My Dirty Little Secret

I’m going to share a terrible secret with you all that I’ve tried to share in 3-5 different draft posts and have not gotten far. When I try to write it, it never seems worded right and I can’t tell where I am going with it. So, it’s possible this post makes zero sense and I guess that’s ok.

I’m a really jealous person. And especially around love, but it shows up in other areas too. But when people close to me are going on dates, getting laid regularly, meeting nice men, getting flirted with – I feel devastated. Like a complete failure and I dont understand. I just don’t.

I know. This isnt what good people do. You support your friends unconditionally, you are happy for their successes, and you wait your turn, but never enviously. Thing is, I’m so tired of waiting my turn. The jealousy thing I’m sure is a by- product of being utterly tired of it. I wasn’t always this terrible of a human.

I decided to examine my jealousy, get to know her, and understand why she is present. When I get close enough to her, she tells me we are very wounded by the world and universe. Y’all. I try hard. I might be a terrible, jealous human, but I really try to be the best human I can be despite my flaws. I try to give selflessly, for many years I’ve been the supporter and cheerleader (without jealousy), I’ve worked on myself, I try to be the kind of woman someone would want to date and marry that isn’t absolutely crazy, I am extremely self aware, I put myself out there, I’ve endured being cheated on, I’ve helped exes get better, I have forgiven, I’ve made no excuses from my past and each day, I renew a commitment to myself and the world to thrive despite any trauma or abuse that has happened to me. And you know what, I still lose sometimes. Life is like that. But there are those that only of the half work, or do the same work, or no work, and they win. Every time.

They barely work out and don’t exercise – no or minimal health issues. Put in a reasonable amount of work or minimal – either way, get promotions. Treat significant others like crap – get into relationships with the most amazing people and are happy. Lie, cheat, and are wholly awful people – get rich and run an entire country. Do half the work, put themselves out one time, make stupid choices, exist – find relationships, get laid, and/or find people who aren’t insane who want to share their time. There is a meme floating around the internet that asks, “what is the hardest lesson you learned as an adult?” One answer was something to the effect that you can be a good person and do all the right things, and life still not treat you well. I cried the first I read that.

I am sure at times that my jealousy now keeps me from being or getting certain things. Part of me truly believes that… it motivates me to want to change that and then just die from the fact that it is still there. I keep doing the work though. I know I’m incredibly lucky in some ways. When I think about how unfair life is to some people, I think about those who can’t climb out of poverty, who’s governments are murdering their family & friends, who can’t catch a break, and that many of them likely have purer hearts than mine. Trust me when I say, I know my life is so charmed at times, although by no means has it been an easy life. I feel a bit ashamed, but later, I’ll see a smiling friend engaged, on a date, with their s/o, and I know I’ll be crushed. I know how stupid this sounds. This is my dirty little (not so much now) secret. I know how it sounds.

I am continuing to sit with my jealousy. Trying to figure out what she wants me to learn. It’s hard because she brings me back to the pain and I’m not exactly sure how she wants me to address that yet. The pain is connected to an underlying feeling of being inadequate, not as good as everyone else, and that I am broken in some way. I’ve been working on that – it’s tied to some deep shit. As I write that, it makes me think – maybe I just have to go through these feelings. Endure them. Check them. Try not let them ruin me, but instead build me. I don’t know.

But what I do know, is now you all know, my dirty little secret. I’m sorry if I’ve disappointed you, but I hope someone else doesn’t feel so alone. I think we can figure this out. We can be better and ok.

The problem with being overweight in an environment that doesn’t think you are…

When I say I’m fat, I’m not saying it just for kicks. I’m not saying it to hear someone reply back to me “no you’re not”, just so I can feel better about myself . I’m not saying it because it makes me feel better in certain situations.

I’m saying it because it’s true!

Sure, “fat” is a harsh word, but it’s the truth. Overweight, of course, is the better choice of word here, but in any case, it’s a problem that I need to deal with. I just love the fact that when I say I shouldn’t be eating something because I need to lose weight, I get so many interesting, perplexed even, looks. Looks from people who may be bigger than me that says “You are not fat, I’M fat”. Looks from people who are smaller than me saying “I wish I was your size, I can’t gain any weight”. Looks from people that literally say “You’ll be fine”. Looks from people who’ve said “Well, it’s because you’re tall!”.

