NotBlueAtAll

I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

Speaking Our Truth

January8

I did not catch the Golden Globes last night on t.v. I had completely forgotten about them and thus forgot to set my DVR to record. Part of me was disappointed to have missed it, it seemed like an important thing, but now that I’m seeing some of the things that came out of the ceremony I am glad I missed them. With one exception, Oprah’s acceptance speech. When I was checking my notifications on Facebook this morning I couldn’t help but see quotes from her speech over and over again in my feed. So I watched her speech and I was deeply moved. There were a few takeaways that felt especially poignant, but one shone brighter than the rest.

“What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have”
Oprah Winfrey, 2018 Golden Globes speech, accepting the Cecil B. DeMille award.

I believe that speaking your truth, sharing your story, is the most powerful thing a human, but especially an oppressed/abused human can do. It reclaims our voices, it connects us to others, it inspires others to speak their own truths, and the cycle continues. It took me a very long time to tell anyone about the abuses I survived. Before I spoke my truth, I began to write it down in a private journal. I had hinted at things with my then-husband, but he also survived abuse and it was difficult for him to open up about it or to hear what I had been through. It was easier to just know without truly knowing.

It wasn’t until after I opened my cafe, and started this blog, that I connected with a customer who I always had the most interesting conversations with.  She was working towards becoming a psychologist, but we mostly talked about women’s issues or human connections in general. I don’t recall what specifically prompted me to share my story with her, but it felt like time had stopped. It was just she and I in my cafe and we had been talking for a bit when I finally said, “I was trapped in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship from ages 14 – 19.” with a flippant tone in my voice. Her face was shaped by empathy and compassion and an interest in hearing more, but she was so gentle yet encouraging that more just flowed out of me.

I had spent so many years pretending that nothing had happened that for a very long time I didn’t know how to talk about it, even what words to use. That day in my cafe I made a decision, though unconscious, but it was the most powerful choice of words I may have ever made. It was the first time I said, “My abuser” instead of an ex-boyfriend or some other such term. My abuser. That is what he was. My abuser. That is how I reclaimed my voice. My abuser. That is how I found a way to share my story without blaming myself because I finally understood just how common abuse is. My abuser. I finally felt that it was okay to share, to not hide from, my story. By making that choice of words I realized that it was never my fault, I did all that I could to survive, and that I was worthy of goodness for the first time in my life.

I have moments where I wish that things were different. I wish that I had had access to therapy and support when I finally escaped the abuse. I wish that I had told my friends, that had been pushed away years before when we reunited what I had been through. Instead, we were simply happy to be together in the big new adult world we were all thrust into and thus turned to partying together as a means of bonding and exploration. It was just easier. Being nineteen is a strange time, a great time, but far too open to feel grounded or tethered to anything. I placed myself in compromising and risky situations because that was all I had known until then. I allowed myself to be used and discarded until I couldn’t anymore. Those people didn’t want to know me, to hear my truth, or to even see me as wholly human. It was something I needed to do, I suppose, in order to find a way to a new life and sense of self.

Sharing my truth with a complete stranger allowed a light into my soul that had never seen anything but darkness. It guided me to so many opportunities and friendships. It brought people and their stories into my life and I am forever grateful for that! We all have a story to share, a truth to bare, and maybe don’t have the words yet. That’s okay! Maybe you think no one wants to hear it, as I once did. I can assure you that this isn’t the case. Often people simply are afraid to make matters worse by even bringing things up. Many want to hear and will bear witness and support you, given the opportunity. It is hard to tell, though, who those people are. I have been told by those I love that they do not want to know. My ex-husband eventually asked to hear it all, but it was towards the end of our marriage and I think he may have regretted it afterward. By that time I had been sharing my story on my blog and had better practice at it.

Every time I share my truth, my story of survival and even my current struggles, it lightens that burden and I feel a little freer. I feel less alone in the world, less helpless and afraid. We do not have to suffer alone and in silence. I feel that we are in a new era of women finally getting heard after millennia of being silenced. When our experiences and struggles are heard and held in the same esteem of men in power we will finally have equal footing in the world. Until then it is up to each of us as individuals, regardless of gender, to listen to those truths, to share our own, and continue this cycle of human connection and strength and vulnerability. There is a great power to be reclaimed and to heal ourselves within this. I have great hope for the future because of it and I hope you do, too.

