Teaching myself how to forgive

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve never really been taught how to forgive, I’d hold on to grudges and I’d end up holding onto a lot of anger. The way I was taught was that the world was an untrustworthy place, everyone was out to get you, they were there to take advantage of you, or just plain hurt you. You should be prepared for said ‘screwing over’ by other people because it wasn’t a matter of if it was going to happen but when.

So, this is how I’ve lived for a very long time and as I became more and more aware of myself I realized living this way made me feel terrible. I’d hold onto all of this hopeless anger because I didn’t want to forgive, or especially forget, so I would eventually become it. Becoming the anger is something that eats you up inside, it consumes your every thought especially when you are around that said person who hurt you.

I remember saying so many times, “I will never forgive you for this, I can never forgive you for this!” The feeling of holding onto that is very memorable, how it twisted my guts in the worst possible way. There was no way to escape it, and there definitely wasn’t any way that I could forgive because they would just hurt me all over again. Over the years I’ve distanced myself from many people, though I allow time passing to do the work for me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t know what it is about starting from scratch that made something click in me. I can be a good person at times, I can even be great, I can love, but I’m stopping myself from loving and I don’t think I’m fully living my life because I’m scared to. The not forgiving was eating me alive, making me literally sick from stress, and I was afraid to let people in. I’m not going to lie and say that I let everyone in now, that I’m not cautious, yet I am putting myself out there more with going out more in social situations.

Every time someone is nasty to me, or says something to upset me, I try my best to forgive them. My motto lately is that whatever they’re criticizing me for is what they really are unhappy with themselves. That other people’s unhappiness doesn’t mean it has to be rub off on me, especially with not forgiving them and holding a grudge against them.

Forgiveness is one of the most difficult things for me to try to perform on a daily basis, but I know how holding on to that anger feels like… It just eats me away from the inside out.

Choosing strength over worry

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt feels like its been forever since my husband was notified about the news of his job ending at the end of the year. He has processed it far better than I have, and he has decided to take charge and do everything in his power to prepare to pick his next job. We are both worries, him and I, so I was surprised that he has been handling it as well as he has. My husband has been reading career books, and even has a huge file of the materials he’s accumulated.

All I could do in the beginning was be consumed by the worry, the worry of us running out of money, him not finding a job, so much adding up that at times I felt like I was under a rip current from all of my anxiety. I struggled to get back to normal, but I kept on getting thrown around in the strong current.

Just a week after the news I had a preplanned trip to travel with my brother on our first brother/sister adventure together and I think that this helped me to get back to myself. I laughed more than I had in what felt like years, and it definitely felt cathartic to let all of that pent-up negative energy out in the form of laughter. My brother and I had a great time together and though I came back still worried, I felt like I might be handling it better.

It’s amazing how different I am from when I first moved away from my family and friends, because if given a chance for my husband to take back a job where we used to live, I wouldn’t exactly jump at it. After all of this time I spent fighting our move here and wishing I could go back, I don’t wish for that now. It’s only after the fact and after I accepted our move that I realized the truth… That this move was a very good thing for the both of us. I’ve grown leaps and bounds, teaching myself to cook when before I would burn the water when I had boiling water on the stove and Id run away because I didn’t know what to do to fix it. There’s other things that I’ve grown in, and even my whole body has changed with my weight loss thanks to my dedication to cook and track what I eat.

I don’t want to blame things, people, or circumstances for what I’m going through or the emotions that I feel. Lately even though my husband’s job loss is scary and imminent, I feel like I’ve been even more loving to him and I’m leaning on him more. He asked me if I trusted him to get another job, to choose correctly for what he’d be doing or where we might be going. Normally I’d answer, “Sure, I trust you but I don’t trust the world out there” yet now I’m just answering with just “I trust you.” For all that he and I have been through since saying those simple words “I do.” a year ago when we got married we have faced challenges and we have also conquered them.

