I have mentioned before on here that I have problems with self-talk. It is something that I still struggle with. So I am going to turn this one over to you guys. What are some things you do to battle negative self talk? I think it was once mentioned that there was a negativity jar and whenever someone said something negative about themselves, they’d have to put money in the jar. I like that very much but the worst of my negativity takes place in my head where no one can call me out on it. I was also told that it might be healthy to write it down. Seeing it in black and white and being able to write out the counter point of view might help quell it. After all, in my head the negativity might be louder but on paper they are the same volume. Lastly, I was advised to try deep breathing exercises when the anxiety spiral begins. These seem like reasonable suggestions. What do you think? Have any others?
I have logged into WordPress several times the past few months with the complete intention of writing something and all I can muster forth is a book review, and another, and another. I start to type something different, to tell you something new, and yet I end up deleting it all and plugging in another book review.
I figure this time, even though I have deleted my entry no less than three times already, I am not going to cop-out with another book review despite the fact that I finished Game of Thrones last week and have things to say on it. And I ought to maybe say those things before they are gone from my head forever but at the end of the day– do my thoughts on Game of Thrones really matter? Does what I have to say about a book that is beyond a doubt a success bring something new and interesting to the table?
Months ago I began withdrawing. Well, actually that’s not true. I have been withdrawing for a few years. But as far as Internet is concerned, it was months ago. Nothing specific caused it. There was not one single defining event that made me say, “You know what? I need a break from the Internet.” I just kind of… took it. I stopped writing and I stopped reading the blogs.
I think, when I get down to it, what really happened is that I got tired of myself and the blog is a reflection of myself. You have years of my life on here. Years. And you know what I started to see when I looked at the years of my life on here?
Same shit, different day. Same old tired tune. Same exact cycle over and over and over and over again.
I learn how to best do this and how to effectively do that and when is good for this and why that is better than this. But, I do not make the changes, the real lasting changes. I do not, for lack of a completely honestly better phrase, grow up.
Oh sure the specifics, the details, they change. But the core of the matter doesn’t. How much growth have I done really? Knowing things is not the same thing as doing things. Learning the best way to pay off your credit card debt and how to create the perfect budgeting system doesn’t mean you paid off your credit card debt and are sticking to a budget. Figuring out that you need to make more money, and even thinking up of some really good ways to go about and making that money does not mean you are now making more money. Choosing the best fitness program and designing a fool-proof diet does not mean you are now being active and eating in a healthy manner.
Knowledge is important. There is no denying that. But just as important, heck perhaps even more important, is the action, the drive, the initiative and the courage to actually commit to something and make it happen.
I am full to bursting with knowledge and running on fumes with initiative and courage.
I don’t think that I was always like this. I think that when I was younger, I was gutsier. I want to say that once upon a time I was bolder and really did try new things with dedication. Then again, if there’s something else I can add to the list of things that I know is that our once upon a times are nothing more than the fairy tales we tell. Maybe I was, maybe I wasn’t. The point is that I am not and have not been for quite some time.
I think that maybe life broke in and stole my courage, my dedication, and my initiative away. In the past, oh, 15 years, I have made one glorious mistake after another and then gone ahead and repeated every single one in various degrees of ineptitude. All while preaching the virtues of learning from one’s mistakes, picking oneself up and becoming stronger from that which does not end you.
Except that maybe some things do end. Maybe life does come in and not just chip away at us but suffocates one part or another.
I want to change. I want to break every single shitty cycle I have been caught up in since I became an adult. I want very much for the ride to stop and for me to exit in a confident manner. I want to leave the ride behind and move on to something way more suitable to who I really am.
But truth be told, I am tired. I am so tired and my mind’s voice does not stop singing the same destructive songs I have been hearing for so many years.
And maybe I’m scared of the other rides. Maybe, as much as I hate this one, I know this one. I know how this ride goes. I know that it goes up ever so slowly and that it plummets down suddenly and ridiculously fast and sometimes it jumps again but more often than not it twists and turns lower and lower still until eventually it comes up ever so slowly again. I know that. I know how to hold myself together just barely through the downturns and I know that I have held myself together every single time I have thought no, this time I won’t be able to.
