Daily Show gifset.





I don't like it when people act compassionately toward or give the benefit of the doubt only to people they know personally. Unlike [livejournal.com profile] mckitterick, I don't have much hope for the human race, but if we're going to improve (or even survive), we must stop judging other people based on anything other than individual circumstances and behaviors. I sincerely doubt that anyone has ever experienced emotional growth by jumping to conclusions. And human beings really need to work on our emotional growth.

When I first saw this video (almost four years ago), I started to examine my own empathic response (or, rather, a noted lack of empathic response).



After watching that video, I realized that I, either by nature or nurture, did not have the empathetic response of an ideal modern human being. I was, basically, emotionally stunted. And that was kind of horrible and embarrassing. Most people like to think of themselves as basically good people. And I'm not saying I was a bad person, but I wasn't as emotionally aware or as capable of compassion as I felt was necessary to deserve the love and respect of those I cared about.

I had to do a lot of work to get to a point where I could comprehend the idea of empathy. I had to talk it out more than I wanted to (thank you, [livejournal.com profile] mckitterick for being the world's most patient partner), I had to pretend like I cared (fake it til you make it), and I had to open myself up to emotions that made me incredibly uncomfortable. And I'm gonna be honest, I still don't have a lot of empathy. I don't know that I ever will. Whether I was born with that lack of wiring or whether it wasn't adequately developed when I was growing up, I have no idea. I just don't have it. I'm not talking some superficial New Age "I feel your pain" bullshit, I'm talking a general sense of compassion for people in different circumstances. I don't feel it. I can't internalize it. But I can recognize that empathy and compassion are crucial components to avoid winding up just as hateful and small-minded as the conservatives Jon Stewart condemns, above. Those people are actually regressing in their emotional development. Hundreds of years of neurological development and those asshats are devolving. They're so fearful of new worldviews that they would rather return to a less-developed state than accept change. That makes me angry. What a fucking waste, and also, get over yourselves.

My reaction to people like that is similar to my reaction to people who say they could never be as committed as I am to positive lifestyle change. Baloney. If I can do it, anyone can do it. I am by nature selfish, lazy, and disinterested in other people's problems. But I don't want to be that kind of person. That kind of person sucks. I want to make people suck less, and there is no way to help other people improve without improving myself. So unless I want to live my life as a hypocrite, I must continually work to better myself--physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I do not believe that the human race will thrive and reach the stars--at least not for any good reasons. But in order for me to enjoy this tiny, short, and insignificant life I must feel that I'm at least not damaging our chances to do so.
clevermanka: default (ass2)
I had a realization a few days ago about bodies, body image, and how much I still care about how people perceive me. After a particularly frustrating encounter with a run-of-the-mill creep who thought I should be flattered by his attraction to me and his query about my ethnic heritage, I was struck with the realization that my frustration-anger-despair over my wobbly midsection was totally and completely dependent on what people like that (i.e. douchebags) think of me. I have been beating myself up for years (YEARS!) over the opinion of utter and complete jerks. The people who matter to me, who love me, whom I think are awesome--they don't care that I'm carrying an extra couple inches around my middle. They don't care that my thighs rub when I walk or that I have to wear bloomers or buy that anti-chafing stuff if I want to comfortably walk around in a dress on a really hot day. They don't care. Who does care? Who does care that my upper arms are not perfectly smooth and lean? Who does care that my belly is soft and hangs over the top of my jeans? DOUCHEBAGS. Douchebags care about those things.

It took me thirty-some years to internalize the knowledge that I've been caring about the opinion of douchebags in regards to my own body. WHAT A FUCKING WASTE.

In a glorious circumstance of serendipity, this post showed up on my Tumblr dash the very evening I had this epiphany.

And just like that, I decided no more. I don't fucking care about douchebag opinions of my body. I don't fucking care if they think I shouldn't be wearing these jeans or that dress or this bathing suit. Fuck them. Those people aren't important to me, so why are their opinions? Answer: THEY AREN'T ANYMORE.

This is not to say I'm quitting my efforts to relieve my continuing health problems, one of which is abnormally exaggerated abdominal swelling, because that shit is uncomfortable and physically exhausting and I'll be honest, it is a pain in the ass (also logistically difficult) to maintain a stylish and professional wardrobe that appeals to me in two different sizes. It's unfortunate, but I just don't like stretch pants or elastic waistbands enough to live in them every day.

But am I going to allow the opinions of people I actively dislike to determine how I feel about the shape of my body?




Fuck no. No. Not anymore. Not ever again.

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