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  1. Okay first of all, stop everything you're doing and listen to this: Secondly, hi! It's been a BUSY couple of weeks getting ready for Thanksgiving travel, and this is likely to be brief because I have some packing to do - but just to update quickly: Eating is going a bit better. I'm being more intentional about including fruits and vegetables in my daily diet, and while my water intake isn't back up where I'd like it to be, I'm working on it. Still less exercise than I'd like, but I'm hoping to take some siblings ice skating this week, and Eamon has expressed his desire to get back to exercising more too once we're home. Not giving up. Started keeping a thought journal for therapy and it's been really cool to spot and catch cognitive distortions as they happen - I still have a lot of practice to do, but I'm observing with curiosity. Physical anxiety symptoms come and go but mental symptoms have been mostly tolerable. Less driving this week due to busyness, but I'm going to try to tackle a highway in the Midwest this week, or at least drive around my hometown some. (We also discovered a flat tire on our own car this evening, so I'll get the fun experiences of learning how to drive a rental car and then helping Eamon repair and buy a new tire when we get home.) Also observing with curiosity as we go home to my parents as a married couple for the first time - my parents have been struggling a little bit with "letting go" and seem to want to take me back under their wings a little bit, which is totally understandable, but also not quite The Thing To Do. So it'll be interesting and I want to set boundaries, but gently. Might not update until after Thanksgiving but I'm just out here puttering and living life!! ❤️ Love you guys and I do try to check in when I can!!
  2. I'm so glad you're here, EG! ❤️ That's right, I forgot you were learning too! ❤️ I'm so proud of you - this isn't easy but we are going to do it!! Big hugs to you, Julie! It can be every bit as hard to step away as it can to keep pushing, and I'm really proud of you for knowing this wasn't healthy for you. ❤️ In my case, my hangups are less about the mechanics of driving than they are about "I'm a failure because this is easy for everyone but me, they're all looking at me and thinking what a stupid driver I am, I drive as bad as a teenager when I'm an adult," that sort of thing. Mechanically I am a decent driver and improving. So as I keep gently but firmly tackling the mental demons, I am confident I'll find success. But as a fellow bus-and-Uber aficionado, it is NOT easy to live a full adult life without being able to drive, so I see the extra work you do and I'm proud of you for not letting it limit you!! I really appreciate this reminder!! Buying a house and having children are both emotionally very uncomfortable ideas right now, because up until a very short time ago, I had fully expected to live as a single woman in a rented apartment for the rest of my life. The best way I can think of to describe it is that driving, owning a home, and having children feel like something I'm stealing from someone else's life - like those are for Other People, the Real Adults, and not for me, the twelve-year-old wearing tall shoes and a trench coat so people think she's a woman. Eamon and I decided before we were married that we wanted to give ourselves time to adjust to being married before moving on to parenting, especially since we only dated for a year and were engaged for just four months, and didn't live together before getting married. While a lot of other newlyweds in their 30's have experience with living and homemaking together, physical intimacy, navigating life as a couple, and so on, we're complete noobs at all those things. So we're both delightfully and awkwardly uncomfortable right now and firmly resisting the older relatives' pressure to hurry up and get pregnant. I so appreciate your encouragement and support and I'm so glad you're here! ❤️ I have! I have an infuser bottle that is really easy to use and I do enjoy putting frozen fruit into it - when it's frozen and thaws, it's kind of like an ice cube, and more of the fruit flavor leaks out into the water. I'm embarrassed to admit that most of the time I just feel too lazy to take the extra step and put fruit in the water instead of just complain and not drink all day. But thank you for the reminder!! (I only drink water from a glass when I haven't been drinking enough water during the day and therefore don't have a sport bottle actively in use! ) Yes, one of my Chinese friends taught me that! I am a little short on tea at the moment but I need to get some more. Thanks for the reminder! I really hate unsweetened tea even though I technically grew up in the north ... But sweet tea that isn't homemade has SO much sugar and caffeine that when I drink as much as I actually want, I don't sleep that night. The last time I had a storebought sweet tea was during a D&D campaign, where I kept myself hydrated by drinking four or five glasses of it ... I couldn't figure out why 2AM rolled around and I felt like I could go to the gym for an hour ...
  3. Oh and: Stay hydrated. I hate water, I hate drinking water. But I need it and I feel good when I drink it. Even if that means downing unhealthy amounts of stupidly expensive Mio flavor drops, I will work back toward my 64-ounces-a-day benchmark and go from there.