But what happens if I do get off this ride?
What happens then?
What if the next one is bigger and scarier and rougher and faster and so much worse?
What if the next one is a dream to ride? What if it is smooth and has just enough excitement to keep you laughing but doesn’t ever get terrifying?
What then? What am I without the anxiety?
Instead of putting an end to the craziness, I come up with one distracting reason or project after another. That’s the damn truth. I bury myself in one inane, useless time and energy suck after another. No one even asks me to! I just plunge in and out. And when they do ask me, I cannot deny them relieved to have something else to distract me from the completely honest truth that my life is of my own creation and my own inaction.
I need to move. I don’t need to “figure it out.” Figure WHAT out for the love of Twix? I already know what has to be done to get out of this stupid pit.
Want financial security?
Pay off your debt and don’t accrue more debt. Make more than you spend, invest and save the surplus.
Want to live a meaningful life?
Do things you love. Do them with people you love and do them for people and organizations you care about.
Want to reduce stress?
Delegate as much as you can. Share the load you carry. Eliminate what isn’t needed.
Want to be healthier?
Get off your ass and don’t put crap in your body.
Want a better social life?
Be around people. Bonus points if you are around people you either like or who you might not really know but you know they share your interests.
When I was younger every one on the god damn planet called me a know it all. And holy crap I know that I don’t know it all but I do know A LOT. And the thing that I really know is that knowing is only HALF the battle and by far, the easiest part of the battle.
It is the other half that is elusive. The part where you go charging in whether in total stealth mode or screaming like a banshee that’s your call, but the part where you actually step onto the battlefield and fight it out– that’s the part of me that I just can’t tap. Oh I have my little surges. My half-hearted attempts to kind of maybe get close-ish to something before I suddenly remember HEY THERE MIGHT BE A BETTER WAY TO DO BATTLE!!!! And then I run away again. And while I’m looking for a better way to do battle, I’ll also make coffee, and type up a report, and make this pretty chart, and do this little project for this other battalion over here, oh and this soldier wanted me to send something to their family, and oh wouldn’t it be amazing if I could learn this neat new skill so that I could go into battle on a helicopter instead of on foot? YEAH I am so busy with all this stuff to do I just can’t set foot on the battlefield right now, but when I do… HA look out world!
And that’s how fifteen years go by and you’re still running around the office while your friends tell amazing stories and have medals or died trying and everyone else is telling stories about them– especially to you because there you are sitting in the office and everyone else is too busy doing battle to talk.
There are a crapload of extended metaphors in here and I am truly sorry about that but it’s what happens when my brain has diarrhea.
This post might seem crazy and out of left freaking field, but it’s not. This post has been years and years in the making. As a matter of fact, I may have even made this post before at least a couple of times because this is the kind of post I would make if I was trying to get myself to break out of some sort of cycle– again. I think that maybe that is the only difference this time, if there is any difference to be found. I think that this time I am very aware of my excuses and my methods and my cop-outs. I am very aware that I have sung this damn song so very many times and have done absolutely NOTHING concrete to bring out real tangible changes. I am aware and even ashamed that I am here again doing this dance on the sidelines.
Do I stay, do I go? If I stay, I know what it will be like and I know that I will hate it for all the days that I stay in it. I know it, I know it, I know it. But if I go… if I go…
As I mentioned two posts ago when I reviewed John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines, John Green is a new discovery for me– a happy accident. I requested all of his books from the library and three of them came in. I am trying to be good and not read them back to back but it is really hard to do because John Green is my kind of author. Will Grayson, Will Grayson is indeed a John Green book, but it is a collaborative effort written equally with David Levithan whom I do not really know except that Wiki has informed me he used to work on the Babysitter’s Club (a childhood obsession of mine) and that he co-wrote Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist (loved the movie had no idea it was a book).
The basic premise is: Will Grayson is best friends with Tiny Cooper– an extremely flamboyant and large gay kid he grew up with who becomes the third main character in this novella. will grayson is a boy in Naperville who is a loner but in love with a boy he met online named Isaac. One day, in the most unlikeliest of places under somewhat gloomy circumstances, Will Grayson and will grayson meet. And the rest is, as they say, history.
