In the midst of this feeling of almost-exhaustion and a tinge of loneliness, I'm finding a renewed motivation to keep on down this path. I think it's because for once in my life I'm quite certain this is the right direction, and I know the long-term payoff will be positive. Even when stressed about the little dramas that play out around me at work, or navigating my way through other people's games, I keep that goal in my mind and it helps me push through the bull.
I'm just pretending the game players don't exist and am leaving them to their own devices. All I can do is my best, and I know I'm not perfect so the constant pointing out of every tiny thing I do wrong (while annoying and sometimes depressing to the point of wishing I had a voo-doo doll) really only gives me the path to improvement. The more I learn, the better I can be, and so on and so forth. In the end, they're helping me be better, and I can't fault that.
My folks will be here in a week. One. Week. I'm busy making sure the apartment is squeaky clean, the fridge is stocked, and although "we don't need no stinkin' plan" there are options for us during those four days. I miss my Mom and Zane, and cannot wait to see them again.
I like heels. I'm going to keep wearing heels. I unsubscribed from a blog because of some comments about heels not being appropriate and/or being "too sexy." Sorry, I'm a grown, married woman and they are just fine for me, thanks. I don't subscribe to the belief that the responsibility for sexual misconduct is simply because of how a woman dresses. Men bear responsibility for controlling themselves and their own urges (and where are the blogs that fuss at young men for their dress? And why are we focusing on clothing and not attitude? Don't get me started.)
I think we've decided to move closer to Houston, probably either late this year or early next year. There are lots of reasons. Let's just say the cons of staying in this specific town are starting to outweigh the pros. We'll see how it plays out, but at this point we're both feeling it (and it makes me feel better, less like this is just in my head.)
The downside to the pharmacy career path shows itself once again, at least in a retail setting. I have to start somewhere, right?
Maybe it will rain today and I won't have to stand at the drive-through window and smell other people's barbecues... selfish? Yup. I have my fingers crossed we will be able to close right at 6:00 tonight without hassle and get the heck out of dodge.
I wasn't a fat kid, but I was not skinny by any stretch of the imagination. I "developed" early and always felt like the fat girl next to my still-prepubescent classmates. In high school I was not an athlete (big surprise) and even though I wasn't fat by any stretch, I was comparatively larger than other girls, which in my mind equaled fat.
After two years of college and marriage, I really packed on the weight and got to what I considered a horribly large two hundred pounds. A lay-off, having nothing to do but exercise and plan what I ate all day, and then a long sweaty commute all helped contribute to a fifty-pound weight loss and the "skinniest" I'd ever been. I even taught an aerobics class at church and felt really good about the way I looked.
And then my marriage hit the skids. My Dad got sick. I wasn't even thinking about food and maintained the loss, but once I moved to Dallas and felt free to do whatever I wanted, I ate whatever I wanted. I didn't exercise. Naturally I gained a ton of weight. Once I started inching toward two hundred again, I decided to do something about it, and promptly really did nothing.
So we passed two hundred, and then 210, and then we hit the dreaded 220 mark. I remember my Mom and Dad having discussions about his weight when he hit 220. I tried not to think about weighing as much as my Dad had. And honestly I didn't think about it a lot for a while there. I just figured I was going to be the Fat Friend, and that would be okay.
Only it's not, not really. At least not for me. I feel awful, physically and emotionally. I crack jokes and deflect it, but it does bother me. Every time I think "yup, this is it, I'm doing something about it" I have a really awful day and reach for the cookies or ice cream or fries or whatever it is that I know I don't need to eat but tastes so good it seems like it fills up something I'm missing. Of course then I try to button the jeans that fit just fine for a while and they don't anymore, and I feel ashamed and embarrassed. That ought to make me more determined but nope, it makes me just want to eat that much more. Like eating would deaden it somehow, or make it better.
Today I was reading a post by Jinny over on Two Phat Chicks about her frustration with not seeing the scale budge. Jen posted about a mutual friend of ours (we'll call her Caro because that's her online messageboard persona) who has lost 225 pounds over three years. 225 pounds. She's lost me at my heaviest. She's doing 5ks now and talking about loving the feeling of exercising so much she might be doing it too much.
