hashtag me, too

When I saw the first #metoo post in my FB feed, my stomach flip-flopped and I felt a lump in my throat.  I was overwhelmed with emotion.  Let’s be honest ladies — we don’t talk about it.  We never have.

Quite awhile ago, I told my husband about something that happened to me in college.  I circled around the issue, I argued for and against.  I justified, made excuses, twisted it up so much in my mind that I wasn’t sure exactly what had happened anymore.  I knew how I felt then, I know how I feel every time I think about it now.  Confused, scared, gray.  But could I tell you the details?  Not all these years later.  I know that when it happened, and I talked about it the next day … or maybe it was several days … the reaction wasn’t good.  It wasn’t accepting or understanding or sympathetic.  It was distant with the acrid underlying of suspicion.  If I hadn’t known before then — and I probably had — we just don’t talk about it.  We soldier on.  We endure.

I’m not a stupid girl.  I have never knowingly put myself in silly situations.  I’m quite certain I’ve never “asked for it.”  I’m strong and I’m smart and it has still happened to me.  More than once. In more than one environment. Being smart or strong doesn’t make you immune.

Several years ago something happened at work.  It made me feel very uncomfortable.  Very vulnerable.  Kinda gross & icky.  The reactions from co-workers were the same as the reactions had been in college.  Even the sympathetic eyes were guarded, silent.  No need to be drawn in.  Just move on, forget about it.  For God’s sake, stop talking about it.

My mother, on the other hand, was appalled.  She immediately called for my resignation.  My father was quiet.  He didn’t say much of anything.  Maybe he didn’t know what to say. Maybe it’s all so ingrained in us that this is what happens.  This is what we must overcome.

I didn’t quit.  I stayed.  But I never forgot.

The thing is, the #metoo movement means more than just violent rape at a college fraternity party.  It means more than stereotypical ideas of sexual harassment and assault.  It is the idea of bringing attention to a systematic thought pattern in our society.  That not only is the habitual act of sexual harassment wrong, but also wrong is the idea of shaming those who choose to talk about it.  Those who would like to make a difference.

As a woman who has experienced a myriad of sexual harassment and discrimination, I have stayed silent because I felt powerless.  Who would believe me?  Would it be worth the inevitable pain and suffering of bringing things to light?

I’m okay.  I have soldiered on and endured.  In many ways, i have forgotten.  But that doesn’t make it alright.  It doesn’t make it acceptable and forgiven.  It is a tough, painful thing to contemplate, to consider wading through to the other side.

In the end, we are all human.  We should all treat others as we would like to be treated.  (Although this calls into question if all people want to be treated as we ourselves would like to be treated ….).  We should treat others with decency and respect.  With thoughtfulness and kindness.  Unfortunately, we do not currently have a leader who demonstrates these things.  That makes it challenging.  It makes the going feel tougher than it should.

I stand in solidarity with all the women, all the humans, who posted #metoo.  I stand with you in strength and in understanding and with love and compassion.  I know how hard it is to admit these things that we have swept away, that we have hidden under layers of defenses and justifications.  I stand and I hold my head high.  Because even though it’s hard to comprehend sometimes, I didn’t do anything wrong.  And neither did the other women who have suffered in silence.

sometimes

Sometimes it’s virtually impossible to be positive.

Despite this blog and my obsession with Instagram ([at]simplygwyn if you are curious) I’m a pretty private person.  I don’t relish in other people’s misfortune (or fortune) and I don’t always like to share my own.  Have I had tough times?  Oh, yes. Have I had amazing triumphs?  Yes, it could be said.  Do I tend to share those specifics either here or via my social media identity?  Usually not.

Today has been a brutal day.  For many reasons.  MS, obviously.  I finally slept through the night but I woke up exhausted and without motivation to do anything.  Feeling that way is frustrating, sometimes as though I’m watching myself through a thick pane of glass, all the details blurry and no way to communicate to myself.  It’s hard for others to understand — there’s nothing physical that signals my distress, my struggles.  I look fine, so I should be fine.  I discriminate against myself using that logic all the time.

When you start a day feeling listless and then one thing after another pummels you — it’s very hard to rally.  I rode my bike — something that helps sometimes, but doesn’t always.  I did one of my longest rides ever — 32.1 miles in 90 minutes.  Yay!  Go me …. I think.