What I thought: Reading the basic premise makes me think I did a bad job because it sounds awfully cheesy. But it’s not awfully cheesy at all, it’s awesome. Will Grayson, Will Grayson was written in a truly collaborative effort with John Green writing the Will Grayson chapters and David Levithan writing the will grayson chapters. And it works so well. The story does have its cheesy moments the way all young adult books do. It’s about friendship and young romance so of course it’s got some sap in it. But the book is also filled to the brim with funny parts. I do love books that make me laugh out loud and this one does it.
Memorable quote: “when things break, it’s not the actual breaking that prevents them from getting back together again. it’s because a little piece gets lost- the two remaining ends couldn’t fit together even if they wanted to. the whole shape has changed.”
In conclusion: Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a no-brainer for me to recommend. It’s funny, it’s easily devoured, and awwww it’s cute. The collaborative effort is interesting and although the lower case thing makes my editorial eye twitch, the voices are distinct and strong enough to carry it past such a silly device. I have only read one John Green novel and I immediately knew which character he was writing. You know those best friend necklaces with the heart that breaks in two? This is the book form of just that. So read it, and then give it to your bestie to read too. I think they’ll thank you for it.
Five/Five Stars, Excellent
I first started with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series in 2011 believe it or not. And I liked it but it was such an effort to read it being so many pages long and being such a freaking soap opera that I didn’t pick up any books in the series for two years. The past year though has been the year of the Outlander and so it is that I have somehow managed to read all the way up to book 6– A Breath of Snow and Ashes. I pretty much feel exactly the same way about every book in this series so bear with me if you’re read my thoughts on these books before.
The basic premise is: pretty much the same for every single one of the novels in the Outlander series. A woman from the 1960′s, Claire, magically walks through a stone circle and ends up in the 1760′s. There she meets and falls in love with a Scottish man named Jamie. Total. Chaos. Ensues. For A Breath of Snow and Ashes, book 6 in the series, we are now in America in the years leading up to the American Revolution. Claire and Jamie have been joined by their daughter from the future and her husband from the future and their child from the 1700′s. I know, it’s crazy. They live in a wild North Carolina on land that Jamie is responsible for developing.
What I thought: Every time I finish one of these books, I think “Ok that’s the last one. I mean it’s total craziness every time! But geez I wonder what happens next…” The books are massive. Seriously, they are great weapons. A Breath of Snow and Ashes is 980 pages and I had the hardcover copy from the library. I could dent someone’s face in. The books are complete soap operas. There is tragedy by the boatload (sometimes literally) and drama and action and romance. You can pretty much expect at least three really bad things happening in every book if not way more. Rape is pretty much a given in this world of stories and I honestly have no idea how I feel about that. I think there has been at least one rape in every book. The thing is, that even with all this chaos the books ARE readable. They are addictive. They suck you right in. You like the main characters and the main supporting characters. Jamie, Claire, Bree, Roger, Fergus, Marsali, Ian, Lord John, Jocasta are all interesting. There is so much cheesiness but for whatever reason it’s the kind of cheesiness I can totally stomach. Sometimes, it’s even the kind of cheesiness I would totally love to be on the receiving end of! Me! The person who has a very low tolerance for manufactured cheese. Jamie and Claire are probably THE most amazing made up couple ever. And so even though you know their thing is completely fictional it’s still totally endearing.
Accolades: Well, not necessarily an accolade but you should know that Outlander is being made into a Starz TV show. I have to say I have seen a lot of the stuff Starz has but out about the show and if you like seeing your books come to life, it looks like they are really getting to the core of it which is amazing to me since the series is so dense and huge.
In Conclusion: A Breath of Snow and Ashes, and its accompanying series, is probably best for lovers of historical fiction and/or romance. The fantasy level is low (yes they can magically time travel with some stones, that’s it) so I don’t think I’d necessarily recommend it to that set primarily. If you don’t mind your books being peppered with foreign languages (this one has tons of Gaelic and some French most notably), I can’t imagine that you wouldn’t like it. Oh yeah you also have to be into long books. And books that are maybe longer than they should be (I can’t tell you how much editing I want to do when reading these) but still manage to be entertaining. I doubt most people can tackle this book in a day but if you are looking at hiding away for an entire weekend, or week, this is perfect. If you are new to the Outlander series, start with Outlander. If you are not new to the Outlander series, just wondering if you should bother reading A Breath of Snow and Ashes, I say yes. The American Revolution aspect is interesting and I am having a great time with the other families. Specifically, I sort of adore Fergus and Marsali’s story. Will I read more? Most likely, yes but I think I need a break, aye?
