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Almost Doesn’t Count

The moment that I’ve dreaded, dreamed and even written about has arrived: I got a communicae from my high school class secretary to give an update for the alumni magazine about what I’ve been doing, an opportunity to share any exciting news. Being the writer that I am, I can come up with a very exciting, not untrue version of my life at this moment that goes something like this:

I currently work with the Director of Litigation and ADR in the legal department of an up and coming insurance company that insures coastal properties in the southeastern United States. I run an award winning blog, Indigo Moods, and am planning to release my first book early next year. On the personal front, I’ve been ring shopping with my boyfriend of nearly five years and am taking up scrapbooking.

There’s not one “untrue” statement in the above, but there are definitely some misleading statements in there. I do work with the Director of Litigation & ADR–as her assistant. True, I have the title “blah blah Coordinator,” but at this moment I’m a glorified assistant. I am looking into getting more legal background and being able to do more, but this is where I am now.

My blog has won an award–but it was the Lovely Blogger Award given to me by another blogger, not a “real” blogging award. I am writing a book and plan to publish next year, but it’s not like I have an agent, editor, and publisher in my speed dial.

That last statement–I have been ring shopping with Mr. Perfect, but we aren’t engaged. It was just a happenstance thing as we were wandering the mall one week. (Sidenote: I saw the most gorgeous ring at Beverly Hills Jewelers [hint #1] in the display outside the door [hint #2]. We could just see the tag on the sparkler, 34.99 [hint #3]. Well then it must be REALLY nice custom jewelry. I just had to know, because it looked real to me [hint #4–I liked it]. I inquire within. The sales lady informs me it’s a real, 4.5 carat diamond ring [hint #5] and that what looked like a period was a comma, as in $34,999.99! AAAAHH!!! If I weren’t the color of Hersheys, I would have been beet red as I hightailed it out of that store!)

I’m sure you see my dilemma here. I’m in an almost stage of life right now, a “going to” and “working on” stage in which my life looks sad compared to my fashion week covering, spokesmodeling, MTV’s first TJ classmate, or my  formerly signed to Motown classmate, or the one who discovered some scientific thing it would take me half the day to explain to myself, let alone all of you–and those are the people under me!

Don’t get me wrong; I like my life. I believe I am doing my best writing, I am finally on the right track careerwise, Mr. Perfect and I are working on our relationship and really trying to decide the next step for us, and the two of us have our heads together to create a fantastic website that will propel my blogging to another level. I don’t have anything to be ashamed of, especially given the setbacks I’ve faced, yet…I can’t help but feel a little inadequate.

So, help me feel better: How did your ten year (or five year or whatever year) reunion find you? Did you run into an old classmate at an embarrassing time?

BTW: I am going to use the above as my entry, with slight tweaking, because it’s true and it makes me sound FABULOUS!

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Things to Do When You’re Not Social Networking

My name is ***, and I’m a social network-aholic. It’s been six days since my last tweet, facebook post, and google reader check. You may be wondering what I’ve been up to and how I’ve been fairing. You may even be wondering what I’m learning from all of this.

For one thing, I’m learning to do things with my time other than check social networking sites. I went to the gym yesterday and the day before to try new classes like I planned to do. I have written on my memoir and watched movies. I have read most of my library books. I have been a lot more productive than usual.

I’m also finding that while my opportunities to compare myself with other people have been reduced significantly, there are still plenty of opportunities for comparison. I saw two people I work with while I was at the gym yesterday–both very skinny ladies with no stomachs. Neither was in class with me, but I had the urge to compare. I shrugged it aside.

The gym is a place so ripe for comparisons to be made. It is a place where competitiveness is tacitly encouraged. From what kind of workout gear someone is wearing to how good their form is, there’s always something to evaluate. Being in this competitive environment, you would think that I would be struggling more with comparisons. But I have been in classes where I have to focus on myself and push myself. I have to get out of my own way. Even if all I can focus on is what hurts or what jiggles, I’m working on keeping the focus on me.

That’s not to say it’s all been sunshine and puppies. I’m trying to break the habits of years here; a few days is a drop in the bucket. I still have to override my natural tendency to negative thinking and comparison. But I’m working on it, not just wishing it would be different.

I’m making a to be read list of books I want to read. I am making headway on my fitness initiatives. I am writing again. I occasionally want to check and see what is happening with other people, and I want to post about all the things I’m able to notice now that I’m not so busy comparing myself to others, but I feel like a Vivian Green song:

I like it, but I don’t need it. ‘Cause I like it don’t mean I need it.

What I’m learning from all of this is that my own journey is pretty interesting, at least to me. There are things I can actually do to move forward if I take the time to do them. I don’t have to do the same old things every single day and wish for something to happen to change my life. I can do it, a little at a time.