John got home close to 4pm and brought in the mail.  Yup, I’d been such a slug all day, I hadn’t picked up the mail on Lucy and my afternoon walk.  It happens folks, that’s the reality of my life.  In the mail was a delightful form letter from our new insurance advising me that after review, my MS medication would not be covered and all future costs would be 100% our responsibility.

Whomp.  Whoosh.  Air sucked out of my lungs, tears stinging my eyes.  And this was at the end of an already brutal day.

I’ve been on five drug therapies for MS.  I’ve read all kinds of blogs and posts about controlling MS without drugs.  I drink green smoothies religiously.  I can be enormously fussy about the food I eat.  I work hard every day but I cannot NOT be on medication.  Before Tysabri I had Lydia (my cane, for those who weren’t reading my blog in 2014).  I could barely walk up stairs.  My disease progression was aggressive and scary and bad.  And now, here I am.  Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has decided that they won’t cover the only medication that has ever worked for me.  Somehow, a huge insurance company now controls my life.  Literally, my life.

Today, it must be said, has not been a good day.

 

doctor daze

Now that I’m in my third year of Tysabri I get to see Dr. M four times a year — every three months.  Plus side, only two of those visits require MRI scans.  Minus side — it’s four times a year I feel outside of myself, unable to articulate myself, overwhelmed by fear.

Yesterday, as John and I made our way back to the car, hot tears stung my eyes and I clutched my paperwork tightly in clammy hands.  I’d felt five years old in that office.  I’d felt out of my depth, unsure, wrong.  It’s a terrible way to feel.

I go to see Dr. M armed with a list of queries typed haphazardly in my phone.  I don’t know why I even bother.  The answers are always the same.  It could be MS.  It could be something else.  It could just be aging.  It could be something different entirely.

Do doctors want us to spend our lives in and out of waiting rooms, forever chasing answers to unanswerable questions?  Here’s a referral to a urologist, one for a psychiatrist, another for a gastroenterologist; here’s one for a DIFFERENT neurologist, because that’s not in my realm of practice.  Perhaps also a cardiologist?

Clearly, all us sick people have copious amounts of time and energy at our disposal to spend time on the phone (making appointments, haggling with insurance, etc etc), driving to and from all the appointments, following up on treatments and recommendations.  It’s a true joy to be told the same thing over and over.

They just can’t be sure.  It might be this, it could be that.  Have you seen so-and-so yet?

And it’s not just me.  It’s my mother, my father-in-law … so many other people struggling for answers, for a direction.

As we approached 95 from 76 I turned to John.  “I think we need to make doctor days sushi days.  Can we do that?”  He smiled and nodded.

consequences

I’ve been thinking a  lot recently about consequences.

A little bit about how as we get older, we are much more aware (wary?) of the consequences of our actions.  Some thoughts about how when we were young other things informed our decisions – fun, experience, etc.

Sometimes consequences have to be dealt with even if we wouldn’t have chosen the action.  I deal with the ‘consequences’ of MS every day, and I have to admit, I mostly wish I didn’t.  But here’s the thing — some consequences of this disease have been good.  I’m infinitely healthier than I might otherwise have been.  I get more sleep, I eat better food, I work out a.lot more than I ever might have. I drink a ton of water every day.  None of that is bad.

But I also have to think about everything.  If I do something physical, what are the risks of hurting myself?  If I hurt myself, how long will it take this broken down body of mine to heal? I recently went to Hilton Head for a few days with  my parents.  We drove down (it’s a long ride in the car, let me tell you!) and I flew home.  I tried as hard as I could to maintain normalcy for this finicky body but despite my best efforts, I spent about 36 hours after getting home trying to recover.  From what, you ask.

Excellent question.

From life.  From the dehydration I accidentally caused myself by not keeping up with my water drinking.  From the strange schedule that my body couldn’t find the rhythm to.  From fatigue caused by not sleeping in my own bed, in my own sheets, with my ceiling fan and window.

I know, this all sounds ridiculous.  I need to buck up, stop being such a fuss pot.

I one thousand million trillion percent agree.

Only, it doesn’t work like that for me anymore.

