Express Yourself

Admittedly I haven’t been blogging a whole lot lately, at least not much more than posts about my training sessions. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to blog. There have been days when I have felt the need or desire to blog but I didn’t. There are many reasons for the lack of blog posts, ranging from the “I have nothing to say” to the “I don’t know what I can say”. In a way, I feel sort of handcuffed in what I can say on my own blog, because someone has chosen to twist my words into something drastically different than what I have ever said or intended. While I obviously cannot control how people may interpret my words, I know my heart and my intent and I am at peace with both. Despite the peace I feel in this situation, I have been feeling reluctant to blog about much of anything beyond the basics of training. I know this is a season of sorts, and I will get past it to blog more candidly once again.

I have to admit that part of my reluctance to blog flows out of the knowledge that my blog could be read by those who choose to twist my words into something I never intended. Obviously, if you find something on the internet personally offensive to you, you have complete freedom to NOT continue to read it, right?! This is my blog. It is about me and my journey. This is my journey of self-discovery, of growing comfortable in my own skin, and knowing who I am. Sometimes my journey towards becoming Angela involves other people, because we do not go through life without being touched by others and in turn touching others. This is my journey. If you don’t like it…don’t read it. Plain and simple! I don’t blog for personal glory or recognition or followers. I have no expectation that anyone reads my blog and won’t be offended if nobody does.

And still, I hesitate. I open my WordPress site with the intention of blogging and then I hesitate. I think about who might read my blog, about who might take my innocent words and twist them into something ugly. So I pause until I have no more time to blog, or I simply blog about my training, all the while feeling censored.

Despite how I feel in regards to blogging, I am feeling perfectly fine. I am sleeping well. I am happy and at peace with myself. Although I have been hurt and rejected recently, I am doing very well. My husband and I were talking about that situation the other day, and he asked me if I had forgiven the offending party. I was kind of taken by surprise by his question, because I don’t even look at that turn of events as being worth my time or attention. Was I hurt? Yes. Am I holding onto any of that hurt or resentment? Heck no! While I do not agree in any way shape or form with the other point of view in this situation, I also don’t consider this to be worth holding onto. It’s difficult to explain how I feel without going into more detail in the situation, which is something I am not going to do. Suffice it to say that I am completely comfortable with who I am to know that I am not at fault in this situation, and as such my forgiveness is essentially automatic. Would I be comfortable bumping into this person in public unexpectedly? Probably not but that’s just me and my non-confrontational nature potentially pushed into an uncontrollable scenario! Am I losing sleep or stressed out over what has happened? Absolutely not! Like I said, I know who I am. I know my own heart and my intentions. I can put my head on my pillow each night knowing that I was true to myself, to my family, and to my friends. If someone sees that differently, then that is their problem and not mine.

I suppose this post is where I draw a line in the sand and say, “No more!” This is my blog. This blog is about me and my journey and what makes me who I am. If you have a problem with that, then feel free to stop visiting! If, on the other hand, my journey interests you, then please follow along. I cannot promise that my journey will always be cool or exciting, but I will always strive to be real and honest. I am no one of consequence or importance. I am merely Angela, a 45 year old woman, a wife of 25 years and mother of 3. I am a friend, a powerlifter, a barista, someone who is thankful for everything and entitled to nothing. Although my education is limited, I am a lover of words, and writing is how I express myself best. And this is my blog.

Exposure

At one point yesterday, I logged onto Facebook and received notification that I had been tagged in a post by my chiropractor/friend. I clicked on the notification to see what I had been tagged in and quickly found my eyes bugging out and my jaw dropped to the floor. My chiropractor had shared a blog post of mine and offered up a little commentary of his own to go with it. I was caught off guard, surprised, and instantly uncomfortable in the spotlight. Isn’t that a funny reaction! I’ve had a public blog for years, so why should I react in such a manner when someone else shares it?

