Where Am I?

Well, let me first say that I was obviously not successful in finishing out my trip journal! Fail! Here’s the very shortened version.

Day 26 – Lake Plitvice, Croatia. WOW stunning
Day 27-29 Zadar, Croatia. YES we were in Croatia for the World Cup Final! However, we were unable to stay. That is one of the many occurrences that made our Croatia trip a little underwhelming. It was purely coincidental and poor planning – Croatia is amazing!
Day 30-34 Budapest. Those days just flew by!

So, at this point we’ve been home exactly two weeks. It feels unreal to be back, but the whole trip seems a bit unreal as well, like it took place in an alternate universe or something. I’ve had the usual post-trip lows, combined with getting too stressed about socializing with friends and family, trying to squeeze in my own favorite summer Austin activities, before getting back to the grind of the school year. *Sigh*

Since getting back we spent: one day at home, one day at a family reunion, and then about five days at home before heading to South Padre Island for a friend’s birthday.

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It was lovely, but we were SO happy to be back in our beautiful home on Tuesday. What’s really cool, is that we were able to Airbnb our place during our short trip to the coast – we are really starting to enjoy this whole Airbnb-ing thing. We already a group booked for Labor Day when we’re headed out of town again!

This summer has been one amazing experience after another. I am so grateful. However, there’s always room for emotional baggage to sneak in. 😉

#1: Family. I had big plans to confront my family with some big topics before I left. I had so many reasons to go for it. I wrote a poem that I think really sums up how I felt about laying it all out there. But, when the time came.. I just couldn’t. At first I was incredibly disappointed, but I’ve since learned that it just wasn’t my right time, and that’s okay. However, since there was this big build-up that ended up leading to nothing, I feel a little confused and uncomfortable about when I stand with all of them. I’m working on figuring that out.

#2: Friends/Relationships. One of my friends – let’s call her Mary – went through a really bad break-up this past Spring. I’ve chosen to adjust my life quite a bit to be there for her, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. However, with that comes the added challenge of maintaining boundaries, which is something I think we all struggle with, especially when we’re really worried about someone we love and care for immensely.

So, during my first week back, I just felt like I HAD to see Mary as much as possible, who had missed me so much while I was gone, AND everyone else. I was extremely stressed and overwhelmed, and didn’t really want to see anyone. I felt like I was letting everyone down by not being social enough. Not wanting to see anyone is pretty typical for me post-trip, but it was worse this time because I felt more obligation.

It took some time and a therapy session to figure out what was going on. You see, with my family,

a lot of my process has been setting boundaries with my mom… and then my dad (unexpectedly) and now, even more unexpectedly, my brother

When this happened with him, I just felt a lot of anger, disappointment and helplessness… as most importantly, responsibility, because I was so worried about him. All of these feelings transferred to Mary, and then onto all of my other friends. I was only allowing myself to see the “burdens” of friendship, not all of the joy I’ve cultivated over the last few years as I’ve build up my friend group and re-learned how to trust friends.

Furthermore, I allowed myself to believe that these burdens were real. I’ve now realized they aren’t. Loyalty, “being there,” helping others, sure it’s all really good, but it’s not a REQUIREMENT of friendship. My therapist asked me two really great questions: What do you think it means to be a great friend? I responded with some variation of the list above. Then she asked, “What do you think your friends would tell you that you need to do in order to be a great friend?” I laughed out loud because I knew right away – they love me just as I am, and they would 100% say, “Just be you, silly!”

Once I realized this, I was able to drop my expectations for myself as a friend a little more easily, which was really good because I still had to make it through the beach trip with five friends. 😉 Sidenote: It is so wonderful to have authentic relationships. I felt so isolated just a few years ago.

#3 My weight: I lot of my thoughts about it can be summed up here. Even though it was almost two months ago that I realized I’ve gained so much weight, I’m only now starting on my weight-loss and overall health reset. I suppose that’s not entirely true – I started doing Yoga With Adriene very regularly while on the trip. I highly recommend Yoga With Adriene because it is just so easy to do it everyday. It’s free, it’s usually only about 20 minutes, and she focuses on self-love and being our true selves, something I know I need to be reminded up everyday.