I quit my job at the beginning of the year.  For many reasons.  Being wildly unhappy was the final catalyst, something I’d pushed down for years (I understood the consequence of giving up my salary and wasn’t ready to take the leap for a long, loooonnng time.  That maturity and awareness had not informed my earlier years of job hopping because I didn’t think about the financial consequences quite as much in my early to mid twenties and before MS).

Anyway, I quit my job.  As the months have passed, I’ve come back to myself in so many ways.  I’ve remembered who I was before I was so completely miserable.  And I have also become more aware of how everything — and I mean everything — is affected by my disease.

Which brings me back to consequences.  Every action I take has a consequence.  In some ways, our lives are the result of the consequences of our actions.  Every time I decide to stray from my routine, my body manifests the consequences.  I’m not one of those people who can pop an Advil or two, drink a tall glass of water, and not feel the effects of a day at a bar the next morning.  I feel all of the effects.  Pain in my body from sitting on a bar stool, pain in my abdomen from eating too much processed food, pain in my head from having one too many glasses of wine (despite also drinking a water with each one).  And worst of all, the pain of unrelenting fatigue.

Here’s the thing, too.  Sometimes, adrenaline keeps me going for a few days.  When I was in Hilton Head, i didn’t feel bad.  I felt a little sleep deprived but nothing horrible.  It wasn’t until I got home that my body succumbed to all that ailed it.  When I was working, I pushed through.  I knew my responsibilities and I got things done.  I didn’t really feel the fatigue or the emotional toll it had all been taking until it was over, and my body collapsed from the sustained effort to keep going.

It’s a delicate balance, the art of considering the consequences and choosing what to do and what to pass on.  I know that people must look at me sometimes and wonder what my problem is.  “But she looks so healthy!  She looks better than she used to look!”  

Yup.  But I don’t feel better than I used to feel.  I am not, in actual fact, healthy.  I mean, relatively, I am.  But I still have a disease eating away at my brain and spinal cord.  I still have to journey to the hospital every twenty-eight days to be infused with powerful medication.  I still feel the slow deterioration of my abilities.  I am still so, so, unbelievably tired.

So yeah.  I’ve been thinking a lot about consequences.  How to minimize them.  How to choose wisely.  And I’m still so, so tired.

for our love and loyalty

I stood in a field on Saturday, in the pouring rain, on a much colder September 2nd than is usual, and it was bliss.

I own an absurd amount of clothing for weather — and if you know me at all, I’m not an outdoorsy type.

But I am the oldest daughter of a Penn State alum, an alum myself, the sister of an alum, the first child of a still married couple who met in State College in the early days of 1973.

I don’t know what life is without Penn State football.

Until about seven years ago, our seats were EFU, row 64, seats 25, 27, 29 and 31.  To be precise, when I was very little, it was just section EF, before they built out the suites and the upper deck of restrooms and concession stands.  As an awkward child I remember the questionable bathrooms at the top of the stadium, rickety and insecure.

I have grown up attending PSU games.  Tom Bill was a quarterback who played for the Pop Warner group (ahem, the Flemington Falcons) my brother and I belonged to in middle school (me, as a gangly adolescent with a triangle hair cut, braces and bright red and white wire-rimmed glasses).  In 1994 we watched the best offense I’ve ever seen on the field at Penn State, led by Kerry Collins and Ki-Jana Carter.  I tell anyone foolish enough to listen about my deep and unwavering love for Kerry Collins, and the magic of Freddie Scott’s one-handed catch against Iowa.  I had student tickets in college for one season — long enough to know that Penn State for students is a completely different event than it had been for me my entire life.  I drove to Florida in a rented van with people I no longer have any contact with to watch the 2006 Orange Bowl go into triple overtime.  During the first game I took my husband to, we sat at night, in freezing and unrelenting rain, completely inappropriately dressed, until the bitter end.  Lou had raised me that way.

Seven years ago my dad decided to make moves.  He started counting his accumulated points with the Nittany Lion Club. He made a deal to buy my uncle’s tickets (so they were in his name).  And when our greatest PSU football tragedy occurred in 2011, we moved our seats down over forty rows and closer to mid-field. Lou Simone was not turning his back on his alma mater.  We did it over a few seasons, because of the rules of ticket ownership, and my dad determinedly made sure there were butts in our seats every game.  He got himself a reserved parking spot (something that came in mighty handily when I could barely walk in 2014).

