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Chapter 2 – Am I Worth It? Am I Stronger than My Excuses? Will I FINALLY Decide to Change for ME?

 

Happy Monday, and here’s to the start of a fantastic week.  Since my first chapter has been out there for a little while, I started thinking that I don’t want to come across as a victim in all aspects of what landed me here.  Yes, I have been a victim of emotional and physical abuse, but looking back, I had complete control over how I chose to react to everything that happened to me.  Circumstances do happen to us, but WE choose how to react, and we choose how to handle them and not let them ruin our lives.  Yes, it sucked when I got laid off, it was so sad when two of my pups passed away – but I had to choose how to handle these things.

I worked with a friend of mine who is a career coach (Denise Sutter, I can never thank you enough), and we focused on getting the best ME out there for the business world to see. It paid off because I ended up finding a fantastic opportunity on an amazing team where I am learning what it’s like to be appreciated, my work valued and it’s an overall positive environment.  I did some volunteer work for a phenomenal dachshund rescue organization and have been able to enjoy seeing my 7 rescue pups run  happy and healthy every day. Chapman’s Dachshund Rescue

At this point, it was time to tackle the elephant in the room so to speak.  Of course I knew my weight was out of control, not only because of the scale but mainly because of how I FELT.  Everything hurt and I was all I could do to have enough energy to get through the day.  I had a heart to heart talk with myself, and came to a crossroads: was I going to keep going like this and being miserable, or was I going to take action and give it my absolute best attempt to gain control and get my life back?

What was my catalyst?  It is hard to write this but I made the decision to take action when I saw the number on the scale go over 200 pounds.  As long as I had stayed under there (no matter if it was just barely), I could deny that I had to do anything.  But there it was.  207 pounds to be exact.  I’m 5’2.  Yes, it was about the number but more than that, I hated how I felt – I had no energy for my precious pups and I just couldn’t even deal with living life – I did the bare minimum to exist (work, ate takeout!). Wore clothes that looked terrible on me but I felt like they did ok at hiding my shame.  The only person I was fooling was myself.

Now, I’m not saying I was ashamed of my weight, I was ashamed at how far I had fallen from where I had once been.  I don’t want anyone ever to feel ashamed of themselves for a number on the scale, EVER!!! Society is more than hard enough on us without us doing it to ourselves too. Each and every one of us has to decide when we are ready – NO ONE can make the decision to change for you.  NO ONE can tell you when the time is right because your situation is unique.  I do know one thing for certain – while everyone of us is different, our excuses for not starting, not taking that first really difficult step… our excuses are ALL THE SAME.

I’m not going to list them all because each of us can recite the list from memory, am I right? 🙂 I knew them all and had multiple rationalizations for all of them.  But the day came like I said where I made the decision to TRY – just try.  I was able to see through the fog of depression to realize that I was worth the try.  It was time to just try. If you’ve never been there, it seems so easy, but if you have, you know that first step is paralyzing. But only if you allow it to be. 

Don’t worry – as soon as I get all the background out here so you know where I started from, I will get into specifics I promise.  Please let me know what questions you have and what you want me to write about in upcoming chapters, because this is for YOU!  I love you all, and thank you so much for taking the time to be here and read my story.

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Rise of the Phoenix Chapter 1 – How I Got to my “BEFORE”

This first post is a bit of a struggle..how far back do I go and how much info to include so you don’t get bored and stop reading.  So I will just dive in and then YOU can ask questions and let me know what you might want to read more about.  Setting the stage will be the longest chapter but I want to share ME with you so you know the good, bad and ugly.  This has never been told before and I am very scared to put it out there.

Way way back in my 20s and even early 30s I was in amazing physical shape – but emotionally I was a wreck.  Eating disorders, unhealthy relationships and intense pressure to stay thin to keep those relationships alive.  I am sure this story is all too familiar. I found myself in abusive relationships, very scary ones and situations that I am blessed to have survived.  I am VERY fortunate to be here today telling you this story.

