Stage Ready….or Not

Corpus strand

Hello friends and subscribers!!! Here we are inhabiting our life on another Wednesday in the month of July and I am almost fully recovered from the events of last week. You know what this means!! It’s time for me to tell you all about it. As you may remember, my post last week or so was about those blasted roadblocks in life that try to prevent us from reaching our goals. The title of this post could just as easily be Veni Vidi Vici, but since I’ve already used that one it didn’t seem prudent to use it again. (Smile!)

Let’s get to it shall we? Hmmm…Where to begin is the question since it all blends together like a yummy green smoothie. A quick recap of the few days prior to Saturday perhaps is the best way to give you a picture of this event. Beginning the Sunday prior, it was necessary to begin over-hydrating the body with two gallons of water for two days. Then on Tuesday and everyday thereafter the amount of water decreased while the number of calories I was consuming also decreased from the previous week by approximately 1/3 for the same period of time.

The calorie decrease didn’t feel horrible from Monday through Wednesday because whenever my belly growled its displeasure about being empty, I’d simply drink a bunch of water until it FELT full. The other hard part was maintaining my normal level of activity during this period of time. It was almost impossible! Almost. There were several naps taken simply to avoid the pain of being hungry!

I saw my trainer almost daily during this time since the goal was to squeeze out every bit of glycogen from the muscle fibers. This doesn’t sound bad does it? Hah! When a stretchy band that has somewhere around 2 lbs of resistance feels like it weighs ten pounds, and your muscles refuse to cooperate no matter how many times your brain tells them to contract is not a walk in the park let me assure you.

By last Friday we were down to 1/4 of a gallon of water and the 1200 calories required to keep a body moving. Let me tell you something, I thought chugging two gallons of water was HARD, but that was nothing compared to knowing I had to make 30 oz of water last me the day, while feeling like my stomach was eating my spine. The good news was, Friday was a travel day to the venue which was five hours from home. Not a whole lot of energy expenditure taking place whilst sitting in the passengers seat.

balcony view

The picture above is the view from the balcony of our home for the weekend! Beautiful! Upon arrival, it was decided we ought to get the blood flowing a bit after five hours in the truck, so we went for a walk. I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt so needless to say, I was soaked in sweat by the time we finished since it was about 90* and humid in Corpus.

We went to the venue from there (after changing) for the athlete’s meeting and to get my first coating of spray tan. Nothing exciting here other than the fact that the spray tan was COLD, COLD, COLD and I felt like there was a sticky residue encasing me. The most exciting portion of my Friday was that I was able to eat a hamburger!! Oh my gosh!! I know, I know. It’s JUST a hamburger for goodness sakes, but let me tell you that if you, as a bread lover, go without eating bread for four or five months and then eat bread it tastes kinda like heaven when you do get to eat it!! Trust me.

The big day began early since Shauna is also training for her own show, so at 3:00 Saturday morning she was up and headed to the hotel gym for her sweatfest. I didn’t really need to be awake yet, but there was no going back to sleep. Some confusion began taking place because the makeup company had previously emailed me stating that they’d be located at the same hotel the athletes stayed at. However, when they texted the confirmation for my 4:45 a.m appointment, they were at a different hotel. Annoyance was a common feeling over the course of this day, and actually throughout the entire prep for the show. I didn’t let it bog me down though. Annoyed or not, things had to happen. We went to their hotel for my session and found that they were running 15 minutes behind, I was their last client and then they were moving to the venue.

We were both displeased with the job they did on my makeup. Thank goodness for the fact that Shauna is really quite the diva!! After makeup it was time to eat my waffle with real butter and IHOP syrup!! YUM! A second coating of spray tan….Brrrrrr and then it was time put my suit on and Shauna to fix the makeup job.

first makeup

Makeup job #1

Lipstick was a mess since I’d just eaten my waffle!

I have to tell you a secret. We’ve discussed the importance of having a reason, a raison d’etre, when we are aiming for a difficult goal. Knowing this and holding it in your mind will help you overcome the most difficult moments during your journey toward a given accomplishment. My “why” for completing this competition, come hell or high water, was simply to give myself more confidence. It sounds funny I know. You’re thinking to yourself, doesn’t one NEED confidence in order to walk across that stage, half dressed in a skimpy bikini in front of a few hundred strangers? The answer to that question is NO, not really. In order to walk across that stage you only have to fake the fact that you are confident. You have to pretend very well and tell yourself that you ARE good enough. You ARE beautiful. You ARE ready. You belong there.