  4. This is absolutely epically amazeballs and I am so so so here for it!!! Very very excited to follow and encourage your progress!!
  5. GOOOOOOOD MORNING FRENS It is a mega-gloomy Novemberish day outside, cold and rainy and full of lovely muted fall colors, and I am hoping to pack as much Good Stuff into this weekend as I possibly can. I started the morning with some extra-strong coffee to try to jumpstart my digestive system (still wrestling with meal planning for both of us, and the simplest one of "just eat what Eamon eats" means too much protein for my plumbing to process promptly), then took a lovely brisk walk down to CVS to buy makeup and quickly became overwhelmed with trying to find some new deep-moisturizing face cream. I'm trying to change up my skincare routine to stay hydrated this winter, but wading through all the marketing can be tricky. (Do I need micellar water + a serum + a toner + a moisturizer + a primer before my makeup?? Or are they just messing with my insecurities again??) As is expected for someone going through a couple of major life transitions, my health and fitness routines are still in a bit of a shambles - but also, that's okay, and I'm trying to be gentle with myself too. ❤️ I've only been married / living in my new community for 2.5 months; of course I don't have a new routine / plan / social circle built up yet. I took some time this morning to do a Big Picture Inventory on what I need right now: Diet and exercise. These are their own separate project, but they're also closely linked. Eating Eamon's lean, protein-driven diet is not supporting my digestive or hormonal health; and like many newlyweds, in our busyness and exhaustion we're not exercising much at all, which means that weight management is challenging too. Like I said last challenge, gaining weight is a good thing because I was almost underweight for a lot of months of the pandemic - but I want that weight gain to be controlled, and I'd rather not just gain fat without getting back in shape. The action points for this bullet point are closely related to the ones for the next one: Anxiety. I recently started with a new therapist, which is great - my anxiety symptoms, while not as intense as they have been, are constantly at a moderate level that makes a lot of daily life challenging. Driving in a bad headspace can jack my heart rate up to the level of a cardio workout and leave me crying; mealtimes and eating are persistently difficult now and trigger low-level panic at least a couple of times a month; and after being out of therapy for a few months, I have gotten out of practice in interrupting irrational thought patterns, so it's harder to get myself out of anxious spirals. We'll see whether my new therapist suggests medication (I confess I'm feeling more ready for it lately, just from sheer weariness from the constant symptoms), but either way, doing the mind work will absolutely help. Some specific action items to work on (for both food and anxiety) include: Eat smaller meals throughout the day, rather than putting three larger meals in my stomach. This will also help with blood sugar maintenance (I've noticed that if my blood sugar crashes, my anxiety symptoms get worse). Restart my nutritionist-recommended meal plan. This will be a fairly large project since I want to minimize our family meal prep - I don't want each of us to have a completely separate meal prep routine unless we really have to. So reconciling our dietary needs, while a little overwhelming and something we've been putting off, will pay off when we finally tackle it. Get a little exercise daily. We have an exercise bike with a desktop attachment, and even though I don't care for biking much, it's something very simple I can do during the workday without any prep. We also have a gym in our building that I've been meaning to check out for a few weeks, and there are nice walking trails not far from here too. Stick with my therapy assignments. I'm the poster child for losing interest and stopping things I'm assigned in therapy, but I want to work hard and stick with it this time. I won't see my therapist again for a month due to Thanksgiving, so for that time I'm supposed to keep a thought journal. Keep a consistent daily schedule. This is coming naturally since getting married - Eamon is a very disciplined person who gets up and goes to bed at the same time every day, regardless of weekends; and I actually really like waking up early on Saturdays and having more day to work with. We also have morning devotional time daily and I love finally sticking with my Bible reading every day. Maintaining all this is Very Good. Make time for friends. Eamon is lovely, and of course I want to spend most of my time with him. But time with friends and family is very important for both of us too. Driving. Again, closely related to anxiety, but separate. I'm eligible to take my driver's test in mid-December, but right now I still have a lot of things to practice to be ready for that. I'm getting better at changing lanes and parallel parking comfortably; I haven't hit a curb or missed any turns for a few weeks; but I still need to drive on a highway and be comfortable driving at more than 35 mph. Plus, the route where I almost wrecked the car is also the route we travel every week to get to the store, and I haven't driven it in several weeks because I get very panicky about it. So I need to: