Interactions

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It’s the little interactions that I miss most.  You just don’t get those when you work from home.  My typical interactions this summer include kissing my husband goodbye as he grumpily (is that a word?) takes off to work in the 100 degree weather. I ask Abby if she’s ready for her breakfast.  If I could figure out how to record that for you and post it here, I would… It’s definitely ‘dog talk’ with a high infliction toward the end.  As I head back into the bedroom, Opie bites my leg to remind me that I forgot to feed him.  I guess he should have breakfast too.  I half-ass get ready for the day by deciding which workout pants and tank top to wear, throw on a little makeup and make my hair not look like bed head.  I make myself breakfast and head into my office.

This morning was different.  I woke up at the Hampton Inn in Manhattan.  I LOVE this hotel.  The beds and the pillows are so nice and fluffy.  I love that they put the coffee maker on the desk and not in the bathroom.  I like that they have a cute little towel rack with rolled towels  instead of folded towels.  I’m all ready to go so I exit my room toward the elevator and a gentleman carrying American flag cowboy boots says “Good Morning!” I return it with a “Good Morning!” He asks why I’m all dressed up.  I responded that I was just headed to work and he says “Well you look awfully pretty today!” in a very simple and kind tone.  How could this not boost my mood?  Especially because I was debating on what to wear, not feeling my best because I haven’t been working out or eating well at all and I can feel it.  I can see it.  I feel self-conscious about it.  His kinds words brightened my day.  I sat down to eat my eggs at breakfast. By the way,  The Hampton Inn also has great breakfast!  The mustaches on their cups also hint that they’ve got a sense of humor!  Three men, I’d say about my age, were talking about Starbucks and trying to find one.  I told them that Dillon’s right around the corner has one or Redina’s Bakehouse, a local shop, was close.  I head to work in the office and make my rounds saying “Good Morning!”  Some faces I recognize, some I don’t.  Either way – just smiling and being smiled back  at boosts my energy.

These are the little tidbits of joy and happiness boosters that I miss and greatly appreciate. Though working from home does have perks, it’s these little things I miss most.  Short and normal interactions with others.

 

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Firsts

To make a long story short, here’s a list of my firsts over the last 48 hours.

  • Went to a rock concert at the Starlight Theater
  • Used an electronic boarding pass
  • Experienced freaky turbulence
  • Went through the Washington, DC airport
  • Saw the Washington Memorial
  • Visited in Charleston, SC
  • Explored the outdoor markets
  • Ate the most delicious key lime pie and got a shrimp peeling lesson
  • Walked along Folly Beach & saw the Atlantic Ocean
  • Learned to paddle board
  • Saw a dolphin In its natural habitat

The Long Story.  If you wish to continue reading.

Friday, Drew & I took off for KC.  His aunt Julie invited us to go to a rock concert for his birthday.  I’m not much of a music person.  If I like it, I like it and I probably have no clue who sings it or what the actual words are.  Therefore, even though I asked Drew several times who we were going to see and he told me several times who we were going to see, I still had no idea who we were actually going to see.

Thursday night, I was throwing a little fit because…for one… I was exhausted trying to get caught up on work before I left this week.  And two…what the hell do people wear to a rock concert?  My typically “it’s fricken hot out, flowery sundress” didn’t seem like the right attire.  I finally settled on jean shorts and a tank top complete with a spiked up fo-hawk hairdo and heavy blue eyeliner.  Success! I fit right in!

Black Stone Cherry, Halestorm and Shinedown.   I certainly wouldn’t have sought out something like this on my own, but thoroughly enjoyed it none the less.  The Starlight Theater was beautiful and people watching was fabulous!!  The music wasn’t even all that bad.  I think maybe I kind of even liked some of it!  Doing new and exciting things, no matter what they are, is sure a great source of my happiness!   And it was awesome to spend some time with Drew and his family!

Onto some more firsts.  My flight left out of KC at 7:28am headed through Washington, DC with Charleston, SC being my final destination.  Never been through the airport in DC.  Never been to Charleston.  Before landing in DC, we experienced some super freaky turbulence that I’ve certainly never experienced before, and I think I almost peed my pants!  Thank God we landed safely in DC and it was super cool to see the Washington Monument!  Landed in Charleston and we were off to do a little exploring.

Eric found some cool places to go see downtown – so we ventured through these cute little markets.  Then headed to Bowans Island Restuarant.  It was packed!  The line was all the way out the door, a clear sign that we found something great!  The food was fabulous and the service was even better!  I even got a shrimp peeling lesson – which was much needed!  Our after dinner entertainment was watching a crab pull a big ‘ol cigarette down into his little crab hole!

Charleston Outdoor Adventures was located right next to the restaurant, so I decided to book a paddle boarding tour for Sunday! This is something I’ve never done and always wanted to do!  I was just ecstatic that Eric didn’t mind!

