Thursday, March 22, 2018

Day 78: Progress Report

I don’t know how much I weigh.

I know I weigh the amount that doesn’t yet fit into that darling eshakti dress I bought this summer that has been sitting in my closet as kind of a goal. I promised I wouldn’t gauge progress by a scale but by how I felt in my clothes.

I think I’ve plateaued a little. But surprisingly, I’m not discouraged. Remember my recommitment to exercise last week? Hasn’t happened. But I’m not panicked. My cravings have gone way down, and do had my guilt when I eat a treat.

Lisa and I are doing another half in June! I really do need to get serious about training. After the Easter concert (which is a pretty great ab workout with all the melismas in the Messiah) and when spring break starts, I want to jump start my training.

Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Day 77: For the Longest Time

Today was long. I keep thinking I’ll get used to long days, but I think I’m handling them with less grace than I used to. After work, I judged a festival for 2 hours, sat in traffic for an hour, then had choir rehearsal for 3.5 hours. By the end I was kind of a hot mess.  Is it spring break yet?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Day 76: What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

I had the chance to talk to someone today who was expericing extreme anxiety. It was pretty ironic that it happened right during a difficult time in my own life. I shared with this person how comforting music and writing are to me when I am anxious. I felt grateful for my own struggles because they helped me in that moment as I decided what to say. 

I prepared three pizza sliders (a new Dream Dinner favorite of mine) tonight, even though the serving size was two. They were so delicious and I really wanted to eat all three. But I really was full after two. Yesterday I kind of blew off my eating goals because of how I was feeling.. I allowed my emotions to dictate my eating, not my body. I was tempted to do it again today. But, I finally put the third one in a ziplock bag in the fridge and wasn’t hungry for the rest of the evening. There was no food deprivation- I was wholly satisfied. I want this kind of thing to be my norm. 

Sweet moment for me today:

Once upon a time there was a young girl who dreamed of two things: 1) falling in love and 2) becoming a star. When she grew up to be 34 years old, she settled for falling in “love” WITH a star. His name was Josh Groban. For Christmas, her roommate gave her a framed picture of the two of them (thanks to the magic of photo shop). Her “relationship” with him became a running joke. Then, Josh Groban announced his tour to Salt Lake City and the possibility of being in the same zip code became real.

One day, she was feeling a little blue. She was anxious, tired, and not her best self. She received a text that evening that made her nose tingle and her eyes water. Her sister and brother-in-law surprised her with tickets to see the singer she so admired live in concert.

And it wasn’t the prospect of seeing her husband Josh Groban for the first time that made her want to cry. It was the fact that her family cared enough about her to surprise her with a concert she really wanted to attend. 

And she felt loved in real life- way better than movie star “love.”

Monday, March 19, 2018

Day 75: Let's Talk About Feelings

In the past, I've opened up about my struggles with OCD and anxiety.  It is always risky to do that, because there might be people who judge and alter their perception of me.  But I've decided it's worth the risk if it helps make it less shameful and more understood.  I don't really know who reads my blog, but maybe someone can relate to my personal experience with it and feel less

Anxiety and OCD have been part of my life every day for 34 years.  Some days are worse than other days; some weeks are worse than other weeks. But it's always hovering there in some form or another.  The past week or so has been particularly difficult.  As I drove to work this morning, overcome by my own anxious thoughts and feelings, I started to put in to words what it is to me.  I say "to me" because it's different for everyone.  To some degree, we all have anxiety.  I believe, however, that when it begins to interfere significantly with normal daily activities and quality of life, it has to be addressed and somehow managed or else life is miserable.  That goes for any form of anxiety, depression, OCD, etc.  For me, addressing it is articulating it in writing, which I will attempt to do now.  

 It's important for me to assign qualities to the OCD and anxiety and not to me personally.  I'm the first person to make the assumption that I am my OCD and anxiety (and then despair at who I am).  But I am not.

So here is what anxiety/OCD is to me based on my own personal experience:

It is unforgiving.
It is powerful.
It’s invisible.
It’s relentless.
It devalues.
It paralyzes.
It is limiting.
It is irrational.
It is quick to anger. 
It is deaf to other opinions.
It views everything through a lens of mediocrity.
It is selective.
It punishes over and over again.
It is selfish.
It second guesses.
It's the master of guilt trips.
It jumps to conclusions.
It induces shame.
It bullies.
It ostracizes.
It is ungrateful.
It is exhausting.
It is limit-testing.
It's lies.
It's jealous.