Don't give up on the grocery route. The only way through that is ... well, through it. My plan is to drive it a few times during the day, when I can see better, and then tackle it again at our normal (evening) grocery time. Find and tackle steps to work up to highway driving. The highways in my are are notoriously insane. We have the worst drivers in the entire country (like, that's a statistic, not just a subjective judgment), and pretty much every time I'm riding with Eamon on the highway we get cut off, nearly hit, or stuck behind road rage or impaired driving. Plus, the speed limits are essentially arbitrary, and the flow of traffic may be as much as 20 mph over the posted speed . So ... in my present timid state, I absolutely can't just hop onto a highway and hope for the best. I'm going to work with Eamon to plot out some intermediate steps. Big Life Goals. As I also mentioned previously, we're also trying to keep an eye on the next two Big Things in our lives: Buying a house and having a baby. *cue muffled scream into pillow* Both of those require significant preparation and it's not really time to start concrete goal-making for them yet. Those goals, however, include: House: Narrow down geographic areas Figure out budget Study financing options Develop timeline Baby: Get in better shape (esp. fitness, nutrition, emotional stability) Study pregnancy, postpartum, and newborn resources so it's not all a surprise Spend time with new moms, babysit, and otherwise re-familiarize myself with small children So YEAH. It's a LOT. Like: Obviously waaaaaaay too much to tackle in one challenge - but also, having the Big Picture in mind helps! For this month, the sub-goals I want to work on consistently are: Health: Eat smaller meals throughout the day. Restart my nutritionist-recommended meal plan. Get a little exercise daily. Stick with my therapy assignments. Keep a consistent daily schedule. Driving Dragonriding: Don't give up on the grocery route. Report on progress. Find steps to work up to highway driving. Just find, this month. Maybe try some, maybe not; but identifying them is the goal. And like last month, I may not check in as often as I like, just because of busyness in my weekly schedule. But I'll at least try to check in on weekends and once or twice during the week.
  6. Thanks friend! I had the inspiration late one night after getting home from driving in the dark (my least favorite) - I can't wait to see what stories come out of this new adventure. So glad you're here! Thank you, my friend, and I'm so glad you're here. I do need that reminder. That's a great point and I appreciate it! ❤️ I'm so glad you're here - I'll take the cheers! Thank you so, so much, my friend - that really does help!! Shame really does exacerbate anxiety (and many other mental illnesses) and when I get stuck in the "this is easy for everyone but you, what's wrong with you" loop it becomes MUCH harder to stay focused. Knowing that's absolutely a lie and I'm not the only one struggling with this is powerful in helping me be unashamedly imperfect and determined!! Love you and so glad you're here! ❤️
  7. Hello friends! I didn't mean to be so late joining the challenge, but - I am late, and I am here. Tonight I'm just sketching broad goals because it's bedtime; I will break them down more in the next day or two. So far my health and fitness goals are pretty much in a shambles. I'm eating a lot more than I'm moving, so I'm gaining weight fairly quickly; and while I definitely needed to gain weight after being borderline underweight for much of the pandemic, I would really rather be in control of my weight rather than just sitting back (literally) and watching it happen. I also don't feel my best without regular exercise, mentally or physically. I'm still having sleep / nightmare issues due to all the upheaval of getting married, and I need to rebuild some self-care habits for my brain as well as my body. The Big Thing, though, is my dragonriding - by which I mean, finally getting my drivers license. ❤️ I am in my early 30's and never learned to drive - partly from circumstances, but mainly from fear and anxiety. My husband is helping me drive a little bit every day, in neighborhoods I know fairly well; but while my actual driving is getting better, my anxiety is getting much worse. I almost wrecked the car a couple of weeks ago, and now every time I take that route I get distressingly high anxiety about it. That, in turn, has bled over into rising anxiety about the anxiety about driving in general. The only way I know how to tame this fear is by gently continuing to expose myself to it and building my confidence - and that is really hard and taking a lot out of me. I need to find my "why" for this and let that motivate me to keep going even when it's hard. And now it's bedtime, so more tomorrow! ❤️