I’ll leave you to chew on that a bit and guess what happened since I have to run. No worries though! As Arnold said, I’ll be back…. ha ha ha!

Until next time my friends!

Peace

~TlT

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Taking the High Road

Taking the road less traveled is often a struggle unto itself. Not only because the path has not been blazed before you, but also because sometimes walking a different virtual path means biting your tongue and changing long-held behavior patterns. Most of us homo-sapiens are absolutely creatures of habit, and this applies to good habits and those that are not so great as well. Even the best of habits can become self destructive if we take them to the extreme, but these habits are not the ones I am speaking of today.

The topic today is about behaviors that are so ingrained in who we are that we may not even realize that they’re self-destructive in nature. Behaviors such as allowing other people to treat us a certain way, eating foods we know are no good for us despite how yummy they taste, and negative self-talk are three that come to mind for me without much effort. If you look on many of our social media sites there are memes about the fact that we accept the love we think we deserve. It’s not only romantic love that this applies to. It applies to any relationship where we permit someone to treat us in a manner that makes us feel badly about ourselves in some way.

Unfortunately, the actions of others are not always overt or intentionally harmful to us, rather they are behavior patterns of that person that tend to sneak up on us and make us wonder if we truly have lost our minds. Do you have a friend that only seems to call you when they need to vent? Do you have someone in your circle who makes little, perhaps underhanded, comments about the way you dress, your weight or (for my lady friends) the way you wear your makeup? How about this. Maybe you have a friend who is never available for you, but there’s an underlying expectation that you should be available for them? Guess what? These are toxic behaviors!

If you notice these things, you have a few choices of course. You can accept it for what it is, you can discuss the behavior that bothers you with your friend, or at the extreme end of the spectrum, for the sake of your sanity, you stop associating with that person as much as you used to. You take the high road and leave them to their own devices and patterns of behavior. Don’t mistake what I’m saying about taking the high road as thinking you are somehow better than that person. That’s not the case at all. What I am saying is that we have to take ownership of our own behaviors and reactions to the behaviors of others in our lives. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

It makes sense that we’d feel some kind of way about being treated badly, even if accidentally. Relationships are funny animals aren’t they? We have to be willing to compromise and bend, able to see how our behaviors affect those around us, and of course, in order to make it better we may need to communicate our ideas and beliefs to others in a productive manner.  If you find yourself compromising your belief system repeatedly and coming out the other end of it feeling like you are somehow LESS than or not enough then my friend, it’s truly time to take a walk.

We cannot change others and therefore we have to move out of their space in order to allow them the space they need to grow, perhaps without us. Honestly, this is a difficult thing for me. Although a bit of an introvert (shhhhhh don’t tell anyone!) I do love socializing with my small circle of friends. As a magnet for all that is broken and lost, I also have a tendency to want to fix everyone and everything. This is a huge problem! We can love people for who and where they are in their lives, but it is not our responsibility to make them better somehow. Maybe they like where and who they are!

Recently, I told a friend that their pattern of behavior left me feeling unwanted despite their repeated attempts with words to make me feel otherwise. It’s my problem to be sure! Unfortunately, they continue to make excuses and hold to their own belief systems and comfortable patterns of behavior as a creature of habit. Sadly, this means that I have to exclude them from my inner circle as much as it breaks my heart to do so. I chose to take the high road. It’s difficult for me to say the least because I wish to be in their presence, but I won’t do it at the expense of my own self-image.

Take the road less traveled and make your own map!

Until next time my friends!

Peace

~TlT

 

The Best of Intentions

actions vs intention

This has been a repeated topic of conversation lately, and it is one that’s important to have at least once with those who are important in your life. Intention is the idea or the plan to complete a task or to behave in a particular manner. As human beings we have many intentions usually. We intend to behave a certain way. We intend to obtain our driver’s license when we turn 16. We intend to complete some version of a college degree by a particular age, etc., etc..

Here’s the issue though. The intent to do something is not the same as actually DOING that same thing. For instance, when I had the intent to complete an ultra-marathon distance running event, it was an idea that I wanted to run a specific distance at that event but, without a plan that intent means virtually nothing. What good is an idea without the follow through? If you intend to be a decent human being then your actions reflect that same intent and you ARE a decent human being most of the time. (None of us are perfect as humans, therefore we cannot assume that we’re always decent human beings since we have a tendency toward selfishness.)

