Breathing space

Phew.

If someone had told me how busy I’d be this summer, I’d have laughed in their face. I’d have said, “it’s summer…how hard can they possibly work us?”.

Of course, thoughts like that are notorious for deadly last thoughts.

How hard can they possibly work us?

Impossibly hard.

But all of this pushing has led to a spurt in learning. I am finally seeing a little bit of progress in things that I never thought I would be able to do. Which is a relief. Sitting in clinic and talking to a parent about what is wrong with their child and seeing their heart sink a little still wrenches my stomach but at least now I can attempt to phrase it in a way that isn’t painfully awkward.

And yes, painfully awkward is how a previous supervisor at the awful school described my patient counseling skills. Am I proud of that? No. But I’m glad that I’m now at a place where my supervisors take the time to teach me how *not* to be that socially inept graduate student instead of telling me what a horrendous clinician I am going to be.

Yep. That happened.

But I digress.

Life is spectacular here. I’m settling into a groove. In fact, it feels like I’ve hardly missed a stride since living here. Same grocery stores, same mall, same roads. It’s calming.

So even though it feels like I have -2 hours of free time and am running around like a crazy girl (when I’m not passed out on the couch in front of HGTV), at least I feel comfortable while doing it…

But I’ve got some big events coming up in the next few weeks. So I need to attempt to rewind approximately 2 weeks of, “I am so tired and don’t care” eating. Yeah, that’ll be fun…

So enter today’s workout:

20 minutes on the elliptical, 10 minutes on the stair-climber, and a 20 minute treadmill blast, brought to you by PB Fingers.

Gym workouts aren’t typically my thing, I prefer to sweat outside in the sunshine or in a yoga studio, but sometimes I am in dire need of what a gym workout promises — getting to listen to my favorite country music station and read trashy magazines without getting heat stroke and/or sunburned (as is bound to happen at least once this summer).

Southern summers are spectacular and humid nights are probably my favorite ever but sometimes I need to listen to Luke Bryan on repeat instead of sweating out every ounce of water I’ve ingested during the day.

 

Friday Love List: GRITS, y’all

GRIT being Girl Raised In The South.

And y’all being what I inadvertently say approximately every other second.

Life in the south in the summer is spectacular. There is nothing better than sitting by the river or humid evenings. Nothing. Today’s love list is inspired by memories of hot summer nights, melting ice cream, sweet tea, and the word y’all.

It’s Friday, and I’m in love with:

Little girls who say y’all. It’s no surprise that if 90% of the population says y’all a child will too but still…so freaking adorable in my book.

Wicker furniture. Classic and comfy. What I’m all about

Morning coffee on the porch. The air is so thick you feel like rain is suspended in it.

Yard sales. Summer = best time to revamp an apartment with some good new yet old finds.

Sun dresses. Cool, breezy, easy to pull off.

And, of course, the obligatory sweet/iced/sun tea. Any version of tea over ice makes me so happy I could explode.

It’s Friday, what are you in love with? 

 

Yoga love

When thinking about moving, I’ve been a little bit more negative than usually lately.

But, in truth, there are a million things that I am excited about: my own full size washer and dryer, my own patio, my own apartment for decorating. Literally, the list could go on forever. I am just that excited about getting to pack up and basically re-invent myself in a place that I love. Even though it hurts. And is terrifying. But nothing good ever came from cowering in my comfort zone.

Anywho. I am most excited about my yoga prospects.

As in getting to work for a yoga studio.

Which, to me, means: girl, you better get your yoga on.

I had been practicing for an hour about once a week and I had been getting in the groove of doing at-home practice for about 10 minutes a day.

But in the pre-finals weeks I fell off the wagon a bit and, needless to say, I became ashamed of my lack of flexibility and lack of knowledge. I know that sitting behind the front desk requires little to no yoga skillz, but I would prefer to not look like a total newb.

So I set myself on a yoga boot camp of sorts. Which, in my meant, simply do as much yoga as I could possibly squeeze in while studying for finals and (now) packing. And I’m proud to announce that in the last 10 days, I managed to do 6 hours of yoga.

And if I hadn’t had finals or classes on those other 4 days, I know that I would have gotten my butt into class.

I am sincerely proud of the progress I’ve made. In standing head to knee, my teacher urged me to kick out today. Downward dog is becoming a restorative pose instead of a chore. Chaturanga is no longer impossible. Triangle is becoming my friend. I’m becoming more and more bending in noticeable ways and it is thrilling.

I’m not perfect. I don’t think anyone ever is since I believe that we can always continue to grow our practice. But I cannot say how exciting it is to leave the “obviously hasn’t practiced in a while” category and begin to enter the “practices regularly and is making progress”. Or how good it feels.