There’s the other stipulation of us moving again, and we could be moving many miles away, but even with that I accept it. Another move may be another opportunity for me to learn something new about myself. It will never be easy not to have anxiety about the unknown, yet I’m trying to train myself to pick hope and strength over worry.

Family isn’t just a word

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have an uncle and aunt who technically aren’t my aunt and uncle, yet I’ve always seen them that way. And, for a while now, I feel like I’ve been playing a childhood game where I can pretend that they are my family, even though we aren’t, because they’ve made me feel like family. These two people have made me feel special, and like I was important, since I was a little girl and I’d honestly hardly ever see them.

It wasn’t until the trip where my husband finally met them that I realized I wasn’t playing a childhood game of pretending. It was real, and not only did they call me their niece but they were also super proud of it. It was a unique and awesome concept, being able to show my husband some of my family that had adopted me in. We had so much fun spending time with them, a lot of laughs, and I appreciated the time we got to spend with them.

214Now, I will be traveling back to visit them with my brother, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. My brother has asked me since I was a teenager if I wanted to travel with him to visit my uncle and aunt and I’ve just never felt I could do it. There was the difficulty of getting the time off, not getting paid for taking the time off, getting someone to cover me, and the cost of the plane ticket on top of everything else. Yet, I feel like since my move my husband and I have made a year ago I am more daring, and luckily, have an easier time getting time off to travel. This trip was pre-planned before I found out my husband would be losing his job so it takes on a deeper level of being around family during this time.

My brother has always been someone I’ve looked to for guidance in really tough times, much more so than my mother or father. My mother likes to look at me for reassurance, and so does my father, so I’ve come to lean on my brother for our rare serious conversations. There may be no serious conversations, only fun, since I will be hanging out with him and my uncle and aunt. I haven’t been laughing very much lately, truly laughing, and with being a rather positive, funny, and upbeat person it’s been hitting me.

018And, of course since I am a happy go lucky type of person everyone around me is aware of the change if I don’t cover it up carefully or if I’m not busy I will just be thinking too much of the ‘what ifs.’ When I’m thinking intensely I am one of those people who frowns or looks slightly angry so I’ve been trying my best to be preoccupied which is easiest when I’m massaging.

I thought of canceling the trip to meet up with my brother where we’d spend the time with our aunt and uncle when I found out my husband is being furloughed. I told myself it wasn’t right to be traveling, to be on vacation, to be laughing, when something so serious is going on. My husband, of course, insisted that I go and that I needed it. Truth be told there’s been a number of years I have wished I could have traveled with my brother to visit our aunt and uncle, yet, I just couldn’t and now I have the chance to. I just got back from a trip and ended up getting sick from that so I’m trying to recuperate as best as I can.

I want to lean on family during this time of uncertainty and I am going to try my best to. I’m not the type of person to let people know what’s going on in my head, what I’m struggling with, but hopefully it will be a relief and what I need.

I am not a normal newlywed

005When people hear that I am a newlywed they either mumble with, “that must be nice, wait 10 years them tell me how you feel,” or, “really?? you’re a newlywed?!” They then proceed to tell me how I’m destroying their dreams with reaction number two because I’m not their ideal of a newlywed. I’m not sure where their opinion grew from, probably from TV and movie depictions of newlyweds. Generally though movies never follow after the happily ever after ending.

Our wedding was the anti-wedding and I doubt I’d have it any other way, even though we were running late and playing catch up all day. The beginning of my husband and I’s married lives together couldn’t have been more of a difficult start to any marriage. We were not a story book happily ever after end, it was more of a how will we survive this first storm together?

I keep on hearing a lot of “you’re a newlywed, you should be more warm and feely!” The funny thing is that he and I are actually a rather warm, but mainly very funny, wife and husband combo. It’s just my coworkers react like it’s the end of the world because I’m a newlywed and I have sharing problems when it comes to sharing snacks and those little things. You should have seen their looks when I told them with some of my favorite work snacks I tend to hide them from my husband.

