Confidently Now

Confidence is a powerful feeling. It washing over you and into your very being. Confidence changes your posture, your voice, and your style. Confidence can be an amazing thing.

Confidence is knowing you are competent, capable, or appreciative of what you can do. Confidence is bold, it is certain, and it is positive.

When you are confident, nothing can shake you. Not even when people question the blues the and purples you’ve decided to wear together. They may think it is a bit much, but you don’t care. You know it suits you and you can pull it off. You don’t worry about what people say.

The other thing with confidence is that it lets you walk with your head high. You have a certain something in your step. You may strut. And if you are really confident, you will hop on a rooftop and scream your message without a care or concern.

Confidence is being assertiveness with your message and your style. So if it’s just after dawn and you need to announce yourself, you do. You are confident you will be well-received. Unless you are my neighbor’s peacock. Then the confidence you have as you shake your purple and blue feathers while screaming early in the morning is not well-received.

I wonder if people consume peacocks? Just as a means of controlling the current state of confidence!

Enough Is Enough

I used to have a professor who would tell me that my work was never enough. He thought he was challenging me to rise above, to do better work or reach beyond my current level of comfort. What he was doing was creating a lot of self doubt about my level of work.

I would spend endless hours trying to reach his expectations of enough, and of course every assignment, every assessment, the feedback was the same. Towards the middle of the semester, after spending countless hours comparing myself to my classmates and not seeing where I was coming up short, I booked a meeting with him to discuss this concept of “enough”.

It was in this meeting that he told me this is how he dealt with students who “showed promise” and could “shake things up” or “set academia on a different path”. I guess I was supposed to be flattered by all of this. I wasn’t. I mean if he was showing me this while I was working on my undergrad, what could I expect if I carried on and moved further ahead?

Often times we hear things like why we aren’t reaching the target someone has set for us. We aren’t strong enough, slim enough, healthy enough, outgoing enough, smart enough, talented enough, for our employers or people in our lives. In some cases, it is done as a means to help you be inspired to be more. In other cases, it’s just said for the sake of being said.

Well you know what? Only you know what you really to give and take in life. Only you know how much is enough for you. You may want to be a great swimmer, but have no desire to earn a gold medal. You get to decide what great is for you and guess what? That’s enough.

It is time that we start taking back enough, and the concept of what is good enough from external influences in our lives when it is no longer doing us any good and instead causing doubt, fear and worry. Because you are good enough.

Looking Back With Lupus

Now and the it may seem like I’m lost or stuck in a phase of let’s  remember.  It may seem like I’m chasing my youth or early dreams.  And I guess sometimes I do a bit of that.  It’s natural, heck it’s normal.

And I won’t lie to you friends, there are some things that I wonder about.  But I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without having gone through what I went through.  There are only so many things a prep school education can prepare you for (no pun intended) and somehow living with lupus wasn’t covered.  At least not in my school.  Nor was living with a chronic illness nor living with an invisible illness.  So yeah some of my education was a bit rough isn’t lupus is a hands-on type of educator and I am more of a book learning kind of person.

Lupus taught me that I am so much stronger than I thought I ever would be.  Lupus taught me that it’s okay to raise your voice to be heard.  Lupus taught me that my stubborn behaviour  and determination would pay divides in my personal advocacy and helping others.  I aced those lessons to be sure.  I failed at asking for help.  (Still learning that one.). I failed at knowing where my limits are.  I am still trying to get to this idea of balance.  But it’s okay you know.  You learn how to lose and cope through all of this.

I shed a lot more tears than I ever thought.  But heaves have I learned how to laugh and not give damn what anyone thinks. I learned it’s okay to say I’m afraid and to still do something.  I learned what it is to be truly human and compassionate because lupus can take it all away from you.  I learned humility and faith.  

I don’t yearn for my past, not at all.  Sure I wonder what if, but this life lupus introduced me to can be more than what I had before.  So it’s okay to look back, just don’t miss what’s in front of you when you do it.

It’s Complicated And Complex 

Someone once told me, what controls your mind will then control your body.  This statement was offered to me when I was having a high lupus day.  You know, one of the days where lupus flares are stronger than you are.  I remeber I was struggling to get myself to my car so I could go home and this well meaning person offered me that statement.  

Now I don’t know about you friends, but when I’m feeling poorly, the last thing I am is understanding or likely to edit my responses.  So when this gem of a statement was offered up, along with a cheerful smile, I just shook my head at the silliness of the statement.  I mean positive thoughts will not overcome the pain, swelling and exhaustion of a lupus flare.  Trust me, I know.  And trust me, if this concept worked, every lupus warrior, every patient with any issue would get on board with positive thoughts and end up cured.

I’m sure this was a well meaning person thought these were helpful words.  How could anyone who doesn’t have lupus possibly understand that not only do I feel so much pain and exhaustion,  it I also feel a sense of failure.  As in I’m a failure for being sick, for having this flare.  And this is also tinged with a touch of guilt at not pulling my own weight.  But yes of course, if I think positive thoughts all will be better, everything will go away.

