labelleizzy: (Default)
Q: What prevents me from getting started?
Q: What are the obstacles and impediments?
Q: What are my goals?


I'm keeping myself accountable for this writing by way of a facebook post where I asked friends to say: write the thing! and give me a number between 1 and 9, labeling each writing prompt with a number in my ADHD journal.

Actually the goals part is the most difficult, so it's appropriate to use it for last.
shall I write about writing? or about this therapeutic process to address the impact of adhd in my life, now that I know something about that being a THING for me?

I think I'd prefer to write about the therapy process and unpack some ideas or thoughts or just basically ... well, hopefully do better than just word-vomit but I shan't make any promises tonight. I have 10 prompts I've culled from the group on monday and therapy with Lara yesterday.

Q1) What prevents me from getting started?
--- Interest. Now that nobody's making me do shit, now I'm not accountable to a boss, a schedule, a clientele (well not precisely) I mainly spend my days doing what I want with a few commitments per week, mostly self inflicted. There's stuff that I know I COULD be doing, even SHOULD be doing,
...and I don't. I don't do them.

I used to judge myself on that, but I don't. I used to tear myself up about that, but I don't. Thank god, I used to literally be my own worst enemy that way.

---Accountability. For reasons that I hope to be able to dig into later, accountability is huge in my motivational force. If I promise to someone I will do something, I will do it solely BECAUSE I SAID I WOULD and that seems to be sufficient. If someone asks me to do something, and it's pretty direct, like Jeff asks will I pull out that part of the garden full of aphids, and I say I will, that seems to be sufficient.

However. If I don't have some kind of outside accountability, I don't do things on any kind of coherent timeline. Which is maybe not always important, but like, it feels like it would be good to shower three times a week, but I can't always hit that. And sometimes that's the depression, but also that I don't get enough human f2f feedback to notice and then to feel embarrassed when I stink.

I've actually planned to chain the showering habit to the working out habit... but haven't been successful. I don't at the moment know how to force that.

Maybe I could find a depression/neurodivergent partner, who also has a not-daily habit they want to build, and we could encourage each other.

It seems that I am better about keeping other people on track than I am at keeping myself on track.
also I am better about staying on track if I have someone else helping me stay accountable.

The last writing prompt out of ten, is, why is it more effective to have Lara or anyone else, tell me what to do, than it is for ME to tell me what to do, in this accomplishing tasks.

1) The oldest part of my brain says because what I want doesn't matter. Because you're always supposed to put other people first, because you can't figure stuff out on your own. (interesting that I chose to use second-person there...hmmm) There's a LOT of old messages there, traceries of a former self. What my friend Chelsea recently called... something like spent seed pods, or carapaces, or used envelopes.

what I want DOES MATTER. I don't ALWAYS have to put other people first, I am ALLOWED to be first on my own priority list godsdammit! and I definitely CAN FIGURE STUFF OUT ON MY OWN but I do have old learned helplessness and my constant fight against distraction to get the stuff figured out, and then the steps sorted out, and then get the shit DONE.

2) when I was teaching about study skills (bear with me a moment, it will become relevant) I had the kids take a test which would help them figure out what their learning style was like. Howard Gardner had a theory of Multiple Intelligences, for which there are Varied tests, now available on the internet. (gosh that would have been much more easy and fun to do on the internet! but it was nearly fifteen years ago that I started that unit, & in an inner city school with limited computer resources.)

I suspect that I have a deep need for interpersonal learning. I'm only sometimes good at teaching myself new skills; I hunger for someone to see me and teach me. I love dance class and working with my trainer for that... but having a teacher teach me and walk me through the material, help me build skills? so much more satisfying than YouTubing my way through something new. (I bet Jeff has a strong intrapersonal learning drive. It would make so much sense.)

What are my goals?
  • I want to feel productive, truly productive, every day.
  • I want to help other people every day. (I can be the person helped, it's allowed. *smile*)
  • I want to feel like my mind and my time are under my guidance and control.


That last item is going to require a new skills base, or a return to old skills (Flylady or Franklin-Covey 7 Habits territory), probably some new skills base. My needs are different now than when I first learned those, ages and ages ago. My mind is different.

Okay. that's enough for the first two prompts.

Thanks for listening, hopefully this isn't too much of a plate of scrambled spaghetti noodles for anyone but me to find benefit in.
labelleizzy: (strong)
Today is a good day.
Today I feel strong and whole.
I wonder if I will ever get over feeling so lucky, so happy about getting myself here.

I could have stayed where my childhood left me, tied up in gender stereotypes and my feelings of inadequacy.
I could have been too afraid to risk the pain inherent in risk and change.

I didn't, and I wasn't.

And I am proud of myself for that.

I say that so infrequently that I wanted to record it, meaning to encourage myself to take pride in my accomplishments more frequently. I slide between being reluctant to ackowledge and outright bragging, the grey space in between is hard for me to find.
Sigh.
Subtlety, I can not haz. Oh well. Knowing yourself counts for something!

Learned the hard way that slow and steady, consistent work is the most important way to make lasting change in my life. (I do know that probably sounds obvious. I'm okay with that, I need to keep saying it to myself, regardless.)

I can do a lot of things now, after healing from injuries, and with long practice, that made me feel less-than broken/wrong, and weird as a child and teenager.

Back then I Made a lot of assumptions about what was normal, and I try not to blame myself for that. Learning that "normal" doesnt exist was actually really useful.