I can answer that question easily enough. For all that I am perfectly okay with exposing myself on my blog, I still tend to assume that virtually no one reads it. The blog hosting site has tracking features which allow me to see how many people actually do read my blog and the countries they are from, so I know that any given day will have been seen by anywhere from 1 to 60+ people. What I don’t know is who these people actually are. Are they people I know in real life, or are they complete strangers? I think I can be confident in knowing that a viewer from Romania is NOT someone I know in real life; however, the typical bunch of American/Canadian viewers could potentially be people I know. I just never assume that they do. I’m not sure why I assume that. Maybe it’s just easier that way. Maybe I just don’t get a lot of feedback from those who do know me, so I assume they don’t read my blog. Whatever the case…it doesn’t matter. I don’t blog for the sole purpose of being read and commented on. I do this for myself, like a journal, one that just so happens to be laid out for others to read if they choose.

And yet, for all that I assume no one I know reads my blog, I still feel a moment of embarrassment or panic when I realize that someone I know actually has read it. This is what I experienced yesterday, when I realized that Ben had shared my post. Ben has far more Facebook friends than I do, which means that the potential exposure was slightly overwhelming. Ben is infinitely smarter and more educated than I am. Why would he ever share my little post? Quite honestly, when I shared my blog post with Ben, I wasn’t even sure that he would read it. He promptly disabused me of that belief, but I’m still half-surprised that he read it. My blog is not anything special. It is just me, revealing myself, trying to be honest and real in a world that isn’t fond of either quality.

This is not the first time that my chiropractor has done something similar to me. Indeed, nearly two years ago, he made a Facebook post congratulating me on my success at a competition and the journey I had made thus far to change myself. His post made me cry, and I appreciated his kind words. However, a day or two later I received a message from a local television station about being interviewed for a segment. That was both an intensely petrifying and oddly empowering experience, and I blame it all on Ben. But can I really blame him?

He might be more than a decade younger than me, but I’d be proud to grow up to be half the person he is! I admire him, because he is a real person. I am drawn to honest, real people like moths to a flame. I value realness. I want to be seen as a real person. Known as a real person. I’ve lived a lifetime wearing masks to make others happy and comfortable, all the while I’ve chafed under the mask and afraid of being revealed as a fraud. I am no longer content to be someone I am not. Becoming Angela means that I am striving to be myself without hiding behind masks. Sometimes I still hide behind a mask, for my own comfort or yours, but I am trying to keep the masks off.

“In a world where everyone wears a mask, it’s a privilege to see a soul.” ~?

Today, I am not freaked out about the fact my chiropractor shared my post. There’s been a small increase in viewings of that particular post, but so what. Why should I feel fear or embarrassment or anxiety over the fact that someone thought my blog post was worth sharing? Wouldn’t the more natural response be a measure of pride? Or at least a sense of validation or encouragement? Okay, so I won’t likely ever feel pride in such a situation, but there’s no reason for me to react negatively. I am just me. I can only be me!

Wine, Wonder Woman & the Weekend

It is my Friday. Working an open shift this morning means that I have officially been on days off since 2:00 this afternoon. My first plan upon getting home was to have a bubble bath. This morning I had thought about having a glass of prosseco as I bathed, but by the end of my work day I realized that I hadn’t had any coffee yet. An Americano while bathing was what actually happened. I find it kind of funny how drained I feel in this moment despite having a 4-day work week. As I do feel wiped out, I put my Wonder Woman onesie on after my bath and had planned on enjoying a quiet night at home. Then my phone beeped a text notification…

A friend wanted to know if I had any plans for the evening. I paused. Thinking. Mentally weighing my options. I could say that I had no plans but just wanted to stay home and do nothing, or I could open the figurative door to hanging out with my friend. I chose to open the door. A quiet, relaxing visit with a friend over some wine would be rather nice. As much as I truly love my friends and enjoy being with them, we are all busy people and simply don’t get together very frequently. But I wonder if I should give my friend the head’s up that I am planning on coming over in my onesie…because it is warm and comfy and I really don’t want to get dressed in real clothes again tonight.

 

Hello December

Can you believe that it is already December?! It seems as if 2016 has been flying by at warp speed. While it is not yet time to recap my year and look ahead to 2017, I have to say that this has been a very full year with twists and turns, some hoped for and others most unexpected. But the year isn’t over yet! With one month yet to go, I am suddenly feeling crunched for time. December feels almost overwhelmingly busy, although I am sure that is merely perception rather than reality.

I have an annual girls’ bake day this coming Sunday, and I still don’t know what I am going to bake.