Now yes not dwelling in negative emotions for long is healthy and good.  But what’s really good is being able to deal with all the emotions that come with a chronic illness.  Realizing that yes soemtimes guilt, fear, failure and sadness come with the illness.  But they aren’t the whole of illness.  It’s complex and complicated, just like the illness itself, so please do not assume something as simple as positive thoughts will take care of it all.

Positively As Intended

If you think positively, if you really put your intentions out there, good things will come. I’m pretty sure that’s what I heard the guy on the television say.  I’m not certain though because my inner voice was having an argument with the man with it being something like if this all it takes why are so many people not reaping this benefit?

Sure there is a place of positive thinking and setting intentions.  But the is this other thing, a small thing really.  It’s called reality.  Reality doesn’t worry about what you have set or how you think.  Reality just happens.

Now you can say positive thinking will help you find a new vantage point to assess things from when you need it.  That can be good.  It can be helpful.  Provided you haven’t flown off to cloud cuckoo land.  Unless that was your intention.  Then alright.

Beloved and I aren’t into it always being about positive outlooks.  We are of an age where life has taught us both that this can’t always be the case.  Soemtimes life has a way of knocking you down and it can be hard to get up.  We learn from those times.  And sometimes something unfortunate happens, but rising from that is a new opportunity.  But not always.  At least not in our world.

A Million Things And Lupus

There are a million and one things no one ever tells you once you have been diagnosed with lupus. Sure they tell you about medication (not always the scary side-effects), and numerous blood draws and doctor’s appointments. They tell you about flares and how you may need to alter the way you do things.

If you are fortunate someone will sit down with you and discuss the grieving process and how it applies to you. Someone may tell you it’s okay to mourn the loss of your goals and dreams. If you are really fortunate that same person will also tell you that you can still have goals and dreams, it’s just different now.

But no one tells you how you will feel guilty. Guilty for not being there for people. Guilty for cancelling at the last-minute and suddenly becoming that person, you know the unreliable one. Guilty for putting your health first over plans and such. If you are in a relationship you will probably feel guilt for not being able to reciprocate the care you receive from your loved one simply because you are too sick. You may feel guilt over how this person’s life has changed or the extra chores/duties and worries this person now has to assume.

No one tells you about how you feel trying to find the right make up to hide your butterfly rash, if that’s important to you. No one tells you about the countless hours spent trying to get a natural look where your rash doesn’t “peek” through. Or how much money you may spend before you find just the right product to things to work.

No one tells you about how you will feel about finding new ways to accomplish things. I stopped physically going to class and started going to class online because that schedule worked better for me. I still accomplished my end goal, just the method to get there changed. Some how the success seems sweeter this way, perhaps because I have to acknowledge how things have been harder, required more of me just the reach the goal.

And no one tells you how you sort of lose yourself for a bit and feel as though lupus is you, just for a bit. No one says hey it’s okay to go down that path, but you can’t stay there, it’s not healthy.

But no one tells you about how your beloved will paint your toes for you, do the laundry, cook and clean and when there just isn’t anymore, your beloved will point out that sometimes living with someone with lupus means taking a break. And that’s not a bad thing.

Dance of Success

When I was a little girl I was enrolled in ballet.  I have no clue what the real motivation was for my parents to think I belonged in ballet.  Maybe they thought it would be a way to teach me discipline.  Perhaps it was because at some point I liked to dance around or twirl on my toes.  I honestly do not know, it wasn’t something that we ever discussed.

I was simply enrolled in classes, provided with shoes and less than frilly outfits.  I learned how to stand and bend.  I learned positions and the barre.  I learned that my ballet teacher had once danced in a ballet troupe, but not a huge one so she had to settle for teaching to stay with her passion of ballet.

She told us that it was not a case of broken dreams or not being good enough, rather it was a story of success.  A way of holding onto her dream, keeping her passion alive and sharing it with others.  To her dance, and where she ended up, was a dream come true.

At that age, I had no clue what she was talking about.  When I was a teenager, she was once again my ballet teacher and she shared her story again.  I remember thinking that she wasn’t fooling anyone with saying she had a successful life.  She hadn’t become a ballerina with a major company.  She taught ballet to some girls who were gifted or talented, but primarily to girls who lacked any real skill or talent.

Looking back now, her true success was finding a way to keep her dream alive, make a living doing what she loved and being free and comfortable with her life.  She didn’t care if she wasn’t the star.  She cared that she had made her self the best she could be and knew talent when she saw it.

She recently got in touch with me via one of my friends who happened to be talented.  My friend put in the work and effort required to master those positions and dance.  I struggled with discipline.  You see I wanted to leap and twirl and do what I wanted to do and no that did not include practice.  Apparently I had left an impression upon her and so when my friend was back in town and visiting the studio she asked my friend who gave her my contact information.