What are the important lessons you have learned about how the world works, and how you fit in to that?
labelleizzy: (strong)
I tried something new yesterday, not consciously, but in the moment.
It was a foam core roller kind of day. And by that I mean that my muscles were tense and tight and not flexible, and it was adding pressure to my joints.
I spent 4 or 5 hours on Tuesday at the pottery studio, standing still on a concrete floor, or hunched over the pottery wheel. Lots of focus on the work and not so much on my body...
Standing on concrete floors kinda sucks. it tightens my leg, ass, and back muscles, and messes up my knees and feet and sometimes my hips.

So yesterday's workout using the foam core rollers to kind of lightly beat up my muscles and encourage them to relax and let go, was really really useful.
After we rolled our legs yesterday, Etty had me work again on holding plank on toes and elbows. I made it to thirty full seconds at toes and forearms! I figured out a subtle way of pushing my shoulders, somehow, up towards the crown of my head. Felt like I was, dunno, sliding but not-sliding my arms and clasped hands up that mat, and suddenly it was almost easy.

and then after working from forearms and toes, holding at forearms and knees felt EASY. I held maybe another whole minute after the shift.

Now then yesterday AFTER the workout, I was on concrete for hours again, this time doing art for Burning Man camp. And my feet and knees hurt again, I've been massaging into the bones of my feet and manipulating them to help them feel better, all morning. But I am doing things and going places with my bodywork, and ultimately I'm really really proud of my sticktoitiveness. =) Body feels strong. Even when it's stiff and sore, it feels strong.

Yay body, yay me, yay healthy habits.
labelleizzy: (strong)
Yesterday I was due to meet my seester at the gym, we were going to work out together. She had car trouble and had to cancel; I was kind of proud of myself for not finding an excuse not to go, but I already had woken up, gotten dressed, had something to eat (a couple handfuls of Cheerios, but still) and had found my shoes. So when she texted me I decided to just go anyway. I'm at the point where, after having neglected to work out for over 8 weeks, shit HURTS. my lower back has been sore like it used to be, my surgery knee has been tender and a bit wibbly, my shoulder is cranky and crunchy, and my middle back makes cracking noises when I touch my toes.

bad news man.

So I haul ass over there. Took the new car. Weird to feel like "I" fit in with the shiny Audi, Porsche, Prius, etcetera in the parking lot, but I did. I blended. (WAT)

And I go and get on the not the treadmill, but the elliptical trainer, because I wanted to have the option to work my arms, back, and get a bit of a twisting stretch in. I needed it. It felt good.

I got tired and bored pretty quickly. The last few times I have been to the gym I was either meeting my trainer, who definitely keeps me engaged and interested (I am a bit sad she isn't working there anymore), or I've been meeting [livejournal.com profile] tshuma, [livejournal.com profile] wrenb, or I run into [livejournal.com profile] angelkatharine and at least have a bit of a chat. But twenty minutes on the elliptical is considerably less fun when you have nothing to do but be in your brain (now granted, I mentally wrote some more for NaNoWriMo) and nobody to interact with. And I got fatigued after only about six minutes. I blame my not maintaining the habit of regular movement. Expect that there's lactic acid or stress chemicals buildup in my muscles and bloodstream.

(Side note: I know the body excretes waste chemicals in something like six ways: through sweat, tears, piss, shit, and from the genitals via ejaculatory fluid or weeping. that's only five, I wonder if I will remember what the sixth is or if I am misremembering. Point being, I wake up nowadays, sometimes, with my eyes just LEAKING. It's weird and a little disconcerting. But I'm guessing it's because I haven't been working out to a sweat very often recently, so my body has to find another means.)

Anyway, I do make myself do the twenty minutes, and then I go to the foyer where there's exercise balls and foam core rollers and mats, and I start doing some flexibility work for my hips, rolling big slow circles while seated on one of the exercise balls. Felt pretty good, and I was waking up my core muscles too.

And then I see Etty. She's the trainer that my former trainer Tal had told me I might enjoy working with. And we get to talking, and I was *sure* I had sent her an email or a text telling her I had an interest in training together, but she said she never received any such text or email. And I shrug, I don't know if I forgot or not... But it turns out she had an appointment be cancelled for the space that starts in ten minutes, and would I like to work out, gently, as a getting to know you kind of assessment and do we work well together. I'd been debating if I wanted to go in and explore the weights again like I had the last time; and I figure, sure! And she's willing to comp me the hour as we get acquainted. It was like the serendipity fairy came by and sprinkled serendipity dust all over us(me) to get me back into working out regularly!

We have a good getting to know you chat where I fill out the goals for working out worksheet and I find out that Etty also used to teach (and she says Israeli kids don't respect teachers the way kids here do, and I didn't disabuse her of her notion, which was maybe kind, maybe not) but she really likes teaching one on one, so physical training is a good gig for her. I tell her I have joined NaNoWriMo and a little about what it does, and she says, "maybe you should be a writer!"

and I think, maybe I SHOULD be a writer.

And then we go work out a bit, she has me do lunges and squats and moving stretches and checks my form (which is almost like I forgot the million little corrections Tal used to give me, in just over two months) and we talk about how important it is to have correct form, which I couldn't agree more on. I make sure she understands about my surgery leg and the tension from all that adaptation my body had to do while it was injured and uncorrected. And I just realized yesterday that I passed the third anniversary of surgery on Nov. 1, and how good my body feels in retrospect, now. So many little things that really add up. Fuck that first surgeon who tried to tell me that I didn't need surgery, that lots of people do just fine without an ACL, because now I can move and dance and work out and I. DON'T. FUCKING. HURT. ALL THE TIME. Not anymore. Seriously, fuck that guy. I'm so glad I got [livejournal.com profile] bk2wto recommend his surgeon, that guy was PHENOMENAL.