What is it that's holding me back? What makes me skirt right around the real issue and reach for the cookie dough? That's the real reason I'm sitting here, navel-gazing about why my navel looks weird. (And suddenly realizing what an odd word "navel" is.)
I'm a plan sort of girl. I like having a plan, so here is my plan. I re-joined Weight Watchers. For the umpteenth time, but I guess they don't care. But instead of focusing right this second on how much weight I need to lose and getting bummed about eating salads and vinaigrette for all eternity, I am just going to track what I eat for the first week. That's it. Just track it. Every bite (no cheating and "forgetting" about things I was too embarrassed to write down.)
It's just me and you, Internet. No one has to see what I did, there is no one there to judge me or make fun of me or tell me how I'm going to die this slow, horrible death because I had cheese on my sandwich at lunch. So for the week I'm just going to tell you what I ate and how I felt, and I'm going to be more conscious of whether I'm really hungry or just eating out of depression or boredom or stress or whatever. We'll cross next week's bridge when we get there.
Don't you love that? A brand-new day, like Miss Stacey said in Anne of Green Gables, "fresh, with no mistakes in it." I think that's why we like resolutions, makeover shows, even the talent-search reality things - it's a chance for a brand-new start, a big change, a turn-around in life, something good rising from the bad, or mediocre, or whatever we've dealt with to that point.
Yesterday I blogged. I talked to my husband and mom. I literally and figuratively put it to bed, and today feels better. Yes, stuff will still be there. Yes, I still have to focus on actions and not words. But getting it out of my head felt so good.
And today is brand-new, ready for the very best of me, and the very best this day has to offer all of us. I hope you have a great one!
One of the not so great things about my job is being in retail, specifically the grocery store environment. It's a difficult line to walk - being professional, legally correct, ethical, and not having patients tell me I'm impersonal or cold. It's not that I don't remember Mrs. Jones, I just have to ask her for her birth date every time she picks up her medication. I have to get her driver's license number for the check. It doesn't matter that she's shopped there since 1955 and that girl at the front never asks for her license. I have to - it's my job. I get along great with the vast majority of our patients; there are always a few who don't like something (or someone) new. The patients I can deal with fine - they're older (for the most part), they're used to their routine, I'm a new face and they have to learn me as much as I have to learn them. I know there are some out to pull a fast one, and am keeping an eye out for that sort of thing, and learning more about that every day.
What I'm not always understanding is the co-worker situation. I've tried very hard to be nice to everyone, to not get involved in the cliques and other "stuff" that goes along with this workplace. For whatever reason I have a couple of people who clearly are not Kelly Fans, which is fine, but there is this constant hum of negative vibe from what I'll call The Peanut Gallery. Every mistake I make is brought up loudly, and all the things I "ought" to do differently are discussed whether I'm in earshot or not.
Honestly, it started off being the way I file (yup, you heard me, the way I file pieces of paper with stickers on them.) Because I didn't do it the way one person did, which meant it was wrong. Even though I knew it wasn't wrong technically, I had to endure a couple of weeks of sniping about this or that, or why did I do this or that (welcome to my personal hell - why did you highlight the prescription number? Because I'm new and it made them easier to see. So I could file faster. Even when I'm the only one looking at a set of papers to file. And my boss said it didn't matter.)
Then, of all things, my clothes. It was hot, and I did not wear the smock we have. I had on scrubs, name tag, everything exactly in place, just no smock. Because we're in Texas and it was over 90 degrees and we work in a little box. No one had said a word to me about it, except The Peanut Gallery. We progressed to my hair. Every time it varied... "oh, so you're pulling it back/ wearing it wavy/rolled it" whatever. With That Look. Y'all know what I'm talking about... That Look. Women have probably been giving other women That Look since time immemorial, and I got to be on the receiving end of it.
