Overwhelmingly Overwhelmed?

Have you ever just had a day, where you feel the weight of everyone else’s world on your shoulders? Where you don’t know where to look or who to help or what to do, so the easiest thing to do is close the curtains and pretend you aren’t home? Uh huh. You know you have.

And the thing is, it’s not one or two big things. It’s more a culmination of many many many MANY little things. Sprinkle in a few big bombshells and BOOM, that crushing feeling is upon you. Divorces, family members not speaking to other family members, (some family members just fine with never speaking to a certain other family member again), affairs, lost loves, bankruptcy, cancer, alcoholism, recovery, friends struggling with friends, friends struggling with family, lost friendships, lost spouses, lost pets, children sick, weight loss, weight gain, kids struggling in school, with friends, with peers, with boyfriends or girlfriends…..OMG, I could seriously go on longer and that’s just in the past week!!!!!

This is the overwhelming part for me. And I have cried on enough shoulders and vented enough to my family and friends that I owe them my shoulder in their time of need. At least my shoulder. A few of them need me to call the divorce lawyer and pack up that spouse and kick them out. A few need me to get a shovel and a rural (unfrozen) parcel of land and start digging, if ya know what I mean. The fixer in me wants to wave my magic wand, sprinkle some fairy dust and make those impossibly difficult, narcissistic, egomaniac, selfish people into decent normal human beings. But I can’t do that and watching them struggle with this idiotic spouse/friend/person can be overwhelming.

High school kids are hard enough to deal with on good days. When they get mean for the sake of being mean, and hurtful for the sake of being hurtful, what can you do as parent? Most of the time they don’t want you involved anyway. So it gets tricky sometimes. But when the meanness causes your child to weep, do you step in? When and how do friends become enemies? It’s sad and overwhelming.

No matter how hard you try to be optimistic, or looking for the silver lining, what do you do when it’s hard to find? For the parent who finds their child suffering, suggesting they look on the bright side seems callous. What bright side? But do you allow it to make you become withdrawn? Bitter? Angry at the world? Or do you try to be a friend and walk a tightrope of not knowing what to say? A friend found out her daughter has cancer. How do you comfort them, especially when she wants to push everyone away? I don’t know how to help. It’s heartbreaking and overwhelming.

So how do you handle it? No really, I’d love to know. For me, I’m thankful today is a barre day, because even thought my triceps are still sore from Tuesday, I’m gonna work the hell out of them today! It’s gonna be a “sweat dripping off my nose” kind of work out. I know that I can’t be the fix it person to anyone but me. I can lend an ear, a shoulder, support. But I can’t fix it. Great lesson learned in Al Anon is that I can only be in charge of me and my behavior. No one can change someone else. You can try, but then you’re just manipulating. You don’t want to do that, do you? Cuz that’s just not nice. So I’m going to try to focus on me and what I need (this is the year is ME, right?) and I’m going to go work out. And I’m going to remember this:

Just try to be a good person. That’s enough. ~~ The Dalai Lama

Namaste

Load

Silliness

Sometimes, don’t you want to just be silly? I mean, silly to where you are cracking yourself up silly. I think today feels like one of those days.

I hear bad news around every corner, but I think that makes me want to be silly even more. Must be the rebel in me. Oooooooo.

I went to barre class this morning, feeling a bit sluggish. I ended feeling great, as usual. You know the old saying, no one ever regrets their last workout. True that.

Then I got a phone call from my dad and his procedure this morning went well so that was a huge sigh of relief. No cancer cells detected and he doesn’t have to go back for another test until May. So I did what any normal person does, I came home, cranked up the tunes, put my teeth whitening trays in and started dancing around the living room, cleaning the kitchen, talking to Izzy like he was some baby who could, in fact, understand me, and then started dancing some more.

Just being silly.

So if anyone was looking in my windows while they were out walking their dog, or driving by slowly, that’s right. I was dancing. I don’t think I was quite “Elaine Benis” dancing, but that would’ve made it even sillier! Little kicks! Ha!!!