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S
Please take a moment to select the type of content you’d like to see more of on this blog. It is a brief poll with a comment box at the end if you have anything to share. Thank you so much in advance! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XZX5933

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Insta & FB!
And my hashtag #DateMyDamnSelf on Instagram if you feel so inclined

Donate to this blog here: https://www.paypal.me/notblueatall

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Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

I also have an Instagram I’ve finally started to actually use: https://instagram.com/notblueatall/

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.): notblueatall@notblueatall.com

 

You Do Not Have To Remain Calm

January5

I saw the above image with the text, “2018 Goal: Stay calm in all situations.” and I was immediately irritated! Ha-ha! I’m sure the intention of the text isn’t for us to aspire to be emotionally stoic robots, but damn if it didn’t feel that way at first encounter. It reminded me right away of a time when I worked for one of the largest and most worshipped tech companies in the world. I was on a lunch break in my usual dark corner of the cafeteria and had received a text message with sad news. I usually read a book while eating, so I’m sure my facial expressions were ever changing. The following day I was lectured for 45 minutes by my immediate supervisor for looking sad and was instructed to compartmentalize and to never appear emotional at all ever. UGH! Infuriating!

I’ve often gotten into hot water in work situations for caring “too much”, but I now see it as an asset. My intuition has steered me clear of many of life’s pitfalls, though certainly not all. People trust me and come to me for a variety of reasons, but my honesty and compassion are usually at the top of any list. It is difficult to remain honest and empathetic, let alone compassionate, in a large corporation or your typical office politics filled environment, but it is why I am so good at what I do. I wear all the hats, help anyone who needs it, and make things happen! After wrapping up my ninth phone interview for the week (whew!) I have had to talk about this and myself so much that it no longer feels like a sales pitch (yuck). It’s not bragging if it’s true, if it’s your actual reputation, and you can back it up in a heartbeat.

What about when the shit hits the fan? What about when your personal or professional life is falling apart? What about when you lose someone? What about mental health issues? You have no obligation to remain calm in the face of personal or professional tragedy. You do not have to be the calm face of serenity when life throws a bushel of bullshit in your face. You just don’t! You’re a multi-faceted individual, not a robot! People fear emotions because they feel the need to be in constant control, that’s not realistic. It’s certainly nowhere near an authentic existence. We should be supporting each other instead of shaming one another. Ugh!

The very concept of being expected to hold it all together, to appear calm in the face of danger or dramatic life shifts, is just wrong! Our brains are wired by nature and our environment. When it reacts to something in our world that brings about emotion, we should be paying attention, not tamping it all down or bottling it up. That is a recipe for eventual disaster! Our brains and bodies react to stress to ensure our survival. It’s not about appearing weak or unprofessional (fuck that!), it’s about finding the power and strength in our vulnerability and persevering in the face of life’s roadblocks.

 

“It’s okay not to be okay” was such a tough lesson for me to learn. It’s no coincidence who first brought that phrase and song into my life, as it was my dance partner, Tigress. I had been let go from yet another job and facing this new and scary thing that was our first dance performance. It was the first time I’d be on a stage in 17 years! I was fucking terrified! Tigress got it, but she insisted that it was okay and you can just be not okay when you need to. Hearing that was such a game changer! We chose that song by Jesse J for our first performance and we’ve been performing for over five years together now. Her friendship continues to broaden, inspire, and bring so much goodness into my life.

I was talking with my BFF about some major life changes they’ve been working through. They’re moving to another state and leaving their job. We have supported each other through so much in life, though we live so far apart. We’ve been there to cheer each other on through moves and divorces, breakdowns and health crisis, but at every turn, it just never feels easier. And ya know, it doesn’t necessarily have to, either. They were powering through but feeling that depression would soon seep in and I just knew exactly what they meant. My response?

“Sometimes, when depression is tapping me on the shoulder, I’m just like, ‘Hey dude, what’s new?!’ and kind of just fucking embrace it like an old, holey sweater. Sometimes it’s just easier and almost helps me get through in a weird way.”

