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Michelle’s Makeover

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It’s been nearly six months since I sat in the hair stylist chair.  My hair has grown quite a bit and it, in my opinion, resembles that of a poodle that was washed and dried with high heat.  My hair is large and in charge.  Like a mane of a lion.  It’s thick and wavy and well over due for a trim.

I met with the stylist and I explained what I liked about my hair, the length, and what I did not like, the thickness in the back.  I showed five or so pictures of what I liked and what I appreciated about each picture.  The goal was to have full bangs cut (I have not had those for years) and layers cut in my hair while framing around my face.

For the first time in a long time, I did not have that feeling in my gut that I was doing something impulsive.  I did not worry that I would regret what I was doing.  I have been trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my hair for more than a month now and was certain I knew what I wanted.

On top of the stress of getting my hair cut, I saw a new stylist today, someone I have never met, at a salon where I have never gone to before.  This was a tremendous leap of faith.  I did remind myself that it is JUST hair and it WILL grow back, no matter what should happen.

I paid extra to have my hair shampooed and a deep conditioning treatment.  This equated to multiple head massages and I was in heaven.  The warm water flowing over my head, her perfectly manicured nails scratching across the surface of my scalp.  It was probably the most enjoyable part of the time I spent at the salon.

Post wash, while sitting in the chair, with the uncomfortable cape around my neck I just looked at myself.  I challenged myself to silently speak positive affirmations to myself.  I noticed that I have very, very green eyes.  After having the bangs cut, with my deep brown hair now grazing my eyebrows, my eyes really started to stand out.  I also kept coming across my freckles.  I have a TON of them and even having foundation covering my face, you can clearly see the discoloration of my skin.  I looked at my hair, the color to be specific.  It is varying colors of brown.  This is a result of time I have spent over the last two months playing with hair dye with my kids.  They wanted to bleach their hair, so I added some highlights to my own hair, they wanted to have red streaks, so I dyed the bottoms of my hair red.  My multicolor hair brings a smile to my face as it brings up these wonderful memories.

An hour later I lost more hair than I had wanted, but it was thinned out and much healthier feeling.  The stylist completed the tasks that I had asked, and I now had the hair cut that I wanted.  I had to fight the temptation to ask if I could dry and style it myself, as I never like the way someone does my hair.  Not sure why, but it has been this way for years now.  I forced myself to enjoy the pampering.  To pay attention to the heat of the hairdryer on my hair, the feeling of the brush working through my hair, and the weird sound that the hair straightener was making as it was pulled through my now, much shorter hair.

And today, I walked into work, with my head high, showing off a new hair cut while wearing a new dress that complements my newly fuller figure and a smile on my face.  I feel pretty, and boy that makes today, a wonderful day.

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There’s No Crying in Cake Making

12334_10200825285336454_1064534147_nRecently I have been faced with several of my insecurities.  It has been overwhelming as I can recall a time when I was far more secure in myself.  Years ago, I was a take charge, take no prisoner, unable to waver under pressure person, or that’s what I let people think.  Deep down inside, I was a small little shaking chihuahua.  I was and still am incredibly scared and in fear of failing or not meeting external expectations.

Today, although working in a different capacity, I have some of the same fears, but they do not immobilize me like they have in the past.  I try to figure out the issues, but when I cannot, that is when I turn to a person who is more knowledgeable, and I ask for assistance.  I also know that I will inevitably end up making mistakes, and no one has ever told me that they expect me to be perfect.  That, the need to be perfect, is an expectation that I put on myself, it is NOT something that people who I care about in my life now, have put on me.  It’s something that I have put on myself.

With everything I do, whether it is as simple as making coffee in the morning to completing a large initiative at work, I wonder if I am good enough.  I know that this insecurity stems from my past.  But as I wrote a week ago, I am working to rewrite the old narratives that I have allowed to take over my life.

  • If the coffee is bitter, I will add more creamer.
  • If I make a mistake on an invoice, it will be brought to my attention, I will make a change and I will resend it.
  • If I incorrectly respond to an email, it will be brought to my attention and I will work to correct it.
  • Should I make a cake that is not what the customer was hoping for, I can always offer to make another cake, or offer a reduction in the price.

I have spent most of the last few days stressing over a cake order.  Yup, another mention of cake, much like Georgia, it is always on my mind… I want the cake to be perfect!  I broke the whole cake down into pieces and did a divide and conquer technique.  I even did a test cake a week ago to try out the techniques that were needed for the final cake to make sure I felt comfortable with what I needed to do.  But, as I was finishing up the cake last night I saw only flaws that I had made.  I was beginning to get physically sick thinking about delivering the cake and ruminating on how the customer would not like the cake.  I am surprised I slept last night with all the self-doubt that was swirling in my head.