Recently, a friend of mine told me that no matter what I said or did that they would never simply allow me to voluntarily walk out of their lives. Hmmm… Okay, but what would or could they actually do to prevent me from exiting their life? Do they actually have that much control over my intent and actions? How about their own intentions…Do they have enough control over their own lives at the moment so as to have the ability to prevent my exit? Could they put action behind their words so their intention matched action?

Now, this particular friend, maybe you have one similar to this, is someone who can sell ice cubes to Eskimos. One of those smooth talking individuals who has probably talked their way into and out of many different types of situations, and therefore is accustomed to people being persuaded by just their words. Unfortunately for them, though kind hearted at my core, I am not a sucker for words alone. If you talk the talk then you’d better be ready and willing to walk the walk as well.

Back in early November of last year, I entertained the idea of competing in a figure competition. It was my INTENT tocompete this summer. What did I do as a result? I completed some research, found people to emulate, talked to women who have competed and then created a plan that would get me closer to achieving that goal. There were actions that followed in the wake of my words. Unlike my previously mentioned friend, there wasn’t just talk but there was also the walk because I am a realist.

We can spout off words galore about the goals we have in life, but until and unless we put our money where our mouth is, we will not get any closer to achieving those goals without action. Some have told me that I am a pessimist or that I’m jaded and cold. Honestly, I don’t see myself that way at all. I have a huge heart that opens readily for those who demonstrate their willingness to reciprocate (shhhh don’t tell anyone!) Generally speaking, I believe peoplehave the best of intentions and have the same needs, wishes and desires as I do. However, it’s also common knowledge that we, as humans, are also often absolutely awful to each other. My goal is to allow people the freedom to show me what they’re capable of.

Show me. Don’t just use your words to whisper sweet nothings in my ear. Intention without action is worthless as were the words my friend said to me about allowing me to walk out of their life. The door into my life was closed firmly, and the only way for them to enter once again into my life is by taking definitive action to do so. I’m sad though because as I said, I expect the best from people and when they don’t live up to that expectation I’m left wondering what happened. Wasn’t I good enough to work for? Perhaps I need to lower my expectations? Or maybe, just maybe, the issue is theirs and I need to continue on my merry way owning the closed door and the boundaries they represent between action and intention.

Bad At Love….prose

As so often is the case, it’s easier for me to express emotion via writing than in the spoken word. I’ve been contemplating ways to express these feelings that have been sitting down deep in my gut for quite a while, so it’s not new feelings that are presented for your consumption.

They’re more like ongoing, continuous and ever-present feelings and a belief that I’ll be hard pressed to find a partner in this life who “gets” me and is willing and able to grow alongside me. This is not to say that I’m actively looking for that person though. I’d rather be by myself and happy with that situation than to ever again be in a relationship where feeling inadequate, lonely and hopeless were my daily companions. There’s something to be said for spending time solo.

Without further ado, here are three short pieces written in the last 24 hours or so. Let me know what you think! Also, I’m debating on providing you, my lovely and faithful readers, with snapshots from the YA fiction novel I’m currently writing. We shall see!

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                                       Silence is golden like autumn leaves. True love is a lie, a story you can’t make me believe. They’re fairytales told for the deaf, dumb and blind. To believe in them, I’m under no obligation. Call me cynical and jaded if you will, but even though I’m standing alone, I’m no longer standing still. ~T

                                          ******************************************************

                                         You said you wouldn’t let me just walk away, but here I am with my back turned and I haven’t heard from you in several days. You told me you loved me, we both know now that was a lie you deluded yourself into thinking was true, so you you could say it with conviction while looking into my eyes.  I never really believed you. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Now it has fallen like the tear drops I refuse. If I don’t allow them to fall, they’re not impossible to stop.  ~T

                                      *********************************************************

People use words to say they love you, but I’m saddened upon thinking those words hold very little meaning when their actions don’t hold true.

Feeling let down and yet no longer surprised when the sadness wells up behind these hazel eyes. 

Once more it is best to count on self, place feelings high up on an unseen shelf. Expect nothing so you won’t be deceived. It no longer matters what you want to believe.

Words hold no meaning at all, actions of the heart tell the real story. Love is a verb not simply a noun. Find me someday, if you dare, when you figure it out. 

~T                 

Bat at love image

Labels of Conformity

Recently, I had a conversation with my bonus daughter who also happens to be double degreed in social work. Per the norm, the topics discussed were those we are both passionate about, but the topic that has stuck in my mind due in part to recent social media posts, is about labels and conformity. Not labels like on the food we buy, rather labels that are placed on people, their behaviors and identities.

