Always Wear Sunscreen

Something that I have always wished I was good at is song writing. Actually, I wish I was a better musician in the first place. There is some history of musical inclination that runs in my family, mostly on my dad’s side, and I do have some ability to pick up an instrument and play it. But sometimes I hear a brand new song on the radio and literally feel robbed, like Taylor Swift REALLY snuck into my brain and read my thoughts and stole them and wrote a new hit single. Right.

I think the first time I realized that writing a song was going on my bucket list was in the 9th grade. I remember it was almost summer and this strange song started being played. And I know y’all know it. It is called Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen. At first I loved it, then I hated it, then I rediscovered it on iTunes a few weeks ago and now I’m back to loving it. I mean, it’s actually quite brilliant when you think of it, and even though I made fun of some of the things he was trying to bestow upon our culture when I was only 14 years old, a mere 12 years later I can actually see so much truth to what this dude is saying.

In sharing some of what Baz (who names their kid Baz?) says, let me just say first that I really, really, really wish it was me who wrote this. More than I wish I had written Love Story. Or any of the Journey songs.

Don’t read beauty magazines…they will only make you feel ugly.

Can I getta Amen?

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.

You’re not as fat as you imagine.

Tonight I went to this comedian concert thingy with Brian’s two sisters, and even though I had had an emotional day and wasn’t really up for it, I am so very glad I went. Her name is Anita Renfroe, and she is a lot funnier than I was expecting. Don’t you think the best comedians are the ones who don’t need to come up with material by their own devices? I think the funniest people in the world are the ones who make fun of human nature. It’s the perfect material because we can all relate to it AND we all need to laugh at ourselves a little bit more. That’s why everyone loves Russell Peters even though he is outrageously politically incorrect.

Anyways, I am way off track.

My point about Anita Renfroe is that tonight she connected me back to earth, back to human nature, back to this place where I don’t need to feel as much pressure as I have been feeling lately. She reminded us all that we’re not perfect, and it felt SO good to laugh as hard as I did about that. I think I may have even laughed a little too hard, actually. But I suppose that’s what you get when you have a big cry right before a big laugh. The two just totally play off each other, don’t they?

And my point about Baz Luhrmann and his Wear Sunscreen song is that it’s important not to take life too seriously, hey? Of course none of as are fat as we imagine. And Anita said tonight that crossing into her 40’s was bliss because she just stopped caring about body image. I’m not going to wish away the next 14 years and impatiently long for my 40’s, but I am going to start practicing for them. I am starting now. Are you with me?

So maybe one day that song of mine that is lingering in my subconscious mind will get written, and it will be brilliant. But for tonight I don’t mind borrowing someone else’s wisdom. I’m just here to pass it on.

Wear Sunscreen.

~C

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Too Close for Comfort

It seems appropriate to me that my first post to you from my new website be so meaningful and intentional. Sometimes I forget why I started writing in the first place, but then I am reminded that it’s to share my story; the hard-to-describe feelings that I carry inside of me that are so very universal, yet incredibly hidden in our society. So, welcome to this site, and welcome to my journey if you are new. And to those of you who have stuck with me from the start, brace yourselves for what I am about to tell you…

Without realizing it, without knowing it was coming, without a conscious thought or effort, and without realizing the potential consequences, I almost relapsed this week

Allow me to preface the rest of this post with I didn’t, but it was still scary as hell.

Along with the rest of the Fraser Valley this winter, I came down with the 120-day flu (or so it seems) that had me on a rollercoaster of varying degrees of symptoms and aches and pains and sniffles and coughing for weeks…and nausea and vomiting. For whatever reason, last year I didn’t come down with a flu that made me puke, but this year it hit hard. And it was really fine in the beginning. I was handling it well, being honest about it with people and knew I was really sick. Then once I got through the actual nausea part of the flu, I got that freaking post-nasal drip thing (excuse the gory details) that made me cough until I gagged. And I’m pretty sure that because I had been throwing up for weeks due to the flu, my brain was thinking, “she’s gagging…let’s throw up”. It was bad. On Sunday when Tam and I were on our way home from Seattle we stopped at the Tulalip Outlets. We had a bathroom break first and when I got into the stall the smell of the person before me was so overwhelming that I ended up losing my whole lunch and probably breakfast, too. Again, sorry for so many details. This was the first indication to me that something was wrong. In my whole life I don’t think I have ever thrown up because of a bad smell. And then twice more this week something rubbed me the wrong way or I felt sick, and bam…there goes Miss Christina running for the bathroom.

