New Year, Not A New Me

“NEW YEAR, NEW ME!” 

Naw, not really, but it sounds nice every December 31st and January 1st that rolls around, no? 

Truth be told, I don’t want to create a new me, nor do I aspire to be an entirely new version of myself.  For the most part, I like who I am.  I cannot even write or say, “for the most part” because that implies that there are some aspects of my being that I dislike, and that is not quite accurate either.  With each December 19XX or 20XX calendar page I have torn away, I have often vowed to do this, do that, do less of this, and do more of that, but I have gone about this in a way that can be described only as a hybrid of anal-retentiveness and obsessive compulsivity.  Not so much in good ol’ 2019.  YES, I have set goals and challenges for myself and some of them rather lofty.  However, I am tackling my resolutions much differently this year.

My 2019 resolutions have the purpose of guiding me in the development of an improved version of myself but are not meant to create a second draft of who I am or who I have become.  My resolutions will not be the be all end all.  I can no longer be the woman who is 100% stressed 100% of the time, especially when said stress is of my own doing.  I have plenty of stress and pressure derived from situations that are out of my control.  *Note to self: for 2020, consider being less of a control freak so situations that are out of your hands do not bring you to a screech.

The be all end all is defined as something or someone who is considered to be a perfect specimen or the best and most desired

Can I share with you a secret?  I have already backslid on some of my resolutions, and I am only four days into the year, but it is OKay, and I am OKay.  Why is such an early backslide so acceptable in 2019 when it has not been in the past?  Well, if you have not been paying attention, it’s because my new year’s goals, challenges, and resolutions are acting as a guide.  I have let go of the need and expectation(s) upon myself to execute my resolutions on a level of perfectionism that only Karen Horney can conceptualize.

Since my NYC run, I have been lackadaisical.  The weather has been bitterly cold in Maine, with black ice making outside running troublesome at best.  Also, the gym at work was closed for several weeks, and so, for the last two months of 2018, my running has been null.  Despite these pitfalls, I registered for Run the Year 2019, which averages to 5.5 miles per day.  I have run three days in a row, but not once have I run the 5.5 miles.  1985-2018 Amy would have been angstful that she is already behind.  2019 Amy recognizes that there are no rules.  The fact of the matter is, after two months heavy-laden with slothfulness, I’ve put some miles on my shoes . . . I’m doing it!  This in itself is cause for a pat on the back.  Before I took Radin for his first jaunt of the year and before I hit the (finally reopened) gym, I forgave myself for being temporarily inactive and reminded myself of the following: I have stopped and started many a time, I will make gains, I will get back to previous PRs and PBs, I will get back to and improve my stamina and endurance, and I will increase my distances in comparison with last year.  As “they” say, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and as you can read, I have a lot of will; determination will overcome any obstacle.

While dropping the first f-bomb of 2019, and pretty early on January 1st, I did not decide to give up on my quest to not engage in such shitty language.  <~~ C’mon, you know that’s funny.  Seriously though, I would like to filter myself a bit better.  I know I likely will not eradicate my sailor mouthed ways, but I can reserve my cussing for appropriate times: humor (see above) and when faced severe duress.

This year, I am / will be far less focused on being perfect and meeting challenges perfectly.  So, for 2019, I have the following ambitions:

  • My resolutions will not be the be all end all
  • Run the Year 2019 (2,019 miles in 2019)
  • Goodreads goal: 67 
  • Continue to chip away at my Day Zero Project (BUT . . . do not set a specific number of goals to tick off the list)
  • Daily devotional (if a day is missed, don’t give up – do two the next)
  • Swear less
  • Do the right thing(s) in life, even when / though it is painful
  • Be kind to myself should I not meet or exceed all of my goals

I am proud to report that I am off to a satisfactory start, mostly at being kind to myself for shortcomings.  With each new day, my focus is on the previous day’s successes.  With the proper mindset, every day is that fresh start we chase all the year through.

 

 

 

 

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You Trim Hair Like a Badass, but Your Personality Doesn’t Make the Cut

IMO, it is important to find oneself a good hairdresser or barber.  I am poor at finding time for myself, in regards to pampering.  Set me up in a room with craft supplies and a list of people to please, and I will devote every last nanosecond of free time I have . . . to / for others.  For myself?  Eh, not so much.  I recently committed to getting my nails manicured consistently, and though I have stuck to this regimen and have begun to enjoy nicely painted nails, I am constantly fighting the urge to flee from this routine.  It has been a month and a half, which means I have gone three times.  I always find an excuse not to follow through for myself: time, money, scheduling, etc.  It’s only a matter of time.