Anyway, we got back from the beach on August 1, so I started my Whole30 on August 1. I will do this Whole30, reintroduce the foods the right way, and stay on track until I reach my target weight and lifestyle. 🙂 I know I can do this. I know I am capable of change, but that doesn’t mean I don’t spend a lot of my time feeling really down about my body and the journey ahead of me.

Thankfully, I had a really big “aha moment” while doing yoga in Budapest. The AC wasn’t on, so I ended up taking off my shirt and doing yoga in my sports bra. This meant having to see more of my body. Shame instantly came over me… but then I heard my yoga teacher within say, “If you can’t love your body now, how can you expect yourself to treat it better and reach your goals?”

I love the skin I’m in.

Because I love my body, I will treat it well. I will live the healthy lifestyle I deserve.

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Day 03/34 Eastern Europe Trip

Budapest

We slept in… by a long shot! We didn’t leave the house until after noon. Our plan was to walk Bartley and find a random place for breakfast, and then come back and see about trying to leave him in his kennel again. We walked somewhat aimlessly in search of breakfast. We’ve learned that if we go just a few blocks away from Andrássy út, everything is cheaper, so that was our plan. We ended up just off of Teréz Körút near the train station. We found a Czech style burger place, and decided to go for it, because we were hungry. 🙂 It did not disappoint! We shared a burger and fries, and each had a cappuccino, and were pleasantly full at the end of the meal.

On the way back, we stopped at Oktogon Square, by far the biggest square we’ve seen so far this trip.

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We were both anxious about the next item on the agenda: training Bartley, so we decided to ahead and go back to the apartment. We played a little fetch, and took turns distracting him while we each got books/computers ready for coffee shop internet time. So, when it was time to put him in his kennel, we skipped the build up of him stressing about if he would get to go or not. We gave him some salami, a toy, one of my shirts, and told him we would be back soon. Then, we headed to the courtyard to wait and see what happened next.

Well, it was very painful two minutes of barking. I hated every second of it. He finally gave out a really desperate, high pitched yelp, and then that was it for the barking. For about 7 more minutes, we could here him whining, but then he was silent. We waited an extra 5 minutes before heading down the street to the coffee shop on the corner. Success!

We were so proud, and relieved! However, it still a little weird to be without him. But, it’s really important to do this daily, because we can’t take him everywhere we want to go.

Down the street at, Mozsár kávézó és étterem, we had an amazing mousse/cake dessert, two cappaccinos, and two delicious lemonades over the course of the next couple of hours. It was really nice, and I’m so glad this little spot is right down the street from the apartment.

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Before heading back to the apartment, we stopped at the 24 hour shop to get some cheap salami, so we’d have something in hand to reward Bartley with as soon as we let him out of the kennel. Boy, was he a happy dog! We gave him the treat, told him did a great job, and played some fetch. Then, I made a couple sandwiches, we shared a beer, and we decided to head to heroes square and city park. Bartley was quite happen to join us this time.

When we got to Heroe’s Square, I was really disappointed to see that there’s some kind of arena set-up for performances. I was even more disappointed that the music was NOT good. 😐 We went into the City Park, and I think at this point, my jet-lag finally hit. Every other day we’ve taken a nap in the afternoon, and today we didn’t. It was like I just hit a wall.

We found a restaurant. I ordered an iced coffee, which turned out to be more like a coffee ice cream float – not complaining! – and The Boyfriend ordered strawberry soup, which turned out to be a smoothie in a bowl, with a scoop of ice cream in the middle. He didn’t complain either. 😉 They even had a special dog menu! So, Bartley was pleased as well.

Then, we walked around the park, and quite literally stumbled upon The Szechenyi Baths.

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And the Vajdahunyad Castle.

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It was a really incredible experience. Later, we discovered that the castle actually isn’t that old. It was built at the turn of the 20th century as part of a millennium celebration to commemorate 1000 years of Hungarian architecture. Still really fascinating!

On our way home, by this point after 9 PM, we realized we’d taken over 17,000 steps. Impressive! We found a lovely place for dinner on Andrássy út, where we both had pálinka, I had wine, The Boyfriend had beer, I ate paprika chicken with buttered noodles – SO GOOD – and The Boyfriend had a bowl of gyulas soup. Ok, so he had some of mine too. 😉 Bartley was passed out under the table… Remember, 0ur 17,000 steps is more like 80,000 to him.