Because damn, it feels good to be a gangsta.

Growing my practice has prepared me to be a studio do-it-all-er. And I am pumped.

Picking up the pieces

Yesterday was the last day that I will see a lot of friends that I made in this city.

We all made promises to keep in touch and visit but we all know how that goes.

For me, that is the hardest part about moving. Packing up my life into boxes is kind of rough, but leaving the people you’ve grown comfortable with is even rougher.

I’ve let go of everything else but them, it seems. Thinking about it makes me feel dizzy and my heart palpitate.

I’ve spent a large majority of my free time collecting boxes and attempting to corral all of my junk so I am not scrambling to do it the night before it’s time to load the U-Haul…which is my typical M.O.

Now that everything I own is in boxes and bags and odds and ends are strewn across my bedroom and my bookshelf is looking like a skeleton, it’s all getting really real really fast.

Last week I couldn’t wait for this weekend to get here. This week I can’t believe it got here so fast.

Part of my mind is screaming, “whoaaa Nelly, slow it down…are you sure you made the right decision.”

And of course the answer is, “I don’t know.”

I don’t know if I made the right decision. I made the decision that seems to be the best for me. And I will feel okay about everything once the U-Haul is loaded and I’m outside city limits. And I will make new friends and discover new and exciting places to do yoga and test my stamina. I will find new professors to do research with. I will become a more accomplished clinician. I will be able to learn from people who genuinely care about teaching me.

Everything will be okay. But right now it is alright for me to feel like my life has broken into lots of tiny bits because I’m slowly picking them up and rebuilding myself into a better, more awesome version. Me 2.0.

And it is going to rock.

Reconciliation

To say that I was raised southern would be an understatement. Sweet tea, fried chicken, and college football are like a religion…if church didn’t exist, I’m pretty sure everyone would worship the football coaches (although some would argue that they do…).

And I love it.

I love my “drawl” (quotations because I definitely *do not* hear it…but apparently it’s there). I love wearing sundresses and drinking beer straight out of the bottle. I love tailgating. I love eating Sunday lunch in my church clothes. I love everything about being a southern gal.

But I was always kind of the black sheep of the family; during undergrad I fell head over heels in love with yoga. Instead of joining a sorority, I ran cross country (a sorority of its own, if you ask me). I consistently forgo barbecue for vegetables.

It makes me feel like kind of a condundrum.

Is it possible to have an ever growing affinity for Lilly Pulitzer *and* hang Tibetan Prayer Flags above my closet? Is it possible to “worship” something other than what we are taught is conventional God through yoga and still go to church (although admittedly I hardly made my Sunday appearances anymore)? Is it possible to sweat like a crazy person and then don pearls?

It’s, uh, kind of hard. Especially with outside pressure to be little miss perfect all. the. time.

To be fair, my family has become a lot more progressive over the past few years. But the boy’s parents? Yeah, not so much. And that makes me feel stressed. Like maybe I’m pretending at being a yogi or pretending at being a good southern girl like mama wants for her little boy.

I love who I am becoming. A more radical version of my past self; more able to love myself, be selfish in what I need, more able to balance the different compartments of my life. And, to be completely honest, I don’t usually bow to pressure of others’ conventions. That’s just never been who I am.

But all of these changes happening around me mean a new school, a new city, a new life. They also mean lots of outside input. About how I should live. About what I should do. About who I should talk to.

It also means explaining that eating lentils instead of beef is okay and having a consistent yoga practice does not make me a tree dwelling pagan hippie. It means explaining that I want to be healthy and sometimes that means not eating butter on top of my butter. It means explaining that just because I embrace a way of life that is different from how I was raised, I haven’t given up on my roots.

I shouldn’t feel the need to explain myself to the people around me, but sometimes I do. And that’s okay, so long as I can always look within and figure out what is really best for me.

Allowance

I am allowed to feel sad to be leaving new friends.

I am allowed to feel doubt.

I am allow to be angry.

I am allowed to ask questions.

I am allowed to feel scared.

And allowed to cry.

I am allowed to wonder about the future.

But I am also allowed to be hopeful.

I am allowed to dream.

I am allowed all of these things and to know that it will all work out.

 

 

My so-called detox

Lately, my diet has consisted of coffee and junk.

Which of course leads to me feeling like I’ve ingested nothing but coffee and junk.

And to my defense, it was finals season (Friday was officially the last day I have to be at school! Next stop: a place where education means support and *actual* teaching). Which means that if it were possible to have intravenous caffeine, I would probably have done it. Non-stop coffee is just an inevitable part of passing exams.

