Wishes, dreams and goals.

I was at a dinner with a few friends last night and the topic of wishes came up. The question was “what do you wish for”. It is something that’s been in my mind for years now and last night’s discussion has really set my mind on this.

A wish is basically a “want” usually. Something that we desire and long for. Almost always mentioned with longing and with the sense that it won’t be achieved or “granted” somehow. As the saying goes… If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

A wish is ethereal and tossed out onto the wind, no matter how badly you may wish for something, until you decide to grasp it, it’s nothing more than a wanton desire. Voicing it is a step towards making it something more though… a Dream.

A dream is something that is tangible with some weight behind. You may wish for something in a passing way, even chronically; but a dream has substance. I might say I wish I lived on an island with goats (yes, this is a long-standing wish/dream of mine!)… that’s a wish I have. But when I start thinking about what I would need to do for income and where I could find acreage and a little farm land and how in the world you take care of goats… well then it takes shape beyond just a wish. Making something a dream is the step towards seeing if it’s possible or whether it will stay in the land of “wish”.

Just dreaming about something won’t bring it to being a goal… so many of my dreams aren’t goals and never will be, but they’re still fun to think of and they give me a taste of what it is that is IN that dream that IS a possibility. I don’t have any intention of actually moving to a gulf island and raising goats… but it shows me that the base of wanting a simpler existence is a possible goal (and one much more realistic).

Listening to one of the women last night voice a wish, followed with “I’m going to make that happen” was wonderful. It inspires me to take a closer look at some of my wishes and to start dreaming… one step closer to making them happen 

Before you can accept who you are you have to know who you are. This is where I am right now.

We are each so much. We are our beliefs, our memories, our hopes and dreams, our tragedies, our abuses and our triumphs. Yet beneath all of that which has shaped and formed who we are, we are just simply a Self. I think we spend our lives trying to uncover and connect with that Self that is who we are.

For myself I have spent my entire life being uncomfortable in my body and with trying to “be” someone that I don’t feel is authentic. Not in the sense of feeling like I was born in the wrong body but in a sense that I feel like I am wearing a costume and trying to make a layer of clothing fit when it just is never quite “right”. A layer not only physical but mental. Like wearing a dress that is cut just ever so slightly wrong so that it never hangs quite right…always causing you to try to adjust it and making you aware of it every second you have it on.

Physically, I have never liked my body on its most base level. Learning from very young, as so many do, to be ashamed of any part of me that doesn’t resonate with the ideal that society tosses about. The ever-changing ideal, but which is always hinged on being “perfect”. Years of eating disorders never gave me the satisfaction and acceptance of my body that I wanted…that translated, after many years, to a deep hatred for my inner self as I viewed myself as weak and a failure for being able to do even the most basic thing – accept myself for who I am and love myself. A nasty circle that goes around on an endless loop. So many attempts to find “me” … dressing the way I thought I “should” for my age or my role at the time… the clothes never feeling like me but forcing myself to wear them. Make up for years because that’s what I should be doing. Because I was told I was prettier with it on than without; and of course, I wanted to be thought of as trying to fit with what people wanted for me… they were only trying to help me love myself, weren’t they? Like my friend who gently took me aside one day and told me that, at my age, I really shouldn’t be wearing jeans and t-shirts anymore and dressing to be “comfortable”. That I was a mother and a professional woman now, I should be wearing dress pants and blouses and cardigans. So I went shopping… and got more clothes that didn’t feel right. A few years back I finally stopped trying to find clothing that felt “right” and just went for clothes that were easy. Yoga pants and sweatshirts, t-shirts… they did nothing to make me feel good but at least were comfy. Starting a new job this past January I again went out and got clothes to fit the job. Office wear which fit my new role… and which feel like a costume every day. Contributing to me feeling detached…still.

Leaving the outer behind for a bit….

I realized when I have started to shop a few months ago…finally realizing that I need to wear what feels good and what helps me reflect me (to myself at least – really have stopped caring what anyone else thinks or judges)…it became apparent really quickly that the issue goes much deeper. That the fact is that I have been so wrapped up for so much of my life as who I am being what I am that I don’t really know who I am. Oh, I know the base things… I’m kind; I’m honest, compassionate… I love to be outside and I love to be and live as natural as I can. But beyond that I have been living in the trappings of the “what” I am. I ate dinner at a certain time and had meals structured by what was standard – I was raising kids and living a very schedule life so this was fine; for then. I lived my life for what was expected based on trying to chase an ideal that I thought would bring me happiness.

After my first divorce I was so happy and content. I was single, I had my kids, I had a few close, intimate persons in my life who I enjoyed time with but no primary partner. I loved it. I felt like I finally had found “me” and was living the way that felt right for me. My parenting was the way I wanted to parent, not how I had to based on trying to not cause strife with a husband whose idea of parenting was so unlike mine. Then… the “should” started. I started seeing a man who I fell in love with and he wanted to live together and be a family. My mind screamed between not wanting to give up what I was so happy with – a life that felt right and good and that fulfilled me – or a life that I “should” want. The two person parent with kids and a house and a minivan and stability. I know, I have a hard time not laughing now typing that… but at the time it made sense… kind of. I’ll skip the boring details and nasty ending but suffice to say that it didn’t work out.

