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Dose of Happy: Anxious

With all the upheaval and negativity running rampant through our lives, it’s important to be able to stop, take stock of what’s important, and find some joy wherever we can.

At The Band Back Together Project, we like to take the time specifically to arrange a little happy boost for everyone.

You’re always welcome to share your story with us!

dose of happy

t dawns on me as I sit there, anxiety at an all time high, my left butt-cheek falling asleep, that I could be somewhere else eating a bagel. Like Paris. Or Detroit. Or learning the Swahili phrase for “pants are bullshit.” Or washing my car. Okay, maybe not washing my car. It was like -900 degrees out. Washing my car would be like that scene in the Terminator with the Nitrous Oxide and the robot.

I smile, imagining my car shattering in the car wash, until I remember I’m probably sitting on barf germs. I hate barf germs.

My iPhone isn’t getting any signal in here. Stupid AT&T. Should be named the iCAN’TPhone because I haven’t been able to make a phone call since I got the damn thing. Hm. I really could use some mindless interaction from The Twitter right about now. Or maybe a Vicodin-Chip cookie. Or some vodka. Because my heart feels like it’s going to pound right the fuck out of my chest.

When the hell did this HAPPEN?

When did I start feeling stretched as taut as an over-tuned violin string? Why did I feel like the pressure to do more; to be more, to constantly outdo myself was omnipresent? Like I couldn’t ever possibly manage to live up to my own unrealistic expectations? Like I had to somehow be everything to everyone. Like if I didn’t constantly prove myself, I would cease to matter. I would cease to exist.

When did this start? And moreover: how could I make this stop?

dose of happy anxious

These anxious racing thoughts; this anxiety, this had to stop.

Admitting that I had a problem the first step, I know from Al-Anon, and doing something about it was important. Hence the bagel-craving and the barf-germ-coated chair in my doctor’s waiting room. And, of course, the urge to flee so that I could learn Portuguese or Mandarin or really anything but admit that I had a problem.

I’m so tired of problems. I’m so tired of having something wrong that I barely want to admit to myself that I have a problem. Between migraines and my lazy-ass missing-in-action thyroid and insomnia, I can hardly stand to be in the same room with myself anymore without wanting to punch myself in the teeth. Problems are bullshit. I hate problems. Maybe I can make a “Problems Are Bullshit” shirt. Because they are. Bullshit, that is.

Maybe this isn’t ACTUALLY a problem. Maybe I can just ignore it and it’ll get better on it’s own.

Except it hasn’t. Because that’s what I’ve been doing. And it’s not working. Clearly.

Before I could do anything, though, the nurse poked her head into the waiting room, “Becky?” she trilled calmly, clearly unaware of my churning guts.

I sighed, put my iDON’TWORKPhone back into my purse and followed her back.

“What seems to be the problem?” she asked kindly.

“Well,” I started, looking at my hands, ashamed to be admitting this to anyone but the people who live inside my computer. “It’s sorta like this…”

Reprinted with permission from the original author, Becky Sherrick Harks, or Aunt Becky of Mommy Wants Vodka from March 8, 2001.

Dose of Happy: Post-Therapy Thoughts

therapy feelings

Therapy Session II:

Today’s session was a bit hard to swallow, but very much necessary. We discussed co-dependency, power struggles, and volatility… my apparent trifecta.

I learned that ‘feelings‘ are often thinly veiled thoughts and that the two, while similar in many ways, are VASTLY different.

therapy feelings

I learned that it’s okay to express both thoughts AND feelings. I don’t always need to apologize when I speak my truths (even if it is upsetting to the other party) because I’m not responsible for others’ emotions, only my own.

I learned that personal boundaries are healthy.

I learned that to truly become better, I must acknowledge and study and embrace my failure. I can’t always strive for perfection.

I learned that, although others may be responsible for my traumas, only I am responsible for addressing and fixing them.

Also, and perhaps most importantly, I learned that true happiness isn’t going to be found anywhere else but inside of ME, so it’s up to me alone to find it.

#therapy #endthestigma #enlightenment #therapyispowerful #mentalhealthmatters #powertothefeminist #thoughts #talktherapy #codepencency

Dose of Happy: Monday’s Miracle

Since March 2019, my loving friends, you’ve prayed, danced, fallen to your knees, helped us, looked for help, cooked meals, picked up meds or groceries, bought shirts, made bracelets, hugged, cried. Laughed. Sent positive vibes. Kept us your thoughts & hearts. We are so grateful,

You’ve sorted shirts, made posters, given rides, offered beds. You’ve arranged cow, horse, and dog petting.

You’ve helped my son by being there, taking him places, or letting him hang out. I am forever grateful.

You’ve answered the late night calls.

Deciphered my illegible texts.

You’ve heard the screams, sobs, panic, and silence. You’ve hit every emoji Facebook has to offer. You’ve followed along, shared posts, sent links, looked for help, given directions, suggestions.

You’ve donated your hard earned money, time, friendship and love.

rocks with the word grateful

THANK YOU is not big enough.

GRATEFUL is am understatement.

We simply could not do this without support of EACH any EVERY ONE of you.

Through the multiple hospitalizations, close calls, bad news, car accidents, weekly travel to and from Houston Texas so my beautiful daughter could participate in a trial to save everyone after her diagnosed with TNBC.

Last week when we arrived for our weekly chemo on Wednesday, they told us we had to stay. A lot of tests everyday, all day.

Today we “OFFICIALLY” received the news: Dr Twong informed us that Samantha has had a reduction in the tumor they have been tracking. The tumor that grew on A&C chemo [ the red devil]. The invasive, aggressive, metaplastic cancer invading her body has reduced in size.