My husband — not a PSU alum — has been indoctrinated.  My brother moved to Texas, only getting home for one game a season.  But not John and I.  We go as often as we can.  We stand in cold, in rain, in snow, in 30mph winds.

This season began with a rout of Akron, and spending the day with John’s fraternity brothers drinking beer (or wine for me!) as the parking lots emptied.  On Friday, after my brother’s arrival Thursday night, we will all head up again for PSU v. Pitt.  We have made the crazy decision to get the tailgate catered (pulled pork and chicken sides and macaroni and cheese … oh my!).  And no matter what happens, whether it rains, is cold, has gale force winds — we will all wear blue and white.  We will sing the Alma Mater.  I will cry (I always do).  And we will enjoy our 2017 family PSU game.

Skincare follow-up!!

Okay, so I thought of a few helpful things I wanted to share with you after detailing my whole skincare routine.  I think this stuff is SUPER important, so here goes.

 

First

There is a huge difference between skincare and make-up.  HUGE.  Skincare should be practiced whether you wear make-up or not, and when you use Rodan + Fields, the opportunity to have bare skin presents itself often.  Skincare is about the health of your skin, the texture, moisture and general well-ness of your skin.  Make-up, on the other hand, is about appearances. I love a good make-up and have been supremely happy with my Juice Beauty products (certified organic). But, I choose to use Rodan + Fields skincare because I’ve tried organic skincare solutions, and have been wildly disappointed.  And I drink a lot of water.  And have a green smoothie every morning. (Amongst other, healthy habits). So I am pretty healthy.  Which leads me to my next point …..

Second

Rodan + Fields is a regimen.  What makes it so brilliant is its simplicity.  And of course, you can add in enhancements or double up on your regimens, but R+F makes skincare easy and approachable for anyone.  HOWEVER.  You have to make skincare a ritual in your life. Because R+F is designed to work when done consistently.  Sure, you can use moisturizer once and it will make your skin feel better.  But the regimens and products of R+F are targeted to do specific things (and they are good at them!) so it’s really important that if you decide to take the plunge, that you follow the regimen (including the ramping up, because most people’s skin is not ready for the onslaught all at once because most people don’t have a whole routine). Taking consistently good care of your skin is important! It’s like brushing your teeth.  These products are broken down into very easy, understandable steps.  Don’t skip any!  Learn the regimen first before messing around with it.  Because ….

Third 

I think there is a vast under appreciation for Toner.  So I’d like to take a minute right now to talk about how important and incredible TONER is.  I’ve had a few people tell me recently that they don’t use toner, they don’t think it’s necessary.  My mind = blown.  I blow through toner faster than anything.  It is the step in the process that makes me feel as though my skin is absolutely clean and ready for moisturizer.  Toner gets all the crud that your facial wash doesn’t get (which, by the way people, is a lot!).  I highly recommend using cotton pads rather than cotton balls (as a person who blows through toner, cotton pads are a must because I get more usable toner and less waste.  Plus, you can visibly see all the gunk the toner is grabbing from your skin that your wash didn’t get). There are a million products for making your skin better — exfoliators, hydration, a myriad of moisturizers targeted to do different things.  But if you don’t use your toner, nothing is as effective.  And I mean this seriously.

**Also, a note.  Toner should NOT burn your skin or make your face feel irritated.  Toner is different than astringent.  R+F Toners smell amazing and make your skin feel amazing.  

And finally!

Ladies (and gentlemen) if you are trying out Rodan + Fields, and wondering why you are mortgaging your house for such small little pots of cream and tiny jars of toner, let me remind you of something. First, you are worth it. And your skin is worth it.  And when it comes to great skincare products, less is more.  Each regimen is set up to last about 60 days, but you can squeeze more time out of them if you are diligent with your portions.  AKA, you don’t need a lot to get the job done!  I don’t even squeeze my toner, I just let a couple drops drip out onto  my cotton swab.  And my sponsor sent me my favorite thing ever right when I began using R+F and I’m going to share it here.  Jen, I hope you don’t mind!  I think this is a great visualization of how to make the most of product.