I have barely begun to do any sort of preparations for Christmas, and my desire to go shopping is rarely very high. My daughter is pushing to get a tree soon. We always get a fresh tree, so it didn’t make sense to get one sooner.

My youngest son has a birthday right before Christmas. I already know that I will be working that night, but I still need to figure out how best to celebrate him. Because I will never hear the end of it if I don’t!

I want the opportunity to spend time with some friends over the holidays, but finding dates/times that work for all may be tricky.

Housework. I feel so behind on housework. There are also little details that are still not finished from our kitchen reno at this time last year. Right now though, I’d just like to get caught up on the day-to-day stuff.

My husband is in need of a hip replacement. Over the past couple of weeks he has had a couple of appointments which indicate that his time will soon be here. It could happen within the next few months. While it will be good for him to finally have the surgery and hopefully see improvement from it, the nature of surgery and recovery mixed with being self-employed presents a great deal of stress.

Some nights I sleep well; others not so much. Like last night. I went to bed at 11:00PM with my alarm set for 7:30AM. Out like a light and into deep sleep…wide awake around midnight and basically awake, tossing and turning, until after 4:00AM. Thankfully every night isn’t like this, but I am always glad when the bad nights come the day before an open shift. Since I open tomorrow, last night’s lack of sleep should mean that I sleep very well tonight! Or at least I will be in bed early.

I don’t feel ready for December, but here it is nonetheless.

Silent Night

“He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.”                           ~ Elbert Hubbard

“There’s a great power in words, if you don’t hitch too many of them together.” ~ Josh Billings

 

I was invited to go to a birthday party which took place this past Sunday. I had thought that I would go, but I didn’t. I feel guilty about that decision, and yet I don’t. Welcome to the world of an introvert.

Sometimes I love getting out and being social, but I am also extremely particular about who and when and why. I had planned on going. I woke up that morning with the intention of going that evening, but my decision wavered as the day progressed. What I had thought was going to be an easy, low key day quickly became a day half-wasted with stuff yet to be done. By that time it was a no-brainer for me to decide to stay home instead.

As much as I really, truly enjoy spending time with my favourite people, most of the time I am a homebody. I had worked closing shifts the two nights prior, and I desperately wanted to just sit in the quietness of my own home. Still, I stress a bit wondering if that makes me seem uncaring. I won’t lose sleep over it, but I don’t like to disappoint, even when I do so for my own sanity.

My hope is that those who know me truly understand me. I do not always speak words in abundance, and, when I do speak, I frequently stumble over my words. I enjoy being with people I care about, but I am not the life of the party and never will be. I am the wallflower. The quiet one. The one who seems difficult to get to know…unless you are willing to wait for a relationship to blossom. I can be a great friend, I think. Sometimes I am. Sometimes I am as caught up with the busyness of life as everyone else. I listen well. I think. A lot. Maybe too much sometimes. My heart is big and tender and open, if you can get past the walls.

Not everyone will get me, but I appreciate those who do. Even when I let them down.

 

Recharged

“I know when I’m spending time with the right people, because I don’t feel the need to recharge afterward. They recharge me.” ~Amy Cummins

Perhaps everyone feels this way and not just introverts like myself. There is a distinct difference in the way that I feel mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually depending on who I have recently spent time with. This is true of every social situation, from the workplace to a social event to a family dinner with the out-laws. As much as I might prefer to avoid the draining encounters, reality dictates that sometimes they must take place. Thankfully, there are enough of recharging encounters to counteract the negative ones.

I had a decent morning at work today but with more than the usual trying of my patience. While I am able to keep the frustration mostly under control and remain friendly and upbeat, by the end of my shift I felt quite drained. Even though today is an absolutely gorgeous, sunshine-filled day and I was finished work at noon, my body and my brain wanted to curl up into a ball once I got home. That wasn’t on my agenda though, because I had arranged to meet a friend for coffee. His birthday is later this week, and I had a gift for him that I didn’t want to just drop off at his door.