Domestic violence changes perspective on things for sure, but I didn’t get my independence from that for a while.  I still had terrible self esteem – the victim always thinking if I’d done this or not done that, if I hadn’t gotten injured and gained a few pounds, and probably the worst one: if I hadn’t stood up for myself none of this would have happened.

Fast forward to the only relationship I’ve had in the last couple of decades.  When it ended, someone who was supposed to be my support system and be there for me at least for the initial shock of 5 years of my life with someone coming to an end, this is what I got.  “Well that’s really sad but you had to know it was coming.  He’s younger than you so of course he wants someone prettier, thinner and more successful.”  Now, maybe those words needed to be said at some point and I’ve never needed to be coddled but that hurt.  And to this day I have not gotten involved in another relationship because my confidence was destroyed over time, hearing things like this from people who were supposed to care.

SOOOO – here’s what happened next and continued until about a year ago.  I ate, I faded away from life.  Clearly no one wanted me around so I withdrew from life.  I did try to work out with my wonderful trainer at the time, Michael Anders.  I am so thankful for him because he gave me a reason to show up and try to better myself.  I just couldn’t go all in and commit emotionally and physically.

Some time ago I was laid off from a company I had been with for over 8 years at the time.  Shortly after that two of my beloved dachshunds passed away exactly 6 weeks apart.  I got scared because I couldn’t snap out of this, not this time.  I ate more, whatever I wanted because I was sad. Chinese food sounded great, it made me happy. Same with pizza – why not, my favorite food and life sucked so ….

I did come out of my funk long enough to see my doctor to talk about depression. I had to admit I needed help because clearly I wasn’t gonna kick this by myself.  I had stopped going to the basketball games I loved and I hid from life because I didn’t want ANYONE TO SEE ME!! I look back at pictures that I was forced to be in and while my face might be smiling, it never made it to my eyes.  

I will leave you with this to think about for next week:  what was my catalyst to FINALLY make a change and take back my life?  First step in the process was admitting I had depression and getting help for that.  From there, I could see things a little more clearly and realized HOLY WOW I am a huge hot mess right now!  Time to get it together Pam.  Stay tuned.

And stay PAWSITIVE!!! Thanks for coming with me.

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Transformation is SCARY and Painful, not Pretty and Bright. But SO WORTH IT!

This picture came from one of my favorite FaceBook pages “Bruised But Not Broken” and reposted with permission.

https://www.facebook.com/Bruised-But-Not-Broken

Tomorrow will be the first chapter of my story and I am so excited and nervous to share with you all.  There are millions of transformation stories out there, but hopefully since you know ME, you might find something you can relate to and take away that can work for you if you need to change something in your life.  I have put off writing it because SO many people do and why should mine matter?  But you know what, it does.  It matters because you all have been with me through the whole process.

This quote says it all to me. Transformation is NOT sweet and bright, at least for me it hasn’t been.  It has been very dark and painful, because before you can change something, you have to challenge it and understand its role in keeping you down.  I will tell you: It’s scary as hell to dive in head first and make the TOUGH painful decisions that have to be made.  I had to remove toxic relationships from my life even though everyone felt like they should tell me how wrong I was for that.  I had to accept my depression, acknowledge that I couldn’t fight those demons alone and get the help I needed so that I could grow.  I think this is why most people never start.

Who among us WANTS to turn our lives inside out, really figuring out what it is that holds us back? We talk about wanting to do this but making ourselves go through the actual process SUCKS.  But in order to affect positive change in our lives, we have to face the painful truths, the harsh realities, and accept ownership of the things we constantly do to sabotage ourselves.  Yes, most of your current situation that you’re unhappy with is actually your own fault. (This was me talking to me).

The hardest part is the start – we can think about it, talk about it, stress over it… and that can paralyze us.  It did me for YEARS – I couldn’t decide which way was up, which way was out of the darkness.  So I have a homework assignment for you – you might not need to do a dramatic weight loss/wellness type of transformation, but maybe there is something you are dying to change.  Figure out what that is and what is stopping you.  Then come with me while I continue working on me, and we’ll figure out HOW TO GET YOU THERE!

