Dreaming of You: Journal Two

Just last night I had a dream that I feel warrants a blog. It is very short, and very simple, but somehow both hilarious and intriguing. I don’t remember much of what surrounded the particular moment. Either I had just fallen back to sleep or I simply can’t remember the rest. Here is what occurred:

Set in my parent’s home in my long-time bedroom, myself and a man entered. I closed the door behind us to offer some privacy and then the two of us kissed and had a brief conversation.

The conversation, however, was cut short by my mother thrusting the door open and saying, “keep the door open.”

It’s been a long-standing rule ever since I was young that boys are generally not allowed in my room and definitely not with the door closed.

Even in my dreams I can’t escape the rules.

[My] Problem with Weight Loss

Back in February I had my annual appointment with my physician. This appointment ended with “your cholesterol is too high and you’re almost-but-not-quite obese.” The verdict? Stop eating sugar. Remove 200 calories from your diet and/or exercise enough to burn 200 calories. I’ll see you in six months to check your progress.

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It's too damn high!

Well, here’s how this went. After a day of contemplating her plan, I decided to try the no sugar thing. That lasted about a week, which is technically how long we had talked about me trying it for. Right about this time my place of employment was gearing up for Move & Improve 2014. M&I, for those who don’t know, is a 12-Week program meant to motivate participants to exercise and improve their overall health.

Well, it did certainly motivate me. Much like having a workout buddy, knowing that I had a spreadsheet to answer to really helped keep me on track. I completed the mandatory 8 of 12 weeks of my goal to be entered into the random prize drawing. For me, this meant 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week.

I gotta tell you, this is the most exercise I’ve done in years. The best part? I was kind of enjoying it, and I can honestly say I felt better. Climbing my basement stairs got easier. I felt healthier and happier and I slept much better at night.  Just before the end of the 12-Week program, I had lost five pounds: half of what my doctor expected me to lose in six months. And all this without much conscious change to my diet! Actually, I found myself eating (and craving) less, but still had my treat/dessert each night (because deprivation is the fastest way to ending a healthy lifestyle change, IMO).

Now it’s been three weeks since the M&I program ended and I have done a single (yes, one) day of exercise, my weight is creeping back up, and I feel like I’m eating junk food by the boatload. My biggest fear occurred; I fell off the wagon. As soon as my “accountability” disappeared, my motivation fluttered away.

Here’s my problem. Most nights I come home and the “I should exercise” thought crosses my mind. Then that thought leaves my mind to be replaced by every possible other thing I could be doing.

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Do ALL the things!

Between that and my extreme love of sweet things and pastries, I have often found it difficult to lose weight. A couple years back I successfully tried Weight Watchers for three months, losing over 20 pounds. I then stagnated, neither gaining or losing, and decided WW was no longer worth the monthly subscription fee. I gained the weight back within 6-8 months.

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Seriously. Watch out.

I tend not to berate myself too much for these lapses. I don’t make excuses. I like food, plain and simple. If I’m happy, what difference does it make?

Therein may lie the problem. While I’m not making excuses, I am deciding my behavior is normal and therefore  perfectly acceptable, rather than continuing the push for a healthier lifestyle.

Thus, the question remains: how does one continually motivate oneself? Without gimmicks and tricks and playing the shame game, of course.

Dreaming of You: Journal One

After my recent post regarding dreams, it was suggested to me that I keep a log of/blog about my dreams. I assumed this would be difficult. I’ve attempted to keep dream journals in the past to no avail. The issue being that waking up enough after a dream to write it down is not often an appealing concept.

That being said, upon waking this morning I knew I had had a strange dream, but couldn’t quite recall what it was. I decided not to worry about it too much and went about my day. As I stood, groggy in front of the mirror brushing my hair, pieces of the dream returned to me.

Per usual, I don’t recall much about the premise of the dream or why any particular scenario might be occurring (is there ever truly a reason in dream land?). What I do know is that it was set in my childhood home. More specifically, it was set in the bathroom of my childhood home.