(end digression)

so we try me on plank position and i can't hold it long, and I keep shifting around trying to hold it and she asks me to hold still, and I make it about another three seconds before I just FOLD. dammit. welp this is where I am now, just need to know where I am now so I can set goals appropriately and then work to meet them.

and then we try my pushups ability in a couple different form factors, and she puts me in this frame to have me hold myself up and lift my knees up for core work and wow that was hard, so we try it on a weight bench lying down instead, like swimming instead of like bicycling I realized after I was doing it wrong. More core work for me! More EVERYTHING for me. *sigh* Okay. Need a little work to get back where I was. And to meet my goals of being able to do inversions and maybe start doing some circus arts work. Fun, playful goals. I need fun playful goals. And having a smart trainer who understands about teaching, is a damn good thing.

So I signed up for a new package with Etty. We start next Friday morning at ten, and I'm looking forward to it.
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
I have a sadface, on the one hand. OTOH, it was an epic last workout, not an "evaluation" session like I halfway expected.

Tal is awesome, I'm going to miss working out with her. She is great at giving me the little corrections that make my workouts better: like, check your stance, your feet aren't even. Step backwards one step so the cable crosses your body and not your neck. (oy.) Did you see how your body dipped there? Tighten your core muscles. Liz, you can only talk if you are still working out. (grinning, I do talk to her a lot) Make sure your back is flat. (she used to use an image of "there are ants trying to walk under your back, squish the ants, don't let them through!)

What a great year-and-four-months this has been. Such focus, many muscles, wow. (heh heh heh)

I'm so much stronger than I was. I'm much more confident in my body than I was. I wake up with SO MUCH LESS PAIN than I did once upon a time. Some of that is thanks to the knee surgery that replaced my ACL at the end of 2011, but much of it is due to her guidance and encouragement.

She remembered to return a book I lent her, Strong Women Stay Young, and she wrote me a little thank you card. I'm pleased that I had a set of the little gifts I'd made for Burning Man with me, and could give her one. She said she hopes I keep in touch and reminded me that I have her phone number. I think I'll keep texting her. She is just neat and awesome.

What a beautiful day today is.

Oh, note to self: remember to start using the foam core roller on your thighs and IT band. You need it.
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
My knee and inner thigh by the back of the leg felt super tender yesterday, which means that the Two Day Rule of workouts was in operation... If it hurts/is sore the day after, yeah, good workout. If it's sore TWO days after, you got into the deep part of the muscle, and this is where the structural rebuilding happens, or so I understand it.

So I took today off with Tal. I wanted to test this new range of motion and see whether the pain I've been feeling the last few weeks might have been sorted out for good.

It's um weird not to hurt? It's also still weird that I can look down and my feet are parallel. It's a bit weird to feel strong and capable... But I freaking LOVE IT.

All of it.

Biked into downtown today for Thursday night live, they close part of the main drag and clubs, restaurants, city departments, entertainers, and even a politician had kiosks set up. Met up with WrenB and her kids for a little bit, which was fun. Missed seeing Mr. WrenB, though, which made me sad.

Found a kiosk for tiny theater in town I didn't know about. Gonna try to check em out. Also a production of Pirates of Penzance is upcoming at the larger community theater, which SCORE!

Biking is still a bit of a workout. Gonna need to take more frequent rides to train up for transportation around the playa next month.

Breaking in the shiny SHINY gold Docs I bought for playa wear is good fun. Apparently my givafuck is broken now, I don't care what anyone thinks if I love them. \o/

OK, time for bed. Tempted to add a tmi post but it's really late and I need to try to sleep.


Posted via m.livejournal.com.

labelleizzy: (strong)
Yesterday was all about the matwork. I went in to see Tal with a knot under my shoulderblade (probably time to engage the chiropractor again) and we spent an hour standing above, alongside, and lying on the exercise mat. My hip is better, my shoulders are tight again (I need to get the weights out and do a few warmups or go back over to the gym for an hour) and more gentle slow movement to liberate my spine today would feel great.

I'm proud of myself for my work. I can feel my abs, there's waist definition underneath my curves. I can feel it with my hands and my movement even if it doesn't show at the surface. I'm stronger.

But I can't deny that I'm crazy privileged to have been able to heal everything I've been working to heal for the last six years... Healed my heart and spirit with therapy and the Waldorf program, healed my body with Physical Therapy, surgery, and now working with a personal trainer.

Time to give more back to the universe.
labelleizzy: (i dance)
Yesterday was a busy day full of movement!

Started my day with a workout, me, Tal, and [livejournal.com profile] tshuma, and it went well, I think. I keep forgetting that I've become, actually, kind of strong. It's fun when a workout that makes me sweat a bit doesn't leave me sore afterwards. Good chat with [livejournal.com profile] tshuma and [livejournal.com profile] angelkatharine afterwards in the locker room.

Home for a quick lunch with Jeff, we split the leftover pasta-cheese-salami-veggies salad before I headed out to have a chiropractic adjustment done.

Here's how it goes. Larry and I chat for a bit about what's going on physically. He has me lie faced down on the table, which is articulated to do various kinds of adjustments. He puts one wedge under my right hip and another under my left thigh, and a hot pack/hot towel on my back. He does several kinds of myofascial pressure point releases around my hips and glutes. At that point I start to feel kind of stoned, actually, between the heat and the releases. Very relaxing.