After 10 blissful hours of sleep Saturday night, I headed to a St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church at 8:30.  I considered not going.  I always kind of do when I’m not at home.  Then I am always happy after I force myself to go.  It’s just where I’m supposed to be and knew I would feel guilty all day if I didn’t go.

Then off to paddle boarding.  Where I met some local people, learned how to paddle board sitting, kneeling, and standing.  As I watched 2 other girls on my tour, I thanked God for my natural athletic ability that made this adventure enjoyable!  We went swimming, did a little paddle board yoga, saw a dolphin and learned about the wildlife in the area!  It’s too bad the tour had to end!

But it did – so I figured it was about time to do what I was actually sent here to do!  Eric and I headed to the convention center and set up our GTM booth for the SCACA clinic.  I’m so grateful to GTM for facilitating a little much-needed adventure into my life!

 

Ladies Night

Last night Colleen hosted ladies night at the studio.  We had a drinks, ate chips and dip, and painted!  There were only a few of us there this time, but we still had a good time and the painting was fun!  Kelsey walked us through the steps of creating our own little masterpiece.  An abstract background with a monogram.  As I constructed my background, I pondered what I might put on top of it.  I already have a bunch of big Ds all over my house!  And I just wasn’t sure where I’d put another one or that I needed another one.  I pondered, drank a little more Effin Cucumber Vodka, and pondered some more.  Added some more paint, and pondered some more.  I wanted it to be practical.  I will put it in my office.  I ended up with a pretty little canvas painting with the words “get shit done.”  Because sometimes you just have to get shit done.

Ladies night gives me a little anxiety.  I didn’t have much leading up to it.  It was in a comfortable, familiar location.  I knew Kelsey and Colleen would be there.  I don’t really have social anxiety and I was definitely excited to be getting out of the house for while.  It wasn’t until after I arrived.

Sometimes I just feel like I don’t fit in.  I’m 28 married to an almost 32 year old with no kids.  Most people my age have them and it is definitely the topic of many discussions in which I just hang out like a wallflower with not much to contribute to the conversation.  I realize these conversations are totally normal.  I do understand that the world does not revolve around me and people shouldn’t feel the need to be conscious that I don’t have any kids and like – try not to talk about them.  Nor do I want to dive into all the things I’m doing to try to get them!  I’m simply explaining a feeling.  Usually the baby and kid talk are heavy toward the beginning of a gathering and this is kind of my moment of truth.  Time to check in.  How are my emotions going to hold up?

How will my emotions hold up when I so badly want to be a part of those conversations?  I want to do mom things.  I want to know the love that they know for their kids.  I want to go to the carnival, go to Finding Dori, go to kid things without feeling like the weirdo that doesn’t have kids.  Yes – I know that I can go enjoy these activities and ‘date night’, but even then it’s just a hard realization that you’re like the only one there without a little human.  Heck, I even want to deal with the poopy exploding diapers they talked about.

I find myself headed to the bathroom just to take a minute.  I just sat on the floor for a second to breathe.
In…
Out…
In…
Out…
In…
Out…

I emerged after flushing just water down the toilet.  I am proud of myself.  Proud for recognizing that these feelings too would pass and to let myself enjoy the company of some great ladies.  To be present in the moment and not hop on the worry train wondering when and if I’ll ever be able to join in on these conversations.

So for now, I am the wallflower… I don’t necessarily like it, but I guess it’s better than being an angry sticker patch that no one wants to be around!

P.S. I totally whipped a U-ie on the highway with my newly painted canvas on top of my car!  I was almost home before I realized it and to my surprise it had not been hit by a semi and was still in tact when I found it on the right lane of the highway!! YAY!

For what it’s worth…I will pray for you.

It’s a fricken monsoon outside this morning.  So loud I can barely hear my own thoughts. The wind and rain are bitchslapping the side of the house and I’m trying to drown out the aggressive noise of the storm with music through my headphones.  Laughing out loud more than necessary about the bitchslapping analogy.

Now giggling, it’s hard for me to move into what I really want to write about this morning. So here it is. TRANSITION HERE.

“For what it’s worth…I will  pray for you.”

This is just one of the several loving, caring, amazing responses that I received yesterday.  Likes and Loves from those who took the time to read my first post shared with the world.  Simple “I love yous” and “thinking of yous.”  Women in my life reaching out via message to share their personal stories of infertility and heartbreak.  To all of you – Thank you.  For some, the responses may have come easy.  For others, and in which the category I fall, your response may have taken a while.  I have a hard time responding to personal, sad, hard, however you want to categorize it, situations.  I always think to myself “What can I even say that might bring this person any sort of comfort!”  I feel it is easier when I can directly relate, but sometimes I just feel sad that another human has to struggle like they are in that moment.