Now, all of this might sound fairly innocent to you out there, but I’m not sure it is entirely. When I made the decision to end my addiction to bulimia 18 months ago, I had to make a conscious effort every single day not to throw up no matter how badly I wanted to. There were days where I literally wrestled with the voices in my head and with my body to not let myself throw up. Did I lose sight of that will inside of me? Did I really have to throw up every time I felt sick? I can’t say for sure, but I got really, really scared this week.

On Tuesday I went to ARH to visit my dear friend who is a nurse in the NICU. We met in the Starbucks and had a nice visit talking about all the latest gossip (except that there isn’t any, really), and catching up on each other’s lives. Of course 10 minutes before her break ended I felt this overwhelming urge to “confess”, although confess to what I’m not sure exactly. I told her everything I just told you, and she listened as patiently as you are listening now. And she didn’t freak out or act like I needed to be admitted into the psych ward that minute (even though ironically we were located just below it!). No, she just supported me and told me it was going to be okay. And when we hugged goodbye at 6pm, she reminded me of all the people who love me and that she would be thinking of me and cheering me on. *insert sigh of relief here*

I feel like I dodged a bullet. Like I was falling from grace at a rapid speed but angels caught me just before I hit the ground. And maybe there were angels present. Maybe my friend who cares for the sickest and tiniest of babes in Abbotsford is an angel herself. Who knows?

But unlike the last time I went through this, this time I’m more determined and focused and willing than ever to keep. on. fighting. And fight I will. I will fight for my freedom from this crippling disease. I will fight for my health. I will fight against this sucky winter weather. I will fight against this lingering cold/flu. I will fight for my right to overcome challenges and obstacles and insurmountable giants. I will fight for my life. And for my relationship. And for my family and friends.

Whatever giants you are facing this week, you can take them on, friend. Put on those boxing gloves, and, like Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality, beat the s**t out of anyone who tries to stop you from being the best you can be.

I’m cheering for you. It’s my song.

~C

>R n’ R

Isn’t it amazing how 2 days can seem like 10, and at the same time those exact 2 days can seem like a split second? That’s what my weekend was all about. Moments that both lasted an eternity and ended in the blink of an eye all at once. I could cry thinking about it; about how nothing and everything happened that brought me back to this place of peace.

My dear friend (who you will remember from this post and who’s blog you can check out here) and I decided weeks ago that enough was enough and a road trip/get-away/girls-only weekend was in order. How badly I needed such an escape was beyond me at the time, but I’m so glad there is someone out there who knows our every need before even we do.
A little glimpse of our weekend in pictures…

 

 

Best Western in Pioneer Square—highly recommend this hotel! Ocean view AND city ‘scape.



We like being 5…





 

  

It wasn’t her birthday. Haha.



Bye bye Ocean



YES I am wearing two pairs of glasses. I’m cool like that. Few can pull it off.



Only in America, folks. Only in America.



And so we arrive home. Slightly poorer, slightly unhealthier, but SO very relaxed, and so very ALIVE!


I don’t need to get into the whole shpeel with you guys about the importance of ‘me time’, do I? You all surely know how imperative it is to our mental and emotional health as women-who-do-too-much to just hit the open road and say to hell with it all once in awhile? Just to drive the point home, though: DO IT. Drive away. Yes, your life is going to be waiting for you when you get back, but take a little breather. Pray for nice weather. Or don’t. Stay locked in your hotel room. We did that, too.
Strangely, one of the best parts about this weekend was being with someone I don’t feel the need to be polite to. Does that make sense or just sound harsh? I guess what I mean is that this girl and I can seriously just let it all hang out when we’re around each other. There is no faking it, no false front. And sometimes it is REALLY nice to just be not-polite. I was trying to pay for something yesterday, and without even thinking about it I demanded that she give me a dollar.Demanded. And without even blinking she did. So great to have friends like that, isn’t it?
Plan something. I dare you. And then go. Even when, like me, you have bills to pay and homework that is due mere days after you get home. Go because it will be worth it, even if and when things go wrong like flat tires or empty gas tanks. It will be okay because it always is, and things are so much funnier when you are stuck on the side of the road with a good friend who will laugh with you. And when you get back make sure you tell me all about it, okay? Or better yet, take me with you!
~C

>To Everything, Turn, Turn, Turn

>It’s a little bit early to be writing this, as I was thinking I would wait till maybe March or April. But what the hay?