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Maintaining Military Silence

There’s a saying in the music business that your only as big as your next hit. It doesn’t matter if your last album was great; in fact, it may be a detriment. Once you have some success, you have to get bigger with each successive song, video, and album. Eventually, you can become so big that you have to branch into acting, start a clothing line, endorse a fragrance, or be in an ad campaign for a make up company to maximize your earning potential (or, if you’re Beyoncé, you can do all of the above). Through all that you do, however, you’re still only as big as where you are at this moment. The focus is on your present production.

When I think about what it would take for me to stop comparing myself and start focusing on my own journey, one of the first things that came to mind is a simple statement of fact: I’m not eighteen anymore. I’m not fifty pounds lighter. I’m not conditioned by running every day. I don’t have time and nature on my side. All of my time is not my own. And that’s OK.

I can’t live in the past or yearn after it. It’s gone. I need to start fresh. I have to forget about what I used to be and focus on what I am and how to become what I want to be.

So what thing(s) can I do to start focusing on my journey? How can I differentiate between what I’m doing because I want to and when I’m just being competitive/comparative? How do I figure out what adds to my growth instead of keeping me stagnant?

  • I need to reduce opportunities for comparisons, at least initially. To that end, for the next couple weeks, I will not be reading blogs about running, writing, relationships, or personal finance, nor will I read facebook or twitter. You will still see posts from me, but I won’t be reading anything. This began at midnight. Should you want to reach me, you can contact me via email at 2blu2btru4u@gmail.com.
  • While on this social networking fast, I will be partially focused on my fitness journey. At present, I don’t even know if passionate I am about running, so I am going to try new things. I will take at least three classes at the gym at least three times to see if I like something else more than running. This will begin Monday.
  • I also want to focus on myself spiritually, and without hours of being sucked into what’s going on in the lives of people that could be robots for all I know, I can do that. I want to try Christian meditation (yes, we meditate. The Bible even uses the word!). I’ve already been preoccupied with a couple scriptures focusing on one concept that may become a post. I also want to spend more time on developing my prayer life.
  • I will be reading more books. I already began to do this a little bit, but with my free time, I am going to finally have the opportunity to read a Jodi Picoult book. I plan to cross several titles of my “to be read” list. I am currently stuck in India in Eat Pray Love, should you be wondering.
  • I will resume making my daily to do lists.
  • I am setting a daily writing goal of at least five hundred non-blogging words.
  • I will identify concrete, finite goals that will move me forward.

So, for those of you whose blogs I will not read and who will not email, I guess this is good bye…at least for a while. I only hope that we can still be social network friends.

The Gist: I will not read any blogs, nor be on facebook or twitter for the next two weeks. In the meantime, I will pray, meditate, write, read, and break a sweat in three non-running related ways at least three times.

How are you going to focus on your own journey in the next two weeks?

 

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Eyes on Your Own Paper! Stop #1

***This is going to be long. So long, in fact, that I broke it into a stop post and a start post–and it’s still long. So, if you aren’t into long post, look for bold type and The Gist, which sums up the post at the bottom.***

Sometimes, I think my brains is full of measuring tape. So many things in my life can’t be termed as “good” or “bad” unless they are measured against what someone else was able to do with them or in that situation. The comparisons aren’t even fair most of the time. Things that used to be about me became about beating someone else. I could use a multitude of examples, but for the purposes of this stop, I shall speak about one.

Sometime after I got back into exercising, I decided I should run again. Running was something I enjoyed because I liked to be outside, usually with headphones on, feeling my body find a natural rhythm and go on autopilot, allowing my mind to wander off, untangling the problems of the day. I mentally wrote a lot, working through tricky plot points as I moved along. It was my me time.

I never ran on the track team. I never timed a mile or even knew how far I’d gone. It didn’t really matter. Running was something I shouldn’t have been able to do (with a heart murmur and Exercised Induced Asthma), yet I was a natural according to people who saw me running around. What I remembered most about running was how in tune I was with my body, how proud I was of what my body could do. I wanted that confidence, that…stillness back. I wanted to enjoy exercise. So I picked up running again.

The differences between when I was a “good” runner and when I attempted to run again are numberous in number, but two important ones to note:

1. I am about fifty pounds heavier (I was seriously 98 pounds as a senior in high school o_O), my arches seem to have fallen (or buckled under pressure), and my everything hurts when I exercise now. I am not in tune with my body, nor am I proud of it. Nothing works as it should. My ankles swelled in my too heavy “stability shoes”, my shins felt tender, my arches felt fractured. The things I most often felt when “running” were: fat, slow, sore, tired, asthmatic, and hungry.

2. I know a ridiculous amount of runners now, who run strapped to a garmin on predetermined routes of predetermined lengths. I follow their blogs, where they have debates on the best fuel and shoes, compression socks, and whether running with music can really be considered running. If you don’t run twenty miles in Lulumelon and Nikes with a 405 garmin and camelback with no music in -10 degree weather after your breakfast of oatmeal with chia seeds and almond butter, you are not a runner.

The day after I’d had another “unsuccessful” run, in which MH pushed