Speaking out means never shutting up

Re-posted from Kilo Alpha Tango

When I stood up for something, I didn’t realize that I would have to constantly defend my choices.

Well, it takes a toll. I advocate for something, I identify myself as ‘the other’, and I will endure an onslaught of questions. People question your commitment to an issue by judging how you live your life. Is it hypocritical to advocate to end violence and watch violent movies? Can it be a day job?

I think there are many out there with a tongue in cheek response about how we watch these shows and movies to study the violence, or to see how violence is normalized in the public view.

I can tell you one thing. There is so much injustice and rage that perhaps the outlet is watching these shows. Caring is exhausting. Sometimes I wish that I didn’t care about anything and let everything happen to others – it’s their problem, deal with it.

This is my inner dialogue when I question myself after others question me. I believe that I work to abolish racism and sexism as my main priorities. There are certainly elements of ageism and classism that creep into that work, but where do I draw the line in my priorities?

I think that’s why I really don’t have great answers when I’m questioned about this. Oh, it just got sad all of a sudden. Ok, well I’ll work on this a bit more and come back to it.

My secret

Yesterday was the launch of the Canadian Mental Health Strategy. I attended the official event with speakers talking about how mental health has been “in the shadows” for far too long, and how it’s time to bring the discussion and treatment of mental health into the mainstream. Being there to see the crowd giving a standing ovation to one woman’s lived experience with depression and to feel the energy for the discussion around the importance of mental health made me want to share my secret.

Over the course of my life I have lived and experienced many forms of violence and abuse. I grew up in a family with an alcoholic, and while I love my family more than anything and they are wonderful people, my parents weren’t always great parents, and my sisters not always great sisters.

When I was 20 I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I didn’t know what that meant, but couldn’t help but want to hide. I took the psychologist’s report home to my parents to discuss the diagnosis and they were adamant that it wasn’t true, and would not accept it. I have no idea what happened to the report, I was never treated, and I spent the next 10 years trying to find ways to cope with intense anxiety, depression, episodic thoughts of suicide, and a string of horribly dysfunctional and abusive relationships.

What my parents didn’t know about me was that I was sexually abused as a child, and in my first year of university I was raped as my first sexual experience. I was incredible insecure, scared of everyone and everything around me, had an on-going battle with depression and insomnia, and really needed help. When I think back about my life I realize that my parents were probably as scared about the diagnosis as I was, but it was a significant call for help and an opportunity that shouldn’t have been ignored.

Over the next 10 years I was able to cope with life, and even had some significant successes, but I haven’t always been a functional person. I’ve had relationships that were emotionally and physically abusive, at times I’ve self-medicated with alcohol, and I’ve tried to keep my faith in people, which has led to me being taken advantage of in various ways.

When I was about 30 I decided to talk to my nurse practitioner about medication for anxiety and depression. Up to that point I was against anti-depressants, believing it was the medical and pharmaceutical industry not understanding that people have emotions and that emotions shouldn’t be suppressed. But, I realized I needed something, so I started taking a low dose of an anti-anxiety/anti-depressant. Immediately my life changed. For the first time I could think straight, could sleep through the night, and felt in control of my life. Things weren’t perfect and it would take a couple of years to sort through my problems, but I felt healthy.

Today I feel healthier and happier than I’ve ever felt before. I have an amazing partner and for the first time in my life I feel safe, loved and cared for. We have a beautiful baby girl and I love every moment with her, even at 3am when she can’t sleep. I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to this point, but I believe that everyone has their journey and I’m glad that mine has finally come out of the shadows.

Here is my next challenge – thanks to strongerfitterbetter for getting me motivated!

fitterstrongerbetter

This is my next fitness challenge for you guys and, don’t worry, it’s only a week this time.

As well as your usual work outs, I challenge you to get up 30 minutes earlier than you usually do to work out. This can be running, cycling, interval training (check out ZWOW on Youtube for ideas) or even powerwalking with the dog.

This’ll help improve your sleep patterns, overall mood, energy levels and will kick start your metabolism for the day. What’s not to love! Even if you get tired, try powerwalking to still get those endorphins going.

Starting on Sunday, who’s in?

View original post

Checklist

I forgot to post this last weekend because I got to busy, but here was my to do list:

  • take dog to park for 5K run
  • grocery shopping
  • go to gym – 8K intervals, arms, chest, back
  • baby’s nap-time
  • clean up back yard
  • load truck to go to the dump
  • laundry
  • make dinner (Shish ke-bombs!)
  • clean house

My partner was working and I was amazed because I finished everything on the list! I was feeling very productive, and absolutely beat by the end of the day, but I’m planning on doing it all again this coming weekend!