What truly strikes me odd, however, is not the location. Instead it is the fact that I now recall a prior dream being set in the same location, and that in both occurrences there was no light on in the room. Why is it, I wonder, that I am having dreams of a light-less version of my old bathroom?

While I don’t remember much besides the location of the prior dream, this one turned into one of those embarrassing “caught without clothes” dreams, in which a friend I know from my college town walked in on me preparing to take a shower and nonchalantly ignored (and possibly smirked at?) the fact that I was without clothes while I yelled at him and tried to cover up.

That’s about all I can pinpoint, though I recall there being more to said dream.

Strange indeed.

I Dreamed a Dream

As of late, (especially after last night) I’ve been deeply considering dreams, why they happen, and what they mean.

What I’m truly curious about is how much is just jibber jabber oddness and what it truly a reflection of the subconscious mind. For example, I’m currently preparing for a trip with my boyfriend. We’re attending a convention and have a hotel booked for a couple nights. The other day, I dreamt that we checked into the hotel, arrived at our room, and all of a sudden two of my best friends were there, planning to share our room. I think I was consciously confused (It was a realistic dream, I rather thought it was actually happening), knowing that my friends had not been planning on joining us. In the time before sleeping, I had considered the option of inviting friends to join us at the convention. Splitting a room between four would be cheaper than between two. The conflict remained in that I really was looking forward to spending a weekend with just myself and my boyfriend. Thus, this dream was based on a realistic inner-argument.

Oppositely, I have had many dreams that seem to have little to no anchor in reality. When I was younger I used to have repeating nightmares about the strangest things. The particular dream I can remember is when myself and a group of people were getting chased around the equivalent of a Hedge Maze by Godzilla. This dream made very little sense. I had never seen a Godzilla movie. Had only seen commercials, at most. Also, running around in a maze with ten foot high walls does not allow for much concealment from a mile-high monster.

Now, to the most recent dream (which led me to consider this topic). This particular dream started out fairly normal, in that it had nothing to do with anything. Somehow, it progressed to myself and a group of people sitting in an unknown home, where a person that I had a falling-out with a nearly a year ago sat waiting.

This is the second time I have had a dream involving this person that I am, unfortunately, no longer friends with. This particular dream seems to be strongly rooted in my waking thoughts, as I often contemplate (and very recently did) my past friendship with this person, and how I often think of contacting said person to try and reconcile.

The big question now is whether or not my subconscious is simply harassing me because I am already stressing out over a certain topic, or if it is trying to tell me to go ahead with what I already have considered in my waking state.

An Open Letter to Guys with Girlfriends

So I’ve recently had a relationship related topic come up in conversation with my ladies, and I noticed some similarities between their stories and my past experiences.

The topic that I refer to is “what your girlfriend talks about when out with her friends”. I chose to engage this topic due to instances where a guy wonders/worries that their GF will talk/complain about them to their besties.

Let me put your mind at ease and stop you from wondering.

Yes. Of freaking course we do.

When a woman hasn’t seen her best friend in a little while, the first thing she is going to talk about will probably be you. This is especially likely if you’ve had any recent arguments. We are going to rant and complain ’til the cows come home. We might cry. We might scream. We may say how sick of you and your B.S. we are.

And then we will move on.

See, here’s the thing. A lot of stupid stuff goes on in a relationship. Men often do or say dumb things. Women often overreact. Shit happens. Men also don’t like to listen to their girlfriends complain about it, and most the time we are aware of that. So, in order to vent out grievances and move on, we slough off all that relationship crap with our friends. Because if we didn’t? That next little spat we have about why you left the toilet seat up or forgot to turn off the kitchen light might end with us murdering you.

Therefore, in all actuality, you should be glad for that one night a week your girlfriend goes out for dinner with her bestie. These short sessions each week are what reboots her. They allow her to release her frustrations in a neutral environment and rejuvenate for the next dumb thing that happens between you (because it will). Best of all, you don’t have to listen to her rant on and on about why forgetting to close the cupboard door makes you the equivalent of Satan.