And yes, while some of these things are true, this still doesn’t negate the fact that I am overweight; Height considered and all. But, of course, I give into the idea of being perfectly fine because I have no willpower. Invite me to go fast food, I’ll go along with all the dinner plans. Mostly because 1, it’s convenient and 2, I can’t eat healthier foods when I see friends are going out and ordering terrible foods. All in all, I’m glad that my weight isn’t a problem for you, but my weight IS a problem for me, and I intend to address it.

I had a enlightening moment the other morning, attempting to put on a pair of pants that I probably have worn no more than a year prior with ease, and I could no longer button them. All of my favorite shirts are starting to “shrink” and I have to buy things in 2XL out of necessity, and not choice (like we used to do back in the college, over-sized shirt, days). It was an eye opener.

The problem with being overweight in an environment that doesn’t think you are, is that you’re surrounded by well-intentioned enablers. Even if it’s on purpose or by accident. This is my reality, plain and simple. No I may not be your definition of overweight, and that’s part of the problem. People around me don’t truly understand that I need to do something about my health before it gets too late. And the “you’re fine the way you are” comments make it seem like people are disregarding my feelings about my self, my health or my general happiness. Being close to being pre-diabetic will have you thinking about these things.

But you know, I can’t blame my environment. I can only blame myself. I should have the willpower and wherewithal to be a healthier person, but in certain situations, that’s easier said than done.

Temptation is a bitch…

I should definitely have more self control…

My appetite laughs hysterically at both of those statements. I can’t control it (how many people are rolling their eyes at this); And I feel that it’s getting worse as time goes along. So when I make these statements, it’s because I’m trying to train my brain into wanting to be better. Trying to tell myself that hey, you might want to catch this before you get too crazy. Before it’s too late. So yeah, I might not be your definition of fat, but my physical from the doctor is saying I’m headed on the wrong path.

And yeah, for the people who knew me when I was in the gym 5 times a week, working out regularly and keeping up with it pretty consistently. I enjoyed that I was getting stronger, but still not dropping most of my fatty weight. It was kind of the trade off muscle for fat thing going on, but the reason for this happening was because I was still eating like a pig. So then i got to a point where I stopped working out, and lost track of my progress, never to find it again. I stopped working out, but kept eating like I was still working out. A recipe for disaster.

This started due to the fact of going through a mild case of depression during the end and after my last serious relationship, which kind of led me to just not really being into ANYTHING other than food. Eating was a comfort zone for me, instead of hitting the gym harder. It’s known to be a common coping method for many people, and I ended up gaining about 20 or some odd pounds (after already being like 30 pounds overweight). I wouldn’t say that I am addicted to food, but more so addicted to unhealthy food. And even though I’d like to think that I’m technically out of that depression phase, the eating continued and I just started not caring. Then when I got back to the point where I wasn’t happy with my weight and vocalized it, the majority of people I’ve hung out with or around has always asked me why I was so worried about it. Well, because I am, in a word, fat. I’m owning it and will continue to until I do something about it. Hopefully the path I’m taking now will lead me back to the track that I once wandered off of, but I can’t say for sure at this point.

It will be a process.

Life is tough. No sugarcoating it. You will be beat up by it time after time. I don’t think I was ever taught that officially until college. I had to learn on my own, and this is just another battle I’m trying to take head on. And if I’m being honest to myself, I haven’t been trying hard enough, I know that. So if I say I’m fat around you, it’s because I am; And I need to do something about it. I might be annoying…sure. Just ignore me. I know that just saying it does nothing about it, but just know that I’m working on it. This is just me trying to get my mind back to the point where I NEED to force myself to be better. Hopefully this is the beginning of another era of working towards health.

The Initial Descent of A Depressive Episode (Caution: Rough Landing Ahead)

The plane ride was an okay one, but a relatively long one. There had been a few disturbances, of course. The rough air from the bouts of anxiety caused by storms and clouds, the crying child and cursing man, representing the worse parts of my ego trip, troubles with my carry-on almost not fitting in the overhead bins, held for only the right amount of trauma and PTSD, and starved from lack of nutritious meals,  like friends missed and connections lost on this long flight. But there were also hours of smooth sailing, similar to a Mercedes Benz S-Class, expensive to maintain, fueled by mindfulness practices, victories, and self growth. Smiles and nods of affirmation and shared experiences, friendly exchanges shared by strangers on the plane, destined to share this ride with you unbeknownst to you both; strangers who became friends, even for this one trip. And some who will take other trips with you, both purposefully and accidentally in the future.

