A little TL(S)C

When law school began, I will admit, I thought I had everything figured out. I had a coping mechanism toolkit for when things were rough, I drank loads more water than my entry into undergrad (a lesson I will never forget) and I was overall in a very good place. I came to a new state to start over. A complete redo, free from the baggage of the past. And that was a wildly freeing concept.

All of that was also incredibly naive and somewhat short-sighted.

Turns out, law school is where the gaps in my self-care capabilities became glaringly obvious. And for that, I am ever thankful. Because it’s given me an opportunity to fix them. So as I’m sitting here, nursing a stress-migraine, I wanted to reflect on all the really cool things that have changed.

Related image

First, I became a vegan. It’s been something like 6 years since I decided I wanted to be a vegetarian. It’s been a bit of a struggle to wrap my head around it all the time (especially when iron levels are low) but I went about it all wrong. I didn’t focus on complete nutrition, I just focused on not eating meat. And there were days when I *did* eat meat (typically chicken or fish) and yet I still kept going. Because instead of listening to the reasons I couldn’t be a vegetarian, I was the best vegetarian I knew how to be. And that wasn’t good enough. I can’t ignore the crappy way I feel when I eat meat-or to my very wild surprise-the stinky-like-feet smell of dairy. So I’m leaving it behind. It’s a process I started in March, and I’m very nearly at the fully integrated stage. My grocery list contains only plant and plant-based foods, but it’s been fully researched and there are plenty of nutritional changes going on in it as well. I’m looking at plant-based things like mozzarella (because I adore pizza) and vegan sour cream (because baked potatoes).

And in more dietary news, I’m leaving behind heavy carbs. I’ve spent a long part of my life associating heavy carbs with happiness. So soda is going (and soon to be gone) and so are things like pasta, bleached breads and the like. That’s not to say I will be abstaining from all grains-in fact, I will be eating oats, rice, and ethically sourced quinoa, as well as whole grain breads on occasion. But I’m removing them from my grocery list in a big way-so that I can find happiness outside of carbs. And that’s a change I’ve needed to make for ages. I got myself a blender with a to-go attachment, and I will be using it to make all manner of smoothies to stop the unnecessary sugar cravings from that soda.

Image result for self care clip art freeRegular exercise! This one is something I did a lot in high school, but then got to undergrad and lost my sense of self. This summer, in addition to the wild amounts of sun I will be getting (because Topeka apparently never gets rain), I will be devoting each morning to yoga, and most afternoons to swimming. I’ve been at the gym more this semester than I’ve ever been, and I’m rather excited to add some variety.

I’ll also be meditating every day. As a way to spiritually and mentally ground myself, I have been working towards finding a balance in how I feel and how I am (I know, that sounds a little weird). However, I’m really excited to add this in to my yoga time and really begin to heal from the inside out. To that end, I will also be investing in hobbies this summer. Painting, writing and reading are going to take up a lot of my afternoons, because I’ve neglected those parts of who I am.

In regards to my spiritual self-care, I will be really exploring the different avenues of beliefs, and digging in to the ones I already have. I’ve been pagan for nearly as long as I’ve been a vegetarian, but I want to see if there are things that align better than others. I’ll be sharpening my tarot skills, praying to the ancestors and doing a lot more in the way of sharpening my spiritual skill set.

I’ve re-designed my Etsy shop, and hope to have it up and running soon. I really want to invest in sharing my love of essential oils. While I’m perusing the internet waiting for orders, I’ll be soliciting agents for my NaNo book! This is something I am not new to, but I have been hard at work trying to make the best draft I can.

Image result for self care clip art free

All this to say, this summer is about fixing my mental-physical-spiritual health before I begin my social work classes in the fall. I’m considering revamping my YouTube channel to kind of showcase the changes and do some reviews of things I’ll be doing. We’ll see!

Anything you think I’m missing? Anything you’d like to see changed in your own life? Have you made changes and they’ve made your life the better? Let me know below!

Advertisements

I’m Me, After All

This is the 21st century. I at least wanna hyphenate my name.

  This quote comes to you from The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. It’s one of my favorite books and a delightful movie. In this scene, Edward is talking to Bella about getting married and becoming Mrs. Cullen, to which she responds with the above. But why am I bringing that up, a decade or so after it came out on the big screen? Because that line is relevant to me each and every day of my life.

I got married almost 2 years ago. It’s been great fun, and great stress, but I picked a partner wisely and I am happy with my decision. But the thing is, it’s also very hard being married in a way that I think women almost exclusively know. Identification. And more specifically, what you call yourself.

My initials, according to what my parents named me are MRB. My dad made the joke many many years ago that they’d named me that because I would always know who I belonged to (Mr. B). Now, he was completely joking, but that thought stuck with me. How do I define myself when someone else defined me before I was even born? I would forever associate myself with others. I am the friend of so and so, the daughter, the student, the whatever of someone.

But: Who. Am. I?