“This is why I love you! LOL” They replied

“Probably the worst advice ever.” I said

“Nah” they said

“New big shit is hard. Depression is familair and I can navigate the uncomfortable things because it will just feel like regular coping. Is that the most fucked up?” I half jokingly, but really not, responded

“LOL! No! It makes perfect sense.” they replied

There is something so perfectly, nonsensically, and necessarily human in falling apart. I no longer see it as something to fear or be ashamed of. Every time I have fallen apart or broken down it has been the best thing in the end. It leads to a purge of old ways of thinking and an opening to new things and people. It is both an end and a beginning. It is brutal and beautiful. I say embrace the hell out of it, knowing that growth and a better you will be on the other side. Baby steps are perfectly fine. One step is great! More will follow and you will get through it. Just don’t hide from it!

I hate how society treats human emotions. It’s not weak, but it’s branded as weak because of those who are truly afraid of having an authentic feeling touch them. To be moved, deeply, within our very souls, must be a terrifying concept to someone who places far too much self-worth and stock in feeling as though they can or need to control every aspect of their lives. Baby, that ain’t living! That is living in fear, with only avoidance and shame as your defenses. *Shivers* No thank you!

I may walk a path others wouldn’t. I may make choices and decisions for myself that others would find mind-boggling. I am not here to live for them or to make sense, quite frankly. I choose human connection, deeper connections, over networking and appearing to have it all together. I don’t keep up appearances for others or try to hide my many flaws. If anything I almost flaunt what is “wrong” with me in the face of a society that would prefer I’m hidden away in shame and misery. I wear my misery like a badge of honor! I highlight my flaws with sequins and knit fabrics pulled taut by every lump, bump, and rolls of my body and mind.

We can absolutely choose to feel every feeling that comes to show up the way to our true path. We can create a life that serves to move us further along our journey and find those along the way that prefer to be authentic, too! We don’t have to fall in line or fit into something we had no part in creating or agreeing to try to be subservient to. Being ashamed or hiding from the softer or more difficult moments in our lives isn’t what will serve us in the end. People live with regret because of not feeling connected, and avoiding vulnerability with those they love. I think love, in it’s purest form, is a powerful and vulnerable thing.

Life may rarely seem to make sense, but it can teach us so much if we just choose to be present, and listen. That includes listening to our own intuition and being aware of our feelings, embracing and facing them, even when it may be frowned upon. There is no need to apologize for what is natural and necessary. You can shine a light on your strength and power by allowing whatever may come, just come. It’s okay not to be okay. And breaking down is just a way for us to find a better path to our purpose. Be you!

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S
Please take a moment to select the type of content you’d like to see more of on this blog. It is a brief poll with a comment box at the end if you have anything to share. Thank you so much in advance! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XZX5933

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Insta & FB!
And my hashtag #DateMyDamnSelf on Instagram if you feel so inclined

Donate to this blog here: https://www.paypal.me/notblueatall

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (and updated daily): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

I also have an Instagram I’ve finally started to actually use: https://instagram.com/notblueatall/

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.): notblueatall@notblueatall.com

 

Bittersweet Sleep

January4

I have had insomnia since I was twelve years old. I was getting bullied pretty bad every day at school. The anxiety of knowing what the next day held, what route I could take to avoid my bullies, where I could sit at lunch to evade them, kept me up at night. Of course, I couldn’t really connect the dots at the time, it’s crystal clear to me now. Prior to this, I would wake up eager for the day to begin. I recall walking to school with wet hair and arriving with it frozen solid in the winter, living only two blocks away from my elementary school, and in California, this was quite a feat! I would dash off to school excited to see my friends and find out what the day’s curriculum might be. So, you know, junior high really sucked!

I don’t think my life, or sleeping schedule, ever fully recovered. Even after the bullying stopped, my bullies were a grade above me and thus no longer at my school, my sleep just always sort of suffered. I started to use caffeine for the first time, Pepsi being my beverage of choice then. And then over the counter sleep aids, such as Unisom and Sominex. This continued for years and years, at seventeen they told me that the sleep aids likely stunted my growth, but I still don’t buy that. When I was fourteen, I remember sitting on the floor of my room with my best friend and my dad sitting on my bed on either side of me. I popped a Unisom and swigged it down with Pepsi. Only the bubbles caught up with the pill midway down my esophagus causing me to pass out for a few seconds. We laughed it off pretty quickly but it did give me pause later.

