Sunday, October 30, 2011


I love Halloween! I've thrown some really elaborate parties in the past, mostly outside where crunchy leaves, cool air and a night sky become the backdrop to some fun times with the right amount of creepiness sprinkled in. This time of year also marks nearly 7 months of freedom from my family so it's time for an update on how I'm doing.

My anxiety is almost gone, I just have a couple of areas that I'd still like to work on to get to where I'd like to be emotionally. I am so amazed at how quickly I've been able to knock out my anxiety once I realized that is what I had. I am so much calmer now and even if something gets my heart rate up, I'm still able to control my reaction, to maintain control when before I would just lose it. It's so hard to admit that I've been like this for 20 years, and I've hurt so many people because of it, expecially my daughter. I've had to forgive myself so that I COULD change, but I have such deep regret for the unstable childhood I created. Whether it's my fault or not, the fact is that an innocent person was deeply affected by it and for that I AM responsible. It seems though that maybe I have also passed along some of my strength and determination to fight to be a better person because I see these same things in her. I will never rescind my offer to give emotional and/or financial support if she should ever need counseling for this. It's not her fault but the burden of reversing the damage unfortunately lies on her shoulders, but I will be there as much as I can (and as much as she wants me to be) in order to relieve some of the burden.

On a weekly basis I'm doing what I can to prioritize my reponsibility while also balancing my wants with my needs. I haven't been on a date night in a couple of weeks because I've been so busy, which I'm O.K. with, but for the sake of my relationship I will have to do something next weekend because we need to spend some time simply being with one another. Speaking of the fiance, we are doing well, we just need to get the results of his tests so that we can begin therapy to learn how to work together as a married couple. I'm doing the best I can right now, but my best is not good enough. I still fight and complain about the things his autism causes him to do. I feel like a caretaker far more than a partner, and with my personality that is fine to some degree, but not all the time. So, we are working on that.

A week ago I started eating a much healthier diet which consists of about 90-95% fresh produce, 5-10% protein from lean chicken and seafood, no dairy and no sugar. I am feeling so much better, which I will write about at a later time because right now, my 6-month-old boy kitty is crawling all over me and the keyboard for attention . . .

LL xoxo

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

On the journey . . .

When does a journey start? When we are conceived or born? On a Monday? January 1st? Are our lives made up of many different journeys or is it all one journey that just goes different directions?

I have been on a self-improvement journey since I was about 13-years-old. I am 40-years-old now and my goal of being a better person, a calm, relaxed, happy person is not far off. I've spent 27 years surviving and then trying to undo those survival techniques that now just hurt me and others in my life. For the first time ever . . . let that sink in because it is not an exaggeration . . . until now there has never been a time in my life when I wasn't suffering from anxiety issues. I've battled my family all of my life, begging them to just love me, but I finally realized that it would never get better so I cut them from my life. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Just look at what has happened since then: I lost 20 pounds, my anxiety is nearly gone, I take much better care of myself and I've become a much better friend, mother and significant other (even got engaged). The proof is in the pudding.

I've spent the past 6 months learning as much as I can about the effects that food has on the health status of a body. I lost 20 pounds over 2 months by adhering to a low-carb diet. I stopped because I plateaued (although I didn't realize it at the time) but I didn't continue because it was just too difficult to maintain. I am not able to cook every meal, and it takes a lot of time to prepare so much in advance. When I did, my daughter and her boyfriend would often eat it before I had the chance. I'm not one to deny someone food, so I don't feel badly about that, but it did add to the challenges.

Three years ago I attended a workshop about raw food and was very impressed with what I heard and tasted. However, it was not the right time for me. It's not a cheap way to eat, and when I tried it for a few days, my daughter fended for herself making mac 'n' cheese and other junk food because I was too busy preparing my own stuff.