  So when I decided to get married, I decided to become Mrs. Someone. But that joke stuck with me. Who I belonged to. And although I love my Ben, he doesn’t own me. I do. And so as I took my documents to the Social Security office, I proudly announced that I would no longer be MRB. I would from that moment on be MRB-B. I told myself and others that I was doing it so that when I published academic papers, you’d know without a doubt it was me and not some other MRB. 

But the thing is, I also did it because I am now the only person in the world with my name. I am me. I have embraced the old me, the me that was a child. I embrace the new me, the one who has an entire other person by my side. But I also accept neither of those things as my definition. Because I’m not the property of someone else, I’m my own property. 

Being a hyphenated woman has some perks and some drawbacks. I can sound exceptionally sophisticated and enunciate the fact that I have four names. I can use either my maiden name or my husband’s as I see fit (apart from official business). I can decide who I am at any given time. But. I also belong nowhere. 

I do not see my hyphenation as an outward sign that I am not happy with my marriage but it came to my attention that I take that fact for granted. I was signing for a package last week and they asked me my last name. I said my maiden name out of YEARS of habit and was immediately scolded for it. “You’re married. Aren’t you happy about that? You should use your married name.” And it hit me that maybe not everyone has such liberal ideas about definitions as me.

  I am incredibly lucky to have found a high school sweetheart and married him and successfully made a name for myself. I never once looked back and said “Yeesh. Maybe I should give myself an out.” I chose to be MRB-B because I wanted to define myself by my standards. I want to call myself whatever I want because I am my own person. But at the end of the day, I wear my wedding ring everywhere, I happily say “I’m married.” When people flirt with me. I bring up my husband (and the fact that I have one) when people on the internet ask me questions. And in fact, here we see that I have mentioned him a LOT in this post alone. So when I say my original B, it isn’t because I don’t actually love my husband. It’s because I said it for over 20 years and it’s still my name. And when I say my new B, it isn’t because I feel like I have to use it, it’s because I’m proud I can. But that’s the beauty of the hyphenation. I get to do what I want. And so, a new me arose.

Thankfulness, Day 13

Friday the 13th. Typically known as an unlucky day, but I want to see it differently. I choose to see today as a lucky day, a day in my favour. I have a job interview today with the administration of the department of my major and I really think that I stand a good chance to get it. I’ve packed a good mojo bag, made myself a giant cup of coffee before I left and now I’m blogging about it before I go up. (What else am I going to do for half an hour?) Last night I was working away, trying to get prepared for my day today, and hoping ot get ahead on the homework, when the idea came to me for my post today.

Today is different than the ones which came before. Today I will be thankful, of course, but today I want to be thankful for the sake of being thankful. Not all the time do I need a six page essay about why I’m thankful, or the inspiration for such (even though Ifeel very verbose today). 

I woke up still sleepy, afraid that if I didn’t set five more alarms (I’m one of those people.) then I wouldn’t wake up on time. I poured myself some coffee as the husband took the dog out and got dressed. In true Michelle fashion, I have a dress shirt, blue jeans and aqua converse. Everything is color cordinated. (I’m gonna save the reason why I’m wearing jeans for a different day.) I walked out of the apartment to leave and sure enough, I felt winter’s chill, and that excited me. I love winter. Not driving in winter, but existing in winter. And then I walked with my husband to his class and sat down to begin this post. It’s amazing to me that I can be so alive, so in the moment sometimes. (Everything amazes me at some point, but I feel great depths of amazement each time-so it counts.) 

  (Here’s an old picture of our puppy, just because I know you were all wondering haha. He’s been since groomed and shaved, but I don’t have a more recent picture. He’s a Havanese, born Christmas Eve 2012).

Last night as I was preparing for bed, I got on Pinterest, as I usually do. It is a great source of inspiration for me, as is the point of that website. And I got to thinking. When I was in church, prayer was a great deal of my time. Feeling sad? Pray. Feeling happy? Pray. Need a job? Pray. Need a friend? Pray. Have blessings? Pray. When I got out of the church (again, a post I shall save for another time), praying was something I retained. I like talking to the universe and to those who made it. (Maybe I should save my belief system for a different post too.) And I came to realize that even though I do not need a formal prayer like The Lord’s Prayer, The Shepard’s Prayer, Hail Mary or Our Father, a part of me missed having something that I could say that would be like a little ritual all its own. So I set to work on that before I went to bed. And may I present, A Prayer to the Earth Mother.

  

Sacred mother, living within,

Call to us by name

Your garden grows, rests and thrives

Now as we wait beside you.

Call us to action, that you may prosper,

Let your rivers run clear and sweet.

Fulfill our needs within your forests and glades,

And the grasslands, tundra and deserts.

May we never take for granted all the gifts you bestow

As protectors of paradise

And gather us back to you when our time comes

That we may nourish those who follow in our stead

May the full extent of our actions be shown to us,

As you are a just and nurturing mother.

Let us live amongst your finest creations

As equals, forever connected, 

With mercy and compassion as our guides.

So it shall be.