This was the era before Ambien and Lunesta, so it never even occurred to me, or I guess my dad, to go to a doctor about it. I spent the next five years of my life in a near-hostage situation with my abuser living in my family home and when we moved elsewhere it only worsened. Sleep wasn’t even a notion in my head by that point, not when surviving and one day escaping was all I could think about. As my abuser was also an alcoholic and an abuser of many different recreational and prescription drugs, his schedule was as erratic as his behavior, at best. I learned to go without sleep, relaxation, a sense of calm or any semblance of safety. The trauma of surviving would shape my brain and sleep patterns for the rest of my life.

Years later I worked in music and had a flexible schedule, which helped my sleep problems. After I met and moved in with my then-husband, it took years before I would stop waking up in the middle of the night, having to stare at his face beside me to be certain that he wasn’t my abuser. The nightmares were so vivid and intense then, too. I continued to use over the counter meds, leaning most heavily on Melatonin supplements, as I had a fear of dependency that I still have today. So, even if something did work or help, I would stop taking whatever it was for random stretches, to be sure I wasn’t “hooked”.

Soon I had friends who started taking Ambien, but then they also started to share bizarre stories of lost time, strange scenes in their homes the next day, and the infamous Ambien Walrus.  That was enough for me to stay far away from seeking a prescription for my sleep troubles, even in my adult life. I had sort of come to a truce with my insomnia. As my schedule became more reliable, nearing a 9-5 stability at work, I gave up on sleep aids entirely. Instead, I started creating schedule based rules for myself. Like no caffeine after 2 pm…that was a tough one when I worked at a corporate training facility. Ha-ha!

I’ve tried so many things over the years all in order to get a good night’s sleep. I still rely on melatonin (I get gummies now, passionfruit flavor from Target – SO GOOD), and Advil-PM when I have pain, but I’ve also learned that my activities, foods, and how I wind down at the end of the day also impact the quality and quantity of sleep I am able to achieve. Yeah, achieve, because it feels hard-earned at times, ya know? Some other things that I use and have helped me personally (though everyone has their own suggestions and advice)…

Aromatherapy: I use a linen sleep spray from The Body Shop with lavender and vanilla scents
(I am dying to try the new one from Lush, but cannot afford to at this time, let me know if you’ve tried it and what you think)
I use a few drops of peppermint and grapefruit oils in my shower to relax and revive me, depending on time of day and mood

Sounds: The best earplugs I’ve ever used were from a cheap Japanese housewares store called Daiso for $1.50
I absolutely and wholeheartedly recommend the podcast, “Sleep with me” like seriously, it works! It’s just this guy, Scooter, who tells very boring stories. That’s it. It works, I used it for like two years! You can find it anywhere you find podcasts.
Now I listen to the Classical Relaxation Station on Pandora with a sleep timer for 60-90 minutes. It helps, but your mileage may vary.
Lately, when I find that I’m not quite tired enough to get in bed, I’ll put on Planet Earth II on Netflix. David Attenborough’s voice is soothing and I love animals. I have also listened to Alan Watts talks on YouTube while in bed, he had such a nice voice.

Comfort: Pajamas! OMZ! I never got the pj’s thing until I just did. Comfort is everything, and sometimes that means no pajamas at all. I have the constant battle of loving how chemise and camis look versus waking up with both boobs hanging out of one strap/armhole. Ugh! So now I stick with a t-shirt or more snug tank style tops and actual pajama bottoms, which I never used to do.
Sheets also affect our comfort and sleep. For me, microfiber sheets make me feel sweaty, so I stick with 100% cotton.
Your mattress also makes a big difference. I have tried so many, from traditional to pillow topped to Tempur Pedic… now I have a hybrid: part memory foam, part coil, all awesome! Traditional coil mattresses made my hips stiff and sore when I woke up, the Tempur Pedic was awesome, but if the temperature is a concern they can suck (and mine died before it should have). The hybrid gives me the best of both worlds and I’ve had it for two and a half years. Also, consider keeping your room cooler than usual, that definitely helped me stay asleep, though it did take longer for me to warm up and thus relaxed enough for sleep.

