Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Winter Solstice

Today, light begins increasing. We've been in Virginia three months. I've made a few adjustments. Rather than putting find a job as my first priority, I realized I needed to put taking care of myself at the top of the list. I felt so paralyzed about going back to the grind maybe because I realized that it won't work to keep skipping the step of taking caring care of my heart and health first. I've tried jumping back into the fray and hoping things will fall into place. It only works for a minute. Eventually, as I like to say, wherever you go, there you are. Which is not to say you can go lollygagging through life, but sometimes the timetables you set have no bearing upon how long it will take to make your journey. It's also not to say that you be knocked down into a fetal position. Previous down periods I've avoided going in search of myself. I felt like I needed to remain motionless, I felt unworthy of the joy of self discovery. Maybe this time I can change that.
Everything has literally been wiped clean, except mercifully for the ability for me to regroup and move on. I have, as the saying goes, all that I need for this journey. All that needs to be determined is where I will go.
I've been thinking a lot about women who, when they turn forty or fifty, feel liberated and unleashed to live as themselves. Maybe I can have that revelation early. If I am willing to really take care of me first, I can be who I really am and want to be all the time.
I've been keeping my eyes and ears open, mostly because from where I am now there is little I can do but observe, but I am starting to notice and hopefully learn. I am noticing my own body, how it changes in the course of a day. How I give lip service to treating it better with uneven results. Probably due to stress, my skin has been having a minor freak-out. The acne on my face has been replaced with dry, flaky patches and the rash on my arm that caused so much concern at the beginning of the summer came back. I've succumbed to a few cravings and I can watch my stomach expand after I have some dairy 'treat.' Some other ingredient also causes midsection to swell but I haven't figured out what it is. By some happenstance I caught a PBS special featuring that muscle-bound Dr. Perricone--he who touts skin and anti-ageing diets on Oprah and in bookstores. Anyhow, I stopped and listened to what he had to say about anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory supplements. I looked through my natural medicine books and remembered that I had embarked on a plan to revise my diet this summer. I n fact, I was sneaking up on a fast--but never did it. Anyhow, over the past few days, I've also noticed magazine articles and newspaaper features about some of the same supplements. Last night I was in CVS and they were having one of those buy-one-get-one free sales that they often have, but I'm never prepared for, on supplements. So I got a huge bottle of fish oil supplements (Omega3 and6) and (though the research is mixed) evening primrose oil, and chromium piccolinate. The chromium piccolinate was actually something an adolescent doctor recommended - and I blew off-- to moderate my then raging hypoglycemia. This time I am hoping it will help not only with glucose regulation but also with my tentative effort to lose twenty pounds or so. The fish and evening primrose oils should help with a variety of complaints. They are said to help with PMS (which I have with a vengeance. I should be locked in a small room before my period. It's when I do 'crazy' things like I did last week. My temper flares, life seems irredeemibly bleak, and I sob like a faucet) so that alone would make it worth trying. It also helps with metabolic regulation and acts as an anti-inflammatory. The fish oil, in fact, because of its anti-inflammatory effects is said to be helpful with lupus, arthritis and similar conditions. Perricone also recommended other supplements, but I need to review the tape. I think Glucosamine condroitin (sp) and Coenzyme Q 10.
I'm not sure of the efficacy of these things. But they are supposed to improve my skin, elevate my mood, help to even my metabolism. I'll certainly report back. But if my head is clear and my body is running smoothly, perhaps I can stem some of the anxiety I've been feeling and come up with some plan that I would actually be able to act on. I'm attempting to take care of myself in preparation for getting back to work rather than vice versa.
And you all know I love retail therapy. But I am noticing that when I pay attention to my emotional needs, I can be much more restrained. Much more. Yesterday, mom and I put a minor dent on the Macy's lingerie department--getting unexciting items like a flannel robe for me and new pajamas for Gram. I did more damage at DSW--God, I love DSW!-- where I bought four pairs of shoes. The old, buy-frenzy, rationalizing was there...I think, I mean now I actually am replacing things...but I made really good choices. I bought three pairs at 80% off and one at 40% off. In fact, I limited myself solely to the clearance rack. I spent a good chunk of cash, but I got shoes I could never afford otherwise. I got a completely fanciful pair of Prada platform slingbacks and some Casadei platform pumps that are just a joy to behold --if you are a shoe person--regular retail, they'd both be a rent payment. In fact, I saw the Pradas when we first got here and couldn't afford them even at DSW. But now I have them both for less than what one pair cost on discount. Plus I have a fabulous pair of Coach boots, that my mom thought were extra --"another pair of black boots!"--but these are fur trimmed. And my Target boots are not as fly as these! And isn't it what Barbara Bush would want? For me to have the best boots ever! But I don't want any more. After we were done, I wasn't thinking about the next time we go shopping. I still have to work on the MAC jones, but I am only wanting to buy the things I need. I haven't wanted to go because--without a job-- I don't need a thing. Of course, when I get a job I won't have (as much) time to shop. But I won't need anything else until then.
The things I have bought would certainly qualify as aspirational. When we were in Port Allen, I couldn't stand going to the store for things I needed. I remember going into the store and having a full freakout about the whole thing. I ended up with a pair of khaki pants and two t-shirts. Now I have better things. In part because fall and winter clothes are better, but mostly because when my nerves settled I was able to shop for things I needed for the life I wanted rather than the one I was experiencing. So I feel a little goofy putting on my nice coat, but I can't wear my Katrina gear to an interview--that's not who I am or want to be. Flashing back to all those people who took their FEMA cash to the Houston Galleria. I completely understand. Completely! Some took it to extremes, but I completely understand that you want to get started on a new life, a new perspective so you go out and get the uniform and trappings of that life.
Today I am going to call around about a temporary gym membership or yoga classes. It is way to cold to walk the streets, I need social interaction and I need to get my body moving.
I'll keep you posted...

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