I’ll dance for my dad. I’ll dance that my dog is still alive and looking at me like I’m crazy. I’ll crack myself up that I can’t sing while I have my teeth trays in without sounding like I have a lisp.(Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

There’s plenty of time to be serious……..tomorrow.

Amy silly

The long of the short of it…(or something like that)

Hello, it’s me. (Yes, that’s a Todd Rundgren reference for a certain someone) I’ve been meaning to write, but I keep stopping myself. I was finding it difficult to write about personal things going on, so I thought I would take a break. It lasted longer than I would have liked, so this morning, as I was doing yoga (and by the way, I held a side plank today for the first time in awhile. Only on one side, and my arm was trembling like there was an earthquake going on…..but still!!! Small victories where I can take them in MY yoga practice, right Yolanda?), it came to me that I needed to write today. Call it divine inspiration. So I came home, made myself a nice cup of Chai tea with our handy dandy Keurig (have I mentioned how I can no longer live without this wonderful machine in my life?) and came up to write. So here’s the highlights and low-lights. (That reminds me, I need to make a hair appointment soon for highlights, low-lights, and overall summer shine to my ever growing root problem.)

You may remember when we last met that I was going in for my first ever colonoscopy. Well, I received the results a few weeks ago and they were mixed. Out of the 15 polyps I had removed half were completely benign (YEA!!) and the other half were not. Not exactly what a girl of my age wants to hear. They assured me they were completely removed and no further treatment was needed at this time. I do have to return in 12-18 months to have a follow up exam and do it all over again. I am taking the advice of some friends and doing the um, prep work differently. There is also going to be an anesthesiologist in there with me because apparently my blood pressure and heart rate dropped way too low during the procedure and they had to bring me out of the twilight sleep so get everything back up in the normal range. I must’ve scared the doctor because he told Michael he’s putting in my chart to never have me put under without an anesthesiologist present. So I hate IV’s and they apparently hate me right back. That’s fine.

Ryan is almost done with another year of school and it simply freaks me out how time is speeding up. His sophomore year is over in a few weeks and I’ll officially have a junior. Good grief! I remember when Rob was in high school, it went by so fast, especially senior year. It’s a blur of “last moments” and tears and the next thing that has to be done. Ry is the youngest. I want it to slow down. Let him (and me!) enjoy it. Don’t rush it. Rob even admitted the other day that I was so right about slowing down and enjoying it and he wishes he would’ve listened to me. Huh. Mom isn’t so dumb after all? That’s right.

On the flip side of Ryan graduating will be the great news of getting to Florida that much quicker! I’ve started the house hunting and contacted a Realtor down there to start watching for what we want. I figure with two years to look for the perfect house, I can afford to be picky and get exactly what I want. I sent the list of “must haves” and then let’s plop that right next to the beach and we’ll be all set. Oh, and at least 2 palm trees in my yard, because yes, I WILL be one of those people who put Christmas lights in my palm trees and damn it, I might leave them up all year long. Maybe I’ll have a contest with friends voting on the name of the house. My parents named their beach house, so I should continue with the family tradition, right?

I have been having a great time going out with friends and having a cold beverage or glass of wine (or the BEST Cosmo around!!) and now that the weather seems to have broken, those evenings will continue being out of balconies or patios, with music or just laughter of friends having a good time. There is nothing better than being with friends who love, and laugh and make every time the best time. I love them so dearly and they love me back and that’s honestly one of life’s greatest joys. No looking back at sadness, only looking forward to better times and better days! No one needs to drag us down. Ain’t nobody got time for dat!!!

So I’ll try to put aside my trepidation of writing when things might not be the best. I’ve said it a million times before….it’s MY blog, dammit! If you care to read, that’s fantastic. If you want to share, that’s great. If you want to hate, please do it somewhere else where you have other haters to support you. If I’m not your cup of tea (or glass of wine), hey, that’s great too. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for reading. There are 5.29 million OTHER blogs out there for you to read. Enjoy your day and spread joy and light wherever you go. Cheers!!     