033You’d think it was the end of the world once they realized I’ve only been married for a year with my husband. Yet, what they don’t know is how many years we’ve been together besides that year of marriage. My husband sometimes hides snacks from me, and I totally get it when he does.

I say that one of my favorite things about our relationship is our humor, our ability to laugh at each other and ourselves. I loved from the moment I spoke to him (and I was attracted to him when I saw him too) that he could keep up with me in a conversation. That’s one of the things I needed the most when I was struggling looking for a job, with no friends and no family, was trying to learn to laugh again.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur first year of marriage was one of the most difficult years of both our lives. There wasn’t a ‘happily ever after‘ attached to our wedding day, only a disconcerting question of how are we going to get through this storm? It wasn’t easy, but we are able to see the sky clearing and things look so much better now than ever before.

Judgement of being unemployed

172There has been a lot that I’ve learned through being unemployed this time in my life, which is interesting because when I was younger it seemed to be less of a problem. I was ’employed’ as a babysitter when I was a teenager, and this was actually one of the best paying jobs. It was also one of the most stressful, hair pulling, and frustrating start to working a couple of hours watching three girls so close in age. Surprisingly, or not, I came to love these three little girls, and appreciate their mom even more for her working and juggling taking care of them at the same time.

They were all firecrackers, except for the youngest, who was my comrade. My first step into the real workforce was a dog groomer, for more than two years, and then I had a break. I had a then boyfriend who didn’t have to work, and was independently wealthy. I don’t think he had to struggle really with money, or finding a job, and that was his decision, of course.

I spent more than two years with him, and I would be out of a job for two years or more. I missed working, and I missed my coworkers, but I devoted myself to college full time and entered massage school.

As I’ve said before, massage really sparked a passion in me that I knew was there, but never quite realized how much passion I had inside of me for working. Now, my career is never perfect, my job is never perfect, I had tough days where a client would say I wasn’t doing my best. They didn’t connect with me, or my style, and this literally cut me to the bone. I didn’t make any friends to start off, kept to myself, and kept my personal life pretty much to myself for four years.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen, I found my husband, my life completely changed. Suddenly, it wasn’t all about me, and I made the decision to move with him. Unemployment, yet again, found me right after my wedding day pretty much. Suddenly, when I came across people and told them I was a massage therapist, and unemployed, I got judgement. Not only did I get judged, but once I let it slip I was married I heard many times, “Must be nice your husband makes enough money that you don’t have to work…

I was told I needed to have children if I was going to be unemployed, to give me something to do. I was told that I was not working hard enough to get a job. That my standards were too high, or that I wasn’t applying to enough places. So, I began to isolate myself, so I wouldn’t meet people and get asked that question of, “what do you do for work?” I was in a new place, I’d never moved so far away in my life, and I was terrified of driving and getting lost. The resumes kept on getting sent, but some days I’d really have to force myself to go outside because I hated so much being asked that question.

On this blog, I could be honest with my struggle, and the people who have been following me through my job, to unemployment, knew how much I wanted to be working. My work friends seemed to envy me getting time off and not working, when they’d ask me if I was working I’d have to reply, “no.” While when I would meet up with them I would envy them working at the place that sparked a passion in me and that I missed so badly it literally hurt.

My purpose had become my job, my career, and not having one literally felt like I had no purpose. Being unemployed taught me to be more forgiving of myself, and to really lean on my husband at times for support. I had to learn self compassion, because if I didn’t give myself that compassion, I’d run myself into the ground with guilt. I had to work at my confidence, and take harder days with hopes that a better one would be out there.

“I don’t eat salads” What?

saladI must admit, saying this statement will definitely get a reaction every time. Sometimes, I let it slip because a waiter or someone is pushing me to eat a salad. Most of the time, is my husband who just loves to say that his wife doesn’t eat vegetables when people think his vegetables are mine. This time, I was caught saying it at one of our favorite stores to stop by and the man talking to us about them was mentioning how the oils and vinegar didn’t have to be used just on salads.