 

I am absolutely sure I will think of other things and as I do, I’ll try to blog about them, so it’s all there.  I love skincare, I love results and I think about it all a lot — which in turn, could benefit you (especially if you want results without having to do all the trial and error stuff!).

Again, don’t hesitate to send me a message if you have any questions.  I’m here! 🙂

 

my skincare routine

 

Okay, so I’m a little nutty about skincare.  I’m fairly certain I’ve confessed that before.  And when I began using Rodan + Fields I was wildly skeptical.  How could these products be any better than the things I’d been using for years?

Um.  This was a silly question.  They are amazing.

Nine years ago I quit smoking.  I’d spent the better part of my twenties huddled outside the back door of whatever restaurant I was working at and I will confess, those few moments of quiet during an insane dinner service were blissful.  But I was approaching thirty, and i started to notice that my normally good skin was looking gray and dull.  It would not be a lie to say that my skin was a huge contributing factor in giving up the nicotine.  (Yes, yes, also the terrible health issues and the basic ‘badness’ of it).

I went to CVS and spent far too much time in the cosmetics section, seeing how I could upgrade my routine to something more effective. I chose a great line of products from Finland and was overjoyed that once again, I could go outside without makeup.

And then, a few years ago, I woke up one cold January morning, and saw my thirty-six year old face staring back at me, huge black smudges of puffiness under each eye.  Dull skin again.  This just wouldn’t do.

So I took the plunge and began my Rodan + Fields journey.  The ridiculous amazingness of their products is what finally convinced me to join their ranks as an independent sales consultant.  I’ve spent the past eighteen months manipulating their products so they work for me and my skin.  And recently I had a friend ask what that routine was.  Well, it’s complicated.  So here goes.

Routine #1(morning)

If I’m getting up and immediately hitting the gym, I don’t do a full regimen.  It just seems wasteful and silly, since I’ll probably do it again after my shower.  The thing to remember with skin is that it’s a delicate balance of how much you do.  You don’t want to do too little — then you won’t get results.  But you don’t want to do too much and irritate your skin, causing more problems than you need.

For this a.m. Gym routine,, I splash my face with cold cold water, pat it dry and then apply toner and moisturizer.  My favorite choices?  Rodan + Fields Redefine Toner and Step #3 of the Redefine Regimen, AM Moisturizer (Triple Defense Treatment) with SPF 30.  It’s amazingly lightweight, and I know that I’m protected for my morning walk with Lucy.  I also dab on Redefine’s Multi-Purpose eye cream (I do not believe you can use this too much — since I have issues with dark circles and puffiness, it’s one of my favorites).  You have to make sure to dab the eye cream on the bone, not too close to the eye itself.  But, that’s my wake-up and go skincare.

Routine #2 (morning)

Whenever I shower (whether it’s after a workout or at the beginning of the day) I start with Redefine’s Daily Facial Mask.  I put this on dry skin and try to keep my face out of the water for as long as I can, so it sits on my skin for a little bit.  After rinsing it and finishing my shower, I use my Toner and Moisturizer almost immediately.  I’ve read that it’s really beneficial to apply your Toner and Moisturizer wishin five minutes of getting out of the shower, because your pores are open from the steam.  So, when I can, I do that.  For this routine, I use Reverse Brightening Toner and steps #3 and #4.  Step #3 is a combination of Retinol and Vitamin C moisturizers.  Step #4 is Facial Sunblock SPF 50.  Back in 2008 I was in South Africa and got wickedly sunburnt.  I don’t take any chances any more.

After everything has sunk in, I use Juice Beauty products, because they are certified organic and I don’t like to clog my pores with anything unnecessary.  Their stuff is pretty amazing, too.

Routine #3 (evening) 

Okay, so my obsession with skincare goes back so far, I can’t actually remember not washing my face.  But I will say this — it is ABSURDLY important to wash your face at night.  ABSURDLY.  A little over a year ago, I learned that plastic surgeons recommend doing your exfoliation at night, so your skin is clean while you sleep and there are no dead skin cells (which can cause blemishes, irritation, etc).  Exfoliating in the morning can lead to clogged pores (because of make-up) and more chance of sunburn, because you are stripping away all the protection of the outer layer of skin.  So, my evening routine consists of using Reverse Deep Exfoliating Wash (step #1 of the regimen) and then using Reverse Toner, Multi-Purpose Eye Cream and — if my skin is feeling dry, Redefine’s Overnight Restorative Cream (Step #3 of Redefine’s regimen).

