After my trip to Iceland, I was feeling like I could do anything! Well, not exactly, but I felt so proud of myself for setting aside my many fears and I wanted to keep it going.
I’ve always wanted to go to North Carolina’s Outer Banks (I’m a huge fan of Nicholas Sparks). So I looked at my bank account and decided I could do it-I booked a trip for my family in the spring-my folks are coming too. And for those who know me-this is huge!
As school began for my son and I enrolled new children in my program, I was feeling like I needed to get out and about more and exercise and have quiet reflective outings. Being so busy during the week, I just needed the peace.
I used to love hiking and having conquered that volcano hike, I decided to go hiking-by myself! I used to have so much fear about being in the woods by myself, but I found it to be peaceful and restful. I made sure I had proper gear as the season got colder, even preparing for winter hiking-which I LOVE!
One hike led to a mountaintop lake where I sat down on a weather worn log and refueled. I started thinking of my young adult self and how many opportunities I missed out on because of my fears…there were too many to count.
It all boils down to anything unknown…travel, food, new people (men in particular whether in the workplace or proximity), animals, even going to an appointment in a new building. My fear of the unknown has been hampering my experiences and relationships for much too long.
So now I practice embracing the unknown…I say practice because it’s a process and I’m not always successful. Though I am proud to say I’m making progress and finally beginning to live a richer life for it!
I’m just going to dive in-lots of growth and triumph lately!
I’m going to Iceland in a couple weeks! Back in May, my brother was texting me a bit and mentioned that he was going to Iceland in August. Without even thinking, I replied, “ooh! Can I come?” To which he replied that indeed I could. This may not seem like a big deal, but for those that know me, it is. In fact, I shared on Facebook that I was going and several friends thought it was a joke! I have a lot of fear, always have. I don’t travel much because I get anxious with the unknown and like to be in control-I’m a terrible flyer! And I’m not sure if Covid is the reason, or maybe I’m realizing I’m getting older, but I found myself shedding that fear faster than a snake sheds it’s skin! I surprised myself, and I’m truly excited to go on this trip! I feel like Iceland is the coolest place I never knew I wanted to go-and I get to go with my little brother! We need to spend some quality time together-life is short!
I’ve finally been able to let go of michael, (mostly). It’s funny, I’ve been hanging onto this friendship for so long, so tightly, and reading a book finally got me to shift my thinking. I read The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd while on vacation, and it had quite an effect on me. The vivid descriptions and poignant thoughts and experiences of the characters spoke to me in a way that was hard to explain…of course, the characters’ experiences were different than mine, but the author still had a way of capturing some of the feelings that go along with my own unique journey. It also sparked an idea for a new children’s book, though I haven’t gotten it down on paper yet! Here are a couple quotes from the book that have stayed with me (the very first one gave me goosebumps when I read it):
“I marvel at how I was before I met him, how I lived molded to the smallest space possible, my days the size of little beads that passed without passion through my fingers.”
“I wonder if perhaps they (the mermaids) saved me. I know this much, the mermaids came to me in the pink hours of my life…for them I dove with arms outstretched, my life streaming out behind me, a leap against all proprieties and expectations, but a leap that was somehow saving and necessary. They caught me after I hit the water, baring me not to the surface but to the bottom, and only then, pulling me back up.” “yes, here I am returning, the woman who bore herself to the bottom and back, the woman who wanted to swim like dolphins leaping waves and diving, who wanted only to belong to herself.” “What I loved in him most was my own aliveness-his ability to give me back to myself…”. “At first it was difficult for me…to realize i would only know you as a memory or a longing…YOU BROUGHT ME DEEPER INTO LIFE…”
Over the winter, my liver function was terrible, and after a lifestyle overhaul, I’m finally feeling better (and fitting into my clothes better than I have in years). I’d been having gut issues for years, and when combined with my terrible diet and super sweet tooth, and my alcoholic youth, my liver was angry. My blood pressure was sky high and would not come down despite being on four different medications. After running blood tests, the doctor told me I either had to prepare for my liver to shut down completely or change the way I was living…so I stopped eating butter and sugar. That was the simplest and least overwhelming step I could take right away. Next I started drinking more water, again, simple and not at all overwhelming. As the pounds began to drop, I added frequent but light exercise…I found that the workouts felt easy and that gave my mood a boost. That led to adding more healthy foods, I lightened my sugar and butter restrictions a bit as a reward. Gradually, working out has become easier to build into my life, and I actually look forward to it, sometimes crave it. I’ve switched to protein pasta and cereal, and it’s been good. I also changed my grocery-shopping mindset-I now spend more money that I used to on produce. I used to skip out on the $4 honeydew or the $5.99/lb cherries. Now I let myself buy them as a treat. It’s cheaper than the ice cream, soda, or chips I used to get and so much more satisfying! And though I am still a work in progress, I feel strong and healthy and it’s wonderful!