The Stories We Tell Ourselves

The most dangerous and powerful stories are the ones that we tell ourselves about ourselves.  Our self-talk can lift us up or take us down.  We sometimes tell ourselves stories about how others perceive us.  We tell ourselves that we know what they are saying about us. And for the most part we are wrong.

Sometime back, I took a series of classes on meditation and mindfulness.  This was my first steps into looking at the stories I was telling myself.  Shockingly, they weren’t all good. Some gave me false pride, others put me down.  After every heartbreak, I would swear that I would never love again or that if I just reached out and talked to them I could coax them back into my life.  This for the record, only worked twice and in both cases it wasn’t good for anyone involved.

By far the most dangerous ones, I’ve told myself are the stories about how much work something is going to be or not be.  In the latter case, I assume something is easy and then I am mired in self-doubt when I get stuck or it turns out to be the latter.

As you know from my previous posts, I am list kind of person. I write lists to keep myself motivated and on track.  Somethings are harder than other.  Those items are the ones that are necessary but rile my anxiety.  Anything that involves making a phone calling or asking someone for something/help will generate a story that only feeds my anxiety.

It is those stories that we tell ourselves about how much work or how awkward something is going to be that are dangerous.  We delay and don’t get what we need to get done which sends us into a negative spiral.

A lot of us complain about adulting. It is a word that some people snicker , others chastise people for using it and some embrace. One of the reasons, why so many of us complain about it that we weren’t prepared for adulthood.  We weren’t prepared to deal with the thousand things that happen in a day at work then to come home to more work.  We didn’t really pay attention to all the things our folks did to make our world work, if we had responsible folks which some of us didn’t have.

We didn’t realize that our folks were just as lost as we are at times.  They just didn’t tell us.

There were twenty-six items on my to-do list this morning.  Six of those things were stress inducing.  I’m now down to to only three items. One of which is a shower that I will get after walking the dogs this evening.

Those six anxiety/stress inducing things involved telling a friend I couldn’t do something, chores I had been avoiding and asking for something.  Everyone of them is done.  How?

Well, first, today was a good day. I slept over eight hours last night, didn’t have to leave the house and I’ve been in comfy clothes all day.  The last several days have been good as well.  I’ve talked a lot to my sweetheart about his anxiety lately and it has helped me to look at mine.  So, I put them on the list, starred them and then looked at them.  The chores needed doing so I spaced them out. The asking and telling, I asked myself what as the worse that could happen.  And then did it.

I’m a storyteller.  We are all storytellers.  It is time that we took control of the superpower that we all have and used it for good.

Love,

Lu

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Inspiration Sunday

Every Sunday between now and September I will be sitting at desk for eight and a half hours.   Eight and a half  hours of potential writing time if I can multi-task.  A dream come true for a lot of writers even if the price is talking to tourists; people who’s IQ seems to drop the moment they decide to go on vacation. But, I have access to a computer, the internet and  a boss who lets me write so long as I get my work done.

100One of the things that I do to keep myself from going crazy is watch TV shoes on Hulu.  It keeps the stillness of the office from overwhelming me.  At the moment, I am watching the 100, a new series on the CW which is gaining in popularity.  It seems that Americans are obsessed with dystopian  futures.  Perhaps it is our discontentment with the current state of world affairs. Or maybe we have just had enough of happily ever after and need something with some grit.

In the 100, the nuclear Armageddon that sent school children around the world under the desks for thirty years as finally taken place and the only surviving human are those living on a space station called the Ark.  Only nine-seven years in the future, the Ark’s systems are failing and life-support can no long support everyone on the station. People are already beginning to suffer the effects of oxygen deprivation.  So, 100 juvenile prisoners are exiled to the surface to see if it is safe.   hab

It is a well written drama with expert twists making it great food for inspiration.  I can see the classic archetypal characters running everywhere throughout the show.  It gives me ideas for how to make my own characters more complex.   This afternoon, I hope to brainstorm some ideas for a short story to be submitted to a horror anthology at the end of May.  Maybe I will watch some Hannibal after the next episode of the 100.

What inspires your writing or gets your creative juices following?

Exposing Myself

Take in 2006 when I first started teaching.
Take in 2006 when I first started teaching. A photo I would never have allowed on-line back then.