Me: “Oh, I know, I don’t eat salads. I always use the vinegar for a marinade for meat, it really works good on them.
He laughed, shook his head with pure disbelief on is face and admitted something I could have guessed,
I’ve never heard a woman say that she doesn’t eat salads, I’ve never head that before.
Then, a lady to my left overhearing the conversation butts in, “You don’t eat salads?! Then what do you eat?! You wouldn’t be happy at our house, we eat vegetables every day. My kids can’t leave the table until they’ve finished all their vegetables.”

I said, why yes, pushy lady who I obviously wasn’t talking to I wouldn’t last at your house. I wouldn’t stay at your house if you forced me to eat stuff I wouldn’t eat. She gave me this scathing look up and down, just staring at me in disbelief. As if, a grown woman who refused to eat vegetables just wasn’t supposed to be alive. I also informed her I am a healthy adult, I go in to see my doctor every year and I am not predisposed to anything and I haven’t had any ill health reports.

She ignored me after I made sure to stand my ground, just like I have done since I was a kid. The guy in retail who was talking to me instead gave me a once over, and smiled. He said that he had two daughters just like me, refusing to eat vegetables and fruits, and he had tried to get them to but now he leaves them alone. They are now in college and he worries that they may not be healthy, but he figures they are an adult now and they will figure it out.

319919_1975714788888_1123630225_31682279_2101631656_nI was really happy about this man opening up about his daughters because I know there are more kids, teenagers, adults out there just like me… “picky eaters.” I have been made fun of for what I eat, how I eat, and teased so relentlessly throughout my entire life. It would mess with me so much that when I went to work I would try my best to eat alone. I hated people watching me at work because I was afraid I’d be made fun of, and part of that reason is that I have severe TMJ so eating is always really loud. My jaw pops and clicks so loudly that I can hear it in my ears and everyone else can hear my every bite I make. Another reason was what I ate, and being teased for what I ate it even more difficult to try new things.

I told the man at the store, who was worried about his daughters and their pickiness to just support them as best as he can. And to never, ever, tease them or make fun of them, and don’t put up for anyone else giving them a hard time. I told him that if he leaves them alone, they will probably be like me and become curious about other foods. I’ve tried fruits in my diet I would never have thought to touch, humus, so many new foods because I am genuinely interested in them. There was even a couple of times where I tried meatless foods from one of the vegetarians at my old workplace, and I tried out soy drinks.

The way that woman with the kids at the store treated me is what I was used to. But, the man talking to me honestly was nice. And, I don’t think I will work up to eating a salad, but that’s okay… That’s just me.

The Game Changer when you fall

214I’ve never been one to dream of getting married, rather I’ve been the complete opposite. The last thing I could see myself doing, and this is before I met my husband, was getting married. My history with men has not been good at all, and this has been even at a young age. What I’ve gone through with life has built me into a guarded and protected person. I’ve been this way as long as I can remember, I was always afraid of relationships, or even friendships.

My fear was the fact of getting hurt, and a lot of people who have come across me understand me on the surface. When I met my husband for the first time, I felt something I had scoffed at in those predictable romantic comedy movies.

It was love at first sight, but even more than that, it was love at first words. He just seemed to get me when we first interacted, I loved our banter we had going on and how he could keep up with me. He was funny, fun-loving, one of those types of people who entered the room and lit it up. I knew there was an age difference because I’ve always been interested in older men… It’s like what I’m programmed for. I just didn’t know how much the age difference would be, and it turned out to be not a small amount, but not enough for me to give up on what I felt that first time I met him.

I felt really, genuinely happy being with him. So, of course, you know what I did? I shot him down for my phone number, severely, and he left the party. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be in a relationship again, I had planned not to and had accepted the fact I didn’t want to be with anyone.