 

 

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What Will Your Word Be?

I came across this blog post yesterday and it really resonated with me.  http://goinswriter.com/broken-resolution/. So I set about to find my word for 2017.  This seemed like something pretty important to me as I set some goals for my writing that I basically ignored last year.  What did I come up with?  And how will I use this in 2017?

UNSTOPPABLE. 

Yea, sounds amazing, right?  The key is to USE THIS word, in everything I do, everything I pursue.  NOTHING can stop me, because what I want to accomplish MATTERS.  It occurred to me during this exercise that I basically messed around with my writing like I did with my weight loss/fitness for so long until I FINALLY got serious about it.  So, I spent some time with myself and set some firm intentions.  Not resolutions, though that’s fine if that’s what makes you giddy inside.  I had a heart to heart chat with myself, once again affirmed that I AM A WRITER, now I just have to act like one.

I chatted with a dear friend of mine about choosing a word, and she was all for it too.  She has been through some SERIOUS stuff in 2016, so her word is UNBREAKABLE.  Through everything, she has refused to sink, and together we are pushing each other to live with purpose and intention, and put our words to use in everything we do.

What is your word?  I challenge you to pick one.  If you need some ideas, check out http://Oneword365.com and make a list of ones that speak to you.  Then choose!  Come on along, this will be fun.  But it isn’t just a word – this is your intention for the year.  Everything you do you must do with this word in mind.

As the website says “CHOOSE JUST ONE WORD. Go where it takes you. Be who it makes you.”

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One of those “I am having a meltdown and honestly have no idea why!” Days.

Whew – hang with me lovelies, this one might be a bit long.  SO today, I just woke up cranky.  Two of my dogs have been having some health issues, and I didn’t sleep well last night.  However, this has happened before and I didn’t lose it.  Today was just ONE OF THOSE FREAKIN DAYS.  Tired, sleepy, stressed, annoyed at things the pups do that normally don’t bother me –  and NO it isn’t PMS :).

You know the days.  You create problems where there are none, you see issues where things really are perfectly normal.  You INSIST on that glass half empty no matter what.  The day started with my pouting my way through my workout (it was a great workout, and I didn’t slack, I just pouted because I was cranky).

You question things that don’t need to be questioned.  Seriously, I couldn’t get out of my own head today.  Everything, I mean EVERYTHING – every little tiny thing – lived there today, festered there, churning and churning and pulling me down even more.

Taking it out on people close to me and expecting them to understand.  REALLY?  How the heck could they – it was IN MY HEAD – they don’t live there.  The stupid, ridiculous questions for no reason. They couldn’t know where the words were coming from because it was all this perfect storm in my wacky brain.  I’m sure some friends today were like “ohhhhkkkkkaaayyyy then we’ll just try to talk to her tomorrow.”  This is not my normal state I promise – so I know it was as frustrating to those around me as it was to me.

Ok, so – now that you know I had a REALLY messed up day (where NOTHING at all was wrong, but to me everything was wrong), you’re probably thinking “Pam, we all have these days why are you going on about it?”

I want to tell you how I got over my meltdown – and NO I did not cheat on my meal plan and have chocolate 🙂 After getting back from the vet, and enjoying a few laughs there because my dogs are going to be fine and they were really showing off, I decided that I was GETTING ON MY OWN FREAKIN NERVES!!!

So I did this thing that I do when I really just have had enough of myself (you see, I do have a routine because I live alone so it can happen lol).  I turned off my phone, let the pups run around in the back yard, and I grabbed my journal and a pen and joined them outside.

I just wrote – no subject, no structure, maybe I spelled things right, maybe I didn’t.  Some tears were shed as I realized WOW lady, you really did make a wreck of today and you can’t get that back.  Tears can be good.  These were good.  I don’t even know if what I wrote made sense.  It doesn’t matter.  No one will see, no one will judge.  My therapy was sunshine, pen and paper.  I needed to get out all the things – all the things I over analyzed and turned into gigantic things when they were not even things!  HA – now that’s a great literary sentence for you 🙂

Totally amazing how dumping all my crazy, troubled nonsense thoughts out into my trusty little book turned things around for me.  See, I was no longer carrying that CRAP in my head trying to figure it all out.  It didn’t need to be figured out (remember I made problems where there were none).  It needed to be written down and then put to rest.  WHAT A RELIEF!