Maybe the next time we try to leave him at the apartment he won’t mind so much!

Love Means

Love means being able to be open and honest.
Vulnerable.
Love means choosing to go ahead,
And say what needs to be said,
When it’s not what they want to hear,
When it might hurt,
When it causes an shift, a tear, a (momentary?) split
In the relationship.
When it shakes up how they thought you perceived them.
Because love means
Challenging each other to be better
Challenging each other to be honest,
First and foremost,
With themselves.
And love means,
Respecting yourself enough to say what you need,
Knowing yourself well enough to know what you want,
So that your connection is stronger,
More authentic.
This love isn’t easy,
But it isn’t about sacrifice,
Or waiting,
Or wondering,
Or hoping,
Or avoiding.
Love means being able to be open and honest and vulnerable.
And believing they’re still going to be there,
When it’s not what they want to hear,
When it might hurt,
When it causes a shift, a tear, a split,
In the relationship.
Love means doing all of this,
And receiving it as well.

Love Means.

Mimosas in the AM, Fettuccine Alfredo in the PM

Wow, I am so happy we pushed through yesterday and got so much done. The main thing left to do is – pack! We’re getting super excited about our trip to Hungary, Slovakia, The Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. We leave on Thursday! We were actually able to relax some today, and it was amazing.

I saw two of my best friends today. I was really glad to spend some time with them before leaving, and that it was on a day when I was less stressed, and better able to connect. Yay for mimosas in the morning with one, and homemade fettuccine alfredo in the evening with the other! Feelin’ spoiled. (I haven’t forgotten about my goal to lose 30 pounds by January 1, 2019. Working on figuring out how to indulge responsibly. I welcome any tips or reading material!)

Not much to write about today. Still thinking about the (possible) upcoming talk with my family. I’m dreading it, dreading even thinking about it, really.

Today was a three point day.

Closer to Being Ready

This goes for my upcoming trip, and the talk I need to have with my family before I go. Our place is almost ready for our Airbnb guests, which means we’ve (finally) made the whole place more comfortable, and we managed to declutter! Areas that have had random piles for months (or even years?) are finally open, and it feels so good. Everything seems to have a home which is amazing as well. We’ve been working really hard though, and are definitely exhausted. We only have a few more steps to go, the lengthiest of which is going to be to actually pack for our trip, AND pack up our personal belongings so our guests don’t feel too much like they’re sleeping in someone else’s room. 🙂

As for the family part… well, I got it all down on paper, and that’s something. I even told my dad and brother I want to meet with them on my brother’s next day off, so if I do have the guts to say all of this, there’s actually a set time to say it. Worst case scenario, we just have lunch instead.

Why am I so scared? I guess it has to do with acceptance. I want to know they’re going to agree with me, even before I say the things I need to say. I’m worried they won’t like what I have to say, and may become upset or argue, and I won’t be able to stand up for what I know to be true. Part of me is also really afraid they’re going to say, we’re sorry you feel that way, and I’ll be left to follow my word, which is that if that’s the case, I have to step away for a while.

I need to know that that’s a possibility before going into this conversation. I’ve worked really hard the last few years to build up a healthy life and supportive community outside of my family, and have come to accept that under most circumstances, no matter how scary, I really am going to be okay. That doesn’t mean the prospect of losing closeness with my family isn’t difficult to stomach.

I sort of forgot to keep track of my points last week, so since it’s Sunday, I’ll just start over today. 🙂 Today was a 2 point day.

The Yo-Yo Dieter

That’s me.

I did my first Whole30 back in 2014, with great success. I felt amazing, I dropped 14 pounds in one month, and I genuinely didn’t want to go back to my old eating habits. I kept it up, with a few less restrictions, for several months after the thirty days. Gradually, I slid back into my old ways.

A year later, I did another, and a year later… well you get the idea. It turns out that after each “re-set,” I regained by bad habits – and therefore the weight! – faster, not slower. This most recent time was by far the fastest yet. This past February, I did a Whole30 and I dropped from 149 to 138. I was super excited! I felt like I just needed to stick with the majority of the restrictions, with maybe one cheat day a week, and I’d continue to lose weight but at a slower rate.