Also, consider, if you are able, using your bed/bedroom exclusively for relaxation activities (sleep, sex, meditation, letting face masks dry, etc) and keeping the lighting dim and warm to help aid your bedtime. I recently changed the LED string lights around my bed area (my bed is like built into a wall/box…it’s weird) from white to red, and I gotta say it has helped! Dimming your phone screen or getting an app for sleep purposes helps, too. If I wake up in the night I have a compulsive urge to check the time, so this way it’s not a shock of that bright light in my face. Be kind to your eyes. Having a regular bedtime really helps, too, as your body will start to naturally want to shut down once used to a steadier schedule.

If you are a heavy snorer or know that you wake up many times throughout the night (or have had a partner tell you that you stop breathing), please consider getting a sleep study done. I know there are some stigmas about sleep apnea, but as any medical professional can tell you, it is definitely not just fat people who have sleep apnea. I know just as many thin/smaller-bodied people with c-pap machines that have improved their sleep and quality of life as I know fat people with them. I hope that you will take this seriously, it really does make a huge difference. It will take some time to get used to, but once you find a set up that works for you, you’d be surprised at how much better you can feel day to day when you’re getting better quality sleep.

Most of all, try to make some time before bed to unwind. Journaling has helped me in the past, but I struggle to now. Stretching can also help get your body ready for bed. A nice warm shower is my favorite, and it forces me to pay better attention to my skin care. Sometimes my body is tired but my mind is all a-buzz. This is when reading a book really helps, as I find it only takes a few pages to a chapter to make my eyes and mind feel more relaxed. I also love challenging puzzle games on my Nintendo 2ds as I can control the brightness of the screen and often get frustrated with a tough level and want to switch it off. Ha-ha! A nice cup of herbal tea is a great way to unwind and gives you a chance to get lost in thought as you go through your tea making routine. I love a nice chamomile with a light citrus aroma or zest added. I love peppermint tea, but I tend to use it when I am more stressed than not.

As life so often gets in the way of our self-care needs and quality of sleep, it’s so important to make time for yourself, to soothe yourself in whatever way works best for you, in order to rest your mind and body. You can’t run on empty forever, nor should you attempt it. While not everyone needs 8 hours of sleep to feel rested and refreshed in the morning, we all need sleep. Even when you have a routine, it never hurts to take a look and assess if something can be improved or removed. Your body needs rest to repair from the stresses of the day, and your brain needs that deeper REM sleep to defrag all of the bits of info we absorb with or without trying. I hope you find what works for you. And may we all find our most peaceful slumbers.

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S
Please take a moment to select the type of content you’d like to see more of on this blog. It is a brief poll with a comment box at the end if you have anything to share. Thank you so much in advance! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XZX5933

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Insta & FB!
And my hashtag #DateMyDamnSelf on Instagram if you feel so inclined

Donate to this blog here: https://www.paypal.me/notblueatall

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (and updated daily): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

I also have an Instagram I’ve finally started to actually use: https://instagram.com/notblueatall/

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.): notblueatall@notblueatall.com

 

Self-Care Looks Different for Everyone

January3

Self-care gets derided for it’s fluffy, privileged, often spa-specific references in the media. I want to talk about how self-care looks different for everyone. Because it does! You can be flat broke and still practice self-care. It’s way more than facials and blowouts, it’s more about the here and now and what gets you through and soothes your soul. What helps you feel grounded and calm in the face of stress or when you’re too exhausted to cook for yourself, that’s self-care!

Self-care is often things we know we need to do, for ourselves, but gets put on the back burner over and over until everything is simply overwhelming. Work, offspring, partners, housekeeping, and caretaking for others, but what about you?!  How do you stay in touch with friends, build or maintain meaningful relationships, pursue your hobbies or passions, or even just cut your damned toenails?! I mention that last one because there is a big difference between going to a spa or salon and getting a full-service pedicure, and keeping your own personal hygiene up to date. I was putting on some socks the other day and got a look at my toes and just felt sad. I didn’t have time to do anything about them being longer than was comfortable as I was getting ready for an interview. Once I did have some time, later in the week, I took care of my tootsies and I felt so much better!