I’ve realized a few years ago that the societal “norms” of monogamous partnerships just don’t work for me… I’m happier being single but with people I love who compliment my life. I’ve learned other things about my love life and preferences that were just as hard to accept but now that I have, the peace I have in that acceptance is massive – and feels good.

After the loss of my son and a decision to make a move to Victoria – a place I had wanted to move to for years – I find myself at a cross-road of sorts. Being on my own for the first time in 24 years, living alone, is unique for me. To have no one dependant on me and to have me as a priority is both disturbing and intriguing. It affords be the luxury of really being able to do what I want and how I want. But that opens a whole other can of worms….
I find myself looking around my place and finding it feels “wrong”… I have decorated with a style that was how I had my places before… but it doesn’t fit now. I have taken pictures up and down, moved furniture, sold furniture, now ending up with nothing but a hammock chair. I have gone looking for artwork and spent an hour indecisively wandering without making a choice. I pick something up and think how much I love the way it looks then second guess myself and think “it won’t fit with anything else in my place” and leave it behind… kicking myself later because I really did love that and who cares if it doesn’t “fit” in with anything else. I buy groceries that I throw out after they’ve gone bad because I bought them with meals in mind that I never make. I prefer to snack and have little meals. I love to cook but impulsively and not planned a week in advance. That’s a new discovery this past year… that I’m more spontaneous than I ever thought I was… and that it’s ok to be that way.

All outward expressions of the inside struggle to finally let go of the “should” and the “ought to” and just let myself be me.

It’s time to stop hating myself for not being able to let myself express who I am and live how I want.
Lola is an expression of that…a nickname that I answer to more often than my real name. An acronym started years ago when I went through that first transition… Live Openly, Live Abundantly…Lola.
Time to put that into practice.

I came across this blog a few days ago… http://www.unbravegirl.com/2013/06/the-no-body-snark-diet/ and it got me thinking.

The gist of it is that we, in the mass generalization sense of “we”, are too much entrenched in self-hate and criticism of our bodies and need to learn to love ourselves more and accept our bodies. This is a huge over-simplification of the blog and I encourage you to read it for yourself, but you get the idea.

This hit home for me in a big way. You see, I have spent more years than I care to remember hating my body. Not just hating it, but loathing it and in turn, despising my mind for not being able to over-come the feelings that I have towards my physical self. I could go one ad nauseam about how I have struggled with anorexia, bulimia and general disordered eating in my efforts to shape my body into a shape that I find attractive and that makes me feel the way that I so crave feeling.

I know, logically that the body I see in the mirror is skewed and not accurate all the time. I also know that it doesn’t matter. I see what I see. I have spent my life wanting, so badly, to be able to take my clothes off with a lover and not feel like apologizing. I want to be able to enjoy my physicality without thinking about how disgusting I must look. I want to be able to just put clothes on without assessing how they will hide my flaws. I want to feel beautiful.

I have hit a point in my life now at 41 years old and after numerous attempts to overcome this dysfunctional relationship that I seriously have thought it will never change.

I read the above mentioned blog and thought to myself…I need to do something. I have spent my life unhappy with myself. I had a brief time 2 years ago when I felt like things had shifted for me. Then life got in the way and all hell broke loose so to speak. A family tragedy ensued and I am only now beginning to start seeing a way out of grief. In the place I am now, finding my footing again has become even more important to me being able to move forward. A huge part of this is conquering my personal issues with regards to self-image and, more importantly, self-love. Since reading the blog a few days ago I have noticed a change in how I see myself. I am gentler on myself…I am looking at myself and seeing the beauty of a body that has carried, birthed and nursed 4 children. A body that has been active and healthy and strong and met the demands of physical fitness that I put on it. Most significantly though, it is a body that houses “me” and I am more than the outer package that carries my Self. I am my dreams and my beliefs and my goals. I am my love, my spirit, my compassion and so much more… and all that makes me beautiful, not the size of my hips or my breasts or the length of my legs or the shape of my nose. To place my worth strictly on my physical self is such a narrow view of “me” as to be impossible to measure accurately.

I know that I won’t overcome this all in one week because of something that I read that struck home hard but it’s a start. As the blog asks for…here’s a full length pic of me… I decided go big or go home baby! Bikini for the first time in –I think 25 years! – in public. I think I need a bit more sun but aside from that, not bad 😉

Saanich-20130630-06169

This has been on my mind a lot the last couple of months and it’s time to let it out of my head and drop it on the “paper” 🙂

As much as we as a society have made strides forward in mental health advocacy and understanding there is still a significant stigma attached to admitting that you are less than “ok”. Being in the midst of living through the grieving process of losing my son last year I am the first to admit that there are many days when I’m not ok. Let’s be brutally honest… more not ok days than ok ones really. But I get up and I go to work and I am a shining example of OK for the day. Then I go home and I crash. Not the healthiest way to process and deal with grief and I am beginning to see a real frustration building with me over this.