That’s not what happened. It’s a mere 4 months later, and I’ve actually exceeded my start weight. I’m at 155 pounds. That’s the highest number I’ve ever seen on the scale. Sad day. It’s almost like I was trying to gain weight.

I did a tiny bit of research today, and it seems that yes, I am a yo-yo dieter. I’ve lost about the same amount of weight repeatedly for the last five years. I always lose it really quickly with a Whole30. I basically have an on/off switch: I’m either super restrictive, or I eat whatever I want. There are many reasons why this is bad for us, the most obvious of which is probably that it makes me feel bad, like it’s not even worth trying. That’s how I’ve felt most of today.

But it is! I’ve accomplished so many goals throughout my twenties: I’ve become financially stable using the methods of Dave Ramsey and Mrs. Frugalwoods. I have a great group of friends after searching for community for what feels like a decade. I’ve established healthy boundaries with my family, although that is a constant struggle. The work/life balance is also much more manageable.

So, I can do this. I turn 30 at the end of August. In the spirit of turning 30, my goal is to lose 30 pounds by 2019… and stay that way. That might seem pretty fast, but that will honestly be the slowest of my weight loss endeavors.

I’ve updated my points page and I’m happy to say you’ll be hearing a lot more from me. 🙂

This was a four point day.

 

 

 

Tea Instead of Vodka

What an amazing summer it has been. (And Winter & Spring… sorry for not writing more!) For teachers, summer is an essential reset time. Many end up doing plenty of lesson planning, curriculum research, and professional development sessions as well. I still have four weeks to get to all of that. 😉

I felt like I was really due for a break this summer. Last summer, the reality of making the mortgage on my own was starting to set in: I worked three jobs: curriculum writing for the district, tons of voice lessons, and was a section leader in a church choir. I still had a decent amount of down time, but it wasn’t ideal for summer break. Summer of 2015 I spent a lot of time questioning my career choice and almost quit teaching entirely, and my sweet dog Bartley got deathly ill over the Summer of 2014.

This summer has been about countless yoga sessions and dance classes, drinks with friends, a trip to Puerto Vallarta with the boyfriend and his family, bike rides, and so much cooking. There has been an over abundance of joy and relaxation, and I feel so incredibly lucky to have the space for all of the things I love. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’ve worked really hard to minimize the chaos and create space for joy.

The last few days, however, I’ve felt pretty down. I feel like there could be something big that I need to process, some huge ugly cry I need to have or something. Of course this is uncomfortable because I like being content. It’s lovely to be happy, but it isn’t really sustainable in my opinion, although many people think happiness is the goal. For me, contentment is the goal, and right now I don’t feel content. I feel restless, irritable, unmotivated, mildly depressed.

Several things could be the culprit: PMDD – it’s basically hardcore PMS and it’s SUCH a nuisance, but I can’t deny the reality of it – spending the weekend at a family reunion in which I had to see my mother who seems to have completely given up on life, and the fact that I’m still grieving the loss of my marriage. Or perhaps some combination of all three. I’ve also gained weight this summer and I’ve allowed my frustration with that to lead to negative thinking.

With depression, everything feels like it takes too much effort, and the end result won’t be worth it. I’ve never had a debilitating depressive episode, and I don’t even think what I’m experiencing qualifies as depression, it’s more of a depressed mood. But, the fact is for the last three days now, I haven’t had a desire to do anything. I’ve still done what I need to, but it has taken great effort, and the whole time my mind has been full of negative thoughts.

So, tonight I’m choosing hot peppermint tea over my more typical summer drink: ruby red vodka mixed with lime la croix – (so very refreshing!) I’m going to explore these various culprits, but also seek out connection with the people who love & support me – the boyfriend, my dearest cousin, my best friend, and of course the pup – and rely on my most dependable (& therapeutic!) companion: yoga.

There are things in life that I cannot control, like my mom’s current lifestyle and the way my dad chooses to deal with it. I can’t change the fact that my ex-husband hasn’t found the peace and success he deserves. All I want is for these people I care so much about to find their own way to contentment, but their journey is theirs and mine is mine. It’s hard to let go of what I can’t control, but it’s often so necessary. Above all, I want to remember that letting go doesn’t mean I don’t care, so I’ll let go of that guilt as well.