I've read books and articles and watched numerous documentaries about food since then and have made some changed along the way. I rarely eat at a fast food place and when I do it's either a sandwich shop or Jack in the Box (their burgers just seem more real than the other places). I mostly eat at restaurants that make food from scratch, so even if what I eat isn't very healthy, it wasn't premade a year ago, frozen, and then dropped in a fryer when I ordered it. Finally, two months ago I decided that I'd like to use my money for things other than dining out. After bills, the majority of my money has always gone to dining out, hundreds of dollars each month. I've always worn unflattering cothes because I couldn't afford any better, however that has changed. I've spent a few hundred on clothing lately in order to build my professional wardrobe (I'll be job hunting very soon) and I've learned a few tricks to stretch my food budget (and it's not by buying the cheapest ingredients).

I signed up for an online cooking school two months ago and it has really changed how we eat at home. For one, it has made it much more enjoyable for me because I feel confident about what I'm doing. I get excited about trying new techniques and recipes, and my family sees it as a treat now, not a poor-man's substitute to more exciting meals at restaurants. I use fresh ingredients, never anything that's processed aside from a bit of flour to make sauces.

All of this has led up to my next food venture: a plant-based diet. I don't believe the transition will be too difficult because I've already stopped eating fast food and have learned to cook with fresh vegetables. Yesterday I watched the documentary "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead." It's about a man who wants to turn his health and life around and does so by sticking to a strict juicing diet for 60 days, after which he has lost nearly 100 pounds but better yet is no longer sick. He meets a man with the same health issues but who is much bigger at 429 pounds. He helps this man who follows the same diet and has the same results. Both now travel and speak about the wonders of a plant-based diet and how it flushes the body of all the crap (literally and figuratively) and rebuilds it to become its best self.

I suffer from depression and frequent fatigue. I am not excited to get up in the morning and I am having memory problems. My activities are limited by the size of the seats at different establishments (there are booths with large bench seats at restaurants for all the fat and growing butts and guts, but tiny seats at theaters and on airplanes) and it's hard to move around sometimes because I bump into things and people. In just 7 months I will finish school, start a new career and get married, and I want to do it all with me at my very best, so I am going to start a 15-day cleanse next Monday (October 24). This means I have 6 days to prepare. I've put together a checklist for this week and will gradually begin to eliminate certain things from my diet in preparation for the cleanse. As of today sugar & caffeine are off of the menu, tomorrow it's dairy and Thursday it will be meat, poultry and seafood. This sounds radical but I'm actually looking forward to it. I feel great about this, which is a sign that I'm ready. There is going to be all kinds of food all around me at all times--I've already accepted that. I will take my own food with me or have whatever I can from a menu. "A" and I can still dine out, I will simply choose salads, steamed vegetable plates and fruit plates just like I would at home. Speaking of "A," I told him a short while ago about my plan and he's in complete support; he even said he'd like to try some of my food :-D I knew that would happen LOL

Weight loss is honestly the last reason why I want to do this. Being thin is nothing if I don't have the energy to live, and that's what I want, emotionally I am ready to live, now I just have to bring my body up to speed.

Wish me luck!

LL xoxo

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Not feelin so great today and I'm not exactly sure why. I had a great day yesterday, full of energy and fun, but today has been a complete 180 from yesterday. I started to have a panic attack but I did what I could to push it away.

It did not take full force, however it was very challenging to deal with because I was also dealing with "A" constantly asking me if I'm O.K., if I needed anything, constantly wanting to touch me (hugs, etc.) and even brought up having sex. He's been pushing the issue off-and-on for a couple of hours, even insisting that he "knows" that he's done something wrong and just wants me to talk to him. No matter what I said he wouldn't leave me alone. Finally, I stopped talking or even looking at him. I received a few wonderful moments alone while baking in the kitchen and even felt badly for him. He may have Asberger's (still waiting for the results) so I understand that it upsets him when I'm not feeling really well. I was trying to calm myself down enough so that I could give him a bit of attention. Unfortunately, when he came into the kitchen he started back up again telling me that he knew it was him. I lost it (but on a very small scale, no screaming or throwing him out of the house). I told him a couple weeks ago that he would rather I scream at him than remain quiet, and it's true. I reminded him of this. I told him that, just as I'm learning how to handle his Asberger's, he needs to learn how to hande my bad days. I'm human, I have bad days. I don't do what I did when I had PTSD (throw things, confine myself to my room) which is so great, but I'm still learning how to deal with bad feelings in general. I've tried everything I could today and it hasn't worked (took a nap, took a break from working to have a snack and watch a T.V. show), so I've accepted that this is an off day and I'm keeping quiet.