Everyone is different and I am in no way suggesting you ignore medical recommendations. Always check with your doctor or other care providers before starting something new or changing your current treatment plan. I have PTSD, anxiety, depression, and who knows what the heck else, but I am self-diagnosed and thus unmedicated. I have found things that help me feel calm and grounded over the years. I also now can recognize the signs of a panic attack before it happens and have even been able to prevent them if I can act in time. For a long time, I didn’t know what was happening, though, and it’s terrifying. A panic attack is your brain telling you you’re dying or in severe danger, usually at very inconvenient times or places.

A big factor in my self-care is staying mindful of how I’m feeling in body and mind and doing what I can to stay calm, regardless of where I am or what I’m doing. Something that has helped at work, when things really start to hit the fan, is to go to the restroom or a private conference room (so no one can see in) and doing power poses. Think superheroes and Olympiads! It sounds silly, but it does work. Scientifically, these poses trick your brain into shifting away from the tension and stress you’re feeling at the moment. A former colleague was famously walked in on whilst mid-posing by their interviewer (they got hired).

Self-care can also be taking a mental health day when the world feels overwhelming. Self-care can be using a mobility device to help you on a tough physical pain day. Self-care can be turning off all digital and internet-connected devices for a few hours before you go to bed. Self-care can be eating comfort food, or eating a more balanced and colorful meal to entice your senses. Self-care can be anything that soothes you, calms you, gives you space to breathe, to feel more grounded and ultimately, more yourself. Self-care isn’t a uniform thing, it’s anything! Self-care for me is often just talking to my best friend, or lately, it’s been writing for this blog.

When I was suddenly, unfairly, and unexpectedly fired in October, I was in shock and forgot to take care of some vital things. I let my driver’s license expire. I also let my medical cannabis recommendation expire. My unemployment benefits payments were greatly delayed (over a month!) and thus I had to prioritize my driver’s license, obviously, over the medical recommendation. The result of which I hadn’t truly considered or even recognized the impact until just last week. I had been using a cannabis oil based vaporizer cartridge to medicate myself when things felt overwhelming. I know there is a lot of stigma around cannabis usage, but I am well-informed and work hard to educate others on its benefits and uses. I am not a “stoner” in the traditional sense by any means.

(Please note: The word Marijuana has racist roots used as propaganda in order to outlaw Cannabis and Hemp use in early 20th century America, because of this I do not use the word and insist that others stop, too.)

Cannabis has helped me in more ways than I’d previously realized. For one, I only medicate using Sativa based strains, as Indica strains make me feel paranoid and self-hating and too tired to do anything but chill out. Sativa strains allow me to focus, feel more calm yet motivated, without feeling high or sluggish. I used to explain it this way, my brain is often like a browser with sixty tabs open and running all at once. Sativa strains allow me to close at least half (if not more) of those tabs so that I can remember to take care of myself and get the things in my life done. This became unbearably clear to me when I was going through my “stash drawer” (really it’s where I keep my dog’s ear medicines and my spare checkbooks). I came across a jar of cannabis flower bud (about an 8ths worth) from over a year ago that I’d forgotten about. I had had a long and draining, though overall positive, day and needed to rally to get some things done around the house. With only a small amount I felt so much better and even took my dog for a walk.

That probably sounds pretty normal, like why would I even need cannabis for such a small thing. Well, the truth is, I hadn’t taken my dog for a walk in two months! We have a yard and he runs around there a bit, but other than picking up his poops, I hadn’t spent that type of quality time with him. That first walk was magical for us both, he looked like the kid who found the golden ticket, and I felt like my old self again! When we got back home we both felt great! Cannabis, specifically Sativa for me, allows me to be calm enough to not let the paranoia my PTSD has created as part of my mental foundation to function where it would otherwise interfere. I was staying home, avoiding the world, feeling like I needed to protect myself from “outside”, but that isn’t the real me. That’s trauma still fucking me up over twenty years later! I have since walked my dog every day for the last week!

