I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Finding Myself Again By Defining Goals

I lost myself.

 It was an easy thing to do-people noticed my success in my current activities and so started suggesting additional activities and goals for me to do that were similar to what I was already doing.  All of these things sounded worthwhile and fun and I got excited about every one; they also played to my ego, and I did not want to tell anyone "no" and so I wrestled with going against anyone else's vision of me.

I forgot about my own vision.

I forgot what my real goals were and what I, myself, really would like to do-I temporarily forgot who I really am and what I really know about myself, because I was dazzled by the visions and possibilities that people were suggesting for me, instead of considering if they really aligned with my real self or not.

 I became overwhelmed, exhausted, tearful, and anxious.

 I stopped appreciating the good things that I was already doing, because I was always looking years ahead at the far-off goals that other people were suggesting. I became too busy to be mindful and I stopped doing my nightly gratitude lists.

I stopped honoring the goddess of creativity and honored the god of anxiety instead.

NOT GOOD!

Fortunately, by Monday I had already realized that I needed to make some major changes and to reclaim my life.  My therapist and I had a good talk-I had a good cry-and it was decided that I would cancel some commitments and that I would spend the rest of the week relaxing, resting, and being creative.  It helps that it is supposed to snow this week, so that I will probably be forced to stay home, anyway.  (I do live in Georgia, after all.)

I went home and rested and then I did something that settled my mind and made me feel whole again-I wrote down my goals in a way that would remind me of who I really am and what is important to me.

This is actually a dialectical behavioral therapy distress tolerance skill.

When I took the class, I filled out a questionnaire where I rated the different parts of my life, with the highest ranking ones being the ones that are the most important to me and then I broke the top three down into specific goals to keep me motivated and to remind me what is important to myself.  It is a distress tolerance skill, because knowing what is important to you can help ease your discomfort if the thing that is important involves some unpleasantness.

This time, I made it my own and I feel like a huge burden has been lifted off of me and like I am friends with myself again.

I know myself again.

Here are my goals, in the hope that this format might help you too:

BIG Artistic Goals: (These goals MUST be worked on in order!)
  1. Skyland Trail Art Contest
  2. Blog Book
  3. Find Artist to Mentor Me in Photoshopping Altered Book Pictures
  4. Finish Writing Feminist Psalms
Continuing Artistic Goals:
  1. Writing Blog Entries
Feminist Community Building Goals
  1. 1st Friday of the Month - Book Club
  2. 3rd Friday of the Month - Book Club's Dinner
  3. 2nd & 4th Sundays of the Month - Bible Study
Relationship Goals - New Church
  1. Attend Every Sunday I Can
  2. Attend Choir When It Meets
  3. Attend Dinners & Events When It Works With My Schedule & Energy Level
Work Goals - In Our Own Voice 
  1. So far, every Tuesday at Wesley Woods.
  2. Eventually I want to target educational groups and use it to also sell my books and artwork.
Supplemental Activities - ONLY WHEN I HAVE ENERGY
  1. 1st & 3rd Mondays - Play & Sing at Woodland Ridge
  2. Mondays - Ridgeview Aftercare
  3. Tuesdays - Gentle Yoga
Bucket List
  1. Book Signing at Charis Books & More
  2. Sell Altered Book Artwork at an Outdoor Festival - I've Always Thought That Would Be Fun!
  3. Finish and Publish My Book of Feminist Psalms.

After making the lists, which surprisingly did not take me long to do at all, I realized what is most true to me-building feminist community and expressing myself artistically. 

I have several big art projects that I am working on that I will talk about later and I actually created a "romantic relationship" list, but some things do have to be kept secret.

By nature, I am a very anxious person, so I want a relaxing lifestyle.  I am very spiritual and I like to have stimulating spiritual intellectual discussions-from time to time I feel called to preach, but I am not feeling that urge now.  After talking with my minister last week, I feel confident that if I feel that urge down the road, then I can look into alternate methods of fulfilling that urge other than needing to go to seminary.  (That was one of the suggestions that I had been ruminating over for several weeks.) I do not feel called to attend seminary or to a school for music therapy or any other kind of degree.   I do not need the pressure and my chronic fatigue syndrome would not let my body handle it.

I am an artistic person and that is good, but sometimes it feels weird to give in to that knowledge. Children are warned against becoming too fond of art and of writing and singing, because it is too hard to support yourself with those talents and so I have been afraid to give in to it for a long time, but it is who I am.  People in this culture are taught to be constantly busy and to constantly multi-task, but multi-tasking actually slows down productivity and increases anxiety.  I cannot handle that lifestyle. 

Writing down my goals stabilizes me and reminds me of what is really important to me and by writing down my regular activities, I am reminded to be mindful of my energy level and to honor my body.  Slowly, I am learning to say, "no" to other people's thoughts and "yes" to my own ideas.

Link Love:
   
Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94
Through the years, Mr. Seeger remained determinedly optimistic. “The key to the future of the world,” he said in 1994, “is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.”
So Feminist Style was born, and with it a debut line of consent-themed panties and briefs. The collection features different styles for both men and women, detailed with statements like “Ask first,” “Consent is sexy,” and “Only yes means yes,” mixed with messages of body positivity. Her hope is that it will encourage a more thoughtful discourse on consent and sexual boundaries.

The Day We Lost Atlanta
We’re not morons, Northerners: The problem was not one of Southerners’ inability to drive on icy roads, but of too many cars headed for congested highways.

And what this former NASA scientist and mathematician has learned while using this system is something she really already knew: that everything – even love, even belonging – has a pattern to it. And she finds those patterns through those lists – she breaks the codes of disconnection. And then she gets lonely kids the help they need. It’s math to her. It’s MATH.
All is love- even math.  Amazing
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TRIGGER WARNING
Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse.

Things that protect sex predators from prosecution: Money, power, fame, white straight cis male privilege. Allen has all of these.

You cannot identify a rapist just by looking at him. But you know who can identify rapists? Their victims.

Their victims deserve the presumption of being believed.

Both Bates and Coman had successful careers at Wellesley College. After graduating as a student, Bates later chaired the English department, and Coman chaired the economics department and was dean of the college. Their relationship grew over the years until they soon considered themselves bound as one. Their friendships included other female couples at the college known as "Wellesley marriages."

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