Why the resentment? Simple really… because if I had broken my leg or had a bout of pneumonia and needed to take time for my care and healing then it would be open and discussed and work time management would be resolved. Days off or weeks off would be arranged, colleagues would help with taking up the slack (even begrudgingly, they would do it) and my body would have its needs met for time to heal.

But instead…this wound, this illness, is quite literally, in my head and not visible. Not only is it not visible – it is hidden, purposely – hidden so as to not have to face the implications of being viewed as less able or less competent. Hidden so as to ensure that my job security is intact and that there won’t be an undercurrent of my performance and stability being questioned. So grief and depression are pushed away as best as they can be each day until they just simply can’t be anymore and then the issue becomes how do you put it out there that you need a day off, a week off…to close your office door and not speak to anyone until the moments pass. And the resentment builds that for as much as we, as a society, are fighting to remove the stigmas, they are still fully and completely present.

This isn’t solely a rant about this issue though but also a post to bring action. Check out this link : https://www.notmyselftoday.ca/about and read and talk and get it out in the open. Dialogue can help and dialogue is needed. I’ll be doing my part. I’ll be meeting with my direct colleague and no longer hiding. As a simple man with a great vision once said “be the change you want to see”. Talk is great but action is where it’s at.

Have yourself a wonderful day, and if it’s anything else, tell it like it is.

In the process of feeding my cat today I dropped the little cup of dry cat food as I bent to place it in her bowl. Kibbles flew everywhere and scattered, some landing in her fur, some clear across the room and the floor basically covered with little bits of cat yumminess 🙂

My cat, sitting beside her bowl, looked up at me with a look that said “well, get moving, none of that landed in my bowl and I’m not eating off the floor”.

As I put another scoop in the bowl and she began to eat I went and got the vacuum out. With each kibble sucked up and taken care of it occurred to me that had she been a dog, this wouldn’t have been an issue. After the drop of food, I would have simply walked out of the kitchen as she bounded to and fro in bliss, so happy for the “scavenger hunt” that her amazing Mistress had provided for her ;).

On the flip side though, I can top up her foodbowl and leave for 24 hours and I know she’ll be fine when I get back. No trips out to the great outdoor bathroom needed…no “lack of attention”  behaviour to worry about…nope, quite the contrary; when I return I will be greeted with a look (if she bothers to look up when I come in the house) that will say “oh, you decided to come back?” followed by indifference.

People may say cats are uncaring but it’s always her little warm furry body that slowly curls up to me when I need her the most. We just never speak of it afterwards 😉

383744_461539643906229_442105665_nCame across this quote today…

“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” by Flannery O’Connor and it resonates with me.

Whether or not we want something to “be” sometimes it just “is”. The simple fact is that we don’t need to be okay with it, we don’t need to be happy about it or even accept it wholly. It’s enough acceptance to have it just “be” and know that you can’t change it. Happy journeying fellow wanderers *hugs*

 

 

 

 

   

It’s funny how people tend to drop in your lap  just when you need them to sometimes. I had an appointment today with a new hairdresser and within 5 minutes it became clear that I was meant to be sittign exactly in his chair and hearing what he had to say.

I’ve been searching for what to do professionally and getting a bit frustrated and a sense of “what am I going to do” has been creeping into my head more often.

After 10 minutes with this man and what was, on the surface, idle chit chat it took a turn for deeper conversation as we recognized in each other a kindred sharing of base beliefs. Beliefs in a universal law of energy and the simple truth that what you believe to be possible IS possible. The flip side…what you believe to be NOT possible, will never come to fruition.

I was talking with Sweetie the other day about this very thing and how I believe that if you don’t honestly think that you can achieve something, then you never will. For the basic fact that whether consciously or subconsciously, you will make your belief a reality. If you don’t believe something can be achieved then you will never give the challenge the energy or effort needed to achieve it. After all, why try if you know, deep down that there is no possibility of success? This is about so much more than a conscious thought. It is the universal rule that we create that which we believe we can have …and that which we believe we deserve.

There’s a big difference between talking the talk and walking the walk.

Not only did I walk away with a gorgeous new colour of hair but a reaffirming of the truth that I can achieve what I know I deserve and what I KNOW I can do…

as always, Lola

Welcome to lolabits 😉 …. bite-sized morsels of fun, silly and sometimes serious tidbits of insight from my life and journey! Join me as we bumble along on the adventures that await… bring an open mind and a willing spirit for expanding what you thought you knew. Enjoy the ride as you learn to embrace what you suspected about yourself all along but were too uncertain to admit or explore!

From career to lifestyle to sexuality join me as we meander through the twists and turns of growth and understanding in a fun, quirky and joyful manner!

And it begins….

Lola

live openly, live abundantly