What a perfectly imperfect path…  

I get butterflies in my stomach when I think about my path up to now, right up to this very day in this very moment. Wow… tears come to my eyes when I sit back and realize that out of all the pain and suffering I’ve experienced in the past, an extreme and devout appreciation for every past moment, trial and tribulation has taken over me. I am so thankful for the way I feel now… taller and full of pride, purposeful and full of dignity, blessed and full of gratitude.

Finally, I am working in the field in which I belong. I have put my childish ways and habits aside and I have walked into this “big girl” job, as I like to call it 🙂 Well, I didn’t walk into it… I looked and applied for a job in case management for two years. I wondered why and complained and felt discouraged and disappointed so much in those two years. I thought I just deserved it! I thought I should have it because I really wanted it and I really cared about it! I didn’t want to serve tables anymore! I wanted to be a professional and I wanted to have a title I could be proud of, not “Hi my name is Jessica and I’ll be your server/bartender tonight.”
To me that title was beginning to feel like the plague…like in AA meetings when they say, “Hi my name is ____ and I am an alcoholic.” …oooh I hate that, but thats another story. (Shouldn’t it be, “Hi, my name is ____ and I am here because I have realized/I admit that I genuinely have a problem with alcohol abuse.” ??!!) Anyways… I’ll blog about the way I feel about negative labeling another time 🙂

Now that I’m here, in the field and being blessed abundantly, I have been reflecting. Thank you God, thank you God for allowing things to happen the way they have. Although I haven’t always seen the bigger picture and haven’t always respected the fact that the timing maybe wasn’t right before, I do now. The things that are happening in my life now seem to just be timed so perfectly. I might not realize or accept that fact ’til later, but wow, isn’t it just perfect.

Wasn’t it just perfectly planned that I didn’t get a job in the field until now. I had things to take care of…I had me to take care of. In the mean time, I have started school and I’ve learned SO much so quickly. I’ve learned so much more than what’s in my textbooks. I have been able to live with my Mom for the first time in almost 10 years and its been wonderful. I have met some great people, including my brand new roommate (that all worked just perfectly, too…talk about good timing! Her previous lease ending just in time for me to need a roommate so I can be closer to my new job so I don’t have to commute until Sept/Oct when by boyfriend moves up here…thank God for that gift!).
I am getting paid to learn! I have the ability to learn so much if I chose to take advantage. Umm, yes please! Even sitting in my office, I can observe the people I work with, their work ethic and the personal styles that work (or don’t work) for them. There are opportunities to learn ALL around me, be it classes, seminars or team meetings (And, they don’t cost $1000 each like my graduate school classes do…).

This is all so wonderful. I am not making great money but, I don’t care. I’ll have enough to pay my bills and eat and maybe even throw in a happy hour every once in a while 🙂 I’ll be just fine.

I don’t have a lot of free time but, I don’t care. If I stay organized and (finally) learn to NOT procrastinate, I will be able to finish my school assignments and study and write my papers and read (skim-read, anyway). I’ll be just fine. And, if my Galo and I can respect the fact that we both have a lot going on and a lot of potential stress and just love and support each other, we’ll be just fine, too. Even if its from a distance for a little while, we’ll be just fine.

I haven’t had much time to go to the gym either but, I don’t even have to care. It’s almost as if I wake up in the morning expecting to see someone in the mirror that just looks awfully tired and out of shape, but I have been just fine. I’ve been Eating to Live…not Living to Eat. And, I have been just fine…better than fine.

Thank you, God.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path
Psalm 119:105

Finding time for gym time…  

I started my new “big girl” job today! It went well…just orientation, ‘house-keeping’ type stuff…paperwork and policies galore.

I was a nervous wreck yesterday. But, it wasn’t even about the job itself. Waking up at 5:30-6:00am every morning…thats enough to make me real anxious–I hate the morning, never have been a morning person. [I remember a time where sleeping in meant the longer I would go without eating or having to think about another day with the ultimate goal being, please, Eat to Live, Not the Alternative…]
Aside from waking up, I am anxious about the hour drive there every morning (at 6:45am) and afternoon…unless, of course, I have class after work, then its another 20 minutes to USF before the other hour drive home (which puts me home at about 11pm). Holy gas $!

Another thing, thee thing, that made me so anxious yesterday was wondering how I will ever find balance. Where am I going to fit in 40 hours of work, plus 3 graduate classes, plus homework, plus projects, plus papers, plus exam studying, not to mention dedicating enough quality time to my long-distance, amazingly loving boyfriend in West Palm Beach…AND, when am I going to find time for GYM-time!?! Oh boy, this makes me anxious, definitely. Will I skip homework or studying to go to spin class? Will I wake up at 4:30am to get to the gym by 5:00am when they open? When, besides maybe regularly on Saturday and Sunday, will I be able to go to the gym? If I can’t go to the gym, I can’t “erase” my “mistakes”…her mistakes. Ahhhh…what if…what if I gain weight and I don’t have time to work it off??

Part of me wanted to ask my boyfriend, my love, my Galo, if he will still love me if I can’t find time for the gym… but, I decided it was a ridiculous question. Point is, I thought it…and, sadly, without just or reason, it worries me. Will people still think the same of me if I gain a couple pounds while I adjust to this new schedule? Such a sad question to be honestly asking myself… but, I won’t lie. I will be honest, the question is a source of real concern…real irrational concern.

I /shouldn’t/mustn’t/cannot vs. It would be better if I didn’t  

I have realized that I cannot even begin to estimate how many times I’ve said to myself, “I should not eat that/I cannot eat that/I must NOT eat that!”

Inevitably, when I, when she DOES eat “that”–> overwhelming guilt results. With that guilt comes immediate self-rating. “I messed up. I am a failure. It’s over. I already failed so, I am guilty and it is awful. There is no more hope. I did what I shouldn’t. I am worthless. So, it doesn’t even matter anymore –> binge!”
After that guilt comes even more guilt after I realize I just binged (again). I must fix it. I should not have done that. Therefore, I have to fix it and it cannot happen again. I have to make up for it. If I mess up again, I will have failed, again. Then, I will feel angry and guilty, again.

Cycle, Cycle, Cycle:
Over-concern (Anxiety). Mustn’t (Anxiety). Binge (Catastrophic–Anger). Guilt (Depression). Depression (Guilt). Pressure (Anxiety).
And, repeat…

I am not naive. I imagine I will always have these thoughts/mind battles. I imagine the cycle will often threaten to take over. I imagine there will always be activating events in my life. But, I am certain that, with continued effort and work, I WILL and CAN continue to change what I do with these thoughts, theseirrational beliefs.
(And, so can YOU.)

I can change awful to delicious. For example, eating the frozen yogurt sundae I had today was certainly not awful & catastrophic…it was delicious! Sure, it would be better if I didn’t eat yogurt sundaes daily. However, that does NOT mean that I CANNOT/MUST NOT/SHOULD NOT eat yogurt.

I don’t have to believe that eating yogurt sundaes, or anything else for that matter, is a catastrophe. It literally just is what it is. What it is is delicious! It is frozen yogurt; it is my favorite and I ate it. I didn’t have to, but, I did. And, on another day, it could be the opposite. I didn’t eat it, but, I could have!

[This all comes from a modality of therapy that deals with disputing and changing irrational thoughts produced by some sort of provoking or activating event: Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy…REBT. You will hear more about REBT soon, very soon.]