After I wrote the S.A.D. post, I got some amazing feedback from you guys out there. Some of you can relate all too well to what I’m going through which is comforting, but also too bad. I’m sorry so many of you are sad right now. But the general theme in regards to the feedback I received was that there is HOPE! Spring, though far away as it may seem, is actually right around the corner. Last night Brian and I took a nice, long, brisk walk for the first time in 2011, and I was actually peeling back layers instead of shivering my butt off. And today I left my coat in the car when I went to get groceries. It’s a miracle, people!
I don’t read my bible enough, even nearly enough, but my favourite part is the when it talks about seasons changing. Even you non-bible reading people out there will be familiar with what I am talking about, because in 1959 The Byrds came out with a super catchy song that is entirely based on the book of Ecclesiastes. You can check it out here if you want.
My favourite part?
A time to build up, a time to break down

A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

Things at work are going really well at the moment, and without using any words I think the girls and I are realizing that we go through seasons as a team, too. Things aren’t the same 2 months in a row, and that’s okay. My chin is up, my game is on. We’re in the home stretch now; less than 5 months to go. These kids are going to learn their ABC’s and 123’s whether they like it or not! ; )
My family is experiencing a changing of seasons, as well. At some point or another each of my family members has had their turn to overcome obstacles, and now it’s my brother’s turn to shine. Yesterday, February 9th, he celebrated his 1 year of sobriety anniversary and we are very proud of him. Here is to many, many more seasons of strength and success for him!
And I, personally, am overcoming a particular obstacle as well. For the first time in a long time I feel totally free to care for myself without the fear of obsession or addiction. In January, I started meeting with a personal trainer at my gym in preparation of the Vancouver Sun Run which I will take part in come April, and she has been such a blessing. For many years I have been running and enjoying it very much, but having something to work towards is a reward in itself. It’s my season to shift my paradigms and addictive tendencies.
And another change that is coming with the new season has to do with this blog…it’s not going anywhere, but I have had bigger dreams for it recently, and soon it may shift from a blog to a webpage. I don’t know when or how at the moment, but those answers are coming soon and I am excited and inspired. Stay tuned, friends.
Thanks for having my back. Thanks for being brave and sticking your neck out and offering such kind words (and such attentive ears) even when it’s scary to be honest. We’re totally gonna rock out the rest of this winter and party when the birds start singing once again.
Smile even when you don’t feel like it, guys. It helps.
~C


>S.A.D.

>I really, really wasn’t planning on writing about this. Honestly. I have been putting it off and putting it off, but since I am an ambassador for honesty around these parts, I will suck it up and get this out there.


Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Is it just me?

Seasonal Affective Disorder: also known as the Winter Blues, is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter (or less frequently in the summer, spring or autumn).

Some of you will remember the big decision I had to make last year regarding my half-dose of Welbutrin, a mild anti-depressant. If not, you can read about it here and here. It wasn’t an easy choice to make. I stayed on it until October and then stopped. I will tell you the truth: one day my prescription ran out and I was too lazy to refill it. Worst. Excuse. Ever.

If you read those past entries, you will notice that I was struggling a lot with the weather. I waited a loooooong time to go on the AD’s, but I probably should have done it sooner. Now I am confused again. Going off them cold-turkey had to have been a horrible idea as well. Sigh…will I ever get my act together?

Bottom line? Taking them is back on the table. Again. Geez.

I talked it out with Brian and he, of course, is playing for Team Healthy Christina; Whatever it takes. Bless his heart.

I guess the point of this post was to be honest about things, and also to get some feedback from you. Once again I am feeling alone, but that is quite possibly because no one wants to admit they are sad right now. But I am doing it: I admit that I am sad. I want sun. I want warmth. And it’s only…February.

Hope you all like the new template. The snowy trees just had to go. They were bringin’ me down.

Enjoy this week, friends.

~C