4/4 Stars, Really Liked It
An Abundance of Katherines is a great example of how my brain works. I saw a video online I really liked by a man named John Green. John Green has a Tumblr. On John Green’s Tumblr, I found out he is an author of lots of Young Adult books, one of which has even won an award. I liked his Tumblr page and decided I’d read his books. I went to my library’s website and requested all his books. An Abundance of Katherines was the first one that came in. I read it. Happiness ensued.
The basic premise is this: Colin is a teenage boy who is a child prodigy that can’t come up with any original ideas. Not only that but he has a thing for Katherines and has been dumped for the 19th time by the 19th Katherine. The dumping is crushing and so his best friend, Hasan, coerces him into a road trip that lands them in Gutshot, Tennessee.
What I thought: There are some authors that I love to read because I love to read them. And then there are authors that I love because I wish I could write like them. John Green falls into the latter category. His writing is funny and easy to fall into. His dialogue seems effortless and natural. One of my favorite lines from An Abundance of Katherines was “I learned a while ago that the best way to get people to like you is not to like them too much” but there were several quotables in the book and I laughed out loud on more than one occasion. He has the teenage voice down so well I felt like I was back in high school but for the good parts.
Accolades: According to Wikipedia, “An Abundance of Katherines was a 2007 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book and received recognition as one of American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults.”
In conclusion: Yes, An Abundance of Katherines is one to read. It’s an easy breezy read that isn’t fraught with cheese. For instance, it occurred to me after reading the book that this is a coming of age story. I think that’s a good thing. I don’t like my books being blatantly thematic if that makes sense. It’s a story– a story of Colin and Hasan’s road trip that wasn’t really a road trip the summer before starting college. This is probably best for the high school and older crowd. Bonus: An important part of the story is a mathematical equation. John Green gives the Appendix to his mathematician friend to explain the equation, how he came up with it, how it works etc. I really really tried to read it and follow it but forget it, I couldn’t keep up despite the fact the language was easy and well done. However, I am sure people interested in math will absolutely love it.
Five/Five Stars, Excellent
When I put out a call for books my ten year old son would like, the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane kept coming up. People told me it was very good and he would definitely enjoy it if he liked fantasy books. I requested So You Want to be a Wizard, Book One of the Young Wizards series from the library and he loved it so I requested the next three titles. Recently, I threw the book in my purse and read it to see how I liked it.
The basic premise is this: Nita is a 13 year old girl who is tormented by a girl in her school. One day she is running away from her tormentor and hides in the library. While there, a book snags her shirt and she sees the book is called So You Want to be a Wizard. Intrigued, she loans it out from the library and so begins Nita’s induction into the world of magic. She meets Kit, a 12 year old boy who has also just begun his path of wizardry and they befriend a white hole named Fred. There is no slow buildup in this book. The three are cast into an extreme adventure right away and must deal with a malevolent creature known as the Starsnuffer.
What I thought: Well, I loved So You Want to be a Wizard. I really, really loved it. A completely action-packed story, it has a good time bending typical fantasy conventions. Machines, for example, are a genre of magic some people tend to be good with. We don’t really think of that when we think of specialties in magic, we think of elements– water, earth, air, fire, etc and other natural components. So that was a fantastic element. The main characters, Kit and Nita, are likable. They seem to be the kind who, unless they are being bullied, fly under the radar with no one noticing them really. It is also very nice to see a female character who is 1) talented 2) not a sidekick or helper and 3) not falling in love. A boy and a girl who work together and work together well– what a novel idea! They are, in this book at least, very much equals even though the story is from Nita’s perspective. This is definitely a book that crosses gender lines easily. I see the series often suggested for fans of Harry Potter and agree with that although in my case, I so far prefer the Young Wizards to the Potter universe. Out of curiosity, I asked my son if he liked Young Wizards or Harry Potter better and he said Young Wizards which surprised me honestly but there you go.