I got out of my own way the best way I know how.  I’m not good at talking to people about these things so writing is my therapy.  What do you all do when you have one of those days?

Let me hear from you.  I love you guys – thanks for reading.

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Time for Some Honest Thoughts and Hard Truths

Hello friends. I’ve been away a bit, and I have to be honest about why. Earlier this week, I hit a personal/internal all-time low in terms of self esteem and body image. And, I also have to be totally honest about how difficult it has been for me to get my head around it and climb out of the ditch.
I was in denial for far too long – not stepping on the scale, eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, not exercising because I didn’t WANT to (being completely, ridiculously stubborn about all of it!)
I’ve tried not to judge my self worth, self image, etc based on the number on the scale – but BOY, this was a HUGE reality check. One I wasn’t ready for, but I bit the bullet and stepped on. Had to know what I am dealing with, where I’m actually starting from, right?

I didn’t sink into total depression, but it was/is a pretty serious “funk” that I’m still wrestling with.
Another bit of total honesty and full disclosure here – this was the highest number I’ve ever seen on the scale. I still am completely overwhelmed at where I’ve found myself – starting seems so daunting. It’s been FAR easier to deny, deny, deny.

Or has it? Clearly it’s been eating away at me (pardon the pun), subconsciously. I knew I needed to know my current situation – yet, I couldn’t face it.
Until I did.

I took a deep breath, stepped on the scale – and I’m proud to say that while I was devastated, I wasn’t surprised, and I didn’t completely break down.  I took a deep breath, looked in the mirror and said – WELL, HERE WE ARE. THE MOMENT …. of truth…. of WOW I had no idea I had let myself get here, but I know I don’t like it here so….

And yet, I’ve been scared to start still. I have plenty of knowledge about what to do…. I just can’t make myself DO.

Until today. I’ve been putting off writing this all week – but this is my moment to come clean with all of you and myself. Now it’s out there – you all know my current situation. That number was truly a rude awakening. I’m letting you all into my head and I’m going to share my journey just to help keep myself going – or um…. GET myself going.

I know tons of people share their successful weight loss/fitness/wellness journeys online, but I’m going to try not to be just another person who loses weight (HOPEFULLY!!!). I want you all to know what it FEELS like inside my brain while I do my level best to make some progress. I admit that I battle depression, sometimes more successfully than others. I am sharing this to keep myself from totally going off the rails and giving up completely. It was EASY to give up – it was EASY not to try. Again – or was it?

I have to DO something at last – because that number is unhealthy, and I want/need to feel better. It’s time to realize I’m a beginner again, and I have to start where I am. The thoughts of where I was, what I used to be able to do – they can be motivation, but I can’t allow all that to keep me from STARTING.

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Where do you find INSPIRATION? Part 2

Hello friends!  So, I’ve been away for a couple of days, but I haven’t been idle, just waiting for inspiration to find me.  Nope, I’ve been LOOKING for it.  I’m happy to report that I have indeed found some. I have been doing some soul searching to figure  out what I should look for, and that isn’t always a fun exercise.  I mean, admitting that you want MORE, you want to be BETTER, you want to GROW along your personal development journey – that’s some scary stuff!  Well, I don’t think those of us who seek out personal growth are really looking for the easy button.

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

1) I went back and re-read the chapters in “Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes that were my AHA moments the first time I read it.

2) I did some research on the art of writing itself.  And I found this book called “Everybody Writes” by Ann Handley – let me tell you, she makes reading about writing FUN!!!  (Fan girl moment – I tagged her on my Instagram post and she commented back).