Today it came to a bit of a head, and our manager talked to me and The Peanut Gallery, neither of whom seemed to think anything was wrong, except for the one who said I talked down to her, and told me to stop. I maybe should not have said it, but my response was "I'd appreciate the same courtesy." Because lord help me I have tried to be nice. I've tried joking (but have quickly learned my sense of humor isn't exactly meshing with others.) I know, I know, I'm trying too hard. I don't even want to be friends with them, that's not why I go to work, but I want to be professional and civil.
Maybe I am a snob. I don't know. It's not that I'm a cold person, or a mean person, it just takes me time to get to know people, and especially when I'm new at work, I'm trying to focus on doing things correctly (especially now that I'm working in the pharmacy, and training to be a technician, and am literally dealing with people's health and well-being every day.) I get these sideways looks because I went out and found textbooks and bought them. I read them, I'm actively studying. I'm not waiting around for someone to tell me to do something. Maybe that's it? I just don't get what I'm doing wrong, or not doing, or why I'm getting the vocal reaction, and I'd really rather it just stop.
One thing that was said late this afternoon, after most everyone had left for the day, was something about church. I heard someone say "we have enough of those church people here as it is, we don't need any more." And then another voice said "If they acted like they went to church, this would be a better place to work."
So here is my plan - I don't want to talk about change. I don't want to talk about treating people better, or ignoring the sideways comments, or refocusing my mind. I've said my peace here... now is the time to do. I don't want to be one of those Church People who talks about what we did or are doing, or what all happened in the walls of church recently. I don't want my life to be the story of what I talked about doing - I want people to remember me for how I treated them, what I did, the things I did or the way I made them feel, and I want those things to be good. I want to feel good about myself and the job I do, and the only way I can do that is to simply focus on the tasks at hand and not think about what's being said on the sidelines. I simply cannot lose sight of the goal - particularly the ultimate goal - and get lost in the clutter of the day or the words spoken, or the emotion I feel at that moment.
But it is so much easier to say than to do...
They're all valuable things. I like to try and participate when I can. Kristin over at The Faithful Fashionista is leading a challenge to wear dresses or skirts (focus on femininity, modestly natch) for a week. This is one I would LOVE to take part in.
Sometimes I really feel like I forget how to be feminine. I've never been the super-girly type. I don't like a ton of pink or lace or frilly stuff, and I will totally walk away from things with bows or that cotton, crochet-looking stuff on it. I am SO not into the boho thing, or the super-feminine stuff. But then again it's perfectly all right for us to have our own way of expressing it.
I used to wear a lot of skirts. Granted, that was several sizes ago and Chub Rub was not so much of an issue, but I miss it sometimes. You have to walk differently, sit differently, you have to actually think about movement and how you carry yourself (at least I do.) And I think being conscious of movement is a positive thing.
I live in scrubs and khakis now. It's the side-effect of working in a retail pharmacy environment, and it's comfortable as all-get out. Plus I don't have to worry about what I'm going to wear to work every day, so long as everything is cleaned and pressed I'm good to go. But part of me misses the opportunity to find skirts that fit (which is a challenge in itself, but that's a whole other post) and making an effort to wear them for a week.
I know, some of y'all probably think I've gone around the bend. I know it's a Modern Time and I'm a Modern Girl and I don't have to wear skirts to feel feminine. It's just something I like. It's something I feel personally I don't do enough. I still feel weird sometimes wearing pants to church on Sundays. I've worn my jeans a couple of times since moving to Cowboy Country, and it felt so strange I haven't done it since (even though they were a dressy cut and a dark wash.)
And I think it can go too far... I mean there are times and places where skirts are not appropriate and can bring unwanted attention. I'm thinking specifically about the ladies who come to the punch-kick class at the Karate Center wearing leggings and long skirts, trying to exercise without exposing themselves. I may be a heathen in my capri-length exercise gear, but I'm also not constantly trying to manage fabric and not giving the class my all because I can't kick.
So, anyway, what I plan to do is find some fun, girlier accessories to wear with my work clothes. I usually wear just a plain silver necklace with a small cross on it and my silver hoops (in addition to watch and wedding/engagement rings.) This week I'll look for colorful things to put together, even if it's just a different earring or necklace, or even a brooch/pin for my smock.