Image

 

Judgement Day

I have contemplated this blog post for several weeks. I haven’t found the right angle, the right words in my head, so I’m just going to type it out. My “train of thought process” writing that I do. I don’t want to be cliche or repetitive. But sometimes, the cliche is because it’s true. 

We are all guilty of making judgments on everyone, every day, in a split second. We all see someone, something, a place, and we make a snap judgement. And most of the time, we’re wrong. Can you admit when you’re wrong?

Let’s use some examples.  

The kid who studies every night, turns down rare social invitations, and doesn’t have a lot of friends. He gets judged by his classmates without one person taking the time to get to know him. He might be abused at home and he thinks going to college far, far away is his only escape.

The fit, trim gorgeous woman running on the treadmill next to you at the gym. Easy to take one look and be envious of her. Judging her on her looks. Only a few people know what’s really going on inside is she just found out she has breast cancer despite all she has done to take care of herself.   

The young man, walking down the street with a dog. Seems like something you see every day. You think nothing of it as you smile at him walking by. Except he doesn’t smile back. He’s staring straight ahead. He starts yelling at no one in particular. Snap judgement that this guy is crazy/drunk/weird. Everyone has left him because of his PTSD from the war. 

The examples can go on and on. There are millions of different scenarios of how and why we do that. I think it’s human nature. But how simply amazing would it be, if we took the time to really get to know one another. If we, despite our flaws, got to know the person inside. And realize we’re all not that different from each other. 

There was a young man in our small town that committed suicide a few nights ago. I didn’t know him, and I’m not trying to point him out but to use the scenario because it happens every day. From what I have heard in the past 36 hours is he was funny, loved to smile, loved to joke around, had a great heart and looked out for others. And yet. There was something underneath that smile that was crying out. It’s no ones fault and it’s not something anyone can put on their shoulders. 

What happened was what made me realize I needed to write this blog, even though it has turned out much different than I thought it would 2 weeks ago when I first decided to write about judgement. I was coming from a much more personal space. How my scars are viewed. How my legs are and now forever will be marred and weaker. How people can look at me in shorts and ONLY see the scars. How they make a judgement when they see the long scar on my arm. Or my back. Or my shoulder. It is so rare for anyone to care to find out WHY. 

Am I weird that way? Maybe I am. I mean, I would never go up to a stranger and ask why he has a scar. Or why she is blind. Or why are you an amputee? Or any of the things people make snap judgments on. But for someone you are actually getting to know, friendships forming, wouldn’t you ask? That is part of the person. How do you get to know, really know, someone without knowing them on the inside. 

People make up their minds about other people without even MEETING that person or getting to know them yourself. Have you ever done that? A friend doesn’t like that person, or had a falling out with someone, and well, now **I’M** not going to like them either!! Hmmmph!! What if you had tons in common with that person? What if you could learn from them, or they from you, but you never found out because of the judgement you had based off of another persons opinion? Would you ever take the time to meet with someone and see for yourself? Are you so full of friends and acquaintances that one more person in your life is too much? Really?

I just wish that we as a whole would stop being so judgement driven, and be more open. More understanding. More. 

Image

Raise a Racket

I need to catch up on this blog, and especially the great weekend and fun we had at the Raise a Racket fundraiser. I really meant to blog about this Sunday, but for some reason, my head felt a bit woozy. So I thought I would do it Monday. But school was delayed a few hours, I had to take Michael to the airport and I got a workout in before it was time for Ryan to come home. Blog didn’t happen.

Tuesday was a snow day and to be completely honest, it was a do nothing day for both Ryan and myself. It was nice to huddle under blankets and watch Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and then Vanderpump Rules. (Speaking of which, OMG, if you watch those shows, seriously, Vanderpump Rules just makes my jaw drop and heart pound. So many people hate Stassi, and I get it, but I’m obsessed with her. I think I love to hate her. I could never ever be friends with someone like her, but at the same time I would seriously love to hang out with her for a night. And don’t even get me started on Kristen (ewww!) and Tom (Ick!) and their completely dysfunctional relationship. Yet I watch every week…..sigh)

Today is another snow day (well, technically it’s not a “Snow” day, it’s a calamity day, because it’s been below zero without wind chill and crazy cold here) and I figured, yesterday was lay around day, today is get stuff done day and blogging was right up there. So let’s get to the fundraiser.