3) I went back to another neighborhood gym that recently reopened.  I love my regular gym family, but I realized that I needed a place where no one knows me, where I can just be ME.  No one knows what I used to lift, how I used to train- I will just be someone who comes in and works hard.  My other gym family is super supportive and encouraging, but I felt like I needed to hit the “reset” button.  I’m not leaving there, I’m just changing scenery.  And guess what? I’m SUPER excited about it.  Yep, I said that.

4) I talked to some creative friends and learned that they too get scared.  I always figured that successful people have it all figured out – but they have their challenges too.  Then I talked to some folks who are swimming upstream just like me, yet they’re making the best of it.  Hmmm, ok, I see… Just keep swimming!

5) Finally settled on a cute little planner system that I can really have some FUN with (yes, planning can be fun!).  I have cute stickers, and a method to track my writing ideas, my fitness journey, and my schedule all in one place – and did I mention it’s FUN?  If you read my previous post on my Pinterest nightmare, you know that this is a huge accomplishment 🙂

6) Found a quote from one of my favorite ladies in history, Eleanor Roosevelt:

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Bottom line – we all have to regroup and reset from time to time.  That part is completely normal.  The place I got stuck for far too long was just waiting for something to happen instead of actively taking part in making things happen. Everyone’s inspiration will be different, but what I’m really trying to say is don’t let yourself get so freakin depressed about it like I did.

Everything you need – EVERYTHING – is right there, right there inside of you.  All you have to do is do the work, the sometimes uncomfortable and scary work, of digging down deep and bringing that fire back to life.

Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.

Charles F. Kettering

 

 

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Where do you find INSPIRATION? Part 1

Hi!  First let me say that I am making myself (and YOU) a promise to be much more present here in this space.  I go far too long between posts, honestly because I’m afraid to bore you. I do write, constantly, in my journal, where no one but me can see. But what the heck!  We are all going through this whirlwind of life together so why not talk about it together? 🙂  My creative friends are reminding me to just write, write, write.  All the time.  It is my passion after all. Maybe if I write enough, you will find something useful at various times. And to be honest, it’s therapy for me.

Ok, straight talk for tonight. I have REALLY been struggling to find inspiration to do the things I know I need to do, that I want to do… I keep looking, waiting for it to come, waiting for something to inspire me.  To write, to work out, to BE HAPPY!  I seriously have been looking, I promise.  I’ve been waiting for the magic to happen… And yet I’ve still been sad. It has to be out there, right???  Stay with me.

However, my dear friend Creative Galina (@creativegalina on social media) had a Periscope video a couple of days ago that I could swear was basically just directed at me.  I even re-watched it and took notes.  WOW, perfect timing, because I had been feeling so incredibly hopeless, doing all this searching and hoping to find something to light that fire within, to get me excited about things again.  Reading all the books, making all the lists, getting discouraged because accomplishing things is HARD when you aren’t driven by that inner fire.

She asked the question of how and where do you find inspiration?  She made such a good point, that if you don’t see it/feel it around you, go look for it, FIND IT.  Find that support and encouragement you need to pursue those things that scare you, challenge you.  It might not be right there in your current circle. You might find someone on social media (like I did!) who inspires you to dig deep and find that spark, do that thing that you’ve been thinking about forever.  It could just be some encouraging words from someone you’ve never actually met that helps you change your life!  Surround yourself with people who want MORE too.  “You only need yourself and your desire to make a better change.  YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE.  Life is magic – you are unstoppable.  Nothing should stop you from being something more.”

Guess what?  Nobody is going to change your life but YOU.  Nobody is going to open that door for you, nobody is going to hand you the golden ticket and make all your dreams come true for you.  Of course we all KNOW this to be true, but I can’t be the only one who loses sight of that sometimes.  Doesn’t it become tough to bear that burden all the time, and you look for that easy button?  “Believe you’re worthy of something more in life.  If you have those goals and  you’re really ready to face them, it’s your time to do it.  It’s now or never. It’s your time to do it.”