When she asked me if I still danced, I explained that while I learned an appreciation for the grace that came from hard work, I personally did not dance.  I didn’t dance because I knew I wasn’t that good and because my health didn’t permit it.  She told me that inside everyone is a graceful dancer of sorts, even if only in our dark bedrooms when no one else can see us.   See?  Even know in her older years this lady is still successful at living life with dance and connecting me back to it.  Perhaps, if I grow up, I too may find a way to be successful in that same model, but with my passion.

 

What Are You Carrying With You

Friends I have a confession to make.  I struggle, honest to goodness struggle, with letting go of some things.  Not everything.   It seems like some  the stuff I know I need to let go…I struggle the hardest with.

Oh I try, but sometimes I think if I let it go I will somehow realize that I let go of the wrong thing.  when I do let something go of course it’s feels great.  It’s a weight that’s been lifted, freeing me to be open to new experiences.

So what things do I hang onto you may be wondering.  After all some people hold onto history, people from their past, hairstyles, beliefs and what have you.  But nope, this isn’t what I struggle with letting go of.  Instead I struggle with letting go of negative feedback and comments.  I’m not talking about constructive criticism either, instead I’m talking negative things that people sometimes say just for the sake of saying something negative.

It isn’t that I internalize these statements and make them mine.  But I need to turn em over in my mind.  I need to feel each curve and bump of the indivudal letters as well as the flow of the word.  Just in caseload.just in case there may be something to learn from or take away so it can’t come out of someone’s mouth again.

The end result?  I can tell you a million negative things that I may learn something from, but mostly I just carry around.  In other news, if you are looking for someone to anchor you, I just may be the person you need!

How about you?  What stuff do you carry with you even though you know you don’t need to be lugging that with you?  What do you do to let your fingers release their grip on that baggage?

 

Changing My Tune

It takes discipline to meditate.  It also takes discipline to carve time out of your day to allow for you to meditate.  It takes discipline to not get lost in the gutter of criticism.  Basically to have a healthy wellness lifestyle it takes discipline.  And commitment to oneself because you are worth it.

On this journey that is my life I’ve come to discover my inner theme song.  I’ve also recently come to discover that because of the nature of my inner theme song, I rankle under the pressure of these disciplines.  I mean it stands to reason that when your theme song is about fighting authority over and over again and no matter how you come out swinging you still lose…well let’s just say authority and discipline in my world go hand-and-hand.  😕

So the easy fix to this small discipline issue I have is to change my theme song, perhaps turn my fighting of authority into fighting for myself.  Except it appears that at this point in my life I am capable of only one song.  No matter how much I realize I am my own worst enemy, I seem unable to find a new song.

People offer up suggestions, but even during a sing-a-long I evidently convert it all back to the song that has become me and my way of living.  Friends I am asking you to help me change my theme song.  I’m begging for help in shifting my passion in a way that is positive and will yield fruitful results.  Others I will just be in my corner, practicing my jabs and uppercuts.

Storming in Gratitude

Friends I hate to say it, but today I’m not a happy camper.  Okay the truth is I’m never happy if I’m facing this odd thing called camping.  I need walls, a roof, hot water, cold water, running water, indoor flushing toilets.  Oh and my bed, coffee maker and electricity.  Anything less than that and I’m not going to be happy.  😉

I was working on gratitude, things I’m truly grateful for and yet continually take for granted when the wind picked up.  It picked up about half of the ocean and hurled it my way.  I’m not a fan of that.  Okay not half the ocean and not a tsunami just seemed like that.  What really happened is this thing. called a storm.  A storm with lashing, heavy rain and gale force winds.  I’m not really sure about how forceful gale is, but I can tell you she was knocking people over into the rapidly growing puddles.

Now normally I keep a good storm.  Rain?  That’s fine.  Lightening?  Love it.  Thunder?  Sure why not.  Except the dogs don’t like it.  And I’ve come to realize I’m not a fan of a storm that makes the dogs afraid to go out and send my neighbor hurling into the wall.  Also, well I know the floors could use a washing, I’d prefer to wash it my way, not with water just seeping in throughout the cracks in the door.

while I was getting my total unhappy camper face on, which looks like this 😫, I realized how fortunate I was to be in a place where I could get in out of the weather.  A place that was dry, warm and held my creature comforts.  And to be honest I was grateful to have the two four-footed ones around.  Because it’s really not possible to not grateful to have them in my life.

And, I reminded myself as I felt unhappiness creeping around the edges, I’m most grateful for not having to be a camper.  I’m grateful to not have to experience that which I do not like!  So I guess in a way I still got part of my gratitude exercise completed, just not exactly how it was supposed to be done.  But life doesn’t always follow rules or templates.  Sometimes you just get going on whatever path you happen upon and go along for the ride.