But the junk part. Yeah, I could live without that. Especially after a weekend of “woohoo no more studying for a month” celebratory debauchery. My digestive system is throwing in the proverbial towel.

I think the junk part is what is leading me to feeling like I need 12 cups of coffee a day simply to function.

Which brings me to my next thought.

I need to get all of this junk out of me.

I feel a bit petty for detoxing, like I’m looking for a quick fix or running away from something. Because that was my old pattern: eat like crap and then detox. But I’ve been turning over a new leaf. And this semester has led to a lot of stress and anxiety build-up that even multiple hours of yoga and runs couldn’t always break up. So I feel like a cleanse is a way to give my body a break. Hitting the reset button, so to speak.

So what does a detox mean to me, exactly? It doesn’t mean no solid foods or weird maple syrup concoctions, that’s for sure. It doesn’t mean no meals. It just means whole foods, in an adequate amount, and mostly green things. And fruit. Veggies + fruit + water + light eating during the day + normal dinner + yoga + running = my perfect detox.

Business in the morning, party in the evening. The mullet of detoxes.

A new home, a new body, a new life. That is what May will bring.

This is real life

A Facebook friend of mine posted a picture of herself sprawled out on a snowy mountain, staring into the sky, utterly enjoying life.

Someone commented, “This looks amazing. Forget real life.”

To which FB friend replied, “This is real life.”

And then, of course, my heart palpitated because that one little exchange so completely struck a chord.

I’ve started telling people about my premature departure from school. And it is beginning to feel a lot more *real*. Real tears and real smiles and real stress. It’s almost too much to handle at times.

And I feel that I don’t even have a good reason to tell people. Yes, I tell them that I’ve been devastatingly unhappy and feel that my soul has been crushed and my progress as a professional has been stunted, but those words don’t encapsulate why I felt I needed to pack up my life and roll out.

And I really don’t want to go into the whole, “this just isn’t right for me” spiel.

To me, real life is having abundant happiness, a peaceful place to live, and a supportive environment for me to learn and thrive in. Real life is not waking up and immediately dreading the day. Real life is not having my skills under-appreciated every day. Real life is not feeling inadequate and wrong every time I’m uncertain.

To me, real life is farmers’ markets, yoga, and occasionally feeling stressed but overall fulfilled. That last one is key.

Getting over it

Yesterday was one of those days.

One of those days where I get home, devour an entire bag of kettle chips in approximately 15 minutes, and get nothing productive done. Followed by doughnut eating, cereal eating, and pasta eating.

I warned myself last week: finals season is upon us. But I somehow did not steel my mind completely against the terrors of constant stress, clinical evaluations, and non-stop studying and ED is rearing its ugly head.

Getting over an eating disorder is not something I talk about on a regular basis. It’s something that I got over, it’s not something that I generally like to re-hash. I’m more of a, “let’s just move on now” kinda gal when it comes to down to that topic.

But sometimes it’s necessary. Not because I’m in danger of a full-on relapse, thank the lucky stars and yoga that I’m not, but because it’s slowly becoming an issue again and I want to crush that bug in its infancy.

In the past, after days like yesterday I’d feel guilty. I wouldn’t exercise and I wouldn’t eat. Basically, I would punish myself for “bad behavior” which, of course, would lead to more of exactly what I was trying to avoid.

Today I tried to pull on my big girl pants. I started off my morning with home fries and a Greek omelet. I spent an hour at hot yoga. I organized my test material so that just searching for notes doesn’t send me into a tizzy. I finished a lab that was weighing on me. I’m making progress and moving forward.

And isn’t that what success is?

Finals season is upon us

So, an attempt to keep myself from going crazy, I am implementing some early mornings.

Granted, most of my mornings are *already* pretty darn early. But an extra hour or so in the morning will do me good.

I say that now, at 10 pm, while in my cozy bed not needing to be anywhere until noon tomorrow. I’m pretty sure when 5 am arrives tomorrow I’ll be singing another tune.

How do you motivate yourself to get up early?

My favorite finals season morning tips:

-Espresso. And lots of it. Coffee is the essence of surviving the 2 weeks of finals hell.

-Morning yoga. Stretching first thing in the morning awakens my brain.

-Lists, lists, lists. And a schedule. Knowing what I need to accomplish (and when) each and every day is essential to being productive.

-Water. Because a girl can’t only hydrate with espresso (as much as I want to). It’ll help alleviate some puffy eyes and keep me energized.

-Balanced breakfast (and eat it in bed…). I popped 1/2 cup of Irish oats + 1% milk + chocolate Amazing Grass into the fridge for some overnight oats lovin’ in the morning (to be topped with sunflower seed butter…I literally cannot wait).

 

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