In conclusion: I do recommend this book. I have the others in the series and have requested the rest of the series for my son as well. I would definitely encourage parents to read this one with their children– either read it to them or have them read it and then you read it and discuss it together. If you are a lover of fantasy stories in general, I also recommend So You Want to be a Wizard.
Five/Five Stars, Excellent
Yup. This little blog right here is four years old today. I think that’s pretty cool. I’ve been blogging for many, many years before that but Mutant Supermodel was born four years ago. So there you go.
I honestly don’t even remember how the name came about except that I think it happened after a discussion about Rebecca Romijn as Mystique in the X-Men. Supermodel + Mutant = Mutant Supermodel. I had the name years before I had the blog.
The blogging thing is a weird thing. I know lots of people do it to make money but it is really hard to do that. I mean yes you can totally do it and there are lots of great resources but it’s not really something that I have gone all in for. I’ve toyed with it and I’ve done little things to make it happen but really my blogging has always been the 21st century version of my journal– with public input. And I really think that for that reason everyone should have a blog. I don’t believe in blogging as some exalted art form. I think everyone can and should blog because I think everyone can and should journal. To intentionally make money off your blog you have to sacrifice a little or a lot of that. So I’ve never really gotten totally gung-ho about it and I’m pretty sure it shows.
I think it’s really cool though that a few of you have hung around for the four years I’ve been doing this. And thank you for that.
I don’t really know what the future of this blog is. It’s my little rambly place. My little white box of thoughts. And I think there will always be a need for me to have that. Sometimes I just need (or want) it less than others.
Anyways, in honor of my birthday I am encouraging everyone to help themselves to either a cupcake, a cookie, or a giant slice of cake or pie today. Don’t forget to make a wish.
A word before I get going…
Don’t be surprised if this blog starts to get a bit more reflective and journalish than formal. There’s a lot on the mind that needs munching over instead of analytical processing if that makes sense. Also, I miss it. I have been catching some of my old posts now and then and miss just letting things flow the way I used to.
All that being said and out of the way…
I did not sleep well last night. Lots of tumbling and waking. I was a bit frustrated that I didn’t really experience much of a weekend. There was a lot of fun stuff and interesting stuff but not a lot of sit and do nothing stuff which is my favorite stuff. Other people got to do nothing but it just wasn’t in the cards for me and I was a bit frustrated the weekend was over so fast.
I went to a Law School forum on Saturday.
I really didn’t want to write about that here because I’m a bit frustrated with myself. I’m in my 30′s and am still figuring out what to be when I grow up and going through that on here makes me feel inconsistent and indecisive and flighty– things I don’t really like in others and don’t like to identify in myself. But I mean if just a couple years ago I was all gung-ho about Computer Science and now I’m all “LAW SCHOOL” well… I’m annoying myself in a way.
I was talking to a friend yesterday and I said that I felt in our case where we had our children very young, we matured differently than other girls we knew. We matured in a way to care for our kids and we did it fast. We became very good at caring for others and focused on that, as we should. But we are a little late to the other maturity party– the one that we come to terms with what we are capable of, what we deserve, what needs to be done by us and for us. That whole part, I think, comes later for whatever reason. Maybe it’s self-esteem, maybe it’s the way we’re raised, maybe it’s the patriarchy, maybe it’s just our defective wiring, maybe it’s everything. I honestly don’t know why it’s that way I just know that it IS that way for some of us. I’m in my early 30′s and trying to “grow up” in a completely different way than other women in their early 30′s. And it’s good, I mean finally hello, but it’s also a frustrating little thing because I feel like it’s expected of me to already have shit together.
The Law School forums were interesting. I went to two different ones– one was a panel of five people in different law degree jobs, and the other was with a financial aid expert. The first one, with the panel, stirred something in me that I haven’t really felt before. It was this feeling like, “I really want to do that and it’s something that I am pretty sure I can do and enjoy doing.” Law is huge. It’s fast. It’s immense. There are so many aspects to it and I”m not even talking about fields to study law in. There are so many THINGS you can do in law.