The trouble is that while I’m only using a tiny amount of cannabis each day, and even though I no longer need a medical recommendation as it’s now legal in California, I’m still broke as a joke and cannot afford to continue once I’ve run out. That will be the end of this week, most likely. I have taken him on walks in the past without medicating, of course, but it is a very different experience for both of us. I’m naturally overly cautious and suspicious of all strangers, thanks to my PTSD. Our walks are shorter and far tenser, without either of us really enjoying it. I am really hoping I can find a job very soon so that I can regain control over my symptoms, not only through cannabis but also by having and maintaining a regular schedule in my life that a job would require.

When I am working and feeling my best it is often because I have found a balance in my work and personal life. What that looks like is different for everyone, but as I also struggle with not eating and falling into unhealthy behavioral patterns relating to that, a job forces me to eat at certain times every day and to interact with people. These are vital for most humans, but for those healing from trauma, it feels doubly so. While my PTSD symptoms are mostly gone or under control, no matter how much time passes, some things can come up or come back. I no longer wake up in the night not knowing where I am or expecting to see my abuser laying next to me, but I do still have nightmares and can wake up near panic. Other times it’s a constant sense of needing to look over my shoulder, avoid being in public or crowded spaces, or just needing to be alone for awhile.

There is no timeline for healing from trauma, there’s no one way to practice self-care, and only you know what is best for you. Trust in yourself, be mindful of how things and people and substances make you feel. Even social media can feel like too much, it’s okay to unplug for a while, unfriend people, or to delete your accounts. It doesn’t mean you don’t care about the people you’ve connected with there. It just means that it isn’t something you need in your life right now. Everything is temporary, no need to hold onto things that make you feel bad or gross. You’re an adult (I’m assuming, forgive me!) and can choose what is and isn’t allowed into your life, even the digital one. That is also self-care!

I think we’re so afraid of appearing weak or needy or bothering others and it’s ridiculous! Asking for help, let alone accepting it, is so hard! I am still struggling with this, so much. Even if you haven’t experienced severe trauma or don’t have a diagnosis or condition you’re living with, the responsibilities and stresses of life are enough for most of us to feel run down and overwhelmed. Prioritizing your self-care is so important for your health, mental and physical. There is a myriad of ways and resources on the subject, but I hope you find something that works for you. You deserve to feel like your best self, or at least supported in that pursuit, at the very least. You’re worth it!

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Insta & FB!
And my hashtag #DateMyDamnSelf on Instagram if you feel so inclined

Donate to this blog here: https://www.paypal.me/notblueatall

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (and updated daily): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

I also have an Instagram I’ve finally started to actually use: https://instagram.com/notblueatall/

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.): notblueatall@notblueatall.com

Outgrowing = Growth

December31

I think it is a very healthy and important thing to recognize the things and people in your life that you’ve outgrown. Often this doesn’t happen, though, and we find ourselves conflicted or in conflict with those things. Sometimes it’s obvious, but often it’s far from it. We will avoid things, facing them, because we don’t know or can’t acknowledge what it is or why you’re feeling a certain kind of way about it if you can even get that far. We often ignore our gut feelings about things in the name of manners, courtesy, obligation, and societal pressures. It makes it very difficult to move on or grow in this world.

Some of you have specifics in mind already. You know deep down what is no longer serving your life’s purpose, path or journey. Maybe you have a negative ninny in your life? A job that feels so heavy and pointless that you want to run screaming from the building every day? A friend who only calls you to complain? A person you’ve shared your life with that no longer shares theirs with you? A career path or dream that no longer lifts you up as it once did? A relative that leaves you wishing you were an orphan? There are so many things that just no longer feel right anymore, to me, to you, to everyone. It’s a natural thing, mind you, for things to run their course. The hard part is acknowledging it, of course, but then to take action. Okay, maybe even just deciding that action is needed, even before you get to what that action should be.