My challenge to anyone reading this would be - find a different way to express your femininity this week. Do your hair a different way, put together an outfit you might not have tried before, dust off your brooches and pins, heck even paint your nails (even if you're like me and clear polish feels all wild and crazy.) Be as conscious of your movement as you would if you were navigating a chair in a skirt. (Remember, as Tim Gunn likes to remind us, carriage is vital to projecting a positive image and making your clothes look better. And we all love T.G., right?)
Off to dig through the jewelry box!
I learned a few things during these days of total slack-assitude:
- Daytime television sucks. Big time. I knew it, but there is nothing like laying on the couch or in bed with remote in hand to remind me how much. It's one of those times I thank God for Tivo and DVRs. I could catch up on Mythbusters, Top Gear, and Adult Swim.
- Gizmo can go from 60 to zero in about half a millisecond. At one point she was trying to nom my toes off, and before I could blink she was passed out on the couch next to me. It was kind of entertaining to watch.
- I really like strawberry jello and Sprite Zero. And not just when I'm sick either, but they taste better, for some reason, when I'm not feeling well.
- Naps are nice. We would all probably feel a lot better if we took a nap after lunch.
(Just had a thought - isn't that a lot like what God lets us do? We try to force ourselves down the path we think is right, we ignore the signs, and finally Someone says "Okay that's enough" and we get the forced hiatus, and the new direction becomes clearer. At least that's what it feels like to me sometimes.)
It's the fatal flaw of a perfectionist - always trying to anticipate what's coming next and figure out how to make it more perfect. Lately I've focused on trying to differentiate between perfectionism and excellence. My friend Sherri had a quote on her messageboard signature for the longest that really made me stop and think, and I've put it on my little sheet o'quotes to glance at during the day --
"I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God's business." ~ Michael J. Fox
Yesterday I read a great post over on Fistful of Talent about LeBron James, and how he understood where his focus needed to be to become a true MVP of his game. No matter how good he played, he looked for ways to improve his game; he changed his training regimen to add more muscle to his frame; he defended players he knew were good no matter their position. In so many words, he was constantly looking for ways to learn more about his competition and improve his own game.
That's the level I'm striving for in so many aspects of life - learn more about my competition (or the "game" I'm playing), take the steps to improve physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and no matter how good I've performed in the past, always keep an eye out for ways to be better. Kathy Rapp's article is "for" HR professionals, but it is applicable to anyone striving to be the best in their own field.
I think that's the real key, learning to avoid perfectionism since no one or thing can ever be perfect, but keeping my eyes focused on the goal of excellence no matter what surrounds me. It's challenging, being back in this retail environment, and I'd forgotten some of the drama that seems to surround things, but if I keep my focus on doing the best I can possibly do and maintaining my own personal goal of excellence in all things, I can at least keep my head above the fray. I may not be able to change the focus of the people around me, and they may continue to think I'm an insufferable snob (or a threat to them personally, or whatever their misconception may be) but at least I'm doing what I can to keep things running smoothly (and legally, and ethically.)
It's okay that I'm not satisfied with my performance, it's just the end-goal that needs to adjust. Changing my focus from perfection to excellence... working toward being the MVP and improving the team I play for... maintaining my own attitude no matter what is going on around me... those are the more important things.
That's why I'm excited about the new direction of 10,000 Doors and what it could mean for how we look at church and reaching other people. It's part of the "Rethink Church" program, reminding us that for all the doors leading into our buildings, there are thousands and tens of thousands leading us out into the world.
Some people will call it a new idea. Some will argue it's the "emergent church" theory packaged differently. I say it's only doing what Christ himself did. It's getting up and taking our faith out into the world, and reaching people where they are rather than requiring them to come to us. It's setting aside our preconceived notions of what church ought to be, and focusing on how to live a totally Christian lifestyle.
The thing is, it's not really enough to just be a "good Christian" - go to church, say the right things, tear up at the right songs, know the words to the newest praise music, remember all your liturgy from heart, put your envelope in the plate faithfully each week, study your Sunday School lessons, or even attend the other activities that go on in your building. That's putting God in a box, even if that box is the center of your social life, or of the utmost importance to you personally.