There was hope. A destination is always hopeful and exciting, even when you’re unsure where this trip may take you.

The initial descent of a depressive episode came without warning. I thought I had more time on this plane, to endure the flight, before this happened. I always knew the plane would eventually have to land. And on those hours of rough air that made me sick to my stomach as I tried to reason with why I even fly, unable to throw up in a barf bag, from fear of looking inexperienced and pitiful, I guessed that the descent may come, but brushed it off. And yet, the initial descent into my unknown destination, came with a familiar pit of stomach feeling as the plane begins to descend into a dark cloud, followed by the turbulence of anxiety, rocking the foundation of this plane.

I quickly remind myself that planes are made for flying, made for turbulence, disruption, worry, sadness, crying, isolation… People like me, I mean planes, strong, steel reinforced, impenetrable, weatherproof (from the wetness of the tears from the storms of course) can handle this landing, this turbulence.

We are only at the initial descent. So we all know that means 30 minutes, 30 more hours, 30 more days – who knows long this descent will take?

I want to trade the strange acquaintances I made, with the familiarity of people on the ground, at my home, that I love and hate. Fear has a way of making us crave the familiar – dysfunction and all. The flight attendants announce that we are closer now, but this descent gets bumpier and bumpier, and I become more afraid and afraid. I fear I’m going to die in this descent. I just close my eyes and wait, pray, beg, for the moment we touch the land, when I’m grounded again.

I think we are closer yet again. I’m not sure though. The storm has made my descent into a foggy hell of depression and sadness, and I can’t make out the destination anymore through my raindrops of tears stained window. I’m even more afraid of the landing now, because well, anxiety mixed with depression is a tornado. And tornadoes make landing dangerous. I am positive that the air masks should have dropped by now and allowed me to breathe more easily. But they never come to my rescue. And I can’t remember how to access the life saving float under my seat as we fly over the wide river heading into the airport, that I’m sure I will drown in – we seem so close to the sorrowful water. I wonder if it’s as cold as I feel? Or as hot as my cheeks flushing?

Who said planes could weather storms anyway? I remember now. My old classmate who was a pilot and lost his life – to himself. I wonder if he once had a rough landing, and it frightened him so much that he wasn’t sure he’d survive his own landing on the other side of the storm?

At some point, we begin the final descent, and I am deep in the clouds and I am not sure whether or not we will make it, and I become numb to it all and tune it all out. I fall back asleep, hoping to not have to move for awhile. I prepare myself for the crash that is inevitable. I don’t talk to anyone and it seems the baby’s cries have completely disappeared, but when I look around his mouth is still open, so clearly, I’ve gone numb, dumb, and deaf to everything. I hope someone remembers my mask after they assist themselves.

The plane jerks. Except, it’s not a jerk. It’s the wheels. We are close to my destination.The sound of wheels is like the sweet, sunrise of a new day. It is the sound of survival and arrival. “You made it,” I whisper silently to myself.

I prepare myself for the abrupt and fast skidding of the wheels across the runway of destination and growth, and brace myself as we brake to take a break, from flying. And I see that the rain has stopped at the destination, the baby is cooing, and the cursing man, eager to make his next connection, has taken to talking excitedly about how he has to get off the plane first.

Arriving to the gate, I wait my turn as those who were fated with me for this ride, take turns in an orderly, yet rushed, fashion to exit the plane. I let the rushed man go by. I can’t help but wonder if that descent was just as awful and crazy for them or if they think I was the crazy one on the trip or was I simply a figure, that set the stage for them in that trip. I will never know, because at that moment I take my carry-on which contains the luggage of my life that I carry with me, exit the plane, and look towards my final destination.

Until the next plane.

 

To the ones I’ve failed

Tonight, my soul is heavy. I know that as far as career paths go, I am on the right track. I love what I do, but it’s tough work. I’ve wrote about it in previous post but if you are unaware, I am a therapist. Therapist, counselor, pain holder, emotion feeler, walk wither. I sit with people in moments when most people run away. I have only been doing this work for a short period of time, but in these few years I have met some amazing people and heard some terrifying stories. I have been touched and I have been forever changed by many people I have come in contact with.