Doooooom Spiral

Today I’d like to talk about a very personal issue, for myself and others. I’ll start the conversation with a story.

In my first year of college, as is the case for many I’m sure, a lot changed and a lot happened. Some of which was expected, much of which was not.

In that time I made friends. More importantly, I lost friends. Loneliness coupled with boredom attached to self loathing led to what I now refer to as a doom spiral. In fact, it was the biggest spiral of my lifetime.

Calling it a doom spiral makes it seem a bit more comical and a little less devastating, but in reality it was the largest bout of depression I had ever and have ever had. My Facebook was filled with self-deprecation and anguish, which in reality were the biggest cries for help I could manage. My roommate had moved out of our dormroom and all the friends we had shared went with her. I was two hours and a hundred miles away from my family and all my friends from high school and I was (or so I felt) utterly and blatantly alone.

My parents had a vague idea of how unhappy I was. I went home as often as possible and would offhandedly mention my lack of friends and how much I missed home while feigning that I still had any semblance of happiness left in my body. They had only an idea the extent of the storm raging inside me.

Oppositely, my best friend of six years quietly despaired for me, seeing my Facebook and being able to interpret the meaning, sending caring messages which fell to deaf ears. She later told me just how scared she had been for me. Scared and useless at not being able to do anything for me.

Finally, I began to admit the problem to myself and that I needed help. The first step I took was talking to my RA. After a couple visits where I hinted at my issue,  she suggested I make an appointment with one of our school counselors and even offered to walk over with me and help me set up the appointment. I declined, but after another couple weeks of listlessness, I finally scheduled a meeting.

The remainder of the semester was a bit of a blur. Things still weren’t perfect, but they were improving. I started feeling better, started making friends, and slowly stopped feeling like I was falling apart. I stopped spending so many weekends at my parents and started attending events. Instead of thinking I wouldn’t come back after the summer, I made plans and landed a job as an RA for the following year.

My hope had returned. My despair thrown to the wayside. Life continued as it always does.

Now, I think it’s important to note that I don’t mean this to be entirely self-serving. I am not looking for pity or sympathy. I simply wish to raise a little awareness. Since that time in my life, I have never reached that level of depression, though I do occasionally fall back into doom spirals.

What I think is important is that we as people, as friends, as family members, learn to be more aware of these situations. Whenever I see something that reminds me of that time in my life appear on Facebook, I leave a kind word, or send a message to check on the person. If someone does a need to talk, I listen. I look for signs, because I would wish on no one what my life was like back then.

If you yourself suffer from depression, I enthusiastically recommend that you reach out to someone. A friend. A forum. Your doctor. Anyone. Because holding it in doesn’t make you feel better and doing nothing will only allow it to get worse. Know that you are not alone, no matter how much you may feel so. Know that there is help and even if you can’t see it now, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

All my love,

Skyler

Family Matters

So, for the past month or so I’ve been hearing this advertisement on the radio while driving to/from work. I have bristled with contempt each time I have heard it. I don’t even remember what it’s about now, because as soon as I hear the first line, which is the part that bothers me, I change stations.

What could this line be, you may ask, that offends me so? It is as follows:

“As a woman, my family is most important to me.”

This seems fairly unimposing. Why would this be offensive. What strikes me each time is the “as a woman” bit.

As a woman, family is most important to me. I’m not sure why this rubs me the wrong way so much. Maybe because I feel it makes the assumption that family should be the most important aspect of life to a woman. Maybe because it suggests that as a man, family is not and cannot be the most important thing.

Honestly, I feel like those three words “as a woman” are a hugely unnecessary addition to whatever it is this commercial is advertising. Like caring about your family is conditional and if you aren’t a woman it can’t possibly be the most important thing to you.

Who knows? Maybe I’m just not womanly enough to understand.

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