Why I run…

reblogged from The adventures of Mona

I don’t run for medals. I don’t run for racing shirts or fancy gear. I don’t run for PRs. I don’t run for weight loss. I don’t run for popularity or recognition.  I don’t even run for fitness. I’ll tell you why I do run though…

I run because there is no sweeter taste than that of fresh air

I run because nature paints colors that beat out any 3D movie or HDR photo

I run because when the breeze hits my face I feel peaceful and free

I run to be the only moving thing in a landscape of stillness

I run because it makes the smallest moments last an eternity

I run to sightsee

I run because there is nothing that calms me more than miles of open country roads

I run for that moment when the sun comes up and all of the world awakens

I run for the view at the top of the mountain

And the view looking up from a grassy mattress

I run because my favorite smell is forest

And there is something magical about being around water

I run because I can see the sunrise and set a million different ways

I run because I love the city before everyone wakes up

I run to explore

And I believe, despite what people may say, the trail never ends…

Cleaning house

Image

Does anyone else dread the weekend because they are faced with a mountain of dishes, laundry, and other housekeeping chores? I remember every Saturday growing up was dedicated to doing the chores, but since leaving home I’ve tried to manage my housekeeping in a way that allows me to enjoy my weekends. Unfortunately, since having a baby it means my house is a disaster and I feel increasingly stressed by the idea of cleaning, organizing, and getting the house into shape.

Part of the challenge with my house is we bought a “fixer-upper” and moved in the same week that our daughter was born. Before moving in we needed to change the insulation in the house because asbestos was found in the attic, and once in the house, we needed to change the bathroom sink, vanity, light, and toilet. Given that we literally just had a baby, we did the changes in stages and spent weeks with random bathroom fixtures hanging out in the hallway or littering the backyard. 

The move also marked the official merging of two lives and all of our worldly belongings. For anyone who has gone through this process, it is disasterous… especially when moving into a smaller home. I had a 1500 sq ft. townhouse and my partner moved from his home of the last 15 years and brought his car hobby. Our basement is filled to the rafters, our driveway packed with 4 cars, 2 trucks and a trailer, and our backyard scattered with car parts, a snowmobile, a canoe, and assorted debris from our first attempt to “organize” the basement.

There is a part of me that is a little embarrassed (well, really embarrassed) by the state of our house and yard. We are very nice, normal people, who actually want to take pride in the look of our home, we just aren’t there yet. In the meantime I have an incredible amount of stress and anxiety every evening and weekend, knowing that I have a lot of work to do.

So, I’m looking for advice because I have no idea how or where to even begin. Send me your tips and ideas for organizing kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and laundry rooms. Help me organize my jewelry, Tupperware, kids toys, and mail. The goal is to find economical solutions to everyday mess, or recommendations for how to optimize the space in a small kitchen, bathroom and laundry room!

Food for thought

Image

Last March I had a baby, and like many new moms I was eager to get back to my pre-baby shape. So, last summer I joined Weight Watchers to help me get back on track and better understand my nutritional needs as a new mom. This was the first time I had ever officially gone on a diet and I was really surprised with what I learned. When I’m hungry, eat fruits and vegetables.

I know it seems silly, but I didn’t ever really understand this nutritional basic. Before joining the program, I thought I knew about healthy, balanced eating, portion sizes and not to eat a lot (or any) processed foods that are high in fat or sugar. I always had fruit or vegetables at every meal, love salad, grow vegetables in my garden in the summer, indulge during berry seasons, but fruits and vegetables weren’t part of my snack food routine. 

With everything I do, I try to learn a lesson and take this lesson forward with me. My experience with Weight Watchers was a good one, not because I met my goal weight (in fact I never actually set a goal weight… or ‘finished’ the program for that matter), but because I transformed my way of thinking about food and snacking.

Now, I say I didn’t finish the program, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t achieve success. Simply incorporating veggies into my snacking has allowed me to lose more weight than I ever planned to. Initially I wanted to fit comfortably into my pre-baby clothes, which I did… but it didn’t stop there. 8 months later I’m 10 lbs lighter (132 lbs) than my average weight before having a baby. This is a consequence of one, easy nutritional change. Sure, I’m active, I chase after and play with my toddler, and breastfeeding definitely helped I think, but in hindsight I think I owe my silhouette today  to veggies.

I don’t expect that it is that simple for everyone who is trying to lose weight, in fact I really admire those who are on a sizable weight loss journey (sorry for the pun). I think it is unfair to simplify diet and nutrition, or ‘what works’ for those who have a significant amount of weight to lose, but I think there are lessons that can be learned in the little things. However, I do hope this thought for the day might encourage others who are packing their lunch today.