I also rotate in the Microderm Abrasion Paste (a much grittier exfoliator that is amazing) at least once or twice a week, and I use the Amp Roller with the Night Renewing Serum beads.  If I use the Amp roller, I use it after Toner and before any moisturizer.  And on those nights, I just use my eye cream and the night renewing serum.  I don’t usually do the Amp Roller the same night I do the Microderm Abrasion Paste — too much for my skin!

 

***Also!  I recently began using their Lash Boost (I felt like my lashes were looking so thin!). It is a fairly amazing product, although I didn’t start to see anything note-worthy until I’d been using it for about six weeks.  When using Lash Boost, you have to apply it on completely clean skin and not use anything else for about 90 seconds after you apply it.  But, it’s worth it! 

 

So, that’s my skincare in a nutshell.  I started out just using the Reverse Regimen, but found that using the exfoliator twice a day left my skin feeling a little tender & vulnerable.  Now that I’ve incorporated the Redefine regimen, I think I have covered all my skincare needs.  Yes, you can do less than all this.  Not everyone is as nuts about skin as me.  And if, after reading this, you have any questions or are curious about the skincare products, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!  simplygwyneth [@] gmail dot com.

rainy monday

I love rainy days.  Especially if there is little to no wind, and it’s not too cold.  Today dawned misty and gray, the rain coming straight down and pattering softly on the deck, the roof and the driveway.  Lucy looked up forlornly on our only walk, unhappy to be outside in the wet.

But I felt motivated today.  We spent the weekend in Mansfield (three out of the last four weekends is absolutely a record!) and despite having slept in a tent next to a luggable loo far too many times recently, I didn’t wake up in any pain.  I’d slept well (and through the night, which anyone with M.S. can tell you is a small miracle).  I’d planned on cleaning the house today (something I try to do on Mondays, so it’s done for the rest of the week) but thought better of it when I realized the rain wasn’t going to stop any time soon.

Instead I braved Wegmans at 8.30am before the crowds and then sat down in my office, determined to make a dent in the piles of paperwork that have (seemingly) grown exponentially in the past few weeks.  I had my first successful R + F interaction, signed up for an HR certification course, balanced our checkbooks and finally (after procrastination) rode over 21 miles on my bike.

Tonight, John and I will have some filet, fresh corn and zucchini for dinner (I love when we have real, well-balanced meals, and truly appreciate how much thought and time goes into creating them night after night).  I’ll probably fall asleep curled up beside him on our couch, watching sitcoms while he scrolls through his phone.  It will be blissful, because life has been so unexpected of late, and this will be a return to normalcy (before he heads to NYC tomorrow on business).

That’s the comfort of a gray Monday.  The release of pressure to be outside. The silence and stillness. The freedom to quietly tap away at keyboards, and get the things that need to be done finished.  The knowledge that cuddling up under a soft blanket in sweatpants is completely acceptable.

With a nice glass of red, of course!  🙂

focus

One of the things I struggle mightily with is staying focused.  I seem to recall a time when it wasn’t that hard.  But now, being unemployed and having M.S., I feel like after the wicked fatigue, the brain fuzziness is the worst.  This morning I stood scrolling through my phone for a good 40 minutes in the kitchen.  For no reason.  No purpose.  Just reading random articles about Steelers training camp and looking at people’s vacation  photos.  What’s the point of that?  I mean, the photos are always adorable (or funny) and I do care (maybe too much) about the status of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  But couldn’t I have used my time more efficiently?

Um, yes.  Yes I think I could.

And then, this afternoon, following some intense procrastinating, I finally made my way downstairs to the garage and set up my ‘Insanity’ workout.  And then wasted even more time.  Doing … I don’t even know.  I. Don’t. Know.

When I go to bed at night, it’s usually too late.  But I promise to get up on time anyway.  Which I don’t do.  Then, when I finally drag myself out of bed, I’m running behind whatever phantom schedule I’d made for myself the night before.  Today, when John came upstairs after his morning workout, all I said was “I have to make better decisions.”