Then he does several small adjustments using the table, and my goal is to maintain the relaxation so he can do the work of the adjustments. After the small adjustments he did some more dramatic adjustments at my hip/sacroiliac joint, and after that settled in he checked the mid-back stiffness caused by a friend hugging me and "cracking my back" a lifetime or three ago, and did a bit of adjustment there. The final stage is I roll over onto my back, and he helps me stretch those lower back muscles and glutes with an assisted/resistance stretch. It was a damn good follow up to the workout.

After seeing Larry, I ran an errand then home, did some writing and reading and got some dinner up using leftovers components, and at 7 I went back into town and got cash so I could go to 5 rhythms dance class! and I danced for something like three hours and I basically STOPPED THINKING AT ALL for that whole time. Just moved. That was amazing. I was a little worried about how the adjustment would incorporate with that kind of moving... but I havent been to dance for ... three months at least. Haven't been since before I started with the diabetes meds and blood tests. (!)

Dancing was *great* but I also received several really lovely heartwarming welcome hugs. Gosh.
I knew I needed it but it's one thing to know you need something and something else to have it offered up to you. That was WONDERFUL. People were really glad to see me! (wow, what?)

I am sore today, some from the dancing (ow my feet) and some tenderness probably from all three things I was active in doing yesterday, It's a good thing though. A little discomfort is a lovely reminder that I'm really and for true LIVING in my body and using it.

Time to go make some things! I'll see about posting photos when I am done...

poem

Jun. 6th, 2014 05:15 pm
labelleizzy: (forward momentum)
why is it painful to let go of unhelpful words?
perhaps these were once upon a time, protectors,
the words bookworm, nerd, gimp, weakling.
the belief that if it was hard, I wasn't meant to do it...
if I were meant to do it, t'would come naturally, surely?

i can't seem to get my glasses clean
to see my own Self in the mirror
to understand my own wingspan
or the extent of my reach
or how far I can leap

hamstrung by my blindness
the persistence of memory
self image of pale, soft, weak, fearful
but there is so much more to me
than what I used to be

Am I strong? Yes. Am I smart? Yes.
Am I capable? Yes. Am I flexible? Yes.
Am I kind? Yes.
Am I soft?

*smile* Yes, I am soft.
Soft like a pillow at naptime, and comfortable.
Soft like silk sheets, and strong like them too.

Am I brave?
Yes.
Could I write were I still fearful?
Yes, ... but I wouldn't show my heart, were I still fearful.

I don't deal in trivialities.
I want the blood, and the bone, and the sweat,
I want the gritted teeth and the grunts of effort.

I step beyond old useless protectors.
I make myself stronger from the inside
I stand strong

I do not need the deflections of nerd, gimp, weakling.

I see the world as it is and as I would have it
and I reach out my hands
to begin shaping the world
A strong, kind, smart, compassionate world

and my strong hands
will shape it
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
Is your body YOU?
Is it all of you, part of you?
Does your body carry "you" around?
Is your body different from "you"?

I had a knee injury for fifteen years. As of November, that's 1/3 of my life. I had ACL replacement surgery 2.5 years ago.
And I've now been doing prehab, rehab, and working with a trainer for three years.

When do I get used to THIS body? This body is tons stronger and more flexible. This body can Do Stuff I wasn't able to do before. In this body my feet stay parallel instead of duck-footing to try and keep the knee stable. This body can balance on one leg to put a sock on, and hold a high plank position for almost a full minute, and roll out of bed without effort or pain. So many changes.

I keep getting shocked by this body... In good ways, true, and I know intellectually that I've worked hard to get here. But my gut, my feelings, keep expecting ... Like that this is too good to be true? Like somehow, without warning, I will automagically return to pain, and weakness, and brokenness.

Why can't I believe that my body has become strong? Why is it so hard to use that word to describe myself?


Posted via m.livejournal.com.

labelleizzy: (not a number)
Last night I had a lovely evening, involving dinner and working on an art project with M and N, who I like more, the more time I spend with them.

With dinner, I had a Thai iced tea. I think I maybe need to not do that anymore because OMG I could NOT get to sleep last night.
My lack of sleep was so bad that I cancelled this morning's workout. Four hours or something of sleep makes Lizzie a something something...

Got a good refresh and um-cuddle with Jeff this morning that was worth at LEAST two hours of sleep!

Too hot to work out at home. hoping I will be able to tag along with [livejournal.com profile] wrenb to a local public pool today. Gah.

Monday's workout, I've been meaning to talk about, but the details have been fading in my mind. I know I was doing a lot more work for longer stretches than I ever used to think I was able to do. Shoulder strength is coming along, as is flexibility. Yesterday I sat up in bed spontaneously and then held the 45 degree angle while I massaged past my belly fat to investigate the musculature: DEFINITELY coming along.

I lost 6 pounds between weigh in on Monday and the last weigh in 6 weeks ago, at least an inch at my waist, and half an inch off arm and leg. It's data, not cause for celebration. The stronger and more flexible is what I'm celebrating. I also wonder to what degree the Metformin is contributing to these recent changes. Cause it could be partly from that and partly that I've increased my number of accountable, structured workouts. Hmmm.

I find I am more willing to move, to fidget, to do more active things casually, than I did this time last year. Standing around with friends after The Winter Soldier, I noticed I could *not* stand still; had to fidget, move, pace, lean on Jeff, etc. It was... strange, and cool. Strong indicator of the nature of this change.

Last night's art project: I was able and willing to hunker down in a crouch, go up and down from it easily, and could stand in Horse Stance for several moments before I even noticed I was doing it. The EFFORT is just less, because the body is stronger. So very cool.

