Today’s Reason: Relief

Today was the first morning in 63 long days I woke up without pain. Wow. I’ve been down this pain path many, many times before; I knew yesterday’s epidural would provide immediate relief but I had forgotten just how much constant pain altered my demeanor. I feel like myself again. I feel weightless. I feel free. (Cue the applause!)

Nevertheless, this is a condition I must continue to manage, a second spine surgery is likely. When faced with chronic pain, I will do anything for relief- I will take the slew of prescriptions that turn me into an extra from the Walking Dead, I will take a big ass needle shoved into my spinal column, and yes I will take another major surgery. Anything that promises even a sliver of relief from 24/7 pain, I’ll take- I think you would too.

Relief comes in many forms, just as many as there are types of pain. Aching, excruciating, shooting, stabbing, tortuous, heavy, harrowing, burning. Whatever the flavor, be it physical or emotional, finding relief therein has been the most challenging things I continue to combat all these 48 years of life. Currently, it is physical pain: the pain I can acknowledge with a simple, “It hurts here.” That emotional pain, however, isn’t nearly as easy to pinpoint.

It just occurred to me that being a Pain Expert isn’t something one aspires to be! What a bummer/ blessing that I can say with 100% certainty that when it comes to pain- physical as well as emotional- I am an authority on the topic. “Write what you know”, as the clichΓ© goes… pain is unfortunately exactly what I know.

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Today’s Reason: You

If no one has told you lately, let me be the first: you are awesome and perfect just the way you are. Your journey is unique and no one else can inform your path. Others we choose to bring along our journey become our teachers, even if temporary, and guide us when enduring the hardest of times. The times where we struggle, the periods when the world is just too much and everything is a battle, the days when not one thing goes right. I’ve been there too. We all have. Yet, you are the answer. The power is within you, as it is within all of us, to grab the reigns, bear down, and ride those rocky paths of life with grace and triumph.

It’s taken me a lot of work over several years to finally love myself and have true compassion for others. For way too long, I ruminated on all the things I wasn’t: not kind enough, not smart enough, not accomplished enough, not skinny enough- yet, surprise surprise, that did absolutely nothing for my motivation. All the negative thinking did was hold me in place; stewing in those comparison juices got me nowhere. The moment I started telling myself, “I want to do this, I can do this, I will do this, and I do not care what other people may think!” is when the real action began.

Where ever you are in your journey is the exact right place to be. Remember that! Once life takes you down a difficult road know that you have the ability and skill to choose how that difficulty dictates your life. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Breathe in the good, breathe out the bad.” and I am here to tell you that’s stupid. In times of strife, especially, one must take the good along with the bad as they are a package set. It is 100% okay, even necessary, to see and feel every inch of the bad, every little nook and cranny of it, in order to truly understand it. The good is you, the bad is you and both hold the answers you seek.

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Today’s Reason: 48!

Celebrated my 48th birthday on November 1st and this one was, by far, one of the best birthdays I have ever had! I did all of my favorite activities (yoga, hiking, got a massage, stayed at a fancy hotel, took a cooking class, ate a ton of beautiful and delish food), felt all the love from my family and friends, and didn’t even set that cheap Halloween wig on fire when blowing out my birthday candles! Best part of it all: no days lost to hangovers, no money nor time wasted on drunken ragers for other people, and no memories lost to black outs! (I did, unfortunately, get into an argument with a former drinking buddy but other people’s reaction to my sobriety is a subject for another post.)

In one year, so much has changed. I started off my 47th year of life with a weekend trip to wine country wherein my husband and I drank for 12 hours straight, joined 3 new wine clubs, purchased 16 bottles of wine, and were too hungover the next day to truly enjoy that fancy hotel or that beautiful food or do anything active whatsoever so started drinking/”celebrating” all over again! That was how I valued my time a year ago and that’s quite alright, acceptable to most even; but now, above all, I value presence, joy, learning and movement- all of which alcohol robbed me of for way too long.

Kicking off 48 with a 9 mile hike in
amazing Muir Woods!
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Today’s Reason: Fired

Yesterday, I was fired. I was working in the hospitality division at one of the most esteemed colleges in the country and after just a year, I was let go. “We decided to go a different direction and today is your last day.” I keep replaying that moment over in my head with disbelief that there was no warning prior, no concrete reasons as to why just, “Today is your last day.”

Anger took over. As soon those fateful words were spoken, I said nothing in response, turned away from my (former) boss and started calmly shutting my computer down. He also said nothing further- no thanking me for the long hours and 6-day work weeks I had put in, the myriad of successful processes I had created, the team of nearly 80 people I had built from zero, no tidings of good luck in my future, no offer of a reference even- instead, he left the room. I placed my badge and keys on the desk, said, “Wow, really? Really???” to the HR rep, picked up my purse and walked out.

I didn’t even clean out my desk, just left all of my personal effects behind and exited the building for the final time as fast as I could. Now, here I wallow sit in the feelings that remain: anger, sadness, disbelief, rejection, worry, shame, humiliation just to name a fun few. But, on the other side of this new hurdle I can see a glimmer of relief that it’s over and excitement for what’s to come.

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