I have naturally curly hair.  It has been surprisingly difficult to find someone who can cut curly hair well.  After a run on terrible hair experiences, and I do mean abhorrent, I finally found a woman who can cut my tangled mass of coiled tresses like a badass.  In my imaginative fantasyland, I ideally sport long and flowing mermaid length hair, resting luxuriously atop my shoulders and cascading beautifully down my back.  The harsh reality is, this look just does not work for me.  As lovingly stated by my Mum, “It’s not your hair that’s the problem.  It’s your face.”  That, my virtual friends, was one of those phrases that just “did not come out right,” but I knew full well what she meant.  Long hair does not suit me, mainly due to the shape of my face, which I don’t even know how to describe.  I find that long hair, even shoulder length, makes me look tired, borderline haggard.  So, I have accepted a chin length, asymmetrical cut as my trademark hairstyle.  If I do say so myself, it is pretty adorable, and I just look . . . like Amy.  With that being said, as much as I am thrilled to have an undeviating hairstyle and a favorable haircut, it may be time for me to break up with my salon artist.

Over the course of two or three years, I have fought against my unwillingness to spend my money and time on myself, and I have gotten a trim and touch up approximately every eight weeks.  However, I find myself growing ever more uncomfortable with my hairdresser.  I do not doubt that she is a delight amongst her family and friends, but I find that I tend to leave her shop feeling worse about myself instead of better.  I also suspect that perhaps she is slightly vindictive.

About the latter . . . 

Here’s a recap of my September – November 2016:

  • Faint
  • Fall into the shower
  • Hit my head
  • OUCH
  • Concussion
  • Months of recovery
  • To this day, problems with memory

I am one of the quite fortunate and lucky ones who has faced a head injury head on (see what I did there, huh, huh, huh?) and returned to normal (OKay, so MY version of normalcy) relatively expediently and to about 98% – 99%.  However, over a year later, I still have some difficulty with my memory and the occasional bout of brain fog.  When my injury was raw and I was not permitted to drive, work, or even run, I missed a haircut appointment.  I completely forgot about it.  (Mind you, I never received a courtesy reminder call – more on this later.).  So, the following are reasons I assume she is vindictive:

  1. She rescheduled me for a bright and early Saturday morning, which was the very next day.  When I arrived for my new appointment, she told me that she was booked, that my appointment was for another day.  I had gotten up at 0600 to be there on time, merely to be turned away, and since that was indeed my appointment, I had to yet again reschedule.
  2. For another appointment, I was penciled in for a color, and she sent me on my way after the cut.  Mind you, most people would have spoken up, but that’s already not in my nature . . . and I’m typically willing to get out of there ASAP.
  3. My trim has seemingly, and without warning, skyrocketed in cost from approximately $20.00 to $35.00.
  4. Let us not forget the time that her sister, employed as the shop manager and personal assistant to the beautician, called me to indicate I had missed “ANOTHER!!” appointment, when it was the beautician herself who had requested to reschedule due to a scheduling conflict.  I could hear her spouting off in the background, and it wasn’t what I would consider professional or kind, even though this blunder was definitely her error.

Here’s the “more on this later” from above. . . So, it is unreasonable to call me the day before to remind me of an appointment, but it is perfectly acceptable to call and harass me at what is perceived to be my faux pas?

Needless to say, after months (over a year’s worth of months, in fact) of what can be described only as passive aggressive behavior, I was already prepared to make last night’s appointment my final visit.

About the former . . . 

Why / how does my hairdresser make me feel uncomfortable?

  1. Being aware of the fact that I am a runner and have lost weight due to my running, she has referred to me as a “bigger girl,” and has even gone on to say that being a bigger girl is OKay because I have a heart of gold.  Before I lost weight, yeah, I could afford to lose a few pounds, but she didn’t even know me then.  Why would she even feel the need to discuss my size with me or with anyone else for that matter?
  2. She shares stories that are far too personal.  We are not friends.  I do not need to, nor do I want to, know the inner workings, or lack thereof, of previous marriages, current relationships, and perhaps, future rendezvous.
  3. Last night, she told another woman, a perfect stranger to me, that my Mum and Dad “spoil [me] BAD.”  What is this tidbit based on?  Am I an only child?  Yes.  Am I spoiled?  In some regards, absolutely.  However, that is not her business nor is it the business of strangers.  FYI, I just so happen to work my ass off, and I have worked for and fairly earned everything I have accomplished, own, etc.
  4. She regularly finds a way to ding my self esteem. It could be a simple inquiry: “Have you gained weight?”  (Even if I had, have, or do . . . why ask?).  The ding can also come in the form of a statement, “You have grey hairs.”  (Perhaps they are a result of the mere stress of looking ahead to my hair appointments . . . ).