Over the course of an hour, we sipped coffee, chatted, and he opened his gift which I felt needed some verbal explanation. The friend is my coach. Over the past several months, I have been working on this gift that I have been so excited to finally give to him. It was a scrapbook about me. Okay, so I know that sounds odd, which is why I wanted to be able to share my vision in person. Because while this is a scrapbook about me, it is really more about how Michael helped change one life…me! His passion, his career is all about helping people become the best versions of themselves, and that is what he did with me. I think he liked it. I hope he liked it.

Later as I drove home, I realized that I no longer felt drained or exhausted. I felt energized, excited, happy and peaceful. I was suddenly inspired to whip up a batch of my mini frittatas to have on hand for breakfast and snacking. As much as I love my frittatas, do you know how often I make them? Usually for Christmas morning. So, I have freshly made frittatas. If I can keep my son from eating them all now, then I will have part of breakfast all ready to go.

Last Saturday night I was able to spend some time with some of my girlfriends. It had been a while, and I was glad to have that time together. So much in life tries to beat us down or force us into a shape we were never designed to be, and we don’t always recognize the weight of it all until we’ve already been carrying it for far too long. While there are a multitude of ways to lighten the load, time spent with the right people is high on my list of happy things.

Wonder Woman

Heading into my sixth powerlifting competition, I do believe that today was the very first time I have been allowed to “train” on the Friday prior to competing! I am not even joking. Actually this entire week has been a little different than the pre-competition norm, but I think it has been okay. Today wasn’t really a training session. Can you call it a training session when you don’t even break a sweat? Really it was all about going through the motions, not a lot of reps and not much weight…just practicing technique.

1. squats-low bar, without sleeves

45 x 8, 95 x 5, 125 x 5, 155 x 3

with belt: 170 x 1, 170 x 1

2. bench press, wide grip

45 x 8, 65 x 5, 85 x 5, 95 x 2, 105 x 2, 105 x 2

band pull aparts with red x 15

face pulls 20 lbs x 15, x 15, x 15

band pull aparts with orange x 15

3. deadlifts

115 x 5, 145 x 2 + 1

Now all that is left is the heavy lifting on Sunday! Compared to how I was feeling prior to Wednesday’s training session, I am feeling much better. Maybe I’m still not 100% there for this competition, but genuine excitement is definitely building and I am feeling more focused and determined. Of course, this morning I realized that I hadn’t even begun my typical “to do” lists prior to any competition or road trip. I hadn’t scanned maps to the hotel or the venue. I hadn’t given any thought to snacks, although that isn’t usually that big of a deal for me. No matter how much my coach tells me to eat during a competition, I seldom eat much of anything. But I did pick up some snacks to bring along. The big question is how many of them will I actually eat on Sunday?

My state of mind was also improved by time spent with some precious friends this afternoon. There is just something quite special about being embraced, both literally and figuratively, by people who know and get you, who love and accept you, and allow you the privilege of returning the love. I love this family as if they were my own. My kids like to tease me that my favourite children belong to this family. I trust that my kids know just how deeply I love them, but yes, I do love these little girls. Time spent with them is time well spent; it brings joy to my soul. This wonderful family blessed me with a special gift today, and I love it absolutely!

wonderwomanbag

It is a handmade bag with Wonder Woman inside and out! Anyone who knows me can tell you that I am a big Wonder Woman fan, so there can be no doubt as to how much I love this bag! To be honest, I’m amazed that I was able to open this gift without shedding a single tear, but I think it helped that my dear friend started crying before I had even begun opening the package! Noticing her tears brought laughter to my heart, but now that I am home, remembering the moment and storing these treasures in my heart, I just might be crying. I’m allowed.

And now I feel like I might be ready for Provincials. I transferred the necessities from my gym bag to my new Wonder Woman bag. It’s a bit of a tight fit, but I made it work. If I can pick 300 pounds up off the floor, then I think I can fit 2 pairs of shoes, a belt, a singlet, and some socks into a bag! This bag is coming to Provincials with me, and it is going to be very well used and loved.

I haven’t decided yet whether or not I am going to bring my laptop with me tomorrow. We’re heading to Surrey tomorrow and competition, for me, is on Sunday. We’re only staying the Saturday night and heading back after I compete, which means Sunday could be a very long day. I might bring it with me…will give me something to do in the hotel Saturday night, but I probably won’t post a competition update until Monday.