  8. The bright autumn sun colored the forest a shimmering rainbow of oranges, reds and yellows, curtains of leaves floating and tumbling down around me as I walked slowly down the path toward town. And I saw none of them, because I was in the throes of the pounding panic that beset me every week on this miserable assignment. "Sky, think of all the opportunities this will open up for you," my husband had said earnestly, holding my hands as if to help me feel how strongly he felt about his words. "There's so much you can see, so many new places you can go, whenever you want. We can help more people instead of relying on them. You'll be even more independent and it'll be such a confidence boost. I really think this is something important for you to do." I didn't know how to explain to him the steel-cold shots of fear that gripped my stomach at the thought of trying this again. I knew he was right and I wanted everything he said - yet I could think of very little I would rather do less. Every weekly lesson felt like the culmination of every failed exam at the Temple, every scolding from my parents, every wound from the Elder and every bungled work assignment, all wrapped up in one miserable hour. But I was Sky Elvenword Nobleheart; and I was brave. I did not run away from hard things; I did not let fear stop me from my goals and I never said no to an adventure. So I swallowed hard and tried to hide the panicky tears in the back of my throat as I said quietly: "I'll try, Eamon." I wrapped my cloak a little tighter around my shivering body and hoped no one in town would see how pale my skin was. I had learned after the first lesson to keep the runes on my arms carefully covered with long sleeves or strips of cloth - my Dark ice powers shone like beacons out of every exposed rune the first time my terror levels shot through the roof. And considering how close I'd come to a fiery crash last week, keeping those runes covered seemed like wisdom for every lesson going forward. Much too soon, I came over the dreaded last hill and saw the stables and open field ahead of me. I was right on time; the other students were opening the pens and greeting their mounts for the day. But I was not learning to ride a horse. I was learning to ride a dragon. I'm not a Dragonrider. I'm not a Dragonrider. I tried to drown out the refrain beating like an ice storm in my brain, but it matched my footsteps toward my assigned pen. I've gotten along fine all these years without this. It's not worth it. I don't need it. I'm not good at it. I can't do it. I don't want to - A gentle huff from the pen at my elbow made me jump, and I realized I couldn't stall any longer. Slowly, I turned to face the slender white dragon who sat quietly in her cage, her ten-foot tail curled primly around her four graceful white feet, her long neck bent to bring her intelligent dark eyes down to my level. She seemed almost amused by my shaking and heavy breathing. I fleetingly wondered, not for the first time, how much these creatures could understand about us. "Hello, Tianlong," I stammered, fumbling with the latch on the gate. She waited quietly until I shook it off and pulled open the door, and I held my breath as she gracefully unfolded herself and slipped out into the grass. She was too well-trained to try to escape, even though it took me three tries to get the harness on her neck and the saddle on her shoulders, my hands shook so badly. Once again, I saw her glance at me with a look in her eyes that was almost amused. "How we feelin' today, Missus?" The teenage boy teaching the lessons, Erkus, stopped by and doffed his hood respectfully. "A little nervous," I admitted. There was no point in hiding it; I let a strap slip through my fingers the moment I spoke. "'Ow, now, ye'll be just fine, you wait an' see," he said confidently, and patted Tianlong's neck affectionately. "This 'ere is the finest dragon I ever took off an Eastern trader. Almost as smart as our Western dragons, she is. Just trust 'er, trust yerself, an' ye'll get along just fine." He'd said the same thing the last few times, so I nodded politely and focused on getting her saddle strapped snugly around her muscular body. I didn't trust Tianlong, and I didn't trust myself, and we probably were not going to get along at all. "Owright, today we're takin' a short flight out to the hills an' back, same as we did two weeks ago," Erkus hollered to me and the other (much younger) riders shuffling nervously. "We'll be practicin' the turns, so remember how to use the reins an' shift yer body weight. Remember: Trust yer dragons. They know more'n ye think they do." My mouth was too dry to swallow against the nausea rising in my throat, so I just tried to focus on steadying my rapid breathing as I shakily climbed up into the saddle and settled onto Tianlong's back, strapping my own safety harness around my thighs. The dragon flicked her tail and stood up, ready to take off into the frigid, empty heights yet again. I sucked in a deep breath. I was a Ranger. I was a Lightbearer. I was a Protector. And now I was going to be a Dragonrider.
  9. Fourthing the wise words above - I get those thoughts too, even when I'm unhealthily thin like I was this summer. Nowadays when I have a thought like that, I usually go and eat something small and healthy, like a bell pepper or a piece of fruit, just to gently remind myself that my goal is to nurture and nourish my body so it can do cool things, not to starve it. That may not be a great (or even possible!) strategy for you, but really, my point is just that you're not weird at all for wanting to be thin, and for also knowing you definitely don't have to act on that impulse. ❤️ I'm so sorry to hear about your stomach issues and so very glad you're feeling a little better. ❤️ That sounds absolutely miserable!!
  10. I didn't even come hungry and that sounds amazing. Now I want ribs. So glad you're hanging in there and life is bringing happiness despite its normal challenges.