My beautician cuts hair like a badass, but her personality suckity sucks. 

Last night, I politely declined to book a future appointment.  The woman who colored my hair before my NYC trip was delightful, and I would like to sample her cutting skills.  If she too is a badass with unruly curls, I may have found myself a new go-to.

Backstory: I sought another colorist because the woman I’ve been blogging about made it fairly obvious that she did not want to lay lavender highlights in my hair.  However, she had the gaul to portray herself as hurt and offended when my hair was indisputably recently colored but another.  In hindsight, perhaps it was my recent stint with another’s chroma that triggered the comment about the importance of highlighting my hair due to the greys I have sprouting.  Now I don’t know whether this example more appropriately belongs in the vindictive section or should remain in the why I’m uncomfortable segment.  But I digress . . .

So, what is the point of this wordy diatribe triggered by follicle folly?  I wish I could say / write that the point is to assert that I am unaffected by others’ perception(s), but it’s not.  The point is to express that yes, I am indeed insulted, and yes, her words have stung me on multiple occasions, but it remains well within my power to control just how much damage she can cause my self-esteem and psyche.  I have shared my displeasure as a means of letting it go.  Afterall, who exactly is she to me?  She is nobody.  She’s merely a woman who provides a service.  I am not obligated to continue to see her, she is not connected to me via bloodline or hanging from the same branch on a family tree, she is merely a blip on the roadmap of my life.  It was several years ago that I began to eliminate blips that had the potential to become potholes along the road to my own happiness.

In summary, I am done shelling out $40.00+ for snide remarks, rude commentary, and unprofessionalism.  So, I have a few grey hairs.  I can guarantee, despite the belief that I am spoiled rotten, that I have earned every one of those greys fair and square.

P.S.  If you benefit in no way from this smörgåsbord of verbiage, I hope there is at least one takeaway: be kind – to others and to yourself.

 

But Am I For Really Real?

A fleeting thought as I sit at my desk . . .

If I update my blog while I’m working, am I technically being paid to blog?  If so, does this make me a “real” blogger?

I have the tendency to downplay every. single. thing. I do or am involved in, whether it’s professionally, athletically, or even pertaining to my hobbies.  I delineate a “real” blogger as an individual who is either paid to write or has a large following.  I consider and describe myself as an amateur blogger, which is accurate because:

noun

  1. a person who engages in a pursuit [ . . . ] on an unpaid basis.

adjective

  1. engaging or engaged in without payment; nonprofessional.

 

However, does being a dilettante in a given element make the dabbler or their participation any less “real” in comparison with those who have garnered more experience?

When I am recognized for working at the police department, I am often asked if I’m an officer, and my response is typically, “I’m just a crime analyst.”  When I have spoken fondly of a colleague who is a fellow long distance runner, I have, on more than one occasion, stated, “But Sandy’s a real runner.”

I have a habit of devaluing myself; it is a behavior that I regularly exhibit, but I have recently begun to notice just how prominent this trait is.  During an afternoon stroll with Leola, a co-worker who I have befriended over the years, I discussed with her exactly what I have drafted above.  “That’s a character flaw.  You don’t have many, but that’s one of them.  You can quote me in your blog.”

So, today marks the day that I attempt to alter the impression of myself I have left on . . . ME.  I’m a real blogger.  I’m a real runner.  I’m not just anything.  I’m real because I’m present, I’m trying, I’m doing.

download

 

Soul searching is onerous.

Ocular Ode

There are days that I yearn to write; I crave the process, yet I’m seemingly uninspired.  I took a moment to Google search journal prompts, and I stumbled upon 52 Weeks of Self-Discovery Prompts  for Your Bullet Journal.  Granted, this isn’t my bullet journal (yet another task I’ve been meaning to start / try), but perhaps relying on a prompt will satisfy my desire to write.  Self-discovery is not a bad path to meander along sporadically.

What is your favorite physical characteristic (face or body)?  Describe a time you felt proud of that feature.

As mentioned in a previous post entitled I LOVE ME: Mission #1, my eyes are my favorite physical characteristic, at least facially.  Body wise, I think my answer could be my legs.  But I digress . . .