I currently work with adolescents with severe mental health and behavioral issues. I love what I do. I feel like everyone I went to grad school with already knew their niche. They knew what they wanted to do, where they wanted to do it, and with what population they wanted to work with. They even knew their theoretical orientation (I question that I have feared since everyone said I would be asked all the time but have not actually been asked since grad school).

I knew one thing. People always talk about working with “at risk youth.” While that is great work, I always wondered “well what about the kids beyond that. The ones in the risk. The ones doing the stuff. Who helps them?” It was the spark of a passion that I set out to find an answer to.

I did my practicum at the jail working with adolescent males. I have always said I would go back to jail in a heartbeat if given the opportunity! I did my internship at a shelter for pregnant, homeless women. I enjoyed this as well. My first job was at a methadone clinic. Here I met some of the most amazing, sincere, beautifully broken people I have ever come into contact with. Addictions work will forever hold a place in my heart. All of these places led me closer to the answer to my question.

I currently work at a psychiatric residential treatment facility (PRTF). These are the kids that are living the risk. They have stepped beyond “at risk”. They are actively and daily engaging in risky behavior. Some enjoy it. Some don’t see a way out of it. Some have never known anything different. This is my population. (Obviously though the kids in jail also meet this qualification hence the reason I would go back in a heartbeat).

When people describe me, they often use words like calm, steady and they do this motion where they hold they hold their hand out flat and just move it slowly side to side. I think to indicate the calm and steady idea. I used to be offended by this. I now realize it is my greatest strength in working with the kids that I love. These kids have lived in some form of chaos the majority of their life whether internal or external. Most people have not responded to them neither calm nor steady. I can. In a strange way, I thrive in the chaos of my job. Not the chaos of the paperwork or work related drama. But my favorite part of my day is when someone comes to tell me one of my kids is acting a fool on the hall and can I help. I’m not always successful but I try. Sometimes it works. Sometimes the kid is so far gone in the moment that other methods of getting them to calm down have to be implemented. As painful as that is to watch, I stay, calm and steady, to remind them that no matter what…I am there. No matter how mad they get, how much they hate me, how many names they call me, or how much spit they haul my way. I am there.

I think I have done good work. My job is a thankless one. Most days I can thank myself and see the work I’ve done. I’ve never received gifts or thank yous from kids who have left. I don’t expect them. I don’t think that determines whether or not I’ve done good work either. I have sewn seeds. Add that to the list from earlier, seed sewer. For some I have been a support they’ve never had, for some I’ve been an advocate, for others just a listener, and I may have taught a couple of them a thing or two. They have taught me way way more.

But

Sometimes I fail. And not in a sense where I think I have done a terrible job. That’s usually the first thing people say. “You aren’t a failure. It’s not your fault.” Of this I am aware. But I have still failed them. Or the system did and I was a par of that. No matter what I did or didn’t do, could or couldn’t do, no matter how much I cared or how much I wanted to help. I couldn’t. Not in the way I had hoped, not in the way I believe I could have if given the opportunity.

There are two that stick out and hurt me daily. For these two I have cried many times. I have questioned myself. I have sought supervision. I have prayed. There will be a place in my heart for them for all eternity. I will always wonder “what happened to them” and I will always fear that the failure of the system may result in deadly consequences. To them, I apologize. I also thank them for teaching me more about myself than I could realize was possible.

Soul # 1. You will forever be skip-bo, white people eating steak pink in the middle, origami hearts and butterflies, this place, fingers, walls, doors, yelling, pain, I love you Ms Ashley, and same names. Thank you. I’m sorry.

Soul # 2. You will forever be ginger bread men, toddlers, tantrums, anger, counting, shoes, Ms Ashley you’re fat, spitting, helping, basketball, 100% effort, hurt, small steps, bad words, always move forward never backwards, and Gucci gang, Gucci gang, Gucci gang, Gucci gang. Thank you. I’m sorry.

Tonight. My soul is heavy. My fear is, it will be this way for a long time. My fear is, no one will understand. My fear is, no one else will see the importance in helping.

Hello Fresh and My Experience! (Pics)

So most of you know that I subscribe to Hello Fresh but a lot of people don’t understand why? Mostly because of the price and I get that.  But the number one reason why I subscribe to HF is…well, to be blunt, I’m lazy…as hell!