Awright. I got another bit of writing to complete today; even though I've been dropped from LJ Idol, I intend to complete the prompt.
labelleizzy: (strong)
When I was little I thought I was just BAD at chores. They were so hard, so much work. And Mom made things like making beds and folding sheets look effortless.
I've been realizing lately that I bought into the childhood meme of if it's hard for you to do, you're not meant to get good at it.
Which sucks, because determination has been dearly bought, down the years.

Another take on the first thing, is: My Mom was Strong. Like PHYSICALLY strong, because she Did Stuff all the time.
And I didn't realize till now, THAT'S the lesson I wish I'd learned. It's not the one I did then, but I can learn it now.

Today I went to the gym again. Ran into [livejournal.com profile] angelkatharine toward the end of my hour working with Tal, said hi, got to check in briefly once Tal and I were done.

Today Tal ran me through three different supersets of ten minutes length, and I had to keep moving the whole time, for ten minutes straight.
And it was WORK.
But it didn't kill me, not even a little bit (though those long muscles at the side-back are sore right now...)

I did that work, three sets of ten minutes not stopping, and it totally Did Not Suck.
And I could do All The Things, and do them well.

(Though I find that when I'm totally engaged in weights or body-weight training, I spend all my mental forces making sure my form is good, and I lose the ability to count, even to ten.)

This is a Thing. This is a Thing that I can DO, now.

Somehow I have to accept the wonder at my own ...ability.
And somehow I have to accept this as The New Normal because there's Shit I Wanna Do that involves me getting even stronger and more flexible, even than this.

After so long of struggling to Do Stuff... Now I can.

(this post brought to you by making the Guest Bed and shaking out the sheets and blankets and making everything smooth and pretty, and I Just Did It. It didn't hurt and it wasn't any huge effort, and this is... this is uncharted territory. Physical competence and emotional equilibrium. I've never had both at the same time.)
labelleizzy: (greatness)
Today's workout with Tal and [livejournal.com profile] tshuma was challenging in different ways than these used to be.

There was a balance exercise that was physically challenging: stand on a curb with one foot, keep your hips square, bend the knee of the supporting leg and lower your other toe to the ground. Straighten, repeat 10 times on each leg. Whoa.

But the part that's emotionally challenging is to realize that I have made HUMONGOUS progress in strength, flexibility, and balance since I started writing about this journey nearly two years ago.

Cognitive dissonance, man.

Like, I do know that I'm stronger than I used to be, but parts of my brain are still expecting those gains to vanish as soon as I stop looking at them. I have an old script running "this is what my body looks like and this is what it can do"
AND THE SCRIPT IS WRONG.

Not sure how I change that, because both my head and my heart need recalibration.

Tal says that I don't give myself nearly enough credit; that much, I believe! *laughing*

Okay. Here's what I can do:

I can hang out in Table position and extend alternate arm and leg for many seconds with no discomfort or huge effort.

I can hang out in Down Dog for many seconds without discomfort or huge effort.

I can do a dozen inverted rows hanging from the TBX with no discomfort and little effort. I remember how sore my hands wrists elbows and shoulders were when I first started that exercise, and how I did it all wrong.

I can do plank at my knees for ages, and then I can detach one knee or hand at a time, repeatedly. Not up to full plank all the time, but I'm getting there.

I can hold Bridge pose for a good long time, even on a squashy surface like my bed.

Properly warmed up, I can put my foot up on the railing at shoulder height to stretch, with no pain and very little effort.

Each shoulder moves independently, and the adhesions seem to be totally gone, shoulderblades move fluidly and the shoulders are normally down and back instead of hunched up and forward. This is HUGE.

Lower back pain, foot pain, hip pain, pain in the shoulder, has essentially vanished. Knee feels stable.

My curves have been smoothing out as the muscles get stronger and settle in closer to the bones.

I can reach things atop the fridge or at the back of that one shelf without standing on my toes or stretching diagonally, my shoulder just GOES FURTHER NOW.

Deep breathing is my normal way of breathing. Actually scored 100% when I last saw a doctor and the nurse took a blood O2 test! Yeah!

I stand and sit straighter more often. Today I got my hair cut and it felt more natural to sit up straight than to lean back in the chair.

These are all true things.
How I was is not how I am now.

I want to come to terms with that. Internalize it, incorporate it into my self image.

I have become physically strong.

This gives me a sense of peace.

I still have more to say about this but I need to leave it there for the moment.

I am strong.


Posted via m.livejournal.com.

labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
So here's the thing: people pick on other people. They call people mean names, hit, shove, intimidate, say and do horrible things.

I know we usually soothe the people who've suffered such things with declarations of no-fault: "that girl is insecure and lashing out" "that guy was bullied as a child and he's continuing the cycle" "it's not about you, it's about THEM."

I'm about to say something that may get people pissed off at me. I've come to believe that we look at this situation, of bullying and harassment, and folks often say, it's all the bully's fault. Or perhaps that it's society's fault, or that parents have failed, or schools didn't provide proper guidance.

Believe me, I understand that bullying, harassment, domineering and controlling, assholish behavior has a bewildering complexity of causes.

And people also will point out (because often times the media and some individuals need reminding) that "victim-blaming", as a thing, is unfair, wrong, or bad.

Unfair, I grant. Unhelpful, I concede, and bad? Victim blaming is a mark of both lazy thinking and dishonest, delusional assumptions about interpersonal dynamics.

Wrong it may be to say the victim was at blame for their victimhood, but is it entirely incorrect?