  11. Thank you both! I still often feel like I need to justify and explain myself when I may not actually need to. ==== The week is going well so far; I haven't been sleeping well (temperature changes, allergies, anxiety) so I'm feeling way behind on sleep, but it's already Wednesday and we have a quiet weekend ahead. I've driven a little bit almost every day this week, and I still hate it and feel clumsy and stupid, but yesterday I was feeling more comfortable than the previous days and that was nice. I actually had a few moments where I was relaxed and paying attention to where I wanted to go, not running the constant nervous checklist in my head. I'll get there! What I'm feeling the need for this week is more intention and control over my daily routine ... since getting married I've been living responsively / reactively, mostly waiting to see what each day brings and responding to it, rather than when I was in my pre-marriage routine and got up each day with things I wanted to do. This is totally normal and expected - both Eamon and I have struggled to break out of the "Sky is a guest here" mindset and into the "we are a family and Sky lives here" mindset. So I know I'll feel better if I start setting some daily goals and stretching into getting comfortable making this my space, my life, my routine, and not feeling small and polite like a guest. Not much movement this week because of shark week, but I've done at least a short sun salutation flow most days, and I've been eating well this week too. Still need to sit down with Eamon and make a meal plan that re-incorporates some of the stuff I really like to eat, since I've mostly been eating what Eamon eats (still the guest mindest) and he eats a LOT more protein than I do. I might see about making some Thai peanut noodles or fried rice this weekend. I did bake some gluten-free cookies the other day and those turned out surprisingly well, considering that I was fudging some parts of the recipe. Time for work!
  12. Hellooooo frens! It's a gloomy gray fall day and we're all done with our scheduled chores for the day; and I am once again, for the fourth and final time, the proud owner of a learner's permit. The DMV's out here on the East Coast are SO much more congested and slow than the Midwestern ones I'm used to - we stood in line for about an hour and 20 minutes outside the building before I even got a number and got in the real line. But, I got through, and I drove us home, and even though I'm definitely rusty and still getting used to the car and made a few beginner mistakes ... overall I felt pretty good about it. Now Eamon is reading / dozing and I am watching a vlog and enjoying the damp smell of the pines and the humid air coming in the window, and I feel ... a weird combination of content and happy, and restless and curious. For one thing, I'm definitely feeling the emptiness of not having a Big Goal to work on now that the wedding is past. I did get verbal permission from my supervisor last week to take some work-sponsored photography classes over the next few months, and I'm very excited about that. It'll definitely make me better prepared for future work assignments, but obviously it's also something I am excited to use in my personal life too. I keep feeling the itch to do something creative - decorating for fall, starting a blog, writing articles or poetry, overhauling my wardrobe, learning new recipes - basically I just feel like I want to create and explore and share things with people, but I don't really know where to start, nor have I figured out where I have time for those things yet. I do have time, but I don't know where. I'm going to be really sad if I don't find at least some small ways to channel this burst of creativity, so I'm going to keep trying. I did do a very short 7-minute "yoga" (really more stretching) video yesterday on a work break, which was nice. Another "creative" impulse is that I want to start looking waaaaay down the road and sketch out some very early goals for my health in terms of prepping to have children - I know I want to be much stronger physically and more consistent nutritionally, but I am curious to learn more about what some realistic goals are, what muscle groups I want to target (besides the obvious core for pregnancy, upper body for lifting heavy things and little people, flexibility work, etc.), what nutrition goals I would set, and how long it would take me to reach my targets. The actual having kids is hopefully quite a ways down the road, but obviously I'm curious about it and want to learn more. For now, it's only 2PM, so I'm going to see what all I can poke around and do this afternoon. I wanted to go on a hike, but I'm not sure Eamon is feeling up to it, so maybe we can do some shopping this evening instead. By the way, being married is fun.
  13. Mmhmm, that's how I've been doing it up to this point, and I have no immediate plans to change anything. Related topics came up in small group the other day, and I guess I mostly was just realizing that if someone DID ask me why I was doing it, I didn't have a good concise handle on what I would say. But I do tend to forget the "you don't owe anyone an explanation" part. And no, I'm absolutely not pushing the practice on anyone else, especially since some of the folks I'm specifically thinking of have been hurt by misogyny at churches in the past and it's a topic that can bring up a lot of pain for women who have been put down and abused. 😔 I would never ever ever want to trigger or hurt anyone. ==== FINALLY FRIDAY!!! This is a rough shark week and I feel very low on energy today; yesterday was one of the worst shark days I've had for a long time, and the only "workout" I could muster was walking around Costco with Eamon. But, that's totally fine. I am going to try to take a 10- or 15-minute yoga break in the middle of the day, and I bought some fruits and cheese to snack on today, and I've been doing pretty well at staying hydrated. It's going to be a good day.