Although remotely, my mother was beside me last night as I was finishing up the cake.  I was sending photos of my cake and she was sending me affirmations in the way that only my Mama knows that I need.  My kids were also with me in the kitchen and watching me work.  My partner told me numerous times that he thought the cake was gorgeous and what the customer had requested.  Although I was surrounded with all this positivity, I was still doubting.  This morning the cake was delivered, the customer said they were happy and the cake was beautiful, yet I STILL have it in my head that it was not good enough.

What the Hell Michelle?? I really want to believe what I am being told!  Focus on what the truth is.  This was the same advice that I gave to a friend today, focus on the truths.

So, the truths are:

  • The cake will be delicious
  • The frosting is delectable
  • The cake is the size that the customer asked for
  • The design of the cake is what the customer requested
  • The color of the cake is very close to what they asked for
  • The customer knew that I am not a professional cake decorator
  • I am a work in progress
  • My skill set is probably the best it has ever been
  • As I practice more, my skills are bound to improve
  • I need to love myself the way that I would love a friend or family member

 

Sometimes, we can get lost in our heads and we torture ourselves.  It is hard but, working to end the cycle will make each day ahead of this one better and easier to manage.  At times I wish I could open my head and dump out all the words up there, unscramble them and toss out the ones that I do not need, or the ones that are not benefiting my life.  I can’t do this obviously, but I can “toss out” the bullshit and replace it with positive truths.  For the rest of the day, as each negative thought comes in, I am going to quickly replace it with a “truth”.  I have a feeling this will make a big difference.

Bipolar Disorder, Uncategorized

The Choice is Ours

todays-decisions-tomorrows-impactEach day we are given the opportunity to make choices.  There are the choices of what will I eat for breakfast, and the dreaded, “what will I wear?”  Although these are choices that we make, those are not the choices that I am talking about.  I am referring to the choice of what kind of a day we are going to have.  Are we going to have a positive attitude kind of day, or are we going to have a day that is filled with despair?

When I wake up in the morning, I tell myself that I am going to have a positive day.  That I am going to conquer my fears and not let the negativity of others affect how I feel throughout that day.  Daily we encounter people who are all going through their own trials and tribulations.  There’s a saying that you should be nice to the people that you meet because you don’t know the hell they are going through.  This is a saying that I keep forefront in my mind.  Everyone has bad days, but with a mental illness, they can linger.  I would hope that people would be forgiving and understand that I am going through some challenges and need a bit more understanding than usual.

I struggle with consistently providing grace and understanding to those that act in a way that is not positive or uplifting.  I lose patience with their anger, frustration, verbal lashings and overall negative disposition.  Many days I would like to avoid all contact with people like this, but that is not a possibility.  So, what do I do?  I remember that people who are suffering lash out.  I tell myself that they are using the back part of the brain, the older, more archaic part of the brain, rather than using the front part of the brain that processes things with reason.  I remember that they may have more going on than what we can see at the surface, they are overwhelmed and they just don’t know how to handle their stress.  I remind myself that I am not to blame.  I know that should the situation get too hot, I can leave, as I need to protect myself from harm.  Perhaps the hardest thing that I do, is remind myself that I used to be like that.  I used to lash out at my friends and family (and co-workers) when I was overwhelmed, turning into an ugly person because I was boiling over.  I remain thankful for the progress that I have made and how my life is better.

I go back to the exercise that my therapist taught me about identifying three positives things each day.  My items for today are: (1) Getting to work safely (2) Having a blueberry muffin and hot cup of yummy, strong coffee for breakfast and (3) Being in a place of mental stability for a few months now.

What choices are you making today?  Are you choosing to be positive, uplifting and happy?  What’s standing in your way?  Are the things standing in your way within your control?  How can you be more positive today?

 

Positivity and Mental Illness: Please get help

Being a person who has suffered from depression, I know that there comes a point in time when we are unable to make the decision to be positive.  That the bleakness of the depression clouds our vision and we are not able to see past the dark, lingering clouds, to see any light.  How, if we could, we wouldn’t be down and out, thinking only on negatives and wishing that all the darkness would just end.  When I have been in this place, I sought out assistance from my Psychiatrist and my Psychologist.  With their help, I used medication to regain balance in my brain and learned techniques to help keep the depression at bay.  Having depression is an extenuating circumstance, a medical condition that needs to receive medical attention.  If you are struggling with depression, please seek help.  (In Arizona, Crisis Network  http://www.crisisnetwork.org/ 1-800-631-1314 and Nationwide, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1‑800‑273‑TALK , https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ )

 

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