It was held at an indoor tennis club that has been around for decades. I remember my parents playing tennis there when I was younger. But it’s a super facility, has a workout area and several indoor courts. My yoga studio paid for a table and we got VIP treatment the whole night! It was great. Our table was in the front row, goodie bags and Champaign!! Woo Hoo!! On top of that, there were appetizers, open bar and a nice dinner.

There were several items available for a silent auction and also items to bid on prior to the silent auction. I did bid on one item, and it was more than I would have spent, but it was for charity and I figured what the heck. Part of me wanted to win and keep upping my bid, but the sane rational part of me decided to let it go and not go crazy. I lost it in the end, and the final price was WAAAAAY more than I would’ve spent. I’m not sure how I would’ve explained that one to Michael if I had won.

But the best part of the night (besides the open bar) was getting the talk to, relax with and laugh with the wonderful women I was with. Oh boy, did we laugh!! It was so great to let loose, have fun and get to know each other on a deeper level. We have so much in common and what we don’t have in common makes it seem, I don’t know, that much more enlightening. Opening our eyes to other people whose paths might not ever have crossed, and by fate do. And allowing those lives to influence ours is truly a gift.

Over $15,000 dollars (last I heard) was raised Saturday night. I didn’t play tennis, I wish I would have. I love it, even though I suck. Maybe next time. But this time around, it was a great evening and every one of us was so glad we went. If you’re ever invited to a charity function like this, please go. Help raise money and awareness to the cause. And you might just find that you have fun and make some dear friends along the way.

tennis

A night in, before a night out

Today is the calm before the storm. And my plans seem to be a bit flip flopped (how appropriate for me, right?) I don’t really have anything I have to do today, but tomorrow is jam packed from sun up til way past sundown.

And starting tonight, we’re supposed to be getting a lot of snow, 40 mph winds and below zero temperatures, and that’s before the wind chill is factored in. I don’t know about you, but a Friday night with the DVR and a take n bake pizza as the snow rolls in sounds about perfect. Fire in the fireplace, warm fuzzy socks and a blanket and I’m not moving. Well, only to the kitchen and back for cups of coffee or maybe some Chai. Mmmmmm.

But tomorrow is going to be exciting in a few ways. I’m going to throw my hat in the ring to join our neighborhood HOA, so I’m attending the meeting for that. Then straight to yoga from there. I’ll have a few hours off and then I’m heading to an evening event for a cancer fundraiser at a local tennis club! I can’t wait! I love tennis, and I got new pink Nike’s just for the occasion so it matches the rest of my outfit. A girl HAS to look put together at one of these things, right?

All of this will be occurring during the snow storm, horrible roads, and gusting winds and it’s not even close by, so that means driving. S-L-O-W-L-Y

I’ve asked Michael to stay on stand by, in case Ryan needs a ride, or I need pulled out of ditch. He looked at me like, why would you need pulled out of a ditch? I said “Do you even watch the news? Like ever?” and he says “Um, why would I do that when you tell me what’s going on?”. So I said, “What if I told you that a huge asteroid was heading to the Earth and we were all going to be obliterated?” To which Mr. Smart Ass replied, “Well, there’s nothing I could do about that so I would rather not know.” Sigh……men. Anyway, he assured me he would have his phone by his side in case I need saving Saturday night.

I’ll make sure I let you know how it goes, how much tennis was actually played and hopefully I’ll have some pictures too.

pizza

Scars and Triumph

I had someone suggest to me to that I write about my scars and enlighten those who may not know how I got them and shed some light. Well, I can certainly do that and can also answer questions anyone may have. I will say I wasn’t sure whether to be flattered that this person thought I could contribute anything meaningful on the subject or once again embarrassed by the appearance of my scars. I will outwardly chose the former, although inside I know it’s the latter.