“For what it’s worth…I will pray for you.”

The truth is you may NOT be able to say anything at all that might bring this person comfort.  Sadness, Anger, Heartbreak, etc. are not simply cured by one person’s words.  Perhaps you don’t have a relatable story of your own.  But there is always prayer.  No one person can control life’s hard circumstances.  That comes from above.

I always feel a little weird saying “I’ll pray for you” to another person.  Do they take this to heart? Do they have faith in God? Or is this just an empty statement to them?  Whichever the case…sometimes it truly is all that we can do.  I’ve determined that I will say this more often.

“For what it’s worth…I will pray for you.”

It could mean little or everything to the recipient. However, the results are similar.  God will hear me pray for them.

Keep Calm & Talk About Tough Stuff

Yesterday
While on the phone with Colleen, I was able to talk about tough stuff.  Baby stuff…or rather no baby stuff without letting my emotions take over me.  It wasn’t a long conversation, but she was asking how it was going and what has been done the far. She said to me “You’d think it would be easy for them just to find something!  Can’t they just run a blood test and figure it out?”  I 100% agree and told her that is one of my main sources of frustration in this process, because that’s how I tend to see it too.  Why can’t they just pinpoint something! Anything! Then just…ya know…fix it.

Today
On the ride from Manhattan to Cawker City, I decided to bring up a few conversations  with Drew.  I wanted to know is true thoughts on potential big plans for next summer.  His hesitations. If he sees any positives.  I tried to approach this in an unbiased way.  Not convincing him one way or another, but just to truthfully get a feel for what he thought.  After a while, I transitioned the conversation asking how he felt about our communication as a married couple.  At times I feel he give me a “this is what I think Shannon wants to hear” answer rather than a simple truthful answer.  I don’t think he does this on purpose and I can spot these responses most often.  Both conversations were slightly uncomfortable, but in a good way.  I was able to stay calm and not let my emotions take over.   That seemingly small thing kept the conversation going down what I think was the right path.

 

 

Happy & Sad Can Co-Exist

There are dark times.  Days that are sad. Days when emotions take me captive to the point where I can only do a little at a time and all I want to do is doze in and out of sleep while watching useless shows on Netflix.  Sleep mainly because I feel like I can sleep off the emotions.  If I just went back to sleep, then I’d have a chance to restart again.  Try the day over again.  I really don’t know if that works, but I do know that I probably don’t get enough sleep and I guess I figured that sleep can’t hurt a person.  Plus it’s hard to feel emotions while you’re sleeping.  It’s  a method  of escape.  On the flip side, sometimes I feel like I should be doing anything and everything to keep my brain occupied.  I tend to have a large ‘to do’ list at any given moment. Things I could be doing.  Thinking that if I do just a few, I will gain a sense of pride and accomplishment to pull me out of my slump.  I haven’t quite figured out what counters the sad.  Because of this, I can get kidnapped by indecisiveness.  There are so many different things that could make me feel differently, but which one should I do.  Should I do any of them or should I just sleep?

I am learning.  I have been reading Real Happiness The Power of Meditation by Sharon Salzberg.  It says it is a 28 day program, but I think God knew that’s not how I was supposed to go about it.  It’s like he’s given me one chapter at a time when the time is right and when I could really connect with the new information.  Week 1 of the program starts with simply breathing.  The program states to try 20 minute meditations and I though “Really? That’s a long time to just sit there!” But I tried it anyways.  I didn’t move past this chapter for a while.  I started with this just a few times a week.  Some weeks more frequently than others.  Though 20 minutes seemed long time at first, after practicing a few times, the 20 minutes was up and I thought “Already?”.  After I while, I moved onto Mindfulness and The Body.  Scanning each part of your body and relaxing it.  Also movement meditations, which I’m still not super great at.  There is a walking meditation that I keep trying, but to get the full effect I feel like I have to walk in slow motion and that’s something I just don’t think is in me.  I feel more comfortable with a still meditation.  I enjoy the body scans because they help me acknowledge and relax each part of myself.  The third part focuses on dealing with thoughts and feelings.  This was a scary one.  This is where God stepped in and didn’t give me this information until he knewI was ready.  In this part I learned a few key things. #1 You are not your emotion.  I feel sad does not translate into I am a sad person.  The analogy the book gave was that if you hit your elbow, it’s ridiculous to translate I have a sore elbow to I am a sore elbow.  Feeling humiliated does not translate to I am an idiot.  #2 I learned to identify an emotion and look at look at it from a distance.  From a curious standpoint.  Sometimes I can feel in a slump.  Cranky and not even know why I’m feeling that way.  I liked the meditation on emotions because after I sit there a while, the emotion I  am feeling tends to appear and I can ask myself what it is and why I feel this way.  I just now started on the 4th part of the program. LovingKindness.  Focusing on sending happy and loving thoughts to yourself and to others.  It sure takes all the steps to get to this one.  Calming your mind and identifying your own emotions must come before you can focus on giving peace to others.