How am I supposed to take care of myself the best way I can (in this case by keeping to myself) while also taking care of him (which would be the opposite of what I want and need right now: hugging, CONSTANTLY reassuring him that everything's O.K.)?

I just want this day to end so I can start all over tomorrow.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Success, One Day at a Time

Woke up an hour early this morning and laid in bed trying to squelch the panic that was trying to take over. I got up and told my roommate that I was fighting some anxiety over not having enough time to do everything I need to do in the next 5 days. I said that I had been trying some breathing exercises but that they weren't working. He said he's done that too and that it can take a while to work (a while as in many tries or a while as in 10 minutes? I didn't think to ask then).

I was up and moving and decided that I would not go to work so that I could focus on school. Then I realized that I COULD go to the main office (I had planned on working offsite today) to finish up a project that needs little of my attention, just some oversight. I've been here all day and the project is almost complete and I've completed the first step of an assignment that's due next week.

I told "A" that I'm tired and would like to chill at home alone tonight, and he was cool with that, so in a while I'll be heading home. Oh, a bonus to my day was a free dinner I just ate. There was a conference in a room near my office and they had lots of leftovers from their Italian buffet lunch, so I helped myself :-D Two kinds of pasta and tiramisu for dessert. Yummy!

So, not too bad for a day that started out looking rough.

LL xoxo

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Went to therapy this morning and it was a mild experience yet I have some very raw emotions hanging on and I'm not quite sure where they came from or why I'm feeling this way at all. I usually cry throughout my sessions but this time I didn't cry at all until I shared a couple of experiences about my mother. Yes, it seems that was it, but why now? I've shared these things with folks in the past and I didn't react this way.

I had scheduled myself to work today but felt drawn to my fave coffee house instead feeling that I want to be alone. At the coffee house, like in many crowds, I am left alone therefore I am in essence alone; I don't have to put on a happy face for anyone. However, it's bright and sunny here, there is folksy music playing, lots of trees to see and the sounds of the city flowing inside. It's vibrant, alive, and I need that right now too. I would go nuts sitting at home alone.

My mother reared her ugly head last weekend but used my daughter to try and get to me. Under the pretense of wanting to visit her, my mother instead talked about me to her. My daughter was very upset by this. She doesn't want to be involved, and I don't involve her. I didn't even tell her that I had stepped out of the family until she asked about it. Her life has been hard at times because of my relationship with my mother. I wish I had been stronger two decades ago in order to prevent hurting my daughter, but I have to forgive myself and be grateful that I'm gaining strength now.

I'm learning to appreciate who I am and forgive myself for things I've done. I take responsibility for things I've said and done, but I recognize that I wouldn't have done such things if my life had started out better. I try to find meaning in all that has happened to me and then why I survived it all. I've attempted suicide multiple times and never succeeded. Although broken, I am actually very strong and deeply compassionate. I wish, so much, that I was filthy rich so that I could help people all over the world. I feel the pain of people who are hungry, who are abused because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time, who are targeted to be victims because they were born with certain body parts, skin tones or in a warring country.

I don't know if I'm looking for reasons to be sad or just need to learn how to control my compassion, but I do know that I am focusing some of that compassion to myself. My friends have great things to say about me but I always push away the compliments, making excuses that they don't know who I really am and that if they did they wouldn't say such nice things. Today we discovered that there is a pattern to my responses to compliments: my mother has complimented, but then when my guard is down she attacks like a snake. About 15 years ago I was walking with her through the house she had just purchased when out of the blue she said that if I hadn't been "so money hungry" the abuse I suffered from a boyfriend when I was 17 would never have happened. We weren't talking about boyfriends, abuse or my past, she just attacked me. That's another message she's always sent me: that I am responsible for the bad things that have happened to me. I've always felt that she can't handle the responsibility she has for everything that has happened to me, so maybe this is her way of deflecting it from herself--blame me and therefore she won't need to blame herself.