  14. It seems that posting in the morning before work, works for me right now. Yesterday I let my blood sugar crash catastrophically, and as a result was extremely shaky and had uncomfortable physical anxiety symptoms the rest of the day. That sucked. Mentally, though, I'm feeling a lot calmer and clearer this week. A couple other challenge-tangential things I'm working through / upcoming: Eamon is taking me to get my new state's learner's permit this weekend, so I can finally get my driver's license. I ... thought I had worked through all my fears and aversions around driving, but I see that I have not. It's definitely just another manifestation of the "fear of failure" thing, and I know I can work through it, and I also know it's going to be a MASSIVE bump up in my self-esteem when I can a) go anywhere I want at any time without being dependent on Uber or public transportation, and b) not have to explain to other adults that I don't have a drivers licence and am therefore not very useful to them. It's a good thing. And, I hate it and I don't want it. But it's good and I need it and I'll be so, so glad when I push through and get comfortable driving. Slightly less stressfully, I've been feeling like the time is coming when I'll have to tell people outside my church about my belief in head covering, mostly people in Eamon's church, since I practice it mostly only when I'm in church and we're spending more time there now that we're married. Head covering is a very minority belief in American Christianity and is in fact very unpopular and actively rejected by many, including Eamon's church. They're going to be horrified and maybe even angry when they find out that's our belief / my practice. (This is something I decided, by the way; Eamon supports me but I started doing it before we were married.) So I've been doing a lot of study to figure out - how deeply do I believe this? What should I say if it comes up? What are the arguments not to practice it, and do I agree with them at all? Basically rigorously questioning my own beliefs so that, if someone brings it up and doesn't like it, I can explain why I'm doing it (while also fervently assuring them that I am not trying to make anyone else do what I do). It's exciting to study something so intensely, since I don't really do deep dives very often, but I'm also very nervous about doing something controversial and possibly alienating people. I'm not good at disagreement. Lots of faces today. But it's time to get ready for work, and I'm going to tryyyyyyy to get some yoga or walking or pilates in today because I feel like a Jello salad. Also shark week came early, so yaaaaaay. And I should also eat a vegetable. And drink water. Grrrr why am I still corporeal .....
  15. I've been thinking about this since you posted it. I keep trying to remember that it's like working in a garden - I'm trying to pull up the weeds and plant new things, but that doesn't happen overnight. Weeds take a while to be fully eradicated, and sometimes it's painful to do so. And the new things may not grow right away. But, God willing, they will in time. ==== I'm running late for work (overslept) but the week has been good so far - anxiety is lower, had some Good Thoughts, eating has mostly improved (though we had pizza for date night last night), and been trying to take walks when I can. Need to do some yoga and clean the house tonight; we found a weird bug in the kitchen and I suspect my not vacuuming for a bit may have something to do with that. Really itching to get to the gym in our apartment building, so I need to sign my waiver and check that out soon. ❤️
  16. What a lovely comforting thread you have going here, Tank. Little Bit is growing up into such a wonderful human being already - what a privilege to get to "watch" her grow and be loved by you guys. Also I came hungry. You'd think I'd learn.
  17. I remember being good at quadratic equations back in the day, but couldn't tell you what they are now. You're still doing great and I pray that the release from quarantine will freshen up your routine and brighten your days!! ❤️ So proud of you, mellon nin!!