This sounds really familiar.  These are qualities that I often associate with Satan, the adversary to Christ.  It's no wonder mental illness is so prevalent in our day and age.  He is working overtime to convince us that we are unforgivable and unlovable.  It's how he restricts us from doing good in the world. When we believe we are worthless, we stop trying.  And when we finally give up, we are in his control.  

Now that I've defined what it is, I need to continue exploring how to combat it.  This is a lifelong journey for me. 

I posted this on Facebook today- it verbalizes some of the anxiety I've been feeling and how I'm working through it.

For a long time (years), I thought I needed to write and arrange my own choral music. It hung over my head that I wasn't contributing original work to the world of choir music. I thought I was restricting myself artistically by not doing it. I wrote/arranged a couple things in the past, so I knew I was capable of it. One day, I sat down to arrange something. After about 30 minutes I thought to myself, "I don't actually enjoy this." From that moment on, I let go of the guilt. It was like a light switch turned on and I realized that it wasn't for me. It would be cool if it was me- but it's not.
Similarly, I've been feeling a lot of pressure lately to be a DIY goddess. Scrolling through Pinterest, it's easy to see there are many rockstar women out there who take something old and ugly and turn it in to something beautiful. They spend very little money, juggle busy lives with children, and still make their houses look magazine worthy. I prefer to buy things like furniture already finished. I would rather hire someone to fix a broken appliance than do it myself. But, for some reason, this haunts me. I am overwhelmed by guilt that I'm not doing it myself when I have two hands and a capable mind (and youtube).
But I have to stop to consider this:
I would much rather make my own cards. I love the way it challenges me creatively. I know that sounds boring and uninteresting to many people. But it is relaxing and fun for me.
I would rather host a bunch of people at my house for a dinner party than to go to one. I want to make the place cards, the boxes for party favors, and cobble together things I already have in creative ways for decorations instead of buying a a ton of themed decor.
I would rather make my own picture slideshows than hire someone to do it.
We are all unique! Our strengths are someone else's weaknesses and vise versa. I believe one of the main purposes of our existence is to help others using our strengths and allow ourselves to be helped with our weaknesses. Expanding our talents is important; yet, there are times and seasons for doing this.
Case in point: I'm remodeling my kitchen and I decided I want to paint my own cabinets and add knobs and handles (with the help of a more knowledgable friend). It's something I really want to do and have wanted to do for a long time. I think it will be fun and I will learn some valuable lessons. But I don't want to refurbish an older kitchen table. I don't want to shop KSL for a good deal on chairs and then fix them up to match the table- I want to find a reasonable price and buy a brand new dining set. I don't want to redo my own floors- I want to hire someone to do it. And as long as I stay within my budget that I've saved up, that's okay!
Let's let go of the guilt, everyone!

Day 74: AUGH!!

I forgot to post yesterday! Curses!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Day 73: We Found a Leprechaun in Egypt

St. Patty’s Day comes once a year
Irish music is what you should hear
The fiddler bows
Dancers light on their toes

As your grin spreads from ear to ear 

A limerick collaboration by Katie and Darren, 2018
Perry Egyptian Theater
Irish Celebration 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Day 72: Rise and Shout

I miss college. It has been almost exactly ten years since I graduated. I count my college days as some of the happiest times of my life.

I miss long study sessions in the library sprawled on the ground in the atrium area of the bottom floor of the Harold B. Lee library.

I miss getting chicken alfredo with broccoli at Tomassitos (RIP) in the Wilk.

I miss spontaneous dance parties with my roommates.  I miss helping each other get ready and borrowing each others’ clothes and jewelry. I miss all the inside jokes.

I miss getting sonic blasts...often.

I miss running around the indoor track at the RB.

I miss walking to school.

I miss college family home evenings.

I miss the sure hope I had that I would get married and have children of my own in the near future.

I miss going to Tuesday devotionals.

I miss going to church in random buildings on campus.

I miss bouncing between apartments and houses of people in my ward.

I miss the incredible feeling of finishing my last final during finals week.

I miss staying up late just because there was too much fun I would miss out on if I slept.

I miss that cute little bod that I didn’t appreciate at the time!

I miss singles ward activities.

Though I miss many things, there are parts of my life now I could never have back then. I have the opportunity to travel, to now serve a music mission, to have 10 years of teaching and relationships with students. I have the joy of seeing a program progress and change over 7 years. I have stability and independence that I didn’t have then. There are different times and seasons of our lives. It’s important for me to remember to be grateful for each one as they happen. Sometimes I forget how blessed I am as I remember what my life once was. One day I’ll look back at my life now the sweet fondness, just as I look at my college days!

Moral of the story: I love BYU.