I was alternately bullied and ignored throughout school. I entered into relationships with sarcastic, belittling partners and stayed there for years. I know now that patterns of behavior I learned at home shaped my childhood social experiences, my choices of romantic partners, and my willingness to trust... Actually to trust anyone at all, was a huge struggle, for many years.

I gained confidence and life experience, learned to thrive in nourishing relationships, and learned to survive and end verbally abusive relationships in work and romantic life.

What I eventually learned was that my assumptions influenced how my reality manifested. If you feel insecure, it shows in how you move, stand, hold yourself. Confidence or insecurity show in tone of voice and in your word choices too.

Humans everywhere in the world read body language fluently. Bullies and predators, consciously (or unconsciously) select people for body language that shows insecurity or wishy-washiness.

Radical honesty and being an adult demands that we must look deeply and unflinchingly at ourselves so we can solve the problem with accurate information, not self delusion.

* Am I complicit in being picked on, in any way?
* Do my assumptions about how I will be treated, or how the world works, affect how I AM treated, or how the world responds to me?
* If either of these are true, what can I do to recognize and change my habits of behavior and thought?

Suppose you've done serious reflection on your life and your attitudes or expectations to recognize that you contribute(d) to your own victimhood in some ways. You may expect people in your life to be rude, dismissive, disparaging, or sarcastic. You may have internal voices telling you you aren't good enough, aren't worth the effort.

And then you realize that you would NEVER speak even to your worst enemy with the language and tone you hear in your head. (The moment I realized this is clear in my head, even eight years later.)

Please be welcome to feel feelings about this discovery, but try to just feel them, not to judge yourself or beat yourself up for it. That helps nobody figure it out, it just gets in the way of discovery and change to a better paradigm for your inner sanctum.

It's definitely possible to start learning to present a more confident façade.
Think about the truism "fake it till you make it." Look around at people you know, or people you see, who look confident and calm, people who move happy, if that makes sense. People who move fluently and with purpose. If you're like I was at this stage, you're probably envious of those people. Use that. You want what they've got, start emulating them.

One of the first things I consciously did to conquer my fears was change how I walked. I lived in a not-great neighborhood, and so I thought about how to look like a not-target. I started to walk big, wear shoes that let me walk stompy, fast, strong. I stopped walking while reading or while checking my phone. I looked at people around me, and kept my chin up. Made eye contact occasionally, when I felt like it. That started happening more often as I built confidence. Nodding or waving or smiling slightly at neighbors started feeling comfortable. I worked on having straighter posture, and open, relaxed body language.

Now I look at the process as giving myself acting lessons. Really, they're acting lessons for your life, rather like the advice I've heard of dressing up to the job you want to have.

As an adult who's working to solve a problem, you'll immediately start to recognize victim body language or posture as you observe others, and how different it looks from confident body language or posture. And if your goal is to change your own behavior, you can start selecting habits that work better for your life, and work to change how you present yourself to the world.

The best part of fake it till you make it? As your body learns, your brain comes to believe what the body tells it. As you practice confident stances and postures, a strong movement style, aware and alert reactions to the people in your environment, not only will people treat you differently, YOU will start to feel differently about yourself. And that's a really big part of the solution.

Start research on techniques to build up your own resilience, tough mindedness, and compassion for yourself. This kind of interior remodeling job is worth the effort. And, if you already possess these skills? Please think about reaching out and lending a hand to someone who needs them.

(And let me say THANK you to all the families and teachers out there who are consciously working to raise strong, self confident children. You give me hope for the future.)



This has been my Week Four entry for [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol, and the prompt was a quotation from Dr.Martin Luther King Jr:
“Nobody can ride your back if your back's not bent”.

Beta-readings done by [livejournal.com profile] alycewilson !

Please go read and enjoy my colleagues' entries here. To vote for my entry, link is *here* scroll down to Tribe 5. soon after Monday April 7th, once the poll's posted.

Thank you for reading!



My Recommended reading list on this topic:
Oriah Mountain Dreamer's The Invitation
Trina Paulus' Hope For The Flowers
Dr. Patricia Evans' The Verbally Abusive Relationship
SARK's Bodacious Book of Succulence (and all her other books)
Dr. Jean Shinoda Bolen's Goddesses in Everywoman and Gods in Everyman
Osho's COURAGE: The Joy of Living Dangerously
labelleizzy: (strong)

for the benefit of new friends who are joining this story already in progress,
somewhere around 20 months ago, I adopted a meme from... somewhere, and the challenge was to write 100 public blog posts about something that you chose. I chose to examine my relationship with fitness and building strength, and my problematic headspace around my childhood as a female geek-before-geeks-were-cool, and physical activity.

 

it turns out that it just took about 22 years to find "my sport", which is DANCING. *grin*

 

for awhile, nearly 3 years in my late 20's, my "sports" were country dance (English and Irish) and taekwondo. Unfortunately (and of course there is a story there) I injured my knee trying for the blue-belt test (the fourth full-belt level out of seven in that system) when I injured my knee very badly on a particular jumping sidekick. my ACL was damaged, and failed utterly about ten years after I damaged it.

 

So I walked and danced without a major structure in my knee for about five years before I finally asked for a surgical consult. Found a remarkable surgeon who'd replaced THREE tendons in my friend Brian's knee (motorcycle accident), had my surgical replacement of my ACL 11\1\11 (Nov. 1 of the year I'd turn 42.)

 

I started doing pre-hab, joined a gym some months before the surgery, and have been pretty consistent in my exercise since that time... Largely because the body HURTS now if I DONT move enough.