There are good times even in sadness.  Proof came again yesterday that another month had gone by without conceiving. When this time came around the last two months, I haven’t dealt with it well.  My emotions take over and captivate me as described above.  I cried a lot and tried to blame it on the hormones rather than the true heartbreak.  I keep thinking it will get a little easier and I try not to get hopeful that this will be the month, but I can’t help but let a little pocket of hope fill my heart. It is sad.  Heartbreaking.  Frustrating.  We are doing everything by the book…or rather by the doctor.  I fill out my Creighton Model NaPro chart, take my continuously changing thyroid medication, B6, Mucinex and Progesterone as prescribed.  Why isn’t anything working? Though my husband holds it in, I can see the toll it takes on him too.  I foresaw it being a rough day, but I was also in the most beautiful place!  I decided to get my mind straight.  I work up early to watch the sunrise.  I prayed.  I meditated on my sadness and heartbreak.  Analyzed it from a distant viewpoint and realized that though I feel this now, just like the world is in constant change, these feelings too would pass.  I resolved in that moment to intentionally fill my love tank all day.  I left at 7am and drove 40 minutes over to Ha Ha Tonka State Park and found several trails to hike.  I explored and found the adventure that I’ve been desperately seeking.  I laughed at myself each time I accidentally ran into a spider web and freaked out.  After too much of that I learned to get a trusty spidy stick to clear the webs before I walked right into them!  After several hours of exploration, I headed back to the cabin.  Cooked up some bacon and eggs for brunch and spent the afternoon doing nothing but what I wanted to do.  I sat in and around the lake all day reading and soaking up the sun.  Ending the day with dinner and movies with three of my favorite people.  It was an amazing day!

Lake of The Ozarks

Last weekend when Jake and Ashley were in town, we planned an impromptu trip out to the lake.  Planned really wouldn’t be the right word.  More like “Hey when are we going to go out to the lake? We’ve been talking about it forever!”  Turns out Ashley’s family all decided to go on an impromptu trip to the beach in NC so the lake house happen to be free!  Trip planned! We left last night from Manhattan and got here around 10:30.  I hung out for a bit then fell asleep.  I have no idea how long the others stayed up.  I’m just really bad at staying up late and I was tired and I didn’t want to fight it, so I went to bed…well I went to couch because it was still super hot upstairs. I just love the mornings more than the evenings.  And it is what it is.

It’s taken me what feels like an hour just to get to this point where I am right now.  Sitting comfortably and writing. Sometimes I’ll start something and it just doesn’t feel quite right.  I started writing, writing (like with a pen)…and decided I’d rather type, so I went and got my iPad.  And now…now I am comfortable and now I can start.  I have all that I need for a good while!

Living with Anxiety.  It’ll be a journey.  Is this who I am? Is anxiety who I am or am I someone who just feels anxious?  Either way – I’m trying to learn to cope in a healthy way but man it sure gets on my nerves sometimes.

This week, I had a one-on-one meeting with my new boss.  New as of this year…so I guess it’s been about 6 months now. Everything went well for a good while.  I felt like I had things under control.  My numbers looked good, I was prepared.  Then I started talking about where I was at.  My feelings about how things are going.  I’d even tried to prepare myself in advance because for whatever reason, this is difficult for me.  I think I struggle with what is “appropriate” to say to someone who is your boss and what could potentially hurt me professionally.  Ya know – I wonder if I should be telling her that it’s getting harder to work from home.  I’ve been doing it several years now.  Yes – I’m good at it, but working alone all day, everyday makes a people person wonder what impact I am making on anyone.  Should I be doing something more meaningful?  Am I using the talents God gave me or do I just continue to do this because I’m good at it and it pays well?  What is the end goal?  Does she judge me because she thinks I can’t handle it? Could I be let go because I don’t seem happy in the work I’m doing, yet I’m still doing a good job?  All of these things tend to come up in my head when I’m trying to say things in a general way… in a way that is less personal…in a way that just maybe I won’t be judged.  And because I can’t seem to get out what I’m really thinking, I start crying.  This is my reaction to anxiety.  It makes me feel like a loser. Like no one can hear anything I’m saying because in the back of their mid they are thinking “why the hell is she crying? She can’t handle anything!”  It makes me feel weak.  Vulnerable.  I see this as such a weakness in myself.  I want to feel strong and confident without fear that I’m saying the wrong things to the wrong person.

Now it’s 9am.  And I think I’ll have a drink.