Labels serve a purpose otherwise we wouldn’t use them, but of what use are they to us in our daily lives? On food labels we are provided the identified food substance, it’s supposed percentage of this nutrient and that mineral, fat content and the like. The labels we give ourselves and others are not quite as useful as food labels. Should we walk around with labels on our person that signify whether we are white, black, brown, yellow or purple? No, it’s unnecessary and our color is truly irrelevant – at least in my mind.

Should we place labels on our person that tell others in our vicinity that we are married, single, divorced, separated, monogamous, polygamous or some variation of those specific terms? How about our income level, IQ, education, mental health status or employment status; should we post that information for all to see? Again, I argue that it’s not required information for the general public to know. Would we be judged based on that information should it be made readily available? Absolutely we would be judged! Humanity has preconceived ideas about what specific segments of society should look and behave like, and therefore if those labels stated above, to name a few, were readily available to any and all who wished to see, judgment would occur.

Okay, let’s get to the heart of the matter and the labels that are bothersome for a vast majority right now: lesbian, bisexual, queer, homosexual, gay, transexual, pansexual, asexual, non-binary…. This morning, I saw pieces of a video where a person with medical experience refuted the idea that one could be born gender female but have a male gender identity. She said something to the effect that it represents a mental illness that should be treated in the same way as psychiatric illnesses.

Here’s my problem, we do not yet know all there is to know about the way in which the human brain functions, and we’re finding out more and more information about those functions that were not known previously. It used to be thought that if the corpus callosum (the membrane that separates the left side of our brain from the right) was severed, one would no longer have access to those traits generally attributed to the non-dominant side of our brain. This was found to be false, in fact. Another interesting facet of the brain is that when forced to do so it will literally rewire itself in order to circumvent an injured portion. What does this have to do with the subject of the aforementioned labels? Great question, thanks for asking!

It has a lot to do with the labels we are currently finding necessary to prejudge, segment and segregate our population with. Yes, I said it. We are segregating, subjugating and creating more of a mess than is necessary simply because we find it necessary to not only shun what we don’t understand (the human brain), but also to label everything for the purpose of creating clarity within our society. Labels, as my beautiful bonus daughter pointed out, are necessary right now because it affords those groups protection from the ignorant (hopefully) and grants access to programs that would otherwise be unavailable to them by virtue of their specific label. Ugh! It’s a circle my friends!

Why do we insist on making others feel badly about who they are in order to make ourselves feel better? Does it matter to your life if your neighbor believes themselves to be female though their body looks male? Why do you care? Aren’t they first and foremost simply a human being? They bleed the same color as you. Feel the same pain as you. Why does it matter if you agree with them or not? Is it necessary for us all to agree with this concept of being transgender? I think not. Who am I to tell someone that they do not believe, do not feel, do not think or should not believe, feel or think they are the gender they present to the public? Who are you to decide?

I say, live and let live. If their way of life is not to your choosing that’s cool. Nobody is asking you to live the way they do. Nobody is asking for permission to feel a certain way. Do you honestly believe in your heart of hearts that the majority of the people with these labels would CHOOSE to be ostracized, criticized and possibly threatened on a daily basis if there was a choice? Wouldn’t it be so much easier to simply conform to what society wishes of them? I’m going to answer my own question for you. Absolutely it would be easier to conform!

Ah, but why did the original colonies flee Europe so long ago? They fled so that they could be free and would not have to conform! I feel compelled to also say to those of you who want to throw the concepts of Western religion into the mix that until you personally speak to God and he tells you his opinion of all this, it is not our place as fallible human beings to judge.

Finally, allow me to throw a statistic into this topic for you. 41% of transgender identified people try to kill themselves at some point in their lives, compared with 4.6% of the general public. The numbers come from a study by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute. I won’t even start on the suicide statistics for any of the other labels we insist on giving other human beings. The data is all there on the wonderful world wide web.

Are we all meant to conform to one ideal? I surely hope not!

Until next time my friends

Peace

~TlT

Choosing Your Battles

Anyone with children can certainly relate to this issue. The trash is obviously happily overflowing, there are dishes in the sink waiting to be placed with loving care into the empty dishwasher, there’s fluff from the most recent dog toy laying like little pieces of an impossible jigsaw all over the floor and empty pop tart, chip, and cereal containers of various shapes and sizes wherever they were deserted by some absent minded soul. Towels invade the bathroom floor, clothes on the bedroom floors look as dejected as the ugly pet store puppy nobody wants and please don’t get me started on the tablespoon of milk remaining in the bottom of the one gallon jug of milk.