There could not be better news or better timing.

Yes we still have a very long road ahead, but now there is a a clearly defined road. A brightly lit road that she is paving for everyone after her.

We have three new types of doctors to meet and consult with: Surgical, Radiation, and Plastics. We are so grateful. 

This Wednesday she will receive her chemo in Texas and by Thursday we’ll be making our way back to Mississippi. Next Tuesday we’ll return to Texas.

Then we won’t return until a couple days before surgery – probably the first part of October to complete pre-op testing and surgery.

That’s IF all goes well.

In mid to late November, she will start daily radiation at home, on the Mississippi gulf coast.

So my loving friends, you wonderful people. No matter what. Every single second was worth it and we could not have done it without you.

 Stay with us.

There’s a lot of, “if this goes this way” type tests and procedures. Please keep doing exactly what you’ve been doing; we still desperately need you. I wanted you to know that you’ve made a major difference in our lives and the lives of every family who hears the diagnosis of Triple Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer. 

Thank you.

 

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Dose of Happy: I Will Find My Balance

This year, it’s time to take action. It’s time to pull our heads out of our asses and make some plans for world domination.

How? By telling the world, not what we want to do this year, but what we will.

So what will YOU do this year?

2019 is the year I will find my personal equilibrium, the balance between what I must do, what I should do, and what I want to do. It’s not going to be easy, as I have a horrific time saying no and even more horrific sense of guilt when I do.

Unless it’s before my first cup of coffee in the morning; then saying no is easy and guilt-free because I’m too tired to care.

When the balance between the must, should, and want is out of whack, I’m a mess. I’m impatient, resentful, irritable, downright cranky, and miserable to be around. Everything becomes a chore, even the things I like to do.

That’s not fair to me, to my kids, to my husband, to any poor soul who has the misfortune of being near me when I’m struggling to keep up with everything.

That’s why I’m making 2019 the year when I will stop that crazy self-imposed struggle and focus my energy on the musts and the wants. The should-get-dones will just have to wait.

I will focus my presence and talents where they can do the greatest good – my family, my volunteer work (that means YOU, Band!), my creative projects, my home, my friends.

I will say yes to projects that are a challenge and will help me to grow personally and professionally.

I will cut the clutter in all areas of my life: physically, mentally, virtually.

I will re-examine my limits, and respect those limits, for when I don’t, it’s not good for anyone.

I will say no to school activities and fundraisers that are nothing but money and time-suckers that prevent me from doing other, better things with my kids.

I will say no to family functions that cause my stress level to sky-rocket, even when I’m told over and over again, “it’s for the kids”. It won’t be for the kids when mommy is stroking out on the floor because the in-laws are being asshats again.

I will ask for help when I need it and not wait for someone to see that I’m struggling.

I will find my balance, dammit. I will.

 

Dose of Happy: Reality Check In The Spa

Last night, after my session, (which was a combination service and whipping session that, in itself made me feel better) I treated myself to a cleansing evening at the local Spa.  I sat in the heat and watched the parade of local naked girlies walk by and I realized something:

We women come in a LOT of shapes and sizes. Very few of them Playboy-ready.

  • The adorable curvy girls who mentioned being from the Pacific Northwest and sported HUGE dark bushes to prove it.
  • The skinny ass lil tattooed and shaved (yes, down there. No landing strip, no nothing) Emo Girl types.
  • The HUGE chicks. Both tall and… well. Just big. Two of them. Gorgeous and loud.
  • The tiny little Asian girls who sat in the water with their towel wrapped around them. Can’t tell you much of what was under there. It was tiny, and I’m thinking pretty firm.
  • The freaking adorable young blond with the tight ass, the tiny waist and the perfect perky boobies (not to mention the HUGE ovarian reserves) who probably hated her body as much as the rest of us do because she doesn’t like… well…. I’m not sure what there was to not like, but I know she was of the age where she doesn’t feel she measures up to what she, in her mind, should.
  • The other mommies with our soft bodies and stretch marks.
  • And, as in any Korean Spa, the obligatory 60+-year-old women who used the sitting shower the entire hour I was there. And yes, graphically scrubbed both the front AND the back door. Oh, my eyes!

So yes, I may not like my mommy belly, my sloppy boobies, or my extra IVF pounds. I may someday get a Mommy Makeover, but I’m about in the middle. Not so bad for being 41 with four kids.

And never ever working out. Ever. Even my Wii fit has given up on me. She just looks at me and says.. oh, YOU again…

I think we should all get to spend a couple of hours sitting in the hot steam of a Spa and realize: we all have our curves and our cellulite and our war wounds, but we are all pretty awesome when we are naked. It all adds up to make us what we are; who we’ve become.

So once my number was finally called and I was taken to the massage room – and not the private, darkened, quiet massage room where they step out for a minute so that you can position yourself on a pre-warmed massage table under neither a protective layer of sheets – but a large room, lit with fluorescent lighting and filled with massage tables, where a smiling lady women strips you of your towel and positions you by force, naked on a wet plastic massage table, and starts tossing hot buckets of water on you.

Thankfully she will toss a towel over your face to prevent you from opening your eyes and accidentally seeing the women on the next massage table over treated much like your dog at the groomer.

Just like you are about to be.

Sounds humiliating, but they get in and exfoliate and massage EVERYTHING. They get on top of you and dig their knees into your butt so they can get a better grip on your shoulders. They spread your legs so they can make sure those inner thighs are smooth as silk. They flip you, turn you twist you and stretch you until they knock the cry-baby right out.

Then they toss a couple more buckets of hot water on you and start again.

You leave feeling like a new person.