If I wanted to take a chance on my emotions really showing I knew I would have to hope he’d come to a party the next day. And, I’d have to decide if I could really let this new found great thing slip out of my fingers like I’ve done so many times before. My choice ended up to chose the unknown, but not after seeing my husband a second time, shooting him down again and finally giving him my phone number the next day because I tracked down his email.

pongEvery day I feel like sometimes the fight for that love is easy, and other times it may be more difficult. One of you may fall down, and you need to be that rock. And other times, while normally you’re strong, suddenly you need that support all the time. I’ve never moved so far in my life, and I’ve never had to struggle for a job without even a single response like I have in this new place.

What I’ve gone through in life that has made me a more guarded and protected person are my scars. They are invisible to anyone else, and I keep them covered up with a smile as my barrier. I’m just happy I have that one person, my husband, to show them to. I’ve never felt the spark before in me when I first saw him and even more when we first started talking. To make me change my mind about everything I thought I knew, I knew he was that special person. He was a game changer, that person who didn’t ask me to ever change and to always be myself.

Being your own boss

013I think that a lot of the people who join my career, or end up in massage school, do it because it sounds like the perfect situation to be your own boss. They want to do it with the idea of going out there with their massage table, pocketing all the money for themselves, and making their own schedule. I also believe I am one of the few people in my career who got into the spa/salon setting and said to themselves, “heck, I think I really love being an employee, having coworkers, and having this all done for me, I’m not interested in going off on my own. “

As I kept on massaging, and building up a client base, and I started to hear more and more clients asking me if I did massage outside of the spa. Some would really push me and see if I’d go to their house, and I said always a definitive “No” to their prodding me. I was extremely loyal to the spa I worked at and just couldn’t see myself driving around with my massage table… I can’t even drive myself to a new place without doing a test run to find out where I’m going.

So, fast forward to now, where for some odd reason I’ve gotten more calls/interviews as a new massage therapist back home than when I’ve moved here. Actually, out of all the resumes I’ve sent I haven’t had a single call call back since I’ve started hunting which has been for months.

That’s the thing about massage, it’s convenience, that all you need is a table, and your hands, plus clients and you are ready. I’m lucky to have my husband work at a big corporation and his coworkers have been asking if I do massage, and if I’d massage them, and this has me seriously thinking by now. There are so many things that scare me about being on my own for massage, getting clientele, having them pay you, finding their home, what equipment do I need, and so many more questions.

If it was super easy every new therapist would massage on their terms and take all of the money for themselves. I know there is overhead, but I don’t know what kind if you are going to a clients house. Honestly, I don’t even know what to charge for a massage to make it easy to build a clientele up, but not sell myself literally short. I know I sound like a new therapist and I don’t sound like someone who has been doing this for four years, but all I’ve had to do is show up at work, check the schedule in the break room, go to my room to set it up and massage.

I think I am really considering this, throwing my massage table in my car, turning on my gps, and taking on a few of my husbands coworkers as my possible clients. I don’t think I’d have a ton of money coming in, but at least a little would be trickling in and it might help me to build back up my confidence. I am really wishing there was an easy book that told me everything I needed to do this, but it seriously is the unknown for me.

This whole move is about the unknown for me, and I have tried to embrace the new changes. With this new year coming at me I wonder what I will be pushing myself to do.

Online shopping notsomerriment

You can get these online too!

You can get these online too!

There is something about online shopping that makes it way too easy to spend your money than if you are in a store. Or, at least for me it is easier to spend when its online. I’ve always had an aversion to sales people even though I did worked retail as a spa massage therapist. I can understand where they are coming from, heck, I have used their techniques for selling a product.

Yet, get me in a crowd of hungry, deal finding women packed in like a can of sardines and all I can think of is to flee. I really do like shopping alone, in a quiet corner, without anyone near me and in this time of the season that is impossible to find. Online shopping not only becomes a solace for me, it also becomes the perfect breeding ground for discovering new products I’ve never seen before. And, the only salesperson I’m dealing with are those emails constantly reminding me of what I might like.