I guess most often this is in the context of a romantic relationship, but I think friend breakups are toughest. Sometimes there isn’t even an actual breakup, but just a break or a tapering or ghosting. I’m not sure what’s worse, but they all fucking suck! Family shit is hard, but I think most just stay entwined or under the spell of obligation, guilt, and shame. I’ve never believed the whole “blood is thicker than water” bullshit. Humans are human, flawed and terrible, fantastic and incredible. We will push others away without realizing it. Our behaviors towards them may change before we’ve even identified our feelings about them. We may begin to hide things or stop sharing things with them.

I have said before that the best way to tell how you really feel about someone deep down is that first instant that their name pops up on your phone, be it for a call or text or email. It’s such a quick thing we often ignore or shake off before acting, by answering or replying. Think about it, though, how does that moment feel? Try it. The next time anyone calls or texts, don’t act right away, just look at the name on your screen and think about what you’re feeling in that moment. I’ve often suggested changing contact names to what that person makes you feel. So, instead of “Pat”, you might change it to “Belittled” or “Insecure” when you know that isn’t who you are or want to be.

Of course, no one is perfect. Perfection is a myth, in my opinion. Only you know what is right or wrong for you. Creating healthy boundaries is a mature and awesome thing to do! That can be telling your mother that you will no longer engage in conversations about size/weight/diets/food/etc or an ex you no longer want to be mentioned. It can be setting an expectation together with your spouse or partner so that you both are on the same page and can act accordingly. Unexpressed expectations are dangerous and detrimental! I spent years and years in relationships where both parties held the other to expectations that were never spoken. Nightmare!

Consider open dialogues over ultimatums. I have never been a fan of ultimatums. Ultimately it only forces someone to make a choice on someone else’s terms and that just doesn’t fucking work! Life is never so black and white. When dealing with actual humans, emotions, struggles, baggage, trauma, survival, abuse, love, etc. you cannot force a decision or timeline. You can appeal to someone and communicate your needs and feelings, but if an ultimatum is what you’re considering, I ask that you simply walk away entirely. You cannot help or support someone by forcing them to choose something that doesn’t align with what is best for them. You can say why, of course, but demanding a choice be made is unfair at the very least (damaging and abusive at worst).

What’s great and okay is to read books and blogs on interpersonal relationships and communication. It’s healthy and awesome to seek counseling and therapy and more support in your life overall. You deserve to feel safe and supported in your life. You get to decide what that means and what that looks like for you! It’s pretty rad! I mean, what other point in being an adult is there?! Find a quiet moment to be alone and think about what this means for you. Paint a picture of what you want in life, what fulfillment looks like, what a good balance might be for you. Then think about what obstacles lay in your current path. Can you remove or change those? No? Can you correct your course to move around them? When you consider all that you’ve been through and have become as a result, how does that person or thing or relationship or environment fit in?

I think everyone and everything that comes into our lives is meant to teach us something. Though many of my life’s lessons have been learned through brutality, that hasn’t always been the case. It is sometimes through gentleness and love that I found that even the best of intentions can still hurt. That control can come in many forms and rarely do we believe that we’re attempting to control others, even when it’s pointed out to us. Sometimes we don’t realize how much has been taken from us or how long we allowed someone to shrink our lives around us. My last relationship was fulfilling in many ways, but I couldn’t shrink myself to fit into the box they wanted for us to live in and I never will.

Ultimately, to find and live your most authentic life, you have to decide for yourself what is right and necessary. It will be painful at times, as all big changes often are, but know that you are worth every ounce of effort and energy to find that path for yourself. It’s your journey, it’s your life, you cannot change others or make them see from your perspective, but you can remove them from your life. It doesn’t matter how long or how involved, if they are not lifting you up or helping you to grow, they aren’t supporting the life you want to live. So live it! Love it! Be the you that you know you want to be! It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of you, their opinions are none of your business anyway. You will soon find that what aligns best with your life and dreams will be attracted to you naturally. Go get ’em!

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S

 

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Insta & FB!
And my hashtag #DateMyDamnSelf on Instagram if you feel so inclined

Donate to this blog here: https://www.paypal.me/notblueatall

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (and updated daily): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

I also have an Instagram I’ve finally started to actually use: https://instagram.com/notblueatall/

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.): notblueatall@notblueatall.com

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