Yet, there are three perfect and able bodied young people living here who must be completely blind and deaf too. They must be blind to the glare they’ve received every single day when the crumpled bits of refuse are thrown in the trash by the hand of another. They must be deaf to the sound of a mysterious voice reminding them daily that there is not a maid or a butler available to be at their beck and call and clean up after them. Mom does start with the same letter as maid, however, that is where the similarities end, or at least that is what they’re told. I’m beginning to wonder though if this a true statement.

Equally true though, is the fact that none of the aforementioned trio have been in any serious trouble at school unlike many of their peers. Their grades, though not living up to the potential believed of them, have been above mediocre and in some cases even occasionally outstanding. Their manner of dress is not outlandish nor is the makeup worn by the eldest, despite parental protestations, garish or otherwise inappropriate for her age group. Generally speaking, this trio is mindful of their manners, treat others with compassion and respect, and they are well behaved, inside our home and even more importantly when they’re not within my earshot.

Will I continue to fuss at them about their rooms looking like natural disasters and the towels that persist in hanging out on the floor despite the empty hooks on the wall? Yes, I shall. However, the key point here is that there is a choice to be made by me as their parent as well as them as thinking children. You see, they’ve been taught well and are familiar with the concept of cause and effect. Each of them have experienced the the laws, if you will, of action and reaction.  I can make the choice to ride their backs constantly about every little detail that is not done to my expectation. A choice can be made to make them feel inadequate or wrong somehow about their particular choice in clothing and accessories, makeup and even the manner in which they style their hair.

On the other hand, the choice can be consciously made to fight the important battles that are necessary for their safety and well-being. Respect is a two way street even with our children, and if we expect silent compliance we’re not raising children but automatons who will eventually rebel like there’s no tomorrow because they’ve not lived through the consequence of poor choices previously. Our children are not miniature representations of us, rather they are portrayals of how we treat others. They are reflections of every bit of us, the good and the bad both. Personally, I’d rather make the choice to battle over the importance of an education and respecting the viewpoints of others than whether or not the overflowing trashcan is ignored.

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t talk to our children about the importance of a clean home, but to ask ourselves the question: what’s more important in this moment – to be right with a spotless house? Or, is it more important to have a mutual conversation about whatever may be weighing on their over-stimulated minds and leave the dishes waiting in the sink for another 30 minutes?

Choose wisely my friends..Until next time

Peace

~TlT

 

Irony or Serendipity?

Ironically, tomorrow it will be one year since my last blog post though this is not for lack of my trying. For one reason or another I was unable to post anything to my blog for at least the last six months! At some point, I just kind of gave up and figured it would work itself out after I’d contacted WordPress and asked them about it, only to be told that I’d not been locked out of my account and they could not detect any malfunctions.

Humph! I was stumped, but one of the lessons I’ve been repeatedly presented with is that I cannot control every single thing in my life and those things which I cannot control must be let go of. This doesn’t mean it is not important or that I can’t revisit the idea, rather it means I must not drive myself crazy with attempting to remedy the situation at every turn. Let it go. Sounds like a song….oh wait! It IS a song!

There’s no way for me to catch you up with all that has happened in my crazy life in the last year in just one blog post, so I won’t bore you with all the details. Suffice it to say, my marriage was finally, officially dissolved and life has taken on new and exciting possibilities. Of course, there are many responsibilities, such as parenthood and employment, that have continued on, but somehow it’s all a little different when one is doing it without a partner.

There are three big events happening in my life right now and if you’ve been following my journey for a while you are already in the know. However, for those of you who do not know me personally or not well the three events are: I’m competing in my first “figure” competition in six weeks, I’m writing an autobiography of sorts that has been in the background of my mind for several years and finally, I’m writing a novel with my soon to be 14 year old daughter! All of these are risky for me personally, however, I firmly believe with my entire being that they are also necessary for personal growth. We will not grow from a stagnant pond (life). There must be movement and with movement comes risk because we can’t know the outcome of our endeavors until such time as we complete the task we attempted.

The title of today’s blog, irony or serendipity is apt because I’d been wanting to post but couldn’t, and now I really NEED to make sure I have an audience willing to buy in to what I have to say. It’s a bit hard to drum up interest for a book without an audience wouldn’t you say? Smile! Bear with me as we explore this portion of our journey without a map to guide our path. It will be entertaining to be sure!

Peace

~TlT