One of my favorite gifts I’ve gotten was being able to make a canvas out of one of pictures of my favorite city skyline. I was able to do this at a steal thanks to online shopping and the person I got it for loved it. I also was able to turn my own favorite pictures into canvases that I’m hanging on my own wall. It’s fun to see them blown up with all of the details and to be able to hang that picture you love as your very own wall art. Another great gift was making a photo book of our wedding as a gift and that turned out great. Some of my new experiences I’ve been trying my hand at are also because of online shopping and finding it at a good deal.

heart1I can’t help but to think that the ease of online shopping is also slightly dangerous. It can get addictive especially when you order physical stuff and it arrives in a box like Santa Claus delivered it. The ups deliverer becomes like your very own Santa, even though you got these gifts for yourself or others. It can be so exciting to open that box up and you can feel like a big kid.

The only reason why I have such a safety net now is because I am so damn cheap, definitely past the point of frugal, for the past four years. I haven’t eaten out, I’ve only spent money on the necessities, and I have lived at home. So, now I feel guilty spending money online since I haven’t been a shopper for so long. It’s just so easy and somewhat addictive to get deals or gifts with the online shopping, and avoiding the crowds is bonus upon bonus.

So, I say if you have my same problem with slight online addiction watch it carefully and try not to be overtaken by the fabulous deals. Keep your eye on your bank account by checking it out online and write it all down to log how much you are spending. I still try to track everything and put in categories of gifts, restaurants, entertainment, etc to see what I’m spending the most in and being aware of it. Also, if you do have a credit card use that for your online merriment because if you use a debit card it may be stolen with online transactions and it will be easier to stop with a credit card.

Just in case travel

plane I’ve always been something of a traveler even when I was a kid and teenager. I dislike spending my money on anything, but what I find is never a waste is using money to travel. I find that it’s even more special when you get to experience a place you’ve never been to before. And, when you tend to travel a lot it helps to have a game plan when things go wrong and you might just have the worst case scenario happen…

You know, like getting stuck at the airport for long periods of time and possibly having to stay overnight. Luckily, I’ve never stayed overnight in the airport but I sure have come close to at times. I’d say always prepare like its going to be the worst case scenario when you fly.

If you’ve been traveling a lot you are aware of your first obstacle, going through security, and what you need to do. Personally, I put all of my liquids in my checked bag and have absolutely no liquids in my carry on or my backpack. Bring an empty water bottle if you don’t want to pay the high prices of water at the airport and fill it up at a water fountain. I make sure to not have bedazzling, or zippers on my pants or shirts because I always get patted down if I wear those clothes through security.

After you’ve made your way through, I personally like to go directly to the gate and check out all the food options around my gate area before I settle down. I get a water bottle because you are more likely to be dehydrated in an airport setting and this makes thinking harder, and doesn’t help out when you are stuck in the airplane. Survey your options for food and where you can relax to have something to look forward to if your plane gets delayed, or cancelled.

Snacks are a must and I have food I save away just for traveling. Ideas for easy travel snacks would be fruit snacks, cheese and crackers, chips, fiber bars, etc. Bring enough for you to snack on waiting for your flight, while your on it, or if you end up waiting five or six hours for your flight, which has happened to me many times. Make sure you have music as well just in case if when you get on the plane, you end up with a noisy passenger next to you or behind you. There have been only a couple of times where I’ve forgotten a music device and I have paid for it every time!

Reading material, whether it’s electronic or print, is a definite must as well as having your power cords if you are using electronic devices. There are charging stations for even the tiniest airports so take advantage of these and charge up in case something happens.

So, here’s the rundown for a little survival list. Bring a water bottle if you don’t want to be charged high prices at the airport for water and bring munchies for the same reason. Find your gate as soon as possible and dress and pack smartly so you don’t get held up at security and hold up your fellow passengers. Review your area for places to eat so you have something to look forward to if you are delayed. If you are at an unfamiliar airport check every sign for gates as you pass them so you know where to go if your gate changes. Drink as much water as you can because you will be dehydrated and this can lead to headaches, grumpiness, and dry skin as well.

Being optimistic is good and all, but it never hurts to be prepared for the worst just in case!