 

eh boring. But I do the work so I can do the fun stuff: dance, go hiking, do yoga, lift stuff up over my head around the new place, take care of things on my own without hurting myself.

 

Three weeks without a workout, and without going dancing... I've been sick with cold or allergies and am finally breathing reliably, my ear has finally cleared up (I was half-deaf in one ear for over two weeks) and OW. Body is complaining. 

 

Time to get back on the horse. Anyone want to share details of their fitness efforts? I am a student of Health At Every Size, I don't allow anyone to shit-talk their body or their efforts or anyone else's, and I tend to use other measurements than a scale to track my progress.

 

to start, I plan on trying a double lap walk around the block tomorrow to warm up before running myself through a few quick and gentle yoga routines, because one of my goals is to get back to being able to do shoulder stands, head stands, and hand stands. I loved being upside down when I was a kid, and its a fun, achievable goal in my current state of fitness (even as crunchy and inflexible as my muscles currently feel).

 

Done anything fun in YOUR body recently? =)

labelleizzy: (yoga)
Today's workout was a check-in day to start with. Did a weigh in, body fat percent check. Both are down, weight and body fat. That's because now I have some muscle to work with.

*nodding* YEEEEAH. *flex*

Lots of dynamic-stability work today. Squats into biceps curls, inverted rowing (where you let your body plank backwards and row up using handles suspended from the structure above you), backward lunges into knee-up and twist at the waist. Wow. A lateral leaping from side to side that makes me feel like an Olympic speed-skater. Jogging in place by hop-touching my toes to one of the lower boxes (or sometimes the Bosu half-ball)

Rats. I wish that I listed all my exercises every time I worked out. I know how to DO quite a few exercises, but I'm not necessarily going to remember them in a useful sequence when I go to do them for myself.

Well, doing something is a damn sight better than doing nothing.

Oh! and today, Tal actually had me RUN. 4.0 mph on the treadmill. We did intervals: it was something like 4 minutes of walking to get up to 3.5 mph fast walk, then kicked it over and started to jog for one minute, walk one minute, jog, walk, jog, and then walk to cool down, making note of heart rate both on the way building up to running, and during the cool-down.

But RUNNING! *SQUEE*

And now I have two homeworks.

One is to write up my food intake like I've been supposed to for like three months.
Two is to do that jog-walk interval training at least three times a week for the next three weeks. (and probably beyond that.)

Here is the progress-check since I started to seriously work out again last April (with Tal).

Surgery knee: stable, and up for all kinds of walking, dancing, even slipping and falling. Also up for running and full strength lateral movement. *thumbs up*
Back: Strong, though I do want to work more on the limberness/flexibility. Hurts a lot less than it used to, bends a lot easier than it used to, and I am more interested in moving in new ways.
Arms/Shoulders: Stronger and more flexible, have some muscle definition. My shoulders, more than any other body part, resent it and protest loudly with crunchy discomfort when I do not get enough work out time in. Interesting.
Feet: Have had little to no pain in the foot since I went for four sessions with Dr. Larry, the chiropractor who is also a member at my gym. The main adjustment at the sacro-iliac joint is something I can reproduce in a different, slower/more gradual way, on my own with a particular twisting stretch (the one my brother Scott called the "shortstop stretch") that makes my back make the most UNEARTHLY noises but it feels so much BETTER when I am done.
Neck/head tension: Notably decreased. Head rotation is natural and smooth (unlike some other times in my life), the airline-cable muscles have softened and are more flexible and amenable to stretching, and I can actually get traction on the times I feel like massaging my neck (unlike some other times in my life).

+*+*+*+*+*+*

The JCC that includes my gym, is having a Happy New Year! Post your fitness resolutions on the wall!

They advised being very specific, because you could win a prize, like having the gym pay your registration for a race you said you wanted to finish.

I was very specific.
I want to be able to do headstands and handstands, with good core strength and control, and SLOWLY.

On the back of the card we are supposed to say WHY we have this goal.
I said something about I loved headstands when I was a kid, but never had the strength or courage to work up to doing cartwheels; I'm stronger now than I was then, and more intentionally building that strength.

And then I said that someday I want to teach yoga.
I didn't consciously realize that is something I want, till I wrote it on the card.

So the goal manifested, in part because I have an intention of working with two girlfriends' less-flexible spouses, because they need some yoga, and I need to be teaching so I can remember that teaching itself doesn't suck. Other stuff AROUND teaching sucks, but teaching does not.

Teaching yoga wouldn't suck. I could do that. I want to do that.
labelleizzy: (strong)
Ow.

(Hell, I could make that one word the whole post, just leave it there. But that's not ME, so...)

Workout on Wednesday again, after something like two weeks of not working out, letting my gum graft and top incision heal. I did light housework and gardening, and I'm still getting used to the idea that my body is what it is now (as opposed to what it was while my knee was borked and I slowly gave up dance and most of my other active hobbies). My body is pretty strong now.

But stronger doesn't mean I'm not gonna hurt pretty bad after a solid workout, especially one tailored towards my current weaknesses.

I let Tal know that I recovered well by two weeks after surgery, but that I'd had a couple troubling things happened toward the end of the two weeks.

One was, I'm working on disassembling a structure in the backyard (a kind of cat-run installed by the previous tenants), and discovered that using a hand-screwdriver with hand-arm at shoulder height, led to numbness and tingling in the ring-&-pinky of the hand I was using (my dominant hand), and that I'd dropped the screwdriver three times in an afternoon after those symptoms made it difficult/awkward to hold the screwdriver firmly.