I am the one child of hers that she's always dumped on. When I was a child she told me in anger that she would have aborted me if she had known she was pregnant, but that by the time she realized it, it was too late. I was shocked when I found out I was pregnant and I wasn't sure what I would do. I couldn't fathom abortion but if I had considered it there is no way I'd tell my daughter that. Being a mother has been tough at times but I've never wished she wasn't in my life. I don't know. My mother is a bad person, plain and simple. She needs me in her life so she has someone to beat up (figuratively) but I'm not going to be that person for her anymore. Not her, not anyone.

I've asked her for years to please treat me better, to love me, to appreciate me, to show some remorse for her choices/mistakes, but she has always refused. I don't know who reads this, but I'm making it clear that I want nothing to do with her or my sisters ever again. They've all made me small and unimportant even though I've fought and begged for better. Not one of them has attempted to contact me (my brother has, which says so much about him), so it's clear there is no love lost. If I die tomorrow, my mother and sisters are not welcome to the funeral. If any of them dies I will not attend theirs. I don't believe in being fake just because someone dies. If I'm not good enough for them in life, then so be it.

I'm getting stronger, but it's not always easy. That is where I am today. So I'm taking care of myself until I feel better. I love me and I'm worth it. I'm awesome damnit!

LL xoxo

Sunday, October 2, 2011

So How'd I do on Those Goals?

Here's the list of goals I set for myself May 14 (4.5 months ago) and whether or not I met them:

  • Attend "Bye Bye Birdie," the last show of the summer, at the Muny. I did not do this. I stopped losing weight and, even though a friend said that the paid seats are bigger (there are free seats and paid seats), I didn't want to risk it.

  • Attend a show at the Fox Theater. We didn't go this summer but there is a show coming this month that I think "A" would enjoy. The only thing holding me back is money.

  • Take two out-of-town trips. Went to Branson in June and had a great time. Unfortunately had to cancel the trip to Colorado because of money.

  • Do a bit of yard work. I just did this one yesterday! LOL

  • Spend some time with friends. Of the seven friends I listed, I spent time with three of them. I would say it was due to my schedule (which is true) but I'm just now learning how to manipulate my schedule so that it works FOR me and not against me, and that's the real issue of why I didn't see more of my friends. --> On a side note, I spent time with a friend I haven't seen in a year because she stopped including me in her life (no emails, stopped asking for help with things, etc.). We emailed a couple of times after that but I didn't get a response to the last one. Truth is, I don't miss her. She (like all of us) has changed and we aren't in the same place. I think she's become much more rigid in how she lives her life and she doesn't seem interested in having me be a part of it. It's hard to admit but I'm really O.K. with this. I've debated whether or not to inviter her to the wedding and I've decided not to. It's time to move on.

  • Read. I did this! I read a couple of leisurely books and when time permits during the school year I'll continue to do this.

  • LL xoxo

    Quick Update (depends on your idea of quick I suppose) LOL

    Wow, what a month September was for me. Rather than ramble on for an hour, I'm gonna write with concise, direct bullet points to make it easier to catch up :-)