I keep thinking a lot about the Scanner personality since learning about it from Nicole and Maggie. I am a scanner. I know that I am. I mean it’s so freaking OBVIOUS. And I am still not past the whole thing where I feel guilty about being a Scanner. I feel like that’s not what I’m supposed to be and that it is kind of immature even though I know that it’s not like that at all. Anyways. I feel like with Law, I will have lots of opportunities to put my Scanner personality to good use. I feel like there is lots of room to play with. I really got that sense from the lawyers who were speaking at the panel.
The other important thing about talking with them, one of which is in charge of hiring at his firm, was to get an idea of the job market. They all admitted that it’s not what it used to be but that employment IS possible and that the market IS improving. They all felt that unless another catastrophe comes into play we should all be entering a MUCH better market when we graduate than the current one and definitely better than the one that existed just three years ago. All of them found employment easily but most of them did know of at least one person who struggled. Almost all of them agreed that as far as employment goes– you get out what you put in and that is the biggest difference in the market now than 5, 10 years ago.
Lastly, one of the members became a lawyer as a career change. He was 32 years old when he made the switch and he is very successful right now so that’s pretty encouraging. I’ll be 3-4 years older than that by the time I get started but I feel that is still pretty damn good. And he is now dealing with the craziness of young children and a law career and I’ve already gotten a lot of that out of the way.
The financial aid expert made me feel that ok yes this is doable. He was clever and practical and gave excellent information on just what to do so that we could have the best and most affordable legal education possible. He was very encouraging and seriously his presentation was chock full of sound financial advice. He was thorough in his explanations of student loans, the different options, the new rules, and so on and so forth. Will I graduate from law school debt free? Highly doubtful. But I should be able to graduate with a manageable debt and that’s the most important thing for me.
So what is my plan? I am going to see what classes are available in Spring. If there is another Computer Science class, I will try and and take it anyways because I’m interested in technology and law anyways. And because I like programming. I just don’t think it’s a viable career option for me really. It’s funny but yes I do believe that at this point in my life, getting a law degree is a better bet than going into computer science. For me. Not for everyone certainly, just little old me.
But really my focus is going to be on two things:
1) The LSAT. I did really well on a practice exam but that’s just one practice exam and because I want grant money, I need to be beyond solid on the LSAT. That’s right, for me it’s not about scoring high enough to get into law school, it’s about getting money to go to law school. I know I can score high enough to get in, I just want to get into really good schools and I want to get money to go to them.
2) The money. The financial aid expert advised us to get our financial house in order before starting law school and he was very specific on what he meant by this: pay off all Debt (credit cards and car payments), babysit my credit report and make sure nothing crazy shows up, bulk up savings, and get accustomed to living on less than $2000 a month.
My target is to apply for 2015 admission. Once letters start coming back, I can think about everything else. And yes, there is a LOT to think about in that area but it’s not worth worrying about AT ALL until envelopes come back and that won’t be happening for easily another 15 months at minimum.
So the best case scenario is I start 2015 but there is a chance I will put it off one more year for financial reasons and so that would mean a 2016 entry. Either way, I am looking at being a lawyer before 40. Some people have mid-life crises and buy fast cars, or leave their families, or get tons of plastic surgery. Apparently my mid-life crisis is pushing me to law school. So, not a mid-life crisis. Mid-life awakening.
And you thought things were getting boring over here.
What exactly is a fast? Oxford English Dictionary defines it as
To abstain from food, or to restrict oneself to a meagre diet, either as a religious observance or as a ceremonial expression of grief.
Of course as often happens, the word is often used to simply refer to abstinence of any sort. People go on all kinds of fasts nowadays. They go on spending fasts, on car fasts, on technology fasts, on social media fasts, and so on and so forth.
Citizens of “developed” nations (I hate that term) find themselves living in a time of unprecedented wealth, abundance, and freedom. Our societies are very diverse filled with people with wide ranges of interests, tastes, priorities, desires, needs, and dreams and not only do we (theoretically) have the freedom to choose as we wish, we live in a time where there is something for everyone making it easier for everyone to satisfy their wishes than ever before.