  18. Heyyyy frens!! Finally home from California, and no offense to anyone who loves the West Coast, but I sure hope I don't have to go out there again anytime soon. 😅 We were right in the path of the wildfire smoke from further northeast and it messed with our allergies something awful, and the gas prices were insane, plus we got some kind of stomach virus and were sick the whole time (which wasn't CA's fault, but still). I'm very happy to be back on the East Coast AND very happy that we don't have to travel again anytime soon. Challenge goals are kind of a disaster at the moment, so this week will be about ... respawning the respawn, I guess. I'd mostly like to focus on the very basics: Eating enough fruits / veggies / protein daily, moving for at least 5 minutes daily, and doing more journaling to process mental health stuff. I was really wishing I had a therapist the other day so I could talk out loud and sort through my thoughts, but I realized that I could do the same thing with journaling, so I want to do some writing this week. A couple of things on my mind this week: Firstly, I've felt incredibly dissociated / trapped in fawn response for the past week or so, and while at first that mystified me (the funniest thing about my anxiety is how, every time it gets triggered or worsens, for the first couple days of the attack I am completely confused as if it has never happened before), I was relieved / annoyed last night to realize that no, it's more of the same, it's just me worrying that if I disagree with Eamon, have negative feelings, or otherwise express normal human needs and opinions, he "won't like me". Also had some flashbacks to a really rough time in high school with my grandma where I shut down hard because she was angry at me. So ... I did some inner child meditation last night before I fell asleep, and will keep journaling and working on that this week. Eamon loves me and wants me, and he will love me if I disagree, if I'm angry, if I'm sad, if I'm hangry, etc. I don't have to tamp myself down small to make him happy. He doesn't want that and it's unfair to both of us. Another thing I'm finally facing up to is my conviction that I need to make more ethical choices in where and how I buy my clothes. I read an article a couple of weeks ago about how SHEIN and other "fast fashion" companies are not only harming the environment by dramatically increasing fabric waste, but also harming people, either by employing workers in unethical conditions or by stealing designers' intellectual property. I've felt for a long time that I need to be more responsible about buying clothes I know aren't contributing to either sweat shops or environmental harm, but I haven't done anything about it because *waves hands at life*. So as I transition over to my fall wardrobe and do my usual taking-stock of what I need to buy this season, I'm going to look at thrift stores and sites, look for American-made clothing, and do my research on how companies produce their products. For now, time to get cleaned up and ready for church so I'm not late. Eamon has started building "running-late time" into most of our appointments because he's always early and I'm always late, so I guess the least I can do is ... try to be less late.
  19. Both excellent advices!! I do have a huge Google Doc that's essentially the online equivalent of a smash book, and I wrote some very nice and cathartic poetry in that last week. And I will definitely chat with some married ladies too - I think my first project really ought to be finishing unpacking and sorting all the boxes I moved into Eamon's house, since it hasn't registered for me that our entire dining room table is still covered with winter clothes and wedding gifts, but Eamon has felt very off-kilter with so much of his living space still overrun by heavy boxes of unknown items. That's what I'm planning to tackle first next weekend. ----- In the meantime, however, I am not working on any home projects, because I am stationed in sunny gray, cold, cloudy, misty, smoky southern California for a work assignment. It's a public engagement assignment (I'm a public relations writer / photographer), and the work itself has been busy and tiring - I'm working around crowds of people for the first time since before the pandemic. But Eamon traveled with me, and having him here to help me carry equipment and supplies, stand by the sidelines while I do photo shoots, pick me up after events and listen while I debrief, and socialize with my coworkers when he'd much rather be home - it's been amazing and honestly kind of humbling and eye-opening. I've heard other people talk about how empowering it is when their spouses support their work, but I never really had a frame of reference for that. This experience has been hugely heightened by having my husband and having him here with me, supporting me. ❤️ My fitness goals are mostly shelved while I'm traveling, but I'll get back on them when we go home later this week. My anxiety got randomly triggered yesterday, and that plus some weird food has left me queasy and shaky most of today. Thankfully, tomorrow I have no events and will just be hanging out at the hotel writing blog copy, so even if I'm still recovering it'll be okay. ❤️ Not a lot of exercise happening this week, and LOTS of crappy food choices. But in my defense, there isn't much good food in this town, and hotels don't give you a place to cook, and there were no Airbnbs nearby. Anyway. Excuses. Back to it when we get home. Time for sleep playing on my phone until I feel well enough to sleep!