At the ripe ol’ age of 12ish, maybe 13 . . . You know, those middle school years and that age when one learns and experiences that other children are mean . . . I was taunted incessantly for having such large eyes.  I do believe (and by “I do believe,” I mean, I totally know and remember) being called “Bug Eyes.”  Even at that age, I was well aware that my eyes were a focal point of my appearance, but I do not remember in what capacity other than being deemed the eyes of bug.

They’re my eyes; they’re blue and they’re allegedly big, but they’re all I’ve ever known so I do not see them as being particularly large.  <~~~ This was my perception and thought process then, and I maintain it to this day, to some degree.  Hindsight is oftentimes 20 /20, as they say, and yeah, they’re of considerable size, but I’m not twinning with a tarsier!  Tarsiers are adorable, btw.

tarsier

*Image obtained from: animals-zone.com

In 1999, my Gramps passed.  He and I were close, and I will forever mourn his death when there are milestones in my life that he is not present for; I think he’d be proud of me.  And no, I am not going off on an entirely unrelated tangent – I always loop it around, just wait for it.  When my Gramps died, I was crushed, and I handled my grief as many angsty pre-teens and teenagers do – I became aloof and introspective.  I don’t remember crying because ultimately, I wanted to be strong for my Mum.  However, it was at my Gramps’s funeral that the damn dam broke, and I let many a tear fall.  The trigger?  In looking at Grampy’s picture, I realized and said to my cousin sitting beside me, “I have his eyes.”  It was at that singular moment that I knew that my eyes are special, and I chose to not only embrace my eyes but to love them, even when others teased and taunted.  After all, there was not, is not, and nor has there ever been anything amiss regarding my peepers.

Not only do I love my eyes, I think that they are pretty, and I feel OKay in admitting so.  I think that self-love has been too closely associated with vanity, and as a result of such, I find myself afraid to admit that I find an aspect of myself as beautiful.  I doubt I am alone in this idea.  Self-love defined:

“regard for one’s own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic).”

So, a moment that I felt particularly proud of my eyes . . .

In 2014, my eyes were tattooed on a man’s leg.  I have never met this man, and he lives approximately 3,087 miles from Maine, in London, England.  So, how did my eyes end up on a complete stranger’s limb?  Via my old and now abandoned Instagram account, I followed a London tattoo artist.  In the past, I had commissioned a drawing, done by this artist, as a gift to a (now former) friend and colleague.  Many months later, I was advised that he had a customer who had requested a tattoo of eyes, and he used one of my photos to fulfill said customer’s request.

tatt

There is absolutely no doubt that those are my eyes in this tattoo.  Though I don’t often reminisce about the stranger permanently marked with my oculars, when I do think about it, I feel remarkably flattered and momentarily brim with confidence.

I LOVE ME: Mission #1

Full disclosure: I stole the title.  The I LOVE ME: Mission #1 is a swap that I am currently participating in via swap-bot.  It’s a lovely idea, but it also saddened me that it was so difficult to complete once I sat down to do so.  The gist of the swap is to write a notecard length letter to one partner with a list of five things that I like about myself.  I have yet to write my notecard out, but I brought the supplies to work with me so I can complete it during a break.  The ideas floating around in my head for my five likes:

  • My drive, particularly regarding my goals and aspirations
    • No matter how extensive or how minor my goal may be, I give 100%.  That’s not to say it doesn’t take me a long time to achieve my goals, but I don’t have an ounce of quit in me, despite obstacles along the journey, once I set my sights on something.
  • My unruly, curly hair
    • If I get caught in a rainstorm or windstorm, no one is able to tell that I’m having a bad hair day due to my hair’s natural unruliness.  In fact, my hair is a barometer; I know what the weather is doing even when I can’t see outside, especially when it’s humid!
  • My laugh
    • From what I can tell, my laugh is infectious.  I’ve been known to make others laugh just because I am laughing so hard.
  • I’m fastidious about leg shaving
    • Enough said
  • My eyes
    • They’re big and probably the best example of loving myself despite others’ negativity.  I remember, in middle school, being called “bug eyes” incessantly.  Joke’s on you, you cruel children, ’cause when I traveled to NYC, people were stopping me in the streets complimenting my eyes.

I wonder if the 11 other people who joined this swap also struggled to compose their lists.  If the swap required a list of don’t likes, I’d probably be 100 in by now, and I don’t think that is unique to just me . . .