Props of Positivity

I have something I try to do every day, as soon as I wake up sometimes (unless I’m really stressed and going through something). I try to think of something positive or be thankful for something, even a tiny thing, before I truly begin my day.

This tiny thing isn’t always large. In fact, it’s quite often very small. For example, I wake up and I look at the dogs hanging out on the deck and I call their names to make them jump in excitement that I’m there. I look at my backyard and enjoy the fact that I’m not renting. THANK EVERYTHING I’M NOT RENTING! And then I might eat or start work for the day. Even then I often stop and think to myself, “You know, I do enjoy what I do.” And I think I say it several times a week how happy I am to be able to consider a career change without fear of losing everything.

I mean, sure life isn’t perfect. For example, there was that hairdresser that discriminated against me the other day. There’s having to mow the lawn. And years ago there was abuse, being used, and some pretty dark things that I simply didn’t know how to get away from or (worse) didn’t have the power to push away. The point is life doesn’t feel as bad as it used to, which is what matters.

I started to do this consciously several years ago, and I have grown to the point where I almost do it without thinking anymore – which, by the way, is the point to such an exercise. After all, when I started doing this I was caught in an endless loop of negative feelings and bouts of depression. One day I realized that, yes, there were a lot of bad things happening in my life but I was focusing on them so much I was missing the good things the universe handed to me every day. I had to find some sort of balance.

I try to do it with my reviews, too. I don’t post all of my reviews here – frankly I forget to do so – but a couple of years back I realized they were starting to look imbalanced so I began to make an effort to put out good reviews to balance out the negative ones. The situation isn’t quite as balanced as I’d like yet, but it’s on it’s way.

This isn’t to say that when something bad happens I don’t get angry or shed a few tears. I wouldn’t stop that part of me no more than I should stop the ability to cuddle a kitten or be thankful for clear, blue skies. Either extreme – focusing on all of the bad or all of the good – is unhealthy. I embrace that I get angry. I accept that things make me sad. I also love life a lot more now that I’ve developed the habit of “stopping to smell the roses”, as it were.

I truly believe that with my change in attitude came the backbone to say no to many of the negative elements in my life that made it so outright terrible. I’ve ended relationships with quite a few people over the years, for example. I’ve also changed other habits such as with my spending and saving for the future. I think I can safely vouch that with a change in attitude comes a change in environment.

This isn’t a matter of looking on the bright side of things. It boils down to life choices. For example; you have a friend who refuses to go anywhere with you unless you pay their way 100%. So you pay their way to that convention and then they ditch you for their boyfriend and you spend the entire convention all alone.

But they’re your friend!

No, no they’re not. They’re a negative element in your life and you might need to get away from them before they hurt you even more.

Or that pair of shoes pinches your toes, but you love how they look. Aw, sweetie, they’re cool shoes but ingrown toenails suck. So you really need to either go barefoot or get a better pair of shoes.

Even more: the cats keep pooping on the floor because you didn’t change the cat box when you should have. Change the freaking cat box! Out with the bad, in with the good – and keep that space clear, because life is going to give you another cat dump sooner or later. You’re going to need the room for it.

So tonight before I lay me down to sleep, I thought I should put a post out for folks who are also struggling with a change in ‘tude. Maybe they’re tired of being told to look on the bright side (No, seriously, that gets tiresome… ) You guys have the right to be annoyed. But don’t let being annoyed stop you from getting new cat litter.

And now I shall oil my hair and find a pillow. Water aerobics class is tomorrow! The weight doesn’t want to leave me, but it’s a bad thing so it must go.

Too Big for my Britches

Funny thing about survival: you can get so caught up in it you lose the time you need for everything else.  That’s how it is for a lot of us who work for ourselves, sometimes at the cost of our health. We work hard, very hard, and free time stops being when we punch out of the clock at five in the evening. Free time turns into once a month when the cell phone blissfully stays silent and we’ve gotten our work caught up enough that we feel comfortable in stopping to watch t.v. for a few hours.