It's like this semi-crisis of faith I'm having. God doesn't just give us stuff - money, homes, better jobs, health, or whatever - because we're faithful to him. There's a sacrifice expected. When Christ called his followers, he didn't say "y'all keep on fishing and come when you're done and don't forget to tie up all your loose ends first and get things straight at home." He just said "follow me" and they came. When the rich young ruler asked how to get into heaven, Christ didn't say "if you keep on praying and saying the right things and making yourself visible in the right places, I'll keep giving you riches;" he said "if you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Matthew 19:21)
It's not that we have to be poor and do without in order to follow Christ. Far from it, we need to be good stewards of what we've been given. But it's not about material things. God is not some omnipotent ATM machine or genie in a lamp waiting on us to ask him for whatever it is we want and then "poof" there it is. It's not that we can think ourselves rich, or pray ourselves rich (or healed of disease, or in a different place, or whatever it is that we want.) Over and over, near the end of his life, Christ talks about the sacrifice - of home, family, social status, "stuff", even life (both his and the disciples.)
Ever hear the song "Get Down" by Audio Adrenaline? The verses are worth repeating:
Lavishly our lives are wasted
Humbleness is left untasted
You can't live your life to please yourself, yeah
That's a tip from my mistake
Exactly what it doesn't take
To win you've got to come in last place
To live your life you've got to lose it
And all the losers get a crown
All I need's another day
Where I can't seem to get away
From the many things that drag me down, yeah
I'm sure you've had a day like me
When nothing seems to set you free
From burdens you can't carry all alone
In you weakness He is stronger
In your darkness He shines through
When you're crying He's your comfort
When you're all alone, He's carrying you
This valley is so deep
I can barely see the sun
I cry out for mercy, Lord
And You lift me up again
That attitude of stuff being important gets in the way. How can you expect to relate to someone who's struggling to pay their bills, feed their family, keep their head above water, when your concern is buying a yacht? (Seriously y'all this was the desire stated by someone in my class.) How do you say "come to my church and be welcome" when that person thinks "I would never, ever fit in there" or "there is no way I could send my kid on this trip or that retreat, we can't even keep power on all the time."
This is my struggle - to reach out to these people I see every day. People I know are struggling with poverty, depression, illness, addiction, even just feeling like there will never ever be a day they can really truly get out of the situation they're in. That's the reality of living in a poor, rural county. That's what we have to relate to as a church. We have to be able to go out into that and say "let me help you in whatever way I can" and then when they want to know why, we share with them Christ's love. We give them that hope for something better.
But we can't do that sitting in our air-conditioned church, watching PowerPoint presentations, and constantly putting money in whatever group's hand is reaching out that week. People can't relate to that, they feel intimidated. They feel bad enough about where they are without piling on the guilt of not being able to contribute financially. Yes, it's great when people can give financially, we couldn't do what we do without it. But it ought not be the focus - it's the reason I have such a distaste for the fundraising drives or annual budget sermons. Yes, it's needed and yes it ought to be a goal for all of us, but in communities with such diversity in prosperity, we ought to remind people that tithing is not just financial - we need volunteers to make programs work, we need people to pray for our leadership and outreach. There is so much more than money that makes a church go round, and I think sometimes we forget that. We forget it in our lives, and we forget it in our worship.
The point of all of the above is this - all those doors that reach out into our communities go to all sorts of different people in all sorts of different circumstances. If we could stop and think about how we reach them, instead of making them want to come to us, we might reach a lot more and make a larger difference in our home towns.
I tried to import the WP blog back to Blogger format and could not make it work, so I'm just starting here fresh. Everything happens for a reason, and I'm sure the whole depressing episodes that were last fall probably need to vanish into the Great Internet Beyond anyway.
I thought about bringing the name back over here to Blogger and realized most of the time I just post what's going on with me, or what I'm thinking, or just random goings-on, so why name the blog anything but what it is? It's just about me, the Kelly Girl (and I do prefer the Grrl spelling, it's my punk-loving, rebellious way of expressing myself without flipping everyone off at Tchotckes. Points for getting the reference.)