And that is certainly part of it.  But another part of it is the idea that when you don’t have structure in your life, everything feels amorphous.  You just float around, certain there will be enough time.  Confident that all will be well.  There is something weirdly relaxing about that.  And I am lucky enough to feel that way because John is successful enough that I don’t need to work.  But it’s also a little disconcerting and disorienting.  I’ve spent my whole life independent.  Taking care of myself.  (Well, y’know, after my parents took care of me and I learned how to do a little bit of adulting).

But I’m so tired and so air-headed nowadays, that the idea of going back to the workforce is absolutely terrifying.  I think back to the end of my time at my last job, and I was so unhappy, I struggled so painfully every day to just keep my head above water….  Could I do it again?  Could I find the strength to have a career and keep my health under control?  Is finding out worth the risk?  I don’t know.

I read a quote recently — something about happiness is what you find beyond the fear.  It was the idea that if you felt uncomfortable or unsure, that maybe it would be worth pushing through to see what exists on the other side.

So I decided I would push through.  I would conquer my fear and reticence to try to sell skincare online.  I would reach out. I would embrace it.  What could the worst result be?  A no?  And so, this August, I am going to fully embrace selling Rodan + Fields skincare.  Because it is the best stuff I’ve ever used (and if you know me, you know I’ve been obsessed with skincare for a long time), because the people who brought me into the company have been unbelievably supportive and encouraging and I think it will be a work environment I can believe in and be proud to be part of.

I hope it helps me find whatever it is I feel I am missing.  I hope it is a positive experience.  And I hope I can help other people discover these great products (that might sound like a line, but I do inherently believe it).

 

revisiting an old friend

A few weeks ago, John and I spent the weekend in Mansfield so he could help his dad do some projects around the house.  This left me at a loose end, but I was determined to stay as healthy as I could so we got a portable blender and I brought up all my smoothie goods, plus my laptop to google some work outs.  We set up our tent and canopy, plus the love seat bench that we got this year with our REI dividends.  And when I was finally motivated (aka, ran out of ways to procrastinate longer), I looked up some things on You Tube, and got to getting sweaty.  I didn’t hit my move goal though, and that frustrated me. Three days in 2017 I haven’t hit it, and one was because I couldn’t manage to find a good workout.  Grr.

I was fairly determined not to let that happen again this past weekend.  I still packed up my blender and my laptop.  We set up the tent and the canopy (and Lucy, on her long lead).  But this time, I decided to pull the trigger and sign up for Beach Body On Demand. Because I’ve never done a workout that I’ve found as challenging yet satisfying, as ‘Insanity‘.

I think maybe I thought that since I’ve been working out regularly that somehow the program would be easier?  Um, not really.  I mean, some things were ‘less hard’ but let’s be honest here.  Those workouts are killer.  And now — added bonus? — there are a million different versions of ‘Insanity’.  I stuck with the original because I knew it was tough and I hoped it would burn calories.  And because I’m a little insane, I did two workouts in a row.

For the past two days, my legs have been so unbelievably stiff and sore, I wondered what in God’s name I’d been thinking.  I would never do an Insanity workout again.  But, then I decided to stop being a baby, and I fired up the laptop yesterday afternoon.  It was a very tough 40 minutes.  When I climbed on the bike for a cool down afterward, it felt like a cakewalk.  And then, I pulled myself up the stairs, and decided to take a bath with salts, in the hope that it would help my poor legs recover.

It did!  I woke up this morning and didn’t feel like my legs were dying.  Not only that, but for the first time since I began riding my bike last year, I was enthusiastic about a different kind of work out.  I got up, looking forward to my date with Shaun T, and set about my day.

I remember doing Insanity several years ago — before the MS.  It’s challenging in different ways now — I have little to no bounce in my legs, so I am working on that.  But I am less angry at Shaun T this time around. In fact, I’m not angry at all.  He makes me smile.  I feel encouraged. I am really enjoying it, and how it’s forcing different muscles to work harder.  Working out every day isn’t really anyone’s idea of a good time (well, maybe someone?  but I don’t know that person) but I am feeling really glad about my decision to branch out and do different things.  I need to work out every day — it keeps me strong, it keeps me focused on being as healthy as I can be. And to be honest, it’s a little bit of a relief not to ride the bike for an hour and fifteen minutes every day.  Although, I’m sure I’ll start to miss it eventually.