I think this past weekend highlighted for me more than ever the price I paid for freedom. It being Thanksgiving, I thought perhaps I would be left alone on Thursday at the very least. Thanksgiving is purely an American holiday – it started out as thanks for a bountiful harvest in America’s early beginnings, became a New England fall festival tradition over the generations, and wasn’t made a “legal” holiday until President Roosevelt. For many native Americans like myself, it happens around our own season for fall festivals so that the two are slowly becoming intertwined. While other Americans are eating turkey, some Americans are hanging all week long at a powwow.  This means that Thanksgiving time for some of us is also a religious holiday.

So this year for Thanksgiving we started off our festivities on Thursday morning by throwing popcorn into the fire. Then we stampeded into the kitchen, cooked our hearts out, and ate. And then we ate again while watching the t.v. (not football).  And sure enough, the emails piled in from people who wanted to know where I was, why their work wasn’t being delivered, and completely ignoring the fact that it was a holiday.

“The cooperate mentality has gotten too big for its britches,” I grumbled to myself, and IMHO it’s true. When I was little, in the 1970’s, things shut down from Thursday until Sunday on Thanksgiving – which by the way is a good and proper length for a festival. You didn’t pester families on their day off unless you were visiting. You didn’t force your employees to work on Thursday at the very least. It was a day of thanks and rest, and people got to do just that.

(Of course, without the dollar store being open that Thursday morning I wouldn’t have been able to run out and get my last minute popcorn which we forgot to buy. I admit to feeling guilty the entire time I was out, too – if one holds the belief a day is a day of rest they should not be hypocritical and force others to work. Still, we could have done without the popcorn for the day and did it on the next day I suppose. Next year I have to make sure it’s on the shopping list in advance.)

I knew that some of my clients aren’t even in America and wouldn’t know or understand the holiday, but I was surprised to see the out of country people let me have my Thursday and the American clients rally at their computers. And I ended up working for a bit as I answered emails and looked to see what I could swing out in five minutes or less. I should have ignored the emails until later, but survival kicked in. I’m just incredibly fond of paying my bills.

My family had a lot to be thankful for this year, partly because of how hard I work to survive. We had a turkey AND a ham, we’re buying our own house, buying a car, my youngest managed to stay reasonably good until her senior year and still counting, my b**** dog recently started trying to be manageable… the best part for me, my stories are gaining a following because – hyuck – people like to read what I write. My husband’s work is partly thanks to this. My work is responsible for the rest. And the price I’ve been paying for this was going to come due eventually. It came on Friday.

Black Friday. I had told my adoring husband that I had no clothes save for a single pair of jeans, so he dragged me to the store to buy some. I bought a nice pair of jeans, size 20 (biggest I’ve ever been), and come Saturday I got up to get dressed.

They didn’t fit.

Commence heartfelt tears – the price of working so hard is my health. I’ve been doing nothing but sitting here at the computer and eating in the past year. And it showed.

So now, like the corporate mentality, I am too big for my britches.

Mind you, I’ve struggled with my weight for my entire life – since I was a tender 14 years old. My body just doesn’t like to let go of fat no matter the lengths I take, and I have taken some incredible lengths. I know more about working out, how to eat, what exercises burn what calories, and various other things than a fat chic should with no success. Jane Fonda didn’t scare me. I’d do her workout twice without batting an eye. Yoga is so familiar to me it’s downright boring. Walking and running are my favorite pastimes – time being the key missing element in that equation. I think like a skinny person. My body wants to be a fat person. So the fact that I’m a size 22 may just remain a reality until the day I die.

But starting yesterday I tried to fit some activity into my daily regime. Again. It won’t hold – I go through fatigue periods where its hard to get out of bed. But while I have some energy I’ll do what I can when I can. Thankfully I have a treadmill in the house a friend gave me a couple of weeks ago.

I know what I need. I need to work less. Blast you, corporate survival, that you make so many of us skinny people fat!

If I lose an inch I’ll keep the world posted?