The problem, of course, is that there is something for e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. And with so much to choose in so many facets of life, things inevitably get lost. Priorities, goals, values easily fall through the cracks because there are millions of cracks for them to fall through.
And as wonderful as that is, as amazing as that can be, it’s also so incredibly damaging and overwhelming. The abundance that we are so proud of, that we are so free to indulge in is killing us in endless ways. Our bodies, hearts, minds, and spirits can all fall victim to the sheer volume of everything that surrounds us.
I’m not just talking about things here. I’m not just talking about too many objects in your home. I am talking about too much everything.
So what’s a good way to cope? What’s a good way to rediscover things you have lost? Well, for some people, it’s fasting.
On Friday and Saturday, I did a watermelon fast. I could eat as much watermelon as I wanted and drink as much water as I wanted, but that was it. A co-worker asked me if it didn’t feel awesome when I was done.
Well, no. Friday night ended with me going to bed with a huge headache and on Saturday, I could hardly stay awake after the one burst of adrenaline and energy in the early morning for my kids’ cross country race.
Did I regret doing it? No not at all.
Would I do it again? Probably or something very similar but not any time soon.
Because I learned from it. I was reminded of a few things from it. Do you have any idea how often I snack during the day? I didn’t either until I couldn’t do it. I eat for a billion reasons and not all of them have to do with hunger. I eat to not be rude. I eat because it’s something I’ve never tried before. I eat because if I don’t it will go to waste. I eat because it’s in my reach. I eat because I am blessed to have many, many, many opportunities to eat.
I really didn’t feel it was that bad. I really felt I ate pretty well mostly. I ate lots of fruits and veggies and drank water and didn’t eat lots of carbs and didn’t eat lots of red meat. I thought I was choosing wisely. And maybe in a way, that’s all true except that I was eating too much and too often. So even if my choices were wise most of the time, I was just eating too many times. Or too much.
And so here is the thing. If you are at a point where you feel there is just too much in your life of something but you feel you have done everything you can to reduce how much there is, go on a fast of some sort to really know if you can go further.
If you are stressed to heck about money and you think you have done everything possible to trim back expenses, go on a fiscal fast. Don’t spend any money (outside of mandatory bills) for a week.
If you are stressed because there is just too much stuff in your house and you think you’ve gotten rid of everything you can get rid of, do a shopping fast for a month and only buy consumables you are out of.
I think fasting brings things into focus in that it shows how much we do without even thinking about it. We need it we buy it without even considering a possible solution (borrowing it or going with an alternative we already own). We consume because we can and in a way we are encouraged to do so because we are told it’s in our character.
That being said, I know there are people who rely on constant fasts to save them. I know people who constantly do juice fasts for instance to help lose a few pounds. Or people who constantly do fiscal fasts to save their bank accounts.
I think there is a pitfall there as well. I think drastic action should be used on a rare to occasional occurrence because the most important thing about drastic action is not the number at the end but the lessons learned. And if you are having to constantly rely on drastic actions, something is missing. Maybe you’re not really learning any lessons, you’re just doing what needs to get done and getting through as fast as possible. Or maybe you learn something but are having problems putting the lessons to use.
My co-worker asked me if I had weighed myself before and after fasting. No way, I explained. I dumped the scale in a very dramatic fashion last month.
She insisted that weighing yourself was very important so you could see the progress you made and while I understand that completely, that’s not why I fasted. I fasted to give myself a jolt– physically and mentally. And if you are looking for a way to stop whatever madness you’re in, I think that’s the way to go. Forget measuring. Forget tallying. Just get in there, commit to a time frame, and do it. Yes, ok, document how you’re feeling. Make note of things you’re learning, things that have surprised you. If you think of an idea that can translate back to regular life, jot it down. But to focus on numbers, I think takes away from fasting itself. It just becomes another band-aid in a life filled with millions of band-aid. It just becomes another choice you can make that gets lost in the endless choices. It becomes, like so much already, mindless.
That’s where the power of fasting really comes in. It makes us mindful of what we are doing and not doing. It makes us mindful of what we notice and what we don’t. It makes us mindful. It puts us back in our lives, in our moments. And that’s why I’ve done it and that’s why I will do it again, however I may do so in the future. It’s my way of saying Yes to saying No.