For much of my adult like I have been a big girl.  The plus size section has been my home, when it comes to shopping.

Once, I proudly pronounced that I was a size 14.  Now, I am a size eighteen, if the jeans are kind, and my boasting has ended.

As a teen, I was never petite. In fact, I don’t remember a time when my thighs didn’t touch and booty didn’t jiggle. My cleavage has become more impressive over the years, but mostly the body I have today is one that I am used to.

Sometimes I love it. Sometimes I loathe it.

And no one ever told me I was fat. There was a girl in high school who informed me that I had child bearing hips.  Twenty years later, my hips are bigger and I am still childless.

Somewhere along life’s journey, I learned that my size was a negative in finding love and happiness. Maybe it was my birth father always trying to get me to go the gym. Maybe it was that my first couple of serious boyfriends all leaving me for someone far more slender than I have ever been, or will ever be this side of starvation, and I never could understand how they could have ever loved me if they now loved on someone who was my opposite, size wise.

A Summer Dress and a brand new smile.
A Summer Dress and a brand new smile.

I am not my size. I tell myself this. I tell myself that the right person to start a family with will come along and that I am doing the right thing by waiting.  That there are other things in the world besides having a family.  Right now, I work three jobs to help pay off my debt so I can go back to school.  When I am not working, I’m writing or trying to write which sometimes involves gluing myself to a chair.

I tell you these things; expose myself to you, so that you will understand that weight and body issues are not just about self-esteem. They are mixed up in all the stresses of modern life.  The stresses of being single at an age when everyone is paired up, or grouped up, with significant others and lovers and I go to bed at night alone. (I love you, Luke, but you aren’t human and as much comfort as you give me, I need and crave human touch.)

Cuddle time with my main man.
Cuddle time with my main man.

I have also lived with depression most of my life along with arthritis in my knees and a heart that beats to its own beat.  (Once, when learning to drum someone told me just to beat out my heart beat.  My heart beats so fast at times, I can’t breathe. He never tried to give me another lesson.)

I tell you these things, expose these things, so that you will understand why posting a picture of myself in a form fitting dress on my Facebook page was probably one of the bravest things I have ever done.

Professional and fun.
Professional and fun in the dress that started it all.

I know how cruel the internet can be; I am a high school teacher. I have seen students fight over things they saw on-line. Hell, I have gotten angry over things I have seen on-line and laughed at things I never would chuckle at in real life.

At the same time my horizons have been expanded by reading more diverse materials including fashion blogs for plus sized ladies.

Tess Munster and Georgina Horne are two of the divine goddesses responsible for me coming out of my shell and reaching out into the world.  They helped me see myself as beautiful and worthy of love. They have helped me open the doors to more self-love days and close the door on many self-loathing days.

My students asked me if I had a new man in my life.  I told them no. I was happy to tell them that things in personal life hadn’t changed.  They told me again that I was just different this year. Maybe I am. Maybe I am finally getting to a point of self-love where my inner self accepts the shell it was born into as a gift. It makes me shine. It makes me bold.  It makes me a better me.

So I bare myself to the world, one Facebook post at a time. I know that one day soon some of the comments may turn negative, but love, I believe, always wins.

 

Playing with hair and make-up what every thirty something should do.
Playing with hair and make-up what every thirty something should do.

 

Manic Monday Moody Monday

 

Every Monday brings its challenges. It is engrained in our culture this belief that Mondays are going to be tough days. Mondays are the days that we must bear with in order to survive the work week, but what if we don’t want to just survive… what if we want to thrive..

I love my job.  I really do and as much as would love to be able to write full time I am not sure how I would really be living without my students. They are the fuel for my inspiration.  Everyday that I walk into work I have the opportunity to make the world a better place.  You may not be a teacher, but you have the same power.

Change the way you think of Mondays, of going to work.  See it has something more than a duty. See it as a choice.

Then you have the power. You have the power to make over your world.

It may sound hokey, but it works.  The world is filled with so much apathy.  I better being hokey than giving into a world view where it is okay to give up on dreaming, give up on trying and just live for nothing but oneself.  My students ask me if they didn’t make the mess, why do they have to clean it up.

The answer is less philosophical than they would like believe, because if we don’t clean up the messes regardless of who made them things just get worse.  So I choose to make my day and world a little brighter, hoping that by doing so someone else will see that it can be done.