Tal asked had I had any carpal tunnel; I have no such diagnosis, but I allowed that I had, after many years of mousing on the right, and some nervy-feelings in hand and elbow, moved my mouse to my left. But now that Jeff and I share a desktop machine, that's a less convenient thing; and I'm mousing on the right again. Meh.

I suspect that may have contributed to a particular part of the workout where I laid on a mat on my belly, externally rotated my humerus and attempted to point my thumbs at the sky, and then had to pump my arms backwards (up) and hold; had to hold there and raise my chest from the mat. (also that's probably contributory to why my lower back is SO freaking sore that I had trouble sleeping, and was walking like an injured person when I got up this morning.)

Two was, I'd been losing my balance slightly as I've been walking around the house. Catching myself on walls and counters, not all the time, but y'know, a few times is disconcerting enough.

I suspect THAT observation may have been why Tal had me do a lateral leaping movement-exercise, like the Olympic speed-skaters; and why my damn hamstrings and inner thighs are crying out in pain today.

If it hurts bad enough after working it that I need ibuprofen and careful warmups and stretching (and even a soak in my god blessed hot tub!~ for the stretching), then OBVIOUSLY I need to be working those more.

Okay.

This too shall pass, I know. I need to drink more water today (and less tea generally when I am this sore), keep the ibuprofen regular, and move more than I sit.

that said, I'm off to dress in real clothes and get back to work on disassembling the cat run.
labelleizzy: (inherent worth and dignity)
I've been writing these posts for about a year now, I believe. (correction: since April 2012, so 18 months or so)
I have had difficult time rebuilding a fitness habit since I damaged my leg taking TaeKwonDo in 1998. It was the first time I could remember in my life where my whole body felt strong, balanced, powerful. My feelings about fitness and strength got very complicated after that injury, for various reasons. As feelings often are the motivation for actions...

Well. Due to the Waldorf teacher training, I shored up the foundation of my emotional life, started to take better care of my health, discovered my knee was indeed borked. Had surgery two years ago to replace my ACL, and worked to build my strength up in "pre-hab" and also in re-hab...

I started this 100 things series, like a lot of people did, to write many posts about something that interested me. But I had a sneaky second reason.

I was writing with much more regularity than I was exercising.
*shrug*
So I decided to chain the two habits together.
The one motivated the other, you know? I had an excellent excuse to write, IF I got off my duff and got out or got to the gym. It did work, and I wrote a lot about how I was changing, what body part hurt the most this week and why I thought that was, my hopes and dreams and goals for the whole endeavor, and so on.

But this post today, is because I have realized that I now... I just GO to the gym.
I've successfully built a habit that I wanted to build, and I am seeing remarkable results. I am SO much STRONGER than I once was. Body looks better, functions better, than it has in nearly 20 years.

Building for the future, me. And I'm glad to be doing it for ME (and for Jeff... Keeping up with a younger man can sometimes be *ahem* arduous) and not to fit into a wedding dress or to please someone else.

The other habit I'm proud of building, over the last few years, is the habit of speaking to myself with kindness, of touching my body with kindness. I noticed, today at the gym, gently massaging my tight shoulder and tight knee, that I was speaking gently and encouragingly to my body, moving slowly and gradually stretching as well as I could without judging... "There now, you can do this... It's okay, breathe... Relax, honey... There you go!"

I had to teach myself so much of this. Respect for the body, love of self, valuing self, and what self can do, what bodymind can do together... *wry* was not in the toolbox we got at my house growing up.

So now, having freshly turned 44, it feels as though I have a baseline of fundamental self confidence and physical strength that some lucky bastards have by the time they finish their teens.

Gonna keep moving, keep building strength, enjoy this being embodied thing, spread joy and help out where I can.

Okay. Step out in faith and Get Some Shit Done, now I've got the tools.
labelleizzy: (butterfly)

my journal, imma be just a little snarky.

 

you know the stereotype that goes "oh, she was so lovely... until she opened her mouth and started speaking"...?
oh, that happens with men too.

 

*moue*

 

but I go to this particular dance partly for the exercise, and partly to be around people, and partly to dare myself to continue with a practice that can be uncomfortable and challenging. that includes me or others saying a dumb thing, pushing too hard to do something, being disappointed in some kind of expectations, etc.

 

it was a good dance. only my second time ever dancing with very energetic Russian boy, second time ever with J who is lovely but presents as shy, and second time with A, who is very very tall, high energy, and very silly. I enjoyed those, very much, as well as lots of momentary people contacts throughout the evening, and my own solo dancing.

 

oh! and I rode my bike there and back, despite having access to car. Convinced myself that I could tag out when the weather is gray, wet, cold, and miserable on a Monday, but I will try using the bicycle to get to dance on Mondays and Wednesday noon gym workouts, at the least.

 

I felt really strong coming home tonight.
it felt really good.

labelleizzy: (do it)
OK, exercise and moving my body is starting to feel more natural than sitting still.
This is a little weird, but still good. I feel *tougher* than I have in years.

Been on the bicycle every single day this week. *shrug* I can't remember now why I was ever afraid of riding in Mountain View. My bike lets me ride tall. I'm looking car drivers in the eye, and sitting up straight. Awareness and contact with others on the roads help me feel safe even in roads where there's no painted bike lane.

Am also seeing, already, some muscle definition in the quads near the knee. Unrelated to the biking but relevant to the rest of the physical working, I can feel muscles at my waist, even if they don't show much yet. So much better than feeling weak and soggy Like I did once upon a time... Functional strength and balance. This shit RULES.

feeling a need for an early night.

Be well and happy, Livejournalists!

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