  20. Trying again! Hi! My updates feel so boring these days, because they're basically just "ate okay, did an embarrassingly small workout that still meets my embarrassingly low targets, didn't freak out about being married today, slept 7 hours" and that's it. Like, I know it's good and nice low-level healthy habits, but: *slaps self in reminder that I literally just changed everything about my life and am in the process of reconstructing a significant part of my identity, which counts as an adventure* I do have a lot of Thoughts that are finally slowly becoming words instead of just vague emotional rumblings, and that's a nice feeling. I'm not really sure where to put them, because I don't have time to write in my paper journal (even though I type lightning-fast, I write very slowly by hand), and some of them are a little too fragile and ephemeral to share with other people. Some things are thoughts on identity - trying to discover the three-legged balance of being in total partnership with Eamon and finding my place in our union, while also remembering and celebrating what makes me uniquely and individually Sky. Some are thoughts on marriage, and how strange and beautiful and delicate and powerful it is to be fully one with another human being - how it really is like having a little plant that you have to carefully water and tend and weed and fertilize every day, even now in the happy honeymoon days. And some are thoughts on What Next - what new goals and dreams do I want to set for myself and start working toward, now that we've survived the wedding and unlocked a new level? I have so many things I want to learn about and work on: Intentional and mindful household management, tackling the big challenge of reconciling Eamon's and my very different nutritional needs, working back up to my pre-pandemic levels of strength and endurance, balancing enough time for both together time and individual hobbies, restarting writing and searching for places to publish, learning new photography skills, learning the principles of home decorating and helping Eamon fill out our home decor, and doing early prep research on future opportunities like buying a house and having children, just to name a handful. For the last few weeks I've mostly just reacted to life and let my system adjust to all the new things, but now I'm finding myself feeling sluggish and unmotivated, sleeping too much and feeling unfocused and restless - all telltale signs that I want a new goal to work toward. So that's kind of the big question I'm asking right now. I'm successfully married, I'm starting to find my footing in my new home and routine and name - okay, what's next? (Besides, probably, learning how to just be present and not find my satisfaction and identity in chasing goals, that is. ) Anywho, Eamon has been asleep for an hour, so I should probably head that way myself. Today I ate well; I did short workouts yesterday and today; I'm practicing initiating discussions of my feelings with Eamon and that's definitely getting easier; and I read my affirmations again today. Still need to add more but these two are good to start. ❤️ Goodnight frens!!
  21. Just sticking my head in to say that I am so proud of you, and in fact you're dealing with a lot of this stuff WAY better than I would. ❤️ I'm so freaking impressed with you - you're doing hard work, dealing with very stressful and unfair things, and all on not enough food and far from your family. You're a badass and I hope you don't forget that. ❤️
  22. I am deeply enjoying this conversation and nodding vigorously at many parts of it, and offer this insightful podcast episode as my contribution: https://www.npr.org/2018/10/01/653339162/-man-up-how-a-fear-of-appearing-feminine-restricts-men-and-affects-us-all
  23. [posted in the wrong thread, I'll update this with the correct content shortly)
  24. Today was a really good day - Eamon and his brother went kayaking for a few hours in the morning, which meant I had time to putter around the house and do chores before getting dressed up and going downtown to do some leisurely shopping and lunch in the fancy touristy part of my new town. Both of these activities were wonderful for my mental health. Cleaning and organizing are very therapeutic and I always feel better about life when I've cleaned the bathroom and vacuumed the carpets; plus I unpacked some more boxes and picked up some deliveries I'd been anticipating (new yoga mat!!). And I had a nice three-ish hours to browse several clothing boutiques, a paper goods store, some home goods stores and a spice-and-tea shop - basically, places that Eamon would come in with me and enjoy seeing me happy, but probably not find much to interest him. Going alone meant I could explore to my heart's content without worrying that he was bored, and it felt really good to - be expansive, I guess? To go where I wanted to go without worry or feeling mentally constrained. But of course, the best part was realizing that even though I enjoyed myself shopping just as much as I always did, I also missed Eamon and was very glad when he came to pick me up afterward. I know it's part of anxiety to need reassurance in many things that seem obvious; but I kind of needed to know that I would miss him when we were apart, and it was a relief that I both missed him and am still able to have fun by myself. ❤️ Food was decent today; my shopping walking was my exercise; I did repeat one of my affirmations to myself and I have another one to write down tomorrow; and we had some good conversations that met my "initiate status-sharing" requirement. So overall it was a very nice day and a lovely Saturday. I weighed myself this morning and I've gained a couple of pounds, so I'm a little heavier than I'd like to be - which is not a bad problem to have since I've been underweight most of this year, but I'm going to keep an eye on that. Time for bed! ❤️
  25. Girl!! You have changed SO MUCH about yourself and your life in just a few weeks, I am so freaking impressed with you and proud of you!! Everything you're going through is hard and strange and you are doing so darn well at keeping your head above water. Seriously, I know you feel weak and whiny on the inside, but I promise, you are STRONK and AMAZEBALLS and you are HANDLING these challenges and new things. You're doing great!!! (Also! If you have options for more fat and protein that you can digest, those are really good for you too! I agree with @sarakingdom!)
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