Cancer. The big C. One of the most dreaded words in the English language. It’s scary because it’s usually a death sentence. By the time it’s caught, it’s usually too late. I think everyone knows someone who has been diagnosed with some form. It affects all ages, races, rich, poor, men, women, everyone. It definitely does not discriminate. “Oh, you live in this big house and carry that gorgeous Prada bag….we’ll just skip you on this whole cancer thing!” Yep, doesn’t matter.

I have Melanoma. Multiple melanomas. My first diagnosis came when I was 27. I was just married to my second husband (also known well as Michael! I should start calling him my current husband so no one is confused.) my oldest son was only 5 and I received the call. Now, it is not like they show it on TV. I wasn’t called to come in and sit down in my doctor’s office and her saying, “Chrissy, I have your test results back. I don’t know how to tell you this, but you have cancer…..” (Cue the sad music) It was actually much more factual than that. They told me over the phone that my biopsy was positive for melanoma and I would need to come in and have another surgery to remove more tissue and have clean margins. Clean margins. That phrase has been repeated to me so many times I can’t count at this point. The area was in the middle of back, right between my shoulder blades. I now have a roughly 3 inch scar that was my first. She also had to go in extremely close to my spine, but thankfully, it had not spread that far.

I cried and I cried. I cried because I was scared, I cried because it hurt, I cried over the little things like how was I going to wear a backless slinky dress ever again because, ya know, I was soooo known for wearing backless slinky dresses!!! I cried because my Grandma died from melanoma and now here I was at 27 being diagnosed with the same thing! I’m only 27!! How can this be???

As I said, I have many, many scars, quite a few additional ones on my back, a few on my left arm, and the ones I’m most self-conscience about….2 huge ones on my left leg. One on my shin going vertical, one going horizontal across my thigh just above my knee. Wearing shorts and a tank top for me is quite a spectacle and it took me awhile to be brave enough to actually leave the house! The surgeries on my leg were pretty rough. The each required more than one surgery to get those clear margins and the cuts were long and equally deep. Some muscle was taken from my thigh along with the surgery. My doctor keeps saying the scars will fade over time. Ummm hmmmmm. Still waiting.

The recovery from each one was boring and horrible. I wasn’t supposed to move unless I was going to the bathroom or after a week, I was allowed to shower. Shower, back to bed. It exhausted me anyway, so I was glad to lay back down. It does NOT help my physique however! And it seemed like every time I would be cleared to resume normal activities, another one would pop up! For quite a few years, I was having a surgery every 6-9 months. That’s a lot of scars!!!

Now here’s the question (or I should say statement, because everyone seems to like to it point out) that I get all the time… “How can someone who has been diagnosed with cancer keep going in the sun and hanging out at the beach and and and…….” Well, let me address this one with “Because I can!!!” My doctor (who by the way and for the record, is one of the best skin cancer doctors around and I have gone to her since before my first diagnosis and I trust her with my life!) knows that I go to the beach. She knows I go out on my boat. She knows that I go to the pool. She knows I have been to tanning beds. She knows all of it. My type of melanoma is due to 2 factors; heredity and early long-term exposure. Neither one can I do anything about now. I can sit inside, or slather on SPF 100, or wear long sleeves and a huge sombrero (well, I couldn’t, but you? You could totally pull that off!) but that isn’t ME! The beach is ME! Sunshine and warm breezes and cool drinks with little umbrellas and cabana boys coming over to mist me so I don’t get too warm…. that is ME!!

I have done all of the above mention taboo activities even after my initial diagnosis. I am now……over 27! My doctor rocks! Do I want to hear on the other end of the phone “It’s melanoma again, let’s schedule something for this week.”?? Hell no. But I’m also not going to let it keep me from living my life. I can claim triumph over my life, and live with the scars.