I did a Google search on quotes about inspiration, and I will leave you with this one for tonight:

If you wait for inspiration you’ll be standing on the corner after the parade is a mile down the street.

Ben Nicholas

 

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Snow Day Memories

Hello everyone!  It’s been a minute since I posted, but I’m finally over my Seahawks’ defeat.  Today here in Charlotte we had some winter weather (some ice, snow, sleet, and more on the way), and it was so much fun to see the poodles outside chasing the tennis ball in the snow.  Walker hasn’t seen snow before but he matched every step of big sis Izzy.  I hope there is more snow tomorrow so they can go out and play again. Of course the doxies want no part of it.  They stick their noses out of the dog door to assess the situation, and decide from there if they want to come out or not.  (Picture it if you can, three little noses poking out, JUST the noses, while the poodles are outside running around having a blast).  I knew I could make you smile.

You know I always say Fall reminds me of my mountain heritage.  But so does winter and snowfall.  I so vividly remember being on the mountain without power, and seeing the snow truck lights coming up the road, and hearing the power truck.  Hot chocolate with marshmallows, candles and so many blankets to keep warm.  These sounds and images are as clear in my mind as if it happened yesterday.  All of these sights and sounds were a regular part of my mountain childhood.

snow excitementThe pine trees heavy with snow sure were beautiful, but…. That came at a cost of frozen power lines.  I didn’t care, I was a kid!  I know my mom kept watch on things like that to know when to bring out the candles and lanterns, so I just enjoyed the snow days.  I remember walking down the mountain to Mamaw’s house to get hot chocolate, because she made hers with MILK!  Isn’t it funny how certain things trigger amazingly strong (and fond) memories?!  Anyone have any snow memories that come to mind?

For me, there is NOTHING as peaceful as going outside in the freshly fallen snow.  The complete and utter silence, the crisp, clean air…  nothing I can write would do it justice. I love snow.  It is cleansing, therapeutic for me.  

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I’m not gonna lie, this ONLY applies to SNOW!!!  The ice, freezing rain, sleet, nahhhhh, I’m not about that.  I know it’s a hassle to shovel the driveway, and to be stuck inside… but try it – just bundle up, go outside and walk around a little bit.  Listen to the complete stillness.  Breathe the most amazingly crisp air, throw a snowball or three, see your breath in the air, and LAUGH, just laugh.  HAVE FUN!  You see how much kids love snow days – let’s see if we can learn a lesson from them for a change.

Stay warm, stay safe, and stay PAWSITIVE 🙂

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WHAT A WEEKEND!

Let me apologize for being absent this week.  I won’t do that again because I have missed writing.  BUT, right now I have to tell you why I can barely sit still or think about anything besides football.  I never, ever want to wish a weekend away but I just can’t wait until Sunday. I get to see my Seahawks in person on Sunday!!!!!  Can’t remember the last time I was this excited about something. 

Tonight, Dad and I will go watch the Hornets play, catch some playoff football before and after, maybe check out the Seahawks party after the game.  I just need to keep busy because I’m crawling out of my skin with excitement.  An awesome coworker invited us to their tailgate party tomorrow morning, even knowing I will be in Navy and Green.  There is also a Seahawks Road Crew tailgate party so we’ll be busy until time to go to the stadium.

Monday, I get to share the Hornets game with Dad and a couple of friends, so I will either be extremely happy, or welllllll, back to focusing on basketball 🙂  Whatever the outcome, this is a once in a lifetime type of experience for me, and I’m like “little kid at Christmas” hyped up about it.

I know this post is really boring, but I just needed to say hello and check in.  Well aware that most people who might read this are Panthers fans, but I’ve been a football fan since long before the Panthers existed so just understand I don’t hate the Panthers, I just have to cheer against them when they play my team! I’ve found a Facebook page for Hawks fans coming to the game and that’s pretty awesome.  12’s travel well it seems.

I won’t talk about the actual game just yet, saving that for tomorrow! But, YES I THINK THE HAWKS HAVE A CHANCE – a good one!  Until then, #goHawks from this #12livinginPantherscountry. 

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