But for real though, I’m bad at grocery shopping. The following reasons are why (but not limited to):

  • I can’t plan meals for dinner worth a crap
  • Most of the food I buy will sit in the freezer or go bad, because at the time I wanted it, but then my mind changes.
  • I’m lazy. (that part)
  • I’ll usually buy too much food, because I be like #mealPrep
  • I get tired of eating the same thing over and over
    • It’s hard to cook for 1 without having a massive amount of leftover sides
  • I’m lazy

So, instead of buying a weeks worth of grocery that will probably only feed me for about two days and then go to waste, I’ve decided to go with Hello Fresh and see what it’s about. I’ve only had good things to say about it, honestly.

 

Here are my Pros to ordering Hello Fresh

Food Delivert to your doorstep

This is BY FAR the best part of HF because again, I AM LAZY! The hardest part is putting the food in the fridge, and BAM I’m done.  I mean, if the pricing was a little bit better, it would be a no brainer that I would continue to do this.  Which kind of brings me to my second point!

Each meal feeds me twice!

I do the 3 meals for $60 plan.  Which, since I’m single, turns into 6 meals for $60, because each meal serves 2, and I bring the second serving to work for lunch the next day.  However, this does not necessarily save me money, it does ensure that I’m eating “decently” at least for half of the week.

Decently healthy

If I didn’t have Hello Fresh, I’d probably be eating fast food for every meal.  Which I have indeed done and the reason I’ve gained like 20 pounds over the course of the last year. That and no exercising…lol.  HF keeps me eating veggies (which I hate), and keeps me from overeating because I know that the serving size is exactly what I should have instead of cooking too much and force feeding my face.

Bunch of options

Vegetarian? No problem, they offer those options.  Vegan, not so much.  The food is pretty awesome and easy to cook. Considering if you know how to follow directions.

The only Con I can think of is that at the price point, I can’t see it being a long term option.

And this is where the fun part comes in.  Hello Fresh sends you recipe cards for EACH AND EVERY MEAL.  So after you get yourself a little catalog of recipes from them, you can cancel your subscription, and cook your favorite meals over and over again. Only thing is, you give up the convenience of having food sent to your door, but you save money on getting food shipped to you, but then again, you’re bound to pick up extra items if you go to the grocery store (like wine and candy), so I guess it’s kind of a Catch-22.

And yes, I know that you can just look up your own recipes online, but there’s something about cooking it first from HF and then going out and cooking it again yourself and doing it your own little way.

Things that don’t really matter but bother me anyway…

Why all the Garlic?

Also can you all send the Garlic pre-minced?

Don’t send me those little jars of ketchup that requires me to get a paintbrush in order to scoop out…ketchup is a household staple. Add that to the “you should already have this” list.

(Note: Hello Fresh has a list of items that it will never provide in their boxes, such as Oil, butter, salt, pepper, etc. “Everyday items”)
ketchup(Tomato for scale)

Send me something like EVOO….not no damn ketchup.

Why do your recipes require me to use multiple medium sized pans and bowls? I only have 1 of each.

It’s impossible to get into the vacuum sealed proteins…I almost die EACH TIME.

Can you all ship herbs OFF of the stem please? Thank you!

Anywho…

If you have any questions on Hello Fresh, let me know! I’d be glad to share my experiences in more detail if needed!

Confessions of a Therapist

I work with adolescents in a psychiatric hospital. 

99% of my day I work harder than my clients. 

Sometimes I make appropriate connections. 

I’m an okay therapist. 

Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. 

A lot of the time I don’t know what I’m doing. 

I  am 100% certain  I care too much (if that’s an actual thing) and that this will cause me to leave this field in a fit of emotion and heartbreak one day. 

I cry a lot with my job. For my clients. 

I’ve spent the majority of my day crying. 

At my current job I have felt as if I have failed one kid so far. 

I currently feel like I am failing another. 

It doesn’t get easier. 

Telling me to reframe that is not helpful. 

For this population, I firmly believe that the best way to encourage change is to foster meaningful, healthy connection and just being available when they need you. 

That’s hard to do. 

I was spit on today and called a bitch. 

Of all the things that I am frustrated with today, those two things aren’t even on the list. 

Sometimes caring is not enough.