    • Weight: doing very well actually. I lost 20 pounds last spring and I'm sure I put a few back on, but my increased activity level lately has brought it back to the 20-pound-loss mark.
    • Diet: for practical reasons I had to abandon the low-carb diet. My life is chaotic and fast-paced, and it's impossible to follow this diet every second of every day. Also there's the issue of my budget. I have lots of pasta in the house that can be combined with inexpensive grocery store purchases to make meals, so that's what I've been doing.
    • Money: I have far less left over from my student loan refund than I had planned, but amazingly I DO still have a wee bit. I've been doing very well with it so far and will hopefully not have to touch it.
    • Schedule(s): I've finally worked out a fabulous schedule for myself that balances work, volunteering, school and . . . wait for it . . . free time! Last semester and all summer I had to work most weekends in order to get all of my hours in, but this is now the second weekend in a row that I've not had to do that. Next week I'll actually get all of my hours in by Thursday, so I'll have Friday off. Did you catch that? I'll have a 3-DAY WEEKEND!! I'll probably spend Friday doing schoolwork at my favorite coffee house, so I'll combine a responsibility with a fabulous treat! :-)
    • Family: My brother reached out to me, so we spent some time together. We haven't been close since we were children, so it was awkward but also nice. He said that he doesn't get involved in what's being said by our mother and sisters and that he really just doesn't care. We haven't talked much since then, but it's good knowing that he cares.
    • Daughter: She's doing so well. She left home for about a month (typical teenage rebellion) but she's back and has been respectful ever since. She's asked me to join her on two shopping trips, and she's talking to me, sharing parts of her life with me, like she used to, oh, 6 years ago (yeah, it's been that long). She has two jobs and is a full-time student. I worry about her but am so proud of her at the same time. She, like myself, is also learning to budget her money better and make better choices. I'm beaming!
    • Cats: I have six now. I adopted the last two that I was fostering. This has been their home for months and I honestly was concerned about them having to readjust somewhere else. They are a part of our family.
    • Roommate: My bff is renting a room from me and it has been an adjustment but, after 6 weeks, it's all falling into place. I enjoy having the extra activity/life in the house. :-)
    • School: Doing well
    • Work: Great, terrific, awesome as usual :-)
    • Home: I've been making efforts to keep it clean, which means getting off the couch and doing some work. Some days it's frustrating but mostly it's great.
    • Fiance: Just cuz he's at the bottom of this list does not mean he's last on my mind. We are doing so very well. He's been tested for autism and it has been suggested to us twice that he may have Asberger's. Final results aren't in yet, but it's so helpful knowing what's going on. Friends and family are being very supportive and we're learning a lot about how to work together.
    • Wardrobe: Yes, I'm talking about my clothes. I never, ever put myself first with anything, so buying clothes is a BIG deal. Of course it's not just about doing something for myself but to prepare for my future career. I have to dress for the job I want and that's what I'm doing. I actually have 3 career jackets! When I dress for work now, I feel like a professional :-)
    • Bills: all paid (can you believe it?)
    • Physical activity: As previously written, I'm much more active than I've been in the past. I've been getting up and doing more things, like yesterday . . . I did some yardwork and made the outside look as good as the inside.
    • Therapy: It's going VERY well. I realized for the first time that I have anxiety issues. I've always thought of it as stress, and that is what causes the anxiety, but stress is less controllable than anxiety. Stress has led me to feeling anxious and having frequent anxiety attacks (again, something I've never noticed). Realizing this has helped me start learning how to overcome it. I feel it coming on and I'm able to take a moment to push it away and calm down. In the past I'd feel it coming on and just freak out, but now I see that I don't have to let it take over, that I am strong enough to handle stress. Part of this is putting myself first and accepting that as a human I have limitations. I expect great things from myself, I still have high standards, but I've made them more realistic. It's all good man!
    • Depression: It's still here. Last week I was caught offguard for a couple of days, but I worked my way through it. Honestly, I still have my "plan" if I ever need it. Knowing it's there is a great comfort for me because it lets me know that I am not a victim, I am not stuck or trapped in this life. I have another option. However, just knowing that has made living my life and facing the bad stuff much easier. My thoughts have gone from, "This sucks, I'm forced to do a, b and c" to "I can handle this. This is my life and it's O.K." In other words, knowing that I have a backup "plan," a.k.a. another option, makes my current life also seem like an option, a choice, as opposed to something forced upon me. Does that make sense?
    • Marriage: I'm really looking forward to being married to my man. He is wonderful, has put up with a lot from me, and yet he loves me to death and does anything I ask him. I don't do yardwork alone. Heck, I am never alone if I don't want to be. He is amazing and I'm so grateful that he chose me to be his woman and life partner. <3
    So I'm just gonna keep plugging away and doing what I need to do to feel good about myself and my life.